In designing this Norton Commons Italianate home, designer Leslie Cotter Dorazil incorporated edgy but accessible touches into a stunning showplace that raises the bar for transitional modern decor.


The exterior of the white two-story Italianate in idyllic Norton Commons exudes timeless elegance. Once you step inside, however, histo ric influences like intricate crown moldings and plank flooring are deftly melded with modern accents including dramatic wallcoverings and industrial light fixtures. It’s a flawless fusion of the old and the new, the tried and true, and the state of the art that make the home both stunning and functional.

“I was really inspired by travel and hospitality design,” says interior designer Leslie Dorazil. “I envisioned modern furnishings with a hint of industrial, dramatic lighting in contrast with simple, but stately mouldings and timeless finishes like marble.” Dorazil worked closely with builder David Ramage of the Ramage Company to establish that timeless modernity from the foundation up.

Dramatic flourishes in the living room set the tone for a luxurious but cozy ambiance. “I chose a bold, berry-colored, patterned oriental rug to liven up the living room,” says Dorazil. “I’m all about adding tape trim or a contrasting band of fabric to window treatments. It’s such a simple, yet versatile way to unite a room with a color, texture or pattern. And it elevates the look of an otherwise neutral panel.”

She adds other pops of color and sparkle throughout the neutral house in strategic ways. “I like to add a punch with less permanent staples like paint, small furnishings and lighting,” she says. “These pieces can evolve as trends change without making a huge financial commitment.” Dorazil chose to weave in layers of color and texture rather than adhereing to a purely neutral palette. “I wanted to infuse this scheme with pattern in a way that’s stylistic, but liveable.”

In the adjacent kitchen, a charcoal grey bar with textured tile is a striking feature. “The bar, in a moody charcoal color with its dramatic textural tile backsplash, is the true focal point of the space,” she says. An expansive marble island with oversized brushed-gold pendants create the perfect gathering space for family dinners or festive dinner parties. “The kitchen lives big with an island and built-in breakfast nook perfect for entertaining,” she says. “I opted for warm gray cabinetry to enhance the heavy veining in the Danby marble countertops and backplash.”

In the nearby office (which will one day serve as a bedroom), a deeper charcoal wallcolor lends contrast to the first floor, while an adjacent bathroom gets a pop of dark cabinetry and black and white floral wallpaper. “The scale of the powder room just screamed wallpaper to me,” she says. “Wallpaper offers depth and texture that paint can not. So wallpaper became a way to elevate a full bath that, in the meantime, serves as the first floor powder room.”

Both the kitchen and bathrooms incorporate brass fixtures and hardware— a current trend that still manages to fit aesthetically into a more traditional space. “Brass has made a return in an antiqued finish, but I’m loving the look of mixed metals,” she says. “I think incorporating other metals with antique brass has a more curated touch. The key is creating a rhythm so the effect is methodical, not cluttered. I was consistent and kept the plumbing fixture antiqued brass throughout the home, then layered in other finishes in drapery hardware, lighting and furnishings.”

Being consistent with paint choices also helped to create a neutral palette where unexpected pops like mixed metals, accent wallpaper or bold light fixtures could add interest. “The more consistent you can be with one wall color choice throughout the home, the more contiguous and expansive the floor plan will feel,” says Dorazil. “White walls are definitely trending now. But I like to choose a space or two and do something bolder.” Color, when it appears, is used in strategic ways. “Color is coming back in rich jewel tones, luxe velvets and bold wallpapers,” she says. “In this home, I used them in the office and powder room due to their size and relationship to the floor plan.”

The unique color scheme in the office suite helps distinguish it as a private, luxurious sanctuary. “I love the moody wall color, the posh furnishings and brass accents,” says Dorazil. “It’s a true retreat. The most interesting spaces to me are rooms that crossover style genres and combine unexpected elements,” says Dorazil. “My personal style is rooted in timeless elegance, with a nod to current fashions and modern amenities. Design should enhance functionality, but is should also bring joy!”


It’s the question we get most often about the homes we feature. So we asked, and Leslie answered.

Office: Benjamin Moore Duxbury Gray

Kitchen Cabinetry Perimeter and Island:  Benjamin Moore Cape May Cobblestone

Walls, Trim & Ceiling throughout the rest of house:  Benjamin Moore OC-57 White Heron

Powder Room: Black Edition | The Romo Group


Cabinets: Cornerstone Kitchen & Bath

Countertops: Source: Global Granite & Marble

Fabricator: Trademark Universal Stone

Window treatments: Custom design by Leslie Cotter Interiors with Draped In Style

All furnishings: Market On National in Lexington

Foyer: Elk Lighting

Kitchen: Visual Comfort

Breakfast Nook: Visual Comfort

Office: Elk Lighting + Visual Comfort

Powder Room: Hudson Valley

Master Bedroom: Minka Lighting + Savoy House

Master Bath: Visual Comfort

Master Closet: Quoizel

Laundry: Hinkley Lighting

Mudroom: Hinkley Lighting

Bedrooms 2 & 3: Kichler Lighting

Bedroom 4: Elk Lighting

Hall Bath: Visual Comfort

*All lighting furnished by Ferguson

Builder: Ramage Company

Posted on 2018-01-04 by