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"We'll have hors d'oeuvres in one spot and then dine on the other side, where we have curtains, banquettes and a table I picked up at a flea market in Paris." Comfortable furniture, flowers, plenty of candles and antique touches from the family's travels make it a summer haven. "It's understated luxury at its best," Zellers says.
In keeping with this concept, Zeller introduced his clients to Fairfield architect Richard Swann, who modernized the exterior into a contemporary shingle style. "The original structure had carved rafter tails and long roof overhangs. We retained that architectural vocabulary for our alterations and additions," says Swann, who worked closely with craftsman and builder Charlie Savatsky to reproduce similar timber framing and details. The two-year process involved renovating every inch of the house, resulting in 1,500 square feet of new space that upped the total to a generous 5,200 square feet. "The staircase was the only thing we didn't touch," Jamie says.
Natural light was integral to every decision. "All of the 'people spaces' range right and left along the water side of the house. It's fairly narrow, so even from the opposite side of the home one can 'borrow' views of the Sound," says Swann, who made his mark on all 14 rooms spread over three floors. He moved the breakfast room and kitchen to the water side of the house, added a bedroom and exercise room above it (on the second and third floors, respectively) and turned the former kitchen into the dining room. In addition, he combined several of the original bedrooms on the second floor to create a master suite with three sets of French doors opening onto a narrow terrace overlooking the water. The master bath has the same view. Finally, he turned the downstairs bathroom into a coat closet and replaced the back staircase with a powder room.