January 4, 2022
From cotton-candy pink to apple green, this home embraces the entire spectrum.
Text by Bob Curley Photography by Tria Giovan Produced by Karin Lidbeck Brent
Pastel colors evoke positive emotions—calm, peace, balance, to name a few—but the invigorating palette is usually associated with a summer home rather than a four-season residence. So what does an interior designer do when her clients, whose favorite color is spring green, want a design that works year-round in a house built as a summer retreat but destined to be a retirement place?
That color-loving couple, on the cusp of a new phase of life now that their children are in college, commissioned Susanne Lichten Csongor and Natalie Lebeau of SLC Interiors to design the interior of their new home on the South Coast of Massachusetts. The project started pre-construction and in collaboration with the builder, architect, and clients, who were highly involved in choosing colors and fabrics and siting artwork from their personal collection. “They were one of those awesome clients who told us what they liked and let us do what we do,” says Csongor.
Set on an expansive riverfront property, the house, with an open floor plan and tall gabled ceilings, receives ample natural light for a bright and cheerful design concept with an easy, natural flow. The clients’ beloved pastel green is the dominant shade in the living room and kitchen—rooms that receive plenty of light from a curved bank of windows overlooking the river—showing up in carpets, a custom tile backsplash, chairs, cabinetry, and window treatments. Other rooms tend toward soft shades of blue, pink, and orange sherbet.
A green rolling chair is paired with turquoise beadboard in the wife’s study. In the kitchen, powder-blue stools provide seating at the off-white island. Interesting textures show up in unexpected places, too, like raffia wraps on wall sconces in the hangout room.
Unifying elements are more subtle. Drawing inspiration from the clients’ passion for equestrian sports, Csongor and Lebeau incorporated leather and iron into custom furnishings like the gray cerused-oak dining room table and cane chairs. A pair of window-front architectural chairs have back ties made from horses’ snaffle bits. Barn-door panels on the kitchen island also play to the equine theme while adding a touch of country style to an out-of-town home.
“When we create a concept, it’s really holistic; it’s not one room at a time,” says Lebeau. “We like to take a few elements and repeat them from room to room.”
Builder George Howland carefully matched neutral wide-plank floors with the home’s magnificent hemlock ceilings, which tend to balance out the pastels. But it’s the absence of color that really makes this design work year-round: black doors, window trim, drawer pulls, fireplace grates, and light fixtures, which otherwise might seem somber instead offer seasonal balance.
“People who love color as much as they do want that energy all day long,” says Lebeau. “There really was a commitment to having this excitement year-round.” She adds with a laugh: “Once you put cotton-candy wallpaper in your bedroom, there’s really no going back.”