Stepping into Meghan and Bill’s North Buffalo home, two adorable Goldendoodles—Doodle and Darby—enthusiastically greet you before eventually plopping down in their favorite spot in front of the fireplace. That’s when the calm, subtle coastal vibe sets in, and it becomes hard to imagine a time when the 1924 home was considered the eyesore on the block.
Relocating from Virginia four years ago, Meghan fell in love with the home the moment she saw the suspiciously few photos on Zillow. In fact, she drove straight from a wedding in Delaware to see it in person, placing her bid soon after.
The home, which sat vacant for years, had recently been flipped. But it was still begging for a little love and personality, so Megan turned to “decorating magician” Caroline Barr of Caroline Design. First on the list? The micro-bathroom right off the back entrance. A coveted asset in any North Buffalo home, the tight first-floor space had a half sink and toilet sitting right on top of each other.
To make the area off the back entrance work more effectively for modern-day needs, Barr essentially swapped functions: The powder room was relocated to where the closet had been, and its former space blown out to create a mudroom complete with bench and open cubbies, rather than drawers.
“Opening the space underneath makes rooms feel bigger,” Caroline said. “In an old Buffalo home, giving them a mudroom was a nice touch.”
How to make the floorplan best work for both Meghan and Bill was also a challenge in the living room: she wanted to have a sitting room, while he wanted a spot to watch TV with recliners. The 26-by-8-foot space confined the options with its long, narrow footprint, central fireplace and ample windows.
“It was like Tetris trying to make a living area and sitting area in a very long room,” said Meghan.
Barr reimagined the floorplan, seamlessly blending the two distinct areas on each side of the fireplace. To help the couple visualize the final result, she created a mood board that showcased how the different design elements would interplay in the same space.
The addition of white shiplap along the fireplace wall, as well as recess lighting, scones and new windows, helped lighten up the space—furthered by the soft blue, cream and white color palette. An Arhaus sectional, perfectly tucked into the corner, is where you can now find Meghan reading and “Doodle snuggling.” The coffee table has become a talking point of the space, dubbed “The Stump.”
“Meghan expressed to me that she wanted her home to feel not so heavy,” said Barr. “They were both in the Army and wanted something light and positive, and the coastal theme fit perfectly with their vision.”
On the other side of the living room, recliners disguised as leather club chairs bring the comfort factor Bill craved—now his go-to spot. The TV was mounted on a swing arm so it can be adjusted for optimal viewing then tucked back into place.
Meghan, who loves flowers, often indulges in fresh arrangements from Fern Croft—they remind her “of the beautiful things in the world.” She cites them as her “material things,” since the couple didn’t hold onto much when moving frequently with the Army.
Framed by the artful arrangements is a sign with the family motto, “What good shall I do this day?” which perfectly encapsulates what makes their space special—its optimism.
“Being in the Army for a long time and moving frequently, you don’t have a home,” said Meghan. “This is the first home we’ve ever had where we don’t have to move in two years. It makes me so happy.”
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