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ENTRY: When Emily and Barry Koski merged households, they needed to use the furniture that they had. A trumeau mirror from Stanley Fine Art & Antiques was one of the few items purchased specifically for the house. The French cane chairs were recovered in a Lindsay Cowles fabric. The console is from West Elm, the pink stool from Target.
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LIVING ROOM: A wall of windows provides ample light and views of the lush backyard. The room’s high ceilings are one of the features that drew the family to the home.
Growing up in Salisbury, Emily Koski never imagined she would one day return to the comfortable Midlothian neighborhood, especially after living in the Fan and enjoying city life. But, like so many others, once she had children, she began to understand the charms of suburbia.
“Several of my friends from high school had come back to Salisbury, and I remembered having such a great childhood here,” she says, “so we moved to Salisbury for the schools.” Koski divorced and moved briefly to Bon Air, but after meeting her current husband, Barry, they decided to return to Salisbury — just a few houses down the street from where she grew up.
As before, meeting the needs of her children was the first priority. This time, however, with a new husband and blended family of five girls — each one a grade apart — the requirements were more specific. “We needed a lot of bathrooms for the girls,” she says, laughing. “My husband wanted an exercise room, and we wanted a first-floor master. This house fit the criteria, and the fact that the kids could ride their bikes to the pool was a bonus.”
Though it checked all the essential boxes, their brick colonial fell short in other departments — the kitchen was outdated, and it had a small backyard. “And, as much as we loved the house,” Koski says, “it was still lacking in character.”
The home’s traditional brick exterior belies the bright, contemporary art–filled space within.
Since 2008, the family has made numerous improvements, converting and expanding a former sunroom into a chic dining area with a wet bar and exposed brick wall, remodeling the kitchen, and installing hardscaping and landscaping to transform the backyard.
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BACKYARD: A tiered patio, designed by Marcia Fryer, provides space to dine and entertain for three seasons of the year.
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THE KOSKI CLAN (From left) Emily and Barry Koski with daughters Millie, 13; Margaret, 17; Madeline, 18; Lily, 16; and Lucie, 14
“We had to pick and choose what to do first,” Koski says. “When we moved in, the kids were younger and needed a place to play.” Landscape designer Marcia Fryer designed a two-level stone patio, complete with pergola, fireplace and outdoor television, that the family can use three seasons out of the year. “We felt like it added square footage to the house,” Koski says.
OFFICE: The family transformed a formal living area into an office for their five girls with a customized work space for each to do her homework.
The family also converted the formal living room into an office space for the five girls. “When we moved in they were all doing homework in the kitchen, and it was not working,” she says. Built-in custom desks line the walls, where each girl has her own space for schoolwork, art and hobbies. Koski hired artist Sunny Goode to stencil the desktops in a pink and orange pattern. With custom bulletin boards and matching desk chairs and wicker light fixtures from Ikea, the room is seriously fun.
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KITCHEN: The Koskis renovated their kitchen with the help of architect John Flippen and space planner May Lee Dunn and the aim of creating a modern yet timeless design. One-hundred-year-old salvaged wood beams, purchased at Caravati’s, add character to the vaulted ceiling. Pictured are Emily with (left) Millie, 13, and (right) Lucie, 14.
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DINING AREA: The Koskis commissioned a custom table of tiger maple from Caravati’s for the light-filled space. Salvaged brick was made into a veneer and applied to the back wall to evoke the feel of a Fan house.
The kitchen was renovated with the help of architect John Flippen and space planner May Lee Dunn with the aim of “conjuring up our city life,” Koski says. They added an exposed brick wall to the eat-in dining area, reminiscent of those found in many Fan houses. One-hundred-year-old salvaged wood beams, purchased at Caravati’s, add character to the vaulted ceiling in the sleek white kitchen. “We wanted a modern, timeless kitchen,” Koski says. “We wanted to know that when we sold in 15 years, it would not be outdated.”
Another focus was to take advantage of the home’s high ceilings and large floor-to-ceiling windows and to highlight the couple’s art collection — each brought extensive holdings to the marriage.
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MASTER BEDROOM: Emily transformed a bed from the Bombay Company with a coat of paint she applied herself. She customized basic Ikea chests with gold pulls and glass tops.
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DINING ROOM: Gold-and-white wallpaper from Lindsay Cowles covers the dining room ceiling. A Midcentury Venetian mirror hangs above a 250-year-old sideboard. The shellback chairs are family pieces that were repainted by Sunny Goode and recovered.
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POWDER ROOM: More wallpaper from Lindsay Cowles transforms a powder room into a vibrant jewel box.
Koski, who recently started an interior decorating business, Haute Haven Interiors, with friend Julia Durham, honed her skills when melding her own furniture with her husband’s. “We came to the marriage with a hodge-podge of furniture,” she says. “We did not rush out to buy new furniture; we needed to use what we had.” She recovered many pieces for a fresh look.
“I love mixing sleek with something rustic,” she says. “I love mixing a 250-year-old sideboard with Midcentury lamps and modern art.”
Koski says she specializes in going into people’s homes and editing their furniture and belongings. With the five girls growing up, Koski knows how chaotic life can get with teens. “Pare it down to the things you love and you notice everything more,” she says. “When you are visually cluttered, you don’t notice the treasures that you have, whether it’s artwork or whatever you collect.”
LIVING WITH ART
A vibrant mix of color and pattern enlivens the Koskis’ home, giving it character. Much of the impact comes from the family’s collection of original art. “We only buy art from artists we know,” Koski says. “If we don’t know the artist, we get to know them.”
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The work of local artist Lindsay Cowles appears in paintings, wallpaper and textiles.
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A variety of abstract canvases add both color and texture to the home.
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