A Wayne Design Firm Infuses a Newtown Square Home with a French Feel
The Meadowbank Design Team creates the perfect home for its Francophile clients.
The kitchen island and built-in cabinet were painted a bold Wedgwood blue, while wine labels were artfully arranged and framed in blue tile over the cooktop//All photos by Tom Crane.
Kirsten McCoy and Laura Buchner are in their 10th year as partners in the Wayne-based firm Meadowbank Design. During that time, they’ve worked on numerous memorable projects from here to the West Coast. A particular stone Colonial in Newtown Square is among those that will be hard to forget.
“We love the clients,” says McCoy. “It was so rewarding because they truly trusted us. It was so freeing and gratifying.”
The owners were moving to the area from Texas with their young daughter to be closer to family. McCoy and Buchner were tasked with transforming the model home they’d bought into something that aligned with their taste. “The one owner is an exuberant kind of person,” McCoy confides. “She loves colorful interiors. She was excited about the design, and making it great and glamorous and fun. And she was really open to anything.”
“Anything” meant luxurious fabrics, dynamic wall treatments and vibrant colors. And the fact that the owners are self-proclaimed Francophiles helped the designers to focus on French-style furnishings and accents where appropriate.
The owner used the word “happy” often during the planning. “She’d say, ‘This makes me happy’ or ‘This brings me happiness,’” Buchner says. “That’s what made it fun. Everything we showed her, the more personality it had, the better. She simply wanted to be creative with the design.”
Black-and-white marble floors in the center hall make an immediate impact, as does the black-and-white toile grass-cloth wallcovering in the foyer and stairway. “Everything in the other rooms can play off the neutral backdrop,” says McCoy.
Walls evoke different moods throughout the house. In the dining room, for example, what appears to be an antique mirror is actually a Lee Jofa wallcovering. “It added dimension, texture and some visual interest to the room,” says McCoy.
From Left: The breakfast room was elegantly designed with comfort in mind; Black-and-white marble greets visitors in the center hallway.
Blue is the owner’s favorite color, so various shades are used throughout the home in significant ways. In the kitchen, a built-in display cabinet and the island were repainted Wedgwood blue with a subtle aged glazing. Blue granite with flecks of gray, white and crystal covers the island and lower cabinets. McCoy and Buchner designed the backsplash, having their favorite wine labels artfully arranged and framed in blue tile over the cooktop.
The blue-and-white theme continues in the breakfast room, in the upholstered, skirted, embroidered Lee Jofa chairs that surround the table. “This is where the homeowners eat the majority of their meals,” says McCoy. “They wanted the chairs to be very comfortable, because they like to linger after dinner.”
Blue sets a dramatic mood in the master bedroom, where a black four-poster bed from Hickory Chair makes a regal impression. A canopy of royal-blue velvet covers the bed and continues in the long panels on each side. Cream-colored silk lines the inner curtains.
Masculine and feminine accents ensure that the space is equally comfortable for husband and wife. “Deep-blue velvet is usually a fabric that would go into a men’s library,” says Buchner. “But it was a nice contrast to the bed’s feminine style.”
Elsewhere in the room, traditional French bedside chests were refinished in an updated gray. The walls are covered in a navy-blue, glazed grass-cloth with silver accents. The treatment adds to the overall dramatic feel.
“The walls are beautiful, but not many clients would be willing to go for that in an entire room,” admits McCoy. “The client trusted that it would be perfect. It was a dream to be able to work with materials like this.”
The Carlyle, a luxurious Upper East Side institution, is one of the owners’ favorite spots in New York City. Fittingly, it served as the inspiration for the home’s lower level, a place set aside for entertaining family and friends. The design was modeled after the Carlyle’s iconic Bemelmans Bar, named for famed artist Ludwig Bemelmans, who painted the bar’s mural, titled “The Four Seasons.” McCoy and Buchner went so far as to have a copy of the work painted around the bar in the Wayne home.
“The owners are quite sentimental about their travels and all the memories of places that make them happy,” says McCoy. “This [space] is an amalgamation of all these feelings.”
The mural’s vibrant colors are also apparent in the royal-blue velvet swivel bar stools. To the side of the bar, a lounge area has a custom banquette in an alcove, the seating upholstered in a deep-orange-red mohair. Nearby, two round mahogany cocktail tables are arranged near three barrel-back chairs.
The lower level’s pool table and bar area were inspired by New York City’s Carlyle hotel.
The lower level also features a game area with a pool table, plus a theater room and an office.
“We had so much fun working with these clients,” says McCoy. “We still keep in touch.”