Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Lean Lines

SoHo loft meets New England Cape



Pam Rouleau

When Kurt Schneider and Susan Schulte embarked on an extensive renovation of their home, a Sears and Roebuck Cape Cod kit house built in 1939 and added onto twice, haphazardly, by previous owners, they knew exactly what they wanted. “Our goal was not to expand the footprint, but to re-imagine the existing space so it worked for our lifestyle and aesthetic,” explains Susan. “We wanted SoHo loft meets New England Cape.” Both Susan and Kurt love the crisp, clean lines of modern architecture. Over the years, they have acquired an eclectic collection of contemporary furnishings and accessories that felt out of place in their conventional Cape Cod home. 

“Before we bought our home nine years ago, we spent a lot of time looking,” Susan explains, “because we couldn’t find the aesthetic we wanted in a manageable size. We loved how modest this house appeared outside, but inside it had a lot of space which we thought we could work with.” Within a year of moving in, they had buyers’ remorse. The layout did not work, the rooms felt cramped and dark, and the traditional finishes were at odds with their modern sensibility. Because they loved their property and location, they decided to stay put and do a mini-renovation. “The goal was to change some of the functional and design elements that bothered us the most.” With input from their close friend, interior designer Courtney Kleeman, they removed several walls to open up the floor plan, and replaced the door and window trim with a more contemporary molding style to give the interior, a cleaner, more pared-down vibe. While this made the house more livable, it was a stop-gap. Two years ago, they hired architect Alexis Briski, who had designed Susan’s mother’s very modern New York City apartment. “We took the house down to the studs and completely reconfigured the space to create an open interior; we wanted to see the bones of the architecture,” says Susan. They also took advantage of the way their house sits on the property. The living room and the master bedroom above it were at the north end and dark. “The existing structure had no relationship with the surrounding landscape,” Alexis explains. She extended the southern section of the house by 20 feet and relocated these rooms there. Both spaces have a wall of south facing windows to allow views of the stone walls and pond and abundant natural light. She also used the natural slope of the property to drop the elevation of the living room two feet below the entrance foyer. The high ceilings in the living room add drama without changing the level of the second floor. By extending the house, but maintaining its original height, Alexis created a strong horizontal line. The house hugs, rather than dominates, the property. The horizontal orientation is reprised in the end-to-end vistas in the interior and the long, low lines of many of the Schneiders’ furnishings. 

A new family room with an alcove office and half-bath sit adjacent the living room. A row of large windows floods the space with natural light and offers sweeping views of the rear of the property. Steps lead up to the kitchen, which has stainless steel appliances and white enamel cabinets, easily mistaken for high-end Italian cabinetry, but actually from Ikea. “The cabinets are incredibly practical; they don’t show fingerprints, they’re easy to clean and they come with a 20-year warranty,” says Susan. The counters and backsplash are Silestone, but look like cement. “The installer wanted to do a traditional overhang, but we wanted the counter top to meet the edge of the sides,” she recalls. They also surprised the painters by requesting they paint the trim the same color as the walls; the result contributes to the minimalist feel of the interior. 

To create a more spacious entrance foyer, the Schneiders removed the existing staircase, and added a hidden coat closet; a brushed nickel latch is the only sign it exists. Two new staircases, consistent with the new second-floor plan, are located near the kitchen and the mudroom. For the one adjacent the kitchen, Alexis designed a custom banister and a 10-foot guardrail using industrial mesh and thin steel stanchions. “Our contractor Don Longo found a skilled blacksmith in Pennsylvania who was able to build both to meet code requirements,” says Susan.

In a deliberate contrast with the modern details of the first-floor, the second-floor finishes reflect the New England Cape aesthetic. The bedrooms retain the eaves of the cape roofline, the doors are traditional six-panel style, and the knobs, hinges and window latches are oil-rubbed bronze. “We used satin nickel finishes in the public spaces, but felt the private spaces should reflect New England character,” explains Susan. Pocket doors in many of the rooms reinforce the clean, lean lines of the interior; open doors would visually interrupt the open feeling of the interior. 

White or gray walls throughout the house complement the monochromatic palette of the Schneiders’ furniture and accessories, and enhance the flow of space. The few exceptions are Quinn’s room, where Courtney, who helped them pull together the overall paint scheme, convinced them to paint one wall orange; she also suggested the avocado walls in the mudroom bathroom. Accessories provide other occasional pops of color: three graphic paintings in the second-floor hallway, vintage saddle leather Breuer chairs in the master bedroom, orange upholstered mid-century modern teak chairs in two other second-floor bedrooms, a yellow sculptural candlestick in the kitchen. 

On the exterior, the Schneiders’ house still appears to be a modest Cape. From the street, the only hint that it might be something other than that is the crisp row of birches planted to the right of the front door, the stone plinth that extends beyond the house, and a wall of four windows at the northern end. But the interior stands as a testament to modern design. “We love the juxtaposition of a simple exterior in the vernacular of New England architecture with a very modern and urban interior,” says Susan. 

 

Connect With Us

               

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Bling

Mary Tucciarone has filled her antique home with elegant old things—trophies, urns, chandeliers, rhinestone and pearl costume jewelry, and other accessories that she finds at flea markets, estate sales, and antiques shops. During the holidays, she deconstructs and reconstructs objects from her collections to create one-of-a-kind decorations that add an extra dose of sparkle and glamour to every room.

Collecting History

When Clyde Phillips and Jane Lancellotti moved here from L.A., they fell in love with a stucco house in South Wilton. They bought it, and embarked on an 18-month renovation, yet kept many original details intact. Today, the handsome structure is home to their family and their eclectic collections.

This New Old House

This interior designer and author of New Spaces, Old World Charm practices what she preaches. When she and her husband renovated their antique home, they created a new old house, full of modern amenities but loaded with period details and ambiance.

Rooms With a View

The revolutionary design of Wilton's Round House. Built in 1968, this home offers spectacular revolving views.

This Old House

Not everyone can deal with the inevitable quirks- cranky pipes, leaky windows, uneven floors, tiny rooms- that come with a 200-years old house. But these three homeowners share a willingness to overlook the eccentricities and embrace the charms of their antique homes.

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

September 2018

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The Wilton Rotary Club will again sponsor its traditional family carnival from Friday-Sunday, Sept. 14-16 at the corner of School Road and Route 7. The event is a fundraiser that benefits the...

Cost: Admission & parking free. unlimited rides $25. Individual ride tickets available

Where:
Wilton
, CT


Website »

More information

Explore three private gardens in Greenwich, Westport, and Wilton, open for self-guided tours to benefit the Garden Conservancy. Highlights include water features, terraced perennial gardens, a...

Cost: $7 per garden, children 12 and under free

Where:
Pixie Perennials
200 Nod Hill Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: The Garden Conservancy
Telephone: 888-842-2442
Contact Name: Open Days Program staff
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Woodcock Nature Center plans Under the Harvest Moon Benefit Event Friday, September 21 One of the largest fundraisers of the year for Woodcock Nature Center, Under the Harvest Moon on Friday,...

Cost: $80/person

Where:
Woodcock Nature Center
56 Deer Run Rd
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Website »

More information

Wildlife trafficking generates more than $10 billion a year for transnational organized criminal networks. Join us to learn about the work our Nature Initiative is doing to further the strategic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Join Music on the Hill for "An Evening in Paris," its sixth annual auction fundraiser. All are welcome. The evening begins with a cocktail party and silent bidding, followed by a live...

Cost: $45

Where:
WEPCO Parish Hall
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags