A Room of Her Own

November 11, 2019

Text by Maria LaPiana

Garden Party

This evocative space is as much a breakfast room, library, workroom, bar, craft area, and den as it is a garden-themed dining room in Carey Karlan’s tiny English cottage. “It’s cheerful and accessible by day, but special enough for formal entertaining,” says the Darien designer. Karlan created a delightful backdrop with a wallpaper—aptly called English Parks—depicting secret gardens, little bridges, fountains, charming follies, and wandering paths that all lend a touch of romance. Oversize chairs encourage lingering around the table. The designer added touches of glamour, such as the vintage Lucite “ghost bar,” and keeps a rotating collection of garden-related pieces that hold meaning to her. “I have fond memories of finding each and every vintage piece to accessorize the space, and I enjoy changing them with the seasons,” she says. “I love that creative outlet.” Mostly she loves the feeling of being connected to manicured gardens year-round. “It makes me feel civilized and ready to host my friends and family in a gracious and special way.”

Interior design: Carey Karlan, Last Detail Interior Design
Photography: Paul Johnson


Comfort and Joy

Francine Gardner’s family room sits between the dining room and the guest wing, at the very heart of her Cos Cob home. Antique red-tile flooring sets a cozy tone that’s enhanced by a pair of wide, comfortable chaises, a slipcovered, sink-in-worthy sofa, and a long cocktail table that offers plenty of space for drinks and bites. It’s a warm and inviting place to nap or read solo, or to gather with friends for conversation that lasts into the night, Gardner says. The designer describes the room as her “safety blanket, a place to dream, a place to create, a place to go back in time.” In fact, it’s a repository of memories, a treasure trove of objects gathered all over the world: antique statues, books, furniture from far-away places, an eclectic collection of tribal and contemporary art. The room is a personal reflection of her life, Gardner says: “It is home.”

Interior design: Francine Gardner, Intérieurs
Photography: Hulya Kolabas


Book Smart

This room is warm, sexy, masculine, feminine, evocative, artful, and smart at the same time,” says Chris Roughan about the library in her Weston home. “It’s a space you want to be in and never leave.”

The designer went with a palette of black, camel, ivory, and chocolate brown both for its warm, inviting feel and, she says, because the colors will forever be stylish. It’s a fall-into-winter room that calls to mind an English club and cries out for a cozy fire and a glass of wine. Among the many understated details in this modern library are its suede walls and faux horsehair lining the black bookcases. Every decorative object tells a story—from books and art to an intriguing collection of ostrich eggs. Roughan says visitors to her home always tell her how much they adore the room. “Their reasons are similar to mine,” she says.
“No matter how I look, I feel glamorous in this space. I think it brings out the best in people.”

Interior design: Christina Roughan, Roughan Interior Design
Photography: Christina Roughan


Blue and White—with a Twist

Prudence Bailey’s Darien living room highlights her love of blue and white in a glamorous and unexpected way. “The mix of colors makes me happy,” she says. The room is a mélange of Greek key patterns and bold punches of color. The statement piece, and Bailey’s inspiration for the room, is a striking photo of the Golden Gate Bridge, shot by her grandfather, the renowned photographer Robert Cameron, and published in the book Above San Francisco. The room mixes navy, white, black, and coral, reflecting the dominant hues found in the photograph, she says. “I wanted it to have a graphic nature, so I balanced the Greek key patterns by layering in solids and letting the art shine.” The designer says she’s drawn to pieces that start conversations, like the vintage Mallard table. “Everyone who walks in the door feels a sense of welcome and ease despite it being a formal living room,” she says. “I love that. Having guests feel comfortable in your home is key.”

Interior design: Prudence Bailey, Prudence Home + Design
Photography: Whitney Jennison

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