English Accent

Enchanted by their lush seven-acre property, a Milton couple embark on a decade-long project to elevate their 1990s-era home   

Project creep is an all-too-common phenomenon in home renovation projects, and that was the case when empty nesters commissioned interior designer Daniel DeSantis to spruce up their dated 1990s-era abode on seven verdant acres in Milton.

Indeed, by the end of the decade-long project, DeSantis was working hand-in-hand with architects at Historical Concepts and landscape designers at Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design to transform the dwelling into an English Arts & Crafts home surrounded by relaxed, informal gardens inspired by the Cotswolds.

“They envisioned a warm, comfortable home that reflected their interests in science, history and land preservation,” says DeSantis. “Something rustic that spoke to the area’s old barns and historical houses.”

 To create that sense of history, the designer incorporated wood from a decommissioned tobacco warehouse in Kentucky throughout the interior. For example, reclaimed beams add character to the soaring shiplap-covered ceiling in the living room, where the designer refaced the formerly brick fireplace with Tennessee fieldstone accented by a salvaged wooden mantel.

Such beams likewise elevate the formal dining room, which has been updated with pecky cypress wall paneling. “Preserving things from the past was important to them,” he says. “Everything tells a story.”

Running with that story, architects Domenick Treschitta and Allyson Vincent worked closely with the owners and DeSantis to further elevate the home, which had previously been a mishmash of styles. “They knew that it didn’t live up to the character Dan had created on the inside,” says Treschitta. “As we say, paper is cheap, so we dared to dream and came up with some aggressive ideas.”

 The architects recognized that making a few strategic changes would lend the home an English Arts & Crafts feel that would align with the newly revamped interior. Simply removing the window shutters, redesigning the windows and painting the formerly orangish-red brick with a white limewash, for example, lent the home the sort of old-world character the clients envisioned. “You can see where it’s weathered in certain areas,” says Treschitta. “It gives it a patina and the feeling that it’s been there for a while.”

Even more dramatically, the architects streamlined the gables, designed a new front bay, adding square footage to several rooms, and created a detached carriage house, which opens on three sides to the relaxed, informal gardens that surround both structures. “Everything feels like it’s been there for a very long time,” says Treschitta. “It’s green and romantic.”

 The architect is quick to credit Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design for enhancing that illusion. To create a grander sense of arrival, the firm relocated the driveway and motor court, the house slowly coming into view as it leads through the forest, where the team planted ferns, buckeye and other native plants.

Gray Crab Orchard stone pavers crisscross the property and elevate the poolside patio, which is surrounded by perennials designed to bloom throughout the year. “The design is elegant, understated and very intentional,” says Kaitlyn Peake of Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design. “It feels like a beautiful cottage garden near the house, but the natural woodland was preserved and enhanced.”

The owners are overjoyed with the result and eagerly anticipate hosting large family gatherings in their newly expanded dining room and carriage house. “They were wonderful clients who wanted to run with most of our ideas, which was fun,” says Treschitta, crediting the close collaboration for the outcome. “We’re very proud of the way it turned out.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Daniel DeSantis, Daniel Desantis Interiors, (770) 598-5046; danieldesantis.com ARCHITECTS Domenick Treschitta and Allyson Vincent, Historical Concepts, (678) 325-6665; historicalconcepts.com LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Carson McElheney Landscape Architecture & Design, (404) 467-1690; carsonmcelheney.com