Paula Perlini's Library Redesign
photographs by Keith Scott Morton
lighting by Eric Richards
Paula Perlini, Inc.
In the library, where the Governor holds informal work meetings, the Malloys and their three sons also like to relax in front of the TV, “so, it couldn’t be too austere or forbidding,” says Paula Perlini. The designer, who enjoys a country home in Lyme, is no stranger to significant structures. She worked for decorator Mark Hampton on Blair House, the residence for the President’s guests during the first Bush administration, and helped restore New York City’s Gracie Mansion. “Being involved with historical buildings has always lit my fire,” says Perlini.
And attention to the library’s gorgeous fireplace was, coincidentally, her first order of business. It clearly hadn’t commanded the respect it deserved. Its painted-brick firebox and hearth and glass-panel enclosure, “were completely inappropriate,” she says. Perlini removed the brick, replacing it with terra-cotta tile in a Jessinian Field pattern mirroring the stucco veneziano in damask plaster on the opposing wall, and laid a rich, marble hearth in a rusty red hue.
Perlini used a bright creamy white on ceilings, moldings and woodwork, thus creating a striking contrast with the brushes of terra cotta (“a color that gives everyone’s skin a gorgeous glow,” she says). The designer was able to source a desk from the Residence’s third-floor library, and placed it beside the furthest window, providing the Governor with a tranquil view of the landscape through the adjoining sunroom while at work.