BALANCING ACT

Har­mony is cre­ated from di­verse styles in this coastal Con­necti­cut home.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Contents - BY KRIS CHRIS­TENSEN

Dis­cover how di­verse styles—an­tique and sleek, cot­tage and in­dus­trial, mas­cu­line and feminine—can be com­bined cre­atively in beau­ti­ful har­mony.

Va­ri­ety is the spice of life, and in­te­rior de­signer Eileen Deschapelles has it all fig­ured out at her home in River­side, Con­necti­cut.

Just don’t try to pi­geon­hole her style into any one cat­e­gory. “I’m pas­sion­ate about in­te­rior de­sign, and I love too many styles to pick a fa­vorite. My house re­flects what I love, and some­how it all works to­gether,” she ex­plains. That mod­est “some­how” is re­ally the com­bi­na­tion of a con­fi­dent un­der­stand­ing in her own di­verse tastes and years of de­sign ex­pe­ri­ence to make op­po­sites at­trac­tive within the same space.

She lay­ers bold feminine ac­cents over mas­cu­line shapes and earthy hues. Fur­ni­ture with con­tem­po­rary lines and sleek tex­tures is blended with an­tique pieces from Europe and Asia. For Eileen, com­fort­able cot­tage spa­ces are punc­tu­ated with an in­dus­trial edge. Through it all, she sources items with­out prej­u­dice. Restora­tion Hard­ware, Ikea, lo­cal an­tiques stores and even a gas sta­tion cor­ner yield trea­sures. “I do not dis­crim­i­nate be­tween high and low,” she says. “I love my chil­dren’s art­work as much as a fine an­tique. Good de­sign is good de­sign!”

BOLD MEETS NEU­TRAL

Upon en­ter­ing Eileen’s Dutch Colo­nial Re­vival home, guests are greeted by a sweep­ing stair­case and views into the sep­a­rate spa­ces that to­gether make the de­signer’s sanc­tu­ary. One of the first views is into the study, a space his­tor­i­cally ded­i­cated to pri­vate con­tem­pla­tion.

Eileen’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion is an in­ti­mate space with a warm at­mos­phere and a bold twist. Grasscloth wall­cov­er­ings an­chor the room with an earthy tex­ture over which are lay­ered the brown hues of nat­u­rally fin­ished wood and dis­tressed leather. An arm­chair and built-in book­shelves pro­vide the nec­es­sary spots for read­ing in com­fort and stor­ing books in style.

Jewel-tone aqua­ma­rine ac­cents el­e­vate the over­all mood of the space by in­ject­ing a dose of feminine bold­ness into the oth­er­wise mas­cu­line and neu­tral set­ting. By lim­it­ing the pal­ette to browns and blues, dis­trac­tion is elim­i­nated. Eileen uses a va­ri­ety of touch­able tex­tures, rather than color, to pro­vide in­ter­est. The weave of grasscloth, the grain of wood, soft leather and plush vel­vet pro­mote re­lax­ation and in­spi­ra­tion in a space where one can read for hours.

CON­TEM­PO­RARY MEETS AN­TIQUE

Across the en­try from the in­ti­mate study is the for­mal liv­ing room. The room needs to serve two pur­poses, as Eileen not only en­ter­tains guests here, but also con­ducts her in­te­rior de­sign busi­ness.

Eileen carved space for her desk and stor­age shelves out of a sunny cor­ner by the fire­place. Her white, clean-lined fur­nish­ings blend in against the white walls and do not ob­struct the light. She uses a Mid­cen­tury Mod­ern-in­spired chair in neu­tral colors at her desk and wo­ven straw bins for stor­age.

On the other side of the room, these nat­u­ral hues are echoed in the caned chairs, a French cabi­net and the wooden trunk serv­ing as a cof­fee ta­ble. The tran­si­tional style of the caned chairs and sofa acts as a bridge be­tween the an­tique

cab­i­nets in the space and the more con­tem­po­rary of­fice fur­ni­ture. Ev­ery­thing co­or­di­nates well be­cause of their sim­ple, un­adorned shapes and the neu­tral color pal­ette of brown and white.

The ob­vi­ous ex­cep­tion is the Asian cabi­net cen­ter­piece. Painted in bright red with flo­ral de­tails, the piece stands out in the room with­out un­der­min­ing the other el­e­ments. It is flanked on ei­ther side by two Chi­nese iron chairs, styled with stacks of books and a fig­urine on top. Eileen loves Asian art, and it ap­pears reg­u­larly through­out her house.

Blend­ing mod­ern and tra­di­tional pieces did not al­ways come eas­ily to Eileen. “When we bought the house, the in­te­ri­ors were very tra­di­tional,” she re­mem­bers. “My taste was more con­tem­po­rary, and I wor­ried about how to meld the two styles.”

Over time, how­ever, she felt more com­fort­able as­sert­ing her style. “Slowly I started to add more con­tem­po­rary el­e­ments, and I re­al­ized the tra­di­tional en­ve­lope of my home’s ex­te­rior blended very nicely with mod­ern el­e­ments,” she says. “When we de­cided to pull the trig­ger and add a 9-foot mod­ern win­dow in the kitchen, we were thrilled with the re­sult, and it gave us the courage to add more con­tem­po­rary el­e­ments through­out the house, both in­side and out.”

COASTAL TREA­SURES. A glossy agate-topped box, a clear glass vase filled with fresh flow­ers, and white co­ral mounted on an acrylic base re­fer to Eileen’s coastal community. But each ob­ject also pairs a nat­u­ral el­e­ment with one that is man­made, an­other ex­am­ple of how Eileen brings op­po­sites to­gether. These items add tex­ture to her workspace with­out cre­at­ing dis­trac­tion. And the fresh flow­ers are a ne­ces­sity. “I al­ways try to have fresh flow­ers at my desk. It helps my san­ity in the long win­ters,” she laughs.

GO DUTCH. The fa­cade of the Deschapelle­ses’ Dutch Colo­nial is a wel­com­ing sight, en­hanced by the land­scap­ing and styling of Robin Kramer Gar­den De­signs. The lush yard re­ceives both sun­shine and shade in equal mea­sures.

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