Here's what interior designers worth their hourly rate can tell you: ugly is temporary, but location lasts forever. In this case, a rundown 1906 carriage house with little curb appeal boasted a prime spot on an acre of land overlooking a grassy meadow with a mown path down to a bend in the Concord River. Near Concord Center, tucked among a bevy of substantial homes, the property also offered history, occupying part of Concord founder Simon Willard's original farm.
Her plan of attack for the carriage house was simple - get it into a form that she could work with. For six months, Larson lived in the home's basement with a toaster oven and a small refrigerator, ran her interior design firm, Inside/Out, and watched as walls were taken down to the studs, windows were replaced and cozy rooms created.
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Presto-chango! The sitting room (below) does double duty, being transformed into a formal dining room (next photo) for holiday entertaining. The entryway sideboard replaces the loveseat, while chairs and a tabletop stored in the garage create an instant holiday setting.
For less formal occasions, the gabled walls of the kitchen area create a cozy nook for intimate dinners.
Wallpaper covers the walls and low ceiling of one of the upstairs guest rooms while beadboard recalls architecture of old.