Katie Ridder: A Well-Designed Life

katie-ridder-nyc-apt-design
katie-ridder-family-room-design
The living room of this NYC apartment features a triptych by artist James Nares, a custom Lucite coffee table by La Forge de Style and a chandelier from Craig Van Den Brulle. The Anthony Lawrence Home slipper chairs are upholstered in C&C Milano’s Istanbul fabric in Copper, and the giltwood side chair is from Christie’s.

Katie Ridder is a tour de force in the world of design. Her projects have recently captured the covers of Architectural Digest and House Beautiful among others, and she has authored two books by Vendome Press. Her first, Rooms (2011), is a monograph of her work, and the second, A House in the Country (2016), was co-written with her husband, 2017 AD100 classical architect Peter Pennoyer, and chronicles their collaboration on the family’s country house and garden in Millbrook, NY. Ridder has a bustling design office with eight employees on Madison Avenue and clients from Switzerland to Virginia. And she has expanded her reach with a wallpaper and fabric line, available to the trade at Holland & Sherry showrooms throughout the country and in Europe. Ridder is also an accomplished, passionate gardener, but what sets her apart is her openness and willingness to let everybody in. In fact, she has made her Millbrook property available for public tours as part of The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program and was equally welcoming to Serendipity during our cover shoot at her Westchester residence, where we talked to the designer about color, inspiration and what she has planned next.

Stephanie Horton: One of the most striking aspects of your work is the extraordinary palette. What are your favorite color combinations?
Katie Ridder: One of my very favorites is Indian pink with denim blue and touches of yellow. It’s funny, most people’s favorite color is blue so I combine that with complementary hues on the opposite side of the color wheel. But there’s really not a color I don’t like. I like greens with purples and magentas. Those are such great colors to work with, too.

SH: Tell me about the background for this NYC Carnegie Hill project.
KR: In this project, the apartment faced North, so we wanted to warm up the rooms. We chose a lot of golden yellows, reds and warm tones to achieve this. It’s the main residence for a young family with two children. Both parents work and the kids are in school all day, so they’re mostly home at night. We strongly considered how the apartment would look in the evening and used bold primary colors.

katie-ridder-hallway
The entry hall is highlighted by a Shyam Ahuja rug and a Zurich lantern from Vaughan. The view to the living room beyond shows an armoire from T.C. Donobedian’s Paris Flea.

SH: Do you have to encourage your clients to be bold and take risks?
KR: Yes, I do. Sometimes I’ll propose a scheme and a client will say, “I’m not sure,” so I’ll take a step back and tone it down to their comfort zone. If there’s something I feel is extremely important to the project, then I’ll fight for it, but I’m very collaborative and open. I always listen to what my clients want. I was, however, recently fired from a colorless project! The client wanted all white everything (carpet, walls, furniture). I tried to bring in some blue just for the dining chair seats. But no, she didn’t go for it.

SH: You previously owned a Turkish imports shop in Manhattan, Katie Ridder Home Furnishings. You were ahead of the curve…
KR: Yes, but I closed it 21 years ago when I had my first child. My shop was all Turkish, Moroccan, Spanish and Egyptian—Iznik tiles, textiles from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, they were so much harder to get back then. But those things don’t really show up in my work anymore. It’s part of my natural evolution as a designer—I’ve been there, done that. That was really fresh and new when I opened my store 27 years ago, but now you see it everywhere.

SH: What’s inspiring you now?
KR: Peter and I went to Stockholm twice in the last year, and it was amazing. I’m gearing more towards Swedish interiors and furniture now. I’m so inspired by the architects and furniture designers Karl Schinkel and Charles Voysey, and I love Svenskt Tenn in Sweden. So my direction is more European with Chinese accents.

katie-ridder-master-nyc
The soothing master bedroom is grounded by a custom Charles H. Beckley bed upholstered in Rogers & Goffigon’s Shaker fabric in Daffodil. The bedding is by Leontine Linens and the stool is from Bunny Williams Home. The Zig Zag bedside lamps are by Christopher Spitzmiller, and curtains are made from Penny Morrison’s Begum fabric in Pink.
ridder_floralwallpaper
Peony fabric in Hydrangea
katie-ridder-nyc-kitchen
Informal kitchen seating includes Style by Annick de Lorme cafe chairs and a banquette upholstered in Holly Hunt’s Cuba leather in Claret. The painting is by Polly Apfelbaum, and Shades from the Midnight Sun in Bronxville, NY, created the custom pendant light.

SH: You grew up in California and there’s a relaxed American feel to your designs—an accessibility that is inviting, practical, family-friendly. How are you able to achieve that, even with the European influences and striking color palettes?
KR: First of all, I have budgets on every single project. I hate the idea that people think I’m so expensive. I’m very aware of pricing fabrics and sourcing practical things. I rarely use silk velvet. I love silk velvet but it’s not durable. I don’t want anything to feel untouchable. Most of my clients have children so nothing can be too precious.

SH: Tell me about your early professional background in the shelter magazine industry. You were first at House & Garden and then House Beautiful. What did you learn there and how did this influence your work?
KR: I had just come from California and it was intimidating because NYC editors were very sophisticated. But I learned so much through the photographers and editors. I did a lot of photoshoots as an assistant, and I worked for architectural editor Martin Filler and Style Director Carolyn Sollis at House & Garden. Just watching the flower arranging and the photographers moving things around, setting up the shot—it made me look at my interiors from the camera’s eye. Afterwards I moved to House Beautiful as a decorating editor and I was producing my own stories. It was an invaluable education.

SH: Arts and crafts have always been a big part of your life. To what extent do you incorporate these into your work?
KR: Jewelry making is my latest obsession. I found some conch shells in Antigua and had them polished, cut and made into the earrings that I’m wearing [in our photo shoot]. Also, I do a lot of stitching. I make my own pillows for my personal interiors. For clients, I’ll have items made from things I find. For example, I was recently in Switzerland installing a project, and I found a beautiful throw that had little animals stitched on it, so I used it to upholster a stool.

SH: How does gardening influence your work?
KR: I think living with scent and flowers is so inspiring. Gardening even influences my color combinations: You get chartreuse with red and black and deep purple. The chartreuse green really highlights everything around it. Flowers are also like art in an interior. In Millbrook, I grow dahlias from July until October, and I have roses and poppies. I always have flowers from my garden come into the house. That’s why I grow them: to bring them inside. I have a really big cutting garden.

SH: Let’s talk about your fabrics and wallpapers. What was your favorite part about creating your textiles? What was the most challenging aspect?
KR: My favorite part was the lack of client approval needed. Although I love working with clients, this was an independent creative endeavor that’s 100% mine. It was exciting because it was exceptionally well received. I have about 15 patterns currently. The hardest thing was figuring out the repeats, because once you design the pattern, you have to get the scale right. You don’t want it to look dotty or busy or jarring. It can’t be too small or too big.

SH: I understand there are some new designs that are about to debut. Tell me about them.
KR: Yes, I have two more wallpapers coming out soon. One is for a Los Angeles project of mine. It’s called Mindy’s Stripe. It’s a metallic stripe with subtle color variations. There will be a few colorways. It’s my first time doing a metallic. The other wallpaper is called Menagerie and has camels, goats, donkeys, toucans and trees. It will be a one-screen design, so a single color printed on the paper. For example, a pale blue paper with chocolate brown print. These will be the first wallpapers I’ve released since Scraffito and Turtle Bay, which were done two or three years ago. Turtle Bay is my all-time favorite.

SH: What’s it like being married to an esteemed architect?
KR: I love working with Peter!  We have a project together right now in Bridgehampton, and I really enjoy collaborating with Peter’s office. They think like decorators. You know, they think about the curtain stack and the furniture plan and if there’s a wall for a sofa. They consider lighting and outlet placement. Our styles are very different but we are great collaborators. We had three projects together last year.

SH: What’s up next for you?
KR: I kind of want to design jewelry. I found a black coral branch in Europe over Christmas that looks like a serpent and I want to have it made into a bracelet. I’m making pendants from coral I bought in Italy, and I found an old pin in Prague that I’m going to bejewel. It’s just something I love doing for myself, but people have started to ask me about buying it. It might become a separate creative endeavor. I would also love to have my own line of furniture at some point, but there’s only so much time in a day right now! My youngest daughter is still at home and we have squash tournaments every weekend. But I’m always thinking about what I can create next.

Get Katie’s recipe for her favorite Myer Lemon Marmalade here!

See what 10 Things Katie can’t live without here.

Interior photographs by Eric Piasecki.

Must-See Broadway: The Price, Glass Menagerie, Little Foxes and Hello, Dolly!

playbill

While Hamilton may have ruled Broadway for the past year and a half, there are several other great new shows opening this spring with major star power: In March, Arthur Miller’s The Price opens with Mark Ruffalo and Tony Shalhoub, and Sally Field will star in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. In April, Amelie is coming to the Walter Kerr theatre with Hamilton sensation Phillipa Soo; The Little Foxes opens with Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon; and Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce will headline a revival of the blockbuster musical Hello, Dolly!
playbill.com, broadway.com

Skin Trend to Try: Complexion-Boosting Facial Oils

The latest crop of botanical elixirs is designed to deliver even more benefits for your skin. Here’s how to tap into the next level of radiance.

There was a time when taking care of your skin meant putting on a serum and a moisturizer—and that’s as complicated as it got. Then face oils exploded into the skincare market, creating an entirely new category of complexion boosters. Now there is a plethora of options at the ready, says Patricia Ceballos, M.D., a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New Rochelle, NY. Often derived from plant-based ingredients, these elixirs are packed with high levels of antioxidants and essential nutrients to deliver major beauty benefits—from sealing in extra hydration to fending off breakouts. But not all face oils are created equal, points out Rhea Souhleris Grous, founder of La Suite spa in Greenwich, CT, and a former head esthetician at Bliss Spa in NYC. Here, the experts weigh in on how to pick the best oil for your skin’s needs—plus, one bonus find that works wonders on your hair, too.

Find Your Match
If your skin is…

1. Dull Look for supercharged Abyssinian seed oil to help eliminate dry patches and illuminate lackluster skin. Find it in: MyBody Glowbiotics Probiotic
HydraGlow Cream Oil, $59, GLOSquad spa, Greenwich, 203-340-0790, or glosquad.com

Oils-Glowbiotics2. Oily or Acne-Prone “Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties and kills the bacteria responsible for blemishes. It also seems to regulate the skin’s oil
production, another benefit for those with acne,” says Dr. Ceballos.
Find it in: Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil, $80, sephora.com

Oils-Sunday-Riley3. Mature Raspberry seed oil helps to plump your skin’s appearance, softening the look of fine lines. It also blocks UV rays during the day, says Dr. Ceballos.
Find it in: Aromatherapy Associates Anti-Aging Fine Line Face Oil, $87, The Greenwich Medical Skincare and Laser Spa, Greenwich, 203-637-0662

Oils-Aromatherapy4. Dry “Argan oil is one of the most popular oils and it’s especially helpful for dry skin due to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, polyphenols, and carotene,” says Dr. Ceballos. “And it is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores.”
Find it in: Decléor Aromessence Marjolaine Nourishing Serum Oil, $73, La Suite,
203-861-7338

Oils-Decleor5. Sensitive “Avocado oil, with its high content of B vitamins and vitamins A and C, is very nourishing,” says Dr. Ceballos.
Find it in: Peet Rivko Balancing Face Oil, $56, peetrivko.com

Oil-Peet-Rivko6. Multi-Tasking Hero! With its blend of tsubaki and grape seed oils, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil adds shine and hydrates rough spots: try misting a thin layer on your face and massaging it in for an instant glow, or working it through hair for instant sheen.
$28, The Red Door Spa, The Westchester, White Plains, NY, 914-840-8880

Oils-ElizabethArden

Excellence in Education in Stamford

Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF), along with 250 guests, honored community leaders and business for their commitment to Stamford education. SPEF CEO Matthew Quinones, Mayor David Martin, Senator Carlo Leone, and Superintendent Earl Kim presented the awards. The evening began with a networking and cocktail reception featuring a silent auction and beer and wine tastings courtesy of Two Roads Brewing Company and Domaine Bousquet Winery. This year’s Excellence in Education Awards raised funds that will benefit the students and families of the Stamford public school system.

Photographs by Cheryl Moss

 

A Better Brunch: 9 Fail-Proof Dishes & Drinks

“I love this frittata because it has my favorite spring vegetable: asparagus. They’re in season only for a little while,” says Peña. “The feta adds a salty bite and the arugula on top freshens up the whole dish.”

These easy weekend recipes from some of the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival’s most celebrated chefs will have you cooking like a pro.

Brunch_EggPizza
“The farm egg flat bread was inspired by the beautiful eggs we raise at the Back 40 Farm in Washington, CT,” says Laslo. “It is essentially the pizza version of a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, which is why it is perfect for brunch.”

Geoff Lazlo
Mill Street Bar & Table
Greenwich, CT, millstreetct.com

EGG PIZZA
Makes 1 flat bread

½ cup grated mozzarella
2 large farm eggs
5-7 thin slices of cured ham
(Laslo uses Benton’s ham from Tennessee. It is cured in a similar style to prosciutto, for 18 months)
Aleppo pepper
Parsley

For the dough:
4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup wheat flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of fresh yeast
1 cup water

1. Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and attach the dough hook. Slowly add the water on slow speed. The dough should come together and create a ball at the bottom of the bowl.  The dough should mix for at least 10 minutes, but it is best if it rests over night, and is even better after 2 to 3 days.
2. In the restaurant we use less water because we use a house sourdough starter. If you have a sourdough starter incorporate it first and add water by eye until the appropriate consistency is reached.
3. After the dough has rested over night portion it into 5 equally sized balls. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin in a football shaped oval. Liberally spread grated mozzarella cheese leaving a ½-inch space at the edge for the crust. Bake the flatbread at 500°F on a pizza stone if you have one.
4. Once the cheese is melted, drop two eggs (pre-cracked in tiny bowls) on the flatbread, close the oven and bake until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.
5. After the flatbread is cooked drape slices of ham on it and garnish
with a pinch of sea salt, a pinch of aleppo pepper and chopped parsley. (Chef’s tip: This flatbread is perfect as an appetizer for eight or a personal pizza for one. Make sure to cut the yolk first and dip your flatbread in it before each bite!)

“This cocktail was created to marry a classic drink with our really cool organic Nitro Cold Brew from RISE,” says Lazlo.
“This cocktail was created to marry a classic drink with our really cool organic Nitro Cold Brew from RISE,” says Lazlo.

COLD BREW NEGRONI
Serves 1

3 tablespoons organic cold
brewed coffee
2 tablespoons Campari
2 tablespoons Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth

1. Stir with ice cubes until cold and strain into a glass.
2. Add one large ice cube and garnish with an orange peel or coffee beans.

“We always get excited and love working with wild rhubarb as it marks the first of many spring ingredients to come from the garden,” says Kalandranis.
“We always get excited and love working with wild rhubarb as it marks the first of many spring ingredients to come from the garden,” says Kalandranis.

Constantine Kalandranis
273 Kitchen
Harrison, NY, 273kitchen.com

CONNECTICUT BLYE POINT OYSTERS WITH WILD RHUBARB MIGNONETTE
Serves 5-6

For the Mignonette:
(Enough for 36 shucked oysters)

2 cups horseradish
1 cup rhubarb, pulsed in food processor
1 cup sherry vinegar
2 limes, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
Cracked black pepper to taste
1 cup red onions, minced
1 cup scallions, minced
2 tablespoons sumac

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let soften for 1 hour.  Season with salt to taste.
2. Shuck oysters (about six per person)
and put enough mignonette on to balance with the brine of the oyster of choice.
3. Serve with lemon wedges.

“This is great for a springtime brunch because you can load it up with veggies and herbs,” says Pham. “The balance of heavy and light is the epitome of Vietnamese cuisine.” 
“This is great for a springtime brunch because you can load it up with veggies and herbs,” says Pham. “The balance of heavy and light is the epitome of Vietnamese cuisine.”

Tony Pham
Mecha Noodle Bar
South Norwalk, Fairfield and New Haven, CT, mechanoodlebar.com

VIETNAMESE PORK AND SHRIMO OMELETTE
Serves 1

5 eggs
4 ounces (½ cup) ground pork
2 ounces (¼ cup) rehydrated wood ear mushrooms (or any kind)
2 ounces (¼ cup) vermicelli noodles
8-12 shrimp, peeled, divined and chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Black pepper to taste
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 shallots, one chopped, one sliced for garnish
Herbs to taste (cilantro, mint)
White rice (¼ cup per person)
Nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce)

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl except for the herbs, rice and nuoc cham.
2. Mix well until ingredients are blended evenly.
3. Add to a sauté pan over medium heat and cover.
4. Once you get color and texture on the bottom, turn off the heat and flip.
5. Serve with white rice, nuoc cham and herbs.

“We’re obsessed with falafel waffles for brunch,” says Selden. “They have tons of flavor and lots of color. Your guests will thank you!”
“We’re obsessed with falafel waffles for brunch,” says Selden. “They have tons of flavor and lots of color. Your guests will thank you!”

Robin Selden
Marcia Selden Catering
Stamford, CT, marciaselden.com

FALAFEL WAFFLE WITH ISRAELI SALAD
Serves 4

1 16-ounce box of Falafel Mix (Selden likes Casbah Falafel Mix)
8 pita chips
2 cups lettuce, shredded

FOR THE ISRAELI SALAD:
6 cucumbers, diced
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
5 green onions, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
⅓ cup garlic, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup fresh mint leaves, minced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

FOR THE TAHINI SAUCE:
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoons homemade or store-bought hummus
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup water

1. For the tahini sauce, combine everything in a blender until smooth and slowly pour in water until you have a consistency that is thin enough to drizzle on a plate, (but not too thin).
2. To make the Israeli salad, toss the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, garlic, parsley and mint together in a bowl. Drizzle on olive oil and lemon juice and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Make the falafel mixture according to package instructions. Fill a hot waffle maker and cook until it is crispy enough to be taken out of the waffle iron, about 4 minutes. Put aside to cool. Cut each waffle into 4 pieces.
4. Put two pieces of waffle on each plate, along with a scoop of Israeli salad and lettuce. Drizzle tahini sauce all over and serve with two pita chips.

“Whenever I make French toast, I always want to use a buttery bread; season the batter and don’t rush the process,” says Carrion. “What takes this dish from ordinary to extraordinary is the addition of Kahlua and bourbon in the batter. It’s the perfect meal for those who love rich and decadent dishes.”
“Whenever I make French toast,I always want to use a buttery bread; season the batter and don’t rush the process,” says Carrion. “What takes this dish from ordinary to extraordinary is the addition
of Kahlua and bourbon in the batter. It’s the perfect meal for those who love rich and decadent dishes.”

Carl Carrion
Cask Republic
Stamford, South Norwalk, New Haven, CT, caskrepublic.com

VANILLA BOURBON FRENCH TOAST
Serves 2

4 slices brioche bread
12 whole eggs
½ cup confectioner sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup Kahlua
2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoon bourbon

1. To make the batter, combine all ingredients except the bread in a bowl and whisk.
2. Take four slices of brioche bread and dip both sides in the batter. Add to a hot pan with 1 teaspoon of butter. Grill on both sides for a few minutes and serve. Top with fresh cream and maple syrup.

“Setting up a Bloody Mary bar for brunch, like we do each weekend at The National, is the ultimate in crowd pleasing,” says Peña. “You can choose what you want and how much of it you want. It doesn’t get much more custom than that!”
“Setting up a Bloody Mary bar for brunch, like we do each weekend at The National, is the ultimate in crowd pleasing,” says Peña. “You can choose what you want and how much of it you want. It doesn’t get much more custom than that!”

Gregori Peña
The National
Greenwich, CT, thenational-ct.com

THE NATIONAL BLOODY MARY BAR
Lime and Lemon wedges
Castelvetrano olives
Celery sticks
Pickled carrots, beets, tomatoes and radishes
Curry and cumin pickled cauliflower
Skewers of crispy, thick-cut bacon
Cornichons
Hot sauce of your choice (Pena likes Tabasco)
Ketchup
Lime juice and sesame seeds (For the rim of the glass)
Vodka of your choice

House-Made Bloody Mary Mix
Serves 6-8

3 ¾ cups tomato juice
½ cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons coarse grain mustard
4 tablespoons ground black pepper
4 tablespoons kosher salt
8 tablespoons horseradish
4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

1. Combine ingredients (amounts can be adjusted based on preference) in a pitcher and let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Stir well before pouring. Add vodka to taste and serve over ice in a highball glass.
3. Garnish as desired.

“I love this frittata because it has my favorite spring vegetable: asparagus. They’re in season only for a little while,” says Peña. “The feta adds a salty bite and the arugula on top freshens up the whole dish.”
“I love this frittata because it has my favorite spring vegetable: asparagus. They’re in season only for a little while,” says Peña. “The feta adds a salty bite and the arugula on top freshens up the whole dish.”

FRITTATA WITH ASPARAGUS, BLISTERED TOMATOES & FETA CHEESE 
Serves 6

½ stick butter, cold
1 bunch asparagus, blanched and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 eggs, scrambled
20 cherry tomatoes, oven roasted
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
6 sprigs parsley, chopped
¼ cup arugula leaves
Fleur de sel
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
6 pieces country bread, toasted and rubbed with garlic and olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a 12-inch nonstick oven-safe pan, combine the asparagus, eggs, butter and cherry tomatoes. Stir with a spatula over medium high heat until the egg whites start to cook. Once half cooked, season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
2. Stir in the parsley and top with the crumbled feta cheese. Finish in the oven until top is golden and center is set, about 5 to 10 minutes. Serve in the pan or on a plate, drizzled with olive oil and topped with arugula.
3. Serve with grilled country toast.

“I am a big fan of the classic spinach and strawberry salad that we serve in late spring through summer at The Cottage,” says Lewis.
“I am a big fan of the classic spinach and strawberry salad that we serve in late
spring through summer at The Cottage,” says Lewis.

Brian Lewis
The Cottage
Westport, CT, thecottagewestport.com

SPINACH AND STRAWBERRY SALAD WITH ICE WINE VINAIGRETTE AND GOAT CHEESE MOUSSE
Serves 8

FOR THE SALAD
3 quarts baby spinach (Lewis uses Hollbrook Farms), washed and dried
1 cup assorted edible flowers (nasturtium, marigolds, garlic blossoms)
20 strawberries (Lewis uses Hollbrook Farms), hulled and sliced ½-inch thick lengthwise
½ cup riesling wine
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fennel pollen
Maldon salt to taste

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
6 shallots, finely diced
1 cup ice wine vinegar (Lewis likes Minus 8)
½ cup almond oil (Lewis likes Le Blanc)
Salt and black pepper to taste

FOR THE MOUSSE
1 cup soft chevre-style goat cheese
¼ cup milk
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. To make the vinaigrette, place the sliced strawberries in a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil and riesling, and season with salt, pepper and fennel pollen.
2. Transfer to a sealable bag and refrigerate. Allow to marinate for up to 24 hours.
3. Remove strawberries from the bag and set aside, straining the juices.
4. Place the diced shallots in a small mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper, cover with the ice wine vinegar and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
5. Pour the almond oil over the mixture to cover it, and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let sit at room temperature for one hour before serving.
6. For the mousse, place the goat cheese, milk, olive oil and salt in the bowl of a food processor and blend quickly until smooth.
7. Refrigerate up to 3 days.
8. To assemble the salad, place a large spoonful of the goat cheese mousse in the center of each plate and put a dollop of the goat cheese over the center of each plate.
9. Arrange the strawberries around the plate in a random pattern.
10. Top the strawberries with the spinach and drizzle a few spoonfuls of the ice wine vinaigrette over the spinach.
11. Sprinkle with maldon salt, fennel pollen and lots of flowers.

 

Fire Pits: The Perfect Outdoor Addition for Spring

Firepits

Fire Pits are a great way to spend time outside even if the weather is a bit chilly. Here are a few options that work with every space.

READY TO GO Choose a kit customized with veneer of Connecticut split fieldstone, Connecticut Stone, starting at $750, connecticutstone.com

READY TO GO
Choose a kit customized with veneer of Connecticut split fieldstone, Connecticut Stone, starting at $750, connecticutstone.com

ON THE GO The popular, portable Landman USA Fire Pit on Wheels also functions as a grill and is equipped with grates for wood and cooking, The Greatest Blaze & Co., $195, greatestblaze.com

ON THE GO
The popular, portable Landman USA Fire Pit on Wheels also functions as a grill and is equipped with grates for wood and cooking, The Greatest Blaze & Co., $195, greatestblaze.com

FirePits_SeventyAcres

FirePits_Modern

A MODERN LOOK
Seventy Acres Landscape Architecture & Design added a contemporary fire element from Restoration Hardware. The Makena square fire table has modern lines, protective glass panels and a pedestal base of lightweight, weather- and heat-resistant concrete in finishes to mimic natural stone. $2,195 for propane, $2,395 for natural gas. restorationhardware.com, seventyacres.com

 

 

FOR SMALL SPACES Good Directions Orion FireDome has a built-in spark screen for safety and hand-crafted steel basin to withstand the elements, $474, ringsend.com

FOR SMALL SPACES
Good Directions Orion FireDome has a built-in spark screen for safety and hand-crafted steel basin to withstand the elements, $474, ringsend.com

FirepitsCUSTOM DESIGN
A tailor-made firepit can meet your personlized needs, like this one designed by Hoffman Landscapes, price upon request, hoffmanlandscapes.com

Flats and Bags for Every Spring Outfit

Bags-Shoes

Flats_Atwood

B Brian Atwood
Skylar lace-up point toe flats, $130, Lord & Taylor, Stamford, CT
lordandtaylor.com 

Mini_StellaMcCartneyBag

Stella McCartney
Tan wicker falabella shoulder bag, $1,140, Neiman Marcus, White Plains, NY
neimanmarcus.com

Flats_JCrew_CroppedJ.Crew
Gingham two-piece foster ballet, $138, jcrew.com

Mini_Valentine_CroppedFrances Valentine
Small Ellen, $345, francesvalentine.com

Flats_ZaraCroppedZara
Velvet ballet flats, $69.90, Stamford, CT, zara.com

Mini_ElizabethJames

Elizabeth and James
Eloise field bag, $375, Walin and Wolff, New Canaan, CT, walinandwolff.com

Flats_WeitzmanCroppedStuart Weitzman
Supersonic naked suede, $398, Greenwich, CT, stuartweitzman.com

Mini_CoachBag

Coach
Western rivets foldover crossbody, $325, coach.com

Flats_FurlaCroppedFurla
Bouganville ballerinas, $325, furla.com

Try Them: Full Service Area Design Shops

Shops

In New Canaan, DesignDot Marketplace Design (thedesigndot.com)—within the Summer House Boutique (thesummerhousect.com)—now offers a full-service design studio where you can create plans, choose from a variety of textiles in person, and find antiques from around the world. They even have local and New York City-based designers onsite every week to offer advice by appointment. Another new home gem: The Shop (stemsandco.com), by Stems + Co., in Rowayton. They offer chic lifestyle items and home goods (think: jewelry, women’s and children’s clothing, curated antiques, coffee table books and gifts) as well as breathtaking floral designs.

Celebrate National Beer Day April 7!

Toast the occasion by booking a private tour of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford, NY, for you and some close friends. Learn what it takes to make a batch from start to finish (complete with samples, of course!). End the day with a reservation in the tasting room so you can sample a few of the more than 70 beers the brewery creates. Starting at $200 per guest, 444 Saw Mill River Road, Elmsford, NY, captainlawrencebrewing.com

Michael Trapp – Inside the Antiques Expert and Garden Design Pro’s Home

Trapp_Garden

Antiques dealer and garden designer Michael Trapp gives us a tour of his breathtaking West Cornwall, CT, property and explains how it and his business came to be.

A garden pathway is shaded by pink wisteria and planted with alliums and camassia.
A garden pathway is shaded by pink wisteria and planted with alliums and camassia.

“In 1990 there was nothing here, only fields and open space,”says Michael Trapp about his West Cornwall, CT property. Now, 26 years later, it is a series of intimate garden spaces and detailed interior rooms that appear to have existed for centuries. “It’s all a grand illusion,” he explains dramatically. Trapp is a master at using antique materials and ancient furnishings to conjure a different place and time.

A corner of Trapp’s garden has boxwood hedges and a 19th century Neoclassical stone urn on a French limestone base.
A corner of Trapp’s garden has boxwood hedges and a 19th century Neoclassical stone urn on a French limestone base.

He started his career as a dealer in antiques and architectural fragments, but also runs a
successful interior and garden design business, taking on many projects a year. He specializes in the unusual and unexpected, and has established a reputation for original, timeless work.

A small library sits opposite the pool at Trapp’s West Cornwall property.
A small library sits opposite the pool at Trapp’s West Cornwall property.

Like most antiques dealers, Trapp finds himself with far more merchandise than he can use in his own projects and shop, but he buys extra inventory. He travels the globe frequently and sends several containers home each year. “If you don’t buy it when you see it, you’ll never see it again,” he quips. “You can’t sell from an empty cart.” Not a worry there it seems, as Trapp recently purchased another property in Sharon, CT, primarily because it had a barn he desperately needed for storage. “Aladdin’s cave is bulging at the seams,” he admits. Fortunately, Trapp has a brick-and-mortar shop at his West Cornwall property (open weekends  or by appointment from March until December) as well as an online store where he sells some of his finds, such as antique textiles, garden objects and furniture. Recently, we visited with Trapp to find out how he has achieved so much.

The back terrace includes a stone table made from antique flooring and French chairs. Potted plants surround the perimeter.
The back terrace includes a stone table made from antique flooring and French chairs. Potted plants surround the perimeter.

Please tell us about your background. How did you get started in the business?
My family lived in France when I was little. My mother was a gardener and it was easier for her to take me along to auctions than to get a babysitter. Those are some of my earliest memories. When I was a bit older, we moved back to Ohio and I got involved with the flea markets. People said my things were so good I should take them out East, so I came to New England.

Trapp’s kitchen contains an 18th-century Venetian terracotta statue from a Medici villa, as well as a giant clamshell and hanging skulls.
Trapp’s kitchen contains an 18th-century Venetian terracotta statue from a Medici villa, as well as a giant clamshell and hanging skulls.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
My style is classical with a twist. Most everything I live with and sell is a one-of-a-kind, but that’s not a requirement. 

The allium garden is a highlight of the property.
The allium garden is a highlight of the property.

What inspires you and your work?
Travel and the experiences associated with it are my primary inspirations. My favorite destinations are Europe and Asia. I have visited Indonesia every year for the past 12 years, and I buy all over Southeast Asia. But I’ve never been to Sri Lanka—it’s my bucket list destination.

Trapp_Parlor

Your shop has a cabinet-of-curiosities feel. Give us some examples of the types of items you sell.
I have lots of ancient textiles like tapestries, tribal carpets from Iran, indigo and cotton ikats, ceremonial sarongs from Sumatra and Buddhist monk robes from Burma. I also specialize in garden objects like stone urns, French and Italian terra-cotta pots, iron and stone tables and metal basins from Spain. I sell natural history items such as giant clams, butterflies, fossils and bones, and unusual furniture like Indonesian teak and Swedish chests.

Pink tree peonies
Pink tree peonies

How are interior design and landscape design similar for you? Which do you prefer?
Both are all about balance, proportion and texture. I enjoy both as long as it is interesting work, but I end up doing more landscape design because it is easier to manage. Interiors are extremely detailed and time consuming, so I take only a few interior design jobs per year.

The apartment above the shop contains 19th-century Italian sofas in their original red velvet, an Oushak carpet and a collection of Mexican water jars. Trapp hung the walls and ceilings with 18th-century Imperial Chinese silk and mixed ash with paint to achieve the look of antique paneling.
The apartment above the shop contains 19th-century Italian sofas in their original red velvet, an Oushak carpet and a collection of Mexican water jars. Trapp hung the walls and ceilings with 18th-century Imperial Chinese silk and mixed ash with paint to achieve the look of antique paneling.

Tell us about some of your favorite projects over the years and what you’re working on now.
I really enjoyed an old estate on Shelter Island for wonderful clients, as well as a historic property on the Hudson. Right now I’m in the middle of designing an apartment and roof garden in Manhattan, a landscape job in Millbrook, NY, and a new construction property involving both interiors and landscape in Warren, CT.

A recent project Trapp completed in Sharon, CT features a gunite pool with a bluestone terrace and a stone-faced poolhouse.
A recent project Trapp completed in Sharon, CT features a gunite pool with a bluestone terrace and a stone-faced poolhouse.

What do you enjoy most about this area of Connecticut?
The absolute beauty makes me feel so privileged to live here.

A vignette from Trapp’s shop includes a Dutch colonial table with an ebonized teak base and marble top, an antique oil-on-canvas panel and silk ikat textiles. The store is located on 7 River Road, West Cornwall, CT. 860-672-6098, michaeltrapp.com
A vignette from Trapp’s shop includes a Dutch colonialtable with an ebonized teak base and marble top, an antiqueoil-on-canvas panel and silk ikat textiles. The store is located on 7 River Road, West Cornwall, CT. 860-672-6098, michaeltrapp.com
Michael Trapp poses with a cross-section of ancient petrified wood from a Buddhist temple.
Michael Trapp poses with a cross-section of ancient petrified wood from a Buddhist temple.

Speed round
Michael Trapp
One word that describes you: Curious
Your top design tip: Trust yourself
What you’d be, if not in the design world: A chef
Your next trip will be: Indonesia
Favorite restaurant in the area: Falls Village Inn
Favorite cocktail: Scotch on the rocks
People would be surprised to know: I was an Eagle Scout
Favorite color: Deep red
Favorite flower: Orange parrot tulip
Your guilty pleasure: Coffee in bed every morning
Your style icon: Diane de Poitiers
A home should be filled with: Love
Favorite item in your home: My cats
Favorite item in your shop: The textiles
Best design book: Robert Kime’s latest [self-titled] book