When you think of a farmhouse, you're probably picturing shiplap walls, bright white subway tile, and plenty of neutral accents. For this Connecticut home, designer Melissa Lee, the founder and creative director of Bespoke Only, took a different approach, creating a curated and refined space with a moody color palette and a mix of modern and classic furnishings.
"The Bespoke Only aesthetic is at once refined and timeless, often drawing inspiration from art and nature in pursuit of both simplicity and harmony," Lee tells MyDomaine. "Each project involves a truly bespoke approach to reflect the client’s personality and lifestyle."
For this 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom (plus 2 powder rooms!) home, the goal was to create a "more organic, less 'decorated'" space.
"As this project was for a young family, we sought to create a multifaceted haven that accommodates relaxing, working, and growing — where nothing feels too precious and everything is meant for living," Lee explains.
As this project was for a young family, we sought to create a multifaceted haven that accommodates relaxing, working, and growing - where nothing feels too precious and everything is meant for living.
Keep reading to see how Lee created a sophisticated, yet lived-in home for a Connecticut family.
The 4,800 square foot home is filled with gorgeous architectural details, from arched built-in bookcases to detailed trim.
"As a classic colonial-style dwelling, many of the architectural details inherited remain timeless til this day," Lee says. "Our goal was clear from the beginning - introduce a new chapter of the house with the new owner's story. We conceptualized a layered design full of texture with a variety of classic, modern pieces to create a relaxed, inviting space that marries the home's roots with its inhabitants."
Lee took inspiration from classic colonial homes and blended that influence with more modern design trends like Scandinavian style and lush fabrics to create a one-of-a-kind aesthetic.
"We borrowed the traditional blue and cream combo in colonial homes and mixed it with a touch of Nordic influence - the result is a spectrum of subdued, hazy hues that reflect softly by the panoramic natural exposure," Lee explains. "Clean Scandinavian designs in plush velvet, bouclé and natural wood introduce a fresh and youthful take on the traditional suburban aesthetic."
In the living room, the objective was simple: create a soothing space for their clients' priorities.
"The main living spaces feature a calming palette suitable for the family and their dynamic lifestyle," Lee says. "A place fitting for both gathering and cozying up on the couch."
Though the finished product is stunning, the project didn't come without its challenges.
"The old paint on the millwork was oil-based, which makes it more challenging to remove and prime properly," Lee says. "It’s important to double check with your painter when working on an older home — and make sure proper prep work is done. Preparation may take longer, but it will save you in time, money and damages."
While the more private areas of the home (think bedrooms and offices) make use of moodier color palettes, the living areas are decidedly brighter and more neutral, an intentional choice, Lee explains.
"We wanted the house to feel sophisticated, yet playful," Lee explains. "The main living spaces feature a brighter, cheerful color scheme while the private spaces (like the offices and main bedroom) feature a moody, darker scheme."
In one of the office spaces, warm gray is paired with a deep green reading chair, proving that with the right styling, color can be as soothing as neutrals.
"Both the husband and wife have their own office spaces tucked away from the main living space," Lee says. "These work-from-home spaces have a notably different; moody and sophisticated feel."
In the husband's office area, blue-green paint covers the entire space, while a reading chair and desk area create plenty of room to work. The whole home is filled with vintage accents, and the offices are no different.
"On a sourcing trip to Hudson, we found an assorted grouping of antique Chinese pottery," Lee says. "We used them in the home office, throughout the built-in bookshelves behind the desk. Our client told us they’ve had people think it’s a fake Zoom background- because it’s just that perfect."
With older homes come older features, like the solarium pictured here. With a view so picturesque, the styling is purposely minimal. Keeping a light touch is coincidentally the best decorating advice Lee has ever received.
"Don’t be scared of negative space," Lee advises. "You should always leave room to grow."
Don't be scared of negative space. You should always leave room to grow.
In the bedroom, cheerful color palettes are replaced with deeper color schemes and luxurious fabrics. This corner is a perfect example of what Lee does best: curated, sculptural, and always interesting design.
Her favorite part of the space is ours as well: "The seamless blend of traditional and modern- we were able to honor the classic colonial details that fall into the background against the Scandinavian furnishings," Lee says.