Local Style Experts Offer Creative Advice
By Jessica Grutkowski
Time spent home during quarantine has forced many people to revisit the functionality of their current living space, and how they can safely entertain during a pandemic. Families are moving out of Manhattan to full-time suburban living where they can safely social distance and enjoy a controlled outdoor space.
While many local designers and home furnishing brands feared societal changes would force a shut down, the reality is that most are seeing higher demand for products and services. Litchfield Magazine polled the best-of-the-best locally to provide you with go-to design sources and tips for projects of any size.
Owned by Bruce Glickman and Wilson Henley, long-time weekend residents turned locals, George Home is a favorite destination for designers, architects, and private clients in the Northeast and beyond. Stocked with unique furniture, art, lighting, and one-of-a-kind objects and accessories, its studio also features interior design services for residential and commercial clients.
“Our collection is a chic mixture of styles with plenty of patina and ‘look,’” adds Glickman. They believe that “one or two unusual pieces really make a room!” “We buy things we want to live with ourselves,” explains Henley. @GeorgeHomeCT
The Housatonic Trading Company showroom offers a carefully curated selection of high-quality furnishings, antiques, art and home decor, including one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that reflect an eclectic mix from multiple genres and origins across the globe.
“Whether it’s the patina of a hundred-year-old chest, the softness of a well-loved armchair, or the glow from a Baccarat decanter capturing the sunlight—every piece should inspire,” explains co-founder Robert Graham.
“Home should be comfortable and functional, and full of pieces that make you feel good, spark conversation, and keep you smiling,” adds Graham. @HousatonicTrading
A self-described “romantic-at-heart,” Carolyn Piccirelli is inspired by all things vintage, and Italian, French, and Swedish country design. She loves to travel to source well-made textiles, ceramics, tabletop accessories, gifts, baskets, and fresh flowers for her shop, Honeychurch Home.
When designing at home, Piccirelli cautions that clients often mistakenly group too many similar-sized accessories together on mantels, tables, and shelves. “Try and achieve balance through proportion, size, and color. Often, less is more—and your home will feel fresher with little effort.” @HoneychurchHome
After two decades of working in the design field, Kristen Meissner opened her own design studio, KLM Interiors, where she helps clients with everything from custom furniture, wall-coverings and window treatments, to color consulting, furniture arrangement, and more. She consults with architects and contractors to ensure her clients’ vision is brought to life.
“Don’t buy the cheaper, throw-away furniture––rather, do just the opposite!” Meissner advises clients. “Always use better quality fabrics and construction in rooms that are used (or abused) the most … good design is timeless!” @KristenMeissner
Local interior designer and life coach Joshua Smith brings a holistic approach to everything he does for his clients. Since being homeless at 21, Smith has transformed himself into a successful interior designer and life coach, whose work has been featured in countless national trade magazines.
When designing a home or interior space, Smith prefers to take a holistic approach, urging clients to think beyond how a space should look, and instead focus on how it should feel.
“A beautiful interior is not just something we see, it’s something we experience; it should engage the senses and nourish the soul,” advises Smith. @JoshuaSmithInc
Inspired by classical architecture, sculpture, and nature, Natalie and Greg Randall originally opened RT Facts in the old Kent Town Hall, a building they purchased to sell antique home and garden pieces. They expanded and opened up a second much larger location in Kent Barns, right down the road. Recently they began selling their own creations, including lamps, chandeliers, hand-forged iron table bases, copper-wrapped distressed mirrors, leather and linen-topped tables, and zinc planters made by their team of local artisans with locally sourced materials whenever possible.
“We worried we’d have to close in March, but thankfully orders kept coming in,” explains Randall. “Clients wanted to create home offices, enhance outdoor living for entertaining, and some purchased second homes for full-time living.”
The Randalls advise clients to consider a narrow dining table as it’s more versatile, friendly, and functional. “You won’t regret going custom here, just allow space between each chair and ample legroom across.” @RTFacts
Founded by Peter Kahane in 1995, AMEICO has quietly been supplying modern design products to contemporary art museum shops and design stores across the country for 25 years. Headquartered in the historic 1918 SNET Telephone Exchange building of New Milford, the company opened to the public for the first time in 2014. Although this year was expected to be one of celebration, instead it has caused Peter to become reflective, “The most exciting part of our business for me has always been the curatorial role we attempt to play within an international community of designers, craftspeople, mostly smaller manufacturers and our audience of retail partners. We have realized, more than ever, how important these collaborations, some going back to our formation 25 years ago, really are. We are truly all in this together.” @Ameico_Design
For over three years, BLUEPRINT CT HOME owner Louis Lemieux has offered what he calls the antithetical “antidote” to mass market design elements for the home. As with many small businesses during COVID-19, he adapted by shrinking the retail component creatively focusing his business on small to medium residential and commercial interior design projects. His smaller space at the former Litchfield Jail offers an edited selection of his products plus additional decorating items including fabrics, bedding, and pillows—see Litchfield Magazine May 2019 for a look at his loft at the Jail.
His clients sing his praises for offering them exciting, unexpected, and stunning interiors. In early 2021, Lemieux will open an eponymous design studio and shop, LouisCT. Focusing on client demand and his core interests, Lemieux will offer vintage and modern furniture, textiles, ceramics, art, lighting, and more. @ShopBlueprintCT