In 2007, after most of the work was complete, they welcomed the arrival of their son, Owen, now 14. A few years later they added a Victorian bulldog, Watson, to the mix. And as they began entertaining more, the 1,800-square-foot house they had lovingly renovated began to feel a little small.
So in 2016, when they saw a listing for a 4,000-square-foot, three-story shingled house from 1891, with a detached 1,200-square-foot guesthouse in back, they decided to buy it, eventually selling their first house. The price of the new house, after a bidding war, was $600,000.
Their new old house had been restored by the previous owners, and much of the original woodwork was intact. The couple liked the historical details, but the interior was a Victorian time capsule — with a floor plan broken up by small, dark rooms — and didn’t feel right for their family. That was doubly true for Mr. Berman, whose firm is known for designing clean-lined modernist spaces.
To renovate it, they planned to preserve as many of the original details as possible, while opening up the house to create a relaxed, convivial atmosphere filled with playful, unexpected finishes. “For us, it was an opportunity to celebrate a lot of the classic details, but give them a face-lift,” Mr. Berman said. “We wanted this house to be really fun.”
In the front part of the house, they left most of the architecture in tact, but changed its personality with new finishes, fixtures and colors. A ribbon of yellow paint now leads up the front steps, rises up along the front door and wraps back over the porch ceiling. In a games room immediately off the foyer, they bleached the wood floors and added wallpaper resembling wood paneling and a woven-bamboo suspension lamp above a walnut Ping-Pong table with a leather net.