It was the views of Long Island Sound that seduced them.

The New York City couple had come to Larchmont, New York, looking for a place to rent that was an easy commute to their Manhattan jobs. Their plan was to test the waters to see whether they liked the community enough to buy. But the minute they stepped through the front door of the 1910 Spanish Colonial house, they knew that it would be the perfect place to raise their two young sons.

“When we saw the sea, it was clear that this was a special property,” says the husband.

“The view,” the wife adds, “is expansive.”

Because they had never owned a house before, they really didn’t know what they were getting into. But it didn’t matter because they were smitten. They moved in immediately and hired Charles Hilton Architects, which is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, to restore, renovate, and reshape the house to suit their lifestyle.

The house, which is in a historic district, did, indeed, need work. The floors sagged, the walls lacked insulation, and demolition revealed unanticipated water damage and rot. The Spanish-tile roof, the exterior stucco façade, and all the windows, doors, millwork, and trim had to be replaced as did the outdated mechanicals, the electrical system, and the decades-old kitchen and baths.

What’s more, the unstable sunroom was demolished and reconstructed, and the two original first-floor bay windows and two second-floor bay windows, which were later additions, were replaced with larger windows to bring the light—-and the view of the Sound that so enchanted the owners—into the family room, living room, primary bedroom suite, and boys’ study. 

“We took the lead from the house’s century-old architecture and enhanced it,” says architect Chuck Hilton, adding that the stucco façade and wood trim were replaced with more durable PVC that looks like the real thing. “At the same time, we took the opportunity to rework the circulation of the floor plans for the first and second floors to be more efficient and better meet the owners’ needs.”

To that end, the kitchen, pantry, and mudroom were reconfigured, and the dining room was converted into a family room. Dining now takes place in what was the old study.

Perhaps the most significant alteration was the removal of a chimney and its three fireplaces, creating a different configuration in the core of the house that allowed for a more generous closet and bath in the primary suite and a larger playroom for the boys. Original details, including the exposed ceiling beams in the living room, entry hall, and family room, were preserved and paired with new built-in cabinetry and a new fireplace surround whose design reflects the style of the house.

“We kept asking ourselves what the house wanted to be,” says Charles Hilton Architects project manager Jason Wyman. “The house reflects the personality of the owners.”

That personality—colorful, exuberant and multicultural—is echoed in the décor by Jenny Wolfe Interiors of New York City.

“We didn’t want a traditional or modern style,” the wife says, adding that they selected a palette of “pleasing watery blues and greens that transition from room to room. We wanted everything to be transitional and to pay homage to our heritage—I’m from India, and my husband is from Spain.”

It is the extensive use of wallpaper, by request of the homeowners, that defines the interior spaces. Enormous white cranes wing their way across the dining room, cheetahs leap playfully around the formal powder room, and a map of the world in the boys’ bedroom opens their eager eyes to endless possibilities.

One of the wife’s favorite spaces, an office in the sitting area of the primary suite, features a mural of a scene from her native India.

“It’s a work of art in and of itself,” the husband says.

The new-old house is designed to last for generations, and the couple feels so at home that they cannot imagine living anywhere else.

“We’re a five-minute walk from the park,” the husband says. “We love the community.”

And, the wife adds, “every room is so special that I can’t choose a favorite—I love them all.”