For 20 years, Vincent and Danielle Marinelli have been collecting details: how to open a space to better suit it for gathering, how to keep a design clean and uncluttered yet layered with texture, and how to use every inch of space.
Their latest project encompasses them all.
"This is only our fourth house in 20 years," says Danielle Marinelli, standing in the backyard of her Doylestown home. "People who know our family say, 'Look, the Marinellis moved again.' We just keep doing it. That's the problem."
When they were first married, the couple, whose day jobs now include running Sweet Pea Homemade Ice Cream, based in Doylestown, and a studio called Danielle Kay Designs, moved into a traditional, four-bedroom Colonial in Jamison. Then came the renovation of a 200-year-old farmhouse and barn in Doylestown. Then they moved across the street to a 5,000-square-foot Colonial, which they also remodeled. While they had a lot of space, they didn't use a quarter of it.
"Our real vision for the house was using every inch that we constructed," Vincent says.
The 3,300-square-foot modern farmhouse rancher built this year is the only one in their line of projects that they designed themselves. They knew they wanted a one-story, and as with their other homes, they started with a white palette. A monochrome color scheme ranges from pure white to eight shades of gray.
"Any contractor or anyone who came in said it's just so much white," Danielle says. "But I believe the accents should pop. Even the food on the table should pop."
The living room, dining room, and kitchen form an open great room.The home boasts 10 sets of French doors, 23-foot ceilings, and an open, airy space.
"There is no living room, there is no dining room, just a grand space," Danielle says. "Everything leads to being together."
The couple knew their way around construction: Vincent started his work life as an electrician. Danielle, who has had a passion for design as long as she can remember, worked in nursing for 12 years at the University of Pennsylvania. She was pregnant with twins when Vincent was injured on the job, so they turned to pretzel-making, eventually owning 25 Taste of Philly locations. Then came the ice cream.
Along the way, they also focused on their homes.
The large, open kitchen in their current rancher shows off marble countertops, mixed metals, and a commercial stove. Danielle explains that while shiplap is a hot trend, she prefers nickel groove, which is in most rooms of the house. "I love the exact spacing."
The couple revel in the details: coastal-inspired flat dormers on the exterior of the home, a funky cotto florentina-tiled floor in a first-floor bathroom, and charcoal-colored grout so you can't see the dirt in the shower walls.
Because she loathes clutter, Danielle says, all the family's photos and personal items are stored neatly in a large printmaker's cabinet, which sits between the dining table and the main living area. Inside are photos of first teeth, first haircuts, her grandmother's wedding, and a family photo when they opened their first ice cream shop in 2008. (The family knows that if there's a fire, they take the cabinet with them.)
The side entry door empties into a serene hallway that serves as a mudroom, complete with a miniature shower, best for washing garden boots and the family dog. "We've done that in every house," Danielle said.
The pair are still working to complete a design studio on the second floor of the barn, a bluestone walkway under the breezeway, and landscaping for the yard, which already has a basketball court.
After that, their next project may include the family's four-bedroom, 1,900-square-foot Stone Harbor house built in 1952. They call it Big Blue.
"We just want it to have a screen door that slams and not care," the Marinellis say.
However, in keeping with their latest trend, "Big blue is going white."