Friday, May 24, 2013

New Project Preview

When my long time clients, Susie and her husband, shared news of leaving the DC area, I felt really bummed. When I found out they were house hunting in Connecticut, I was relieved. Still a bit sad, though. CT is about a 6 hour drive from DC, but at least it is on the East Coast. Plus, I visit CT quite frequently working with clients there.

Then came even better news: Susie and her husband asked me to help with their new home - a historic 1864 farmhouse that had been renovated and expanded. The farmhouse happens to be one of the original farmsteads in Fairfield, a county famous for its 'Southport Globe' onion fields. More on the onions later.

Of course I thought I had 3-6 months to tackle this project. Nope! Because they had sold their DC area home and their kids would be on summer break soon, I had a little over a month and a half to start furnishing the house and line up contractors and workrooms: painter, wallpaper hanger, electrician, carpet installer, receiving warehouse, windows and upholstery workrooms.

I couldn't have accomplished this project without all of Tom's help. Nor could I have done it without Susie's support and trust. It has been a total team effort, and I'm grateful to them both!!

Tom and I just returned home from a big install. We will be finishing soon, and here is a preview starting with the conservatory.
Built in 2002, the grand conservatory with its French limestone mantel and leaded windows from England is my favorite room. The clubchairs and ottoman are temporary. I placed those there for the family to enjoy while we wait for the arrival of the sofas, rugs, etc....all coming very soon!
 Cindy who made and installed all the curtains and shades did an amazing job. Thank you, Cindy!

Why did I choose the color blocked panels flanking the fireplace? See below photo of the room as decorated by the previous owner. (I took the photo on my first visit.) While pleasant, the adobe-like niches did not appeal to us. Instead of tearing out the niches (pricey and timely), I designed tall linen panels to conceal them and add softness to this room of exposed beams, glass and stone. I color blocked the bottom to break up the height.
 Below again is another photo I took during my first visit in early spring.
And look at the view outside the conservatory now: gorrrrr-geous and green!!!
As mentioned, this used to be a prominent onion farm. When the property was being cleared and landscaped, the vine covered stone walls were discovered to be the original fieldstone foundation of an onion barn.
Perhaps Susie will ask me to help refresh the gardens? :)
Back inside is master electrician, Rick, adjusting the new lantern for me. He did a great job hanging and centering the two drum fixtures over the new breakfast room. Thank you, Rick, for being so patient :)
When Susie discovered her home's history of having been an onion farm, she decided to pay homage with a new collection of onion paintings found on Etsy. I took them all to my framer (her pretty hand, not mine) and selected various warm silver frames for the collection. And here are some of the onions hung salon style in the kitchen. Sorry for the blurry photos....took these with my old iPhone.
While the conservatory is sunny and warm, the original living room is cool and cozy. I chose pretty shades of blues, greens and aqua to complement the beaches in the area. The coral piece and French giltwood mirror were two of the earliest pieces Susie found at my shop - almost 9 years ago! We have pillows and more accessories coming so stay tuned.
Many thanks to Susie and her family for allowing me to feature their beautiful home!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend ~ Loi


  1. The hues of blue are beautiful, Loi. What an exciting project for such an amazing home. It looks to be a very large house, but your touches have made it very comfortable and warm.

    Happy Weekend!

  2. WOW.... what an amazing home! I love the colors, and love the fun pops of turquoise!

  3. Loi, it is all so beautiful. I love the windows and the grounds are stunning. Great idea hanging onion artwork. Looking forward to more.

  4. Oh Loi: it is just lovely. Those original stone walls add so much to the history and character of the place. And I love what you did with the curtains to hide those niches....very clever indeed. Just really nice!

  5. Loi, you, Tom, Susie and all those involved have done a wonderful job! I love the way you concealed the niches with drapery panels, and those blue foo dogs are perfect! I can't wait to see more.

    xo Kat

  6. Such a beautiful home! I just love the soothing colors used throughout! The onion paintings are a fun and unexpected touch and quite pretty too! You have done a wonderful job Loi and I'm sure Susie and her family are going to be very happy in their lovely new home!

  7. p.s. I hope you get to work on the gardens too!

  8. Hello Loi

    Congratulations on this wonderful transformation. I love all you have done and how cleverly you hung the curtains rather than demolish the fireplace surround. The colour of the room reminds me of borrowed light by F & B. The collection and subject matter of the paintings and how you framed and hung them is most fitting.Thank you for sharing this project.

    Helen xx

  9. Loi how exciting to have this project!
    The home and it history are wonderful.
    Adore the onion painting,,art really makes a home so special!

    Art by Karena

  10. Oh my Mr Loi, I do believe that conservatory has me all a flutter. GORGE! The views of the garden are beautiful too, I hope Susie has you back to weave your magic verdant fingers through the garden.

  11. I love what you have done so far. A very clever idea to disguise the niches and I love the two-tone effect. I hope you will show us when it's all done! x Sharon

  12. Hello Loi, While we have little sense of the architecture or layout of this house, every detail achieves a sense of comfort and attractiveness. While I am sure you could work wonders with that garden, were that my house, I would probably opt for even less--get rid of that line of hedges, which seems to block the interesting view beyond.

    When I started reading this article, I scrolled down and was fooled for a minute by that "niches" photo, thinking that these were all "after" shots. It's hard to believe that they put in those units, which must have looked dated even in 2002, next to those magnificent windows and stone fireplace.
    --Road to Parnassus

  13. This post has reminded me of my broken Chinese Temple Dogs - I used to have a pair exactly the same as the turquoise ones shown. In one of our home moves they got smashed.
    The idea of paying homage to the farms heritage appeals - I really like the collection of paintings especially being a fan of still life work.

  14. Conservatories are my favourite rooms because besides the view, one can design it in any way they want. I wondered what was behind the curtains. Good thing you covered those walls. It's a clever idea. The view of the gardens are magnificent. It's a beautiful house. Well done so far Loi.

  15. I always, and I mean this, I always seem to lose my breath when I come to see one of your posts, LOI!

    You and Tom are brilliant. I can see now why you took those lower panels and added them to flank the gorgeous limestone fireplace. While the original design was "functional", it took away from the one feature that deserves our full attention: THE FIREPLACE. You softened it on a budget, and it works.

    I am in love with those lanterns over the wooden table, with the light aqua floral design. I really am learning a lot from you how to combine the traditional with the UNEXPECTED contemporary. The effect is sensational! Then there is that room with the light blue walls with the oil paintings. You two are professionals of top grade, and it is always a joy to come visit you to see what you are up to, but one thing makes me extremely are a kind and lovely friend who comes to see my little world. THANK YOU LOI!

    Oh, and those gardens....could there any other colors other than GRAY, BLUE and GREEN to make me happy? Oh the lushness of it all! Anita

  16. loi, your use of the fabric panels blows me away. you have an amazing eye. even though some of the furnishings are only "temp" we can tell that this home is gonna be a stunner. thanks for letting us see your process. donna

  17. Dear Loi, what an exciting time!! The Southern Living photo shoot and this fabulous project must keep you hopping now...I always love to see what you are up too, and come away so inspired and a bit more able to tackle my own little projects. I just love that conservatory and that view, just breathtaking...the gardens are a dream! You have inspired me to start looking at growing topiary trees from your own lovely collection...thank you, Loi!
    I am conspiring a trip to the DC area so I can visit your shop, with a trailer in tow! N.xo

  18. Hello Loi!

    Everything you do is always in the best of taste! I so admire everything you show us. And the blue Chinese dogs are just a brilliant touch- thank you for this wonderful glimpse into such a beautiful home.

  19. Gorgeous Loi! How ingenious of you to hang lovely curtains over the niches.

  20. Absolutely beautiful! I can't decide which is more transfixing, inside or out. What an incredible job you've done here, Loi!

  21. Loi, It's gorgeous! I would love to know the paint color and source of the living room!

  22. As usual you RoCKED it, Loi! You must do the gardens. I love the Connecticut blue stone outside. You have a seamless transition from outside to inside. It gives such a sense of calm, homey-ness and gorgeous-ness! Love it! Xoxo, K

  23. Such a lovely setting! Love the farmhouse. Can't wait to see the project completed. You could have a grand time in that garden :). Have a great weekend!
    Sarah XO

  24. Hi Loi,
    The draperies flanking the fireplace are brilliant! I can not get over the magical transformation from hopelessly cluttered to stunning. The fireplace is so lovely, and it was all but lost on that busy wall. Love the restrained elegance of the unusually shaped mirror and the pop of color with the truquoise cermaic dogs!
    I hope there will be more photos to come of your work on this beautiful house.
    Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

  25. looks gorgeous! The curtains look wonderful and what a great idea...I also love all of her amazing art!

  26. Loi, LOVE LOVE the beauty you create! The manner in which you treated the area next to the fireplace is INGENIOUS AND FABULOUS!
    The lighting is stunning...can't wait to see it after your magic is complete!
    I bet that Spring vista is absolutely marvelous now!
    What an awesome project and how lucky you and Susie have each other!

  27. Great idea those color blocked curtains flaking the fireplace + Of course, you will do the gardens! Tom is amazing + Susie and family must be so grateful. Conn. is beautiful.

  28. Loi, you are uber-talented! Love the draperies and love the onion framed artwork!
    Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend my friend! ~Delores

  29. Gorgeous Loi (I seem to say that a lot!)!!!!

    I love this house and the property, with its rich history and those amazing old barn walls. Amazing place. You two are off to a seriously lovely start - wow!

    The draperies are very clever. I adore that green and white lamp - is that sourced by you? Stunning! But all the elements are everything you do. You could design a house for me any day.

    Congrats to Susie and family and good job you and Tom.

    xo Terri

  30. Stellar! Can't believe the size of that enormous fabulous lantern! Love the drapes with the navy usual great design Loi! Love the bones in that house, and the view of the grounds! Oh my, what a beautiful home. I love your talents, all of them. You are a master at cool calm and collected. Im your biggest fan!
    xoxo Nancy

  31. A job well done, Loi! As a girl originally from Connecticut, I have a soft spot in my heart for the area. It looks like Susie and her family have found a lovely place to live!

  32. I want that yard at my house! Although the inside ain't too shabby. It's got some interesting details for an old CT farmhouse and how interesting to have a farm near the ocean from which to draw a sense of place. Love the onions!

  33. Beautiful Loi! I love what you did with that conservatory - those curtains are awesome and I love the look and feel it creates. Great job - as always!

  34. Loi and Tom, Great work!! What a gorgeous home and setting. I am totally denatured with the use of the onion artwork, what a great idea! You are creating a beautiful home for your friends,
    Happy Memorial day!
    xo Kathysue

  35. So very beautiful. Love what you did with the color blocked panels - cannot wait to see the finished project!

  36. Bravo, I love the wall color in the living room, so complementary to the art and beautiful pieces she's curated from your shop.

    The ode to the onions is a wonderful addition. What a find.

  37. I love that conservatory....the windows are to die for. I can't wait to see what magic you will work in that already gorgeous space. If Susie is as smart as I think she must be, she will no doubt ask for your help with a vision for the garden. I love the cute idea of incorporating the homage to the onion. That is just the sort of thing that makes each home unique.

  38. What a wonderful job you are doing to transform the place.Love the collage of onion paintings.

    You too have a wonderful Memorial day weekend.

  39. Funny, I quite like those niches :) Gorgeous house and what a pleasure to be part of the decoration. Hope you get to help with the garden too :)

  40. What a challenging and rewarding project to work on.I love conservatories, so much that I have decided I could live in a glass house! It will be fun to see how you warm up the interiors which have such volume. I like the lanterns, the lamps, the art...but I can't wait to see what you do with it. I am sure your touches will make a warm and elegant home. (By the way, stop by my blog and see what Anna has done with her exterior! )

  41. Love it all! Several have gone straight to Pinterest! I have often done drapes with a deep contrasting hem like that. LOVE the LR with the blue walls and paintings over the sofa. Love the contemporary (or is it vintage?) lamp in the mix. perfect.

    That property is so incredibly gorgeous I wanted to vomit.

  42. Looks really good so far Loi!
    Can`t wait to see the finished project, because you chose my favorite colors!!

  43. Loi, the panels are perfect. Love the color blocking. Those lights are so unique and beautiful. The colors you chose are very soothing and love the touch of gold with the mirror. Beautiful as is...can't wait for the rest of the install! Monica

  44. Loi, the panels are perfect. Love the color blocking. Those lights are so unique and beautiful. The colors you chose are very soothing and love the touch of gold with the mirror. Beautiful as is...can't wait for the rest of the install! Monica

  45. Hi Loi, the panels are brilliant and I love the living room color palette. The setting is stunning - would love to what you could do there. And, BTW, the bright blue Foo Dogs are the most fabulous thing I have seen in a while.

  46. Good afternoon my friend! Your visits are always so warm and kind. I will still be around, just focusing my writing time on the class, for which I am very excited! Looking at this make-over you have done here again is really impressive and shows your expertise to tackle a large space and make it so comfortable and cozy...and a cozy weekend I wish you and Tom!!! Big hugs, Anita

  47. I like your solution of the curtains to cover those niches that do look adobe-inspired. And I like the dining room mantle (well, I like it all, but I'm enjoying those limestone details. I look forward to the rest of the unveil!

  48. Loi,
    This is a beautiful home and setting. What a fun project and you've transformed the conservatory. I hope you'll get to share more as you complete the home. You are truly amazingly talented.
    Hope your Memorial Day weekend is relaxing and fun.

  49. Oh Loi, when will you stop being the teachers pet? You and Tom make the rest of us look...well just silly! Putting on my big girl pants; I say without any jealousy, I look forward to the reveal;) xob

  50. Loi, dear, such a joy to see your message today! Thank You!
    I am late, but needed a bit of time to recover from that wild French party our sweet Anita hosted! ;)

    A gorgeous property...that stonework outside is so special. Well, this home is yet another testament to your gifts, my friend. Such peace and beauty! I really love the turquoise ceramics on the mantle...and you have confirmed something that I have always felt...when in doubt...fabric panels! I think these look splendid, and I use lovely panels instead of closet doors.
    Thank you for the inspiration....
    Wishing you and Tom a fantastic weekend!
    - Irina

  51. Wow Suzie and her family are lucky indeed! First a stunning piece of property and then you and Tom with your fabulous taste to help furnish their home. Wishing you and Tom a wonderful and relaxing long weekend!


  52. This project looks utterly amazing. Such a beautiful color palette. Susie and her husband couldn't have chosen a better designer. No wonder they completely trust you Loi. Just look at the results. Stunning!!
    Thanks so much for sharing this sneak peak and a blessed Memorial Day to you and Tom!

  53. Lovely and then some! They made a good choice letting you decorate/design :)

    My faves are the drum shades in the dining room and the onion paintings ♥
    (of course the whole place is gorgeous, that goes without saying)

    Hope you have fun plans for Memorial Day-we're gardening and BBQing( as long as the rain holds off, anyway)

  54. They are lucky to have you decorate their home, Loi. The curtain idea was a perfect solution. That window wall looking out at those majestic trees is fabulous. I look forward to the updates.
    XO, Victoria

  55. Hi Loi,
    I saw these blue perennials on Hometalk and thought of you. Did you see this?

  56. You and Tom were the "perfect pick" for this project!! BEAUT!! franki

  57. Loi, Loi, Loi...and Tom, Tom, Tom....SHUT UP!! This is to die for. I want to see so much more of it. Of course she will want you both to help her with her gardens....who wouldn't? I love all of the furnishings and the blocked drapes are genius. We just came back from Florida, and those Adobe arches are everywhere. I'm not a fan. I hope you show more of the home?

  58. Olá,
    que casa linda, adorei as reformas feita por você, quero ver o final do projeto. O jardim com seu toque vai ficar maravilhoso. Meu pai também tinha uma fazenda de cebola. Foi plantando cebola que ele nos criou. Amei os quadros de cebola e a ideia da decoração usar cebolas ficou muito bonito.
    Tenha uma ótima semana e bom trabalho.

  59. What a wonderful home and a great project for you and Tom. Just love the wonderful fixtures and can hardly wait to see the magic of your creation. You should definitely do the gardens...yours are stunning!

  60. dreamy and tranquil lovely, loi. those aqua walls are incredibly transportive, aren't they? a conservatory would be an incredible space to enjoy in every season. what a labor of love this project appears to be!



  61. Beautiful home, Loi, but I would have a hard time ever leaving the conservatory. The view is sooo lovely.

  62. Shut up....those curtains hiding the bookshelves/niche was BRILLIANT!!!! The whole place is downright dreamy!

  63. Hi Loi,

    A beautiful, lush green landscape, cool neutral interiors, and earthy textures throughout, this project must be a joy to work on! I am in love with those sweet onion paintings and the salon style display! Looking forward to the next stage!:)


  64. Brilliant move with the the pretty fireplace and mirror shine. Love the breakfast room, too!

  65. Hi thee, I'm a new follower via Design Chic, the ladies told me about you. And, I'm so happy they did. Beautiful post. I am a huge lover of gardens so this just thrilled me. Marsha

  66. Loi, I hope that you had a little time to relax this weekend after your non-stop work schedule. Between the magazine shoot and all of your heard work on this project I think you need a vacation.

    I do not know what happened to my comment her and on your magazine shoot...oh well, no matter.

    Congratulations Loi! I am so excited for your beautiful house and garden to be featured in Southern Living. Veranda and Architectural Digest here you come! Your talent knows no bonds. I am so happy that you started a blog.

    I love the curtains! A wonderful tip for those with those niches they do not like.

    I am looking forward to more of your work Loi. Congratulations again.


  67. You ought to be so proud of yourself Loi! This is just Amazing! What a stunning home. The architectural details are to die for too! Love, love what you've done! Xx

  68. Loi

    Such a beautiful transformation Loi. That Michael Smith fabric on the base of the curtains is one of my alltime favorites. That sofa with those two beautiful oils above is so ethereal. And that property...WOW!!!

  69. So much prettiness and lovely colors! Thank you for sharing.

  70. Loi, the house is beautiful! The panels on either side of the fireplace are brilliant and super clever! I adore onions and had no idea we had onion farms here in CT, the onion painting grouping is wonderful :)

  71. Loi, I really like the paintings over the sofa and their frames and that gorgeous blue patterned lamp. It's all very soothing.


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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi