Q&A with the Designer
What elements define your style?
My designs are not limited to a style; rather, they reflect the owners' lifestyle, tastes, wish list, and budget. That said whether the approach be modern, transitional, traditional, rustic or eclectic, the underlying elements central to my work is the focus on the timeless elements of proportion, scale, attention to detail, and understated elegance.
What parts of the coastline did you look to when choosing these colors? Was it nature? The way you feel when you're at the beach? A specific memory or vacation?
There was nothing specific to the coastline; the color choice reflects an ambiance I saw in in my mind's eye.
There are many trends we see a lot in design along the Connecticut shoreline and New England. What about your design differentiates you from these trends?
In both my architecture and my interiors, I tend not to look a trends. An original design inevitably evolves through a thorough analysis of the problem set before me by my clients.
We see many shingle sided homes along the Coastline because it is low maintenance and it is indigenous to the coast -so I see that choice as more of a practical tradition than a trend. The interiors of this decade have become less fussy than in previous decades -even in my traditional designs. But again, no matter the solution, my goal is always to provide a design that is at once both timely and timeless.
What influences your paint selections? Do you tend to use the same colors a lot or are you always looking to try new colors and products?
Paint selections are made with an eye to the desired ambiance of the room, the fabric, carpet and stone selections, the light in the room. I have my favorite "go to's" that I can rely on. The Historical Color collection by Ben Moore rarely lets me down. I have repeat clients calling me from their vacation homes asking for paint colors - so I have to be able to give them a few proven colors remotely. Once we get past the "default" color in the home - which I define as the whites and the neutrals - I do love to experiment with new colors in select spaces -there are so many fascinating colors available. A richly conceived color palette in a home is what makes it warm, inviting and personal.
What is your favorite part about living and working on the Shoreline?
I have always lived on the Shoreline; my favorite youthful recollections are of racing sailboats on Long Island sound - which I still delight in, to this day. Happily, for me, almost every home I have designed has been on the water: Nova Scotia, Block Island, Watch Hill, Stonington, Waterford, Niantic, Old Lyme, Guilford, Westport, Darien, Stamford. I will drive anywhere to be on the coast. The beauty of the water as a design inspiration is that it is never static: the changing light, the changing colors, the changing moods all play an inspiring role to the design of both the house envelope and its interiors. I make sure my coastal homes provide rooms that are light and airy to reflect the expanse and joy of a coastal view, as well as a room that is cozy where one can “hunker down” to ride out a Nor’easter.
Favorite restaurant on the Coastline?
In the summer: Abbotts Lobster House in Noank – must go by boat for the full experience! In the winter: The Griswold Inn Wine Bar in Essex – a sailor’s quintessential cozy haunt.
Favorite Shop on the Shoreline?
For fabulous clothing and cashmere: Cortland Park in Essex. Really, all the shops in Essex are great - plus there is the pleasurable shopping experience of walking along a street lined with beautiful historic homes and a view of the CT River. Grace in Niantic is also a gem of a Coastal lifestyle shop.
Favorite Shoreline Beach?
I have fond memories of Burying Hill Beach in Greens Farms – in high school it was our secret place to have breakfast before our first class at Greens Farms Academy.
What would be your perfect weekend on the CT Shoreline?
One that I am actually blessed to live in the summer: a 7:00 am row in a scull on Rogers Lake in Old Lyme, followed by a 10:00 tennis round robin; a snack bar lunch at Niantic Bay Yacht Club and an afternoon of more friendly competition racing Lightnings in Niantic Bay; a post-race debrief enjoying a Fishers Island Lemonade, and an evening beach barbecue - my perfect weekend day on our beautiful Connecticut shoreline.
How did the Shoreline inspire your color collection?
The colors of the coastline are intrinsic to me – perhaps its years in my youth of collecting shells on the beach or sailing on all bodies of blue water in every wind condition – I can’t really put my finger on the source – it runs deep in my soul. It was difficult to be limited to four colors.