Greg and Cheryl Perry had the lucky fortune of living in Paris, a dream many people share. But when the couple had the opportunity to return to their southern New England roots and raise their three young children in similar environs to their own youth, they jumped at the opportunity. “I looked at every town on 95 South,” laughs Greg, but Cheryl just wasn’t connecting with any of the communities. With Greg’s job in Boston, the couple started their search closer to the city, but they soon found the ideal fit just a little further from Beantown than they thought: Barrington. “The family won out, but I got a beautiful community [in exchange] for the long commute.”
The house they had chosen, a traditional Colonial style, was perfectly suitable, but after a while, Cheryl had expressed to Greg that it wasn’t “the last house I want to own.” So with no pressure, the two sought a home that would truly be a place they were comfortable in and that their children would grow into. The run down cottage-style house just steps from Rhode Island Country Club hardly met their wish list. “It was pretty run down inside and hadn’t been maintained – and it was too small for my family,” Greg says. Before they could turn their back on the needy property, both he and Cheryl looked around, were charmed by the mature beech trees, and the site spoke to them. “We knew it was right,” explains Greg.
For some people, taking a home from drab to fab is a passion. For Greg and Cheryl, it was uncharted territory. What they lacked in renovation experience they made up for in ambition – helped by a dash of kismet. “Through fate, we were introduced to David [Andreozzi] and he came over one evening and we had a conversation about the immediate needs [of the home] and one thing led to another, and more conversations, then plans and talks about what [the home] could be,” says Greg. David Andreozzi, Principal of Andreozzi Architects, listened to Greg and Cheryl, and all of a sudden, the home’s limitations started to sound awfully familiar. “I originally was hired in 1991 by a different client to put an addition on that house,” says Dave. “They ended up calling me by coincidence.”
Together, Greg, Cheryl and Dave collaborated on setting realistic goals for the home along with a realistic budget and timeline. The first phase included a spacious master suite, luxurious but functional bathroom and his and hers closets. The design was created for anything but show. It was crafted as a sanctuary from the strains of the daily routine. “In the context of long commutes and stressful work… it really was the ability to have… an enclave where it’s private, comfortable, relaxed and also functional. Dave recognized really quickly we wanted ‘nice’ but certainly not ostentatious,” explains Greg. “Everything needed to work.” Greg credits David’s “passion and vision and artistry” for taking the project from vision to reality.
The couple had decided long before pulling the trigger on phase one that the master suite was the top priority and that they could live with the kitchen and other side of the home as-is for some time. “Cheryl and I held hands and said, ‘We could last in this,’” says Greg. “That lasted two years.”
Because they had already discussed a master plan for the home, when the time and budget allowed entering the next renovation phase, it was a simple step forward. “Suddenly there was an opportunity to jump at phase two,” says Greg. “David had all the plans and we were ready to go.” While the kitchen was the lifeblood of phase two, the couple sought a space that would seamlessly blend into the dining area and ultimately the living room. Because they would be demolishing an existing garage and adding new square footage, the couple thought long and hard about the long term needs of their family and agreed a finished basement with ample space to relax and recreate would have its privileges. As the kids are beginning to enter their teenage years, the couple created a casual hangout with a large flat-screen television, pool table and foosball table so that they could functionally have a teenagers’ haven and not be worried about where their brood is headed to on the weekends. “We wanted them to migrate to our house to see who [the kids] are hanging out with… There’s a method to our madness,” Greg laughs. “Our devious plan worked because it has become a nice place for the kids and their friends.” But it’s not all about the kids. Greg and Cheryl worked with Dave to design a wine room as well in the basement. “With a really big lock,” Greg adds.
Greg credits Cheryl with the artistic vision for the home, bringing in the various shades that adorn the walls and a design aesthetic that makes visitors feel welcome throughout. The Perry house was the place to be last winter when a blizzard brought nearly two feet of snow to Barrington. “We had a generator and we became very popular,” Greg laughs. “We had 15 people and four dogs here and it was one of the happiest moments for me in the house.” As he looked around and saw friends and family laughing and eating, every burner on the stove at full capacity, and children running in and out of the snow, Greg says there was a palpable sense of how the home worked successfully. “It’s a testimony to David’s approach and really connecting to who we are,” he says. “We couldn’t express to David what our wants and needs are… he intuitively extracted who we are and how we needed it to work. He really hit a homerun.”