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December 2008


FEATURES

A Festive Fantasy
By Sarah Firshein
Photographs by Robert Norman

INTERIOR DESIGNER TRUDY DUJARDIN INSTILLS CHRISTMAS SPIRIT ON A GRAND SCALE

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"Christmas is my favorite holiday," says designer Trudy Dujardin, of Westport-based Dujardin Design Associates. So when last fall, as she and her team were completing a year-long Greenwich interior design project, the client asked Dujardin to outfit the home like a festive winter wonderland, she was nonplussed. "We took to this project like a duck to water."

The owner, a Manhattan transplant who resides in the home with her partner, a record producer for British mega star Amy Winehouse, asked Dujardin to design the interiors to meet many eco-sensitive standards, a specialty of her firm. Non-toxic paints and flooring, hypoallergenic organic wool and cotton bedding and natural fabrics build the fundamentals of the still-elegant décor. Soothing hues dominate the palette. When not able to recycle furniture already in the owner's collection, Dujardin sourced a plethora of antiques and occasionally used new contemporary designs from the likes of chic showrooms Nancy Corzine and J. Robert Scott, among others.

Therefore, when it came time to switch gears and bedeck the home for the holidays, Dujardin and senior designer Price Connors, did their best to stay true to the green theme they had already established. Basic elements, such as LED light strands, made all the difference. The bows and branches were all sourced locally from organic suppliers. Faux candles, powered by rechargeable batteries, flicker almost indistinguishably from the real thing. "They create beautiful ambience without waste," says Dujardin. "And there is no release of toxins into the air."

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"It took seven full days, but in the end we really managed to create a fantasyland," says Connors. And did they ever. Nearly every inch of the home is covered in decorations and every one of the five trees boasts a theme of its own, including one in the master bedroom and one in the music room as a complement to the platinum records lining the walls. The family room is fittingly dressed informally in a family theme—the tree is strung with heirlooms and ornaments the owner collected or inherited over the years.

The design goes beyond the usual red-and-green motif, particularly since the traditional colors would have clashed with the home's existing fabrics and hues. Instead, an abundance of green and white tulips create a festive, yet unexpected, look. The team wove flowers into the garlands dramatically draped over stairway banisters and columns in the kitchen. They hung wreaths outside to verdantly accentuate the exterior architecture whenever possible—often a forgotten element in holiday decorating. "People don't fully realize the potential for creativity when they decorate their home," says Dujardin. "We really tried to maximize at every available opportunity."

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"At the end of the day this was just plain fun," says Dujardin, who admits she felt a certain level of stress, as the home needed to be ready by Thanksgiving and subsequently, the Greenwich Holiday House Tour. The real test was getting everything into swing for the owners' Christmas party—also the home's coming-out party. For this endeavor, Dujardin and her team switched modes from interior designers to party planners, orchestrating everything from coordinating an impromptu wrapping station to ordering a replica cake house and an abundance of cookies from Colette's Cakes.

Thankfully, though not surprisingly, the evening went off without a hitch. When cars full of Manhattan's finest, decked out in their black tie best, pulled into the driveway, they were not disappointed. Dujardin even had time to pause for a minute herself to toast a job well done in the middle of an elaborate Connecticut winter wonderland.

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