Inside Interior Designer Lizzy Dexter’s Antique Summer Home in Madison, CT

Five years ago, Lizzy Dexter and her husband received a call that the Madison, CT home where he had spent summers as a boy was back on the market. The house was built in 1912 and owned by his great-grandmother, who left it to her children. His family ultimately decided to sell in the 1980s. The house later went through two renovations, was winterized and updated. Just for fun, the couple decided to go see it. They fell in love instantly and ended up purchasing the home.

Decorating the space presented some challenges, but Dexter was previously a design partner at the renowned NYC firm Cullman & Kravis and now owns Elizabeth Dexter Interiors, also in NYC, so the house was in good hands. She added air conditioning and changed the lighting, flooring and some cabinetry to fit larger flat-screen televisions. Dexter has two young children, plus the family entertains and has guests frequently, so the home needed to be comfortable, relaxing and kid-friendly.

In the dining room, Dexter chose French bistro chairs (made of rattan and plastic) to eliminate any worry about stains and a rustic, flea-market dining table, which could certainly take more scratches. The living room was the most complicated to decorate because it is so long. To make sense of the space, the designer created two separate living areas, one for reading or talking by the fire and the other for a larger group to lounge and watch a movie. All of the bedrooms are set up to accommodate as many people as possible. Dexter stuck with a color palette of serene blues, since the house is right on the water, and used a mix of new furnishings with antiques to give the rooms a fresh feel but still impart history.

The family has settled in well—they spend the entire summer in Madison and every other weekend in the winter, too. With its relaxed blend of old and new, the home has truly come full circle.

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The living room features club chairs in an Old World Weavers fabric, a burlap ottoman from Number Four Eleven, and a mirror from John Rosselli.
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Kitchen highlights include Sorenson Lanterns by Remains Lighting, a stainless steel island countertop and Alma Stools by TK Collections.
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In the dining room, Alma Café Chairs from TK Collections surround a French flea-market table, and the starfish American flag is from J. Pocker. Jamie Young bone lamps anchor a Demiurge console table.
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The family room’s nautical feel is created by the model sailboat, Simon Pearce lamps filled with shells, and a vintage porthole side table.
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A guest bedroom contains twin beds upholstered in Quadrille’s Indramayu fabric and an antique campaign chest.
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Another guest bedroom includes a chair upholstered in Ferrick Mason’s Calliandra fabric, a side table from Williams-Sonoma Home and a lamp by Dovecote in Westport, CT.
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The master bedroom features a Gotz Diergarten photograph, Lucite cube tables from Jayson Home and Garden, and side tables from Bungalow in Westport, CT.