GLAMOUR MEETS NEW ENGLAND TRADITION
IN A WESTPORT HOME THAT BASKS
IN ITS DUAL PERSONALITY
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Lynne Scalo is all about the ifs, ands and—most notably—buts. The little not-for-naught three-letter word peppers the designer's stream of thought as she describes how she dressed a Shingle-style home in Westport for a family with one young son and a boxer. "We did a wing chair but it's got a chrome base," she says. "We used leather, but we reinterpreted it as a chest—it's like a trunk but more fun—and the whole effect is still very classic Connecticut, but not chintzy."
It's Scalo's signature breezy way of talking about what is actually a totally glam but every-bit-livable interior scheme she completed for clients whose new-construction home in Darien had burned down. "At that point, I was very disconnected from the things I had acquired throughout the years, because everything was lost," recalls the wife. "I told Lynne that I wanted to get that feeling back—I wanted to get things I truly love. I wanted my things to be beautiful and well made and lasting."
The task of creating "beautiful and well-made and lasting" rooms was fitting for Scalo, whose background in fine arts eventually led to furniture design. "I couldn't find products that I liked, so I started designing my own," says Scalo, who opened Lynne Scalo Design in 2000. "I'm into style, not trendiness. If Audrey Hepburn walked into a room today, she'd still look like she'd stepped out of the freshest, newest page of Vogue—fresh and classic." For this project, clean-lined interior architecture created a cohesive, fresh backdrop for the Fairfield County-bred designer to, well, do her thing. Glide through the front door, and you'll see immediately what this means. The formal living room to the right twinkles just a bit, thanks to smoky, jeweled Aviva Stanoff throw pillows, a rolled-back sofa upholstered in silk and a shimmery Maya Romanoff silver-thread wall covering named, appropriately, Abracadazzle. In the dining room, a French-polished hand-planed cherry table of Scalo's design gleams below a burnished-silver chandelier with crystal beads; Robert Dutesco's "Bridge," a piece from the photographer's equine collection, hangs on a side wall. Raw silk covers the chairs. "My philosophy about creating a glamorous place is that I take French chandeliers with a lot of crystals and Italian mirrors with lots of sparkle and I mix them with traditional pieces," Scalo explains. "I think it's modern interpretation on classic, timeless interiors."
Amid the glitz and the glam, a sense of classic Connecticut still manages to preside, almost as if quintessential New England design has been wrung like a cloth and reopened, its creases and folds left as-is. "It's a lot like being an actor because you're channeling their tastes through an understanding of scale and balance to create something beautiful," says Scalo, who describes her clients' aesthetic as "traditional." The library is the only dark-toned room (aside from one corner of the basement), with wood paneling that suggests East Coast grandeur. "I had to keep the paneling the way it was and I had to work around that with a more modern carpet and some really fun elements, like the woven-leather trunk," she explains. In the master bedroom, a traditional dark-wood four-poster bed the clients already owned plays off the wall covering—a silver-threaded Stroheim & Romann grasscloth basketweave that reminds Scalo of Nantucket. The sitting room off the master bedroom, where the wife knits, boasts a white Mongolian-fur rug. It's like a cloud.
All romance aside, durability was among the clients' chief concerns. "I always have people in and out of my house, so I need things to be livable and function well for me," says the wife. So amid supple silk velvets ("used in moderation and the right places," says Scalo), leathers and other washable fabrics comprise seating and surfaces: an acrylic-topped table here, a rosewood one there, verre églomisé, polished stainless, resin, shagreen. In the basement, a vintage Louis Vuitton trunk from the owners' private collection serves as the ottoman for a wipeable club chair—"you can put your feet up on that trunk," says Scalo.
This comfort factor, after all, is what drew the clients to Scalo in the first place. "It's easy to live with," says the wife. "She uses different materials and textures, combined with a lot of soothing tones. And then she comes in at the end with an accessory that's the punch."
As for what exactly the punch is—the zsa-zsa-zsu, if you will—Scalo adds: "In any project, I always like to add in a little bit of sparkle."
No ifs, ands, or buts about it.