Designer Matthew Patrick Smyth Skillfully Curates A Multilayered Space
How do you incorporate antiques into a modern or traditional interior without it becoming a chaotic free-for-all? We launched this quarterly column, “New Mix Masters” to challenge top designers with just that dilemma. For the debut edition, we turned to interior designer Matthew Patrick Smyth to create a collected and curated space at Stamford’s Avery & Dash Collections—23,000 square feet chockfull of period furnishings and decorative accessories from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Here, Smyth explains his process and the remarkable harmonious space that resulted.
How do you describe the aesthetic of this vignette?
A modern day “Grand Tour” with items from around the world—Africa, Asia, America and Europe. I wanted to use furnishings that were different but blended well because of their quality and style.
How did you come up with this idea?
I devised my concept based on what I found at Avery & Dash Collections, but I think I can envision a space at least five different ways. The key is to just make a commitment and take it from there.
What was the first thing you chose and why?
The first piece I chose was the beautiful Swedish polychrome painted and parcel-gilt settee. It was originally owned by David Easton, whom I worked for long ago. He was the reason I became an interior designer after seeing a photo of a room he designed. I did not consciously choose the piece because it was David’s, but…there really are no coincidences!
You kept clean lines throughout—a key to success when mixing materials, styles and periods. Is that right?
I was drawn to the handsome profiles of each piece. When you carefully choose items based on their uniqueness and design, it makes for a more harmonious interior.
How did the color palette come together?
The color palette started with the fabric on the sofa. That was a neutral value—I could build from there. Luckily Avery & Dash has such a varied collection, it was easy once I narrowed down my options.
Who can you envision living in this space?
I think the space is for the “grown up” me. I could live there; I happen to own the same bookcase. The objects reflect my love of traveling; even the books on the shelves are from Avery & Dash’s designer book collection—they are selected because they are designers I admire.
A version of this article appeared in the December 2017 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: The Grand Tour.