Tour This Spacious Family Home with Traditional Charm
Name: Darleen Meier, her husband, and four kids
Location: Darien, CT
Size: 5,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
Years lived in: 1
When Darleen and her family decided to relocate back to Connecticut after a stint in Atlanta, their wish list was nothing if not specific: They wanted a garage, a basement, five bedrooms, upstairs laundry, a playroom, a back yard, an open-concept living and dining space, a safe neighborhood in a district with a challenging high school for their daughter, and a location in walking distance to the commuter rail into New York City. This laundry list came in handy when the house-buying process hit a rough patch, with a near-miss that put the family in a scheduling squeeze.
Darleen and her husband worked with Ruth, a real estate agent and member of the National Association of REALTORS®, who had handled their previous home in Connecticut. Because they’d already worked together and because Ruth was so familiar with the area, Darleen trusted that she would lead them to the right home—and that trust really got put to the test when Darleen couldn’t travel to Connecticut for the search. Ruth FaceTimed her on walk-throughs, but “you still don’t get the whole picture,” Darleen says. Even so, they had spoken so much about her wants and needs that she had faith.
“Ruth was my eyes, and she knew what I liked and my requirements. She FaceTimed this house and the movers were right behind me packing up our [Atlanta] home,” recalls Darleen. “That was stressful, but she gave us a lot of guidance and helped us make this decision.”
Though there were small compromises, like upstairs laundry, Darleen was relieved when she got the keys and walked into the house for the first time. “I remember turning to Ruth and saying, ‘Okay, this isn’t that bad.’ And she goes, ‘No, I wouldn’t sell you a house that’s bad.'”
Since moving in, Darleen has begun to make the house feel like home, painting the rooms from various shades of blue to a crisp white. “I’ve always wanted a white house, and Connecticut has so many cute white houses,” she says. She also wallpapered her children’s room—a proud DIY moment.
“Wallpapering adds a sense of character and personality to the room and it sets a good theme. I just love all the designs and colors and patterns out there that you can bring into the room.”
Though they’ve only been there less than a year, Darleen is already excited for all the ways they’ll continue making the house their home—especially for her four children, who were sad to leave their lives in Georgia behind. But they’re off to a great new start, with new neighborhood friends who come over for movie nights and friendly schools. “I want to create a home where my kids can be themselves,” Darleen says. “Cut loose and make messes and become the people that they are to become.”
Apartment Therapy Survey
My home style: Modern traditional/transitional
Favorite element of the home: We love the in- and outdoor living spaces between the kitchen and patio and our wood-burning fireplaces and movie theater
Biggest challenge, and how you overcame it: We are currently remodeling and updating our kitchen. It is looking so good but have endured a few challenges along the way.
What our friends say about the home: They like it and love the changes we have made to the house. They think it looks like a completely different house than when we bought it.
Biggest embarrassment: No embarrassments yet! But we had quite the number of neighborhood onlookers when we did a family painting project on our fence.
Proudest DIY: Wallpapering the kids rooms.
Biggest indulgence: Kitchen renovation.
Best advice: Whenever you do a house project, always get at least three bids.
Dream sources: Circa Lighting, Restoration Hardware, Wayfair, One Kings Lane, CB2
Living room: The sofas and console are Ballard Designs and the rug is from Rugs USA. We found the pillows at Home Goods. The coffee table was DIY (on my site).
Entry: The rug is from Anthropologie, the clear console table is CB2, the bench is DIY (on my site), and the octagon mirror is a vintage flea market find.
Dining room: The table is Restoration Hardware and the jute rug is from Rugs USA. We found the chairs through Modani Design and Ballard Designs.
Kitchen: The table and chairs are all Restoration Hardware.
Family room: The gray sofa is Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and the white sofa is vintage. We found the coffee table on Wayfair and the rug at Home Goods.
Boys room: The wallpaper is from Target and the black chair from Amazon. We bought the twin beds at Crate and Barrel and the white desk at Ikea. The bookshelf is another piece from Ballard Designs.
Girls’ rooms: The wallpaper is a Rocky Mountain Decal. The queen bed is Crate and Barrel Kids. The nightstands and velvet chair are from Anthropologie and the parson desk from Amazon. The swing chair is Serena & Lily and the pillows are from both Serena & Lily and Caitlin Wilson Design. The bedding is from Target and the rug is another from Rugs USA.
Master Bedroom: The bed and upholstered chairs are from Wayfair, the upholstered bench is Ballard Designs, the rug is from Rugs USA, and the mirror is from Home Goods. The tub chair and dresser are both vintage flea market DIYs from my site.