Designer Melissa Lindsay Harmoniously Blends Styles in a Photographer's Storybook Cottage



Designer Melissa Lindsay Harmoniously Blends Styles In a Photographer's Storybook CottageBetween the seemingly ubiquitous McMansions and spec houses, it’s rare to find a house with built-in charisma. These days, designers everywhere are tasked with adding much-needed character to basic builds. So when Melissa Lindsay of Pimlico Interiors had the opportunity to work on photographer (and friend) Jane Beiles’ 1916 storybook cottage in New Canaan, she was thrilled. “The house had so much charm from the start,” says Lindsay. “We only had to add to it and amplify it.” 

Beiles, who has known Lindsay since she first photographed one of the designer’s projects in 2011, knew she wanted Lindsay to help her bring the cottage back to life. “We have a long-standing relationship,” says Beiles. “Melissa is a skilled stylist, and we’ve collaborated so many times, she knows what appeals to me.” Beiles also tapped New Canaan–based architecture firm Brooks & Falotico for the renovations. “We had a wonderful local collaboration of talent. Louise Brooks came up with a great design plan to open up the spaces, rework the kitchen and create stronger focal points and architectural elements that worked with the charm of the house,” says Lindsay. “I was involved with the finishes and details to make it even more special and bring the vision into fruition.”

“The one challenge we had was trying to keep true to a cottage feel while modernizing it,” says Beiles. “I am a complete minimalist, and being a photographer, I love white walls and the way it bounces light around.” The plan was to coat all the floors with white paint, but Lindsay insisted on a handpainted tonal geometric design for the mudroom floor. “It feels sophisticated yet modern and whimsical at the same time,” she says. The rest of the interiors follow this formula—nothing too precious or stodgy—and overall, it has a clean and minimal aesthetic punctuated by well-placed objets and art. The lighting throughout—like the rattan dining room fixture—strikes a balance between modern and organic. Furniture with modern lines paired with a slightly boho Czech style gives off a mostly modern vibe, without being too much of a departure from the bones of the house. “Jane is so much fun to work with. She is by nature casual, but has a flair and that was translated into the interiors,” says Lindsay. “It’s not too serious, but small elements here and there are high design. It’s clear that this is a well-intentioned interior and put together in a way that doesn’t feel too fussy.”

Designer Melissa Lindsay Harmoniously Blends Styles In a Photographer's Storybook Cottage

This minimal with a dash of whimsical touch also translates when Beiles decorates for the holidays. “We previously lived on a more rural, less neighborly lot. We have upped the holiday spirit due to our neighborhood being more festive,” says Beiles. For the holidays, Beiles also turns to Lindsay and a local floral studio, Birch Designs, that the photographer has collaborated with often, to decorate with a pared-down, but lighthearted sensibility. “I love the way Melissa puts holiday decorations together for her store,” Beiles says. “Less of that Christmas red and green and more of the colors of nature with lots of yummy textures. It works with the slightly Scandinavian feel of the house.” Birch Designs used greenery from Beiles backyard to create seasonable arrangements that feel festive but don’t scream holidays. Lindsay added hand-knitted tree skirts to illuminated birch trees, frosted pine cones and glittery reindeer that could, in some scenarios, swing crafty, but here manage to feel glamorous in an understated way. 

“You don’t have to fill every space,” Lindsay explains. “Don’t take over the whole house with swag. Go beyond pine and focus on natural greenery and layering it in interesting ways.” Like any type of decorating, she adds, it’s really about one thing: “Edit, edit, edit, then edit some more.” 

A version of this article appeared in the December 2017 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Picture Perfect.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Landscape Spotlight

Edit Module
Rosalia Sanni
Rosalia Sanni is an award-winning landscape designer whose approach strikes a balance between architecture, nature and people. Comprehensive services include master planning, construction, administration, furniture souring, and an open dialogue that often continues after completion. Rosalia believes that good design enhances people's lives profoundly, and should offer more than a collection of beautiful pictures. Landscapes should suit the people who inhabit them in a meaningful, fun and deeply personal way.

Rosalia Sanni Design

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

Consiglio Builders
Consiglio Builders is a luxury residential construction company located on the East End of Long Island. We have developed a unique method of residential construction in the Hamptons—we call it "The Considered Approach." It stems from our experience which demonstrates that meticulous planning and transparency throughout the process, combined with our expertise and emphasis on perfection, enable us to deliver consistently the best-constructed homes on time and within budget to our discerning clientele.


 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

James Merrell Architects 
From our perspective in the 21st century, all styles are historical. Even Modernism is now a century old. So, we are free to interpret, and interweave the minimal with the decorative to find new expressions for our own era. Our house celebrates this new design freedom. It brings a contemporary sensibility to the architectural covenants of this otherwise traditional neighborhood. Floor to ceiling glass on the ground floor, for instance, yields modern interior spaces. While above, divided windows sit comfortably in second floor dormers. And the style that results is both unique and timeless.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

Bates Masi + Architects
Bates Masi + Architects LLC, a full-service architectural firm with roots in New York City and the East End of Long Island for over 50 years, responds to each project with extensive research in related architectural fields, material, craft and environment for unique solutions as varied as the individuals for whom they are designed. The focus is neither the size nor the type of project but the opportunity to enrich lives and enhance the environment.

Bates+Masi Architects
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module