This Old House | Season 36

 A Belmont Victorian gets restored & refreshed

Belmont, Massachusetts


In this project for This Old House, I worked with a Boston couple to restore the original interior charm of their 1890s Shingle style Victorian— while updating the space to make it more livable and comfortable for a family of four. Over the course of 16 episodes – 7 of which featured my interior design expertise – I took Murat and Katherine on a journey that spanned the classic and current. It was literally the best of both worlds.


Living Room + Dining Room 

The previous owners had stripped many of the original details that gave the home its character. By reintroducing antique elements and picking furniture and finishes that nodded to the Victorian era, the aim was to recapture the essence of the home’s original charm. Since straightforward Victorian interiors could seem cluttered by today’s standards, I blended the design flavors for a modern twist.

The living room spoke to both of these worlds. The chairs featured gentle curves on their arms and the sofa had light tufting — classic Victorian hallmarks. Historically accurate designs mixed with contemporary pieces, fabrics and colors to brighten the space. The drapery fabric set a theme for the whole home with its hues of blues, lilac, gray and white. The fabric created a central thread, with many rooms playing off its palette. Murat wanted a bold, dramatic color to make a statement, and he got his wish in the dining room. We used a deep navy blue interspersed with white crown molding, wainscoting and light dining chairs to ensure the eating space wasn’t overly dark.


Entry + Powder Room 

The newly opened up entry feels stately, but also welcoming and inviting. For this room, we used a pale lilac to pick up the palette of LR/DR, which continued throughout the second floor hall up to the office on the third floor. To contrast with the lilac, I paired a navy blue lacquer console’s clean modern lines with the homeowners’ vintage chandelier. Wainscoting was added for its formal look, creating a proper Victorian welcome.

Much like Murat’s bold color in the dining room, the clients wanted a dramatic feel in the powder room. This was achieved with purple patterned wallpaper — a look that’s both reminiscent of classic Victorian styling, yet also contemporary and fresh. In addition, we transformed a marble vanity top and backsplash from the old kid’s bathroom, cleaning and re-edging it to complement the statement wallpaper. Lastly, the powder room’s marble tile flooring resembled Victorian interiors, but featured a larger hexagon scale to create a more updated look.


Master Bath + Master Suite 

To help unwind, Murat and Katherine wanted a spa-like space in their master bathroom. To achieve this feel, I went beyond mere color, incorporating carrara marble — a material that’s both timeless and elegant. I kept the tile material the same throughout, but varied the format to up the ante of visual interest.

For the master bedroom, I had to find a creative solution to accommodate the couple’s king size iron bed, yet still make the space feel special. The answer? I commissioned an artist to hand draw and paint a wall pattern for a stand out statement. The pattern hints at a traditional damask of interlocking shapes, but the scale is blown up to increase the modern appeal.

Murat and Katherine were on a mission to modernize their 120-year old home, while still keeping it rooted in its Victorian past. Now, they can add their own story to the house’s growing history.