Small House, Big Style

When Realtor and designer Lisa Godt and family downsized to a smaller home, she reimagined every inch to fit her family's lifestyle.

Lisa Godt has the best of all worlds. As a licensed Realtor working locally with Realty Connect USA, she knows exactly how to find an ideal home. As an interior designer and professional stager, she knows how to make that home look good. And as a mother, she knows how to bring her family together within its walls.

She moved her family into a three-bedroom ranch on the border of East Setauket and Port Jefferson, built in 1958, for which she paid $392,000 in 2007. There were a number of challenges ahead of her.

The 1,300-square foot home on Glenwood Lane, with less than 1,000 square feet of space in the basement, was barely big enough for Godt and her three children, son Chase, 16, and daughters Kendall, 13, and Chandler, 15. It had only one bathroom, and a heavily-wooded backyard that had so much more potential. And the home wasn't exactly aesthetically pleasing, either.

"I moved in with the intention of opening everything up and redoing it all," said Godt, who had downsized from a larger home in Setauket. "I said if I'm going to go smaller, I want exactly what I want."

With an immediate barrage of construction that included converting the garage into the main living area, knocking down walls, moving the basement stairs, adding a second bathroom, building a front porch, and finishing the basement, Godt found an extra 200 square feet that might as well feel like 2,000 square feet. Then, she filled the home with compelling details – much of which she did herself.

Entering the home, guests step into a greatroom which combines foyer, living room, dining room, and kitchen into one open space. A large fireplace, plush furniture, rich earth tones, and a baby grand piano in the corner, Godt's gift to herself after a successful year in real estate, set a sophisticated tone for the room. The result often impresses her guests.

"I think this room is what I love the most," Godt said. "This is where you live. Everyone walks in and says 'wow.'"

Outside, a pool and spa in the backyard are new additions too, and a swing on the front porch is where Godt and her kids love to relax, just hanging out and watching the world.

"I have coffee there in the morning," she said. "Even when it's starting to get cold...it's nice to see what's going on."

In her own bedroom, Godt created a spa-like feel with cool colors and whites and a large mirror which reflects the light of the windows. The room features elegant layered moldings, stripes of paint in silver and periwinkle, and a handpainted star on the ceiling which frames a crystal chandelier.

Downstairs, the once dingy basement is bright and alive after being converted to a two-bedroom suite for Kendall and Chandler. A common room is decorated in the colors of Juicy Couture, and features a couch, refrigerator and flat-screen TV for frequent visits from friends.

"They have a whole hangout room," Godt said. "I love when their friends come here. They're comfortable here. You know where they are, and you know who they're friends with."

The girls' rooms are full of personality: an edgy one done in pink, black and white with zebra print details, and a bright, cheerful one in shades of turquoise and blue. The kids picked out their own bedding, and Godt designed the rest of the rooms around their choices.

Chase has his own space, too: an upstairs bedroom decorated in blues and golds with thick vertical stripes on the walls in shades of tan that set a collegiate tone. He's added his own touch, too, with a collection of carefully placed pop culture logo stickers on his closet door.

"Kids need to have a fun room to stimulate them," Godt said.

A home office features geometric patterns on the walls – another handpainted touch – and neutral colors which create the feeling of order. Paint is one of Godt's favorite design elements, one she has used to maximum effect throughout the house.

"It's amazing how much you can transform something," she said. "Paint makes the biggest difference in the whole world."

Godt loves the small but stylish home she has practically rebuilt, and loves that she can have her children attend the same Three Village schools she attended while growing up in Stony Brook.

"It's a great place to raise a family," she said. "This is perfect."


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