Jill and Cory Schneider were drawn to the history of their mid-19th-century town house in Charlestown. They moved into the home last summer, just before the birth of their child, Wyatt, so making the interiors baby-friendly was key. "We wanted to stay true to the history of the home," Jill says. "But it was important that we combine modern touches and functionality to the design as well."
The Schneiders had a vision for their home: a calming neutral backdrop where lots of natural light could flow; an emphasis on natural materials and the outdoors was key, too. For help creating the scheme, the couple turned to Somerville-based Kate Maloney Interior Design.
Most of the collaboration was done remotely, since the Schneiders, both Massachusetts natives, were living in New Jersey, where Cory plays hockey for the New Jersey Devils. "We had lots of phone meetings and over Skype," says senior designer Thiara Borges. "We'd send Jill samples and digital presentations and then talk. The process actually went very smoothly."
"We took Jill and Cory's vision and realized it with a little more texture and bolder statement pieces," says Borges. The family spends most of its time in the open living area and kitchen, just off the front foyer. "The space needed to be casual and approachable, an area that would work with a baby on the floor and toys strewn everywhere as well as for an adult dinner party," says Borges. "Nothing could be too precious or untouchable for a baby."
The living room's wool Moroccan-style rug is both casual and sophisticated; it's also supremely cushy for a baby to play on. The custom coffee table made with various dark woods has a modern appeal while introducing a strong textural element — and is practical with a baby crawling about.
Above the sectional — an enveloping piece sheathed with a linen blend that will withstand the test of time — a coastal photograph by Sam Kweskin evokes serenity, says Borges. "Jill has a big connection with nature, and overscaled photographs of the outdoors was a cool way to marry the light colors and textures in the space."
"The house has the charms and quirks of many old houses in Boston," Borges adds. Details hark back to the 19th century, including the marble fireplace mantel and surround and carved ceiling medallions. Such elements are juxtaposed with modern flourishes, including a striking chandelier made out of seashells that hangs above the dining room table; a smaller version of the chandelier hangs in the living area to unify the two spaces. Jill admits feeling hesitant at first about the chandeliers. "I couldn't envision how they would look," she recalls, but she trusted her designer's instincts and ended up loving the bold accent.
The dining table has a traditional shape that speaks to the architecture of the house, while its weathered finish is durable and easy to live with. Black and white striped chairs from Anthropologie add a little flair.
Just inside the front door a modern marble-topped table with brass legs is paired with a lively pink area rug; a contemporary milk-glass chandelier hangs above. The flourishes set a fresh, hip vibe, says Borges. "You're walking into a mid-1800s house, but as soon as you step inside, there's a nod to the young, active family who lives here."
Jaci Conry is a frequent contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to email@example.com.