Carrie Bradshaw inspired a generation of young women living in New York to find their voices, but for a young Manhattan couple, her influence ran a little deeper. After catching a glimpse of the fictional writer’s entry hall in the film Sex and the City 2, the would-be homeowners left the theater with consuming crushes, not on the debonair Mr. Big, but on the glamorous design aesthetic and the interior designers responsible for it. The space’s expert pairing of French Deco and vintage antiques against the backdrop of Katie Ridder’s patterned Oiseau wallpaper was exactly the mix of old and fresh they had in mind for their new house in Greenwich, Connecticut.
They placed a call to the film’s set decorator, Lydia Marks, and her design partner, Lisa Frantz, who first gained fame thanks to their design work on The Strand Hotel’s rooftop bar. Although they were happy to recreate the vision that they had so loved while working on the movie, the women were careful to ensure that their approach for this home would capture their new clients’ characters and lifestyles. “Rooms need to be infused with the personality of the clients, not just a signature look of the designers,” says Marks. “An eclectic mix of vintage and new furniture, lighting, luxurious fabrics, unexpected accessories and interesting combinations enables us to give each client more than just a well-designed home.”
Although the 1920s stone-and-stucco Tudor home—which the couple had chosen for their transition from city to country living—was newly renovated, the residence still had its challenges: separate family and living rooms; small dark rooms; a bland and asymmetrical formal dining room; and no casual eating area in the kitchen. “The house was originally five bedrooms, and the couple loved that because they host friends and family from out of town on a regular basis. Our first order of business was to open up the house, give it more of an open plan and provide it with a nicer flow,” says Frantz.
But it was the renovation of the home’s too-small master closet that would have made Carrie Bradshaw proud. “We were able to talk them into going down to three additional bedrooms and sacrificing the fourth in favor of a fabulous walk-in closet,” explains Frantz, “complete with a very special dressing room with crystal chandeliers and white silk carpeting.”
The young couple looked to the designers to provide unusual color combinations and an interesting mix of materials with modern and vintage furnishings to complement and enhance the house’s traditional bones. “Our starting point was to give each room a distinct color palette; then, we worked backward and edited ourselves down to create some harmony,” says Frantz. Neutral walls in Benjamin Moore’s Pale Oak provide a backdrop for brightly hued finishes that range from geometric navy and white rugs and jewel tones for the living areas to lavenders and deep purples for the dining room.
Because the homeowners were keeping their apartment in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, the designers had to start from scratch, purchasing everything from furniture and art to dishes and linens. “Their apartment is very crisp and modern—lots of white, pops of a single color, very contemporary,” says Marks. “They wanted their new home to be designed with a completely different aesthetic, with more variety in the palette, more classic pieces of furniture with textured and patterned fabrics, and more layers.”
As the project approached the halfway mark, the plot thickened when the couple became pregnant with their first child. “That was very exciting because we got to completely switch gears. One of the guest bedrooms became a beautiful nursery with pashmina shag carpeting from The Rug Company installed as broadloom and an Italian hem-stitched linen crib canopy, as well as a long, trailing crib skirt,” Frantz says, smiling at the happily-ever-after perfectly suitable for the big screen.