English Country Charm Comes To Greenwich

Details

The Long Game in Connecticut

Taking its cues from classic English Country houses, a grand Connecticut estate built and furnished over nearly two decades brims with authenticity.

Medium Color Wooden Arched Entry with Ceramic Touches Hallway

The romantic country homes of architect Sir Edwin Lutyens provided the inspiration for this Connecticut house, where designer Michael Aiduss’ vision for the interiors took a layered approach, mixing English antiques with Continental finds and custom pieces. Dubbed “The Cloister,” a passageway leading to the formal dining room is furnished with a Tai Ping carpet, sconces from Remains Lighting with Fortuny shades and urns from Hamptons Antique Galleries.

Coffered Wooden Walls Entry with Traditional Furniture and Large Fireplace

Standing in the grand two-story entry is a cloche from Balsamo. “At different times during the year, it is filled with flowers,” Aiduss says. The space also functions as a seating area with a wing chair sporting Stark velvet, Houlès nailheads and Samuel & Sons trim; nearby, an ottoman is covered with Rose Cumming silk-velvet and Janet Yonaty trim. Barry H. Perry crafted the mantel, a copy of one by Lutyens, using Portland stone.

Stucco Ceiling Arched Doorway with Traditional Flourishes and Plants

The late Ann Kalla created many of the home’s interior architectural details, including the paneling and molding visible in the entry hall leading to the living room. At its entrance is an early-19th-century mahogany table from Lee Calicchio topped by a column lamp with a Blanche Field shade in a Kravet fabric; the Georgian side chair is from James Curran Antiques & Restoration and features a Donghia silk stripe on the seat.

Traditional Pattern Fabric Blue Living Room with Fuschia Chair and Foreign Influence

“One of my favorite pieces is the Maison Jansen writing table,” Aiduss says of the desk from Greenwich Living Antiques & Design Centre in the living room, where Fabricut silk for the draperies and a silk-and-wool Marc Phillips carpet bring lustrous touches. Beside the desk is a vintage stool and a chair in Quadrille velvet; behind it is one of a pair of 19th-century appliqué panels. A strié Stark fabric covers the armchair.

Purple Traditional Chair Living Room with Detailed Corner Ceiling and Gilded Table

A Venetian glass chandelier, one of Aiduss’ early finds for the house, lights the living room’s seating group composed of a custom sofa, a coffee table from Odegard and a pair of armchairs in a Cowtan & Tout velvet. Another early find, a Hiro Yokose painting, hangs above the mantel, which Aiduss designed in the manner of architect Sir John Soane. Casamance fabric on the slipper chair injects a note of bold color.

Detailed Ceiling Design Dining Room with Ornate Fireplace and Carpet

Rather than placing a single, massive table in the formal dining room, Aiduss designed a pair of tables, and, instead of a single chandelier, he chose a series of cardinal hat pendants by Lutyens Furniture & Lighting that offer illumination. The designer echoed the ceiling detail in the Marc Phillips carpet. Armchairs in a Scalamandré damask, scroll-back side chairs in a Kravet velvet, a custom bench in a Stark velvet and a settee yield flexible, comfortable seating. The cabinet below the mirror is by Rose Tarlow Melrose House, and the console is Dennis & Leen. Beyond the door is a textile panel designed by Gertrude Jekyll.

Grand Central Photograph Dining Room with Small Table and Velvet Chairs

Rather than placing a single, massive table in the formal dining room, Aiduss designed a pair of tables, and, instead of a single chandelier, he chose a series of cardinal hat pendants by Lutyens Furniture & Lighting that offer illumination. The designer echoed the ceiling detail in the Marc Phillips carpet. Armchairs in a Scalamandré damask, scroll-back side chairs in a Kravet velvet, a custom bench in a Stark velvet and a settee yield flexible, comfortable seating. The cabinet below the mirror is by Rose Tarlow Melrose House, and the console is Dennis & Leen. Beyond the door is a textile panel designed by Gertrude Jekyll.

Two Story Massive Library with Low Hanging Light Fixture and Plenty of Seating

For the library, Aiduss made sure there were plenty of comfortable—and cozy—places to read and chose a muted palette inspired by the spines of the books on the shelves. The foulard pattern of the Marc Phillips rug was scaled to match the generous size of the room, and Stark shade fabric and Samuel & Sons trim accent the hanging fixture. Flanking the fireplace are slipper chairs in a Scalamandré fabric, while the hourglass-form side chairs have a Marvic Textiles windowpane check on the backs and a Pollack fabric on the seats.

Floor to Ceiling Windows Corner Bench with Brick and Rugs

In a light-filled library alcove, the designer placed a custom chesterfield sofa in a Rose Tarlow Melrose House fabric, a James Mont stool from Hamptons Antique Galleries II and a vintage smoked-glass-and-bronze coffee table from Lee Calicchio. The grouping rests on a rug from Dualoy Leather.

Tiled Blue Family Room with Iron Chandelier and Traditional Fireplace

Away from the more formal public rooms, the family spaces have a more relaxed, though still very English, feel. Motawi Tileworks tiles in a pattern evocative of Arts and Crafts-era design surround the breakfast room’s two-sided fireplace. The custom dining table, too, is a riff on Arts and Crafts examples and meshes with the rustic feel of the Gregorius Pineo light above; the table rests on a Tai Ping carpet.

Green Traditional English Kitchen with Chevron Tile Backsplash and Seating

Pendants from Remains Lighting illuminate the teak-topped island in the kitchen; facing it are Rose Tarlow Melrose House counter chairs. Lido Stone Works supplied the granite for the other island, while Thomas Cardillo Plastering created the custom hood over the La Cornue stove

Long Walk Pergola Terrace Covering with Old Stone and Plant Growth

Maryanne Connelly of the landscape architecture firm Hollander Design Landscape Architects spearheaded the design of the expansive grounds, which encompass 50 acres, with installation by Michael and Sons Nurseries. Among the many outdoor spaces is a long rustic stone-and-wood arbor planted with vines and low shrubs and paved with gravel.

Real Indian Palace Stone Loggia Outdoor Room with Plush Furniture

The wife, who, along with her husband, acted as the project’s general contractor, painstakingly laid out the loggia’s tile, which came from an Indian palace damaged in an earthquake. Draperies in a Perennials fabric with Holly Hunt trim shelter a Michael Taylor Designs daybed and chair.

Upholstered Headboard Master Bedroom with Whimsical Chandelier and Desk

At night, a circa-1935 hanging Fortuny light fixture from Jean Karajian Collection casts a dreamy glow in the master bedroom. Upholstered in a Lee Jofa damask, the bed rests on a custom Tai Ping carpet with a subtle stripe; it is paired with a chest of drawers from Maya Romanoff bearing a Murano glass lamp. A Jean-Michel Frank-style chair pulls up to an Ann Getty House desk from Michael Taylor Designs.

Shiny Black Master Bathroom with Large Soaking Tub and Decorative Table

Striking materials—a black marble floor, alabaster and mother-of-pearl details, bottle glass and Venetian plaster—define the wife’s bathroom. The stool is from Oly Atelier.

“Someday we’ll have a scavenger hunt,” says Diana Steinman, pointing to the stone facing her Greenwich home. Reclaimed from structures in Chinese villages set to be flooded by the damming of a river, the stones are inscribed with Chinese characters, a harlequin pattern and even a woman’s face and still bear chisel marks made by craftspeople hundreds of years ago.“It gives the house a sense of history,” she adds.

History was just what Diana, and her husband, Steven, was looking for as they began building their home. Inspired by the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens, they aimed to create a residence that evoked stately British manors down to the last brick. Besides the stone for the facade, the couple, who acted as their own general contractors, sourced pavers worn down by centuries of wagon wheels and horse hooves and found tile for the loggia hailing from a palace in India damaged in an earthquake.

The Steinmans were just as methodical and painstaking when it came to the richly layered interiors that evoke English country houses of the 1920s. Working with designer Michael Aiduss, they met together for a full day almost every Thursday “for at least 4 or 5 years,” says Aiduss. “They had the wherewithal to learn about the process and to become part of it and make intelligent decisions.”

— Lisa Bingham Dewart