DESIGNERSâ€™ OWN HOMES h au t e s t u f f
o f f i c e s pac e
EMERALD GREEN a - l i s t awa r d s
+ shelf life
ARCHITECTURE & INTERIORS ARCHITECTURE & INTERIORS
AMY AIDINIS HIRSCH INTERIOR DESIGN
203 661 1266
PHOTOGRAPHER: JEFF MCNAMARA, ARCHITECT: SHOPE RENO WHARTON
TISCHLER WINDOWS AND DOORS. UNCOMMON. UNCOMPROMISING.
Tischler und Sohn (USA) Ltd. Six Suburban Avenue, Stamford, CT 06901 Telephone 203/674/0600 â€¢ Telefax 203/674/0601 www.tischlerwindows.com
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DARIEN • GREENWICH • NEW CANAAN • NORWALK • RIVERSIDE • STAMFORD • WILTON
contents SEPT/OCT 2019 vol. 14 | issue 5
10 EDITOR’S NOTE
LESLIE COHEN The designer infuses a 1980s farmhouse with a clean and modern aesthetic.
12 GET THE GOODS Color trend: Emerald Green; Reflective Moments; Task Masters
DENISE DAVIES The head of D2 Interieurs transforms her 1929 home into a soothing yet creative escape.
AMY AIDINIS HIRSCH A focus on simplicity mixed with organic materials, glass and light is the designer’s idea of heaven.
i nt e rv i ews by l au re n f et t e r m an
18 HAUTE STUFF Scents of Style 20 SHOP TALK Local design news, the latest collections, haute happenings and more
26 HOUSE PARTIES Great Mysteries of the Monarch Butterfly hosted by the Glengate Company; Watson’s Catering party 95 LAST WORD Design ideas and inspiration are only a page away
ATHOME IN FAIRFIELD COUNTY SEPT/OCT 2019, VOL. 14, NO. 5. ATHOME IN FAIRFIELD COUNTY (ISSN 1941-9503) is published six times annually (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/Jun, Jul/Aug, Sep/Oct, Nov/Dec) by Moffly Media, Inc., 205 Main St, Westport, CT 06880. Periodical postage paid at Westport, CT, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes (Form 3579) to ATHOME IN FAIRFIELD COUNTY, PO BOX 9309, Big Sandy, TX 75755-9607. US subscription rates: $19.95/1 year, $29.95/2 years; Canada and foreign US$40/1 year, US$60/2 years.
on the c ove r amy aidin is hi rsch i nterior desig n, l l c | ph ot o gr a ph y a m y vi schio athomefc.com
ELEISH VAN BREEMS | H O M E
Furniture • Antiques • Lighting • Pillows • Tabletop • Accessories
EV B HOM E 9 9 F r an k l i n Street | E V B D ESIGN 22 R ailro ad Place | Westp o rt, Co nnecticut | e vba nt ique s.c om
vol. 14 | no. 5 | sept/oct 2019
Amy Vischio editorial
sales management moffly media
Lauren Fetterman market editor
Megan Gagnon advisory editor
contributing editors editor, new canaan - darien
publisher, new canaan - darien
Lisa Phillips Hingst
categories: automotive/builders/ landscape/sports & fitness publisher, stamford
executive editor, greenwich
editor, fairfield living; stamford; westport
categories: architects/interior design/ home furnishing/art & collectibles
Cristin Marandino Diane Sembrot
regional account executive, southeast category: regional travel
digital media manager
categories: doctors/dentists/finance/ insurance/business consulting
Amber Scinto digital editor
Diane Sembrot business president
Jonathan W. Moffly
Rick Johnson categories: real estate/lawyers
Ellyn Weitzman categories: restaurants/wine & spirits/ catering
Hilary Hotchkiss category: schools & universities
vice president/editorial & design
event development director
Elena Moffly cofounders
John W. Moffly IV & Donna C. Moffly
Deb Ryan partnership manager
Kathleen Godbold strategic marketing director
Wendy Horwitz creative services art director
Molly Cottingham marketing & event interns
Katie Fehrenbaker, Nicole Frankenfield, Nicole Freitas and Lauren Ritchey
TO SUBSCRIBE, renew, or change your address, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 1-877467-1735, or write to athome in Fairfield County Magazine, 111 Corporate Drive, Big Sandy, TX 75755. U.S. subscription rates: $19.95/1 year (6 issues); $34.95/2 years (12 issues); $44.95/3 years (18 issues). Canada and foreign, US $36/year. Prices are subject to change without notice. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without express permission of the publisher. ©2018 athome in Fairfield County Magazine is a registered trademark owned by Moffly Media. The opinions expressed by writers commissioned for articles published by athome in Fairfield County are not necessarily those of the magazine.
Fresh, inventive, and timeless architecture Renovations and new building Southport | Quogue | apdarchitects.com
FOR QUALITY CUSTOM REPRINTS/E-PRINTS, please call 203-571-1645 or e-mail email@example.com PUBLISHERS OF GREENWICH, FAIRFIELD LIVING, NEW CANAAN • DARIEN • ROWAYTON, WESTPORT, STAMFORD and athome magazines, 205 Main Street, Westport, CT 06880. Phone: 203-222-0600; email: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Lemuel Bandala: call 203-571-1610 or email email@example.com
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n our annual Designers’ Own Homes issue, three local designers open their doors and invite us inside for a tour. Traveling through their personal spaces, we learn more about how they remedied a quirk, added a detail or stripped down an element to its purest state. They talk about how they made decisions that ultimately forged a path that led to a home that’s perfect for them. They are, in essence, their own client, and by learning how their own house became a home, we’re reminded again of why it pays to hire a design team when bringing your dream home to life. With more choices today than ever before, the opportunities are endless—as well as, potentially, the mistakes and regrets. Design professionals can guide you through every option as well as present ones you never knew you wanted. Your home should truly reflect who you are, and a design team is just the ticket to help you do that. ¶ In this year’s issue, all three designers happen to live in farmhouses that they have either renovated or custom-built to fit their lives. We first pay a visit to Leslie Cohen’s updated 1980s house, where the designer thoughtfully introduced a clean, modern aesthetic while maintaining the home’s connection to the historic village of Southport (page 36). Next, we stop by the Weston home of Denise Davies, where the head of D2 Interieurs has created a serene yet creative sanctuary from a 1929 farmhouse with quirky additions and interesting details (page 54). Then, we head to Greenwich, where Amy Aidinis Hirsch has built her dream home, blending the ideal mix of raw materials, glass and natural light to create what she calls “heaven” (page 72). ¶ Finally, inside this magazine (and all of Moffly Media’s town-specific titles), you’ll find the 2019 A-List Awards program. We’re thrilled to be celebrating our tenth anniversary, and we can’t wait to see you at the hottest design networking event of the year on September 11. I want to thank our esteemed panel of judges— James Aman and John Meeks of Aman & Meeks, Mara Miller and Jesse Carrier of Carrier and Company, Richard Hartlage of Land Morphology, Jennifer Post of Jennifer Post Design, Brian Sawyer of Sawyer|Berson, Edward Siegel of Edward Siegel Architect, and Keith Williams of Nievera Williams—for sharing their time and talents with us. New York Times bestselling author and home design enthusiast Jane Green is returning as our emcee, which is just the icing on the cake. If you want to see the top projects of 2019 and network with the best design pros in Fairfield County and beyond, join us at the A-List Awards at the Palace Theatre in Stamford. Buy your tickets today at athomefc.com—your next partner or project awaits! We’ll see you there!
AMY VISCHIO Creative/Editorial Director firstname.lastname@example.org
AMY VISCHIO AND LAUREN FETTERMAN: JULIEN JARRY
Me and Lauren Fetterman
goods/COLOR GREENLIGHT THESE EMERALD-HUED GEMS
dark green makes me think of “regal organic,” luxurious c ol or t oned d own. there is a richness of depth, and when c ombined on different textures, it brings p ops withou t sho cks.
LATOXLATO Vestalia green candelabrum; $2,800. artemest.com
—alexis varbero, ceo, schwartz design showroom
U RBAN ELECTRIC Bubble; $1,527. urbanelectric.com
CURATOR PAINTS Saints and Scholars; starting at $30. Mcdermott Paint & Wallpaper, Greenwich; mcdermottwallpaper.com
Infiniti Grande Curve Back sofa; $1,899. Westport; crateandbarrel.com
MODSHOP Manhattan 2 Door credenza; $2,295. modshop1.com
INDUSTRY WEST Cane queen bed; $3,200. industrywest.com
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF DESIGNERS/BRANDS
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goods/REFLECTIVE MOMENTS MIRROR IMAGES THAT APPEAL TO MORE THAN JUST YOUR VANITY
i l ove t o design mosaics using mirrored gl ass. mirror adds artistic sophistication and an interesting dimensional qualit y.
—jo ann ceasrine, lead designer, surface of westport
5 1 DESIGN WITHIN REACH Harvey mirror by Egg Collective; from $850. Stamford, Westport; dwr.com
7 2 JONATHAN ADLER Electrum accent table; $795. jonathanadler.com
3 MR. BROWN LONDON
4 SAFAVIEH COUTURE
Tito tall cabinet; $6,708. Lillian August, Norwalk; lillianaugust.com
Madolyn églomisé console; $1,295. perigold.com
Desmond antique mirror sconces set; $139. cb2.com
6 ONE KINGS LANE Lago mirror bar cart; $675. onekingslane.com
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF DESIGNERS/BRANDS
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goods /TASK MASTERS RAISE THE GRADE FOR HOME WORK ESSENTIALS
Weaver étagère; $5,355. Tusk Home + Design, Westport; tuskhomeand design.com
2 JAYSON HOME
Leather clipboards; from $110. jaysonhome.com
3 HUDSON VALLEY LIGHTING Hunts Point; $550. The Tailored Home, Greenwich, Westport; thetailoredhomect.com
4 WILLIAMS SONOMA HOME Marble and brass wastebasket; $155. Westport; williams-sonoma.com
5 RIFLE PAPER
6 RH, RESTORATION HARDWARE
Motorcity desk chair; from $1,196. Greenwich, Westport; rh.com
7 BUNGALOW 5
a well-designed home office should reflect your c ompany’s or family’s highest ideals. opt for a fabul ous piece of art work that keeps you inspired and fo cused. —lynne scalo, lynne scalo design
Jolene desk; $3,946. Schwartz Design Showroom, Stamford; schwartzdesign showroom.com
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF DESIGNERS/BRANDS
Writing pens; $16 each. Anthropologie, Greenwich, Westport; anthropologie.com
Come visit our new Westport showroom for an interactive stone experience
203.790.9023 Exceptional Products, Personal Service
haute stuff / SCENTS OF STYLE by megan gagnon
HOME FRAGRANCE FOR EVERY DESIGN PERSONALITY
1 CINNAMON PROJECTS
Circa incense burner in brass; $150. cinnamonprojects.com
2 MAD ET LEN
Terre Noire lava rock potpourri; $135. Terrain, Westport; shopterrain.com
5 MEMO PARIS
Feu de Bois pillar candle; $75. diptyqueparis.com
Grapefruit diffuser; $248. The Perfect Provenance, Greenwich; theperfect provenance.com
Figue d’Ete potpourri crystals; $80. bastide.com
6 CIRE TRUDON
Louis XIV bust candle; $250. Adore, Mystic; adore.world
7 TOM DIXON
Elements Air diffuser; $140. tomdixon.net
8 PATRICK COARD PARIS King’s Brother candle; $290. barneys.com
IMAGES COURTESY OF DESIGNERS/BRANDS. OPPOSITE PAGE COURTESY OF CINNAMON PROJECTS.
shoptalk THE LATEST DESIGN NEWS
The Kaleidoscope mosaic in Cloud clads a fireplace surround; the Noir tile (right) is sultry and stunning.
TILE B IN STYLE BENDER ANNOUNCES AN EXCLUSIVE NEW COLLECTION
ender, a leading retailer specializing in decorative plumbing, lighting, tile and stone, has introduced an exclusive new tile collection named East & Grand. The premier offering in the collection is an innovative tile design called Kaleidoscope. A Kaleidoscope mosaic is a true work of art. These handclipped, stained-glass tiles can be assembled into stunning starbursts, creating masterpieces
throughout the home. The collection is versatile and would be exquisite as a feature wall in a shower or as a stunning fireplace surround. Kaleidoscope is available in Argent (silver), Blanc (white), Cloud (soft blue-gray), Fume (dark gray), Nina (creamy brown) and Noir (black). Two additional colors, Sapphire and Aqua, can be special-ordered. The Kaleidoscope series expands Bender’s extensive
selection of carefully curated products in natural stone, porcelain, ceramic, concrete and glass. From classic styles to the latest tile trends, Bender has virtually endless options, appealing to décors that range from traditional New England to urban chic. A fourth-generation familyowned and -operated company in Connecticut, Bender has evolved into a retail purveyor of attainable luxury in decorative plumbing, kitchen and bath cabinetry, lighting, tile and stone. It also supplies a wide range of HVAC and plumbing materials. Bender attributes its decades of success to the generations of talented designers and practitioners of trades and crafts who have used its products to create enduring works of art in homes throughout Connecticut and beyond. Bender invites industry professionals and the general public to visit one of its six award-winning showrooms to view the Kaleidoscope collection and the wide range of other home décor options it has to offer. 203-498-5181; bendershowrooms. com
N O R WA L K D E S I G N C E N T E R
W E S T P O R T AT E L I E R
S TA M F O R D WA R E H O U S E S H O P
T R A D E W E LC O M E
L I L L I A N AU G U S T. C O M
above left: Calming and striking tones create a contemporary vibe in a bedroom. Paint on headboard from the top is Wild Moss, Showstopper and Submerged. above right: Panels in Rustling Leaves add a pop of intensity to a tranquil space. below: In this Miami Beach vignette, the paint on the walls is Speedwell (left) and Copper Dome (right), and the floor is Soft Sun.
eneral Paints Group, one of the leading paint manufacturers in Ireland, debuted its Irish designer paint collection CURATOR for the first time in the U.S. this past May. Inspired by the creative works of twentynine Irish artists and designers, Curator’s 144-color collection is a blend of ultra-premium quality paint with stunning colors infused with native Irish art and design, and it comes in five unique finishes. The Curator
A NEW IRISH DESIGNER PAINT COLLECTION TRAVELS OVERSEAS TO THE U.S.
O’Connor, managing director of General Paints Group. “Our collaboration with the Irish design community was instrumental in shaping the color palette. Our hope is to inspire U.S. architects, interior designers, homeowners and style aficionados, and to ultimately help their rooms tell a story.” Speaking on the launch of Curator in Ring’s End stores in Darien and Fairfield, Scott Herling, manager of paint sales and operations at Ring’s End, said: “We are excited to be a part of Curator’s debut in the U.S. market and look forward to sharing Curator with our customers. We are so impressed with how comprehensive yet accessible the palette is; we’re confident it’s going to be a success with our customers, both designers and homeowners.” Curator is available in Ring’s End’s Darien and Fairfield stores along with Mcdermott Paint in Greenwich. curatorpaints.com
team traveled across Ireland sourcing and collaborating with the Irish designers and artisans— from potters and milliners to jewelers and fashion designers— to produce a carefully curated original palette of 144 colors that each tell a tale of living, working and creating in Ireland. Curator believes a home should have colors that reflect a soul, and a story of something unique to them. That is why every color is unique and personal to Ireland and its expressive design community, and each designer has a color that means something special to them. The collection will initially be available in select stores in Connecticut, followed by additional launches in California and Oregon throughout 2019. “We are thrilled to introduce to the U.S. a premium paint collection that is not only available in five beautiful finishes but also comprises colors that are literally inspired by Irish heritage and design,” said Kevin
FRESH PICKS Highlights from the Curator collection:
MOTH COLLAR A botanical green carefully recreated by Jill De Burca, who specializes in traditional embroidery.
CHESTNUT GRAIN Embracing this shade, Conor Holden’s leather pieces are exquisitely handcrafted in the Old Schoolhouse on the Dingle Harbour peninsula.
ROSE MANTLE With a feminine touch, Elaine Madigan embodies Rose Mantle as her color. There is no softer and more luxurious mantle to grace your shoulders than the cashmere knitwear of Elaine Madigan.
SHOWSTOPPER Margaret O’Connor is a milliner based in Clare renowned for her electric couture designs. This statement blue is infused in the powerful hat she has commissioned for Curator.
PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF CURATOR PAINTS
CURATED COLOR G
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shoptalk a wireless smart home and solar solution when they saw the amount of unnecessary wiring that was about to be installed in this small home through another smart-home automation company.” It won the Sustainable Westport green award for the innovative use of technology to provide energy-efficient solutions. Take a closer look at the system at the Bedford Square showroom; ask for a demo of the Apple GROUNDBREAKING HomeKit platform. HOME TECHNOLOGY Voice command This house on Old lights and music. “You Mill Beach features can check on your TecKnow’s smarthome from anywhere living ecosystem, with Tesla and Apple in the world. It’s technologies. better than having It’s efficient, voicea high-end security activated and cool. system because it can not only alert the alarm company, but “It can be used in place of a generator also automate what should happen for clean, efficient, quiet energy that in case of intrusion and prevent the can run your whole house whether dreaded false alarms that bring the hooked up to the grid or to a solar entire fire department to your home array,” says Burke. “It allows you to store unnecessarily,” says Burke. “When energy from the grid or solar. Solar can the kids get off the bus, a smart home run the house during the day and store can open the garage doors and unlock the excess energy production into the the front door, and you can see who battery, and then the house can run off is entering or exiting…[and] a ‘Good the Tesla Powerwall at night.” Night’ scene shuts the house down Both solar and smart automation to minimize energy usage, locks the can be brought into any home, doors, turns down the heat or A/C, existing or new construction. Consider shuts off the TV and turns off all those TecKnow’s Old Mill Beach project. “MGA lights in the basement that your kids [Michael Greenberg & Associates] left on when they went upstairs.” builders and the owner were conscience Bedford Square, 12 Elm Street, of maintaining the original footprint Westport; 203-TEC-KNOW; tecknow.me and contracted TecKnow to provide —Diane Sembrot
USE THE FORCE HOME AUTOMATION THAT FEELS LIKE JEDI POWERS smarter, in a more sustainable way. “We consider solar an integral part of our design of a ‘smart-living ecosystem’ to allow homes to be powered by the sun and controlled by your voice. Coupled with the automation, we create homes that can be optimized for energy-efficient savings and reduce our carbon footprint. We partner with the best solar companies and work with Tesla for solar-storage options to design optimal energy-efficient systems.” While solar isn’t critical to smart-home automation, they do complement each other. The Tesla Powerwall proves its worth after a storm, or even just high winds, knocks out power around town.
Everyday Luxury A NEW GENERAL STORE offers a selection of everyday essentials
modern-day general store that elevates utility items has recently arrived in Litchfield. Milton Market aims to fulfill everyday needs in the chicest way possible. Founders Martha Fish and Gerardo Figueroa, two former Calvin Klein executives with a long history in luxury and fashion, believe that “luxury is a point of view, not a price point.” Step inside to browse through home décor
left: Milton Market founders Gerardo Figueroa and Martha Fish. right: Sir/Madam still life pitchers, Steele Canvas tote bags and Jessie Lazar pottery are just some of the finds to discover at Milton Market.
and gifts such as Sir/Madam Georgian candlesticks, vintage glassware, Jessie Lazar pottery, and Hawkins New York linen napkins and hand-knotted napkin rings. You can also pick up beauty products from brands such as Saint Olio, Jao and Costa Brazil, the line launched by Francesco Costa, and seasonal artist installations and vintage furniture finds are on display. 14 Cobble Court, Litchfield; miltonmarketct.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: TECKNOW: JOHN VIDELER; MILTON MARKET: ROBERT JOHANSSON
A Use the Force Years fter two decades of professional experience taught him that tech can’t go it alone, Phil Levieff went his own way. Two years ago, he founded TecKnow. “Tech needs service, design, a focus on privacy and the ability to leverage one platform to create efficiencies,” says business partner Kim Burke. “Phil began integrating smart-home devices into his own home utilizing the Apple HomeKit platform and, at the same time, purchased his first electric car, a Tesla. He began to recognize that this was the new and better way to live.” TecKnow pairs solar power and storage with smart technology to offer homeowners a way to live cheaper,
LINE OF THE CENTURY CARRIER AND COMPANY DEBUTS A NEW FURNITURE COLLECTION COLLABORATION
above: A seating area furnished with the line’s Gracie sofa with the Meadowmere skirted chair on the left and two Natalie chairs on the right.
PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF CENTURY FURNITURE
-List judges Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller of Carrier and Company have created a comprehensive furniture collection with Century Furniture. With over fifty designs, the collection includes bedroom, dining and occasional as well as a range of upholstery with an uplifting mix of scale, materials and finishes. The new line from the husbandand-wife principals of the lauded design firm blends traditional forms with fresh aesthetics, luxury with practicality, and an exciting mix of styles. The duo were inspired by pre-war European details, scale and finishes. “We explored items we covet, materials we adore, and then removed and edited what didn’t feel true. Our collection for Century ‘feels’ like us—pieces that are stylish and functional, leaning towards historic forms, but mixed and finished in a way that is fresh, effortless, interesting and pretty,” they said. centuryfurniture.com
Baths that take your breath away are just the beginning. From Crosswater London’s* quintessential British flair to Future Classic’s stunning modern design, you can see why the great craftsmen and women of Connecticut come to Bender to create their next masterpiece. See these and many more award-winning decorative plumbing brands at a Bender showroom near you.
bendershowrooms.com | 203.848.6748 decorative plumbing | kitchen & bath cabinetry | lighting | tile & stone Bender showrooms are open to all. If you would like to spend time with one of our sales associates, please call to make an appointment. *The Crosswater London line will be in all Bender showrooms by October 1st.
house parties GREAT MYSTERIES OF THE MONARCH BUTTERLY HOSTED BY THE GLENGATE COMPANY Audubon Greenwich
6 1 Sue Moretti Bodson, Mike Bodson, Kathleen Godbold, Trish Kirsch 2 Karen Scott, Nicole Babkowski, Marilyn Babkowski 3 Lisa Hingst, Andy Chapin, Mary Himes 4 Elizabeth Ritter, Nick Araujo 5 Igor Almeida, Rich Chalifoux 6 Brandon Jones, Mark Stevens, Gabriella Mays, Cristin Marandino 7 Cece Kennelly, Jenny Gazerro, Madeleine dâ€™Ambrosio, Larry Hershberger 8 Andy Chapin 9 Anita Stockbridge, John Stockbridge 10 JoAnn Slattery, Hugh Sneddon
Photography by Kristin Burke Hynes for Big Picture Photography
DISTINCTIVE HOMES, ADDITIONS & RENOVATIONS CONNECTICUT • NEW YORK • NEW JERSEY
Photography by Jane Beiles
Interior Design by Lynn Morgan
Architecture by Brooks & Falotico Associates, Inc.
house parties GREAT MYSTERIES OF THE MONARCH BUTTERLY HOSTED BY THE GLENGATE COMPANY Audubon Greenwich
6 1 Paul Tallman, Alease Tallman, Jack Franzen, Ann Franzen 2 Arlene Carpenter, Lisa Clair 3 Cristin Marandino, Ali Gray 4 Jordan Scott 5 Susan Schieffelin, Tim Schieffelin, JoAnn Messina 6 Gabriella Mays, Rhonda Eleish, Jo Ann Ceasrine, Edie Van Breems 7 Suzanne Branch, Cynthia Olsen Gates, Beverly Keyes 8 Ryan MacLean, Caroline Bailey 9 Jenny Gazerro 10 Adrianna Cuono, Ciro Cuono
Photography by Kristin Burke Hynes for Big Picture Photography
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Photography by Bob Capazzo for Big Picture Photography
PHOTOS BY JACEK DOLATA & KRISTIN BURKE HYNES
1 0 years awards
the premier home design competition
TOP 10 REASONS th to attend the 10 annual A-List Awards 1
Network, network, network!
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Turn new contacts into collaborators Enjoy the 10th anniversary festivities Get (and be!) inspired Support those who support you Make the (unofficial) best-dressed list Get a pic in our party pages Do it for the (Insta)gram Win a grand prize from TecKnow and Tesla Celebrate the local design community
PRESENTING SPONSOR LEVEL 1
PRESENTING SPONSORS LEVEL 2
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#lifejustgotbrighter chloewinstonlighting.com | South Norwalk, CT
designers’ own homes issue
OWN HOMES You are a page away from a look inside the personal spaces of three local designers. See what colors, fabrics and furnishings made the cut, what artwork speaks to them, and how they’ve made their particular house into their own personal haven. So take the tour—these three open houses are guaranteed to inspire (no RSVP required). >>> SEP/OCT 2019
With a nod to the historic village of Southport, the designer infuses a 1980s farmhouse with a clean and modern aesthetic that still boasts a traditional side interview with leslie c ohen, leslie c ohen interiors | phot o gr apher amy vischio
designers’ own homes issue
You’ve lived in this house a little over a year. What drew you to it?
This is a 1980s home modeled after an original few-hundred-years-old farmhouse, and it was quite beautiful and very traditional. It was modeled to fit within the village of Southport, which my partner and I loved, and it was off the beaten path a little bit. The homes are all old, and I love old homes. I walked inside and thought, “This could be great!” Was a renovation in order? Yes—we spent four months renovating the
house, which wasn’t very long, and it looks completely different now. My goal was to keep the bones, and I was on a strict budget. I didn’t gut walls or anything like that; I kept a lot of original elements that were done very nicely. It wasn’t all my style, and if I had had a bigger budget, I probably would have done more, but I think it was a great experience for me to hold back on things, to not overspend or go crazy.
above: To add interest in the newly opened-up family room, Cohen added decorative beams to the existing vaulted ceiling and painted the windows black. A nude bronze sculpture by Patricia Pickman Udell rests on the coffee table. right: Cohen in her foyer. The stair rails are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Strong White in high lacquer.
this spread: The original L-shaped kitchen was transformed into a chic yet functional one with no upper cabinetry. RW Guild NYC brass light fixtures hang above the long, narrow island, and the teak counter stools are from Bungalow in Westport. Oak-and-leather Mogens Koch dining chairs from Carl Hansen line the table in the breakfast nook.
above: The kitchen and adjacent family room were completely gutted, and a wall separating the two rooms was removed to create one light-filled space. Cohen kept the homeâ€™s original old pine floors but sanded them and changed the color and finish. The floor refinishing is by Green Wood Guys. opposite: The butlerâ€™s pantry, where Cohen cuts her flowers, has a French feel and more traditionalleaning cabinets. The custom cabinetry throughout the home was designed by Cohen and built by Sterling Custom Cabinetry.
this spread: The spacious dining room, furnished with vintage iron-and-leather dining chairs, exudes a bit of a darker vibe yet feels cohesive with the rest of the house.
above: In the living room—one of two sitting rooms sited in the front of the house—a Jacques Guillon Cord chair sits beneath a Jean-Marc Louis painting. opposite, top: On the left of the sofa, a vintage metal lamp is paired with a metal table designed by Lukas Machnik for Michael Del Piero. The custom coffee table was crafted from old plank doors, and the white terracotta sculpture on top is by Michele Raymond. opposite, bottom center: The powder room, which relates back to the dining room with its color and depth, has a clean-lined custom concrete vanity from the Concrete Shop.
finish. Some of the rooms had paneling colors and doors that we painted, but the doors themselves didn’t change. Everything was very clean and simple. The moldings were nice, so I didn’t have to touch them, which was wonderful.
So what changes did you make? The house hadn’t been touched since it was built. It was pretty compartmentalized, like a lot of old homes are, but the one place we did open up was the kitchen and family room. I added some structural beams and other beams, and I gutted the bathrooms but kept everything in place. I didn’t change the actual layout of the house except for the kitchen and family room, and the room sizes all stayed the same. I replaced the windows and the back doors and things like that. I also liked that the ceilings were nine feet high, which you wouldn’t typically find in an old house, and the home feels fresh and new because of the ceiling height. We lived in one bedroom for four months with an old bathroom and no kitchen, but it was actually nice because you realize you really don’t need that much!
Did anything in particular launch the aesthetic you were after? No— when I walked into the house, I had an instant visual of what the house could be that appealed to my aesthetic, which is more clean and modern. It’s always a feeling for me, an intuition, and it’s not that it was so creative. I just knew immediately, for example, that I didn’t want light floors. I wanted this house to feel like it belonged in this area, that it would feel historical (even though it wasn’t), that it was a modern version of what a Southport village home would be. The kitchen and butler’s pantry feel modern, but some elements are more traditional, like using more brass and French marble and marble that is busier and fun. The bathrooms are very
What else did you keep from the original home? We kept the floors— they were old, old pine, and we sanded them and changed the color and
“I had an instant visual of what the house could be that appealed to my aesthetic, which is more clean and modern .”
above: “I first proposed a very quiet kitchen,” says Parent,“but the clients said, ‘No, we want to go for it!’ They were OK with having a little fun here. So I balanced the color of the travertine floor with the countertops and the white cabinets. It was a delicate balance, but it worked.” Updates include new pendants, countertops, backsplash and sink. opposite: The custom glass mosaic tile was inspired by the color of the local rum punch, and the Moen faucet is simple and elegant. —leslie cohen
“I always do my homes in a way that feels timeless , like anyone could live here.” —leslie cohen
this spread: For the front sitting room—which was originally covered in dark brown wood paneling—Cohen painted the bookcases white and the inside of the fireplace black. A glass turqoise Bell side table by ClassiCon sits on one side of the sofa, while a Lindsey Adelman standing light fixture sits on the other. A pair of vintage 1960s Italian chairs in white shearling flank the fireplace,
modern, yet all but the master have wood floors. Knowing what I wanted to do with the house was a fairly quick process. I decided to go with some darker brass, brighter brass and darker elements. There are things I would have done that would have been more modern, but they would have been over the top for what I needed to do here. The big thing was keeping it on the traditional side yet still making it modern. I used some plasters and a lot of concrete in the bathrooms, elements I felt were clean and simple. I always do my homes in a way that feels timeless, like anyone could live there. I have yet to do my super-modern home, but I will some day!
have some of her things in their homes as well. I definitely added new pieces here and there, but very few. Your new kitchen is beautiful—do you spend a lot of time there? I love
cooking, and although I don’t cook as much because my kids are out of the house, I always know in my mind how the kitchen will function. This was a trickier kitchen in a way, and it’s not a huge working space, but it turned out really functional. The kitchen is about ten feet long, so I wanted a long, narrow island because I work at it, eat at it, live at it. The backyard is quite pretty, and we’re right by the water and get beautiful sunlight. There were old 1980s sliders in the back, so I put in really tall doors. Everyone just loves to spend time in the kitchen and family room. We’re not fancy or formal, and we don’t live like that; we’re very comfortable in our home. The rooms may look like they’re not lived in enough, but they are.
How did you choose your furnishings and colors? My homes are always
pretty serene. But I am a recycler, a collector. I love to collect beautiful things, and I always hope to keep reusing them. In every home I’ve had— and there have been quite a few—I take pieces and either put them in a different place or change the fabric. I’m very passionate about buying the right pieces and using them over and over, and then filling in with some new pieces. Color-wise, I actually do like color, but I tend to go more neutral—it’s just quieter for me—with some pops here and there.
So how did you transform the family room? There was a wall separating
the family room and the kitchen, and a tiny doorway led from one room to the other. The biggest change was opening up this space, and it came out great; my builder was fantastic. The wood beams were there, and I just encased them in old wood. The ceiling was already vaulted but I took off the existing trim, and I kept the existing windows. I put decorative beams in the ceiling for interest, and we put a few beams in the kitchen to make that feel good. I added black sashes on the windows because white wasn’t pulling me in. I wanted this area to feel a little more fun, and you can
Did any new pieces make it into the design? I did buy a few things, maybe a sofa or some chairs that I found. I do love the hunt; it’s so much fun. I have a lot of things that I started out with. A lot of pieces I’ll sell, or a client will buy, and then I’ll buy something new that will change up the feeling of the house. I have a lot of pieces from my mom, and my children
“We’re not fancy or formal, and we don’t live like that; we’re very comfortable in our home.” —leslie cohen
above: The master suite benefits from beautiful water views from the bed. A very soft plaster wraps the walls, and custom Italian leather nightstands are topped with metal lamps from Bungalow. opposite: A high marble backsplash, traditional wall faucets and a black marble herringbone floor are just some of the compelling elements of the master bath. A painting by Meighan Morrison presides over the tub.
the front door, the first room is the one with the bookcases. It had dark wood paneling, and though it was quite nice, it wasn’t my style. Without spending a lot of money, I painted the bookcases white and the inside of the fireplace black. It’s our reading room—it’s really cozy, and there’s no TV. Since it’s at the front of the house, we love reading in here and watching people walk by. I’m not big on window treatments, and I enjoy the room without them. The other sitting room connects to the family room and kitchen, so we’ll end up in there sometimes, too. It’s more of a formal living room. Since the house has a formality to it, it was important to me to make it feel informal, like you could sit anywhere in the house.
actually see through the windows better. I love it when you’re at the front door, and you can see down into this space. Your dining room has a moodier feel than the others. I actually don’t like
dining rooms, and this is a big one, and I had to think about what to do in here. I wanted a really sexy space where I could either work or dine intimately with friends. It feels a bit different than the other rooms yet is still cohesive with the rest of the house. I see you have two sitting rooms. How did you design these? From
opposite: This en-suite guest bedroom, one of three in the home, is casual, earthy and carefully edited. Cohen updated all of the guest baths to achieve a more modern look and put in high backsplashes and wall faucets. right: The designer’s personal office and workspace on the second floor was created from part of an existing study.
How did you redo the master suite to fit your needs? The biggest issue
was that there were no master closets—just a little hallway with four tiny, narrow closets—so I turned the old laundry room into the master closet. This really updated the house because now we have the four closets plus the big one. We kept the bath simple and used old marble to give the vanity a traditional edge. The bath isn’t fancy, and it still feels pretty earthy. The tub was a must—my partner loves taking his baths! [laughs] I also kept the marble up high on all of the bathroom backsplashes, and I wanted all wall faucets because they remind me of the old days. Are the three other bedrooms for your kids when they visit? That’s exactly what they’re for! For some reason, I keep thinking my kids are coming home. [laughs] I wanted the bedrooms to feel casual, and I love buying textiles and throwing them on the beds or using them in other ways. I don’t like an overly decorated house, so the rooms are quite sparse, and they relate to each other. They’re all en-suite, which was another thing the house had that was really nice. What can you tell me about the artwork? I bought a couple of pieces from Meighan Morrison. I don’t usually buy more than one piece from an artist, but she’s great, and I like to support local people. Some of the other pieces are from Europe, and some are from my mom when she passed away— she curated a lot of nice, modern art. It’s a mix of what I had before and what just works. I’m really starting to get into art seriously for the first time. How does this house differ from your previous ones? Each one of my homes has been very different, but this is more of a family home— not more than my first house, but definitely more than my last few. It’s more compartmentalized, and it feels more like an older home with an incredible sense of old and new, like with the beautiful old staircase and beautiful old floors mixed with this airy, modern feel. The neighborhood is quieter, and it’s very communal and friendly.
this spread: With complementary looks, the other two guest bedrooms relate to the first thanks to soothing textures and lush textiles. All of the baths except for the master have wood floors and concrete sinks for a rustic touch.
What is it like, designing your own home? I started doing this when
or knew they’d have to update it, which people don’t always want to do anymore. But I absolutely love this home. It feels peaceful; it feels good. —interview by lauren fetterman
I got divorced. I bought my first house and did my first renovation, and it became my career and a great passion of mine. I especially love taking older homes and changing them up. There’s something fun about taking a space that’s not quite right and making it better rather than starting from scratch. This house was on the market for a long time, and though a lot of people liked it, they didn’t know what do to with it
Resources: Interior designer: Leslie Cohen Interiors, Westport; 203-247-5859 Builder: Tony Ialeggio, 203-981-3200
The designer blends custom pieces, inspired finds and eclectic artwork to make her light-filled 1929 home a soothing yet creative escape interview with denise davies, d2 interieurs | phot o gr apher jane beiles
designers’ own homes issue opposite: Davies takes a seat on one of her patios. The furnishings are from RH and CB2, and the ottoman is from Anthropologie. this page: The designer transformed the home’s entry by installing glass paneling and a Lucite railing to the staircase. A white metallic grasscloth reflects the light coming in from the new modern glasspaneled front door. Davies’s onsite studio is pictured above.
Tell me a bit about your home—did you buy it or build it? The house was built in 1929. I bought it in 2007, and I live here with my husband and two sons. It was a small farmhouse, and over the years, from the ’70s to the ’90s, quirky additions were added. I liked that it wasn’t cookie-cutter and that it had interesting details; I knew I could do a lot with it. I just did a renovation this past year.
above: A Knoll tulip table graces the breakfast nook. The window treatments are custom Roman shades using the Bridge fabric from Caroline Cecil Textiles. right: The formerly small and dark kitchen had no connection to the other living spaces. The now bright and open space boasts white cabinetry and a quartzite vented hood, center island and countertops. The jewelry-like hardware is by Lisa Jarvis.
What were your renovation plans? When we first moved in, I paid a fortune for architectural plans. We were going to add 2,000 square feet, but then the housing market crashed, and I shelved those plans. I’m happy I did because, as we lived in the house, we realized that we really didn’t need any additional space. We just needed to live here and see how we were actually going to use the house. For instance, there was a deck outside of our master bedroom and my son’s bedroom that never got used. So, this past year, we built onto the deck and added a huge master bathroom, laundry room and my son’s bathroom. I renovated every single room in the house, and four years ago we built my studio on the property.
this page: With one wall dedicated to floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, Davies nixed upper cabinetry and instead displayed artwork. A row of vintage stools faces a Slim Aarons photograph.
this page: With custom built-ins painted in a blue lacquer from Farrow & Ball, the dining room is striking dressed in Cole & Sonâ€™s Hicks wallpaper. The table and chairs were scores from a vintage shopping trip, and the mirrored buffet is from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The artwork is by German artist Peter Keil, whom Davies collects.
“I liked that the house wasn’t cookie-cutter and that it had interesting details ; I knew I could do a lot with it.” —denise davies
above: Inside the “man cave,” an Eames chair, a custom D2 Interieurs velvet-covered sofa and a fun yellow chair offer comfy places to sit. The coffee table and rug, both custom by D2 Interieurs, round out the space. The architectural piece behind the sofa is from a building that was demolished in New York City in the 1920s. below: Mil Caras wallpaper lines the hallway leading to the “cave.”
Did you lean toward using any specific colors? Since I use so much color
in my designs and am so stimulated every day with what I do, I really didn’t use a lot of color. My home is very soothing, and that was my goal: to keep it neutral and sophisticated. I’m a big collector of midcentury art and pottery and artifacts, I travel all over, and I’m constantly buying things I love and redoing them and selling them and keeping them, so I wanted my house to be a place where I could enjoy the things I love and find and buy along the way. Was maximizing natural light important? Absolutely. Every room has a lot of windows, and over the past three years I’ve painstakingly replaced every single window in the house. In fact, the entire house has all new custom Marvin windows and doors. I love the white oak floors you have throughout. The floors were a terrible
color—this 1980s red—so I lightened them all. We renovated the kitchen four years ago, and it had ceramic floors. We put matching floors in the rest of the house, and then we redid all of them.
left: The original dining room was completely gutted and turned into the new living room. Davies added hardwood floors, new windows and new French foors leading out to the pool. The sofa and rug were custom-designed by D2 Interieurs, and the metallic Flat Vernacuar wallpaper on the ceiling glows in the dark. New fireplace mantels were added throughout the home. below: The wet bar was updated with new cabinetry, a wine fridge and a custom stone sink.
opposite: The living room also features black vintage chairs and a “fun” sign, which is hardwired into the wall and can be illuminated. above left: At the top of the upstairs landing, a small sitting area is composed of vintage chairs discovered on one of Davies’s shopping trips. The artwork by Lawrence Lazar was sourced from Appleton Art Design. above right: Since the former laundry room was located in a closet, having a real laundry room was essential to Davies. One of her signature touches is making the laundry a fun destination for clients, so she chose to outfit her own space with a custom barn door, Whyte & Company pink resin farmhouse sink, graphic Femme© wallpaper from Drop It Modern, and cement tile flooring.
What did the kitchen makeover entail? It was completely reconfigured. It used to be an L-shaped kitchen, and it was a horrible design. I feel like counterspace in kitchens isn’t well utilized; all you really need is a big working island and the area around the stove. I made a floor-to-ceiling pantry where there used to be cabinets, and I designed the detail on the pantry doors. The hood is very unique—it’s wrapped in quartzite, and we had to reinforce it all the way to the joist of the house. There’s also a fourinch ledge that goes up and around. I have a lot of artwork, and in lieu of upper cabinetry, I chose to hang art. I really wanted it to feel more like a living area and not a traditional “this is the kitchen.” Even the lighting I used is midcentury.
behind the sofa is a 1920s architectural piece from a bank on Madison Avenue in New York City. The artwork and all of the chairs are vintage, but the space doesn’t feel vintage; it feels very current. Out of all of the rooms in the house, this is probably the darkest one. And my husband approved it; he liked it a lot. He actually insisted on the yellow chair. I was going to sell it to someone, and he said, “No, I love it.” It just worked; it’s happy. I love how much light the living room gets from all of the doors and windows. Those doors lead out to the pool. This room is very light and airy, and it’s where I go to read and have a quiet moment. I got those vintage chairs in Miami—they’re from Germany, and I absolutely love them. I always try to add the color black to every room I design, because black is what grounds a room and adds sophistication. The wallcovering I put on the ceiling made me happy. When the sample came in, it just spoke to me, and I made it work in the room. It’s a blushy copper with a
Your home has a cool “man cave”—did your husband help design this?
Oh no, he learned it’s better not to get involved! [laughs] He let me do my thing. The most important part was having a very comfortable, deep sofa. We put a custom D2 rug in there, and I made the coffee table. The piece SEP/OCT 2019
this spread: The master bedroom emits a Zen-like vibe. Above the custom D2 Interieurs bed is artwork by Nell Waters, and the vintage chairs in the sitting area are from 1stdibs and recovered in a Designers Guild linen.
little metallic in it, and it actually glows in the dark. The coffee table is vintage, and we spray-painted the base with car paint. The “fun” sign was a carnival sign I got upstate; it’s actually hardwired into the wall. How did you approach the laundry room? This is the first area you see
when you go upstairs, and I wanted it to be interesting. You can’t even really see the washer and dryer; they’re off to the left. I also love faces— as you can see with all of the art in my house, there are a lot of faces—and I fell in love with the wallpaper. I knew I was definitely using that paper, so I had to find the perfect tile, which I did. The custom resin sink is fuchsia, and I put in a sliding barn door because I didn’t want a traditional door, and the space is tight. I thought it was a different detail to add.
“I feel very ’dug in’ here; it feels like a true expression of me.” —denise davies
What vibe were you after for your master bedroom? Serene, peaceful and
comfortable. Comfy things give me joy—I should have grown up in the ’70s! The bed is a D2 bed, and in the sitting area, the little vintage table is from France, and we recovered those vintage chairs. It’s funny—people have chairs in their bedrooms and never use them, but I literally use those chairs daily. I’m a big meditator, and I sit in those chairs twice a day. They’re so comfortable, and I love that I actually use them.
this spread: The new master bath was given heated floors of irregular-cut Thassos mosaic stone that travels through to the shower and water closet; weathered white Moroccan handmade terracotta tiles cover the showerâ€™s walls and ceiling. For drama, the custom white oak vanity is topped with Calcutta Covelano book-matched stone and a three-inch mitered countertop of the same; the stone is by Dushi Marble & Granite. Davies also rounded the walls in the space. Every last detail was considered, which in turn created an interesting detail for the wall-mounted faucets from Waterworks. The pendants above are by Rich Brilliant Willing, the sconces are from Lawson Fenning, and the window treatment is made from an Skl fabric. After seeing the ex.t soaking tub during her travels abroad years ago, Davies became obsessed with having it one day. After tracking it down, she was able to import it from Italy.
above and near right: In her onsite creative studio, Davies and her clients enter the loft space on seemingly floating stairs, with Davies’s powder blue Vespa appearing as pop art through the glass risers; the studio’s powder room is wrapped in Flavor Paper’s Brasilia wallcovering in Licorice. opposite: In the studio loft space, the room is centered on a large white lacquered custombuilt table perfect for client presentations. Custom-built shelving houses all of the fabric swatches, and underneath in the cabinetry is a comprehensive selection of over 150 samples of original D2 Interieurs-designed rugs. The lighting in the studio was one of the most important aspects of the space—there are fifty-six recessed lights in the ceiling and oversize dome pendants above the worktable. Lighting is by Fontana Arte, the Herman Miller desk chairs are in a Schumacher fabric, and the counter stools from 1stdibs are in a Larsen fabric through Cowtan & Tout. athomefc.com
You mentioned that the master bath is new. Can you tell me about that?
Your outdoor space looks like a resort—so relaxing. The pool area is
The master bedroom had a bathroom, but it was very small. For the new bath, I put in a vaulted ceiling with a skylight—the room gets so much light now—and there are heated floors. I wanted the star of the show to be the book-matched slabs on the vanity, which to me are very serious, very “look at me.” While most people would continue the same slab in the shower, or put big tiles that looked like it in there, I wanted to create a complete juxtaposition to the vanity, so I put hand-glazed irregular tile in the shower. I also never had a tub like this before, and I really wanted one. The tub came all the way from Italy; it’s so incredible. I saw it on Pinterest, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I literally had to brush up on my Italian to get this tub!
outside of the living room, and that’s our “weekend” area, where we go to hang out and have a glass of wine. I love the feeling of it. People always say, “I love your pool. I feel like I’m in a palazzo in Italy.” We’re on three acres, so it’s very private. I have another patio area outside of my studio as well. When did you set out to create an onsite studio? It was in 2015. This was an old barn on the property, and I wanted a creative space where I could go that was separate from the house. My primary office is in Westport, and we built a separate studio on the property to be my creative play space. I renovated the barn and added the second level.
How does this home compare to other places you’ve lived? Every place
never use the same thing twice; and I make a lot of my own pieces custom. You want everything, but you can’t have everything. It’s a gradual process, and I’m always buying things. If you buy things you love, they’ll all work together. —interview by lauren fetterman
I’ve lived has had its own unique personality. I owned a loft in Tribeca and one in SoHo. I had a pre-war apartment on the Upper West Side. I had a country home in Woodstock, New York. This home is completely different. I feel very “dug in” here; it feels like a true expression of me. With all of the other places I’ve lived, I knew I would eventually move, which I did. But I don’t feel that way here. I feel like I’ve taken a deep breath. I can’t believe I live here; I’m so grateful.
Resources: Interior designer: D2 Interieurs, Westport/Weston; 646-326-7048; d2interieurs.com Architect: Vita Design Group, Westport; 203-283-1561; vdgarch.com Contractor: Old World Construction, Redding; 203-544-9263
Designing your own home versus a client’s—is it easier? Harder?
It’s impossible! As a designer, I have access to everything; I try to athomefc.com
opposite left: The backpainted glass backsplash in the studio kitchen reflects Daviesâ€™s favorite shade of yellow. The yellow pops seen throughout the studio are the same color seen in D2 Interieursâ€™s logo. opposite right: A custom window seat provides a cozy spot for respite. below: The studio is completed by a comfortable sitting area with a vintage modern sofa flanked by two custom upholstered swan chairs and throw pillows covered in vintage fabrics Davies found.
Amy Aidinis A focus on simplicity mixed with raw elements, glass and natural light turns this new modern farmhouse into the designerâ€™s personal heaven interview with amy aidinis hirsch, amy aidinis hirsch interior design | phot o gr apher amy vischio
designers’ own homes issue
Where does the story of this home begin? It’s been a year since we moved
in. We had been living in Stamford in what was a great starter home. My husband and I had our two daughters there, and now that they’re a bit older, we had outgrown it. Our objective was to find an acre of land with some space, and it took a really long time. We finally found this piece of property that had a horrible house from the 1940s on it. It was much bigger than the house we built, and it was long and dilapidated. We really bought it for the property—it was in the same district for our kids, and it’s two minutes from my mom and where I grew up. My husband and I are both lifelong Greenwich residents—we were born and raised here; we both live and work here; multiple generations of our families live here. When we closed, we were on vacation, and when we came back, my husband said, “Why don’t you walk through the house one more time just to see what you want to do?” So, I walked inside, and I said, “Let’s knock it down.” That started the process.
Hirsch above: This modern farmhouse is a dream come true for Hirsch. “Amy wanted a home that reflected her personality and design sensibility,” says architect Paulo Vicente of VicenteBurin Architects. “She wanted a house that was bright with a great connection to the outdoors and an open flow.” right: The designer in her light-filled, second-floor hallway. For a rustic yet clean look, the entire house has white oak character grade wood flooring supplied by The Hudson Company.
What were you looking to create? I knew I wanted to build something
above left: A sitting room appears to float on the second floor of the “glass cube.” above right: In the entry, Jenny Boot’s “Alexandra,” the female counterpart of the “defender of mankind,” is a symbol of strength for Hirsch’s two daughters. This piece was purchased through the Public House of Art. The light fixture is from the 21 collection from Bocci. opposite left: The dining room stuns thanks to handpainted de Gournay Coco Coromandel panels. Anthropologie’s Grassland Stripe dining chairs are seated at the table, and a hand-knotted Atis carpet in Charcoal from Marc Phillips is underfoot. opposite right: Andrew Zimmerman’s “Rescue Green,” 2019 is automotive paint on wood.
myself. We wanted a galvanized roof and aluminum windows, and we wanted a house with very little maintenance. That meant we didn’t want stone walls; we wanted cement; we wanted our decking to be very simple. We didn’t want anything over-the-top that we had to maintain. We wanted a home where we could live and entertain and not have to worry. How long did it take, from start to finish? Because it took a year to
find the land, it was a three-year endeavor; the build itself was eighteen months. We had wetlands, and it takes time to go through that process. While we were dealing with that, we had the time to finesse the plans with an architect, which was key. It’s funny, but the way I found Paulo Vicente of Vicente-Burin Architects was through editorials. He had been recommended by a close friend, and after loving the vision of some of his houses in these editorials, I knew he was it; I didn’t interview anyone else. He provided five homes on a floor plan for us, and we went with athomefc.com
a hybrid of two of them—one he designed and one his wife, Martina, designed—and we fell in love with it from that moment. He suggested moving the house twenty-five feet toward the road, and I wasn’t sure that was the right choice, but it was the best decision we ever made. It gave us a larger backyard, and we live in our backyard. We entertain in our kitchen, which is integrated into our backyard, and we’re out there all the time. Paulo nailed that.
stairs, trimless window surrounds and contemporary fireplaces. The house is casual and comfortable yet put together in a restrained and stylish manner. I think it reflects the character of Amy and her family. And Amy, what inspired the look of the exterior? I didn’t want what
everyone else in New England had. I wanted a home that when you walked inside, you couldn’t believe it actually exists here. We built a modern farmhouse, and while I know people are tired of that terminology, that’s really what we wanted. We wanted high ceilings and a tremendous amount of glass, and we have a “glass cube” that’s within our entry and up to a little sitting room, so the second floor looks like it’s floating. You can see straight through the house from front to back, and natural light played a big role. On the outside, the first vision I had—and this is so crazy—was Guinness, and I don’t even drink Guinness! It was the idea of dark and tan, a contrast. Our garage is encased in yellow cedar, and it’s all stained black. There’s this push and pull between the black and white and the gray
Paulo, how does this home represent Amy? To me, it reflects Amy’s own work, which is varied and eclectic in nature but always well-organized, restrained and comfortable. This house has a unique blend of traditional forms with steeply pitched gable roofs, traditional windows and board and batten siding. These are contrasted in proportion with large expanses of glass, cantilevered awnings, a galvanized roof, exposed concrete and black clad forms. The interior continues the same theme with a mix of reclaimed wood beams, traditional wallpaper contrasted with floating
above: The 200-year-old reclaimed beams in the ceiling were sourced and procured from Tennessee by The Hudson Company. below left: The powder roomâ€™s tile-like After Lowry wallpaper from Smink Things in London is a feast for the eyes. The mirror is from Waterworks, and the Cocoon tap is from Studio Piet Boon. below right: A France & Son Seven globe branching light fixture in black highlights the banquette in the breakfast nook. opposite: The kitchen is outfitted with appliances by Aitoro Appliance, and the cabinets are painted in Benjamin Mooreâ€™s Graphite.
top left: A spacious walk-in pantry houses essentials like the microwave, coffee station and wine fridge. top right: The sleek island is topped with leathered black absolute, and the stone backsplash and perimeter countertops are covered in Statuario Gold, all from Everest Marble. bottom left: A floating staircase is hidden behind the fireplace in the family room. “Amy didn’t want the staircase to be a big deal in the house (such as a grand foyer with a large stair), so we came up with the design to have the stairs hidden behind the fireplace,” says Vicente. “We then worked together to have it further ‘disappear’ by distilling it down to just floating treads between the wall and fireplace.” bottom right: Long, custom-made stained walnut dowels capped with metal add warmth and offer easy access to storage in the kitchen.
“I didn’t want what everyone else in new england had. I wanted a home that when you walked inside, you couldn’t believe it actually exists here .” —amy aidinis hirsch
galvanized tin roof. On the exterior, the mullions and everything on the windows are black. I was hell-bent on doing that for the interior windows, but I was doing so much of that for clients that I wanted a reprieve from it. I also went for a black kitchen, and I felt like it could be overkill with the windows, so it’s the best of both worlds—black mullions on the outside and white on the inside.
and the light is beautiful in there, especially early in the morning. We put in an office for me in the basement, but I never use it—it’s a catchall for everything! We use the dining room more so in the winter if we’re entertaining, but day-to-day, it’s really an office for me. And that’s the balance of what Paulo created—the right side of the house, where this room is as well as a guest room, is much more private. But on a daily basis, our family lives in the left side of the house.
What were you drawn to for the interior? I did some research and looked
at Scandinavian interiors and houses in Australia. I was drawn to purity and simplicity, to concrete, white walls, no trim, no moldings except for a base. My husband and I love rustic beams, and these are 200-year-old beams salvaged from a barn and brought in from Tennessee. We love the disbursement and rhythm of them, how they travel from one side to the other and to strategic places upstairs. It was about knowing where to install them and where to have restraint against being too rustic. We discussed cladding the family room ceiling in tons of old, reclaimed wood, but in the end, less was more; that was the motto for our house. The Hudson Company sourced and procured the old rustic beams throughout, supplied the white oak character grade wood flooring and milled the rift oak wood planking that encases the family room fireplace, which was all installed by Keith J. Manca Building Company.
Since you tend to work in here, does the dining room creatively fuel your work? I think so, because there’s so much green. The beauty is the de
Gournay hand-painted chinoiserie wall. It was a moment I struggled with a bit, trying to decide what I was going to put in here. It’s a great backdrop to see when you’re in the kitchen, and when I walk down the stairs in the morning, it’s one of the first things I see when I reach the first floor. It’s so impactful, and it’s a nod back to my traditional roots. How do the kitchen and family room relate to each other? We wanted
open living in an expansive space, but we needed some boundaries to say, “This is the family room; this is the kitchen.” When we’re home together or entertaining, we live in these spaces. I didn’t want a staircase that was massively present in the front entry, so the staircase is actually hidden behind the breast of the fireplace in the family room. To go upstairs, you have to walk through the family room and travel up the floating stairs to get there. That was very clever, and I love the gradation of the boards on the fireplace, how they go from very small to medium to large. It’s also
The dining room is stunning. How did this space come together?
We knew we didn’t want a living room, but we do love to entertain. The dining room essentially acts as my office—it has this great, big table, SEP/OCT 2019
above: A set of Remains Lighting globe flush mount lights in dark waxed bronze was installed above the island. opposite: The kitchen seamlessly flows into the expansive family room. Large windows and doors enable natural light to pour inside and integrate the indoors and outdoors, where Hirsch and her family love to be.
“The beauty of this house is that it has the flexibility to change as we grow and change .” —amy aidinis hirsch
above: The family room is centered on a custom Wüd Furniture Design Nola live-edge walnut coffee table with bronze encased in epoxy resin. The gradation of the boards on the fireplace provides a striking textural element to the room, and the stairwell is accented with John Pomp’s Clear Band pendant. opposite: The window treatment made from Uroko Ink fabric from Zak & Fox frames the wooded views outside. A Cloud sectional from RH offers ample seating, and the Moroccan area rug underneath is from Palace Carpet.
above: “I first proposed a very quiet kitchen,” says Parent,“but the clients said, ‘No, we want to go for it!’ They were OK with having a little fun here. So I balanced the color of the travertine floor with the countertops and the white cabinets. It was a delicate balance, but it worked.” Updates include new pendants, countertops, backsplash and sink. opposite: The custom glass mosaic tile was inspired by the color of the local rum punch, and the Moen faucet is simple and elegant.
top left: Located off of the kitchen and family room, the mudroom is where the family travels into and out of the home. “There are many rooms in the house I love and think look great, but the room I really enjoy, partially because it was a bit of a surprise to me how well it worked, is the humble mudroom,” says Vicente. “I love how the garage siding comes through the interior space coupled with the floor-to-ceiling glass and simple concrete floor. It really makes this a terrific transitional space where you truly feel somewhere between indoors and outdoors.” top right: When Hirsch decided to move forward with a gas fireplace in the family room, this log storage space in the mudroom became a work of art and symbolizes the family’s love for nature. bottom left: This piece of art, one of the self-portraits in the “Somewear” series by Lucia Fainzilber, serves as inspiration to Hirsch’s daughters to cultivate a sense of independence and self-identity. An Urban Electric Company Yves flushmount fixture powdercoated in black lights the space, and every family member has a locker to store belongings. bottom right: A glimpse down the hall to the master suite, where the rustic beams reappear. opposite top: The custom channeled banquette in the kitchen was designed by Amy Aidinis Hirsch, LLC. opposite bottom: A view from the second floor into the family room below.
“My mindset was, if I’m in it, I’m fully in it. It was a very pure approach .” —amy aidinis hirsch
textural with the rift oak and how it was stained. It’s a counterpoint to the cleanness of the walls. I love black kitchens. What is the color on the cabinets? It’s Benjamin Moore Graphite, and I wanted something unusual and totally different. If I ever want to change this down the road, I can paint them another color, and that’s the beauty of this house—it has the flexibility to change as we grow and change. And I’m not going to lie, I almost chickened out—I almost went with a white kitchen. But I have no regrets. The other factor in here is the walnut, which I love; it’s one of my favorite materials to use. When you open up the drawers, everything is lined in the walnut. We didn’t want too many open cabinets, so we spent a lot of time dissecting where everything would go. There’s almost too much storage, but that’s a really good thing. The pantry acts as an extension of the kitchen—everything happens in there. There’s a wine fridge, microwave, icemaker; the coffee is in there. So our kitchen, for the most part, stays like this all the time. I used the Statuario Gold on the perimeter countertops and backsplash, and we did leathered black absolute for the island. My mindset was, if I’m in it, I’m fully in it. It was a very pure approach. Tell me about your master suite—the layout is so unique. You walk down
this long hallway to approach it, and everyone always asks, “Are you ever going to put anything on the walls? This would be the perfect place for family photos.” But I always say no—this is my decompression walk, my meditation walk; it calms me. We also reintroduced the beams here. And for our bedroom, I wanted to be able to walk 360 degrees around our entire suite. The bed is anchored to the main wall, and then you can walk down the hall on the left or right to the closet, which we share, and then into the bathroom. The flow is great, and it’s one of the best design elements of the house. Massive steel mirrored pocket doors divide the hallway and bathroom, and that went back to having something raw. How did you ensure your master bath suited both you and your husband?
I didn’t want a bathroom separated into his and hers. Bathrooms are all about materials, repetition and function, and there is a large amount of storage in here. The drawers are all touch-latch, and I wanted to carry the
“We live very simply , and this house allows us to do that.” —amy aidinis hirsch
above: A custom upholstered bed by Amy Aidinis Hirsch, LLC anchors the master suite, and the lamps on either side are from Rejuvenation.
above left: Before entering the master suite, a sitting room on the second floor of the “glass cube” features a custom daybed by Amy Aidinis Hirsch, LLC upholstered in two different fabrics— a mohair and a solid, channel-stitched Perennials fabric. Bouclé throw pillows on top offer extra comfort, and the artwork is by Lev Khesin. above center: An Urban Electric Company lamp sits among family photos. below left: Backed by Fancy Nancy wallpaper in Slate from Studio Moses, a custom dresser by Amy Aidinis Hirsch, LLC is enveloped in Edelman Leather’s Royal suede in Coal Ash, topped with glass and punctuated by Pale Horn hardware from Ochre. below right: The nook is illuminated by Stahl + Band Forchette sconces in porcelain and blackened brass.
black in, so we did a Nero Marquina herringbone floor. The countertops are quartz, which was one of the last things I sourced, and it has so much movement; I love the organic element it brings. All of our hardware is black; everything in our suite is a gunmetal. Even in our children’s bathrooms and the guest bathrooms, everything intentionally shares the same language. There’s a consistency.
opposite: The master bath beckons with a Winifred resin freestanding tub by Signature Hardware. this page: The walnut vanity is topped with quartz from ABC Worldwide Stone, and the Nero Marquina herringbone stone floor is by Greenwich Tile. The window treatment is crafted from a Rosemary Hallgarten fabric.
The rope bed is amazing—whose room is that? That’s my younger daughter’s room, and she found that bed and pinned it. She didn’t want a lot of color in her room, but she did want a hanging bed, and the mill shop that did all of our cabinetry throughout the house made the bed for me. It’s a mattress on top of a platform, so it doesn’t actually swing, but it’s designed to look like it’s floating, with this fabulous plush carpet underneath. My daughter is a gymnast, so if that bed was actually floating around, we’d be in a lot of trouble!
this spread: One of Hirschâ€™s daughters wanted a floating bed for her room, so this custom hanging bed by Amy Aidinis Hirsch, LLC creatively fulfilled the request. The faux fur rug is from J.D. Staron, and the artwork and pillows are by Kerri Rosenthal. In the en-suite bathroom, Cedar & Mossâ€™s Vista sconces flank a medicine cabinet lined in oak trim.
left, top: The yellow cedar garage was stained black for contrast against the black and white tones of the exterior and the gray galvanized tin roof. The custom Vic light outside is by Urban Electric Company. above: The fire pit is the family’s favorite spot to spend time together. Dedon Mbrace woven wing chairs in Pepper are gathered around a Grid sectional sofa from Gloster. right: Indoor/outdoor entertaining is effortless in the rear of the house. “Amy wanted to maximize the backyard and have space for interior and exterior entertaining,” says Vicente. “The aesthetic is modern yet mixed with more traditional residential architectural forms.”
How did you curate your art collection? Because there is so much light
and so many windows, there were only so many strategic places for art. It’s another layer of what we do, and Tiffany Nelson from Nelson Macker Fine Art was instrumental. She would send me artists whom she felt were right for our house, and I would dig a little deeper. Every piece of art that came into our home had purpose and meaning. Each one represents us. Has any one room emerged as your favorite? That’s hard, because there
are so many great spots, but I will say that we love our fire pit. We love being outside, and it makes you feel like you’re in the woods. I knew I wanted hornbeams and grasses as an extension of the casualness of the way we live. The gravel was key—I went to Terrain and found these little black rocks, and our landscape architect Doyle Herman Design Associates athomefc.com
had to search for them; it wasn’t easy. But those tiny black pebbles, and the rest of the materials, just make the space.
bless my family with it. We live very simply, and this house allows us to do that. It’s heaven. —interview by lauren fetterman
How would you describe the experience of designing your own home?
It was really hard. I’m decisive with clients, but with my own home, there were just so many choices. But it goes back to your gut. Everything I do, I feel within my body. Whenever I was paralyzed with indecision, I put my attention elsewhere and knew that somehow, it would circle back and work itself out, and my gut wouldn’t ache so much when I fell onto what the right choice was. At one point, my husband said to me, “Could you ever do this again?” And I said, “No way do I ever want to do this again!” But when it was done, I turned to him and said, “So what are we going to do now?” [laughs] I’m just so grateful for this house and grateful that I can
Interior designer: Amy Aidinis Hirsch Interior Design, Greenwich; 203-661-1266; amyhirsch.com Architect: Vicente-Burin Architects, Fairfield; 203-319-9571; vbarchitect.com General contractor: Keith J. Manca Building Company, Newtown; 203-270-3603; kjmbuilding.com Landscape architect: Doyle Herman Design Associates, Greenwich; 203-869-2900; dhda.com Art advisor: Tiffany Nelson, 203-249-3685; nelsonmackerfineart.com Florist: Green of Greenwich, Greenwich; greenofgreenwich.com
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ARCHITECTS AT HOME
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