Pre-war buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side served as the base for the South Hamilton home of Leslie and Kurt Stanton. “Our one bedroom had lots of crown molding, clean finishes, and a modern vibe that made any style of furniture feel elevated and thoughtful,” says Leslie Stanton. “I wanted to create this in our house forever.”
As well as establishing a light and airy foundation, the Stantons, who moved here with their daughters and Goldendoodle, wanted to infuse warmth and age. For Leslie, this meant layering older pieces chosen with care and intention. “I’ve always been smitten by my mother’s and grandmother’s approach to interior design,” says Leslie. “Their stuff is beautiful and relevant, and I’m grateful we worked on it.”
The couple first hired designer Holly Gagné for some renovations, which included upgrading the kitchen and reimagining the fireplace in the living room. Then they turned to Kate Dasalakis, who implemented the plans, completed the finishes, and purchased furniture. “It was a really collaborative process,” Dasalakis says of his experience with the owners. “We found things that reflected their personality and style.”
The entrance encapsulates the mood of the house, hinting at what is to come. Dark stained wood floors, white walls, and classic architectural elements such as wainscoting and a classic staircase diffuse the home’s grand bones. Meanwhile, hits of caramel and black speak to the palette. The space also includes a long-time treasure: a rug the couple brought back from India more than a decade ago.
The living room, with its series of tall windows and its end paneled ceiling, is immediately welcoming. A large sisal rug provides a neutral textured base and unites the dual space, while plank and slat panels, a modern soapstone fireplace surround, and a patterned rug add weight to the front half of the room. Leather lounge chairs with mid-century lines offer the pair a place to sip coffee or cocktails while the kids are watching TV on the covered section. An antique drop-leaf puzzle table Leslie discovered on Craigslist juxtaposes the straight-lined, sliced teak coffee table. “The piece is elegant, but it’s indestructible,” says Leslie.
Soapstone, a go-to material for the couple, finds its way into the kitchen where it feels sleek and rich against the white cabinetry. The team transformed the cabinets with new Shaker-style fronts punctuated with brass hardware. They also closed the awkward interior window above the cooktop and brought the soapstone countertop halfway up the wall, finishing it off with a display ledge. Sturdy bell pendants hang above the new island, where durable iron and leather chairs stand up to anything, even girls’ slime concoctions.
Arched openings define the butler’s pantry, which Dasalakis has lined in an overall modern wallpaper from Magnolia Home. On the other side, a carved pedestal table dominates the dining room under a coffered ceiling. “The table came with the house; I love it,” Leslie reveals. In the corner, an antique Russian cabinet matches the old world sensibility of the table. “Leslie saw him on vacation in Kennebunkport, so we went back there together to see him again and bring him back,” Dasalakis explains. Faded gray chairs with open backs and rattan seats soften the substantial antiques, as do tall slipcovered head chairs. “I like a throne at the ends of a table,” says the designer.
Dasalakis leans funkier in Leslie’s office with an industrial-looking table that keeps the room open and interesting. “She didn’t need storage, just a nice place to work,” explains the designer. Since the floor is distinctly visible, Dasalakis encouraged splurging on a vintage rug from Red Bird Trading Co. in Newburyport. The built-in elements needed serious attention. Taking inspiration from an inspiration photo she and Leslie had pinned, Dasalakis removed the crown molding and fitted the openings with mahogany shelving.
A hole in the primary bathroom floor led to an unexpected redesign. Starting with a custom vanity painted in grey/green – a color Leslie loves – Dasalakis crafted a scheme that’s both classic and fresh. Rather than bringing soapstone upstairs, the team installed matte black plumbing fixtures. Marble mosaic floor tiles in the shower and a romantic slipper tub balance contemporary stacked wall tiles, and a cheeky print lends an element of surprise. “The bath is the perfect place for a touch of humor,” says Dasalakis.
Dark green accents continue into the bedroom, where a vintage rug grounds the airy space. Oversized pillows and ceramic lamps from WishBasket in Newburyport repeat the hue and anchor the bed. “We first looked for cheaper lamps, but quickly realized that it wasn’t worth the sacrifice,” says Dasalakis.
In the end, both designer and client loved every last piece. “I really enjoyed organizing to meet their needs,” says Dasalakis. “I think Leslie enjoyed the hunt as much as I did!”
Learn more about the project team
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