This young family’s renovation was more personal than most: the father had grown up in the Glen Ellyn, Illinois colonial house, so maintaining its original charm (all while expanding and modernizing) was essential.
Such a challenge was perfect for interior designer Alessia Zanchi Loffredo, whose personal aesthetic is rooted in preserving historical characteristics and ensuring new finishes always feel slightly aged. “I like a lived-in feeling,” she explains. “I don’t want everything to look too polished.”
The reDesign Home cofounder impressively blended the additions of a lounge, mudroom, laundry room, and main bedroom suite by mimicking existing elements like crown molding in the new spaces and carrying a neutral color palette throughout. Plus, strategic choices like IKEA and Semihandmade cabinetry allowed her to achieve it all on a budget.
Blending Old and New
In order to seamlessly fuse the new construction with the original structure, Loffredo mirrored dimensions like ceiling height and window size and copied key architectural details: red oak flooring with a chocolatey stain that would mingle unnoticeably with the rest of the wood planks, as well as matching crown molding, trim, and baseboards, which she highlighted in a light gray paint.
Treating the Walls
“I like a lived-in feeling. I don’t want everything to look too polished.”
—Alessia Zanchi Loffredo
Loffredo offered a further connection between the old and new with finishes like tongue and groove wall paneling, which the designer carried through on the kitchen island, pony wall, pantry interior, main bathroom, and mudroom. She embraced wooden wall treatments throughout: original picture frame millwork in the dining room and beadboard in the laundry room, where sunny yellow Semihandmade DIY Shaker cabinet fronts and whimsical, botanical wallpaper complete the decor.
“A lot of people are afraid of wallpaper, but these clients were 100-percent on board,” Loffredo says. She chose a groovy, kaleidoscope-like pattern for a feature wall in one of the children’s bedrooms and an illustrated town map print in another.
Staying Under Budget
Because wallpaper is a rather pricey endeavor, Loffredo offset the cost by using IKEA cupboard bases with Semihandmade doors for storage in the kitchen, bar, and laundry room. “The cabinetry allowed us to splurge a little on other things,” she reasons. “It was a huge plus for us.” The Supermatte White Shaker fronts also made the eye-catching octagonal zellige clé tile backsplash and matte gold faucet possible.
Repurposing furniture the clients already owned was another useful cost-saving tactic, which worked impeccably in the dining area. Here, new sweeping, floral drapery, cane-backed chairs, and a dramatic empire chandelier dress up the family’s wooden dining table. “It was a little beat up on the surface, but that adds character,” Loffredo insists. “It’s part of who they are and the way they live.” If that’s not personal, what is?