Morgan and Dan Connor wanted to build a house that complemented the land on which it would stand — 15 wooded acres on the edge of the Chagrin River valley.
“It’s beautiful. There’s a lot of character. There’s a lot of charm,” says Morgan, an advertising executive-turned-stay-at-home mom. “So, we wanted to incorporate some of that into the design of the exterior.”
She and her health-care-executive husband settled on what she describes as a 5,700-square-foot “modern Tudor,” a clean-lined structure that retained the traditional stucco facade, dark wood trim and steep-pitched roof. But the couple eschewed the abundance of dark wood and heavy furnishings typically found inside such homes.
“We wanted to make a more modern version of those more traditional, older homes that you see in this area,” says Morgan.
The Connors enlisted Laura Yeager Smith of Laura Yeager Smith Home & Design in Hudson to create interiors that combined classic Tudor elements with up-to-the-minute trends — interiors durable enough to withstand the antics of two golden retrievers and two preschoolers. (At press time the couple were expecting a third child.)
“We really just wanted our house to meet us where we were in our lives,” Morgan says.
Smith laid the foundation for the light, bright spaces the couple desired by flooring them in custom-stained oak and painting the walls white, a color Morgan already had chosen for a kitchen that opened into the formal dining area and great room.
A disdain for clutter drove the design, right down to outfitting the pantry with a built-in espresso maker and plate racks on a tongue-and-groove wall.
Tudor-esque touches include black-framed windows, pine used to frame doorways and fashion
decorative trusses, a stone floor in the morning room and a trio of oversized polished-nickel chandeliers hanging in the kitchen.
“It really just helped bring the vaulted ceilings down to a more human scale and also bring your eye up to that really pretty architectural detailing, the decorative trusses that we added in the ceilings,” Smith says.
Smith furnished the public spaces with an eclectic mix of pieces. She and Morgan used their shared affinity for natural fibers and textural elements to inject organic warmth and interest into the decor.
In the home’s morning room, gray-leather swivel chairs flank a sleek cylindrical wood-burning stove and brown-leather cocktail ottoman, while chairs with woven-rope backs provide additional seating at a maple table surrounded on three sides by built-in banquettes.
“The seats are upholstered in an indoor-outdoor fabric, so the kids and family can be comfortable but yet also clean the cushions,” Smith points out.
In the great room, a sofa upholstered in a durable stone performance fabric holds court in front of the stone fireplace with a caramel-colored leather daybed, a whimsical linen-look wing chair and hair-on-hide footstool, and midcentury modern wood-frame armchairs stationed by a concrete side table, all arranged on a bleached jute rug. An ash casement piece with woven raffia door inserts divides the great room and formal dining area.
“It doubles as a sofa table and a sideboard for storage for dishware,” Smith explains.
The bar off the great room features curving cabinetry topped with leathered black granite and punctuated by a sink with a hammered silver finish. Crystal drawer pulls and glass-rod sconces add a little glamour to the decor of the room.
“We did a pretty textural wallcovering in there to differentiate the space,” Smith says. “It’s a woven wallcovering, so it has gray and a little bit of a flaxy color and a little bit of a black in it.”
The serene neutral decor extends into the owners’ suite, where a king-size four-poster dominates a bedroom warmed by a marble fireplace and crowned by a vaulted tongue-and-groove ceiling. Smith created a spa-like retreat by installing a freestanding soaking tub and large shower with a rear wall boasting a marble mosaic pattern.
The one-year-old house already has acquired some century-home wear and tear courtesy of the dogs and young children. Morgan fully welcomes their home to look and feel lived in.
“We didn’t want it to feel like a museum or treat it like a museum,” she explains. “We’re really living in our space. There’s really no room that goes untouched.”
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