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From the Editor
New England and Points Beyond YOU’D THINK THAT THE EDITOR OF A STRICTLY REGIONAL
architecture and interiors magazine might have little cause to stray outside the comfortable confines of his own corner of the world. After all, the professionals whose work would concern him, the houses and gardens that would be appropriate for his publication, are all, by and large, located within an easy four hours’ drive of his front door. Well, my schedule over the past few months pretty much demolishes that assumption. In between jaunts to Newport, Portsmouth and New Canaan, there have also been designrelated journeys to places like Paris and Los Angeles. It’s true that such excursions have their touristic side, and I’m hardly going to complain about being forced to spend an occasional afternoon trudging the grueling length of the rue de l’Université. But however far these places might be from Essex and Cos Cob in a purely geographic sense, on the aesthetic front the connections can be very close indeed. Paris in late January is home to one of the biggest design trade shows in the world, Maison & Objet, as well as a small-
New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011
er but, in terms of pure cachet, perhaps more rarified event, Paris Deco Off. Thousands of architects, designers, editors and shop owners converge to scope out the hottest trends, pick up new product lines, catch up on gossip and drink kirs. The first annual Design Bloggers Conference, probably the largest, most comprehensive gathering so far of that burgeoning community, convened at the end of February in a particularly stylish corner of West Hollywood. Surrounded by storied destinations such as the Pacific Design Center, Almont Yard and the La Cienega Design Quarter, we all spent two intensive days sharing experiences, inspiration, best practices, technical information—and of course more gossip. But what, you may still be thinking, does all this really have to do with a New England–based magazine? Although our region continues to have very much its own characteristic look and feel, all of us are increasingly immersed in a thoroughly national and international conversation about what good design can mean. The houses featured in the following pages show influences from England, France, Italy, China, India and American folk art, yet all of them clearly belong just where they’re situated, in Connecticut. The furniture and accessories they contain are ever more likely to have been culled from sources across the United States or across the ocean, but under the curatorial eye of local design teams. Part of my job as an editor, even in a territory comprising only a single state, is to keep abreast of the global influences being felt—and exerted—by our top designers, and to help guide readers—some of whom are those same designers—to the trends and resources that will fire their creative imaginations. So while I’m sitting out Milan’s Salone del Mobile and North Carolina’s High Point this spring to catch a few days in the office, I’ll probably head back to New York again in May for the ICFF, Kips Bay Show House and Design Week. No sacrifice is too great for the cause!
Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
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PHOTO MICHAEL J. LEE PHOTOGRAPHY
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SPRING 2011 VOLUME 2, NUMBER 2
Featured Homes 48 Bless This House A couple raises a historic church from the dead, giving the abandoned
house of worship in Old Lyme new life as a family home. ARCHITECTURE: LAURENT T. DUPONT • PHOTOGRAPHY: MICHAEL PARTENIO • WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY STACY KUNSTEL
60 Modern Movement A Greenwich couple takes a big step toward the contemporary, sweep-
ing away a classic colonial look for a fresh approach that better suits their active young family. INTERIOR DESIGN: MICHELLE MORGAN HARRISON • PHOTOGRAPHY: JOHN GOULD BESSLER • TEXT: PAULA M. BODAH • PRODUCED BY STACY KUNSTEL
70 Joint Adventure A New Canaan couple merges two modernized condos, creating a single
home that honors an old house’s past and gives it a beautiful future. ARCHITECTURE: MARK HOWLAND • INTERIOR DESIGN: NANCY SERAFINI • PHOTOGRAPHY: MICHAEL PARTENIO • TEXT: MEGAN FULWEILER • PRODUCED BY STACY KUNSTEL
80 Colonial Revival Classic meets contemporary in a family-friendly—yet still sophisticated—
Greenwich home. INTERIOR DESIGN: LINDA RUDERMAN-ROSIER • PHOTOGRAPHY: LAURA MOSS • TEXT: KATIE KEATING • PRODUCED BY STACY KUNSTEL
Departments 12 From the Editor 26 Artistry: A Cut Above With vivid color and a fluid, painterly approach, Deborah Weiss
enlivens the ancient art of woodcut printmaking. BY NENA DONOVAN LEVINE 32 Made Here: Bright Ideas The authentic reproduction fixtures crafted by Richard Scofield
Historic Lighting burn brightly into the next century and beyond. BY NENA DONOVAN LEVINE 38 Outside Interest: Perennial Favorite This Fairfield County backyard is designed for
year-round enchantment. GARDEN AND INTERIOR DESIGN: ELLEN LEVINSON • ARCHITECTURE: JOHN P. FRANZEN • PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN VANDEN BRINK • TEXT BY MEGAN FULWEILER
92 Design Life Our candid camera snaps recent gatherings that celebrate architecture and design. 94 Calendar Special events for those who are passionate about fine design. 98 Perspectives Three area designers envision a garden paradise.
Wish List: Lindy Weaver shares favorite kitchen design products. 106 It’s Personal: Favorite finds from the staff of New England Home. 108
On the cover: Vivid hues and a lively mix of patterns play against a classic backdrop in a New Canaan home reworked by designer Nancy Serafini. Photograph by Michael Partenio. To see more of this home, turn to page 70.
110 New in the Showrooms Unique, beautiful and now appearing in Connecticut shops and
showrooms. BY KARA LASHLEY 114 Resources A guide to the professionals and products featured in this issue. 120 Advertiser Index 128 Sketch Pad Hand-sketching is a valuable tool for New Canaan architect Amanda Martocchio.
16 New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011
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Kyle Hoepner firstname.lastname@example.org HOMES EDITOR
Stacy Kunstel email@example.com SENIOR EDITOR
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Robert Benson, Bruce Buck, Tria Giovan, Sam Gray, John Gruen, Warren Jagger, Richard Mandelkorn, Laura Moss, Michael Partenio, Greg Premru, Eric Roth, James R. Salomon ••• Subscriptions To subscribe to New England Home’s Connecticut ($15.95 for one year) or for customer service, call (800) 765-1225 or visit our Web site, www.nehomemag.com. Editorial and Advertising Ofﬁce 530 Harrison Ave., Suite 302 Boston, MA 02118 (617) 938-3991 (800) 609-5154 Editorial Submissions Designers, architects, builders and homeowners are invited to submit projects for editorial consideration. For information about submitting projects, e-mail emarvin @nehomemag.com. Letters to the Editor We’d love to hear from you! Write to us at the above address, fax us at (617) 663-6377 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Upcoming Events Are you planning an event that we can feature in our Calendar of Events? E-mail information to calendar@nehome mag.com, or mail to Calendar Editor, New England Home, 530 Harrison Ave., Suite 302, Boston, MA 02118. Parties We welcome photographs from designor architecture-related parties. Send highresolution photos with information about the party and the people pictured to email@example.com.
20 New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011
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A Cut Above With vivid color and a fluid, painterly approach, Deborah Weiss enlivens the ancient art of woodcut printmaking. BY NENA DONOVAN LEVINE
lock prints? I made one at camp.” Ridgefield artist Deborah Weiss sometimes gets that response when she mentions her work as a woodcut printmaker. But as anyone who sees Weiss’s creations realizes at once, they’re a far cry from a camper’s craft project. Those a bit more familiar with the medium will also recognize how much her work departs from traditional woodcut printmaking. Her fluid, diaphanous studies mingle and merge a dozen hues, bursting the constraints of the age-old form. Weiss’s work resembles that of earlier printmaking masters, like Hans Holbein in the sixteenth century or Katsushika Hokusai in the nineteenth, about as much as Water Lilies resembles the Mona Lisa. Holbein printed and bordered his representational scenes in stark black ink; Weiss creates ab-
stract imagery in lush tones. Though colorful, Hokusai’s work—even his well-known Great Wave—is static, motionless; Weiss’s woodcuts, by contrast, seem to ripple and flow across the page. The form can be “very strict and rigid,” the artist acknowledges, “but I’ve turned it into something that’s freer and less restrained.” A former graphic designer, Weiss fell in love with the medium a decade ago, inspired in part by her interest in handmade Asian papers, with their unpredictable Clockwise from above: Branch to Branch (Green Print Portfolio), thickness and random editioned woodcut, 19" × 42"; coloration. Today, she creWatermarked III, unique wood ates two distinct styles of relief print, 23" × 22"; Vernal Season, unique woodcut, 17" × 17" woodcut prints. The first involves layering numerous printings with opaque and transparent inks to produce striking multi-hued abstractions. The artist’s Silk Road and 26 New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011
Watermarked series exemplify this major facet of her output, whose textures and sense of movement evoke both the natural world and the layered, woven feel of textiles. Weiss also works in another mode, using nontoxic inks to print botanical silhouettes on lokta, a handmade paper from Nepal. In these bold, hand-pulled prints, which Weiss has assembled in a separate collection called Green Print Portfolio, the silhouettes float among the mysterious, shadowy stains and blotchy freckles inherent to the organic paper.
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As fluid and spontaneous as her art appears, a careful process underlies it. While each piece offers “an element of surprise,” Weiss says, “there are always technical issues that come into play.” Selecting the right wood species for the block is crucial, as the grain affects how much detail she can carve. Weiss typically turns to tight-grained Shina plywood, locally sourced luan or birch, or salvage wood, whose grain resembles rivulets and eddies. Carving time depends on the wood, but it’s never a quick job. Using implements such as futatsu wari (Japanese precision tools), a large wood gouge and a small Dremel power tool, Weiss carves her patterns and images onto wood blocks that are larger than the paper. The technique allows her to position the sheet on different parts of the same block for multiple overprintings. She always makes the first printing in an opaque ink, adding subsequent layers in transparent hues. The artist has to reckon with how the colors will change when laid over each other, and how they’ll absorb—or not absorb—into the paper. Sometimes she cuts a full-size sheet into wide sections, which gives her greater freedom in placing the paper on the block, reassembling the sections to create the final work. Weiss’s unique methods, which she honed at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, have won her plenty of recognition. She has exhibited nationally, including at the 28 New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011
International Print Center New York, as well as in China. Her work can be found in many private and corporate collections, such as those of Fidelity Investments, Unilever and the RitzCarlton and Four Seasons hotels. In November, Kean University in New Jersey will mount Clockwise from above: print a solo show of Weiss’s woodfrom the Silk Road series, cut artistry. unique woodcut, 26" × 17"; “We have had a terrific reStructure in Nature (Green Print sponse to Deborah’s work,” Portfolio), editioned woodcut, 60" × 30" and 34" × 16" says David Behnke, of Behnke Doherty Gallery in Washington Depot. “Her wonderful sense of color, manipulation of registration and use of the woodblock grain itself as part of her compositions . . . make her prints instantly recognizable.” Indeed, whether or not they know anything about woodcut printmaking, people are drawn to Weiss’s abstract, nature-based imagery. “I hope viewers appreciate work that suggests rather than dictates,” she says. “When someone tells me that a particular print or series reminds them of something they have observed, I am pleased.” • Editor’s Note To see more of Weiss’s work, visit her Web site, www.deborahweiss.com.
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Bright Ideas The authentic reproduction ﬁxtures crafted by Richard Scoﬁeld Historic Lighting are designed to burn brightly into the next century and beyond. BY NENA DONOVAN LEVINE
century luminaires—or, as Doreen dubs them, “antiques of the future.” If you’ve visited Colonial Williamsburg, the restored Stone Mill at the New York Botanical Garden or the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, you’ve likely come across the company’s handiwork. But historic preservationists aren’t the only ones who’ve seen the light. Scores of homeowners have been charmed by Scofield Lighting’s aged tin and copper lanterns, intricately carved chandeliers resplendent with 22karat gold leaf, and sconces fitted with pewter reflectors and hand-blown glass. The company offers about fifty standard designs, ranging in price from $300 to $5,000. In this age of mass production, the Joslows hold fast to the 32 New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011
MICHELLE PARR PAULSON
he work of Richard Scofield Historic Lighting tends to leave people scratching their heads. Is it real or reproduction? By all appearances, the company’s fixtures seem to hail from such periods as colonial New England or ancien régime France. In fact, their electric bulbs might be the only giveaway that the lights are crafted at a twenty-first-century Ivoryton workshop owned by Doreen and Jon Joslow. There, the company’s artisans create faithful reproductions of seventeenth-, eighteenth- and nineteenth-
idea that well-crafted pieces endure. In keeping with that conviction, the company relies almost entirely on authentic materials and tried-and-true methods. The hand tools Scofield artisans use to trace their patterns and bend and fold metals are “old, old, old,” Doreen says, their handles scarred by nicks and burns. For copper, iron, wood and other raw materials, the company turns to New England suppliers.
The exterior sconces Scofield Lighting created for the Ocean House are a shining example of the company’s penchant for authenticity. Whereas some manufacturers would have painted or plated the fixtures, attempting to prevent rust, Scofield’s craftsmen used sixteen-ounce copper, which acquires a lovely blue-green patina in salt air. Coatings inevitably degrade in seaside environments, Jon explains, but untreated copper pieces “last practically forever” when exposed to the elements. It’s safe to say that master craftsman Richard Scofield, the company’s founder and a stickler for historical accuracy, would approve of the Joslows’ leadership. After setting up shop in Stamford in 1974, Scofield eventually moved the company to Main Street in Chester, where Doreen and Jon— passionate lighting collectors—first ventured into the store. Five years ago, they bought the company from a former employee (who had inherited it upon Scofield’s death and moved it to Ivoryton) and proceeded to quadruple their business by forging relationships with designers, architects and builders. Designer Rhonda Eleish, co-owner of Eleish van Breems Antiques in Washington Depot, is one of their devotees. “I’m very picky about lighting. There’s a lot out there that’s very flimsy,” she says. Scofield’s fixtures, on the other hand, “age beautifully. The quality is really phenomenal.” While the company’s designs are a natural fit in period or new-old houses, Eleish, whose firm is known for Swedish-style interiors, finds that they look unexpectedly fresh elsewhere. “I can use their pieces in European, even contemporary projects,” she says. (Her favorite is the versatile English Box sconce, an aged tin stunner embellished with a gold leaf detail.) For the Joslows, it’s a treat to collaborate with clients on the custom projects that account for almost a third of their sales. Recently, Doreen worked with Jack Franzen, principal of J.P. Franzen Associates Architects in Southport, to design 34 New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011
MICHELLE PARR PAULSON
TOM JUDGE (2)
some grand lanterns for the Southport Congregational Church’s community hall. On a smaller scale, Scofield’s artisans will gladly modify the size of a fixture, make subtle adjustments to the finish or proportions or incorporate an aspect of the installation site, such as an arch or quatrefoil. Given their superb craftsmanship, it’s no surprise that the company’s creations are sought out by lighting lovers throughout New England and beyond. “If there’s beauty in it, it’s going to travel,” Richard Scofield Doreen notes. (A Scofield Historic Lighting chandelier once jour(860) 767-7032 neyed from over her own www.scofieldhistoriclighting.com dining room table into the home of a dinner guest who fell hard for it.) “There are no shortcuts and no schools that really prepare our apprentices for what our fixtures demand from them,” Jon adds. True craftsmanship “takes root in the heart. There must be a passion . . . for excellence and proportion, and pride in the outcome. Our craftsmen simply love what they do, and it shows in our fixtures.” •
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Perennial Favorite With its charming pool house and plantings that range from elegantly formal topiaries to a rainbow of luxuriant blooms, a Fairfield County backyard is designed for year-round enchantment. BY MEGAN FULWEILER • GARDEN AND INTERIOR DESIGN: ELLEN LEVINSON • ARCHITECTURE: JOHN P. FRANZEN
38 New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011
BRIAN VANDEN BRINK (2)
he ideal time to peek in on this Fairfield County paradise might be late afternoon, when golden sun patinas the roses. On the other hand, early-morning dew clinging to the silvery lamb’s ears is something to behold. And, of course, moonlight has its charms. Not limited by the clock or even the calendar, this pretty garden offers constant rewards. Summer, though, is its main focus and the season that best highlights not only the appealing plants and pool but also the wellconceived plan. Recently included in the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens, the impressive setting owes its merits to owner Ellen Levinson, an interior and garden designer. When she and her husband, John, decided it was time for a pool, they didn’t just plunk it down willy-nilly. Instead, they carefully studied their two-acre property for suitable locales. One thing was for certain: the couple didn’t want the pool crowding their historic 1830 home. Southport architect John Franzen, whom the owners had previously enlisted to design their handsome garage, was recruited to help. With his guidance, the Levinsons determined that a far corner of the deep yard was ideal. This savvy solution left plenty of Above: Antique stone obelisks open grass and, at the same guard the idyll’s side entry. time, created a feeling of disRight: No ordinary utilitarian building, the green garage has tance and a sense of removal its fair share of ﬂowers includfrom everyday occurrences. ing hydrangea, golden hops Pool—and picturesque pool and Russian sage. house—would serve as a destination. With family and friends in tow, the owners could travel down to the pool and spend long, languid afternoons relaxing. A backdrop incorporating a stone wall and a mass of green shrubs and trees would help ensure that the gathering point would remain a private world—a remarkable feat considering there are nearby neighbors and a busy town within walking distance.
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Outside Interest “We also wanted the pool house to look like it had always been here,” Levinson says of the roughly 500-square-foot cottage that sprang up. And with a fieldstone façade and cedar-shingled sides, it most assuredly does. The arched front door is reminiscent of a fairytale house or, as Franzen sees it, “a sweet New England farm building.” A cedarshingled roof heightens the spell, as does the pergola that cools the stone patio for al fresco meals. Come July, trumpet vine dripping through the pergola bursts into bloom, its apricot flowers lasting through September. Levinson saw to it that the building was equipped with all the amenities, including a dressing room, bathroom and kitchen. White-pickled pine paneling and cheery yellow cabinets exhale a fresh, garden-y feeling of their own. A reproduction oldfashioned cookstove with modern capabilities lends a playful note. And wet feet come and go on the
40 New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011
BRIAN VANDEN BRINK (3)
limestone floor with never a worry, making the day-off ambience all the sweeter. “An indoor sitting area was unnecessary,” the designer says with a laugh. “If you’re here it’s to enjoy the outdoors.” The alluring blue-as-sky pool sports a diving stone (much more romantic than a board) and a bluestone surround. Beyond—just over the low stone wall—are the robust flower borders, which are Clockwise from top: Garden also visible from the house furniture by Giati elevates and, according to Levinson, the comfort factor. Pots of almost always feature somelush annuals add a color splash. Among the plants thing in bloom. in the espaliered apple-tree Consulting with garden bed are brunnera, lilies, designer Ken Twombly, who lamb’s ears and lirope. was then with Twombly Nursery in Monroe, Levinson unleashed her horticultural creativity. Sculptural topiaries—spiral Alberta spruce at the front entrance and spiral boxwoods at the side entry—are immediate attention-getters, but that’s just the beginning. Close examination reveals layers of shapes, colors and textures. Spring offerings like azaleas, lilac standards, volup-
tuous peonies and baptisia give way to classic summer treats such as catmint, salvia and phlox. Roses are abundant. Repeat bloomers such as Pink Meidiland, Carefree Delight and Carefree Wonder sing out for weeks on end alongside bright Happy Returns daylilies and hydrangea. The fall finale is led by peegee hydrangea and stalwart chrysanthemums. Winter—but who needs to look ahead?—affords the garden an opportunity to show off its structure. Topiaries along with clipped and variegated boxwood, daphne, Japanese maple, a crabapple tree and buddleia wantonly flaunt their curvaceous shapes in snow. The only annuals Levinson allows are those that burst like fireworks from containers. Not content with familiar fillers, the clever designer follows her mood, composing a dramatic array with, say, datura, Abyssinian gladiolus, lantana, ipomea and verbena. “In my pots, I always use contrasting foliage— could be golden, silver, variegated, burgundy—to make the whole arrangement pop,” she says. Like all the other elements in this noteworthy garden, the ever-lush display never fails to elicit appreciative sighs and admiring words. • Resources For information about the professionals involved in this project, turn to page 114.
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