A designer’s Holiday Home becomes a warm place to gather
Photos by Rana Faure
When Dana and Patrick Worlock decided to sell their place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and head north to raise their young family, they rented a home on Mianus River Road. For two years, they looked tirelessly with their real estate agent, Earl Ripling, for the ideal country home to buy, and finally one day while Ripling was out of town, Dana found the perfect place during an online search —a ramshackle 1930s farmhouse in Pound Ridge. “Earl was fabulous; I loved him to pieces,” says Dana with her trademark enthusiasm and twinkling eyes. “I called him and said, ‘Oh my God, Earl, I found our house!’ Since he was out of town, I asked if I could just drive by, and he agreed but warned me to be careful and respectful.” she continues with a laugh. “I sometimes get overly eager.”
After a well-behaved drive by, the Worlocks toured the house and barn out back with Ripling’s colleague and confirmed their suspicions that they had found their dream home, despite its dire condition. “We were just enamored, and put in an offer that was accepted,” Dana adds. “A week later, Earl called and said the sellers had rescinded the offer, and I was crushed.”
Dana immediately drove over and tucked a pleading note in the sellers’ mailbox. A request was made by voicemail for her to back off, but she didn’t get the message, so the next day she headed over to introduce herself to the sellers and make an even more impassioned plea (adorable toddler on her hip for added charm). In two weeks’ time, Ripling called again to say the sellers had changed their minds, and they were now willing to accept the Worlocks’ offer. “I didn’t waste any time, “ Dana says. “I found the quickest lawyer who could put the deal together right away!” Despite discovering lots of discouraging surprises—water damage and mold among the most concerning, the Worlocks closed on the house and immediately started to spruce it up.
A seven-month renovation ensued, including everything from new electrical and plumbing systems to a fresh kitchen and baths. Once the family of four moved in, Dana began to furnish the place. A self-taught floral designer who owns Hedgerow in Scotts Corners, she has a distinct style that is sought after by not only locals who are looking to pick up an artful bouquet for a friend, but also corporate clients like Blue Hill at Stone Barns (she is the restaurant’s in-house floral designer), homeowners who wants weekly arrangements, and brides from Cross River to Dublin (yes, Ireland) who will only trust Dana to design their wedding flowers. “I never took any lessons,” she explains. “I make my own rules.”
Her own rules? “I love a lot of texture and lots of shades of a certain color. I don’t like things too crowded in a container—I like to set each flower on its own stage, and I don’t like anything to be symmetrical,” she says. Like her arrangements, her home décor is full of texture and a disregard for trends or rules. The chairs don't match, and there’s plenty of patina to share a history—whether it’s a Worlock family history of some previous owner’s history. “I like bargains and quirky things, so most of our furnishings came from Brooklyn, or Brimfield and Elephant’s Trunk flea markets, or the antiques shops in Hudson.”
Patrick, a producer for 3QU, an entertainment and media company in Montreal, met Dana when they were working together on a Beavis and Butt-Head movie for MTV. Six years later, the art enthusiasts married on Martha’s Vineyard, and eventually welcomed son Calder and daughter Serra before making the move to our neck of the woods.
Dana had started her own floral design firm in Williamsburg back in 2000, but when the Worlocks moved to Bedford, she was so busy acclimating to the new community and parenting young children, she only dabbled a bit in floral design. Over time, she became friendly at nursery school with Hannah Gorman, a fellow Bedford mom and professional caterer.
Gorman began asking Dana to handle arrangements for her Revel With Dinner Thyme gigs, and Dana quickly developed a following among Gorman’s clientele for her signature look. The two women continue to collaborate on a regular basis. While she had a workshop built in her home basement, in 2014 Dana opened Hedgerow, her first bricks and mortar shop, and she hasn’t looked back.
One of her favorite times of year is the winter holiday season when the shop is full of unusual gifts from around the world, one-of-a-kind wreaths, and rare plants in handmade vessels. “People come in here looking for gifts, so we’ve expanded our inventory to include beautiful teas, lotions, perfumes, stationery, and desktop accessories—all things that come from far away vendors who don’t sell to other retailers in the area,” she explains. Of course, there are flowers from local farms and greenhouses to make on-the-spot bouquets, as well.
At home, she drapes the entrance, staircase, and mantel with roping and dresses the tree with a combination of vintage and new ornaments. Twigs sprout from mugs while paperwhites and helebores tumble from their pots, falling among pomegranates and other fruits on various surfaces.
On a late December afternoon, in preparation for a Christmas gathering, Hannah Gorman arrives with cheese boards and sweet treats for Dana’s guests. The school bus drops off Calder and Serra just in time for them to swing into the kitchen for a sampling. And, soon Patrick arrives home to the delight of all, including Pearl, the family pooch. Everyone is finally home for the holidays.