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Look Inside This Colonial Home's Contemporary Redesign

Michael McCarthy | February 18, 2021 | Home & Real Estate

Jennifer Palumbo gives a center hall colonial a revitalized feel and purpose for an active Waban family.

The dining room’s table was designed by Palumbo, with Eno slim highback chairs from The Bright Group (thebrightgroup.com) and a chandelier from John Pomp Ostrea via Sudio 534 (s5boston.com). PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL J. LEE
The dining room’s table was designed by Palumbo, with Eno slim highback chairs from The Bright Group (thebrightgroup.com) and a chandelier from John Pomp Ostrea via Sudio 534 (s5boston.com).

For Boston designer Jennifer Palumbo (jenniferpalumbo.com), one of the most satisfying perks of working with the same family for years is seeing their lives, styles and influences unfold. Palumbo had worked with a Waban family with two middle-school-age children multiple times on projects, including a home on Martha’s Vineyard.

“They love the home so much and wanted and needed an update in their permanent residence as well,” says Palumbo. “Their request was to renovate their center hall colonial on the inside so that it felt and lived more like an open loft space that could handle all sorts of entertaining—from small to large gatherings.” Palumbo and her team helped renovate 3,000 square feet of space on the main floor and the lower level. She teamed up with Chilmark Architectural Woodworking (chilmarkwoodworking.com) and, on the spectacular kitchen’s cabinetry, Venegas and Company (venegasandcompany.com).

Transforming a colonial, which features smaller rooms and tucked-away square footage, provides many hurdles, including, says Palumbo, window styles and their placement after walls are removed. Another challenge: While the project commenced in May, it needed to be completed by September when the family returned from Martha’s Vineyard. “This was a very tall task, considering we were gutting the entire first floor,” says Palumbo, who adds considerable planning was built into the project. Still, there was absolutely no room in the schedule for setbacks.

Cabinetry in the kitchen is from Venegas and Company (venegasandcompany.com). PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL J. LEE
Cabinetry in the kitchen is from Venegas and Company (venegasandcompany.com).

One of the biggest challenges was the open kitchen, with an island that spans 18 feet. To ensure that the island didn’t feel overwhelming, Palumbo, working with Venegas, designed it as two separate pieces—one for seating and one for food prep. “The clients were drawn to beautiful contemporary design, but preferred [design] that also has warmth and comfort,” she says. The space, lined with Venegas and Company cabinets, features Lasvit pendants (lasvit.com) from Casa Design (casdesigngroup.com), Jada counter stools from Interlude Home (interludehome.com) and Sub-Zero Wolf (subzero-wolf.com) appliances from Yale Appliance (yaleappliance.com).

For the rest of the home, Palumbo’s decor choices reflected the couple’s desire for a luxe vibe that still felt casual. “The couple likes to weave in some pieces that have age and history to them to give a relaxed feel,” she says. The family room’s clean design is an extension of the kitchen, while also offering lots of warmth for family time and entertaining. “Using the same walnut wood from the kitchen cabinetry, we added the millwork fireplace wall and bar, which tied the spaces together and added the warmth the client desired,” says Palumbo. Standout pieces include a Verellen sofa (verellen.biz), a Club Cu coffee table (clubcu.com) and inviting Holly Hunt swivel chairs (hollyhunt.com).

The sitting area situated between the family and living rooms is a coup for pure fun. Palumbo actually designed the game table surrounded by Gosha chairs by The Bright Group (thebrightgroup.com) lined with Great Plains fabric by Holly Hunt. “This space is really a continuation of the family room, where you can curl up and read a book or work on a puzzle,” she says.

The family room features Verellen sofa from Artefact Home & Garden (artefacthome.com), a coffee table from Club Cu (clubcu.com), lighting from Gabriel Scott (gabriel-scott.com) and drapery from Makkas Drapery Workroom (makkasdrapery.com) PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL J. LEE
The family room features Verellen sofa from Artefact Home & Garden (artefacthome.com), a coffee table from Club Cu (clubcu.com), lighting from Gabriel Scott (gabriel-scott.com) and drapery from Makkas Drapery Workroom (makkasdrapery.com).

The former living room was rarely used and felt a little closed off from the rest of the home, since there was no natural flow into the space. Palumbo says the room also had more traditional millwork paneling and bookcases that were at odds, aesthetically, with those being crafted for the rest of the home. By opening up the architecture to the family room, the living room became its natural extension, allowing a more intimate space for guests to converse while sitting on comfy open-back chairs with Pollack fabric from HBF Furniture Salon (hbf.com).

Palumbo says the couple has become dear friends. “We have such mutual respect for each other,” she says. And, naturally, the couple adores all of their refurbished spaces—giving them an island sanctuary apart from the Vineyard.



Photography by: Michael J. Lee