A Classic Home, With a Twist

By Melanie Radzicki McManus | Photography by Shanna Wolf

Several years ago, Karen and Steve Kennedy found themselves empty nesters in their spacious home. With their children gone, but three new grandchildren in the picture, they wanted to refashion their home into one matching their current lifestyle.

The couple initially made some minor renovations on the upper level, then decided to transform the entire home. They turned to Zander’s Interiors for assistance.

“The Kennedys were trying to lighten up and refresh their home,” says Doug Zander, founder of the business. “They kept gravitating toward a blue-and-white color scheme, so we took it and ran with it.”

Some of the updates made by Zander and Chelsea Goeser, an interior designer at Zander’s, were minor, but made a big impact. They selected new furniture in a neutral and blue palette for the great room and added custom-made throw pillows with striking designs and bold, blue tones.

“You can often revamp a space just by changing the pillows,” says Zander. “Whether it’s the color or pattern, it can give the space a whole different feel and update it pretty radically.”

Other refreshes were more dramatic. Take the dining room. The Kennedys wanted to keep their Chippendale dining set and sideboard. So Zander and Goeser reupholstered the chairs and added two host chairs covered in a chenille fabric. The room’s traditional chandelier and sideboard lamps were visually heavy, so they were swapped out for an aged brass chandelier and brass Chapman lamps with a more streamlined look.

On the far wall, the Kennedys opted for a built-in sideboard with display cabinets. The coup de grâce? Covering the walls with a handsome floral wallpaper by Schumacher, with matching draperies.

“Part of the goal was to honor those traditional elements in the space, but bring in others that made it feel fresh,” says Goeser.

The Kennedys are thrilled with the results. “I’ve had that dining room set since we got married, and it’s been the backdrop for many wonderful get-togethers,” says Karen Kennedy. “The way they made my furniture fit in there is so beautiful, it almost makes me cry.”

She also appreciates that her china and crystal — previously tucked away in various cupboards and cabinets — is now beautifully displayed.

The lower-level playroom/library/ sitting area is another favorite space. Initially an exercise room, the couple opted to remove a rarely used lap pool and shift the exercise equipment there, freeing up the space for new purposes. Today, the grandchildren love the playroom, while Karen often finds herself relaxing there.

“We had ideas and knew how we lived in our space, but professionals will show you things you haven’t even thought about, I guarantee it,” Karen says.

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