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September 2010


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FEATURES

Villa with a View
By Sharon King Hoge
Photographs by Keith Scott Morton
Produced by Philip Gorrivan

THE LITCHFIELD HOME OF PETER ROGERS IS AS MUCH A TRIBUTE TO HIS EXTRAORDINARY FRIENDSHIPS AS A BACKDROP FOR BREATHTAKING DESIGN

Click on any photo for a larger gallery view.

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SCENIC REFLECTION
(click photo for larger view)

WHAT BECOMES A LEGEND MOST”

“WHEN YOUR OWN INITIALS ARE ENOUGH”

“IF YOU DON’T LOOK GOOD,
                  WE DON'T LOOK GOOD”

Anyone familiar with some of the most memorable tag lines in advertising history won't be surprised to learn that the man who helped pen them has also come up with a witty original house. High on a ridge in the Litchfield Hills, Peter Rogers has created “On the Rocks,” a glamorous take on a Palladian villa.

"Lured up here" by his friend Bill Blass, who lived nearby in New Preston, Rogers conceived a house influenced by his love of Italy, one with stone floors and stucco walls inside and out. The structure, which sits at the end of a long, private road maximizes the hilltop perch with a generous use of open space. He laid out a central section with 16-foot ceilings and 14-foot French doors and windows flanked by two slightly lower side sections for bedrooms and utility spaces. A small adjacent studio provides a place to paint. The outcome is "an unbelievable house to live in," he says. "It's great in every season. I sit in the living room and read for hours looking out at the distant hills."

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It's a stunning backdrop, too, for his eclectic furnishings, a sophisticated blend of antiques, modern chic, and Hollywood glamour. Rogers who spent years mingling with the Hollywood elite as a young ad exec in New York, says he developed his creative eye escaping to the movies as a youngster growing up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Mementos scattered throughout turn up in quirky vignettes "thrown together" on side tables and sofas—glass bottles from designer Geoffrey Beene, a gold "coral" sculpture from Travel & Leisure's Nancy Novogrod, a cheeky Santa Claus doll from former Texas governor Ann Richards. Joan Crawford used to send towels she "stole" from hotels all over the world, "I think she thought I was a starving young man," he says. "She was an unbelievable friend."

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PICTURE PERFECT
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Between walls of French doors interspersed with Doric columns, a central fireplace divides the house's principal middle section. In the living room, playful Nubian statues frame the fireplace, standing guard next to floor lamps fashioned from twisted French carousel poles that Rogers found at the Washington (CT) Antiques Show. A dramatic painting of "two Greeks in love" dominates the opposite wall. Rogers discovered it one night after dinner in Torcello, near Venice. "I'd been looking for a picture and I wandered into this little antique shop, saw it, and screamed 'I've found it.'" The Stark carpet was designed to look like black and white cowhide; it coordinates with upholstered chairs in animal prints.

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