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With stucco exterior, barrel clay tile roof and arches, the home embodies the Mediterranean character that the owners envisioned


Big Picture

By Tate Gunnerson

Photography by Tony Soluri


An uncommonly close collaboration results in a fantastic new Mediterranean-style manse with a refreshingly modern interior.

Putting clients first sometimes means making tough business decisions, but doing the right thing paid off for interior designer Lauren Coburn when she advised a North Shore couple with three daughters to slow their roll rather than furnish a house that didn’t meet their long-term needs. “Just wait,” she told them. “The pieces we bring in might not translate to another space.” It wasn’t long before those potential clients became bona fide ones, and this time it wasn’t just about decorating; they also wanted the designer’s help assembling a dream team to build the house they had long envisioned.

After closely scrutinizing several candidates, Coburn recommended architect Charles Cook, owner of Cook Architectural Design Studio. Cook designed a Mediterranean-style abode with a stucco exterior, a clay tile roof, and front and rear arcades. “From the ground up, this is the first Mediterranean-style home that we’ve done,” Cook says, pointing to the prominent arches along the front. For the interior, Cook designed a classic center foyer flanked by the living room on one side and the dining room on the other, with the more private family spaces located in the back. “When you come into the front entry, you can actually see straight through to the backyard,” he points out, noting that you can also look up and see the sky through the cupola over the curvaceous central staircase. “It was crucial to bring daylight into such a large house.”

Thanks to a cupola and a tall bank of windows, the winding central staircase brings natural daylight into the interior of the house.

Cook also worked closely with homebuilder Rocco DeFilippis, principal at Legacy Custom Homes and with Coburn on the interior architecture, providing a basic template, which she tweaked to reflect the client’s contemporary vibe. White walls and walnut floors lean into that austerity and create a crisp backdrop for artwork, including an original Warhol. Soft shades of champagne, cream and blue add subtle notes of interest to the mostly white interior. “She’s elegant and wanted something timeless,” Coburn explains.

In the formal living room, the blue tones in a silk-and-wool rug coordinate perfectly with a velvet-covered sofa and the plush chairs, which are placed around the handsome white marble fireplace mantel. The sense of formality carries into the dining room across the hall, where a nickel chandelier from Holly Hunt highlights a custom oak table and channel-back chairs. “We wanted this space to be not only elegant and sophisticated, but also comfortable,” Coburn says.

The comfort quotient is even more pronounced in the great room, where a jumbo plush U-shaped sofa creates a womb-like spot for curling up and binging Netflix. Subtle blue accent pillows tie in with the bright blue range in the open kitchen, which has been outfitted with bespoke Shaker-style cabinetry accented with marble countertops and white ceramic subway tile. “There’s a beautiful simplicity throughout this project,” Coburn says.

A blue range punctuates the white Carrara marble countertops, ceramic-tile backsplash from Ann Sacks and cabinets that Lauren Coburn designed for the homeowners.

That simplicity is nowhere more apparent than in the bright and airy master suite, where a plush built-in daybed—one of several that Coburn designed throughout—is nestled into the windows overlooking the verdant yard. Designed for maximum rest and relaxation, the spacious suite includes a marble bathroom, and a bespoke closet. The result is a five-star celebrity-inspired affair with illuminated perimeter cabinetry and a center storage island. “She wanted an outstanding glittery, beautiful space, and this is very glamorous,” Coburn explains.

Indeed, the home is exactly what the owners envisioned for themselves when they first called upon Coburn to decorate their old house. And the design team is equally proud of the outcome. “They are such a lovely couple, and it was an honor to be a part of building their dream house,” Coburn says. “I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity to do another project like this.”