A Designer Turns a Connecticut Townhouse With Good Bones Into a Cozy Family Home

See how designer and homeowner Angela Belt transformed this West Hartford townhome into an idyllic space for her young daughter and husband.

September 10, 2020

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Photo By: Julius Ferrer

Personal Style

Interior designer Angela Belt knows how to bring a room to life. With a background in interior design, showroom styling and market editing, not only does Angela know what’s trending in design, she knows how to bring what’s next together seamlessly in a space. All of that experience served the designer and stylist well when the time came to make over her West Hartford home. With a 7-year-old eager for a big girl room and everyone working and schooling from home, Angela was able to create a family home filled to the brim with personal style to suit her husband, Leon, and daughter, Brooklyn. "We all cuddle up on this sectional all day long. I’m going to be thankful for this in the winter months to come,” says Angela.

Diamond in the Rough

Five years ago, when the family first found this home, a 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom townhome, it took a designer's eye to spot its potential. "When we first moved into this apartment it was in rough condition, but it had great bones," Angela remembers. Getting it into shape took TLC from the outside in, including a transformation of the traditional front patio into an outdoor lounge complete with dining area and innovative plant screens for privacy.

Cheerful Outdoor Space

"The patio might have been the easiest part of the whole home to design," Angela says. "Seeing everything from my mood board come to life outside so effortlessly made me so happy." Her efforts created a perfectly serene environment. Angela knows how to create zones in even the smallest of spaces, as she did on the patio. The outdoor space is neatly divided into an alfresco dining area and seating area. Under a bright color palette of yellows and blues that works throughout the space, the family comes together outside for dinners and watches fireflies on summer evenings. For Angela, it was a project long overdue. "I have no idea why I waited so long to make this a reality," she confesses.

Built for Comfort

The living room is the family’s main area for being together and is “hands-down my favorite space in the house,” Angela says. A recent redesign has seen a 7-year-old sofa with “pancake shaped cushions and a crooked leg” replaced with a beautiful new sectional. Just above the sofa, a gallery wall features memories and personal works of art from a family in which all three members paint. But Angela’s most exciting moment was the arrival of a key piece of living room furniture. “I love my new coffee table,” she beams. “We haven’t had one in two years because my daughter bounces all over the place and it just got in the way. I can finally sit my tea down on the table like a real grown up!”

Home, Cozy Home

Angela's love of color and texture can be spotted throughout the home. "I’m eclectic," she says. "I gravitate towards midcentury modern and industrial pieces. I love to inject color into a space so you feel like you're being embraced the moment you walk into a room." That warm embrace can be felt in the dining room entryway. A modern bar cart, vintage mirror and midcentury lighting all come together to create a welcoming vignette.

Open Yet Cozy

Designing a comfortable, multi-functional home is never easy. But for the Belt family, good design has offered a number of solutions to problems that seemed insurmountable at one time. “I think now we have a space that makes me happy every day,” Angela reflects. “I feel like I really maximized the square footage."

Bringing the Office Home

For Leon, a full time video editor for ESPN, it was especially important to make the transition to working from home as seamless as possible. At first, the lack of designated space made it challenging, but Angela quickly found a solution. "Since we all started working from home, I've changed the footprints of my living room, entryway and dining room to make them multifunctional spaces," Angela says. For Leon, that meant adding a desk to the dining room along with a room divider to give him some much needed privacy. Best of all, he was able to get a mechanical keyboard, similar to his equipment at work. "He loves how you can customize the design by rearranging the keys, and he even spray-painted the yellow base himself," she adds.

Study Hall

Brooklyn's a busy girl, with days full of studying at her school and at home. So, just like mom and dad, she requires her own space for getting down to business. "During the beginning of the pandemic she was working at the kitchen counter," Angela recalls. "Now she finally has a big girl desk in her room that she can personalize with her own stuff so she feels very grown up."

A World of Her Own

Brooklyn's bedroom is a private wonderland — one of her own design. Getting an early start in the family business, the 7-year-old designer was instrumental in the creation of her space. From color palettes to works of art and the must-have golden unicorn lamp, Brooklyn had a hand in everything. But without question the most wonderful feature of her bedroom is the shimmering silver canopy over her bed that she picked out herself. "She says she feels like she's is in a glittery tent when she goes to bed at night," Angela laughs.

Dreaming in Color

This bedroom is a near-perfect union of color and pattern. Warm brown and cool blue shades, both equally vibrant, are expertly balanced in the walls and floor. Additional infusions of brown are layered into the room through the furniture, textiles and even a hat hanging on the back of the door. The classic black and white bedding provides a neutral moment between all of the bright colors. An expert in layering pattern, Angela finds ways to combine mudcloth and ikat prints in this vibrant mix.

Favorite Things

As a full-time designer, Angela is used to working from home. But with her husband and daughter now at home full-time as well, changes had to be made. "COVID has forced me to make a large overhaul to the entire apartment so it works for a family of three that will be home 24/7," the designer explains. "My new office space in the hallway is now the first thing you see when you open the front door." Cleverly carved out in the home's formal entryway, Angela chose a desk that works its way up the wall, allowing for plenty of storage and display space.

Happy by Design

Though she no longer has the house to herself as a workspace, Angela crafted her space to keep her energy and spirits up through long months spent inside. "The wallpaper really makes a statement for me," she says. "I feel like I'm not bummed about having to work because my space is so colorful and vibrant. I have so many things to tap into in a small space to be inspired." And she uses that inspiration while she's working on client projects or taping her latest episode of The Moodboard Podcast.

Shop This Look