This fall, we were honored to participate in the 24th annual Rooms With A View showhouse in Southport, Connecticut. Started by the esteemed interior decorator Albert Hadley, a resident of Southport and member of the Southport Congregational Church, each year 14 designers are selected to design an 8ft by 6ft space (no windows or architecture!). In years past, many designers have found subtle ways to honor Hadley through their designs. When conceiving our room, we were thinking about creating a space that would feel a part of the local vernacular. Southport is known for its picturesque historic district with homes dating back as far as the 176os and so we wanted to create a vignette that felt like it could slip right in to any one of the local houses. With Hadley in mind, we filled our space with a mix of antiques (as he loved to do) with a nod to classic English Country style (a major source of inspiration for Hadley as he molded what would become his iconically American style). We began with the walls, selecting a favorite Bennison fabric called “All Over Floral.” This woodblock print is an original find of Geoffrey Bennison’s which today is hand silk screened in England.
We partnered with Bennison for the fabrics in our room. Both the walls and the antique English chair were covered in their beautiful textiles.
Olympia de Rothschild, one of Geoffrey Bennison’s clients, in a room using the same All Over Floral on the walls and sofa of her home.
Several of our favorite antique dealers in New York and Connecticut offered to lend us pieces allowing us to curate a collection of truly special antiques and accessories, all of which were available to be purchased with proceeds going to support the church’s local charities. The Chinese style faux bamboo bookcase was the perfect proportions for our tiny space, both narrow and tall. We brought in a collection of ceramic pottery and stoneware to fill its shelves. An Indian inspired metal lantern with cutouts in its top left magical reflections on the ceiling.
To infuse a bit of modernity into our room, we brought in some abstract art pieces. The red and pink torn paper gouache by Theodoros Stamos adds a pop of color while a subtle piece by French artist Jean Legros hangs to the left of the cabinet with a vintage mirror above. We installed herringbone white oak floors as another way of keeping our vignette feeling light and fresh and just a little bit modern.
A large black and white photograph by Dale Goffigon of a castle in Belgium was a dramatic gesture for such a small wall but it worked. We had lots of inquiries about where this image was taken!
A panoramic view of our room.
The antique English chair was reconstructed and reupholstered by Luther Quintana in Bennison’s Apple Blossom, a typical English cabbage rose from the mid 19th century. A shot of color is provided by a pillow made from a 1920’s Japanese textile.
A mix of Continental antiques from England, Spain, Belgium and France give the space that collected, lived-in feeling we were after.
A bleached wood “Os de Mouton” bench from Belgium offers a nice transition between the dark wood French table legs and the pale oak floors.
We hope you enjoyed this tour of our little space. It was fun collaborating together to create something special — we only wish it could have lived on past the weekend!