Living Well in Litchfield County, Connecticut

On Our Radar
Faces, places, treasures, and trends that caught our attention
Deck the Halls

Deck the Halls

A Country Christmas Fantasy by Sister Parish at the Mayflower Inn

By: Zachary Schwartz

Litchfield County is an idyllic setting for the holidays, from the Christmas tree fir farms to the bedecked historic homes to the ski slopes and horse-drawn sleigh rides. This year, the holidays will twinkle even brighter and bolder thanks to the design partnership between Sister Parish Design and Mayflower Inn & Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection.

Sister Parish Design, an eponymous fourth-generation female-owned family business founded in 1933, is known for American archival-inspired interior designs and textiles. Famously, the company’s founder decorated President John F. Kennedy’s White House. Today, the legacy of Sister Parish lives on through her granddaughter, CEO Susan Crater, and great-granddaughter, Chief Creative Officer Eliza Harris. The mother-daughter duo run a Sister Parish shop in Litchfield and an online business.

“We are focused on manufacturing historically driven designs, meaning everything is derived from some sort of archival textile. All of our textiles have a story and a soul, and we keep manufacturing local in the United States,” explains Harris. “I’m constantly tweaking and recoloring the patterns. They are very bold and bright. People come to us for exactly that.”

Harris, a Salisbury resident, regularly visits the Mayflower Inn in Washington for overnight getaways and spa treatments. “As a local, I spend a lot of time there, so it was a very authentic and organic collaboration to participate in the Christmas decorations.”

From late November through early January, Sister Parish will deck the halls of the Mayflower Inn with boughs of evergreen and festive holiday adornments. Visitors can expect decorative pillows, ornaments, lampshades, and stockings in Sister Parish textiles, some of which will be for sale at the hotel boutique for those who want to make the holiday festivities last longer than a halcyon sojourn.

“I was thrilled to be able to decorate the hotel. The point is to make people feel like they are home for the holidays. I want guests to feel comfortable and to connect with their relatives and friends at the hotel. It’s all about creating those special moments,” says Harris.

In addition to an 18-foot Christmas tree festooned with upholstered ornaments and velvet ribbons, Sister Parish will showcase a custom whimsical cranberry red and green star-pattern[make this en dash, not a hyphen] textile titled Serendipity. Harris also enlisted the help of Ancram-based florist Dark and Diamond for locally foraged greenery and garlands.

“Better understanding how to bring the outdoors in is what inspired me. I wanted to make sure that the wildness of the Connecticut woods is tapped into on the mantels and centerpieces. My inspiration for the decorations also comes from my family. We’ve celebrated lots of country Christmases,” says Harris.

The aesthetic will be ornate, colorful, and nostalgic, but neither persnickety nor precious. “That is what Sister Parish does well. We have these timeless patterns that are meant to complement other patterns they might be mixed with, and certainly complement the eclectic design that decorator Celerie Kemble mastered at the Mayflower Inn.” Guests of the hotel are in for a true country Christmas fantasy.

  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Karen Raines Davis
    Dumais Interior Design