MEET THE DESIGNER
BY MIXING OLD AND NEW, THIS DESIGNER CREATES BEAUTIFULLY LIVABLE HOMES
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How does your Virginian upbringing influence your design sensibility? I was brought up in a family that loved entertaining. When your fondest memories are of family gathered together over a delicious meal in a gracious, comfortable home, one always wants to try and recreate that feeling for their clients. You're known for using antiques from different time periods. Do you have a favorite period? Probably my favorite period of furniture is still great 18th-century English. Combine it with a very modern piece and all of a sudden the old looks new. We know you and John (Rosselli) are masters at entertaining. What's the biggest mistake people make when entertaining? The biggest mistake is trying to do something too complicated. Just do what makes you comfortable and be organized. A frantic, nervous host will ruin a party.
What skills do you possess that are helpful as an interior designer? There is nothing more important than understanding everything that can go wrong on a project and only experience will help prevent mistakes from happening. What was the first piece of furniture you ever bought? A round white-and-gold 1950s mirror with a carved draped ribbon around the perimeter of the frame. I still have it in the bedroom of my apartment. When are you the happiest? When I am working in the garden on a beautiful morning surrounded by the dogs, there's a quiet moment when I can really appreciate how lucky I am–my time to 'smell the roses.'
If you weren't an interior designer, what would you be doing? I would probably have a small nursery and also build a space somewhere in my house where I could take in abandoned dogs and try to find homes for them. You have a new book Scrapbook for Living out in November. What's its focus? It focuses on how to really live in one's home, from organization to entertaining. You have a new upholstery line out in October. What should we expect? I am launching the second collection of BeeLine Home in the fall. It is a mixture of styles and finishes, which is the way I like to put my rooms together.
What is your favorite view in Connecticut? Every weekend when I start back to the city, I always pull over and look down the valley over Mud Pond of Route 41 and think this is just the most beautiful part of the world. What is the first question you ask a client when decorating their home? "How do you live?" Designing a home for others is like finding the perfect shoe—it must fit perfectly, reflect their lifestyle and suit their dreams.