This Delaware Designer’s Cape Cod Home Delights From All Angles

The artsy home industrial designer Bri Brant shares with her family is all about creating things.

“It’s kind of like a magical little pocket,” says industrial and textile designer Bri Brant of the Winterthur area, the location of the home she shares with her husband and their two boys. “It’s surrounded by open space.” It’s an enviably sylvan area, nestled just south of the Pennsylvania border near several noted country clubs and Brandywine Creek State Park.

The setting is perfect for the family’s 4,000-square-foot Cape Cod, with its handsome dormers and sharply pitched roof. (The exterior also reveals some Craftsman elements—like the façade’s squat, stone pillar supports.) “When you go inside, it really feels like a Cape Cod,” Brant says.

The expansive Cape Cod features dormers, a steeply angled roofline and stonework on the façade, but Craftsman elements can be found in the squat, stone pillar bases
The expansive Cape Cod features dormers, a steeply angled roofline and stonework on the façade, but Craftsman elements can be found in the squat, stone pillar bases.

“It’s very heavy on the bottom, and then the upstairs bedrooms are kind of small and cozy, with built-ins and window seats. It’s deceptively large—the house looks tiny from the outside, but [inside] it’s huge.”

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Brant’s backyard-facing workshop and the fruits of her labor reside in the large family room, the soul of the home.
Brant’s backyard-facing workshop and the fruits of her labor reside in the large family room, the soul of the home.

The family has owned the home, built in 1956, for around 18 months. Brant put a lot of work into the house to “make it our own,” she says. “We’ve done this before with our other houses.”

Brant’s sons have inherited their mother’s artistic genes—their piano and art table are also located in the family room.
Brant’s sons have inherited their mother’s artistic genes—their piano and art table are also located in the family room.

The four-bedroom, 3 1/2 bath did not call for a gut renovation; Brant says the home had always been loved by its owners. And like all the houses on the street (“We all have our little 2-acre plots,” she notes), it had been well-tended and modernized, so there was no need to overhaul the exterior or interior architecture. “It’s a perfect balance of old and new,” she says. “It’s really solidly built.”

A sampling of Brant’s textiles.
A sampling of Brant’s textiles.

So Brant, who creates handbags and is drawn to texture (she was educated at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science), focused on painting, gardening and a few personal updates.

Unsurprisingly, texture and neutrals characterize the Brants’ unpretentious, four-bedroom home—and the beds and sofas have to be inviting and cozy enough for the family dogs, Lacey and Herbie
Unsurprisingly, texture and neutrals characterize the Brants’ unpretentious, four-bedroom home—and the beds and sofas have to be inviting and cozy enough for the family dogs, Lacey and Herbie

“Our previous home was an 1800s farmhouse…so we took all the finishes that we used on that house—a total gut job—and we repeated them here,” she says. “We pared it down. We painted the inside walls in a creamy white with bright white trim, and we just basically brought it back to the style of the home we had before. It’s our recipe for making everything our own. We do the same colors in every house.”

A light-filled kitchen is the perfect place to enjoy coffee in the morning.
A light-filled kitchen is the perfect place to enjoy coffee in the morning.
Home and work seamlessly blend in the family room
Home and work seamlessly blend in Bri Brant’s family room.

If any room epitomizes the quasi-bohemian way this family lives, it’s the so-called formal living room, which isn’t very formal at all. “We wanted to make sure this was the room we really used, because formal living rooms are sometimes just forgotten,” Brant explains. (Anyone who grew up in a house that contained a “decorated” living room, with sofas you weren’t supposed to sit on, can relate.) Formality was pushed aside in favor of function.

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A comfortable workshop-like atmosphere pervades the Winterthur-area home of Bri Brant and her family. A designer of handbags and textiles for her company Arden + James, Brant put her stamp on the sprawling 4,000-square-foot Cape Cod.
A comfortable workshop-like atmosphere pervades the Winterthur-area home of Bri Brant and her family. A designer of handbags and textiles for her company Arden + James, Brant put her stamp on the sprawling 4,000-square-foot Cape Cod.

“I decided to put my work bench and my sewing machine in there, and then we put the piano in there so the boys can play their music. And we added the boys’ art table because they’re both into drawing and painting.” A comfortable sofa—where pups Herbie and Lacey sleep—provided the final stroke of hominess.

Thoughtful details
The house was built in 1956, containing timeless details such as built-ins, and Brant ushered in the aesthetic of the family’s previous home, an 1800s farmhouse

“It’s our family room—and what our family does all the time is art and music,” Brant says. “It’s a big multipurpose space that’s actually our favorite room in the house.”

Related: This Greenville Home Pairs Modernism With Traditional Touches

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