Century-Old Home Gets a Scandinavian Update

Kelly Donovan was immediately attracted to the charming cottage full of period details while hunting for a house on Long Island, New York. Constructed in 1913, the quaint home has personality and is a far cry from the other midcentury-style homes in the area. Donovan and her husband jumped on the opportunity to give it a makeover using their Scandinavian-inspired design, however they paid homage to the structure’s history. “With a 100-year-old house has provided an ideal canvas on which to layer our modern design,” Donovan says. “It allows us to maintain a balanced and comfortable mixture of old and new under precisely the same roof.”

at a Glance
Who lives here: Kelly and Dave Donovan and their two young daughters
Location: Huntington, New York
Size: 2,000 square feet
That’s intriguing: The house was originally built as part of a strawberry farm

Kelly Donovan

Donovan daughter’s room decorated in an easy style that is Scandinavian-inspired and is painted a soothing lavender. Artwork over the bassinet reads, “I love you beyond measure.”

“We like to have fun, and mood in a room is very important to us,” says Donovan.

The Norwegian bassinet can change to a crib, a toddler bed and also a minisofa as the infant grows. The rug is just one of several in the house from Donovan’s online store, Scandinavian Made.

Wall paint: Benjamin Moore, Peace & Happiness; bassinet: Stokke Sleepi; drape fabric: Nani Iro; changing table Walmart ParkLane

Kelly Donovan

Although Donovan gave the interior her very own special signature, she was careful to pay homage to the property’s history. Antique replica push-button light switches, 10-inch baseboard molding, cast-iron steam Cabinets and marble doorknobs were all picked or maintained to highlight the house’s original detailing.

Kelly Donovan

Donovan’s old daughter’s room is nestled into the top of the home together with the playroom. Slanted ceilings along with a sweet small window seat make this room feel like a comfy treehouse.

Wall paint: Sherwin-Williams, Window Pane; rug: Scandinavian Made; pillows on window seat: made from fabric from Lotte Jansdotter, home pillows from Ferm Living; mattress framework: Pottery Barn Kids; bedding: Serena & Lily Annabel Duvet and Punch Diamond Quilt Sham

Kelly Donovan

This twisting branch was found by Donovan’s father in some nearby woods. Cut to size and hung securely from the ceiling, and it became a unique coat rack.

Kelly Donovan

A family antique from Donovan’s husband’s family is put to great use in this same bedroom. Animal prints from Ferm Living give this huge child’s dining room area a younger and more playful feel.

The furniture and accessories in Donovan’s home are a mixture of hand-me-downs, global products and Scandinavian-influenced layouts. Donovan loves handmade items as well and tries to support local craftspeople.

Kelly Donovan

Renovating the kitchen is next on her list, but Donovan has been able to make the existing kitchen work well with her house’s design and colour scheme. Traditional-style wood frame cabinets are painted in a deep blue-gray that blends with the wall colour. The top shelves are painted white to relieve a little bit of visual weight from the area.

For Donovan, the main challenge was decorating that this old house in a means that would not make it feel rustic or country. But she also understood that only slapping a bunch of contemporary goods in the area would not work. By paying careful attention to a balance between both of these styles, she managed to produce a seamless and comfortable look.

Chairs, dining table, bench: Crate and Barrel Basque; wall paint: Benjamin Moore, Stonington Gray

Kelly Donovan

The living room is one of the family’s favorite rooms in the house. Due to its location and size, it serves many purposes. Front door is at one end of the room and the kitchen is at the other, so the room has come to be an entryway, an office, a playroom and a living room all in a single.

The yellows and grays in this room dictated the colour palette for the majority of the house. The unique basket on the wall is an antique find; it was used for gathering tobacco.

Couches: Gus Jane Sofa from Bobby Berk Home, Pottery Barn PB Grand Sofa; side table: Crate and Barrel Frame Side Table

Kelly Donovan

Having an electrician for a father came in handy at several times throughout the renovation process, particularly when creating these DIY Edison bulb lamps in the living room. The cords came from Donovan’s great-grandparents’ old home, along with her dad helped install them with the functional knob and tube electrical conductors which were original to the house.

Donovan always tries to fix or make something on her own before calling a professional. Both of her parents are in the house and design business, so she’s always encouraged by them and all the work they did on her childhood house. “My inspiration is honoring my parents’ inherent creativity and inspiration to make their home a dream house for their family,” she states.

Kelly Donovan

Donovan created a pretty desk area using an antique desk and whitewashed window shutters from the wall. Having a blue-striped rug, the effect is all but coastal and exceptionally relaxing for a workspace. The blue works well with all the grays and yellows that flow through the rest of the house. “The colour palette type of us,” Donovan says. “And it will not leave us”

Desk: antique; rug: Scandinavian Made

Kelly Donovan

The master bedroom feels easy but glowing at a neutral golden colour palette. Favourite art pieces are styled near the bed, but the rest of the room is relatively clean, punctuated only by patterned fabrics. “Truly adore the items which you bring in your house,” Donovan says. “Sure, you are certain to get some perfunctory furniture as a stopgap from time to time, however when and where you can, invest in sourcing pieces and d├ęcor which make you happy.”

Bedding: DwellStudio; rug: Scandinavian Made; wall paint: Benjamin Moore, Autumn Gold

Kelly Donovan

An upstairs playroom sits just across the hallway from the bedroom at the top of the home. This excess room offers plenty of room for the two women and can easily be transformed to an excess bedroom or recreation room as the women get older.

Wall paint: Sherwin-Williams, Rainwashed

Kelly Donovan

When compared with the vivid interior, the exterior is comparatively unassuming but still feels quaint. The family loves the history and age of the home. From its creaky floors to its visible pipes, the quirks are what makes it feel like home.

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