Designer Sherrill Canet Lends a Sophisticated Air to a Tudor-style Beauty in Syosset
Photography by Anastassios Mentis
Even though there are no dogs or cats on hand in this new-construction, Tudor-style house in Syosset, petting is allowed, if not encouraged. So exquisite and invitingly textured are all the wall surfaces and furnishings that guests feel compelled to reach out and touch them.
“On my first meeting with the client,” says the home’s designer, Sherrill Canet, who has offices in Locust Valley and New York City, “she said she didn’t want any surface left unadorned, unattended to. Unlike some clients who might pull back on how much to decorate, this client and her husband wanted everything to have a treatment, a texture, a look, a feel. To me, as a designer, that meant the chance to have a lot of fun.”
What resulted from that atypical design directive is a home that incorporates a menagerie of textures—all, fortunately, house-trained and tamed. Some walls, for instance, are treated with faux patent leather or glimmery handpainted floral-motif panels, as in the living room, or something that mimics snakeskin, as in the family room, which also features a pair of custom étagères whose storage doors are clad in a hide as comforting and warm to the touch as the coat of a hound.
The couple who own the home, which is situated in a leafy gated community, are newly married, each with grown children from prior marriages. Absent young children occupying the six-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot house, as well as their old furnishings, the clients were allowed to indulge their penchant for soft-worked leathers, embroidered silks, and gold- and silver-leafed surfaces, in addition to exotic wood paneling and beautifully rendered moldings. “These treatments make for a quasi-glamorous feel throughout,” Canet says.
That 1940s-style glamour is immediately apparent upon entering the foyer, where Canet designed a hide-clad zebrawood settee whose sinuous form follows that of the curved staircase. Iron balusters echo the house’s Tudor exterior, while a series of graphic Matisse prints on the wall announces the space as the geographic center of the house.
In the adjacent living room, a mirror-clad fireplace surround becomes a visual focal point, as well as its own source for reflecting and refracting light—a kind of spotlight for the room. The ceiling, treated with a large-scale, tone-on-tone damask wallpaper, is an immediate clue to what happens elsewhere in the house: No surface goes unadorned. “Ceilings should never be overlooked in a home,” Canet stresses. “The walls are covered in a creamy faux patent leather that gives the room a beautiful sheen, as well as a needed architectural scale and presence.”
In accordance with her desire to make sure ceilings get the attention they deserve, Canet added a Tudor-esque coffered motif in the family room, an area the couple refer to as their “go-to room.” There, the giant C-shaped curves on the leather-covered Linley console (from Canet’s extensive furniture line) add a striking, sculptural accent. As opposed to many family rooms, the designer was intent on keeping this space bright, an effect she accomplished by hanging sheers, applying a glossy cream paint between the ceiling timbers, and installing étagères trimmed in a gleaming gold leaf.
The Noah’s Ark–worthy array of animal accents extends to the kitchen, where chairs covered in a faux ostrich leather are pulled up to an eating/working island. Few kitchens can be called elegant, but this one features a pair of oversize geometric lighting fixtures in seductive burnished gold tones. A backsplash comprising small glass tesserae provides a colorful, equally tactile note.
Canet cites the client’s dressing room, configured in the house’s original floor plan as the playroom, as a favorite “moment” in the residence. “What girl wouldn’t love a room like this, with an upholstered seating area, TV, and shelves that display handbags?” she asks. “It’s a great place to hang out when you might need some down time.”
Because the client wanted a master bedroom that would be equal parts feminine and masculine, Canet employed a scheme anchored by blue, “a hue everybody can live with.” But in keeping with the desire for a sense of glamour, the ceiling is treated with a highly reflective silver-leafed paper and glossy paint. “You get a clean, precise, finished feeling to a project when every surface—floor to ceiling, wall to window, molding to chair rail—is covered and treated as we were able to do here,” Canet says. “Every part of the house has been well attended to.”
A version of this article appeared in the April 2014 issue of New York Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Sweet and Chic.
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