Inside a Darien Home Layered in Shades of Blue
December 6, 2022
Prudence Bailey creates a light and airy Darien home for a new-to-Connecticut family.
Text by Bob Curley Photography by Stephane Kossmann
If you want to understand interior designer Prudence Bailey’s particular genius, look up. The sky was the limit when a California couple commissioned Bailey to devise a soothing design to warm up a Darien spec house with a blend of traditional and modern elements. Working with the relocating couple via Zoom, Bailey went room by room to create a calming sanctuary dressed in shades of blue, a theme that carried through from furnishings and draperies to wallpaper on the walls and ceilings—the latter a hallmark of Bailey’s unique aesthetic.
The design touched nearly every space in the house and incorporated furniture hand selected and custom made by Bailey; about the only things the clients moved to the new house were a midcentury bar cart and an original Dalí painting that hangs in the office.
An architecturally interesting mix of colonial and Georgian styles, the house lent itself to the kind of semiformal elements that the clients desired, with ornate chandeliers and vintage sideboards complemented by tall, narrow windows and coffered ceilings.
But Bailey kept things light—both in palette and style—by pairing disparate elements like Lucite chairs and a heavy wood dining room table, one of the few darker pieces in the home. Other hints of modernity sometimes show up in unusual places, such as the wire-and-rice-paper horse-head wall sculpture and hair-on-hide rug that enliven the dining room. “I love that there’s some of that friction in the room,” says Bailey. “This was a young couple who wanted it to feel classic but with a little edge.”
The blues and whites favored by the homeowners fit perfectly with Bailey’s penchant for adding color to ceilings: “I like using blue on the ceiling because it’s reminiscent of the sky,” she says. But other ceiling colors also make appearances to considerable effect. In the husband’s office, for example, the designer boldly chose a black ceiling to enhance the room’s masculine feel, and in the family room a high-gloss green-tinted ceiling reflects both the colors of the furniture and the greenery outside a wall of windows and French doors. A perfectly placed curved sofa permits both window gazing and comfortable conversation over a hexagon-shaped Highland House ottoman that doubles as a small table for drinks and snacks.
Bailey says the long-distance relationship with the clients, who never saw the house in person until the project was complete, gave her an unusual degree of artistic freedom. The end result is a dreamy yet modern space designed to make a West Coast family feel right at home in New England.
Interior design: Prudence Home & Design