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Growing With the Family

Imagination and chic design are the cornerstones for this Saunderstown couple


When Ed and Paula Santos moved into their Saunderstown home in 1994, it seemed to perfectly suit their needs. Tucked away on a quiet, bucolic expanse, everything seemed idyllic – until it didn’t. “As our family started to grow, we started looking for more space,” explains Ed. By the time they had three small children, the couple began to search for another home that could better accommodate their growing brood. The only problem was, nothing felt right. Ed and Paula took a long hard look at their tight-quarters and pastoral piece of property and decided if they couldn’t find the right home, they would create it.

The couple turned to David Andreozzi, principal of Andreozzi Architects, to design a solution for their home that o!ered comfortable living and space to entertain. Before David even drew a line of architectural plans, the trio talked about the home’s obstacles and its objectives. “From Ed and Paula’s perspective, it seems that when they bought the house, it was working for them just fine. But, as their family grew and their needs changed – and they couldn’t find a home in they loved the way they loved this property – the answer seemed to be to renovate and [add an] addition,” reiterates David.

“What David does well is he talks to you about how you plan to use every room in the house. Then he lays it out so that it’s practical. We use every feature,” explains Ed. The couple soon learned to think bigger – not only in terms of space, but lifestyle. A bedroom for themselves and each of the children, a spacious kitchen, a living room with good flow – those were all obvious decisions. But options including a theater, finished basement with a fitness center, ample garage space, strategically aligned views of the patio and pool area – these were all thoughtfully considered. “We revisited the whole plan,” says Paula.

“As their family changed it was important to assess their children’s needs to recreate the existing house in order to create a newborn sense of place that both their family and friends would be drawn to,” says David. “From the media room, to the family room, to the pool and outside entertainment areas, it was about creating an almost magnetic place that would be comforting and secure for all.”

Making it all happen took patience and an ample budget on Ed and Paula’s behalf. It also took, ironically, a temporary change of address. “About 90% of the house was gutted. We moved to an apartment for a year and a half while they were doing the demo and building,” recalls Ed. Together, the couple and the architect, along with David’s associate, Dave Rizzolo (who the Santos’ say essentially morphed into a member of the family), and the building team at North Kingstown-based Gardner Woodwrights, found solutions to challenges and visions reality. “From a design standpoint, one of the unique design quandaries was to design a home office for Ed where he could entertain clients, yet he also wanted direct access from that same office to the master bedroom suite,” David cites as an example. “Our solution was a connecting second floor walkway which made all the connections in an intuitively private way. Also, another challenge was the bones of the original home; a developer colonial box. We went though many variants of detailing to soften the design to a more costumed designed colonial farmhouse.”

One of the spaces Paula enjoys the most is the formal living room, a space they also call “the music room.” Though formal living rooms are sometimes excluded in today’s home designs to make room for larger kitchens or “great rooms,” the music room is Paula’s personal sanctuary. “I play the piano, so I go there when I want to be away from everything. It’s my relaxing space. The kitchen is very beautiful and functional but it can be hectic sometimes,” she says with a laugh. With their children being 20, 17, 14, there’s always a meal in the making or something to be done.

Though Ed’s office, tucked away on the second floor and opposite the bedrooms, is a dream come true, the home theater, he says, was the space he had the most apprehension about. To his delight, it has reaped the most reward. “Merging technology into today’s construction is key to its success,” David explains. “We have worked with Jeff Mitchell at RS Audio Visual Design for over a decade achieving this at all levels. When the discussion occurred of creating a place to draw children and friends, the concept of recreating a theater seemed like a natural solution.”

Ed and Paula turned to Kelly Hickey of Hickey Interiors to execute a design scheme for their aesthetic which they describe as “eclectic traditional.” Kelly, says David, worked hand with the Santos’ to achieve a seamless composition of interior decoration with the interior architecture.

Reflecting on the project, David says the Santos home is a good example of how an architect can truly help assess your needs with regards to the scale of a project, the program of a project and most importantly, your financial resources. “There is a misconception that an architect will overdesign and cost you money. In truth, it is opposite. They allow you to spend money on what you need now, plan for the future and keep you on budget. As we interviewed Paula and Ed, we proposed options and opportunities for their growing family.  They happily chose many of our suggestions. The result is a perfect design solution designed exactly for them – then, now and in the future.”

home design, David Andreozzi, Andreozzi Architects, Saunderstown homes, Rhode Island architecture, interior design, Hickey Interiors, Kelly Hickey


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