MEET THE DESIGNER
CREATIVELY LAYERED SPACES ACCENTED WITH PRETTY VINTAGE FINDS DEFINE THIS DESIGNER'S STYLE
You own a Manhattan-based vintage furnishing store. You're also a designer. What came first? How did both evolve? I always knew I wanted to have my own design business and a store-I like the combination. I had been design director at Thomas O'Brien's Aero Studios-a post I left in 1999 to start my own design office. Shortly after, I opened a trade furnishing showroom. You have a vacation home in Litchfield County. Why Connecticut? I had been looking for houses in New York but then we had a big project in Kent, Conn. I looked around online and there seemed to be so many nice antique houses, which is what I wanted. Litchfield County mysteriously retains this genuine pastoral character. I found a really simple, iconic cape there that had been thoughtfully restored in the '50s. Basically, I fell in love with the house and feel really fortunate, as it happened almost by accident. What do you like about design? I like helping people refine and create homes that reflect their individual tastes. Somewhere at the intersection of my taste and that of a client, there's usually a unique and attractive solution.How will you face the challenges of designing in a constricted environment? We are definitely seeing some clients deciding to limit the amount work to be done-and that makes sense. Projects always have parameters. In times like these, budget comes to the forefront. Do you have any design tips for our cost-conscious readers? It's nice to keep and alter what you have, and to add and subtract things from your house to freshen it. Be careful only to buy what you love, you should be able to keep it for a long time. I really like the layered look that accrues in houses decorated over time. Who or what inspires you? It doesn't really affect my style directly, but I still love Wendy Goodman's Tony Duquette. Even though it is totally over the top, his sense of composition, scale and color is spot-on. What are some of your favorite materials? I like to incorporate a lot of vintage elements into our work-be it obvious elements like furniture, lighting and art-or textiles and wallpapers. I really like projects that don't look like the paint just dried. How do you create a holiday table? I use old flatware, china and glass. I prefer the table without a cloth and haven't had a cup ring I couldn't remove. It is a little monastic, but I just like it simple. I think company, comfort, food and drink make the party.