These Empty Nesters Built the Ideal Home for Their Kids to Come Back To
That was the goal of a husband and wife who had a new house built down the street from their old home in New Rochelle.
Photos by Eric Piasecki | OTTO
Build a house their kids would want to come back to.
That was the goal of a husband and wife who had a new house built down the street from their old home in New Rochelle. They have four grown children, some of whom also have spouses. They may have grandchildren some day. They wanted a home where everyone could gather and spend time together.
And they wanted a Tudor. “The wife grew up in New Rochelle in more or less the same neighborhood, where there are a lot of classic Tudors,” says Ned Stoll, partner at Stoll & Stoll Architects, the architect on the project. “She didn’t grow up in a Tudor, but she loved them and thought it would be nice to have one.”
The Tudor style comes with challenges — namely darkness and smaller, closed spaces. So another mandate was to make the home feel more modern and contemporary while still honoring the tradition of a Tudor. Westchester Home spoke to Stoll and Gideon Mendelson, founder of Mendelson Group Inc., interior designer on the project, about how this vision came to life.
A Transitional Dining Room
Moving away from the front of the house and into the dining room, the architect’s concept of a “dissolving Tudor” comes into focus. The front of the house is much more traditional in feel — and gets less so as you move toward the back. “This is still a voluminous room but is a little more horizontal than the rooms in the front,” Stoll says. Highlights include a “super-traditional” handpainted Gracie wallpaper, wood strapwork on the ceiling that echoes the pattern on the rug, a modern light fixture made of both brass and glass, and pops of blue in the lamps and a lacquered door to moderate the warm tones.
Form Meets Function in the Kitchen
The homeowners are Orthodox Jews, so the kitchen is set up for the total separation of meat and dairy in dishes, cookware, silverware, prep areas, and sinks. The space is also the heart of the home. “This is a family who really lives in the kitchen — it’s more used than any other space,” Stoll says. “The way it functions dictated how we designed it.”
The family loves cooking and enjoying meals together, and the room can accommodate 20 people — but it also feels comfortable for one person who wants to read a book. “There are very distinct areas, from the food prep area to the dining area, sitting area, and breakfast bar. The whole family can use the different spaces but still be together.” And that was the goal: “For them, it was about coming together as a family and bringing the kids back to the house,” Stoll says. “That’s the power of what design can do and what design did for this family.”
A Comfortable and Stylish Family Room
Here at the back of the house, the “dissolving” nature of the architecture is clear: The room is more horizontal and much more casual than the dining room. “We’ve gotten rid of the diamond-pane windows and used more industrial sash proportions,” Stoll says. “They provide a lot of openness to the backyard, and now the whole feeling has transitioned to an indoor-outdoor, easier-going family space.”
The two different fabrics on the sofa emphasize its horizontality, and the coffee table is ingenious in its design: The wood section pivots over the ottoman. “So if you want to have your feet up, you use the ottoman,” Stoll says. “If you want to put a drink down, put it on the walnut.”
A Mudroom Green with Envy
“This is a happy mudroom, not dreary and dark,” says Mendelson. He and Stoll felt that there was a lot of wood-stained paneling throughout the home and this room offered an opportunity to do something painted. “We selected a color — a seafoam green — that makes you smile when you’re there,” Mendelson says.
The room provides plenty of storage as well — which gets used when the whole family is together.
Geometric Forms in the Powder Room
The powder room, located in the front of the house off the front hall, features traditional paneling with geometric touches, including a chevron wall covering and octagonal mirror. Brass elements add a modern touch.
As for the light fixture: “It’s vintage but whimsical, almost like an upside down bouquet,” Mendelson says.
Step through the front door and into a soaring 30-foot-high foyer. “The stairway, railing, and woodwork — it’s all intended to be dramatic,” Stoll says. Creating the paneling was “a mathematical effort,” he says: “We were looking to do something traditional in execution and detailing, and it took a number of hours to get it right.”
The leaded-glass window in the front door adds a surprising touch (it’s not placed in the middle), as do the thin metal balisters placed between the wider wood ones on the stairway. “Brass is not what you would normally find,” Stoll says. “It’s a little more modern. I like that we’re challenging the rules of what a Tudor should be.”
A Cabana Bath
This full bathroom, complete with a shower and changing cubicles, is where family members come to clean off when they’re coming into the house from the outdoor pool. The coral color adds whimsy, and the vinyl wall covering is completely wipeable.
New Take on Tradition in the Living Room
The formal living — with its high ceiling, wood tresses, and diamond-pane windows — is very much in keeping with the Tudor style. The furnishings provide an updated feel while staying connected to the architecture. “We have a mix of vintage and contemporary,” Mendelson says. The biscuit-tufted sofa is a modern version of a Chesterfield. The natural fabrics — wools, linens, and cottons — don’t compete with the architecture, nor does the neutral color palette.
The light fixtures are open — they’re very geometric to provide interest, but we didn’t want a solid form to compete with the beams,” Mendelson says. “We wanted the architecture to shine.” The rug has a contemporary pattern, but the construction is antique quality. As Mendelson sums up, “It’s old meets new.”
Tranquility in the Master Bedroom
“Super calm and comfortable” is how Mendelson describes the master bedroom. The custom shag rug combines with a mix of furnishings in a neutral color palette for an overall soothing feel, and geometry comes into play with the modular cocktail tables and diamond tufting in the headboard.
Having no interest in blackout shades, the couple instead chose sheer curtain panels to provide a connection to the outdoors.
His and Hers Bathrooms
The husband and wife each have their own bathroom and closet/dressing area. His is brown and masculine, with lots of dark wood. Hers is lighter and airier — minty green in the dressing room and white in the bathroom. His features stained oak; hers is painted cabinetry. They both have tons of storage in both spaces.