July 17, 2012

Ready for the Weekend: An 1800s Colonial Gets a Modern Update

Concrete flooring. Mid-century furniture. Bright, open, and airy. Hard to believe those descriptors apply to an 1800’s center-hall colonial in suburban Glen Head, New York. Well, they certainly did not when Elizabeth Steimberg was hired.

“It was dark and musty,” she says. “But I saw the potential. It was a matter of creating a dialogue between the house and the 4-acre site.” A complete overhaul by Elizabeth Steimberg Architects ensued. The front door, with its rounded top, the rear elevation’s doors and windows, and the ipe deck they open onto are all new. Inside, her attention to detail and affinity for texture are particularly apparent in the eight glass-tiled bathrooms, one of them carved out of a closet. 

The space that saw the greatest transformation, however, is the kitchen. 
Shere positioned it and built a generous island topped in the same poured concrete as the floor. She then added a pair of Jean Prouvé tables surrounded by a bevy of steel café chairs. (The owners, a family of eight, entertain often, and this is where meals usually take place— there’s no formal dining room.) For most of the chairs, the pendant fixtures over the island, and the armchairs in a nearby nook, she chose juicy shades of orange and red. 

“It’s a weekend place, so the pops of color and the simple furniture make it casual, even beachy,” she notes. The relaxed vibe meanders throughout the house. And there’s a lot of house: 8,900 square feet, with nine bedrooms.

Photography by Adrian Wilson.

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