Owning a historic home can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. This Riverfront home in the historic Bucks County is a perfect example of how classic details can be as cozy as a cottage – just, in this case – much bigger. The exposed rough-hewn beams and the dropped windows hovering just below the skylights bring in a casualness to the otherwise rigid lines of the library wall. The added feature of cane seats on the chairs adds a country element to the room that is further enhanced by the bench seat, vintage stepping stool and choice of light fixture. All this “charming” décor is just enough to soften up the wall of books and deep ebony flooring for an overall feeling of an elegant country cottage abode.
The dark ebony plank flooring is a consistent feature seen throughout this residence, as are the original mouldings and window details. This continuum of flooring keeps the spaces unified as rooms move from casual to sophisticated and back to casual.
Next to the library is the kitchen. Here the cabinets keep to a simple yet timeless white shaker frame with textured glass in some of the upper doors. Stainless steel appliances are at home beneath a dark solid surface counter top and adark backsplash of large textured panels. The skirted sink keeps that casual feel that balances the homes more rigid details.
A small powder room on the main floor features a tiny sink and vintage cabinet. The standard sized faucets look huge mounted on this sink.
The living room on the other side of the hallway is a more formal space with its high backed and tufted sofa and an upright piano placed just in front of the wall shelving. Adding to the more regal effect is the tall mantle that surrounds the fireplace. With the height of the mantle and the high back to the sofa, the ceiling could have felt low had they not painted out the exposed beams but with the only dark shades near the floor, the space is kept light and bright. Even though this is a more social space then the library, it has a more serious feel about it.
The coffee table in the living room is a clever design of a mid-century style wood table with splayed legs inset on an angle into a modernist waterfall solid surface table. The contrasting styles, materials, and colours add a little whimsy to an otherwise formal space as does the addition of a zebra pattern on the chaise.
There is also a more formal dining area located between the stairwell and a pair of French doors. The French doors are actually a double layer of doors, the first keeping the traditional elements of the home alive while the second offering the more efficient glazing required to keep wind, heat, or cold at bay. The fireplace in this room is less grand then in the living room but nevertheless keeps a stiff upper lip. The table in this room is huge and is once again supported by both chairs and a bench, but here, the bench is more sofa then bench and the chairs have a more classic profile then the cane seats in the library.
The dining room is a study of pattern from the grid work on the French doors and the white pickets on the balustrade to the exposed ceiling joists and the chair back details. With all this pattern the room could easily feel busy but with the simple white on ebony colour story it instead feels calm and relaxing.
Upstairs a small family room is the perfect get away from the hustle and bustle downstairs. A linen slipcovered couch and vintage furniture bring a real rustic biv to this room that was not seen downstairs. The casualness of the space is a perfect transition to the bedrooms that line the hall.
Even the doorway to the family room is a far cry from the elegant details below. Here a wall mounted slider allows for a large vintage door to open or close without imposing on the room itself.
The guest bedroom is also small and located in the corner of the home with windows on two sides, the only way to fit a double bed into the space was to situate it in front of one of the windows. The designers accommodated for this by wrapping the window in shelving which keeps the bed out and away from the glass while at the same time offers storage and table surface for the guests. The crown moulding is wrapped in front of the shelving rather then behind it and this makes the shelves appear to be built in rather then added on.
A second small bedroom is outfitted with a single bed tucked into a void created by a second single bed with pull out trolly bed below.
Also located on one of the home’s corners, each of these beds is below a window with bookshelves lining the walls behind the beds.
A third bedroom on this level is much bigger then the other two and is the Master Bedroom. While bookshelves are also a feature, here they are not on the window wall but instead flank the length of the wall on both sides of the bed. The bed is a traditional frame that requires steps to get into it and that little bit of nostalgia is further emphasized by the four-poster framework, chest at the end of the bed and the antique table.
The bed in this room is situated to take advantage of the view.
The bathroom on this level is a traditional composition of clawfoot tub, pedestal sink, and toilet, all surrounded by wainscoting of beadboard. The tub features ornate feat and a black painted surround that picks up on the traditional black and white hexagonal pattern to the floor tiles.
The pedestal on the bathroom sink is a whimsical addition of a cut down vintage newal post usually seen at the end of a balustrade.
One flight up the attic has been converted into a bedroom and an office with the office on one side and the sleeping zone on the other. The space in between is where the stairwell is and a small sitting area is located in a dormer complete with skylight.
The office is a located right in front of the windows and not to be daunted by the sloped ceilings, the space is flanked with the homeowners art collection, secured on both the top and bottom of the frames.
The bed is located below the windows on the other side of the attic. Here a padded headboard offers a resting place away from the wall while a side table can be pulled up to hold a midnight snack.
A bathroom on the attic level comes complete with a walk in shower further emphasizing that a historic home can be comfortable, functional and cozy as a cottage – no matter how big it is.
Sullivan Building & Design Group
Darryl Carter Interior Design