Lasting Impression

Designer Yvonne McFadden and architect Steve Kemp imbue thoughtful, engaging details into a countryside home north of the city

When a young couple decided to build their dream home and wanted that elusive concept of timeless design to be
the guiding factor, they were well served by their first decision—hiring seasoned professionals to accomplish that goal. A consultation with architect Steve Kemp of Kemp Hall Studio about a renovation turned into a conversation about a new home. Kemp, who had worked extensively with interior designer Yvonne McFadden, made that introduction, and there was an immediate connection. “We all wanted a home that would convey the couple’s down-to-earth nature but still have a bit of a wow factor stylistically,” Kemp explains. “It has great presence in the picturesque country setting, but there’s restraint in the details, with a great emphasis on the lines and the materials.” The exterior’s smooth plaster has a mottled patina, so it’s not too severe, and curves in the side buttresses, front door and parking pad soften the façade. The depth of the house is purposely shallow to allow light to pour in at every opportunity and keep it grounded in nature.

For the interiors, McFadden chose Benjamin Moore’s Horizon throughout, including the trim. “This neutral provides a perfect backdrop for the couple’s growing art collection and allows character to come through with color in the fabrics, rugs and finishes throughout,” she says. White oak flooring also contributes to the airy feel of the entire house.

The graceful central staircase acts as a piece of sculpture to admire upon entering. “While a focal point, the stair doesn’t interrupt the connection from the exterior through to the massive steel window beyond,” says Kemp. Decoration in the space is spare but significant. “The bench is a juxtaposition with a traditional design but upholstered in a bold geometric fabric with a bit of sheen,” says McFadden. “It brings tons of personality.”

In the era of the white kitchen, the design in this home is a meaningful departure. “The textured grain of the white oak planking, which goes up to the ceiling, adds organic interest and contrasts with the smooth natural quartzite countertops,” says Kemp. Adds McFadden, “The family has two young children, so the choices are also very user friendly. They don’t have to worry about nicking painted cabinets, and we leathered the finish of the quartzite, giving it a texture that is very forgiving.” These are just a few of the meticulous details in a home that’s full of them at every turn—moments of thoughtful and timeless design.

INTERIOR DESIGN Yvonne McFadden, Yvonne McFadden LLC, (843) 267-7530; BUILDER Steve Kemp, Kemp Hall Studio