Designer Nicole Fisher channels the all-American aesthetic as she helps a young couple renovate a '90s-era home in Long Island.
Photos by Sean Litchfield
Finding your “forever home”—the home where you will set roots and make memories, isn’t easy. The first house you own as a family isn’t necessarily it. But sometimes you do find the right house first. Well, sort of the right house. All you need to do is renovate.
And people say location is the hard part.
Thankfully this young couple moving from NYC to Long Island enlisted Homepolish designer Nicole Fisher.
“I was lucky enough to have such warm, wonderful clients who trusted my wholeheartedly,” Nicole gushes. “They were so happy to be gaining so much more space than their small NYC apartment, and making this a home they can love for years to come. They found a place in their dream neighborhood with great bones. It has room to grow as they start a family, so we tackled a full renovation and made personal style decisions that make sense for them.”
That meant channeling her client’s traditional aesthetic in a way that would feel modern and liveable down the line.
“The most important thing was making sure the home didn’t feel dated or stuffy,” Nicole explains. “My client’s style is classic Americana traditional. I modernized the vibe with a soothing blue, white, and green color palette throughout for a cohesive, tailored look.”
To bring this sensibility to life, Nicole first had to rid the 2,300-square-foot Colonial home of its outdated ‘90s design. The hallmarks of the era—cherrywood cabinets, dated wallpapers, an overly large laundry room, several different types of flooring, and minimal closet space. Nicole was undaunted.
“Lightening, brightening, and giving the illusion of more space was first and foremost,” she explains. “Lightening the walls and window treatments made a world of difference, and can be a major solution to anyone facing these dilemmas. Refinishing the floors to a more contemporary walnut finish also helped. The most dramatic changes were the new white kitchen, which honestly makes the room like twice its size, and relocating the laundry to allow for a dreamy walk-in closet.”
Once the house boasted a modern layout, the traditional accents felt fresh. Because her client was a former employee of Ralph Lauren—the ultimate arbiter of Americana style—and an admirer of his home assortment specifically, Nicole worked to wove in pieces from the iconic designer, from the tufted chairs in the living room to the floral sheer drapes in the master bedroom. The classic interplay of crisp stripes and tailored florals abound. In the living room striped neutral Roman shades, vintage floral armchairs, and a large-scale jute rug with green stripes balance the tried-and-true with the new.
With the layout, Nicole focused on reinventing spaces that weren’t optimizing on space. En route from the living room to the kitchen, for example, you’ll stumble upon one of the most notable transformations—something Nicole tried for the first time.
“For the first time, I closed off a room that used to be open: the new office. This room originally connected the kitchen, mudroom and living room, with 3 of 4 walls having a large opening. It felt too much like a pass through with no real purpose. S
“The library used to be a weird pass through connecting the kitchen and living room,” Nicole reveals. “So for the first time, I closed it all off, creating an office library for two. It might have seemed crazy, but now they (and eventually their kids!) can close the glass pocket doors to get some work done. I envision this being a perfect place for homework down the line.”
Before Nicole came on board, the kitchen featured an adjacent dining space, a tiny island, and cherry cabinets that stopped a foot from the ceilings. To transform it into a bright, airy sanctuary, she also combined the seating area with the main kitchen area for a more cooking-friendly and entertaining-efficient layout. The appliances stayed in place, but new ceiling-high, all-white cabinetry with a paned glass transom swapped in, as well as a classic subway tile backsplash, Carrara marble, and a new roomier island.
“It’s my favorite room in the house,” Nicole admits. “They’re such a young family with tons of relatives close by, so I know they’re entertaining a ton. Instead of having a formal dining room that would only get used a couple times a year, I opted for a giant island that seats eight, but has great counter space and is casual enough for everyday breakfast. Crazily enough the existing floorplan just needed a new layout to function for a family and even a holiday dinner.”
The transformation is so drastic, even Nicole is shocked.
“When I see the before pictures, I can’t believe this new kitchen was accomplished in the same space,” Nicole shares.”The glass-paned transoms give it such a classic touch, the appliances are all top-of-the-line and flow right into the cabinetry with their custom panels, and the marble countertops are timeless. And honestly, who doesn’t love an island so big your whole family can have a meal at it?!”
In the spirit of readapting spaces, Nicole reimagined the former dining room as a true family room.
“Since we satisfied the seating issue, a place to relax was imperative in this open space,” Nicole explains. “The new family room is perfect for entertaining and casual enough to lay on the oversized sectional with a good book. I carved out a game nook as a great spot for a morning coffee. The house has great flow on the main living floor that will allow them and their guests to seamlessly move about the house. And I think they’ll love this idea the more time they spend in the house.”
The color palette is also a bit of a departure from the more traditional set up in the living room, complete with soothing blues and organic materials. The soothing blue palette extends into the master bedroom, where Americana patterns and textures—think a white tufted bed and striped bench—stylishly clash. She also incorporated a slew of brass accents to lend the space sophistication and warmth.
“To tie the bedroom in with the rest of the house, I added the shiplap wall to coordinate with the mudroom and add a bit of texture,” Nicole shares. “It’s a perfect place to wake up to every morning.”
The master bathroom serves as a natural, serene extension of the bathroom, but achieving that vibe didn’t come without some effort.
“The master bath was so small when I first saw the house,” Nicole explains. “The room consisted of two small closets and a small bathroom, so we reworked the floor plan to incorporate a large master bath and move the second floor laundry room to allow for a giant walk-in closet.”
In the end, the big renovations were all worth it to make the couple’s perfect space truly perfect.
“You can always change what the home looks like but you can never change where it is,” Nicole advises.
At least you can with the right designer.
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