Decorators at Home
In Their Favorite Rooms
Photograph by Bob Capazzo
(page 1 of 3)
Whether antique lotus flower, Greco-Roman bust or treasured photograph, the things we love bring a room to life. This truth is evident in the homes of six interior decorators who live in Greenwich and whose favorite rooms are as individual as their designers.
Barclay Fryery’s multipurpose “studio,” Linda Ruderman Rosier’s easy-living family room, Laura McCloy’s Scottish tartan-inspired library, Sandra Oster’s whimsical dining room, Veronica Whitlock’s formal living room and Wendy Kamnitzer’s funky loft bedroom range from moderately large to tiny — proof that style is in the details, not the square footage. All of the rooms celebrate their owners’ passions, preferences and personal definitions of family. Not one of them looks “decorated.”
Interior decorator Barclay Fryery lives large in a very small space. “This is my mansion,” says the international lifestyle guru, as he welcomes a visitor to his Connecticut home: a second-floor, one-bedroom apartment on Greenwich Avenue. “I travel all over the world,” he says, “but this is the place that always grounds me.
“It’s not about size; it’s about quality,” he says. “There’s room here for everything important.” That includes Mr. Pooh, a Hungarian Pouli show dog, and Mr. Tubbs, a rescued cat from Yonkers; both seem quite at home on the leopard print daybed that invites visitors to lounge rather than sit up straight. “Lounging is much sexier,” says the six-foot-six Mississippian, who insists that the secret of success is learning how to delegate and indulge.
The apartment’s living room fulfills the designer’s definition of a multipurpose room, his favorite kind. “This is for reading, relaxing, dining, meditating and creating,” he says. “It’s my guest bedroom, at-home gym, library, playroom and business command center.”
Wooden floors of palest gray make four hundred square feet seem twice the size; there are no rugs to shrink the space. The walls, ceilings and moldings are painted “Black Panther,” a very dark charcoal. High-gloss paint stretches ten-foot ceilings sky-high. “So what if you can see the flaws?” says Barclay, a firm believer in turning lemons into lemonade. “This place was a wreck when I first saw it. But I knew I could make it mine.”
From the entrance, a white, red, brown and black wall-size abstract by the French artist Oscar Larrat immediately draws the eye. Young Man Reposing at the Seaside is a contemporary balance for the many classical elements in the room. “I needed a big, modern splash,” Barclay says, “something with power.”
On an adjacent wall, eighteenth-century faces peer from black-framed engravings like windows connecting past to present. The engravings “pop” on their “mats” of sculpted plaster. “They are princes and principessas,” Barclay says. “We should all go royal.”
The engravings flank a Paris flea market find. “It’s a Napoleon III mirror,” Barclay says. “I found it covered with filth.” On a Parsons table below the mirror white orchids — and crystals for good luck — are displayed in a nineteenth-century Turkish wine bucket, their blossoms doubled by the mirror’s reflection. To either side, lamps made of architectural fragments stand next to a pair of witches’ balls, talismans believed to protect against the evil eye.
All the furnishings, from the aluminum-leafed, maintenance-free Parsons table to the pair of round royal blue tuffets (a modernized version of Yves St. Laurent ottomans), are Barclay Fryery originals. The tuffets are perfect for coffee-table dining,” Barclay says, “and I love circles because they are unending.”
A moss ball sphere, another Fryery signature, fills a nineteenth-century urn placed on an Ionic column near the entrance. Across the room, three Cotsworth balls of ancient limestone are venerable relics from a European château.
THE FAMILY ROOM
Linda Ruderman Rosier
In Linda Ruderman Rosier’s family room, the hand-planed, walnut surface of an enormous Emanuel Morez custom coffee table is impervious to wear and tear. Tucked up against it, an antique, but sturdy, English kneeling bench and two other benches of tufted leather provide easy access across the wide expanse of the table to reading material and snacks. Camel couches on the perimeter encourage relaxation; the brown leather club chairs are recliners.
“My three sons and two stepsons are welcome to put their feet up,” says Linda. “That’s what this room is all about. It’s where we all gather, the heart and soul of the house.” In every detail, the eight-hundred-square-foot space, which is open to an adjacent breakfast area, is a celebration of this blended family’s new start.
Linda and Thierry Rosier’s business relationship dates back twenty years: Linda often dealt with Thierry’s company, Tassels and Trim, for custom fabrics, wallpapers and finishes from France. The catalyst for romance was dinner at Terra, a setup arranged by their younger sons, who had become friends at North Street School.
All five boys, now ranging in age from ten to twenty-two, walked Linda down the aisle when the couple married in Biarritz three years ago. “We designed and built this house together,” Linda says, “when we decided to get married.”
French-style plaster walls subtly set a mellow mood. The fireplace of square-cut stones and the room’s beamed ceiling are reminders of a home Linda once owned in Vail, Colorado. “We couldn’t get there often enough,” she says, “but we all loved that house. I promised the boys I’d try to re-create that feeling here.” To one side of the fireplace, an American Indian vase occupies a place of honor; to the other, a mahogany and brass bucket holds logs destined for the eighteenth-century French andirons.
A low cabinet that can serve as a buffet separates the family room from the breakfast area, which has panoramic views across hills to Long Island Sound. Among the furnishings in this part of the house are a painting by Nantucket artist Joan Griswold, two antique ceramic pitchers from Provence on an eighteenth-century English breakfront that Linda has had forever, and an eighty-four-inch-diameter round table made of old chestnut boards.
The two spaces are harmonious, connected by the fabric chosen for window seat and chair cushions, curtains and valences. Embroidered flowers pick up the wonderfully faded rusts and beiges of the family room’s area rug; the braid on the curtains is one of Thierry’s trims.
From the breakfast table, a plasma screen television mounted on the cherry cabinetry in the family room is easily viewable. “We don’t watch TV during a meal,” Linda says, “unless it’s a Giants’ game,” in which case, she will happily fire up the pizza oven. “I make pizza from scratch,” she says. “I mean, they’re guys. It’s the only thing that will get their attention.”
The eighteenth-century bull’s-eye mirror over the family room fireplace really says it all. “It reflects the whole room in microcosm,” Linda says. “I love to stand back and watch all my boys at home enjoying each other’s company. That’s what it’s all about.”