Located in Egremont, Massachusetts, the home that Jess Cooney’s clients had purchased featured a brand new, all-white kitchen, as well as towering windows with dreamy mountain views. The piece could hardly be called exciting, but since there was nothing wrong with it, the couple was reluctant to snatch it. Then a tree fell through the roof during a storm (luckily the house was empty) and the area suffered extensive water damage. “The crash made the decision for them,” Cooney says. “We gutted the kitchen, painting the cabinets bright blue so they really pop in the open living space.”
Cooney cleaned up the cathedral ceiling space by painting everything a soft white (Benjamin Moore’s Cotton Balls), including the structural beams and the slender stone fireplace. “We wanted to take the focus away from those things and focus on new targets, especially views,” says the Great Barrington-based designer. She also references the vertical plank the team added to the walls, the modern wooden rail she designed for the loft, and the pair of strappy pendants she hung in an asymmetrical arrangement for a touch. of fantasy.
Along with the energetic azure kitchen cabinets, Cooney kept a Berkshire-inspired color scheme with accents of russet, marigold and wood. Supple cognac leathers also appear throughout. “People want clean and modern, but not cold or cosmopolitan,” she says. “The palette is linked to the foliage of the Berkshires – it’s what the region is best known for.”
(Above) Cooney mixes rustic and mid-century modern ingredients in the lounge area, where 1970s Arne Norell leather lounge chairs date back to new built-ins with a live-edge oak top. “The oak, which we also used in the kitchen and dining room, gives it a country house feel,” says Cooney.
Canapes: Avant-garde. Chairs: Vintage. Shimmer: Jaime Young. Pendant: Arteries. Lamps: Peter and Sawyer. Black and white pillow: Hill of pine cones. Carpet: Dash & Albert.
While the kitchen layout hasn’t changed, everything else has. The new handcrafted oak peninsula has a cabinet feel, with niches that work for storage or display. The open compartments dotted among the upper cabinets work similarly. The refrigerator is concealed by a panel matching the cabinets.
“There’s a pantry they can fill with food, so we were able to be more playful with open shelves,” says the designer. Oak trim on the range hood and brass hardware and lighting add warmth, as does the satin brass faucet on the farmhouse sink. “I always try to mix materials,” says Cooney. “Layers are important, especially in an open kitchen that you can see from the entertaining areas.”
Saddles: Haiti Home. Cabinet painting: Benjamin Moore, Lucerne. Equipment: Upper buttons. Sconces: Hudson Valley Lighting. Pendants: Visual comfort.
Local cabinetmaker Erik OF Schutz has designed a sturdy oak dining table that not only looks good, but can take a beating from a young family. A bench lets in additional bodies. Cooney chose low profile chairs so as not to obstruct the view. “The eye doesn’t catch anything,” says the designer. “He moves easily across the open room, towards the mountains.”
Chairs: Rove Concepts. Bench: Lostine. Artwork: Charles Thomas O’Neill. Pendant: Arteries.
Cooney hid a custom bench with drawers to store toys under the window in the loft play space. The graffiti striped backdrop packs a punch and echoes the slatted wooden rail she designed to replace a dated half wall that wasn’t high enough to be safe with two young boys in the house. “This space spills over from the kids’ room,” says Cooney. “There is nothing else here.”
Eliminating a huge walk-in closet turned the tiny second-floor bedroom into one large enough for the two boys to share. The team also mitigated a steeply sloped ceiling with a skylight across the room. A hand-screened poster from a local studio injects a playful sense of place.
Beds: Pottery Barn Children. Library: Crate and barrel. Carpet : Dash and Albert. Large square pillows: Hill of pine cones. Roman shade fabric: Robert Allen. Bear print: Happy Place Berkshires.
The splatter stripe wallpaper immediately brightened up the kids’ bath. And, the addition of a napkin ring not only improved functionality, but also allowed Cooney to layer another design.
Wallpaper: York Wallcoverings. napkin ring: Kohler.
Cooney made the most of the couple’s small bedroom with some sturdy furniture and a large piece of abstract art. “We tied it in with the rest of the house using wood and leather accents,” she says.
Fan: Matthews Fan Co. Carpet: Dash and Albert. Patterned pillows: Hill of pine cones. Artwork: Charles Thomas O’Neill.
“Because it was a builder’s renovation, the bath wasn’t exciting,” admits Cooney. “Adding wallpaper and changing the plumbing fixtures gave it interest without tearing out what was in it.”
Wallpaper: Kelly Wearstler. Carpet: Old.
To remedy the woefully underused screened porch, Cooney gave it a cozy cabin vibe. Outdoor couches with rope-wrapped arms and a table big enough for games rest on a homey ragged rug, while a vintage, old-school stool infuses age and a pop of color. “Now they’re getting three good seasons out of it,” Cooney said.
Canapes: Four hands. Carpet: Dash and Albert. Pillows and plaid: Hill of pine cones.
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