2014 CTC&G Innovation in Design Winners: Interior Design



A music barn designed by Kelly & Co. Design

Winner: Kelly & Co. Design
A race to the finish: completing a music barn, stone cottage and guest house in six weeks

Charged with refurbishing, refreshing and furnishing three outbuildings on a 50-acre estate in a frantic six-week time period, interior designer Kelly Mittleman wasted no time getting busy. First up, morphing a working horse barn into a music studio. “The homeowner loves to play drums and likes to get loud and crazy with his friends, but didn’t want to intrude on the neighbors,” says Mittleman, who enlisted Grammy Award–winning sound engineers to soundproof the building. To maintain a feeling of authenticity, she carefully tucked the acoustic panels behind reclaimed barn wood.

Designed with people and parties in mind, the space is outfitted with durable leather sofas and a custom zinc bar downstairs, plus tables and stools for watching the entertainment and Murphy beds for impromptu sleepovers in the loft. “It’s part performance space, part high-end lounge and part crash pad,” she adds.

The designer took a more refined approach in the stone cottage (the former editing studio of an Academy Award–winning film director) meant to be the quarters for visiting in-laws, and in the guesthouse, where the mandate included outfitting the space down to the toilet paper. “There was no time to even consider doing anything custom,” says Mittleman, who opted for a straightforward neutral palette and forgiving sisals, cowhides and leathers in both spaces. She admittedly relied on big box retailers to fill in the gaps.

For continuity, the same vintage wood used in the music studio covers the ceiling in the cottage living room, and the guesthouse is tied to the barn theme with accessories like horse blankets and equine art.

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A carefully curated mix of antiques, art, furniture and objects create a timeless design

Innovator 2: Charlotte Barnes Interior Design & Decoration
A carefully curated mix of antiques, art, furniture and objects create a timeless design

“My first thought was: what am I going to do with that green room?” says interior designer Charlotte Barnes about the unusual, pale mint paint color selected for the living room by renowned colorist Donald Kaufman. Her answer involved complementary cream and white upholstered pieces like a pair of tufted chenille velvet chairs and a skillful blend of period antiques including a Swedish daybed and a set of late 18th-century Italian console tables with limestone tops. “Those tables were the perfect scale and proportion to pull that side of the room together,” she adds.

Meanwhile, an early 19th-century wood fireplace mantel found by the homeowner dictated the kitchen addition’s overall aesthetic and drove the decision to outfit the walls with blond wood panels installed horizontally. “The selection of the farmhouse table and chairs for dining, and a classic Bridgewater sofa and club chairs in the sitting area are in keeping with the desire for an old-fashioned look,” says Barnes, who intentionally topped the timeless furniture forms with modern upholstery. “It’s meant to be a traditional space that works in current times.”

In the guest room, creamy walls with a hint of khaki are the backdrop for a pair of iron and brass canopy beds separated by a rose-colored mirrored chest of drawers. The full-sized beds nestle under a beadboard ceiling with antique Kayseri area rugs providing a soft landing below.

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Innovator 3: Bonnie Paige Interiors
Colonial elegance blends with contemporary touches for a new take on traditional

Interior designer Bonnie Paige is on a crusade to bring the elegance of old Connecticut to a new generation. “So many classic Colonials have been torn down and replaced with contemporary architecture,” says Paige. “I want to bring back the timeless aesthetic that people come to Connecticut for in the first place, but with a modern edge.”

Working with architect Bruce Beinfield on a spec house, the duo did just that. He supplied the Colonial envelope, and she established a classic canvas before bringing on the contemporary touches. “Instead of the more typical rounded corners and heavily layered trim-work of the past, I used a flat panel molding profile everywhere,” says Paige, about her simple square trim choice. “It’s like Shaker re-imagined with a cleaner more contemporary line.”

Along with five-inch-wide white oak floorboards finished with a dark gray patina and a painted wood fireplace with a slate surround, the elements establish a historic-style backdrop for the more modern furnishings and accents. In the living room, a pair of square tufted chairs join a glass coffee table with a chain link base, while a set of long rectangular brass lights update the sedate fireplace.

While spaces like the kitchen sport an open plan more conducive to current lifestyle patterns, the self-contained dining room maintains that air of formality. “The house is about remembering the past, learning from it, and adding to it,” notes Paige.

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