Design house: An historical-style New England home in Connecticut

A passion for 18th-century American architecture inspired the building of this traditional wood-frame home, which combines authentic materials and 21st-century design solutions

New England home
(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

At first glance, this clapboard clad house could be mistaken for one of the many original 18th-century homes that grace Danbury, Connecticut. In fact, it was built in 1968 by the co-founders of the Waterworks bathroom company and lifelong enthusiasts of all things 18th century.

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New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

The property

‘We decided to build our own historical-style home partly because we were young and didn't know any better. We had hunted high and low for an original 18th-century house, but they were all in a terrible condition. In the end, my father suggested that we build our own and we thought, ''Why not?”’

‘I think we were influenced by the region in which we live; there are some extraordinary 18th-century houses in Connecticut. We spent a lot of time at museums and open house days and were drawn to the clean architectural style of that era. There is a certain beauty in its simplicity,’ the owners say.

Dining room

The cabinet, which houses Dutch and English Delftware, adds decorative interest to the homeowner’s favourite room. ‘It's not a huge space, so gathering around the table and trading stories is quite a cosy affair.’

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Exterior

The simple front door is an 18th-century original, which sits well with the grey clapboard.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Entrance hall

Remarkably, the Queen Anne chairs did not come as a pair; the owner stumbled across the perfect match to an existing chair while hunting for antiques in New York.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Kitchen

The cabinets are made from reclaimed headboard. ‘They're built in a traditional 18th-century style, but still look contemporary due to their simplicity,’ explains the homeowner.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Built-in niches with doors are typical of traditional Connecticut homes.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Living room

When it came to choosing curtains, the homeowner took great care to find fabrics sympathetic to the period.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Library 

Built-in bookcases and a snug seating configuration give this room a cosy and inviting feel.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Family room

The family room was extended to incorporate this peaceful space when the owners’ first grandchild was born.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Living room

An antique Canadian writing desk occupies a comer of the sitting room where the owner likes to read and relax.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Main bedroom

The couple chose a cream palette to create a restful feel.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Guest bedroom

The pencil-post bed was one of the first pieces of furniture commissioned by the the homeowners as a married couple.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Bathroom

Despite running their own bathroom company, the couple could not resist installing an early 20th-century American Standard basin.

New England home

(Image credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo)

Photography/ Ngoc Minh Ngo

Jennifer Ebert
Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. 


Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.