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The Elements of Style – Area Designers show how Chic begins at home

The drift of days from summer to fall, from watching starlight in the garden to gazing at firelight from an armchair, asks that we take a fresh look at home. Stylish and beautiful interiors are important: our surroundings comfort us, shelter us, and provide the backdrop for our lives.

How do we create a stylish home? It’s one of those things that can be simple, but not easy. To help you happily re-embrace the beauty of life indoors, we asked area designers to share their thoughts on achieving timeless style, with a dash of 2019 fashion and flair.     

Start by Editing // Beth Schoenherr of Sheridan Interiors in Wilton says, “One of the first things I tell my clients is start by editing. Five years ago, when you added the book shelves, they looked great, but (over time) other things get added. Ten family pictures become twenty.” Get rid of clutter, she says. You can also achieve a cleaner look by removing top window treatments that block the light. “No one’s doing anything heavy anymore, so just do drapes,” she counsels.  (Photo above is a room designed by Schoenherr.)

The goal is to make room for a new look. “For the past ten years, it’s been all soft grey and white. For spring 2020, it’s all colors, florals, and patterns. Coral is a big color, as is evergreen,” she says. A quick tip from Beth? If you want a fresher look after editing, get a lampshade in a new shape and color, and change your throw pillows. sheridaninteriors.com

Invite Nature In // Westport-based interior designer Trudy Dujardin of Dujardin Design Associates, Inc., says she sees more clients asking for “green” design, to honor our connection with nature. She explains that there’s a trend to use more natural materials in our homes, such as stone, copper, and organic area rugs, along with less-toxic products.

Dujardin recommends covering wood floors with a natural wool rug. “I’m seeing lots more rugs with patterns, so use geometrics or prints to add a modern look,” she says. “Vintage pieces, especially Mid Century modern, are still having their moment.” A bonus: Antiques are the original ‘green’ furniture. Created with less-toxic products years ago, antiques help to maintain indoor air quality. dujardindesign.com

Paint Makes a Whole Room // Interior Designer Courtney Kleeman, of Courtney Kleeman Design in Wilton, says you can make a big impact with a little paint. “I have had the same furniture for 15 years,” she says, “and each time I paint the walls, people think it’s a whole new room!”

She doesn’t look for trends in designing a home; instead, she says, “When someone walks into your home, they should get a sense of who you are as a person.” If you want to be current with the moment, she explains that things that cost the least amount of money are things that should be trendy: throw pillows and accessories, for instance.  courtneykleemandesign.com

Trends – Coral, geometrics and natural textures. Room by Courtney Kleeman Design.


Add an Accent Wall // You can add a real punch with an accent wall in an unexpectedly dark shade, says Julianne Stirling of Stirling Design Associates in Fairfield. “On a short wall, try a dark navy,” says Julianne.

She explains that when she uses dark tones, she brightens it with a high-gloss finish. “We took one little room—just 10 feet by 12 feet—that you can see from a living room, and we painted that whole room a marine blue.” It beckons, she says, as a special place to go.

She recommends a shade of blue between navy and denim, or a dark charcoal. A favorite look? “A high gloss charcoal in a powder room makes it feel intimate and cozy,” she says. “Match cool charcoal gray with the warmth of brass. Then add a new mirror.” stirlingdesignassociates.com

The End in Mind //  “From the moment you step in the door, your home should set a stylish tone,” concludes Trudy Dujardin. “Clean, clutter-free interiors, art that reflects what you love, and accessories that capture memories all make your home your own. Let as much light and air into your rooms as possible. Pair rich colors with white. Add color with flowers.”

A final grace note for a new season: Cherish your time with family and friends. Make your home the backdrop to a happy life. That’s really living with style.




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