The McBride Family's Classic & Comfy Abode

The McBride Family's Classic & Comfy Abode

Tanya Lacourse
Jan 19, 2010

Name: Deb & Frank McBride
Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
Size: 2,400 square feet
Years lived in: Owned – 4 months
Who else lives there: Our children, Peyton and Parker, and our dog, Boston

I met Deb recently through the grapevine. She and her husband, Frank, bought this fixer-upper in Manchester's historic North End only four short months ago and have been working (tooth and nail, one might say) to turn it into their ideal living space. They have done a remarkable job preserving historic details while also creating a home with an open and modern flow. After 14 years of living in a 1,200 square foot 1940's cape, they now have enough room to spread out and host their extended families for the holidays and get-togethers.

Frank and Deb make this enormous renovation look easy, but we weren't there for seven straight days while they were peeling their way through multiple layers of wallpaper. They enlisted the help of a carpenter, an electrician, and a plumber, but did the bulk of the work themselves including refinishing the wood floors and staircase, painting the ceilings, trim, and walls, and sandblasting and painting each wrought iron radiator.

As an interior designer, Deb paid special attention to the lighting. In every room there are fabulous wall sconces, pendants and flush mounts — a combination of new and salvaged lighting, higher priced fixtures, and finds from Lowes. The crystal pendant in the front hallway was found at a consignment store and originally lived at The Ritz Carlton in New York City. The mixing of high, low, and mid-range pieces caters to the eclectic feel.

In their kitchen they have high-end appliances including a "microwave drawer" hidden in the island and designated cupboards and drawers that hold serving trays, cooking utensils, pots and pans. Deb pointed out that the prep cook-style kitchen faucet is more convenient than other faucets because you can easily turn the water on with your arm when your hands are dirty from cooking. Function was also at the top of their list when choosing the butcher block counter top for the island. They wanted a surface that is warm to the touch on which to have their morning coffee. (Granite tends to be cold.)

The McBride's have created a home that is inviting and comfortable without being too casual, and at the same time sophisticated without being stuffy.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: Eclectic, French country, and industrial.

What is your greatest inspiration? Cities! We love going into Boston.

Favorite Element: The open concept and old home character. Having this layout has changed the way we live. We cook more and it's easier to have people over. The space is conducive to us all hanging out and being together.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge would have been the scope of the renovation. Every surface was redone including plumbing, electrical, heating, windows, ceilings, floors, and walls. At the moment it's finding window treatments for the 49 windows.

What Friends Say: It's welcoming, comfortable and relaxed.

Biggest Embarrassment: There is nothing we're embarrassed about but we've only been in the home for a couple of months so we will be adding furnishings for a while. We don't want a trophy house. We want to slowly collect things that are meaningful and speak to us. Also, we do not yet have a glass shower door in our bathroom. We are hoping to add that this Spring.

Proudest DIY: Refinishing the hardwood floors throughout and sandblasting and repainting all of the (very heavy) old radiators.

Biggest Indulgence: Good lighting, rugs, and just replacing 49 windows!

Best advice: Doing a renovation this size is like having a child. You have to make sue you really want it.


Appliances: Wolf and Bosch

Hardware: Granite State Cabinetry

Kitchen: Granite State Cabinetry

Lighting: Derry Electric, Roost, Company C, Anthropologie, Lowes

Window Treatments: Custom made by mom.

Wallpaper: Farrow & Ball

Wallpaper: Benjamin Moore from Queen City Paint in Manchester

Flooring: Dark walnut stained hardwood

Thanks, Deb & Frank!

Before Images: Deb McBride
After Images: Tanya Lacourse

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