Interiorssneak peeks

A Storied Nest Full of Pleasant Memories and Artwork

by Garrett Fleming

A Storied Nest Full of Pleasant Memories and Artwork, Design*Sponge

Nearly a century ago, an Italian set out to snag his piece of the American dream, his journey leading him to this farmhouse in the hamlet of Chappaqua, NY. How could he resist such a pleasant property? Especially one that boasted an apple orchard, stables and roaming cows. As he enjoyed the home and started a family, the property slowly began collecting memories and before he knew it, had transformed from a simple farm into a family heirloom rich in history. A history his granddaughter Grace B. Keogh, an artist, and her graphic designer husband John add to every day as the current proprietors of the land.

When they first moved in, Grace and John had one child and were planning on more, but the second level of the Colonial farmhouse looked more like a time capsule than the home of a growing brood. A dusty trove of decorations from 1920-1960, this floor was where the family’s bedrooms were to be set up so the couple had to work tirelessly to make it charming and livable. The home got everything: new wallpaper, flooring and even paint.

While John’s renovation skills gave life to Grace’s creative vision for the farm, it wouldn’t be what it is today without her work dotting its walls. A painter by trade, she created the collection herself, capturing rustic scenes and wildlife in her own personal style. Take a peek inside her studio, and you’ll find her most memorable creation: a set of family portraits. The square canvases show cousins, aunts, uncles and more, smiling and dressed in all types of colorful garb. What a fantastic addition to such a storied property.

Without a doubt the home’s new artwork and updates make it a looker, but its most invaluable accessory by far is the 1920s-era dining table. Since Grace’s grandfather bought the property in the 1920s it has hosted countless Christmas dinners and family weddings, and welcomed home soldiers from WWII. Pieces like that don’t come around every day, so you must click through and take a look. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Natasha Habermann

Image above: Annabelle is no fool. This pup knows the living room’s Crate & Barrel sofa is the sunniest spot in the house, so she’s quick to snag it when nap time comes around. To her left sits a houseplant that the Keoghs took off a friend’s hands when it was a mere 12 inches high. Now it boasts 6-foot stalks. The wall behind it is doused in Farrow & Ball “Arsenic.”

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Grace's father first bought this house in the 1920s when he immigrated from Italy, and Grace grew up here, running the same halls she now shares with her husband John.
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The reflection in the living room's twin mirrors seems to elongate the space, doing exactly what the couple hoped installing them would do: make the room appear larger.
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John works from this desk, which is decorated in secondhand treasures Grace has collected.
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Morning coffees are enjoyed here in the TV room which sits off of the main living space. It holds the family's flourishing collection of books.
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The center of the home is the dining table. It's been in this same spot for 80 years and has played host to soldiers returning from war, weddings, Italian relatives and an abundance of birthday parties.
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"The thing we love most about our home is... [its] history of family gatherings," -- John and Grace Keogh
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The wall behind the dining table serves as a rotating gallery for Grace's work. "This painting is about spring's awakening, and the abundance of beauty that the season brings," she says of the current display.
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The entryway's hooks and basket take the place of a traditional coat closet. The chair is from West Elm, and more of Grace's artwork dots the walls.
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The entryway’s cabinet (painted in Farrow & Ball “Hague Blue”) holds Grace’s ever-growing collection of china.

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For two years John cracked away on the kitchen renovation. He not only raised the ceilings but replaced the floors as well. The clock was a Christmas gift, and Grace made the bird mobile on a whim one day two years ago.
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Painting the cabinetry in contrasting tones of black and white was a clever way John was able to update without reinventing the throwback kitchen.
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For three generations this bedroom has played host to Grace and her family. Not only did she grow up here, but her daughter did as well, and when they visit, the latest generation of Keoghs — Grace and John’s grandchildren — stay here too.

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The dollhouse John built for his daughter Natasha lay quietly in storage for years before granddaughter Lyla came around. Now it’s been resurrected it and she loves playing with it when she visits her grandma and grandpa. Wallpaper by Colefax & Fowler.

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Grace's son's old room now serves as her painting and sewing studio. It is here where last year she created 12"x12" portraits of all of her family members.
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John and Grace's bedroom is always sunny, making it one of their dog and cat's favorite spots when the living room sofa is occupied by pesky humans.
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"My favorite view is out of this window. It looks out onto the yard and our dogwood tree. This area [used] to be a screened-in sleeping porch," Grace says.
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Farrow & Ball wallpaper and the home's original fireplace enliven John and Grace's bedroom.
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Last summer, John installed this French-inspired gravel back porch to give himself and Grace "more outdoor space to eat, read and entertain."
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The nearly-100-year-old home's floor plan.

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