New Floor Plan and Unexpected Color Bring a Beverly Cape to Life

Three years after living in their nearly 75-year-old Beverly home, Emily Rabinowitz-Buchanan and Nicholas Soodik, educators who moved from Brooklyn with their two little girls, were ready to make some changes. Renovating the kitchen and bathrooms and adding a bathtub were top of the list, as was the size of their daughters’ bedrooms.

Soapstone countertops along the perimeter have subtle veining. The cabinets are painted in an understated green.

Stacey Clarimundo, director of Found Design Studio, and senior designer Hattie Holland understood that the over 3,000 square foot Cape didn’t need an addition. Rather, the problem was the floor plan. “We reworked the layout for more efficiency,” Clarimumdo explains. “The repurposing of space has made the rooms more functional and appropriately sized.”

The approach was in line with the couple’s aesthetic. “They wanted the house to stay humble,” Clarimundo explains. “The changes couldn’t seem shiny or new.” Inspiration came from across the pond. “I love the English cottage style,” says Rabinowitz-Buchanan. Clarimundo elaborates. “Emily is drawn to understated yet unexpected interiors with earthy colors and stuff,” she says.

Despite the airy and open concept of the main floor, the kitchen was pushed into a corner and hemmed in by an L-shaped peninsula. Clarimundo tore down the peninsula and absorbed the breakfast nook that was stuck at side. Then she extended the kitchen to the full back wall, complete with soapstone countertops, and gave the family a walnut center island.

The overhaul required a window to be closed so they could move the stove. At first, the couple hesitated. “We were concerned about the natural light, but it was the right decision,” admits Soodik. Rabinowitz-Buchanan observes that the design is much calmer without the window. She also appreciates the floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinets that flank the refrigerator. “Before, we kept things in a cupboard outside the kitchen,” she says.

The custom V-groove cabinets painted Farrow & Ball Blue Gray imbue the country vibe they were looking for, as do the textured wood knobs and unlacquered brass pulls. The zellige tile backsplash accentuates the effect. “These terracotta tiles are handmade; there are chips where the glaze didn’t stick,” Clarimundo explains. “Zellige is going through a while, but it’s a material that’s been around for hundreds of years.”

The designer pulled similar styles from across the house. In the girls’ bathroom, which she downsized by about a third, the shower’s cheap pink-colored ceramic tiles look handcrafted, and the V-groove vanity echoes to the kitchen cabinets. The piece is feminine but not sweet. “The dark teal tiled floor, walnut framed mirror and chunky sconces soften it,” Clarimundo says. The fact that the elements are disparate helps evoke the under-the-radar feel, made over time.

Shrinking the tub allowed the team to expand the nine-year-old’s bedroom, where new built-in shelves are painted Farrow & Ball Brinjal, a brooding eggplant. Like the bath, the piece is feminine yet sophisticated. “Belgian linen bed reads purple until removed from joinery; then it reads grey,” says the designer. “They can always repaint later, but the bed can stay with her.” The Arts & Crafts era paper wall is also easy to change. “Wallpaper has a lot of impact, we don’t need to use a ton of it,” says Clarimundo.

Next door, in the six-year-old’s bedroom, Clarimundo chose another Arts & Crafts-era paper from Trustworth Studios. The pattern’s Labrador retrievers are a testament to the girl’s love for dogs. it also depicts giant rats. “The rats remind me of the unusually large rodents in The princess to be marriedlaughs Soodik. “It’s one of her favorite movies and brings a bit of Brooklyn to Beverly.”

The couple’s bedroom didn’t require much, but their bathroom was completely redone. It included reducing its size by a third in order to create a guest bath. However, the proportions are generous. Here, felt lines the walls while the mid-century modern lines of the walnut vanity counterbalance the curves of the marble backsplash, unlacquered brass faucets, and freestanding tub. Terracotta floor tiles help anchor the rich wood and infuse warmth. Clarimundo reiterates the material’s centuries-old appeal and notes that historically terracotta was used outdoors and as such is absolutely humble.

The renovation looks authentic. “It looks like they could have done it themselves over time,” says the Clarimundo. “We remodeled the rooms and kept the quirks. You can tell people live here; that’s what we wanted.

Interior Designer: Found Design Studio, founddesignstudio.co, Contractor: J&J Frerk Carpenters, 978-922-3036, Cabinetmaker: Curtis Cabinetry, curtiscabinetry.com

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