A Thoughtful Renovation Results in a Chic Retreat

Graceful, sculptural antique chairs and tables dance across the living room floor in the home of Kenneth Sherman and Jim Schanbacher.

Kenneth Sherman and Jim Schanbacher have lived in their home since 1991. Content, but not entirely satisfied, the couple decided to renovate rather than relocate. “We were lucky in that our house was on a lot and half,” Sherman says. “It made sense to expand, and we really did not want to move.”

As simple as it sounds—and in many ways it was—the renovation was still a two-year process. They were fortunate that there were many great elements to the house in addition to the double lot, so they did not have to “fix” any significant problems. Sherman is the vice president and event director at Trapp and Company and responsible for some of the most beautiful events in town. From the start, he had a clear sense of how the space could work and what the men needed to enjoy it the most. In addition, he has a keen eye for detail. “My passion is millwork,” he says with a smile.

Top: The floor-to-ceiling mirrored fireplace visually expands the living room. Above, left: In the library, a vintage French Art Deco poster dominates the space. Above, right: The mohair-upholstered antique high-back settee is the perfect spot for reading. The couple calls the high-gloss paint hue used in these rooms “Grey Poupon” Sherman says with a laugh.

Also, he has a depth of experience and sleight of hand when it comes to visually creating engaging space, but not everything in the house underwent significant change during the renovation. “The living room didn’t change much in the renovation,” he says. “But the mirror surrounding the fireplace makes it seem much bigger.”

The reflection of the high-gloss ceiling provides a lift as well. While much of the furniture is antique and vintage—a product of a lifetime of collecting—the bare floors and sculptural tables and chairs lend a modern air. Upholstery is largely neutral and muted colors, while pottery and ceramics throughout the house bring a bounce of color. 

“I like to enhance rooms with accessories and fixtures,” Sherman says. “It’s the same in the garden, which is mostly green and white.”

Top: Gloss white cabinetry and walls, mirrored soffits, a raised ceiling, and an open plan make the small kitchen live large. Above, left: n the dining room, antiqued mirror on the bar cabinetry borrows light from the French doors leading to the garden. Above, right: The plate rails display antique china, mostly English, ranging from Imari to Regency, which the couple uses every day.

The library just beyond the living room is a charming mélange of dozens of books, traditional antiques, Louis Ghost chairs, functional brass floor lamps, and a crystal chandelier. The wall of books makes it the perfect spot to lounge on a day at home.

It’s the bar area, dining room, and kitchen just beyond that underwent the most renovation. “The dining room was basically the double car garage,” Sherman says. 

The room is now both charming and functional. The seemingly compact table where the couple dine on nights they are at home has leaves that expand to accommodate 12 people. Just as entertaining is Sherman’s work, it is also his pleasure. “My family always says, ‘You set the table.’”

It’s a job he enjoys. The plate shelves in the dining room display a portion of his extensive collection of china and dishware. “We eat at the table every night we are home,” Sherman says. “Even if it’s pizza, it’s on a good plate.” The bar nearby reflects the light from the windows beyond, as well as holding the ice maker and barware.

But it is the kitchen that drove renovation and there is no doubt that the couple feels it was worth any headache that any renovation entails. “We opened up the soffit and raised the ceiling more than a foot,” Sherman says. “That made a huge difference in the way the room felt.” 

Sherman’s extensive collection of orchids adds color to the garden room. “It’s the perfect light—facing three ways, east, north, and west,” he says.

The couple added custom details that have turned out to be some of the elements they enjoy the most—the antiqued mirror on the upper cabinets, the ogee edge of the marble countertops and the custom stainless hood delight as much as today as they did during design. The push latch on the dishwasher, which allowed them to avoid a handle that would disrupt the design, Sherman claims was “absolutely worth it.” In lieu of an island, they chose a demi-lune table, providing a place to set a dish without the heft.

The garden room, which is home to Sherman’s antique Chinese export frog planters, overlooks the garden and was largely untouched. 

“We did put in heated floors and the gas fireplace,” Sherman says. “It may be the most used room in the house. It’s so beautiful when it snows.”

Left: In the primary bedroom, the headboard is custom-upholsered in linen, the horizontally striped pillows are custom from Trapp and Company, and the needlepoint pillow was a gift from a friend. Right: Traditional cabinetry in the primary bath is topped by two vintage silver-gilt Louis Philippe mirrors from Pear Tree Design & Antiques. “It’s extremely rare to find a pair,” Sherman notes.

The primary bedroom and bath, both part of the addition, are their sanctuary, and the light and finishes here are equally impressive. Cool northern light floods the bedroom, while the bath addition, with its classic marble tile and traditionally styled double vanity, feels as if it could be original to the home.

 The entire project took two years and finished just at the start of the pandemic. Fortunately, they had the perfect place to isolate. 

The It List

Pear Tree Design & Antiques

FHI Construction & Remodeling

Interiors & Floral
Trapp and Company

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