Floor designer

A Wellesley couple have completely reconfigured this 1930s Georgian revival


Armed with a team of aces and lots of patience, a young family pulls off an ambitious makeover of their traditional Wellesley home.

Unlacquered brass finishes and a custom hood, made by Medford-based Riverside Sheet Metal, add visual interest to the kitchen. /Photo by Read McKendree/JBSA

For now they first laid eyes on this 1930s Georgian revival, a young Wellesley couple knew they had found their forever home. Of course, the flow between rooms needed tweaking, as did the enclosed floor plan. But at just over 4,100 square feet, the house – originally designed by pioneering architect Royal Barry Wills – provided the vintage vibe they craved. So the couple, who had a one-year-old child at the time, bought it, knowing they would renovate it to make it their own.

In 2018, shortly after buying the house, the couple was ready to get the ball rolling. They first contacted architect Frank Shirley, who helped them design a plan for structural changes, then brought in contractors from the Chelsea Company and interior designer Katie Rosenfeld.

The team’s first agenda? Layout reconfiguration. This meant building an addition to accommodate a new kitchen and spacious family room, creating a mudroom that includes a second entrance, and reworking the back staircase to both provide better circulation to the second floor and foster greater connection between rooms. above the garage and the rest of the house.

Jewel-toned pillows brighten up the sectional in the new family room. /Photo by Read McKendree/JBSA

A mix of vintage and new furniture gives the breakfast room a layered look. /Photo by Read McKendree/JBSA

Then, Rosenfeld and his wife teamed up for the decor and furnishings. While she initially envisioned a more neutral palette, the homeowner says she’s glad the professional encouraged her to explore colors and patterns. “Katie told me to think about how I dress,” the woman says. “For me, it’s formal and then also a little crumpled. I realized that it all depended on the mix. This ethos served the duo well when arranging the new family room, for example, where a host of jewel-toned pillows mingle with textured bamboo window treatments and wainscoted walls. The approach has also produced amazing results in the dining room; here, Michael S. Smith’s leafy “Grace” motif – evident on the walls and curtains – provides a striking backdrop for vintage dining chairs and a modern light fixture. “The house had to be eclectic and varied, but not hip or frumpy,” says Rosenfeld. “[We were aiming for] classic with an edge, which is a very thin line.

In total, between planning and construction, the house took more than two years to complete, the couple – who had welcomed a second child and were expecting a third – moved in at the start of the pandemic. The installation stage was piecemeal during this period. “We sped up our move because I was over 30 weeks pregnant,” the woman said.

Still, despite the long renovation schedule and the added challenges of completing the project during the early days of COVID (and with a newborn in tow), the family couldn’t be happier with the results. “We slowly started moving things from room to room,” says the woman, who added details to further personalize her new space. “You know you have a well-designed home when you can move things like this.”

The “antique-y floral” pattern on the dining room curtains and walls lends style and cohesion to the space. /Photo by Read McKendree/JBSA

The new powder room near the rear staircase appears with Sandberg wall cladding by Scalamandré. /Photo by Read McKendree/JBSA

Frank Shirley Architects

Custom kitchens and millwork from Kramer

Service provider
The Chelsea Company

Interior decorator
Katie Rosenfeld and company

Landscape Contractor
Lynch Landscaping and Tree Service

The MacDowell Company