Empty-Nesters Choose Renovation Over Downsizing

Old is new again for a Wynnewood couple who didn’t flee their home after the children left, but remodeled it to fit their new lifestyle.

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As planned, the combination kitchen-family room is now the focal point for gatherings of every type, especially when their three sons are visiting. “They wanted to design a house that their sons and, eventually, their families would want to visit,” says Spoelker.

Since neither owner does a lot of major cooking, the modest kitchen works for their needs. A tiered island with sink faces the living area, and most of the cream-colored cabinets and appliances are along the wall leading to the butler’s pantry.

As the interior designer, Short had to make the new modern furnishings work in a traditional setting. “It was crucial that we created an environment that reflected the homeowners’ new identity,” she says.

Which is why Short covered the family area’s cube ottoman in horsehair fabric. “If I have a modern piece of furniture in a traditional house, I like to go with a more traditional fabric,” she says.

A cream sofa and gray side chair provide the perfect neutral backdrop for pillows and throws in more dynamic colors, while an aubergine Ralph Pucci chair highlights an otherwise dark corner. “I didn’t want a brightly colored sofa to be the elephant in this open space,” Short says.

A favorite spot for meals and reading the paper, the banquette area has window seats similar to those in the couple’s Outer Banks beach house. Short took an existing mahogany table and replaced its legs with a pair of white bases fashioned after Eero Saarinen’s famed tulip table. Sleek, white Turner chairs add to the modern aesthetic. “We kept the history of the table that the family has used for years, and we updated it,” she says.

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