Empty-nesters seek to banish their home’s haphazard look

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By Jaci Conry  

After 19 years living in their Colonial Revival Cape-style home, Linda and Marc Shpilner decided it was finally time for a change. They wanted a larger kitchen with a breakfast area, an office, another bathroom, and a garage. “We entertain a lot,” says Linda Shpilner. “We wanted more space to move around when people come over.” The couple have two children, Zachary, who is off to college in the fall, and Brenna, who lives on her own but returns to the family home “all the time,” her mother says.

When the Shpilners started planning the renovation, they brought interior designer Robin Gannon on board. “I had never worked with a designer,” says Linda. “I was the type who would buy things for the house and bring them home and the scale would be completely off. The lamp would be the wrong size, the couch too big for the room — that sort of thing. So we hired Robin in the very beginning.” Not only did Gannon take charge of the updated spaces, she also worked on other areas of the house — designed by Royal Barry Wills and built in 1933 — to ensure a compatible aesthetic.

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