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When Lexi Bohonnon bought her grandmother’s Observatory Park house in 2018, she had three goals in mind: Overhaul the space to jibe with her more modern lifestyle; incorporate her nuanced, varied tastes in a cohesive way; and pay homage to her grandmother, Barbara Boucher, who’d lived in the home for more than 30 years before moving just down the street. “I was excited to touch up the entire inside and have the house remain pretty unassuming on the outside,” says Bohonnon, who opened up the 2,000-square-foot ranch home’s compartmentalized interior, but left the “colonial-ish” exterior intact, including its clapboard siding and shutters. “And I definitely took design inspiration from my grandmother.”
Once the updated floor plan was finalized (with help from Parkside Remodeling), Bohonnon brought on Kim Blankenburg and Molly Bevan of Layers & Lines Home Design to help articulate a multifaceted vision. Having grown up in an East Coast farmhouse built in the 1700s, Bohonnon was drawn to that type of country aesthetic, “but I didn’t want it to be kitschy farmhouse,” she says. Once that vibe was combined with an upstate-New-York-lake-house sensibility, the trio landed on a style akin to “Pendleton meets Ralph Lauren for a high-end camp lodge feel,” Bevan says. Throw in a thread of coastal blue as a nod to Boucher’s Northeastern roots, and a warm-wood-and-iron scheme to reflect the West, and the non-descript ranch became a haven of deliberate touches that represent both Bohonnon and her grandmother.
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One of the most dramatic overhauls took place in the kitchen—a must, given Bohonnon’s fondness for entertaining. “Her kitchen is such a showpiece,” Bevan says. “It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door.” The designers incorporated subtle yet impactful details to give the space an elevated look. The neutral backsplash, for instance, feels understated until one notices the nuanced color gradation and texture. “While it’s a subway-style tile, the details make it special and unique,” Blankenburg says. The rustic-modern kitchen hardware adds another sumptuous layer to the finished product, Bevan notes. “When you’re holding it, it has this organic, handmade feel, but it’s also high-end.”
Other details are clear nods to Bohonnon’s grandmother’s style. The kitchen stools and vintage-inspired area rugs, for instance, are similar to those her grandmother had. And though Bohonnon wanted to keep the room’s original wood-burning fireplace, her decision to open up the kitchen and install the sleek centerpiece island meant the fireplace had to go. So she ensured the updated floorplan accommodated a new fireplace that mimics the original but eschews traditional brick in favor of a modern black herringbone tile.
When the renovation was complete, one question remained: Would Boucher like the transformation? Indeed. “There’s enough of the ‘old’ that the house feels nostalgic [to her], but it’s new enough that she sees it as my house,” Bohonnon says. “And she loves the space for what it is now.”