Before & After: Reimagining a Victorian

A Texas couple with contrasting styles fashion a cheeky, color-filled new home for themselves in Upstate New York

The all-black exterior of this Upstate New York Victorian hints at the unconventional design inside.
The all-black exterior of this Upstate New York Victorian hints at the unconventional design inside.

When it comes to the maxim opposites attract, you’d be hard pressed to find a more fitting couple than TV personality Roger Hazard and his partner, Chris Stout-Hazard. “Roger grew up in Texas and has this big, bold aesthetic, while I grew up in a house full of antiques,” Chris explains. But somehow, these competing styles come together in surprising ways. Nowhere is that more apparent than in their new home in the small Upstate village of Sharon Springs, NY.

The dark-walled foyer.
The dark-walled foyer.

The couple, who met while living in Austin, made the move to the East Coast to launch their custom furniture line, Roger + Chris. “It was close enough that we could take on big projects in Manhattan, but far enough so that it wasn’t in the city,” Roger explains. The house they bought: a run-down Victorian from 1850. “In Austin we lived in a modern farmhouse, so with our new home we decided we’d do the opposite, and put a modern twist on a really old house,” Roger says. A modern twist, indeed—with its dark exterior and fuchsia-colored front door, their new home is all about reinventing the wheel. “We had all this original detailing on the house that we really wanted to call out in a new way,” Chris explains. “We wanted it to be playful and a little silly, so we took it in a Tim Burton-y sort of direction,” he adds with a chuckle. “You can almost envision a goth Snow White coming out of the front door,” Roger says.

Primary hues and antique furnishings mix seamlessly in the living room.
Primary hues and antique furnishings mix seamlessly in the living room.
A massive mounted fish watches over a dining area. 
A massive mounted fish watches over a dining area. 

Armed with a flair for the dramatic, the guys endeavored to make their rather opposite tastes blend in the best possible way. “We look at design from different directions but we always tend to settle on something playful, funny, and overall, cool—we don’t want to be taken too seriously,” Chris says. “We tried to mix British whimsy with a really bold American style,” he adds. The fun and funky vibe makes an immediate statement: custom orange polka dot wallpaper from Adelphi Papers flanks the entry walls; nearby, a taxidermy ram greets guests. “Yes, we have these crazy orange dots on the wall, but the background is done in the off-gray that matches our floors, so it all fits together,” Chris says.

The laid-back kitchen melds country style with standout modern design pieces.
The laid-back kitchen melds country style with standout modern design pieces.

When you work from home, as Roger and Chris do, versatility and comfort are of the utmost importance. So the couple took their time to make sure each space was emitting the right vibe, even if that meant rethinking previous decisions. “We originally wanted the dining room walls to be chartreuse, but it just made everyone look sick,” Roger says. “It wouldn’t have made for the best dinner party if everyone looked jaundiced while eating,” Chris says with a laugh. They settled on a grasscloth covering that a friend cut into tiles and hung in an interlocking pattern. An original Works Progress Administration mural from the Great Depression hangs above a lime green table that anchors the room—an ode to the chartreuse that wasn't meant to be.

Going into the project, it seemed like Roger and Chris had their hands full, starting a business and moving halfway across the country—but the couple took things in stride. “This house is so personal. Every room has one of our sofas, our lamps or photographs. The whole home feels like an expression of our joint personalities, which makes it very comfortable to live in,” Chris says. Talk about the perfect work-life balance.

A simple, masculine bedroom.
A simple, masculine bedroom.
Exposed-bulb light fixtures add an industrial touch.
Exposed-bulb light fixtures add an industrial touch.
The couple in life and business.
The couple in life and business.

Tips from this Home Tour
Roger + Chris make renovating stress free!

Not every detail matters. 
“A house has to have room for change,” Roger says. “Don’t feel like you have to have each room perfectly done. It should always be evolving with your mood and the season. You travel, you see things you want—it's inevitable. You need to have that flexibility to introduce new things into your home.”

Take it one room at a time.
“It’s the same advice people give for cleaning a house: Do one room at a time otherwise it feels like you get nothing done,” Roger explains.

Don’t rush into anything.
“When you first move into a home it’s not immediately evident how every room is going to end up being used — where the light is going to be best, which rooms you’ll favor,” says Chris. “So, I think while the pressure is on to start quickly I’m glad we took some time through the changing seasons to help create these cozy spaces.”

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