A Fresh Take on a Traditional Cape Cod
June 21, 2018
The first time I met Meredith Shikora, I was sitting with my husband in the Restoration Hardware showroom trying to decide on a couch. Two display couches over, Meredith and her husband were trying to do the same thing. I can’t remember whether they overheard our conversation or we overheard theirs, but we soon realized our kids went to the same school and that we lived within blocks of each other. We became fast friends and I look back on that day with a lot of affection.
Meredith is an impressive woman. She holds down a demanding, high profile job while still managing to raise two talented, empathetic children. She maintains a busy social life and travel schedule. Her fashion choices are free of trend, timeless and easy. When I met her, she was struggling with how to finish her beautiful Cape Cod style home. The home itself was perfect, but what to do with all those rooms?
One of the best things about being a woman in your forties with lots of women friends in their forties, is that it means you know a lot of talented, successful, and interesting women! I introduced Meredith to Meghan Rostovsky and Sari Lehrer of Providence Interiors.
What they came up with together is a pulled together, relaxed, navy paradise. It’s fresh and modern, yet rooted and classic… just like Meredith.
Annie: What was your experience of your home before you hired Meghan and Sari?
Meredith: We bought this house when we knew we were going to have two kids. We knew that it would be our next home, but also possibly our forever home. Somebody gave me a really good piece of advice, which was to take my time decorating, so I could figure out what I wanted to do with the rooms. We had all of these rooms and we didn’t know what we wanted to do with them. That was the best advice. We really waited and waited and waited.
Annie: It’s good advice. Living in a space for a while allows you to see how you use the rooms.
Meredith: Originally, we thought we might try to make the front room a playroom. Then, we decided that would be great for a couple of years, but not long term.
Annie: Didn’t Jonathan want to make it a library at one point?
Meredith: That’s exactly what he wanted to do. That’s why we had the built-ins done.
Annie: I love the built-ins.
Meredith: I loved the house, the beautiful surroundings, the lay out, the windows, the structure… all of that was perfect. Still, it was at a point where it didn’t feel like a home at all. I loved the bones and the layout, but it needed to be pulled together. We bought a few things for the house because we needed to fill the rooms and I realized that decorating a house is not my strength. I knew what I wanted it to look like, but I couldn’t do it and that’s when we finally decided to hire someone.
Annie: What did you want it to look like?
Meredith: I knew exactly what I wanted. I was crystal clear. I wanted it to be beautifully finished, but still a home. I wanted it to be the kind of place people would feel comfortable and kids could run around.
Annie: You didn’t want a museum.
Meredith: I didn’t not want a museum in any shape or form! I didn’t want anywhere in this house to be a place I’d freak out if the kids touched anything. I knew I didn’t want it to be fancy. I didn’t want it to be too contemporary. I didn’t want anything too bohemian.
Annie: And that’s how it ended up. It looks done, pulled together, and homey. You want to live in it. You want to be in it.
Meredith: I’m not exaggerating when I tell you every day I walk down my stairs and I look into this room and love it. I just can’t believe the difference in how it made me feel about my home.
Annie: When you love your home and you feel like it is an accurate representation of who you are, it’s an incredible feeling. You can invite people over and you can feel good about it because you feel like they are seeing you.
Meredith: You know what else I love? See the two prints above these chairs? My parents owned a store when they were first married. It was called Uniquity. They sold those prints in their store. I look at them against the wallpaper and I love the mix of personal and new. There are the shells from our honeymoon in a case on the bookshelf. The longhorn reminds me of the University of Texas, where I went to school. Along the hall, there’s is a piece of art from everywhere we’ve ever lived. So, it isn’t just that it was beautifully done, there are things that make it personal and meaningful to us.
Annie: I love the wallpaper.
Meredith: Meghan really had to talk us into the wallpaper. It was beautifully painted before and I thought, ugh, to put the expense in the wallpaper… it’s not cheap. Now, it’s one of my favorite things. They talked us into painting the dining room blue. I was unsure about that. It ended up being one of the things I love the most. The light fixture… Meghan and Sari loved it… I hated it. It was so not my taste. Now, I look at it and I think it’s perfection.
Annie: Sometimes a thing is jarring to the eye simply because it’s different. It doesn’t matter that it looks great. It takes time to get used to the change.
Meredith: I didn’t realize how much your home can affect your mood and your happiness. Sometimes, I’ll just sit here in the quiet. Jonathan likes to turn on the music or the tv is going. When I’m alone, I’ll just sit here in quiet. I’ll stare outside and try to get grounded. When I do get those moments, I can’t imagine there’s anywhere else I’d rather be.