When Jeffrey Litman saw the lighted tennis court of their prospective Woodbury home, he was sold, but his wife Pamela's focus was the inside of the house.
She wanted a home with a light, airy, almost beachy feel. She also had many family antiques, collections and other belongings that had to fit into the home, along with their three children, ages 11 to 21.
"I am a very spiritual person, and I have to have openness and balance," says Pamela, 48, a children's author who is working on a series of books about adoptive families, the first of which, "My New Family and Me," will be published in September. "I also needed to have our personality in the house."
Interior designer Mindy Greenberg, owner of Encore Decor in Great Neck, was charged with using the family's existing furniture and accessories. While the couple was willing to buy some new things, Pamela says she really wanted to keep as much of her family's history as she could.
"I sent out an SOS to Mindy because we had painters coming the very next day and decisions had to be made," Pamela remembers. "I wanted a home that would showcase my parents' paintings, antiques, books, music and love of opera."
Pamela and Jeffrey, 49, an attorney and co-owner of Litman & Litman P.C., also enjoy family entertaining and regularly host 20 or more for family and other gatherings.
"I wanted the family to be able to showcase their collections and family heirlooms without them taking over the house," says Greenberg, who enjoys showing homeowners how to use existing pieces in a new and refreshing way.
Greenberg, who was a regular on the HGTV show "Decorating Cents," also added intimate seating areas throughout the house to encourage conversation and circulation during parties.
Here's how Greenberg mixed old and new with charm and purpose.
A. WALL SCONCES and CANDLEHOLDERS, existing
B. PIANO, existing
C. WOOD FLOORS, existing
D. AREA RUG, $300
Having an area rug helps to define and anchor the area in the room. From HomeGoods, Syosset
E. CERAMIC BARREL, $50
Ideal as a place to rest a drink. From HomeGoods
F. SOFA and LOVE SEAT, existing
G. COFFEE TABLE, existing
H. CHAIRS, existing
Their placement allows guests to have an intimate conversation or join the overall group.
I. ROUND TABLE, existing
This was the couple's dining table during their early years of marriage.
J. ARTWORK GROUPING, existing
The group of artwork has more impact than any single piece would.
K. VENETIAN-STYLE MIRROR, $600
Pamela calls it beachy chic, with a tiny bit of Hollywood vintage thrown in. Purchased through a designer friend.
L. PAINT, $1,800
The entire first floor is painted the same color, giving the expansive space a sense of connection. Paint for the living-dining area includes four cans of Benjamin Moore Linen White, supplied and applied by Walker Painting of Wantagh.
M. CURIO CABINET, existing
N. CURTAINS, existing
"My mom taught me never to throw anything away," says Pamela of moving curtains from the master bedroom to the living room.
O. CONSOLE TABLE, existing
Greenberg suggested Pamela use the tabletop as a home for family photos.
P. ARTWORK, a gift
This piece, from Jeffrey's mom, originally had the woman unclothed. The original owner added the bustier and shawl. Daughter Jennifer, 16, suggested the addition of earrings to give the woman a more elegant, festive look. "Before, she looked sort of sad -- and he seemed to be leering at her. Now, they look like a couple out for an evening," Jennifer says.
Q. INTIMATE SEATING, existing
Greenberg says that having seating separate from the sofa and couch allows guests to carry on conversations out of the general hustle and bustle. She also transformed some mirrors into trays to give Pamela additional places to display collections. She did the same with a small table and chairs in the dining area.
Pamela admired this statue of David as a child. Her aunt, the owner, gave it to her as an adult.
Includes Greenberg's fee of $600, which covers the living room and dining room