A Sleek and Sophisticated Townhouse

A Manchester couple transforms a three-story townhouse into an elegant and comfortable home by combining contemporary design and a lifetime of mementos.

World travel and luxury style inspired the décor of a new Manchester townhouse with Merrimack River views.

After Theresa Dolloff and her husband, Chris, purchased their new 2,500-square-foot unit at Riverwalk Place, they wanted the design of the space to reflect their personal style. "My husband and I travel quite a bit," she says. "We've always gravitated toward clean lines and a contemporary, uncluttered style of design. Our goal was to use these influences in our new home."

The couple looked for a "designer whom we related to and whom we felt would bring our level of excitement to the project." They didn't have to look far. Dolloff chose a friend and colleague, Lisa Muskat of LKM Design, LLC, in Bedford, whom she knew well as a fellow committee member with the local nonprofit Families in Transition. "There is no better word-of-mouth than volunteering side-by-side with someone for a great cause," Dolloff says. "I met with Lisa about the project, and knew instantly that she was perfect for the job."

When the opportunity arose to purchase a brand-new, three-story end unit with sun throughout the day, the couple couldn't resist. Dolloff says the condominium could not be altered on the exterior, but inside, they had free range. This was their opportunity to create an airy, open-concept home with clean lines. The Dolloffs went all in-every aspect of the floor plan was modified to make the most out of every square inch. "It was important for us to make all the spaces functional as well as beautiful," Dolloff says. "Lisa took that directive and went to town."

Personal treasures

"Theresa and Chris have very modern taste, but they also wanted the townhouse to feel homey and comfortable," Muskat says. The well-traveled couple wanted a luxury hotel feel to their home, and space where treasured art, sculpture and photography could be displayed.

An initial design meeting set the parameters for the project. "Theresa does her homework," Muskat says. Muskat-assisted by project captain Melissa West-shared ideas, floor plans, architectural elements, materials and colors throughout the process.

"One of the interesting project collaborations with Theresa is the lit niches in the entry hallway that showcase her photography," Muskat says.

The safari photographs were custom-framed using mats with metallic gold speckles. The niches for the artwork are recessed into the wall and lit from above. "When the light shines, it brings the photos to life," Dolloff says. The entry hall leads to a first-floor media/guest room that features a full bath and built-in, floor-to-ceiling cabinetry in a deep espresso color. The custom-designed rug in the media room is the main conversation piece. Muskat had suggested an animal hide rug, to go along with the safari-inspired design that developed into a modern take on a traditional hide. But the Dolloffs chose a leather rug made entirely from recycled belts and ordered a special die cut in a custom shape.

"We wanted to incorporate cool and unique things in our home that would become conversation pieces," Dolloff says. "The rug took a while to arrive, but it was so worth it. It's gorgeous. As fabulous as the media room is, that rug captures everyone's attention."

Another piece of art that inspired the color palette was an abstract painting on canvas, with amethyst and burnt amber tones. "It has really deep, rich colors. And when Lisa saw it, she said, 'I love that, let's go,'" Dolloff says. The painting's colors can be found throughout the home in fabrics, countertops, custom area rugs and accessories, and their subtle use helps to tie all the spaces together.

All in the details

With a sleek design as a guide, the use of traditional furnishings like dressers and standalone cabinets was minimized. Instead, Muskat incorporated tasteful millwork to compliment each room.

The Dolloffs chose maple cabinets with Viking stainless-steel appliances for the kitchen. The new chef's kitchen was particularly enticing to daughter Sarah, an aspiring chef now attending Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. Her bedroom takes on its own personality with its youthful colors and a fun bubble chair in lime green along with a funky ceiling light.

A violet-colored onyx was used for the countertops in the kitchen, the dining area's wet bar and a half bath. "We knew we had to find something completely out of the ordinary for the kitchen countertops," Muskat says. "It needed to have a wow factor while maintaining a level of sophistication, and this violet onyx was the perfect element."

"What's interesting about the violet onyx is that it looks just as stunning on the maple cabinets as it does on the dark, espresso-colored cabinets" Dolloff adds. "It complements both the dark color and the lighter wood. The space is very open and the countertops really tie it all together."

Lighting up design

Other eye-catching features are the custom light fixtures, chandeliers and sconces that themselves are works of art.

"The lighting is gorgeous," Dolloff says. "There is such a nice variety of lighting for each and
every room. All of the rooms have a different

"Lighting is incredibly important to the way you move through and use spaces," Muskat says. Overhead fixtures in the living room are made of alabaster, and the chandelier over the dining table is made of hand-blown glass.

"The chandelier is spectacular," Dolloff says. "It shimmers, like the gold leaf backsplash tile in the dining room."

Best of both worlds

The townhouse took a little more than a year to complete, but the final result exceeded the homeowners' expectations.

"We love it," Dolloff says. "When we return home from traveling, it's so comfortable. It's the best of both worlds-fantastic design with all our own personal belongings."

Categories: Renovation