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The big, practical tasks—a reconfigured driveway and a new roof—took precedence. The interior work had to be synchronized with the replacement of a weathered structural beam and the installation of new stucco to replace the deteriorating original. The kitchen, three baths and a basement needed complete updating. In addition, the living spaces lacked sufficient lighting, one thing Parisi says was never addressed well.
The kitchen, with aged Formica cabinets and countertops, was the most challenging room to tackle. Despite having a large expanse of glass, it was, according to the owners, "really worn and dark, and a stationary island was too clunky and big for the room." Parisi ripped out the cabinets and designed new ones made of rock maple and quilted maple with an inlay, which were fabricated by cabinetmaker James Schriber. (The honey tones of the wood are a serene complement to the polished Damascus Red marble that was chosen for the countertops and back-splashes.) Parisi also removed the island and replaced it with a wood table of his own design surrounded by Italian chairs found by New Haven interior designer Defne Veral.
"The materials in the house are really the most important part, so we tried to find even richer materials," Parisi says. To that end, a deep blue lapis marble replaced Formica in the powder room, and glass tile in shades of aquamarine replaced an old speckled gray in the master bath. Color and texture are wed throughout—to a rich and subtle effect. "We never tried to copy Breuer," says Parisi. "We just tried to get the essence."