A Connecticut Colonial Gets a Makeover

April 7, 2021

Designer Cindy Kramer breathes new life into a dark and drab colonial in Stonington.

Text by Alyssa Bird     Photography by Jared Kuzia

As any designer will attest, making a client feel at home is the ultimate goal of any project. In the case of designer Cindy Kramer, her client—a Connecticut native who had recently moved back to the state after living in Florida for two decades—was unhappy with the new Stonington residence she shared with her teenage daughter. “The existing interiors were very traditional, with dark colors and deep wood tones,” says Kramer. “It was lacking the energetic spirit of the homeowner, who wanted a house that matched her personality.” What began as a light refresh of the dining room quickly escalated to a multi-space renovation and addition that focused on the colonial’s main entertaining areas.

At the top of the client’s wish list was a new dining room. “The house was built in 2006 and simply lacked character,” recalls the Stonington-based designer. To remedy this, Kramer worked with local firm Jeremy Hill Builders to add architectural interest in the form of ceiling and window moldings and wainscotting.

As a jumping-off point for a “more friendly and comfortable” dining room, the designer selected a cheery floral Schumacher print to adorn a pair of antique wing chairs holding court at either end of the table. On the opposite side of the room is a cozy sitting area, which can be used for everything from greeting guests (the room is located off the entry), to gathering for after-dinner drinks, to curling up with a book. “This client isn’t afraid of color and pattern, so I gave her a pretty palette that feels light and bright in this sun-filled room,” says Kramer. Grasscloth, wicker, jute, and linens round out the “New England−Floridian vibe,” as Kramer calls it. “It’s a bit coastal, which is not only a nod to Florida, where the client lived for so long, but to the water in and around Stonington.”

Next up, Kramer worked with the client to reimagine the dated kitchen, designing custom cabinetry with a glass-front built-in that “recalls a piece of furniture,” says the designer. The new white cabinetry complements classic subway tiles, durable quartz countertops that resemble marble, and antique brass fixtures.

And off the kitchen is a newly constructed breakfast porch, where the homeowner enjoys casual meals. “I wanted this room to relate to the dining room, with its springy colors and natural textures,” says Kramer of the porch. An abundance of windows makes for an indoor-outdoor experience. Here, the grasscloth from the dining room ceiling appears on the walls, and white coastal-inspired paneling adorns the ceiling. A large pedestal table, built-in banquette, and extra chairs allow for various seating options.

Indeed, the refreshed spaces are both functional and beautiful. “I just love how springy and summery this home feels now,” says Kramer. “Even in the dead of a New England winter, it’s bright, happy, and inviting.”

Project Team
Interior design: Cindy Kramer, C. Kramer Interiors
Builder: Paul Kezer, Jeremy Hill Builders