When designer Maureen Winter McDermott first visited this Scarsdale, NY home, it was a bit outdated. Most of all, it was dark and there was no sense of flow. Her clients, a young couple with a small child, wanted open spaces, areas to spend time with the family, and to have a brighter, airier feel. “They are busy with their careers and really wanted a home to be a place to come together and relax in their downtime,” McDermott says. “They are also very close with their extended families and wanted enough space to host holidays and other large gatherings.”

The exterior of the house is stucco, which is different from the normal Hamptons shingle-style home. “I thought instantly to do a steel entry door to offset the stucco,” the designer recalls. “The house also has an old-world charm to it.  It feels sturdy, and not new, so we were able to add in a lot of modern accents to balance the old feeling of the house.”  

Inside, the ‘must-have’ items on McDermott’s list were family-friendly materials that could be cleaned easily, and safe areas for children to spend time in. “They didn’t want anything to be too precious,” she explains. “We tried to select sophisticated pieces but balanced everything with low maintenance soft goods. We also knew the importance of changing the interior architecture to create amazing focal points, so the furniture had great backdrops.” To achieve this strong aesthetic foundation, they redid the flooring and stripped all of the walls of their previous paint and coverings.

The clients were also pretty specific in their kitchen needs, spending a good five months going over the schematics and design development. “We really ironed out all the details before we sent it to the millworkers,” McDermott tells us. “One thing that got nixed were marble countertops in the kitchen because of maintenance.  We opted for Caesarstone, a more cleanable surface and only had marble on the backsplash to balance.”

In the primary suite, McDermott and her team entirely reconfigured the space. There’s now a his and hers closet, as well as an office. The bathroom was also a gut renovation. “The marble shower and countertops heavily influenced this space as well as all the custom built-ins,” the designer shares.

The clients had strong opinions throughout the project, a quality the designer is grateful for. “The clients were pretty strong minded, so I knew if they didn’t like something there was really no talking them into it, she laughs. “I appreciated the honesty and get to the punch mentality.  It made our jobs a lot easier.”

See the full space, including the surprising before pictures, in the slideshow.