Home Tour: Providence

Back to the Future: Blair Moore shares how a 100-year-old Colonial was remodeled to return to its roots in a modern way


For many New England homeowners, it’s not uncommon to live in a house that is 100 years old. Lifestyles were different back then and older homes often have original features that now seem curious to our modern eyes – like small narrow closets (does a bike go in there?) – or worse, rooms that received remodels in decades past with trappings and decisions that now seem odd and dated (hardwood flooring hidden beneath layers of carpeting and laminate). But what if your new home is old and you want to keep that vibe – but imbue a modern twist? This was the case for a young family who fell hard for a classic center-hall Colonial on Providence’s East Side.

Built in 1920, the home had succumbed to some builder-grade renovations in the 1980s and bespoke millwork, solid cabinetry, and moldings had been removed. To course-correct, the couple turned to Moore House Design (MHD), a family-run business based half in Warren and half in New York City whose work they’d been admiring on Instagram. MHD has a holistic approach to creative and functional design that has landed them national attention, including being on an episode of Point of View: A Designer Profile for Magnolia Network on Discovery+. Says Blair Moore, founder and creative director, “Our goal was to bring this home back to life and back to its historic roots, but with some modern flair.”

In a full-scale design, renovation, and furnishings project, the MHD team set a goal of transforming the home by “infusing it with only the most charming of details.” The first-floor expanded kitchen now boasts “sooty midnight” cabinetry and textural brick walls, while the second-floor main suite has built-in closets, which provide coveted storage while incorporating sleek colonial-inspired character. “The overall scope of this project required a hefty, multi-floor, full gut, or ‘floverhaul’ as I like to call it,” says Moore. “We overhauled the floor plan with attention to spatial flow and creating storage for the growing family. The kitchen, entryway, pantry, mudroom, dining room, and main suite were renovated head to toe.”

So what goes into making an old house that was remodeled to look new, look old again? Moore shares that it begins with the “discovery” phase. “Our team does a lot of research about the home and the architecture type to be able to execute our interior architecture plans.” While Moore explains there were some major structural changes that her team made to the layout of the first floor, they didn’t want to lose that quintessential New England Colonial feel.

Topping the MHD list was bringing back architectural features via installations of redesigned casework, millwork, paneling, and crown moldings; they also moved structural walls so it looked intentional and like it had always been that way. “A lot of Colonials we work on have original brick but this house was stripped of it before we arrived, so naturally we wanted to add it back in in the kitchen and mudroom. We layered that with a limewash over the top that calcifies over time,” Moore explains.

Once the heavy lifting was done, MHD enjoyed imparting what they refer to as their signature broody style. Says Moore, “it’s a term we coined to describe our mix of bright and moody, and it brings so much depth.” This is where paint and furnishings come in. “Our team is absolutely methodical when it comes to paint colors. We have a general gist of where we want the colors to land in every room from the beginning of our design journey, but right towards completion, our team swatches hundreds of colors and tests them over multiple days to make sure the color selected heightens the interior architecture, adds depth to the furnishings and fabrications, and works in every single type of light case that the weather can throw at us, always choosing the exact right color for the space.”

Moore shares that the architecture of a space always inspires how MHD places furniture and decor throughout the home in an artistic way. “Our firm has a love for selecting the perfect antiques from all over the globe and layering them with carefully proportioned custom pieces. We layer in a blend of our clients’ lifestyles as well as a very organic layering of custom and antiques to deepen the roots of the space,” says Moore. “We believe that every house should feel gathered and layered with elements of our clients as if they were to travel the world and collect all of these incredible treasures that just perfectly and effortlessly work within the home. Our goal is for the furniture to fit effortlessly within the architecture of the home.”

Deemed the Colonial Modernist project, Moore reports that the homeowners are overjoyed with the results. Smiling brightly she affirms, “I always say if you don’t have the four components of your interior architecture right – walls, ceilings, floors, and windows – then it doesn’t matter what furniture you add into the space. It will always feel out of place and forced.” 



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