Although the house includes a family room (the fourth room that forms the square), the couple's favorite room is the library. "We sit here every morning and evening to read and talk," Susan shares. When they moved in, the room had floor-to-ceiling bookcases that were painted navy blue and were underscored by green wall-to-wall carpet. "It was claustrophobic," she says of the small space. And, with a 14-foot ceiling, the visual weight was uncomfortably vertical. "I painted the bookcases white to open up the room, then painted the ceiling a warm caramel color to visually bring it down." For seating, she re-covered old barrel-back chairs passed down from John's parents-chairs she admires for "their retro look." A new table makes the room multifunctional.
Susan's design goal for the master bedroom was "soft and luxurious, warm and crisp." Light colors open up the room, and a tone-on-tone vertical-stripe wallpaper makes it appear taller. A custom-painted plaster border of laurel wreaths and acanthus leaves also draws the eye up, while adding femininity. But that delicate touch pales in comparison to the bed's dust skirt-a crinoline-supported concoction with the fullness and flounce of a ballerina's tutu. Susan designed a quilted headboard flanked with finials to "make the bed important and luxurious." Silk and chenille pillows, a chocolate cashmere blanket, and an ever-changing array of matelassé and piqué coverlets and linens create deep comfort-a feeling that permeates all of this vintage house, freshly plumed after an overdue molting.