This text is a part of our newest Design particular report, which is about taking inventive leaps in difficult occasions.
It isn’t exceptional for bold owners to imbue a mere constructing with narrative dazzle.
However not often is the mythologizing as particular and literary as it’s for the Lengthy Island guesthouse of Betsy and Bryan H. Lawrence: They name it the Narnia Home.
Sure, it has a stunning set up, as within the basic C.S. Lewis novel “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Stepping by way of a French armoire on the high of a again stair results in a second-floor passage and towards a Narnia-themed bed room.
That fanciful idea — Ms. Lawrence’s thought, stemming from her love of the kids’s guide collection — is barely a part of the attraction of the pink brick, five-bedroom residence, initially constructed within the 1990s and purchased by the couple about three years in the past as an addition to their adjoining household compound.
Making the guesthouse exuberant required the sensible efforts of Thomas Jayne and William Cullum, of Jayne Design Studio in New York. The agency is thought for deftly mixing the classical and the up to date and for layering customized particulars — whereas remaining open to quirk.
“To me, it’s enchanted,” stated Ms. Lawrence, a psychologist and artist who serves as president of the New York College of the Arts. Mr. Lawrence is an investor.
“It was an unsightly duckling, remodeled right into a magnificence,” she stated.
The Lawrences gave the designers room to run. The property was supposed as a spot for entertaining, for displaying Ms. Lawrence’s personal artworks and the remainder of her assortment and for billeting family and friends. So there was loads of house for whimsy.
Initially, the home had some less-than-ideal traits. However Mr. Jayne doesn’t see issues; he sees, in his phrases, “alternatives for enrichment.”
Eliminating the frosted-glass entrance door was among the many first steps. It was changed with a paneled wooden door with expansive sidelights and a pediment with a curved high, meant to reflect the eyebrow window above. Making use of darkish red- and evergreen-colored trim helped unify the outside.
Neither the design crew nor the Lawrences have been afraid of massive architectural adjustments. Mr. Jayne thought the prevailing staircase was too elaborate and imposing so he had it ripped out and changed with a pared-down Georgian-style model with delicate balusters.
The opposite huge downside was that an awkwardly positioned powder room — dealing with the entrance door — thwarted the pure orientation of the home. So he moved it. “We put a again door basically on an axis with the entrance door so you may see out to the panorama and the water past,” Mr. Jayne stated.
The Lawrences enter and go away the home by the again door, passing by way of a columned porch space, in order that house wanted a makeover, too.
Mr. Jayne and Mr. Cullum changed the rotting columns with types resembling bamboo trunks and employed Chuck Hettinger, an ornamental painter, so as to add coral-colored stripes resembling flames on the backside. The motif helps join the porch to the brick exterior, as does an ornamental frieze the place the columns meet the ceiling, one of many home’s many Arts & Crafts touches.
Present design oddities have been revamped and put to work. The home has two turrets, one on the primary flooring and the opposite upstairs. Within the higher turret, the designers changed wood lateral assist rods with metallic ones and turned them into a part of a brand new mild fixture.
Colour is the gas that supercharges the scheme, making a contented tumult of greens, yellows, purples and blues. “Betsy makes use of coloration in her work, and she or he’s adept at understanding coloration and its relationship to all the pieces else,” Mr. Jayne stated.
He gave the Lawrences a mint inexperienced kitchen (Farrow & Ball’s Breakfast Room Inexperienced) with customized cupboards impressed by Charles Rennie Waterproof coat; the fridge’s exterior paneling has a classical column in aid on one aspect. One of many two gallery rooms consists of a big part of vivid blue painted flooring, which the attention reads as a carpet.
The hexagonal eating space within the decrease turret received a double dose of brightness: royal blue on the ceiling and a flooring of purple inlaid Marmoleum. “I consider it as a folly,” Mr. Cullum stated. To make an express backyard reference, the designers added an ornate late-19th-century mild fixture with an iris motif (the irises reappear elsewhere in the home).
Ms. Lawrence didn’t anticipate all these colourful decisions, however she embraced the outcomes. Particularly the purple flooring. “It makes all of it pop,” she stated.
“The one factor I feel she felt actually strongly about was having these two entrance rooms be off-white, in order that they may very well be gallery areas,” Mr. Cullum stated. “We made them versatile for artwork exhibits.”
In one of many galleries, the pink sofas are on casters, to allow them to be simply moved; within the different, an ornamental Italian bench with a brown zigzag sample enhances Ms. Lawrence’s personal work hung salon-style above it.
And whereas in some fingers an “eclectic” room is merely random, these designers know tips on how to combine. A sq., inexperienced marble hearth encompass in the lounge that’s nearly Artwork Deco in its monumentality units off a giltwood mirror and an Italian chest of drawers, each from the 19th century.
Studying nooks abound, as you would possibly anticipate in a Narnia Home. The basement has a comfy house with flocked wallpaper that’s made non-public with a damask curtain. A second-floor area of interest accommodates a lantern coated in Fortuny cloth and embellished by fringe.
Above the storage, the Narnia Bed room helps its theme with lions positioned within the base of a lamp in addition to in a sketch hanging on the wall.
As for the wardrobe that’s the home’s most idiosyncratic attribute, “You go into a complete different world,” Ms. Lawrence stated of stepping by way of the portal. “It’s fairly an expertise.”
Along with being a psychologist, she can also be a Freudian psychoanalyst, which helps clarify “why I like myths a lot,” she stated.
Experiences from in a single day company have been constructive.
“The latest company have been floored at how thrilling it was to reside in a home like that,” Ms. Lawrence stated. “I haven’t slept there but, however we in all probability will.”