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Home / News / Step Inside a Cozy Connecticut Home by AD100 Designer Stephen Sills
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Step Inside a Cozy Connecticut Home by AD100 Designer Stephen Sills

Jun 27, 2023Jun 27, 2023

By David Foxley

Photography by Max Burkhalter

Styled by Mieke ten Have

Navigating a patch of delphiniums that she grew from seed in her Connecticut garden, Lauren Dupont is in her element. “I just joined a garden club, which sounds so weird, but I’m into it,” she confides, cradling a bread-plate-sized Royal Wedding poppy in her hand. “You kind of nerd out on the facts—the Latin names—and why things don’t work.”

Though by the looks of the current setting, the cutting garden below a redbrick Georgian house— her “happy zone”—any failures are rather outnumbered. Dupont, a pillar of New York fashion and media circles, and her husband, the multimedia artist Richard Dupont, purchased the circa 1930s residence on the hairline cusp of the pandemic. With older children (a son, 14, and two daughters, 20 and 23) and suddenly more time on her hands, Lauren enrolled in online horticulture classes, soon breathing new life into the existing landscape. “I have always wanted a garden,” she says. “Like Richard’s an artist, this is sort of my painting.”

The couple brought the same imaginative fervor to the interiors of their new home, working hand in glove with a longtime friend, AD100 designer Stephen Sills, who had helped them decorate their prior Manhattan apartments. “We had no mood boards,” Lauren says of the “kind of English and cozy” design scheme, which relied heavily on repurposing and recovering existing pieces that the couple had collected through tag sales, auctions, and trips abroad, as well as from their respective families.

A set of six Cy Twombly prints hangs in the sunroom. Furnishings include a bespoke ottoman wearing a Hazelton House floral fabric and a custom armless sofa in a check from Classic Cloth. Sydney Harbour’s Meringue colors the walls.

“Lauren’s so good with fabrics and combinations—and Richard has so many wonderful pieces he’s created, his art—it was just a joyous thing, sort of a no-brainer,” Sills shares of the three-year-long project. “Her love of patterns and textiles is seen in her wardrobe and her home,” observes another close friend, Aerin Lauder, with whom Lauren works as a creative consultant. “The unexpected mix of colors and patterns creates a warm, beautiful, and inviting space, with whimsical elements of surprise.”

That recognizable personal style—which Lauren is quick to credit Sills for amplifying, particularly with regard to color and scale—is evident upon entering the sunroom. With its high ceilings and four exposures, the biophilic space, at one with the manicured grounds just outside, underscores what Sills refers to as her “sophisticated approach to objects and the mix of things”: an oversized ottoman upholstered in a Hazelton House floral, curtains of a Michael S. Smith ivy print fabric, a set of six Cy Twombly prints, breezy wicker and bamboo pieces, all against the warm background of Sydney Harbour’s Meringue-painted walls. It’s Richard’s favorite room, where the family gathers to celebrate Christmas.

The nearby dining room, meanwhile, was expanded to incorporate a formerly dark and cramped office, an inspired move that not only created enough space to accommodate large family gatherings around an antique Irish table but also exposed another working fireplace. Aside from a lone abstract painting by Daniel Hesidence and Swedish sconces, the walls were left unadorned, allowing the leaf-covered surfaces, which were hand-painted and then scumbled, to shine. “This is a real Stephen signature,” says Lauren of the surface treatment, a clever complement to the printed Rose Tarlow Melrose House linen used for the curtains.

The dining room features hand-painted walls in a leafy pattern that was then scumbled for a soft, romantic effect. The curtains are of a Rose Tarlow Melrose House fabric, and the same material covers the antique Irish table. Directoire chairs; painting by Daniel Hesidence.

Sills is no precious snob, Lauren insists, relating how he hand-mixed a wall color, spontaneously hammered in tapestries, and, sloshing paint around, marbleized a pair of console tables one evening over martinis. “He’s like, ‘I’m creating! Let me create!’” she recalls, highlighting a human quality that’s evident throughout.

Case in point: the formal living room’s collection of organic enamel-on-paper drawings that Richard, inspired by a photograph of Henri Matisse’s studio, created specifically for the room. “The thing about this house is that it has a formality to it in some ways, but it also has an informality to it,” Richard notes. Next door, in the library, where one of only two household TVs is stationed, vintage round brass-and-glass cocktail tables commingle with curtains and a pair of armchairs in a Jasper Tree of Life fabric that Lauren had held on to for years. The textile is a natural fit alongside crewelwork panels bought at a Doyle auction.

In Lauren’s upstairs office, a Louis XV mantel that Sills had stored in his barn—and which he agreed to sell if it fit, and it did, “like Cinderella,” she says— complements an eclectic mix of items. An antique daybed and Egyptian caned chair stand on a printed jute rug from Ballard Designs beneath a silkscreen made with chocolate by Dieter Roth. The desk chair dates from Lauren’s first Manhattan apartment, back when she was an assistant at Vogue and her kitchen was stocked only with “Champagne and some potatoes.”

Lauren’s office features a custom Stephen Sills desk and an antique daybed. A custom silk sari shade by Perrotine tops the floor lamp. Louis XV mantelpiece; printed jute rug by Ballard Designs. A papier-mâché fig leaf by Casa Gusto wraps around a Dieter Roth silkscreen and Marcel Dzama drawings.

The other upstairs rooms are just as personal and rich in backstory. The primary bedroom’s scheme was informed by a vintage Pierre Frey blue chintz from Richard’s mother, while their musician daughter’s room echoes her vibrant personality with a red Les Indiennes floral textile and a graphic work by New Orleans artist Willie White. Throughout these rooms, as well as the whole house, carefully selected art reflects both Richard’s own hand and his breadth of personal relationships: in the entry hall, a piece by Antiguan artist Frank Walter, whom Richard stumbled upon in St. John’s decades ago, and in the kitchen, several paintings by the late Roy Newell, a longtime friend. Here and there, charming carved-wood animals—a beaver, bear, owls—by the Duponts’ Maine chum Dan Falt bring smiles.

Back outside, pausing in one of several intimate seating areas that open off the ground floor—surrounded by roses, boxwoods, and beech trees—the couple muse on what ultimately pulled them away from their beloved New York to this particular property. “Just leaving the city, spending more time outside, I think makes me more creative in so many different ways,” Lauren says, smiling at Richard. “I just love it.”

This Stephen Sills–designed Connecticut home appears in AD’s Style issue. Never miss an issue when you subscribe to AD.

Drawings by Richard Dupont surround a Louis XV mantel in the living room. The George II walnut stool once belonged to Bunny Mellon. Vintage armchairs; antique Chinese cocktail table.

Vintage books and a sculpture by Ray Smith are displayed on a draped table in the living room. Curtains and slipper chair covers of a Carleton V stripe. On wall, monoprints by Richard Dupont.

A set of six Cy Twombly prints hangs in the sunroom. Furnishings include a bespoke ottoman wearing a Hazelton House floral fabric and a custom armless sofa in a check from Classic Cloth. Sydney Harbour’s Meringue colors the walls.

The dining room features hand-painted walls in a leafy pattern that was then scumbled for a soft, romantic effect. The curtains are of a Rose Tarlow Melrose House fabric, and the same material covers the antique Irish table. Directoire chairs; painting by Daniel Hesidence.

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Mayer Rus

The kitchen banquette is cushioned in a stripe by Rose Tarlow Melrose House for Perennials. Vintage industrial pendants from the Antique and Artisan Gallery; plaster sconces by Hannah Woodhouse; wooden animals by Dan Falt; paintings by Roy Newell.

In the library a pair of skirted armchairs are dressed in a Jasper Tree of Life print and the custom sofa wears a Designtex mohair-cotton. Lampshade by Penny Morrison; vintage brass-and-glass cocktail tables.

A vintage crewelwork panel hangs in the library; curtains and chair cushion in a Jasper Tree of Life fabric.

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Mayer Rus

Lauren’s office features a custom Stephen Sills desk and an antique daybed. A custom silk sari shade by Perrotine tops the floor lamp. Louis XV mantelpiece; printed jute rug by Ballard Designs. A papier-mâché fig leaf by Casa Gusto wraps around a Dieter Roth silkscreen and Marcel Dzama drawings.

A Les Indiennes fabric defines one daughter's bedroom. Patchwork pillow by Kathryn M. Ireland; Urban Outfitters lamp; drawing by Willie White.

Vintage chintz panels (hanging behind the bed and on chaise longue) inspired the primary bedroom’s decor. The bed is curtained with a Colefax and Fowler fabric and dressed in a cover by Chelsea Textiles. The settee is covered in a Guy Goodfellow Collection stripe. The walls are painted in Sydney Harbour’s Salt Wattle. Needlepoint-covered games table; ink drawing by Richard Dupont.

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Mayer Rus

A Morris & Co. wallpaper envelops Lauren's dressing room. An arrangement of flowers from the garden stands on a vintage table. Botanical prints purchased at auction; monogrammed bag by Corroon; raffia bag by Aerin.

A monoprint by Richard Dupont hangs in the primary bath; existing tub and fittings.

Richard and Lauren Dupont in the garden.

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Mayer Rus

An architectural wooden birdcage stands on a terrace.

In the garden, a bank of peonies grows behind boxwood hedges trimmed in a greek-key pattern. Vintage Salterini chairs.

A vintage Salterini outdoor table and chairs; tablecloth from Zojora. The setting includes John Derian for Astier de Villatte plates, Aerin flatware, and Carolina Irving & Daughters vases.

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Katherine McLaughlin

By Mayer Rus

Vintage Salterini furniture is cushioned in a Rose Tarlow Melrose House for Perennials stripe. Vintage children’s folding garden chairs.

Vintage furniture in an outdoor sitting area.

The outdoor table is set with John Derian for Astier de Villatte plates, Aerin flatware, and Buccellati bowls and salt and pepper shakers. Tablecloth from Zojora: Carolina Irving & Daughters vases; frog pitcher from Mexico.

By David Foxley

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