EVERY ROOM tells a story, and whether it’s coming on strong, striking a softer note or landing somewhere in between, color undeniably plays a leading role in how each tale is told. By showcasing colors that are by turns bright and fresh, rich and opulent, and neutral and natural, eight designers shine a spotlight on a variety of hues that take center stage (and ultimately steal the show).
AMY ZOLIN // CLARITY HOME INTERIORS
Setting the scene: This grand shingle-and-stone home is in midcountry Greenwich. We were hired by a young couple, who had moved from a townhome in Chicago with their two small children, to renovate the home.
Design concept: The clients wanted to use some existing furniture they owned, and we needed to design the dining room to meet the same level of sophistication as the rest of the house. From the beginning, we knew we wanted to install a specialty focal wallcovering to bring the wow factor into this space. The texture of the material on all four walls created the backdrop, and layering the mural on one wall became the focus. The mural is sold by the panel in thirteen-foot increments that we then cut to custom the mural for the clients. We added Pop lights from Urban Electric Co. and cut wallpaper in as the background.
Color scheme: The color is neutral with a range of blues accented by a touch of pale pink that can also change with the seasons. The dining room is on the right off of the grand entry hall, and the living room is on the left. The colors in the living room are lacquer creams and purples, and the blue and pink here give great balance.
Making an impact: The painterly blues and grays of the Phillip Jeffries Indigo Horizons on vinyl glam grass wallcovering on the focal wall give the impression of a landscape with scenic mountains and sky. The colors also impart a sophisticated mood to the room without being too serious.
Interior designer: Clarity Home Interiors, Greenwich; 203-340-2468; clarityhomeinteriors.com
Builder: Artisans Home Builders, Rowayton; 203-604-6001; artisanshomebuilders.com
Flowers: Rachel Jones, Greenwich; 203-914-4800
SANDRA MORGAN // SANDRA MORGAN INTERIORS
Setting the scene: This intimate library is in a home built in the 1930s in a Mediterranean style. The bookcases were added at a later date, custom-built and faux-painted to simulate bird’s eye maple.
Design concept: The clients are avid readers and needed storage for all of their books, including rare first editions. They also love board games and puzzles. The antique game table is made of pear wood and was purchased on Nantucket. Its wood top is inlaid in a checkerboard pattern and provides a surface for checkers, cards, backgammon and puzzles. The Chippendale side chairs were made in England and belong to a set of twelve, and the corner chair with the needlepoint seat is an American antique. The pillow was hand-embroidered in India. The cream silk curtain panels are unadorned and quietly elegant.
Color scheme: The palette of whites and neutrals creates a calm space and is popped by all the colors of the book jackets and the graphic drama of the brown-and-white faux zebra rug. The caramel-colored bookcase finish is warm and welcoming. The walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, a white with a touch of cream, and the floors are whitewashed. The large windows opposite the bookcases allow sunlight to stream in and create a cozy space for an afternoon reading the Sunday paper and listening to music.
Making an impact: Although I love color and use it fearlessly on ceilings as well as walls and trim, there are times when the perfect shade of white provides the best backdrop for a clean, modern look—this was one of them. The stenciled brown-and-white zebra rug really gives this mostly white room a graphic element and a strong personality, and the bookcase finish adds texture. I threw an indigo throw on the white chair for a dash of color.
Interior designer: Sandra Morgan Interiors, Greenwich; 203-629-8121; sandramorganinteriors.com
STEPHANIE RAPP // STEPHANIE RAPP INTERIORS
Setting the scene: This custom-built home in New Canaan features strong architectural details and many particular features designed for this active family. While construction was nearing completion, I was brought onto the project to develop a design concept that complemented the home’s architecture. I introduced my signature “Modern & Inviting” interior design style by creating a masterful mix of clean, bold lines softened by subtle textures and pops of color that inject the family’s personality into the home.
Design concept: Inspired by the clients’ confident personal style, the living room welcomes guests into the home with a sophisticated and polished look that met their desire to be sharp and sleek yet didn’t say “hands off.” The space is not only a place to entertain but it doubles as a music room for family piano lessons. The peacock blue chairs move easily around as needed, and the piano is more than just décor. The clients also had a strong desire to have their home reference their international backgrounds, so I created a backdrop for the space with the draperies using a modern-day toile by Manuel Canovas that depicts a European street scene in black and white. Clean, strong lines, like the graphic sofa arm, and tailored elements, like the nail head detail on the chairs, reflect elements the clients wanted.
Color scheme: The palette was inspired by original mixed-media art by local artist Julia Contacessi, whom the clients had admired since before the house was built. The crisp molding above the fireplace was created especially to frame work by this particular artist. The room’s look is sharp and tailored with creamy white punctuated by bold, fashion-inspired color and luxurious textures. Yet even with that, the scenic fabric, organic prints and layered art help create a room that is also serene. The end result is both inviting and chic.
Making an impact: The Wesley Hall chairs upholstered in a lush peacock velvet by Robert Allen deliver a dramatic contrast of color that adds a luxurious accent to this room. This saturation plays up the alluring lines of the white chair legs and makes the nail head detail even more eye-catching. The custom sofa by Tomlinson boasts a white swirl pattern by Jeffrey Alan Marks and is punctuated by an organic wave-cut velvet by Cowtan & Tout that also incorporates this shade of blue. A hint of citron green can be seen in the glass vases and on the lumbar pillow fabric as a fun addition. On the coffee table rests the Three Rings sculpture by ceramicist Lauren Kaplan.
Interior designer: Stephanie Rapp Interiors, Weston; 203-216-5835; stephanierappinteriors.com
Architect: Robert Storm Architects, Westport; 203-222-9055; architectstorm.com
Builder: Bluewater Home Builders, Westport; 203-557-4770; bluewaterhomebuilders.com
MELISSA LINDSAY // PIMLICO INTERIORS
Setting the scene: My clients moved into this antique home in downtown Ridgefield that is filled with elegance and charm.
Design concept: In this large master bedroom, our goal was to incorporate a few of the clients’ existing pieces (like the four-poster bed) with fresh, updated materials and furnishings. The outcome was an ethereal space punctuated by a few bolder pieces.
Color scheme: A handwoven silk-and-wool rug launched the palette of this room. It mixes a soft gray with a pale blue that in certain lights has a mauvey undertone. We balanced the coolness of the rug by painting the walls a soft oyster, which is picked up beautifully in the ombré draperies. Various tones of blue are picked up again in the corner upholstered chair and ottoman and nightstand chests. It was important to keep the room from going too blue and cool. There’s a feeling in here that you’re living in the clouds, and the color balance in this space was critical to achieving this.
Making an impact: In this bedroom, it’s not one particular color that “makes” the room, but rather how the subtlety of the colors play off of each other. The color of the walls and the draperies, made from Holly Hunt’s Double Ombre in Grey Mist, is actually a warmer neutral. The ombré draperies offer drama in an understated way. The various tones of blue, ranging from a more gray-blue to mauve-blue to an almost periwinkle blue, offer depth throughout the space. It’s important with color for it to be more than just one note.
Interior designer: Pimlico Interiors, New Canaan; 203-972-8166; pimlicointeriors.com
Builder: Keith Gerety, Gerety Building & Restoration, Katonah, NY; 914-248-1300; geretyrestoration.com
DENISE DAVIES // D2 INTERIEURS
Setting the scene: This kitchen is in an 1850s renovated farmhouse in the historic town of Irvington, New York. Since 1917, it has been known as Havemeyer Farm, after owner and gentleman farmer John F. Havemeyer, the grandson of three-term New York City Mayor William Frederick Havemeyer and scion of the Domino Sugar Havemeyers. This young family with two active boys hired us to give the historic home an updated look with loads of texture, color and pattern while still maintaining the integrity of the property.
Design concept: The former kitchen was very dark and dated, and the client wanted the space to be a fun, happy place where she could cook and spend time with her family. We kept the bones neutral with white cabinetry, marble countertops and subway tile and brought in the vibrant kelly green in the lighting and window treatments. We kept most of the original layout but added the breakfast area and changed all the windows. The organic wood counter stools were recovered in a Josef Frank fabric, which we laminated for easy cleanup. The concept was to create a modern and functional kitchen while staying true to the historic origins of the farmhouse.
Color scheme: Pops of color and texture are seen throughout the home, but still in keeping with the integrity of this magnificent property, using pinks, blues, purples and, of course, green! We knew we wanted the colors in the kitchen to be as dramatic as possible, so we made the bones of the space white, and the countertops are a beautiful, neutral marble. Every color stands on its own and is intensified by the white backdrop.
Making an impact: The custom-made Shine by S.H.O green pendants are certainly the stars of the kitchen. Because this home is situated on three gorgeous acres of rolling hills, we chose the green to bring the outdoors in, but in a modern way. The large flower window treatments in a Hable Construction fabric are retro in feel and enable the kitchen not to take itself too seriously.
Interior designer: D2 Interieurs, Weston; 646-326-7048; d2interieurs.com
Architect/Builder: Gotham Design and Development, Dobbs Ferry, NY; 914-693-5093
KRISTEN MCCORY // MCCORY INTERIORS
Setting the scene: This is a 1930s English Tudor-style home sitting on five acres.
Design concept: We love color, and we love to be bold without necessarily screaming. In this drawing room, our goal was to have some fun while still being sophisticated and classic. Our concept began with the color choices we pulled from the Salander art, and the use of antiques was also important in keeping the space grounded, classic and stylish. The sofa and chairs were custom-built by Oak & Velvet, and the custom-built bookcase mimics the pattern of the Stroheim sheers on the stairwell window.
Color scheme: It had been a particularly rough winter, and we wanted to make the space bright and happy. The overall palette for the room was really informed by the artwork—those hues became the inspiration for the space, and we went in the direction of complementing the reds, which is why greens and blues show up. We also incorporated a Swedish antique bench that we recovered, along with the pillow on the sofa, in Schumacher’s Serengeti Tigre fabric. Polished bronze side tables and cast bronze floor lamps add further to the mix.
Making an impact: The piece that illustrates our color scheme the most is that lush green sofa, dressed in a grass-colored cotton velvet by Brunschwig & Fils, sitting under the windows. It is like lounging on the lawn under the sun, with the blues found in the J. Namnoun rug and the chairs, covered in a Duralee cotton velvet, alluding to a bright, sunny sky.
Interior designer: McCory Interiors, Burlington; 860-922-8727; mccoryinteriors.com
CINDY RINFRET // RINFRET, LTD.
Setting the scene: This grand, neoclassical home in Greenwich is timeless and elegant (after a full-service redesign by Rinfret, Ltd. that removed the excess and overdone elements). Every detail in the home needed to function beautifully for the discerning clients. Art was a major inspiration for me, as the clients’ incredible modern art collection informed color choices, and their book of neoclassical prints offered the jumping-off point for our design concept of the entire home.
Design concept: This notable painting by Helen Frankenthaler was the inspiration for the fabrics and colors in this room. The clients and I loved this painting and wanted it to be the focal point of the room. It was also important that the space offer a calming and soothing environment. Beautiful fabrics and custom details give the room an aesthetic elegance while also making it a luxurious space to relax in. This room feels collected, authentic and timeless, and shows the clients’ incredible art collection in the best light.
Color scheme: With the Frankenthaler painting as the focal point, it was important that the color palette relate to it. To maintain the timeless and sophisticated look that characterizes this home, I was careful to keep the purple tones grayed out and grounded in a neutral base—soft purples are used judiciously in the club chairs and throw pillows. To keep the look serene and in keeping with the design of the rest of the home, neutrals in the sofa, J.D. Staron carpet and Phillip Jeffries wallcovering ground the purples and make the impressive painting that much more powerful.
Making an impact: The deep purple tones in the Frankenthaler are subtly referenced in the subtle lavender of the club chair fabrics by Stroheim that give just the right hint of pigment, while custom details, like the contrast welt and tape by Samuel & Sons, continue the pops of purple and create a tailored look. The color scheme is expertly continued throughout the space with pops of purple in the lamp and vase that look that much more elegant against the sophisticated neutrals that keep the room serene.
ROBIN HENRY // ROBIN HENRY STUDIO
Setting the scene: The clients live in Larchmont and commute into the city for work. They bought this house in Sharon as a three-season getaway back when they lived in the city. Built in the 1960s, the house has a pool and gorgeous views of the mountains behind it. My clients renovated when they first bought the house, and then hired me when they were ready to decorate. We pared down some of the hand-me-down furnishings and used a few bold strokes to bring it to life.
Design concept: This large room combines living and dining for large groups and serves as the main thoroughfare. Two big sliding doors lead out to balcony, lounge and dining areas as well as mountain views, and the clients have four children and friends and family to entertain. Because of the high traffic and exposure to the elements, rugs would be a headache. The floor was expansive, and it was a wan, pinkish engineered bamboo that wasn’t contributing anything design-wise, so painting seemed like the perfect solution. I was inspired by Matisse cut-outs and my image of leaves blowing artfully in through the doors, and I thought it would be fun to try something organic and painterly. When I showed them the idea, the clients looked at each other, laughed and then said, “Go for it.” It brings a lot of joy!
Color scheme: You see glorious sunrises and sunsets here with all the windows, so I was inspired by a palette of corals, pinks and reds, with some turquoise thrown in to set it off. My Matisse inspiration may have had a little to do with it, too!
Making an impact: The floor makes the largest impact—it’s a kaleidoscope! I also love the sofa. It’s a Hepplewhite antique, a nod to the dominant vernacular and spirit of the region, and doing it up in this electric blue felt plays with that in such a young, fun way. I also like the vintage chairs paired with the sofa, because even though they’re from different genres, they speak to each other beautifully. We elected to keep the chairs in the original black leather. It’s amazing how well they set everything else off!
Interior designer: Robin Henry Studio, Westport; 646-409-3099; robinhenrystudio.com
Renovation architect: Stacey Jacovini Storm, Ascape, New York City; 212-255-5250; a-scape.com
Floor painter: Jay C. Lohmann; jayclohmann.com