Designer Miles Redd blends bold color and pattern with the gracefulness of a 1920s Georgian-style house, and the result is nothing short of a theatrical journey.
There’s a graceful 1920s Georgian-style brick house in Greenwich, Connecticut, where the trees are always bursting with summery foliage. Indoors. To walk through the home’s limestone-trimmed front door is to step into a woodland fantasia, punctuated by romantic garden statuary and neoclassical follies. The idyllic panorama spans the walls of the entrance hall and envelops the serpentine main staircase, the verdant canopy soaring up to the second-floor landing and giving new meaning to the phrase “lush life.”
The profusion of greenery, courtesy of a custom-printed wallpaper by Iksel, was installed by designer Miles Redd, never one to shy away from a theatrical flourish. Riffing on a rotating cast of decorating legends, Redd is a master of his own brand of cheeky traditionalism, leavening formality with whimsy to keep things fresh. It’s a big part of why Sam Milner, a former magazine editor, and her husband, financial executive David Flowerdew, hired Redd to oversee the interiors of their family home. “I just fell in love with Miles’s use of pattern and color. He incorporates a lot of traditional elements in his rooms, but they’re also very bold and unexpected,” says Milner, who came up with the idea of pairing the Iksel wallpaper with gray leopard-print carpeting, a gutsy combo that would have made C.Z. Guest proud. “When visitors walk in, they’re wowed. It’s so out of the box and different.”
A mural of an Italian landscape forms a grand Arcadian canopy over the domed stairwell, wrapping it in towering greenery. Custom-printed mural, Iksel Decorative Arts. The leopard-print carpet is by Patterson Flynn Martin.DOUGLAS FRIEDMANADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOWhttps://8f8e2857eb911b4a498446690a1926ef.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Milner and Flowerdew initially acquired the seven- bedroom, 8,600-square-foot house as a weekend retreat from New York City. “My sister lives about two blocks away, and my mom moved to Greenwich from L.A. a year ago,” says Milner. “Then with everything that’s happened with COVID, we decided to make the jump and moved here permanently.”
Though the house was in good condition, Milner and Flowerdew brought in Charles Hilton, a Greenwich-based architect well versed in the art of rejuvenating classic homes, to “make it more functional for a couple with two young boys,” Hilton says. In addition to enlarging the family room and creating a new breakfast area off the kitchen, Hilton reconfigured many of the bedrooms (including adding and updating baths) and carved out a playroom for Digby, who is now three, and his year-old brother Oscar, born a few months after the project was completed.
Redd was involved from the get-go, working in close collaboration with Milner on finishes and furnishings. “Comfort, practicality, and glamour were the main priorities,” says the designer, citing three qualities that aren’t always compatible but mesh stylishly in the home’s mix of 19th-century antiques, custom upholstered pieces, vintage carpets, chinoiserie wallpapers, botanical prints, and exuberant chintzes.
Both Redd and Milner agree that the living room was the space they wrestled with the most, ultimately settling on a scheme with emerald silk walls, lapis-blue taffeta curtains, and a riot of florals on the seating and Persian carpet. There are pops of ruby red on pillows, lampshades, and the original threadbare velvet upholstery on French armchairs once owned by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan. “I love it, because it kind of gives the room a bit of patina,” says Redd.
Pushing the pattern and color adds a playfulness that cuts against the room’s formality, as does, arguably, the thick bullion fringe on the sofas and slipper chair, carefully matched to the ball gown curtains, which are dramatically swagged and edged with an accordion-pleated ruffle. “Who makes curtains like that anymore?” Redd asks rhetorically, describing them as a nod to one of his decorating heroes, John Fowler. The room’s towering bookcases were previously sold by interiors legend Geoffrey Bennison to prominent art collector Eugene Thaw, while the frilly George II mirrors and skirted table are “totally Mario Buatta,” says Redd, adding, “Sam has a real love of ’80s design, as do I.”
Looking ahead to post-pandemic days, Milner says the living room’s jewel tones, “rich and glittering at night,” make it an inviting spot for drinks with friends as well as spending time with family during the holidays. There’s a bar in the adjacent conservatory where Redd made liberal use of pink and green floral chintz and embellished the curved ceiling with trompe l’oeil tent decoration, one of his signatures. “I find when you have an arched ceiling, to stripe it just makes everybody happy,” he says.