Our 101-year-old Modern House
HGTV Magazine|April 2017

An oh-so-charming exterior gives nothing away about what you’ll find inside.

Paul and Jane Beiles had plenty of space for their family of five in their 1960s Colonial in New Canaan, CT, but the house lacked the soul of pre-1950s architecture that Jane has always been drawn to. So when the couple decided to move closer to town a few years ago, a listing for a 2,700-square-foot home built in 1916 piqued their interest. They immediately fell for the storybook-quaint exterior and colorful front yard landscaped by the previous owner, a garden designer. But they were admittedly less enamored of the inside, with its choppy, closed-off rooms, typical of century-old construction. Recognizing the home’s potential, “truly a they-don’t-make-them-like-they-used to situation,” says Jane, they snapped it up and asked architect Louise Brooks and designer Melissa Lindsay to help them transform the interior into a bright, open, 21st-century space. That meant knocking down walls to bring in more light, painting walls and floors white, and decorating in a pared-down, uncluttered style that Jane loves. “People expect our home to look old-fashioned when they walk through the front door,” says Jane. “And judging from the outside, I get that. But that’s not us.” Sure, decorating a historic home with modern style was a risk, “but it’s one that was definitely worth taking,” says Jane.

kitchen and mudroom

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