At Home: Old World Elegance in Carmel

A home defined by comfort, style, and a dash of horsepower.

Livable luxury is the hallmark of Sean and Tina Hallett’s home. When Sean, president and co-owner of the Indy Fuel hockey team, moved his family from Toronto to Carmel just last October, he hoped their five-year-old Italian countryside residence would seem as though it had been there for centuries.

“He bought the home from his father, and he really wanted it to feel new again, but also as though it had history,” says Julie Boutilier, interior designer and owner of Cornerstone Interiors. “We were able to give them an eclectic look that nods to the equestrian theme they loved, as well as a deep, rich, Old World Italian charm.”

The Halletts wished for their home to reflect their personal tastes, aiming for “magazine ready,” yet still comfortable and functional, Tina says. They also wished for equine influences inspired by the neighboring horse farm.

The ‘Mane Event’

Each room has its own color palette with warm-brown tones unifying the home. Sunny yellows greet guests in the formal living room, a cozy gathering area dominated by a 200-year-old baby-grand piano the couple brought with them from Canada. Boutilier created a custom sofa to accent the picture window and installed fender seating around the fireplace.

The room may be a tight space, but it was a labor of love for Boutilier. She replaced the existing tile around the fireplace with a chevron-style Ann Sacks Flair Mosaic tile, faux-painted the fireplace, added wallpaper to the back of the bookcases for texture, and found plenty of horse sculptures to accent the room.

It’s one of Tina’s favorite spaces. “Our living room just has so much character and history that I feel like I’m back in time to another era,” she says. “I have a smile on my face every time I walk by it.”

The serene formal dining room includes pearlized grasscloth wallpaper; a robin’s-egg blue, olive green, and gray color scheme; an open butler’s pantry; and geometric shapes reflected in glass and mirror elements.

“We really played up the diagonals and textures in the room,” Boutilier says. “The homeowners liked the idea of wallpaper and cushions, and they wanted to incorporate their collection of vintage posters and art. We actually took this color palette from one of their paintings that hangs in the hallway.”

Across the hall is the nerve center of the home: the kitchen/family room/breakfast nook. In the family room, Boutilier added diagonal alderwood pieces to stonework surrounding the fireplace to give the space a focal point. She outfitted the room with furnishings from Cornerstone Interiors and Restoration Hardware.

The biggest change, though, was in the kitchen. Boutilier transformed the basic drywall behind the range into something truly spectacular by adding a backsplash composed of a mix of mosaic and hand-painted tile and a hearth-like surround of Realstone tile that soars about 20 feet high.

“I wanted to make that space feel more important,” she says. “We had a wonderful artist who mitered every one of those tiles so that they would fit well in the corners. That gave the room an amazing improvement and really added depth to the space.”

Unbridled Comfort

Tranquility is the key to the Halletts’ main-floor master suite and their second-level guest bedroom. Both areas include several pieces that came with the family from Toronto, along with a few items Boutilier chose.

“The arch over the bed [in the master bedroom] was already there, but it wasn’t tufted, so we did that,” she says. Tone-on-tone damask wallpaper and new vanity mirrors and light fixtures were added to the master bathroom.

The entire space evokes a feeling of staying in a fancy hotel.

“We absolutely would not change a single thing in this room,” Tina says.

The guest room features an antique rolltop desk, a comfortable leather chair, and a decorative—but functional—telescope from Restoration Hardware.

“The leather is really comfortable, and the desk is just great,” Boutilier says. “It’s a perfect addition to the guest space.”

Upstairs, the kids’ playroom functions as both a quiet place to study and a spot to hang out with friends. It has two homework stations, a comfortable sofa, and a toy closet, while the son and daughter’s bedrooms reflect the overall style of the home.

For the Halletts’ son, Boutilier created a masculine space with a beadboard ceiling, a large model of the Eiffel Tower, and metal shelving behind the bed, providing ample room for books.

In the daughter’s room, Boutilier was tickled pink to create a fairytale-like space that uses two different wallpaper designs, a full-sized carousel horse, and a light fixture of handmade glass that resembles spun candy.

“I had a ball in here,” she says. “It’s a shade of pink that will grow with her, but it’s accented with aqua and yellow as well, giving her options.”

Basement Horsepower

The mood changes on the home’s lower level. Sean wanted to create a man cave that would have the look and feel of a garage. After owning one of Canada’s largest Ford dealerships, Sean found a unique way to infuse the auto industry into his home. Welcoming guests to the basement is a Ford Mustang pool table, complete with working lights, chrome bumpers and hardware, and alloy wheels.

“I don’t know where he found it, but it’s really a great piece, and it inspired us to go a little nuts down here,” Boutilier says.

The sunken media room and bar area include furnishings from Cornerstone Interiors, Restoration Hardware, and Midland Arts & Antiques Market. Flanking the fireplace are walls covered in faux-brick panels. A gym and an additional nautical-themed guest bedroom fill out the basement.

There’s no horsin’ around: The Hallett home is a triple-crown winner.

“The whole house offers them eclectic elegance and a nurturing space that takes care of them rather than the other way around,” Boutilier says.

And perhaps because of that, the Halletts feel right at home in the Hoosier State.

“Even though Toronto will always stay close to our hearts, Indiana is truly special, and we hope we never leave,” Tina says.

This article appeared in Indianapolis Monthly Home‘s 2014 publication.