From the December/January 2011 Issue:

A Taste of English Country

    Writer: Janet Purcell | Photographer: David Van Scott | Designer: Miriam Ansell, IIDA, Allied Member ASID | Architect: Maximillian Hayden |

A couple, once devotees of contemporary design, fall for a wooded lot in Hopewell and build a home to suit the setting

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enlarge | Some single-shuttered windows, reminiscent of cottages in the Cotswolds, add to the authenticity in design of this English country cottage style home in Hopewell Township. An antique windmill sculpture stands on the broad front lawn.
Cindy Blodgett and Abigail Lieb liked contemporary design. They’d lived in a contemporary home for several years and wanted that same look and feel in the new home they planned to build.
The home they finally moved into, however, is an English country cottage. “When we settled on this lot in Hopewell Township, we wanted the home to harmonize with the wooded setting,” Blodgett says. “We took a floor plan to architect Max Hayden, and it turned into an English country cottage.”
The couple like to interact with the outdoors, Lieb adds. “We wanted to bring the outdoors in,” she says, gesturing toward a wall of French doors in the living room.
“And because they love to entertain,” interior designer Miriam Ansell says, “they devoted more space to rooms where guests congregate and less space to their private areas. They wanted country charm, but didn’t want the home to be so ‘decoratish’ their friends wouldn’t feel welcome.”
Using the oversized foyer as more than a place to welcome friends, it now doubles as overflow space for entertaining. Antique upholstered side chairs form a conversation area but are light enough to be moved into the nearby living room. Ansell added detail with an ivory coffered ceiling over the uncarpeted cherry staircase and bridge that overlook the living room.
To bring warmth to the living room itself, Ansell suggested the high, slanted ceiling be painted darker than the French damask-papered walls. A wall of French doors is dressed with gentle-hued English floral chintz tied high to offer maximum views of the outside. Club chairs, a wing chair, and a sofa gather companionably on a petit point and needlepoint rug that sets the subtle celadon, cream, and rose color scheme of the room.
A relaxed floor plan allows free flow between the living room and dining room, where medium-width cherry flooring, used throughout the home, is left bare. Dining room walls are sage and taupe with white trim and embroidered white linen window dressings trimmed with glass beads. The homeowners can pull a pair of antique cane-seat chairs, painted in green tones with floral motifs, to the Irish mahogany dining table for added seating. A yew tilt table that sits nearby can be brought over to hold extra serving pieces.

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enlarge | Subtle garden colors, floral artwork, heirlooms, and a silk upholstered screen embroidered with velvet dragonflies set an English garden mood in the living room. A handmade silk tapestry on the stairway landing can be seen from below.
“There are just the two of them when they’re not entertaining, so they kept the family room and office a more modest size,” Ansell says.
Seating is comfort-oriented in the family room with fabrics such as wide-wale corduroy and plenty of big soft pillows. An upholstered armchair wears a patterned check on its back and a coordinating larger check on its seat.
The cozy comfort of the family room is felt also in the office, where walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s Raspberry Truffle and trimmed in cherry. Two arm chairs upholstered in ochre and cream bring out hues in the broadloom rug and can be wheeled up to the 1885 English walnut desk with its original Old World red leather top.

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enlarge | Sunshine yellow walls wrap a sitting area in cheery warmth. Separated from the main bedroom by French doors, the room is designed in tones of yellow, teal, and green. A gas-fired Rumford fireplace set in custom-milled pine has a raised travertine marble hearth that’s perfect for perching. Yellow roses abound on a rollback sofa that joins occasional chairs and a taupe ultrasuede recliner in offering places to relax. The ottoman is covered with scalloped cotton velvet over a mini-check pleated skirt.
Country Comfort
Ambient light and a palette of white, yellows, teals, and greens create an airy ambience in the couple’s bedroom and sitting room. Triple-tier eyelet curtains let in soft light from the tall bedroom windows. French doors open to a sitting room, where the windows are valanced to allow big views of the outdoors. Landscape paintings, bird prints, even a trio of sculpted ducks by the fireplace add a sense of country warmth.
Artwork found throughout the home reflects the homeowners’ love of nature, as do all the windows and French doors that allow views of the gardens and wooded terrain.
“It took us eight years to get to this—we did it room by room as finances allowed,” Blodgett says. Adds Lieb, “We started out thinking ‘contemporary’ and eight years later, here we are—an English country cottage.”