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A Petite 1901 House in Concord, MA, Redone by a Former Magazine Creative

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A Petite 1901 House in Concord, MA, Redone by a Former Magazine Creative

June 28, 2021

Nikki Amodio’s fascination with design started before she reached double digits. “At age 9, I deconstructed all of my bedroom furniture in an attempt to create something new, modern, and interesting for myself,” she recalls. Later she studied at the School of Visual Art with a focus on sculpture and performance, then got her own furniture patent on “Cush: A Transformable Living System,” a full-size bed that “divides and stacks,” she says, to transform into a sofa, chair, and coffee table. Then she worked in publishing—including as associate art director at The Atlantic—before starting a family.

Even so, her fourth career—as an interior designer—was pure happenstance. “It started because of a home purchase that did not work out for my family,” Nikki says. “I had to flip it immediately after moving in. But due to the success of the flip, I was offered design work from a local real estate broker, updating and staging her listings.” Sellers and buyers alike started hiring her to design their new homes. “In a matter of two and a half years, I went from being a stay-at-home mom to having a thriving design business,” she says.

When it came to finding another place for her own family, she drew on her real estate know-how. “I watched the market like a hawk and drove around to find the ‘appreciating’ areas around town,” she says. “The house that needs work is the house for me.”

Her sleuthing paid off when she found a 1448-square-foot gambrel-roof house built in 1901, walkable to the historic town center of Concord, Massachusetts, that needed significant work. “The basement floor and foundation needed to be redone,” Nikki says. It needed all new flooring, a new kitchen. “And it’s small. The interiors had a compartmentalized floor plan, tiny rooms, tiny windows. I wanted to open it up without making it an ‘open living’ floor plan.”

Nikki took on the challenge herself—from drawing the plans to managing the project—with a local builder as her “guide,” gutting the kitchen and dining areas downstairs, opening up walls, and installing new picture windows to bring in light. “I wanted the space to feel bigger and to be able to move furniture around to facilitate a variety of gathering situations.” Basically, she says, “I wanted a house custom-designed to my taste, and the only way I could afford to do that was to do it all myself.”

Take a look at the petite but open space that Nikki shares with her husband, their son, and their dog, Lucky, finished during lockdown in spring 2020.

Photography by Joyelle West.

A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative The house&#8\2\17;s newly neat exterior. &#8\2\20;The siding was faded yellow aluminum, now replaced with clapboard,&#8\2\2\1; Nikki says.
Above: The house’s newly neat exterior. “The siding was faded yellow aluminum, now replaced with clapboard,” Nikki says.
A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative The revamped entry has Conoco Gooseneck Lights in powder coated white, a vintage house number from Enamel Sign Revival on Etsy, and a Rattan Rolling Market Cart (see more in Object of Desire: The Olli Ella Big Luggy Basket).
Above: The revamped entry has Conoco Gooseneck Lights in powder-coated white, a vintage house number from Enamel Sign Revival on Etsy, and a Rattan Rolling Market Cart (see more in Object of Desire: The Olli Ella Big Luggy Basket).
A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative &#8\2\20;The living room and dining room were two separate, tiny rooms, which felt claustrophobic,&#8\2\2\1; Nikki says of the space before. &#8\2\20;We don&#8\2\17;t dine in our dining room; we eat, lounge, gather, and live in the living room. So I demoed the wall, making a spacious room. The back to back sofas create different conversation areas. I created spaces with furniture and decor instead of with walls.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: “The living room and dining room were two separate, tiny rooms, which felt claustrophobic,” Nikki says of the space before. “We don’t dine in our dining room; we eat, lounge, gather, and live in the living room. So I demoed the wall, making a spacious room. The back-to-back sofas create different conversation areas. I created spaces with furniture and decor instead of with walls.”
A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative In what was once the dining room, Nikki drywalled over the existing window and added instead a wood stove and Marvin double doors. The back to back seating is made up of an Ikea Karlstad Sofa and two Soderham Ottomans, all covered in white linen covers from Bemz. The black stool is from Ukraine based Aster Vintage Boutique via Etsy.
Above: In what was once the dining room, Nikki drywalled over the existing window and added instead a wood stove and Marvin double doors. The back-to-back seating is made up of an Ikea Karlstad Sofa and two Soderham Ottomans, all covered in white linen covers from Bemz. The black stool is from Ukraine-based Aster Vintage Boutique via Etsy.

The wall color used throughout? “Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace, all day everyday, inside and out, on walls and trim,” Nikki says.

A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative &#8\2\20;On one end of the newly opened up living area are French doors leading to the porch,&#8\2\2\1; says Nikki. The white sconce is from DL Designworks via Etsy.
Above: “On one end of the newly opened-up living area are French doors leading to the porch,” says Nikki. The white sconce is from DL Designworks via Etsy.
A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative &#8\2\20;The floors were a mix of old pre finished, tiles, and carpet,&#8\2\2\1; says Nikki. She replaced it all with hardwood flooring.
Above: “The floors were a mix of old pre-finished, tiles, and carpet,” says Nikki. She replaced it all with hardwood flooring.
A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative A cheerful porch office setup. &#8\2\20;I love lighting. A lot,&#8\2\2\1; Nikki says. &#8\2\20;It&#8\2\17;s so sculptural. It&#8\2\17;s like jewelry. I love to buy lighting from makers on Etsy. I also have a lot of Schoolhouse fixtures in my house.&#8\2\2\1; The vintage desk is from The Vintage Retriever Found Goods & Homewares in Holden, MA, and the dot art piece is from Visual Contrast.
Above: A cheerful porch office setup. “I love lighting. A lot,” Nikki says. “It’s so sculptural. It’s like jewelry. I love to buy lighting from makers on Etsy. I also have a lot of Schoolhouse fixtures in my house.” The vintage desk is from The Vintage Retriever Found Goods & Homewares in Holden, MA, and the dot art piece is from Visual Contrast.
A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative &#8\2\20;The art is all created by me,&#8\2\2\1; says Nikki, with the exception of the dot artwork in the office and another piece in the bedroom (more on that later). &#8\2\20;I love typography and graphic design. I focus on positive, powerful words. They&#8\2\17;re like visual mantras. &#8\2\16;Good things are coming.&#8\2\17; &#8\2\16;Open close close open.&#8\2\17; &#8\2\16;Relax,&#8\2\17; etc.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: “The art is all created by me,” says Nikki, with the exception of the dot artwork in the office and another piece in the bedroom (more on that later). “I love typography and graphic design. I focus on positive, powerful words. They’re like visual mantras. ‘Good things are coming.’ ‘Open close close open.’ ‘Relax,’ etc.”
A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative &#8\2\20;The kitchen had a 3&#8\24\2; x 3&#8\24\2; mudroom imposing into it, making little room for prep space, and a tiny off center window,&#8\2\2\1; recalls Nikki. She demoed the mudroom and side entry to allow the new kitchen to expand. A bigger, centered window takes the place of the old small one, with sconces from Schoolhouse on either side.
Above: “The kitchen had a 3′ x 3′ mudroom imposing into it, making little room for prep space, and a tiny off-center window,” recalls Nikki. She demoed the mudroom and side entry to allow the new kitchen to expand. A bigger, centered window takes the place of the old small one, with sconces from Schoolhouse on either side.
A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative The kitchen is fitted with marble counters, beadboard cladding, and a &#8\2\20;zero radius&#8\2\2\1; stainless sink (meaning it has no curves, just 90 degree angles). &#8\2\20;I designed and drew the cabinets and sent the drawings directly to the fabricator out in the country,&#8\2\2\1; says Nikki. &#8\2\20;I decided on only lower cabinets to make the small kitchen feel bigger. The only cabinet doors are under the sink; the rest are drawers, and I love the functionality. When I pull out a drawer I can see everything and everything is at my fingertips.&#8\2\2\1;
Above: The kitchen is fitted with marble counters, beadboard cladding, and a “zero radius” stainless sink (meaning it has no curves, just 90-degree angles). “I designed and drew the cabinets and sent the drawings directly to the fabricator out in the country,” says Nikki. “I decided on only lower cabinets to make the small kitchen feel bigger. The only cabinet doors are under the sink; the rest are drawers, and I love the functionality. When I pull out a drawer I can see everything and everything is at my fingertips.”

For “a subtle shift in color,” the cabinets are painted in Benjamin Moore Soft Chamois.

A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative The new dining area: a tulip table and wicker chairs tucked casually into the kitchen. A high/low moment: The light is the Cobb Rise & Fall Pendant from Original BTC and the &#8\2\20;art&#8\2\2\1; is actually a blackboard from a restaurant supply store.
Above: The new dining area: a tulip table and wicker chairs tucked casually into the kitchen. A high/low moment: The light is the Cobb Rise & Fall Pendant from Original BTC and the “art” is actually a blackboard from a restaurant supply store.
A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative The couple&#8\2\17;s bedroom is fitted with Zara Home linen bedding, a wool throw from Ukraine based Etsy shop Lijnik, and an Anthropology ceiling light. &#8\2\20;It was black and gold, and I had my painter paint it white,&#8\2\2\1; Nikki says.
Above: The couple’s bedroom is fitted with Zara Home linen bedding, a wool throw from Ukraine-based Etsy shop Lijnik, and an Anthropology ceiling light. “It was black and gold, and I had my painter paint it white,” Nikki says.

The art on the wall is by Nikki’s son: “He made that with a blue crayon when he was 4. It’s a drawing of an angel,” she says.

A Petite 1901 House in Concord MA Redone by a Former Magazine Creative One bath was painted in &#8\2\20;blue black gloss paint.&#8\2\2\1; It got a revamp with Chantilly Lace, a wall mounted sink, and a mirrored bulb sconce from Schoolhouse.
Above: One bath was painted in “blue-black gloss paint.” It got a revamp with Chantilly Lace, a wall-mounted sink, and a mirrored bulb sconce from Schoolhouse.

Our favorite element, though, may be the simple but playful TP display. “I love the utilitarian toilet paper wrapping design,” Nikki says, particularly since, as she points out, the Lavex logo on these rolls (found at a restaurant supply store) echoes her “Relax” print. “Covid made toilet paper a hot topic, so I made toilet paper into sculpture,” she says.

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