Jessie and Alex Blazer are both Midwesterners born and raised, but until recently the couple lived happily in a leafy neighborhood in New York City. Then their second daughter was born and the lure of family and the easy access to space both inside and out drew them back.
“I was home for a long visit in September to spend some time with my family,” says Jessie Blazer, a Kansas City native. “Once I had children, being close to my family became so important.” When Alex, who hails from Tulsa, joined her for part of her stay, a friend of Jessie’s mother offered to show them a few houses. “It was basically an impulse buy,” says Blazer of their new home.
Even though it was just the second house the couple saw, they both knew as they stood in the entry of the gracious Tudor that this was it. They made an offer immediately.
“We loved it,” says Blazer. “But I tend to gravitate toward a more modern feel. I wanted to lighten it up and give it a contemporary edge.” The kitchen had been recently updated, which was part of the allure. “Kitchens are so expensive to renovate. The fact that it was clean and crisp and white enabled us to put our budget into the rest of the house.” That budget went toward updating finishes throughout the house and a total renovation of the master bath and closet. The couple guided the renovation from their New York home, so they put complete trust in their contractors, Scovell Wolfe and Associates, and Blazer couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
While the entry hall has lovely bones—the wrought-iron railing and curved landing are love-at-first-sight worthy—Blazer decided to lighten the space with marble tile floors and have the woodwork stained darker to provide a stronger, crisper contrast.
The dark wood paneling wraps the dining room. Its seemingly traditional backdrop contrasts with a glass dining table and modern chrome and glass fixture, a metaphor for the owners’ traditional backgrounds and youthful style.
The living room, which is flooded with sunlight even late in the day, keeps things light and easy. The rug is a trellis pattern, the chairs are upholstered in velvet and the curtains hang full and lush from rods mounted close to the ceiling, but the room maintains a youthful air. “My husband is a little more traditional that I am,” says Blazer. “In this room especially, we worked to keep that balance.”
The study just beyond holds Blazer’s desk and provides a more intimate spot for people to settle when the couple entertains. “The longer we are in the house the more we see how each of these rooms offers us so many different options,” she notes.
Stronger strokes of orange in the sunroom at the back of the house reflect its new role as a hangout haven for the couple and their two small girls. “This is where they play or we settle in to watch a movie,” she says of the cozy corner sofa and upholstered ottoman, which provide the perfect spots to snuggle in or cuddle up.
At the top of the stairs is a small nook that the previous owners christened the “turret room.” “This is another spot that we keep finding ourselves gravitating to. It’s such a great place to relax,” Blazer says.
While each room of the new home continues to charm its new family, the master bedroom is Blazer’s favorite.
“I love this room,” she says. “At the end of the day I am so ready to climb into bed. I just crave it.” The couple had not planned on decorating this room so soon, but they knew someone who wasn’t able to use the custom headboard, and suddenly, “Well, you know. It just seemed like a good idea to go ahead.”
It seemed wise, too, to reconfigure an existing bathroom and sun porch to create a new, gleaming master bath and a closet more fitting for the 21st century. “There were ‘his’ and ‘her’ bathrooms that still had the original tile. We actually hated to lose it. We kept ‘his’ as it was for the girls and I love having that original element of the home,” Blazer says.
The bedrooms on the second floor of the house all open one onto the other, a not-uncommon feature in homes of its age. “Some of my friends thought we should close off a few of these doors, but I loved it that it was original to the house and we were all connected,” said Blazer. The couple’s move, after all, was always about being close to family.
Scovell Wolfe and Associates
Bergamot & Ivy Design