When Mike Seely and Hannah Dalton-Ameen first thought about moving to Providence from Boston to be closer to Seely’s work as executive chef at Bayberry Garden, they focused their search on the East Side where Dalton-Ameen grew up. However, after viewing a handful of homes that suited neither their style nor their needs, they expanded their sights and discovered Southern Elmwood: a history-rich district of stately Victorians with ties to the former Gorham Manufacturing Company.
“Our house was the first one we looked at and without knowing much about the area, we had an overwhelmingly good feeling about the home during our walkthrough,” Dalton-Ameen relays. Three working fireplaces, large leaded glass windows, and crown mouldings were among features of the 3,341-square-foot home that appealed instantly to the couple. “The kitchen was the only sore spot, but with some imagination we saw the exciting possibilities for a remodel.”
In just over two years – and somehow with a baby – the pair embarked on a series of structural and cosmetic changes to the 1904 Colonial Revival, starting with the kitchen; small and isolated from the rest of the main floor, Dalton-Ameen knew this layout wouldn’t work for daily life and enlisted the services of interior designer Kelly Taylor, who prescribed removing a back stairwell and two walls to open up access from the kitchen to the living room. Additional renovations followed, including turning a kitchenette into an office with a wet bar, and transforming a third-floor bathroom into a spa-like retreat with a skylight and original exposed beams. The chimney and fireplaces were repaired, hardwoods were refinished, and all interior paint colors changed from a “ROYGBIV” colorway to soft “neutral-adjacent hues.”
“We were aiming for classic and simple, with touches of whimsy and an eye toward practicality. Above all, we wanted the house to feel inviting for the many gatherings we envisioned hosting here, and cozy for all the overnight guests we planned to have,” says Dalton-Ameen. “We tried to furnish each room to highlight the understated elegance and grace of the bones of the house – the furnishings and decor are largely simple and classic – and don’t detract from the house itself.”
Adds Seely, “The house gets so much natural light and we wanted to highlight that by keeping the walls light and bright.”
The last piece of the renovation was removing 30 feet of driveway to expand the yard, building a raised patio, and redoing the deck off the back of the house. “This created a little oasis in the city that gained us some privacy and comfort, and afforded a space for Mike’s four – yes four! – grills,” Dalton-Ameen says with a smile. “We’re so glad we broadened our horizons, even if it is just 10 minutes across town. Aside from loving the house, we have a wonderful community of neighbors, and there are plenty of little friends for our son.”
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