A TRANQUIL GARDEN NEAR DOWNTOWN NEW CANAAN UNITES INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR TO FORM A HARMONIOUS WHOLE
Lynne Hippeau began her New Canaan garden with a simple mission: Given the property's limited size, the house and garden had to work as one continuous space, and the outdoors had to meet the needs of a mother and teenage daughter who were craving a peaceful, nurturing environment. Hippeau was simplifying her life by moving to a small house within walking distance of town and her daughter's school. She had fallen in love with the street first—a small cul-de-sac where neighbors continue to value traditions, such as holding annual Labor Day block parties, that were established in the 1950s. The house suited her needs, and the garden was a blank slate.
Hippeau longed for three things outside: a space for quiet relaxation, room for teenage activity and a place for entertaining. She also wanted to respect the principles of feng shui, the Chinese system of achieving spiritual happiness by arranging objects in harmony with the natural world. "I had a friend and guiding light who I trusted tremendously," Hippeau says. "I admired her ways of making our lives better. She was a student of feng shui. I listened carefully to her."
Hippeau's designers listened, too. Landscape designer Marc Schwartz and architect Richard Coats, who was responsible for the architectural detailing and mechanical elements of the house, are close friends who travel together often, studying houses and gardens around the world. They are a great design team—a factor that helped when it came to creating a smooth flow between interior and exterior.