Honoring an Era

A dressing room off the master bedroom was added during the renovation, done by Needham’s Fallon Custom Homes. Caan, who wanted to “make the room a little funky,” put lavender wallpaper on the ceiling and had an old-world-inspired white-gold custom frame crafted for the full-length mirror in front of the antique ebonized dressing table. She paid homage to the original quatrefoil windows by repeating the pattern in the seatback of a chair upholstered in lavender. “I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have this room,” says Chafkin. “I’m done moving, but I told my husband that we’d never have a problem selling this house because of this room — there isn’t a woman in the world who wouldn’t love it.”

Most women would likely love the kitchen as well, where an aubergine Aga stove sits center stage. Chafkin was sorry to leave her Aga behind in California — she would have shipped it East, she says, “if it didn’t weigh as much as a Volkswagen” — and was delighted to find another one on sale when Domain’s Natick store went out of business. The kitchen was designed to feel warm and cozy — a sharp contrast to the room’s prior aesthetic, which Caan says was “very cold and stark, with huge stainless steel appliances.” The custom pale-turquoise cabinetry has a French patina and bronze hardware. A serendipitous discovery was that a worn Oriental rug from the Chafkins’ former home matched the room’s unique hues perfectly — and also softened the reclaimed chestnut floors. To enhance the relaxed vibe, Caan selected two comfortable sofas as kitchen-table seating, and they’ve proved to be a prime spot for Family lounging. “Every time I come over, they are all hanging out here with newspapers spread out and their laptops and iPods, laughing and joking with each other, with their two dogs happily lounging underfoot,” says Caan.

The family also spends a lot of time together in the living room, which is a change, says Chafkin. “I’ve lived in a lot of houses, and we never used the living rooms; they always seemed so formal.” Designed with comfort in mind, the room features plush couches, pops of color, and artsy — even irreverent — décor, such as the coffee table fashioned out of a huge clock, and a plastic statue of a naked man doing a handstand (Chafkin’s sons made her clothe it in running pants to avoid embarrassment in front of their friends).

When the kids need their own space, they simply head upstairs, where they have the run of the second floor. Up there, in addition to the bedrooms, there’s a big open area dubbed the “teen lounge” — and a new loft in Ike’s room devoted strictly to video-gaming. “The kids have friends over constantly. I wanted this to be the place where everyone gathered after school, and I’m happy to have created that,” says Chafkin. “This is a real family home.”  


All photographs by Eric Roth

Renovations, Fallon Custom Homes, Needham
Interiors, Liz Caan Interiors, Chestnut Hill
Architects, Janet Hurwitz Architects, Boston