A Fairfield Home Gets a Whimsical Redesign Just in Time for Christmas



A Fairfield Home Gets a Whimsical Redesign Just in Time for ChristmasBuilt in 1999, the architectural design of this Fairfield residence was inspired by the owner’s previous stone home created in the 1930s by Frazier Forman Peters, an architect known for his spatial organization and for creating a connection to the home’s surroundings. This house embraces Peters’ architectural style with several double-height rooms, central hearths and the sense of deep walls, which was made more prominent by the lack of trim around the windows, allowing for maximum interior light.

When it was time for a redo of the interiors, the homeowner turned to Claire Miner at Denemede. “She called me in September and said, ‘I want you to redecorate my house and have it completed by December. Do you think that is possible?’” explains Miner. “I said yes, and I’ll have it decorated for Christmas too!” 

The starting point for the project was the living room, where lofty ceilings and dark beams called for a strong pattern on the sofa and a large textured braided jute rug. “The main challenge was in balancing the strength of the rooms with fabrics, furniture and lighting that complemented the bones of the house but with a lighter touch,” says Miner. “The previous decorator had used a lot of dark woods and fabrics, and we wanted to make it feel airier but gutsy at the same time.” 

The style of the home had to reflect the owner’s desire for a casual and, above all, welcoming environment with a touch of whimsy. “I want you to feel like you can kick off your shoes and curl up with a book—or crank up the music and cook up a storm,” she says. 

Miner delivered by introducing mini-environments, like the cozy seating area in front of the fireplace in the kitchen. “Although I love the living room, my other favorite spot is the area in front of the kitchen fireplace,” says Miner. “I had to convince the homeowner to add that seating arrangement, and she still thanks me for encouraging her to create that more intimate space where she can enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine at the end of the day.”

Throughout the house, there’s a palette of inviting colors and textures in fabrics. “Color inspiration came from the natural surroundings of fields, woods and evergreens,” says Miner. 

Entertaining and gifting are a big part of the homeowner’s holiday season; an entire room is dedicated to the art of giftwrapping. “The wrapping room is in full gear around the holidays,” notes the homeowner, “but the truth is that I get great joy from giving little gifts to friends all year long, so this is a really fun room.”

As for the seasonal trimmings: “The holidays are the perfect opportunity to sprinkle in a little more whimsy and a feeling of comfort and warmth,” says Miner. “It was very important to the homeowner to keep the decorations as natural as possible without a lot of fuss.” The mantels are decorated with branches from hundred-year-old trees laden with pine cones, the perfect complement to the freshly cut Christmas tree. 

“Decorating the tree is like creating a scavenger hunt, tucking in little treasures here and there,” says the owner. “The more you look, the more you find. But when you stand back, you don’t really see that much at all.”

A version of this article appeared in the December 2018 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: That's a Wrap.

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Haver and Skolnick Architects
Haver & Skolnick Architects creates award-winning homes of timeless design, providing personal service & impeccable attention to detail. For 22 years, Charles Haver, AIA and Stewart Skolnick, AIA have offered a single source for architecture, interior design and landscape architecture, creating seamless environments which are a reflection of their clients’ personalities. The firm has been nationally recognized for comfortable, classic country homes and elegant apartments which reflect history while responding to a contemporary lifestyle.

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