The Knowltons had raised three children, all now
grown, in the house along New Hampshire’s short but
charming coastline, and the gutting of the bathroom had
marked a transition toward a new way of living. “Now
what?” was a philosophical question as well as a decorating one, and Hodge knew what had to be done. One
by one, in close collaboration with the couple, he got the
dated rooms ready for their second act — but not without some persuasion.
“Redecorating is an education for clients,” says
Hodge. During decor triage, he identified emergencies
more dire than the bathroom, such as the sunroom, a dim
space with stained pine even on the ceiling. He had to per-
suade Suzanne that if she wanted to live in lighter, more
casual surroundings, as she professed, it would mean
redefining her core beliefs about paint on wood. She gave
a hesitant go-ahead and covered her eyes as Judy Dibble
of Brookwood Designs in Hopkinton, New Hampshire,
brought life to the room with a peach-colored strié paint
treatment. With that, Suzanne began to see the light.
Next came the dining room, with its eight heavy panels of curtains obstructing floor-to-ceiling windows. The
room was part of a 1997 renovation, when the Knowltons removed a 1930s addition (originally salvaged from
a bowling alley) and extended the footprint of the house.
They designed a new layout for the entire house them-
the original antique house (right) faces the street, while a
1997 addition extends the back of the house, where a double-door entryway butts up against the barn-like garage. Existing
natural cherry cabinets in the family room (above) were painted
white for a brighter look.