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Skirting History

Building a team for a historic home makeover




Chango and Co., a small Brooklyn design firm tasked with renovating this historic Litchfield home, put its team of project managers, interior architects, and designers to the test in completing this major makeover. The team’s mission: infuse a five-bedroom, 6,500-square-foot, turn-of-the-century Colonial with modern attitude and character. Within six months, Chango had transformed the house from an outdated, buttoned-up abode into a spacious weekend get-away perfectly suited for the homeowners—a family with three young children, a large black Labrador, and a cat. 

Reality check: it was not exactly presto chango. As is the case with many old homes, designers are often required to adhere to rigid historic building codes during the process of updating and renovating. In 1959, the borough of Litchfield was designated a historic district by the Connecticut General Assembly. Many homes in and surrounding it are considered to be among New England’s finest surviving examples of typical late 18th-century structures. Yet, homes aren’t living monuments so it can be a balancing act to preserve a sense of the past during the process of modernizing and making changes that reflect personal style. 

“Fortunately,” says creative director Susana Simonpietri, “we kept the existing exterior palette and style intact, so we did not run into any problems even when it came to adding an expansive deck to the back lawn.” 

She notes that in old homes, they are always prepared to find twists and turns: lead pipes, asbestos, etc. In this home, the only stumbling block turned out to be some asbestos in the plumbing pipes, which required abatement. “The biggest challenge in the home was the kitchen, which had been renovated in the late ’60s to early ’70s and was composed of many segmented rooms,” says Simonpietri. The team set to work designing a more spacious, airy room, accomplished by taking the kitchen back to its bare bones. 

“Once we decided to gut it and tear out all the dividing walls, a lot of structural steel had to be brought in to support the frame of the top floors of the home. Everything in the kitchen was designed and fabricated from scratch—everything including the kitchen sink,” Simonpietri says. 

A massive solid white oak kitchen island, topped with a 12-foot seamless slab of honed Calacatta Caldia marble, became the room’s centerpiece, with marble-topped custom cabinetry housing a 1,058 pound, five-oven AGA range, and a custom farmhouse soapstone double sink.

Throughout the rest of the home, the designers worked to create interior rooms that celebrated the beauty of the surrounding nature,mindful of how the foliage changes through the seasons. “We typically use ‘decorator’s white’ as a base for most of the homes we work on. It has a slight blue-grey hue to it, making it appear whiter than a true white,” Simonpietri says.

Not all of the rooms shout bright white; there are deeper, rusty orange tones of pumpkin in the dining room and shades of storm cloud blue in the library featuring a cozy fireplace, distressed leather armchairs, and industrial lights. For fabrics and floor coverings, the designers stuck to natural materials and textures in light and natural colors. 

The house now reads much lighter: all the walls were painted a brighter, fresher color, unnecessary dividers were taken out, and a lot of the heavy carpeting and window treatments were removed, allowing more of the outdoors to come inside. “Once we did this, it was much easier for light to move through the home and give the spaces a lighter feeling,” Simonpietri says. A set of French doors open up to an expansive backyard deck, continuing the connection with the woodsy surroundings.

It was equally important to make sure the home, and each room in it, was a reflection of the family that would be living here. So in preparation, the design team met with the entire family (including the three children) to get a better understanding of their preferences, needs, likes, and dislikes so the design team could deliver a fully furnished turn-key home with thoroughly outfitted bathrooms, bedrooms, living, and dining quarters.

For the teenager’s room, the designers wanted to include his personal tastes in music, which doesn’t exactly jive with traditional. “So we decided to go with a strong black light fixture and a streamlined sofa,” says Susanna. “This mix of traditional interior architecture and very modern pieces give the space an edginess that isn’t seen elsewhere in the home and makes for a cool retreat for a music-loving teenager.”

They made an effort to mix old with new with flea-market finds, like turn-of-the-century wood shoe forms in the hallway and anassortment of wooden medicine cabinets and wood-framed mirrors in the powder rooms. The foyer also tastefully reflects that effort; large, antique glass wine vessels line the wall opposite a pair of contemporary benches in the shape of two cupped hands.

“A home comprised of 100 percent brand new things tends to feel sterile,” says Simonpietri. “In many of our homes, we like to create galleries of artwork or interesting items, to give the appearance of an art installation.” But this house, with its artful elements and antique touches, is neither an installation nor an historic monument; it’s a vibrant country retreat. 

 

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December 2018

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Walter Fields new  artwork opening on Friday November 2 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT 06794.  The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255-6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Decorating gingerbread houses has been a tradition at Hunt Hill Farm for many years. We invite you to join us this year with pastry chef extraordinaire Claire Bevington.

Cost: $90.00

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
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Telephone: 860-355-0300
Contact Name: Kimberly
Website »

More information

The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature Masterpieces' features artwork perfect for gift-giving. The exhibit will include small works of art, such as miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

What sets the Washington Art Association’s Annual Holiday Sale apart from others is not only the exquisitely hand crafted gifts by local artisans, but a talented group of volunteers designers and...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Plaza
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Ginger Nelsen
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

What sets the Washington Art Association’s Annual Holiday Sale apart from others is not only the exquisitely hand crafted gifts by local artisans, but a talented group of volunteers designers and...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Plaza
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Ginger Nelsen
Website »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Walter Fields new  artwork opening on Friday November 2 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT 06794.  The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255-6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Walter Fields new  artwork opening on Friday November 2 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT 06794.  The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255-6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

What sets the Washington Art Association’s Annual Holiday Sale apart from others is not only the exquisitely hand crafted gifts by local artisans, but a talented group of volunteers designers and...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Plaza
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Ginger Nelsen
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

What sets the Washington Art Association’s Annual Holiday Sale apart from others is not only the exquisitely hand crafted gifts by local artisans, but a talented group of volunteers designers and...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Plaza
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Ginger Nelsen
Website »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Walter Fields new  artwork opening on Friday November 2 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT 06794.  The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255-6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Join us for a free informational talk about the uses and benefits of CBD oil hosted by the founders of Ropana. Attendees will also be able to take advantage of an extra 15% off Ropana products...

Cost: Free - registration requested

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St North
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

What sets the Washington Art Association’s Annual Holiday Sale apart from others is not only the exquisitely hand crafted gifts by local artisans, but a talented group of volunteers designers and...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Plaza
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Ginger Nelsen
Website »

More information

Join us on Thursdays in December to celebrate a month of giving for the Audubon at Bent of the River.  Each Thursday morning, we will be joined by Kate Pratt who will have a bird-themed story...

Cost: Free - registration requested

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St North
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
Website »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Walter Fields new  artwork opening on Friday November 2 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT 06794.  The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255-6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

KMR Arts presents Mark Seliger: Platinum Prints. The exhibition opens on Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 3-6 pm with a reception and book signing of the monograph, MARK SELIGER PHOTOGRAPHS, with the...

Cost: no charge

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: KMR Arts
Telephone: (860)868-7533
Contact Name: Kathy McCarver Root
Website »

More information

The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature Masterpieces' features artwork perfect for gift-giving. The exhibit will include small works of art, such as miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

The Connecticut Dance Theatre, under the artistic director, Donna Bonasera, presents a community collaboration for the young and the young at heart. Experience the timeless classic, The Nutcracker,...

Cost: $22-$25

Where:
Thomaston Opera House
158 Main St.
Level 5
Thomaston, CT  06787
View map »


Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
Telephone: 860-283-6250
Contact Name: Jeffrey Dunn
Website »

More information

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What sets the Washington Art Association’s Annual Holiday Sale apart from others is not only the exquisitely hand crafted gifts by local artisans, but a talented group of volunteers designers and...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Plaza
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Ginger Nelsen
Website »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Walter Fields new  artwork opening on Friday November 2 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT 06794.  The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255-6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

FRIDAY FEAST AND DANCING FEET.  Join us for our Thanksgiving Celebration of our Friday Feast and Dancing Feet with music by Michael Ciulla.  Pre-registration is required.

Cost: $7.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Community Center
Telephone: 860-567-8302
Website »

More information

We will celebrate the Winter Solstice in conjunction with the power of the Full Moon when the veil between the dimensions is thin. It is the optimal time to set our intentions for the New Year,...

Cost: $20.00

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St North
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Telephone: 203-263-4868
Website »

More information

KMR Arts presents Mark Seliger: Platinum Prints. The exhibition opens on Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 3-6 pm with a reception and book signing of the monograph, MARK SELIGER PHOTOGRAPHS, with the...

Cost: no charge

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: KMR Arts
Telephone: (860)868-7533
Contact Name: Kathy McCarver Root
Website »

More information

The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature Masterpieces' features artwork perfect for gift-giving. The exhibit will include small works of art, such as miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

The Connecticut Dance Theatre, under the artistic director, Donna Bonasera, presents a community collaboration for the young and the young at heart. Experience the timeless classic, The Nutcracker,...

Cost: $22-$25

Where:
Thomaston Opera House
158 Main St.
Level 5
Thomaston, CT  06787
View map »


Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
Telephone: 860-283-6250
Contact Name: Jeffrey Dunn
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Decorating gingerbread houses has been a tradition at Hunt Hill Farm for many years. We invite you to join us this year with pastry chef extraordinaire Claire Bevington.

Cost: $90.00

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Contact Name: Kimberly
Website »

More information

Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice Celebration embraces the spirit of the holidays within the extraordinary acoustics of the world’s largest cathedral, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine....

Cost: $90.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-8302
Contact Name: Berta Andrulis Mette
Website »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Walter Fields new  artwork opening on Friday November 2 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT 06794.  The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255-6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

KMR Arts presents Mark Seliger: Platinum Prints. The exhibition opens on Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 3-6 pm with a reception and book signing of the monograph, MARK SELIGER PHOTOGRAPHS, with the...

Cost: no charge

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: KMR Arts
Telephone: (860)868-7533
Contact Name: Kathy McCarver Root
Website »

More information

What sets the Washington Art Association’s Annual Holiday Sale apart from others is not only the exquisitely hand crafted gifts by local artisans, but a talented group of volunteers designers and...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Washington Art Association & Gallery
4 Bryan Plaza
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Washington Art Association & gallery
Telephone: 860-868-2878
Contact Name: Ginger Nelsen
Website »

More information

The Fine Line Art Gallery’s Holiday Art Show 'Miniature Masterpieces' features artwork perfect for gift-giving. The exhibit will include small works of art, such as miniature...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Fine Line Art Gallery
319 Main Street South
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: Fine Line Art Gallery
Telephone: 203-266-0110
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

The Connecticut Dance Theatre, under the artistic director, Donna Bonasera, presents a community collaboration for the young and the young at heart. Experience the timeless classic, The Nutcracker,...

Cost: $22-$25

Where:
Thomaston Opera House
158 Main St.
Level 5
Thomaston, CT  06787
View map »


Sponsor: Landmark Community Theatre
Telephone: 860-283-6250
Contact Name: Jeffrey Dunn
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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