Renovating with a baby on the way
Cambridge newlyweds set their sights on a nursery and master bedroom.
Talk about transitions — the renovation of the first floor of Melissa Spencer and Raj Basu’s home wrapped up at around the same time the newlyweds learned they were expecting their first child. For help preparing their 1850 mid-Cambridge row house for a baby, they called on Kelly Davis Healy and Stacey Scott Clarimundo. The designers had worked on the first-floor redo before launching their own studio, Wenham-based Davis Scott, and they knew the homeowners’ tastes. “We’re the classic case of a couple with opposing styles,” Spencer says. “I like cozy and Raj likes clean and modern.”
All three rooms on the third floor were gutted to create a master suite as well as a nursery large enough to be used (someday) as a guest room. Spencer and Basu wanted a master bath where they could both comfortably get ready for work in the morning, with two sinks and an enclosed toilet. They also needed more closet space. Clarimundo and Healy finessed the new bathroom into the original footprint. Relocating the bedroom fireplace allowed them to move the bathroom entrance and introduce a space-saving pocket door. The newly captured real estate made room for the enclosed toilet. In addition, the corner shower got a sleek redesign, and a sexy walnut vanity and trough sink with two sets of matte black faucets replaced the pedestal sink, bidet, and toilet.
In the master bedroom, Clarimundo and Healy accommodated built-in linen storage by demolishing a chimney that wasn’t connected to a fireplace. The walk-in closet was enlarged by borrowing space from the adjacent bedroom, which was combined with a tiny office to create the nursery.
The starting point for the master bedroom’s design was a textural undyed-wool rug from Landry & Arcari. The color palette originated in a Zak + Fox fabric the couple loved. The designers used the fabric to make a lumbar pillow and matched it to find the wall color, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue.
The effect is enveloping, which is just what the couple wanted.
“Being new parents can be overwhelming, so we wanted to give them a retreat where they could curl up and be together,” Clarimundo says.
In the nursery, a top priority was counterbalancing the orange tones of the wooden crib, which Spencer’s father had made for her when she was a baby. The budget-friendly furnishings include pieces from Land of Nod, IKEA, and Anthropologie. Vintage storybook pages from Etsy, framed at Mingo in Beverly, fulfilled Spencer and Basu’s request for educational elements in the decor.
The project wrapped up a year ago, and phase three of the home redesign is underway on the second floor, where the couple’s daughter, Aahana, now has her own room. In February, Spencer gave birth to a son, Avik, who occupies the nursery. Everybody is settled and content.
“We’re happy we did this,” Basu says. “That Stacey is a mom herself really helped. She knew exactly how we wanted to live.”