Designer Ilene Chase and A. Perry Homes create one couple’s dream home in Northfield.
The foyer establishes a warm welcome with traditional elements like detailed millwork, an antique grandfather clock and a Holly Hunt Formations chandelier. The bench is a custom design by Ilene Chase Design, and the stone table is by Made Goods.
I’m blessed to do so much work in the North Shore because you really deal with the family,” says designer Ilene Chase of her namesake firm (ilenechasedesign.com). “In the city, you tend to deal with a lobby person in a building. A home in the suburbs is so much more personal. You see the kids coming in and out after school,” says Chase. After being introduced by Anthony Perry of A. Perry Homes, the relationship that quickly developed between Chase and her clients, Brian and Kristine Moran, certainly informed the design of their new-build home in Northfield.
The living room features a punch of color through vintage chairs reupholstered in Kravet Luxe velvet and vibrant art from the homeowners’ collection.
The 16,800-square-foot manse sits on a lot across the street from their previous home and was designed with the future in mind: The Morans built the home to be fun for their three children; a place where they could one day come with spouses and grandchildren and stay comfortably. A testament to the trust the homeowners had in Chase and her team, the project was completed in just 14 months. “They never changed their minds,” explains Chase. “The only change invoice was for the stone in one of the boys’ bathrooms because it was discontinued. I literally finished this project faster than I can do some people’s kitchens.”
The custom wine cellar was designed by Ilene Chase Design and Abruzzo Kitchen & Bath.
And that is no small feat, considering the only pieces that were brought from the old house were a chest, the grand piano and a grandfather clock. The couple wanted to start fresh and incorporate each of their differing styles. “We’ve heard so many nightmare stories of husbands and wives getting into fights while renovating, so we agreed we would give each other our own spaces,” says Kristine. Brian’s more traditional, masculine taste is reflected in his master bathroom, workout room, a regal library inspired by the feel of a presidential office with a secret staircase to the master bedroom, the Colorado-influenced “Bugsy” room and Casey’s bar in the basement.
Kristine’s light, bright coastal style with varied textures inspired the kitchen palette. Equipped with lots of storage and professional appliances, it is perfectly set up for all of the entertaining she does.
The last is an homage to The Manor Lodge and Casey’s, which Brian’s parents owned and operated for more than 20 years in Crested Butte, Colo. Brian had kept the 15-seat bar in storage, and Chase created a replica that is frequented by friends and family at the Morans’ many dinner parties and soirees. Kristine’s modern coastal style—light, bright and airy with lots of texture—is seen in the kitchen, master bedroom, her master bathroom and dressing room, the great room, the music room and all of the kids’ bedrooms. “They each had their babies, and after that they just let us go,” says Chase.
The dining room accommodates large, formal dinner parties with an 18-foot wood table that is made from an old felled tree from the property.
Because of the scale of the home, almost everything is custom-designed by Chase and her team. “Nothing was done at a normal size because everything would have been squatted in that house,” explains the designer. Even the dining room chairs are larger than standard, complementing the custom 18-foot dining table that was crafted from an old tree on the property that had to be cut down. It is accented by a mass of dripping crystals made by Alan Mizrahi in New York. An oversize drum shade in Kravet fabric hangs in the breakfast nook, while 11 vintage pendants were used to create the designer piece in the great room. One of the lounges in the basement features a custom sectional and surrounding console that seats 20 comfortably for movie night, while Brian’s office features floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
Brian’s home office and library was designed to have a presidential feel with floor-to-ceiling millwork and bookshelves. The antique desk and Tiffany light fixture are from 1stdibs, while the desk chairs are from Arteriors and the wingback chairs are upholstered in Brunschwig & Fils fabric.
Despite the grandness, the home feels warm and inviting, partly because of the highly detailed millwork that Chase worked closely on with lead architect Kent DeReus from A. Perry Homes. Wallcoverings such as Innovations through Michael-Cleary, Phillip Jeffries’ grass cloths and a Ralph Lauren snakeskin add pattern and texture. Abruzzo Kitchen & Bath was brought in for the kitchen design and all of the cabinetry. It was “a real collaboration,” says Chase. “The finishes and hardware are beautiful, and everything was pretty custom, even for Abruzzo [which is known for customization].”
The breakfast room has a view to the lush property, landscaped by O’Brien Landscape, and continues the light and airy look of the kitchen. The table and oversize drum shade in Kravet fabric are custom-designed by Ilene Chase, and the chairs are from Artistic Frame.
Setting the mood is very important to Kristine—she decorates the whole house for every holiday and sets a beautiful table to showcase her napkin ring collection and her grandmother’s china. Lighting is a priority for her, so all of the fixtures in the house are on dimmers. Liaison Home Automation created the ultimate smart home, with lighting, music, heat, air conditioning, sprinklers and security—the last two done by Brian’s company, FE Moran Security Solutions—all controlled through their phones.
“The Bugsy room was an inspirational moment of the Morans, taken from their home in Crested Butte, Colo.,” says Chase. The designer paired leather, wood and lots of texture for a warm, cozy vibe.
All of the plumbing was turned over to Studio41 because Brian didn’t want to work on his own house. The expansive yard’s landscaping is the work of Jim O’Brien at O’Brien Landscape (obrienlandscape.com), with a fully equipped cabana and a pool that is wired for sound so Brian can listen to music while he does laps. Energy efficiency was also a priority, and the house runs on a geothermal heating and cooling system.
The glamorous master bath features a freestanding tub and an elaborate chandelier through Arteriors, with his-and-hers vanities.
Clearly the home sets a high bar when it comes to technology and style, but the couple’s warmth and personality are apparent throughout. A 6-by-7-foot art piece of etched white glass by Jorge Simes at Simes Studios hangs in the hallway off the back foyer and shows all of the family’s beloved sayings and nicknames over the years.
Not surprisingly, the designer and clients have become friends. Last summer, while sitting out by the pool, Brian turned to Chase and said, “You built us a home that I have no desire to ever leave. Thank you.”
Photography by: Mike Schwartz