Kids change everything. So when Cheryl Guibone and her husband Mat Goldsmith became parents, they moved from Manhattan, New York, to the suburbs and started looking for a spacious family home. They came upon a turn-of-the-century house across the street from the water in Southport, Connecticut, and knew they'd found their nest.
Cheryl and Mat took their time making plans to update the house. "We lived in the house and analyzed what we needed to change," she says. "When we knew what we wanted, we put our ideas together."
Those ideas included knocking down walls to create large, usable spaces, modernizing baths, remodeling the kitchen, and adding a guest room to the third floor.
After local builders recommended plans that would have cost between $600,000 and $700,000, Cheryl took matters into her own hands. "Suddenly, I was picking out windows, floors, and doors," she says.
With the remodel underway, Cheryl decided to take on the interior design, too. She sought inspiration in the grandest studios and high-end shops, as well as dusty consignment stores and tag sales. Though the interiors look chic and polished, they chose furniture and fabrics that are kid-friendly.
"Nothing is sealed off from the children," Cheryl says -- including the dining room. "If we're not in the kitchen, we're eating our pizza in there."
To complement her eclectic finds, Cheryl opted for breezy off-whites and splashes of turquoise. She combined good looks with functionality throughout the house.
"We have outdoor fabric on the stools and the window seat, and (faux) zebra rugs that hide dirt," she says. "I think it shows that you can have a well-designed house and have fun living in it."
"I want it to feel a little glamorous," says Cheryl. "Granted, it's just us and the kids, but everybody wants to feel fancy at some point."
Cheryl mixes vintage and modern pieces for a sophisticated look. "We like light, clean, airy space," she says of her master bedroom. "The kids are in here constantly, so we have a big bed and lots of room for them to play. I put in a rug because I want the kids to be able to roll around on the floor."
Cheryl rescued a dreary vintage chintz armchair from a consignment shop and covered it with white terry cloth. Now it's a comfortable seat in the master bath.
Four years into life in Southport and three children into parenthood, Mat and Cheryl agree that change is good. "We never intended for the house to be a showcase, so if it's nice, it's because we love it and use it," Cheryl says. "If I had to guard it, it wouldn't be fun anymore."