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"So we got on the Internet and found these." Sight unseen, the Denhams purchased lumber that was trucked all the way from California, and then piled it in their house for eight weeks to acclimate it to the weather before the builder could install it.
"It was such an experience, to order our floors off the Internet," Polly says. "I never saw a sample. I just said I want wide boards in a few random sizes, and I want them rough." They were then stained a deep black by the same people who do the floors of the Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch stores.
Working with color day after day in her design business, Polly chose to forgo it at home, for the most part. Except for the colors found in the artwork and in a couple of the upstairs bedrooms, black, white and shades of gray form the neutral palette. It's a look she feels is appropriate for every season of the year.
Though still not a fan of the long, cold Connecticut winters, Polly makes do. "They are going 24/7," she says of the home's five fireplaces, including the large "walk-in" fireplace in the family room and a smaller one in the master bedroom. "I throw half a Duraflame log in there every night before I go to bed."
As soon as the temperature drops, Polly brews her "smelly pot," a mixture of orange, cloves and cinnamon sticks that emits a heavenly scent throughout the house. It mingles with the tortoise shells and hobnobs with the trophies. If family and friends stop by—and many do without prior notice—they'll almost certainly detect the scent of welcome, and maybe be inspired to collect a shark tooth or two.