Text by Hannah Jones
There’s something about older homes that designer Connie Vernich can’t help but be drawn to. Be it the charm, the history, or the architecture, the case was no different when she stumbled upon her 1920s English colonial cottage. And though renovation costs mounted, Connie saw no other option than to restore the home to its former glory. “It didn’t seem right to change the look of the neighborhood with a new home,” she recalls. “It may have cost less to actually tear down and start fresh, but my love for older homes compelled me to keep what was there and update it.”
Far from a remodel novice, Connie got to work quickly, immediately knowing the inspiration for her design: the house itself. “We loved the character of the house,” she says. Though she wasn’t going for a rustic farmhouse look, Connie opted to keep the original shiplap in the living area of the house and add it to the kitchen, and it couldn’t have paid off more. “Since it was used in the original home, I trusted my gut that it was the right look to preserve. By adding our more classic furnishings and accessories and not going too vintage with our artwork and accessories, we were able to find a beautiful balance of classic Southern design,” she says.
In most of the living room and kitchen, Connie played off the lines of the shiplap, adding a large, graphic black-and-white rug and buffalo check pillows and curtain edges. A simple black-and-white color palette with splashes of green in the form of velvet furnishings and accessories and live plants keeps the space fresh and modern. The kitchen, which shares an open-concept space with the living room, adds touches of brass to the black, white, and green. “My favorite accent in a black-and-white kitchen is brass,” Connie says. “It shines and adds warmth to what could otherwise be a severe color contrast.” She also steered away from tradition with her cabinetry choices, deciding to use predominantly open shelving for the tops. When asked if there were concerns of disorganization, she says, “I’m a very unorganized person, so I was a little worried about this, but it has been very easy to keep organized. The way to make open shelving work is to keep it uncluttered and use strategic groupings.”
Despite the stark color palette of the rest of the home, Connie’s attic master suite is a calming space drenched in neutral white and beige, with hints of blue throughout. “I love this area of the house,” she raves. “It’s so serene and peaceful, and I just couldn’t see using the brighter palette up here. I wanted to keep the comfortable and casual feel of the room by adding brushed linens in neutral stripes and light textured fabrics. It’s our sun-filled escape where I can read a good book and unwind from my day.” After renovating a nearly century-old cottage to perfection, we’d say a little relaxation is in store.