The Bay May 2011

Page 34

Live Well Home Style by Andrea E. McHugh

ANTIQUE SENSIBILITIES: The Schiffs blend their own artifacts with fine design

Thoughtful Additions When Sharon Schiff decided she wanted just a little extra space in her 1950s Barrington Colonial nearly 10 years ago, she got more than she bargained for. Her architect convinced her that by the time they added the square footage and reconfigured existing space that they may as well consider adding a bedroom, bathrooms, dining area and casual living space. It made sense in the building design and would be best for resale, so the “new wing” became a reality. “It’s a lot to take care of,” she concedes, adding with a laugh, “I’m ready for my twobedroom assisted living!” Though on an active street dotted with closely situated homes, the Schiff’s elegant 5000-square foot manse is tucked quietly off the road 30

the Bay | May 2011

and surrounded by a rolling, lush lawn, centuries-old trees and indigenous flora and fauna. It’s ample room for the family of four, which includes Schiff’s husband and their two teenage sons. Unlike many homeowners who go through the process of building an addition, Schiff was in no rush to play decorator. “I just didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I only wanted to do it one time,” she explains. The “no rush” philosophy is nothing new for the busy nurse, wife and mother. The living room in the original part of the house remained devoid of furniture for a decade, and for her, that was just fine. “For 10 years this room was empty. Empty. Here the boys would ride their little indoor trucks,” she

laughs at the sweet memory pointing at the gleaming hardwoods that make for perfect riding terrain. Today, the room is a slightly eclectic but elegant space with design cues from the Far East. Varying vertical stripes in a hushed red hue subtly cover the walls, and custom red window treatments that hang from unique brass frames set the tone, while comfortable furnishings and a crackling fire burning in the hearth make the room warm and cozy. An oversized Asian portrait painting takes center stage but without being overbearing, the clear focal point. The room is a study in design balance, where each piece punctuates without dominating. A chaise with a shell-shaped back is plush and inviting, and is also the cor-

nerstone of how the home’s polished design came to be. “I fell in love with this chaise that was in the window of Glen Marr’s store,” she recalls. “I kept coming back to this incredible shell chaise and finally he was like, ‘Who are you? You keep coming back!’ And that was it. I said, ‘Come to my house.’” So began a labor of love and long friendship. Glen Marr’s Living Design is a little shop on Warren’s Water Street. Marr and Schiff became fast friends – visualizing, planning, collaborating, salvaging, painting and designing. She admits to having a bit of her own design savvy, which is easy to believe; maintaining a home of this size and stature while keeping it warm and inviting is a challenge unto itself. “When I see some-

Photography: Janice Lee Kelly

Reinventing a Barrington gem