Touches of the Past Add Beauty and Warmth to a Modern Hamilton Home

Pre-war buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side formed the basis of Leslie and Kurt Stanton’s South Hamilton home. “Our one-bedroom there had lots of crown molding, streamlined finishes, and a modern vibe that made each style of furniture feel elevated and sophisticated,” says Leslie Stanton. “I wanted to create that in our eternal home.”

The Stantons, who moved here with their daughters and Goldendoodle, not only wanted to create a light and airy foundation, but also wanted to infuse warmth and age. For Leslie, that meant layering older pieces that were chosen with care and intention. “I’ve always been fascinated by my mother’s and grandmother’s approach to interior design,” says Leslie. “Your stuff is beautiful and relevant, and I’m grateful we edited some.”

The couple first hired designer Holly Gagne for some renovations, including refreshing the kitchen and redesigning the fireplace in the living room. Then they turned to Kate Dasalakis, who implemented the plans, filled in the surfaces and bought furniture. “It was a really collaborative process,” Dasalakis says of her experience with the homeowners. “We found things that reflected her personality and style.”

The entry embodies the atmosphere of the house and hints at what is to come. Dark-stained hardwood floors, white walls, and classic architectural elements like paneling and a classic staircase exude the big bones of the home. Meanwhile, caramel and black tones speak to the palette. The room also contains a long-held treasure: a rug the couple brought back from India more than a decade ago.

The living room, with its tall windows and beaded ceiling at the far end, is immediately inviting. A large sisal rug provides a neutral, textured base and unifies the double space, while board-and-slat wainscoting, a modern soapstone fireplace surround, and patterned rug add weight to the front half of the room. Leather armchairs with mid-century lines give the couple a spot for a coffee or cocktail while the kids watch TV on the sofa covers. An antique drop-leaf puzzle table Leslie spotted on Craigslist sits next to the sleek teak coffee table. “The space feels fancy, but it’s resilient,” says Leslie.

Soapstone — a must-have material for the couple — carries over into the kitchen, where it feels elegant and rich against white furniture. The team transformed the cabinets with new Shaker-style fronts punctuated with brass hardware. They also closed the awkward interior window above the cooktop and brought the soapstone countertop up a bit of the wall and finished it off with a display ledge. Sturdy bell pendants hang over the new island, where durable iron and leather chairs can withstand anything, even the girls’ slime concoctions.

Arched openings define the walk-through butler’s pantry, which Dasalakis lined with a global modern wallpaper by Magnolia Home. On the other side, a carved clawfoot table dominates the dining room under a coffered ceiling. “The table came with the house; I love it,” reveals Leslie. In the corner, an antique cupboard from Russia matches the old-fashioned sensibility of the table. “Leslie saw it while on vacation in Kennebunkport, so we went there together to check it out again and bring it back,” says Dasalakis. Gray-washed open-back chairs and rattan seats soften the massive antiques, as do tall, topped head chairs. “I like a throne at the end of a table,” says the designer.

Dasalakis leans funkier in Leslie’s office with an industrial-look desk that keeps the space open and interesting. “She didn’t need storage space, just a nice workspace,” says the designer. Because the floor is clearly visible, Dasalakis encouraged getting hold of a vintage rug from Red Bird Trading Co. in Newburyport. The internals needed serious attention. Based on an inspirational photo she and Leslie pinned, Dasalakis removed the moldings and fitted the openings with mahogany shelves.

A hole in the floor of the main bathroom led to an unexpected repeat. Starting with a custom vanity painted grey/green – a color Leslie loves – Dasalakis developed a design that is both classic and fresh at the same time. Instead of bringing soapstone to the top, the team installed matte black fixtures. Marble mosaic floor tiles in the shower and a romantic slipper tub balance the modern, stacked wall tiles, and a cheeky print adds an element of surprise. “The bathroom is the perfect place for a touch of humor,” says Dasalakis.

Dark green accents continue in the bedroom, where a vintage rug grounds the airy space. Oversized pillows and ceramic lamps from WishBasket in Newburyport repeat the hue and anchor the bed. “We initially looked for cheaper lamps, but quickly realized that the sacrifice was not worth it,” says Dasalakis.

In the end, the designer and customer loved every single piece. “I really enjoyed curating their needs,” says Dasalakis. “I think Leslie enjoyed the hunt as much as I did!”

Learn more about the project team

Interior design: Interior design by Holly Gagne
Interior architect: KSD
Contractor: Arvanite’s renovations

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