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About Trudy Dujardin, FASID, Leed AP

Trudy Dujardin is known for her passion for eco-elegance, demonstrated in award-winning interiors that combine sophistication and luxury with sustainable design. Believing that a healthy home is the ultimate luxury, she strives to integrate respect for historical preservation, the surrounding natural landscape, and the highest level of interior design. She received both the 2007 and the 2008 Award of Excellence for Green Design from the Connecticut Chapter of ASID and the 2007 Outstanding Alumna Award from Southern Connecticut University. Trudy has been an instructor at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., teaching the university’s first semester-length class on Sustainable Design. She serves on Traditional Home Magazine’s Green Advisory Panel, has written a column, Gently Green, for Nantucket-based Portfolio Magazine, and is a member of the advisory board of athome Magazine. Her breathtaking interiors have appeared in the most prestigious industry publications, including Architectural Digest, Coastal Living, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, N Magazine, Nantucket Home & Garden, Nantucket Today and Traditional Home. She has been active for many years with the Design Futures Council, the International Board of the Joslyn Castle Institute for Sustainable Communities in Omaha, Neb., and has been a presenter at environmental conferences around the nation, including EnvironDesign 7 in Washington, D.C., and EcoSpheres in Lincoln, Neb. Trudy was involved in the formation of the first Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design and Architecture for the Design Futures Council, an Atlanta-based think tank for design professionals. Trudy has worked in sustainable design since 1987. She is a LEED Accredited Professional, recognizing her thorough understanding of green building practices and principles. From their offices in Westport, Conn. and Nantucket, Mass., Dujardin Design Associates creates interiors nationwide.

Bring Autumn’s Beauty Home

 

Life on Nantucket is a never-ending tapestry of natural beauty. This island is where I find joy in the simple rhythms of the day, as well as much of my design inspiration. Although many people come here for the summer, with the beautiful beaches, warm evenings and the whirl of social life, there is just as much to inspire us when the weather turns colder and the leaves have fallen.

 

My husband, Frank, with G.G. at the Farmers’ Market

 

Come along with me  as I share how I find comfort and beauty as the seasons change!

The first place I go: the island’s Farmers Market, sponsored by Sustainable Nantucket. It had been a long, quiet, and lonely road through the pandemic, so the joy I felt being with the artists, craftspeople and island farmers at the Saturday markets this summer was indescribable. (Luckily, there are a few more days this year to gather: for the Downtown Holiday Market on November 25 and 26, and then the Farmers and Artisans Market during Christmas Stroll on December 2 and 3. )

 

The colors of autumn!

 

Here’s what I love: the way original artwork and crafts combine with fresh food and locally-grown produce to bring people together! That combination also brings fresh ideas, and a new way of seeing. Fall changes the slant of morning sunlight, and breathes its frosty breath on the last of the autumn roses. I rush home from the Farmers Market with an arm full of bright red and orange tomatoes, eager to lay a fire and light candles.

 

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t, they should, for their feet are dusted with the spices from a million flowers.”–Ray Bradbury

 

It’s time to say goodbye to the bees until spring, but the market offers a final glimpse of a busy hive. Nantucket is home to many island beekeepers, with Sustainable Nantucket offering a beekeeping mentoring program for novices. I love bees, birds, and butterflies, and have long forbidden the use of pesticides and fungicides on my lawn and garden. A connection with nature is vital to our health.

Watching the busy little gold and brown insects gives me other ideas for autumn-warmed rooms. Inspiration can come in the tiniest of ways!

 

 

The local artists and craftspeople find natural beauty to inspire them, too.  Nantucket’s unique whaling history and the salty ocean waves that surround the island bring internationally famous artists to our shores as well.

 

From the mid 1700s to the late 1830s, Nantucket was the whaling capital of the world.

 

In the waters surrounding Nantucket, you can find Humpback whales, Finback whales, Minke whales, Pilot whales, and the endangered Right whales.

 

Fresh Flowers!

 

I believe in  bringing the patterns and textures of nature inside. As a sustainable LEED-accredited Professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction (LEED AP + ID + C),  I love fresh flowers, nature-based artwork, and natural fabrics.

Each of us will look at the jewel-tones of autumn and find a unique way to bring the outdoors in. “The question is not what you look at,” said Henry David Thoreau, “but what you see.”

I agree!

 

The painting, “Finches–Right Eye,” is by the American Neo-Expressionist painter Hunt Slonem.

 

You can nestle right in to sumptuous hues such as persimmon, spice, pumpkin, sage, and olive in fall. Dujardin’s Senior Designer Price Connors and I used those rich colors in our design work at the historic Thomas Starbuck House, brought to Nantucket’s Milk Street by barge in 1790.

 

The dining room retains its original cooking fireplace with two ovens, considered one of the finest examples of its kind in New England.

 

Warmer hues were  perfect for this historic home, built when earthy colors such as stone, ocher, red, pumpkin and sage were widely in use.

Poet A.D. Posey said, ” Life is a sea of vibrant color. Jump in.”

Why not?

 

The paneled wall surrounding the fireplace is painted with a Farrow & Ball paint that reflects the traditional colors of the period.

 

You’ll want to place a soft blanket where you sip your morning coffee, with a throw pillow that brings a touch of nature indoors . Little details are not little at all.

On the contrary, as the painter N.C. Wyeth said, “To elevate the little into the great is genius.”

 

A contemporary version of a Hepplewhite sofa is a graceful addition to the parlor.

 

The last fall touch takes place in the kitchen with a pot of soup simmering on the stove,  Helen Keller told us that “scent is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”

Do you have a favorite recipe from your grandmother? If not, I’ll share mine!

 

 

My favorite Butternut Squash Soup recipe is actually one of Ina Garten’s.

 

Old school green bean casserole

 

And since I’m originally from South Carolina,  side dishes from Southern Living really resonate with me! My favorite is the Old School Green Bean Casserole, made with canned fried onion rings. My mother made it even simpler with Campbells’ Cream of Mushroom Soup. Here’s the recipe! 

 

 

My other favorite is the Sweet Potato Casserole--we always had it with marshmallows!

 

 

And Price loves the Corn Pudding, and makes it every Thanksgiving!

 

 

Wherever you find yourself this fall, remember that your life is enriched when you attend to the small details and the little moments. I wish you all the comforts of home as you celebrate the season.

Watch for my new blogs once a month, and Instagram (@dujardin_design) and Facebook (@DujardinDesign) posts on Thursdays. Once a season I send a newsy email letter to you, too! Be sure to subscribe to get all the best design advice and beautiful inspiration through photos of our projects. I want all of us to live in happy, well-designed, healthy homes!

 

Put Your Dreams on Paper

There’s a magic touch that can take your rooms from plain to pretty: wallpaper!

Wallpaper has gone in and out of style over the years, but it’s definitely having a new moment in 2022–and for good reason! There’s nothing that provides the impact that beautifully made wallpapers can. Wallpaper can also be invaluable in working with both the architectural beauty and challenges of a space. I’ve always loved beautiful wallpapers and have used them in many different styles of homes.

 

This penthouse in New York was done with a silk string wallpaper. Photographer: Durstan Saylor

One of my favorite spaces to use wallpaper is the foyer. Your entryway sets the tone for the rest of the house, and defines your “sense of place.” If people tell me they can only afford to design one room–which room should it be? I say, let’s start at the beginning, and make a fabulous foyer!

 

This intimate boutique inn was beautifully renovated by Dujardin Design to showcase its period details and elegant interiors. The public areas feature a beautiful Chinoiserie wallcovering and fabric.

Come with me on a visit to one of Dujardin Design Associates’ recent projects on Nantucket where I can show you some of the details of how we work. It begins with conversations with the clients, then a search for fabrics, colors, textures, and a vision for the room. A presentation book is prepared for the client by our in-house artist before work begins.

 

 

We are fortunate to frequently work with clients on Nantucket Island, where my husband and I live part of each year. Nantucket has a rich history, complete with the original indigenous people, whaling captains and widows, fishermen and farmers, cranberries and blueberries, roses and hydrangeas and everywhere you look: legacy and antiquity.

 

Main Street on Nantucket Island

Nantucket is where I first began my immersion into sustainable design, the result of building a home on the fragile shores of Nantucket Harbor. I was determined to “do it right.” Doing it right started with the understanding that since it was such a delicate site within a very fragile ecosystem, everything I did had to be mindful, done with intention.

Today, I am considered a pioneer in sustainable design, and am a LEED-accredited professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction (LEED-AP + ID + C). I am a Fellow with ASID (FASID), and a Senior Fellow with the Design Futures Council. (Only 1% of members are asked to be Fellows, so I’m proud of that). My passion for creating homes in harmony with the earth was the impetus for achieving my credentials–“doing it right!”

All of that knowledge is brought to bear on every design project my firm undertakes, whether it is classified as a “green” design or not.

 

 

In this home, our starting point was a voluminous space with high ceilings.  First a builder’s spec house that subsequently became an island rental property, we were hired by a family from Connecticut who wanted it to become their forever second home. As we repurposed their treasures from Connecticut and refreshed with new pieces, we knew that adding wallpaper was going to be an important element of this home’s ambiance.

 

 

My trusted work associate, G.G., agreed that wallpaper was exactly what we needed!

 

 

We also knew we wanted to replace this builder-supplied chandelier with something more appropriate to the homeowners’ taste.

 

 

For the walls, we turned to Peter Fasano handcrafted wall coverings from Westport, Connecticut. Their elegant designs are produced using a combination of hand-screened and digital printing, in the most beautiful color combinations. Their hand-screening process gives you a softer look on real paper, with real inks done by hand. Our on-island crew does meticulous work prepping the walls for the paper, then applying it.

 

 

We selected a wide stripe as it’s such a classical element. The paper had to be neutral as the foyer opens up into other rooms. This selection warmed the space and made the 25 foot high ceiling feel more manageable.

 

 

How do you like the smoke bell lantern in place of the old chandelier? Its timelessly brilliant light is another way we warmed the large space. This one of a kind, mouth-blown lantern was shipped from London–twice–as the first time it was shipped it arrived broken. When the second lantern arrived–the last one in stock!–we all held our breath as we opened the box.

In earlier days, instead of electric lights there were candles inside, and the top was to keep smoke from damaging the ceiling.

 

 

And for softness underfoot: a 100% wool rug by Stark. Both the rug and the wallpaper are made using natural materials, as opposed to a vinyl wall covering or polypropylene for the carpet. With the small pattern the rug is contemporary but also rooted in tradition, and adds to the classic elegance of the home.

 

I’m delighted to be blogging again!

Watch for my new blogs once a month, and Instagram (@dujardin_design) and Facebook (@DujardinDesign) posts on Thursdays. Once a season I’ll send a newsy email letter to you, too! Be sure to subscribe to get all the best design advice and beautiful inspiration through photos of our projects. I want all of us to live in happy, well-designed, healthy homes!

Remember, you want this:

“What you surround yourself with should bring you peace of mind and peace of spirit.”–Stacy London

Not this:

“This wallpaper is dreadful, one of us will have to go.”–Oscar Wilde

 

My New Green Consulting Services

 

Spring has always been known as a time of renewal, as the earth is undergoing its annual season of regeneration. That’s why I chose spring as the time to introduce my newest client-focused service, Dujardin Design Green Consulting Services. This is a new way to work with me that focuses on the sustainable, “green” changes we can make together.

 

 

 

Improving our homes and lifestyles comes naturally in the spring, as we begin spring cleaning and look for renewal in body, mind, and spirit.  There are risks posed to our health by the more than 80,000 untested chemicals used in our society, but we have an opportunity to create a sanctuary for ourselves and our families–one where the air is pure, and our exposure to potentially dangerous products is reduced, if not completely eliminated.

 

 

 

As a LEED-accredited Professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction (LEED AP + ID +C), as well as an ASID Fellow (FASID), and a Design Futures Fellow,  I’ve made education a lifelong endeavor. I’m an interior designer as well as an adjunct professor, blogger, columnist, author and speaker.  I’ve dedicated my life to creating distinctive interiors for my clients, while teaching people how to make their homes a place of sanctuary.

 

 

One by-product of “green” or “sustainable” design is healthy indoor air quality. One way I help my clients create clean air is by carefully choosing natural, organic furnishings and materials that have a minimal impact on the environment, both inside and out. Dujardin Design Green Consulting Services is the next step for me in helping people live more beautiful, healthier lives.

 

 

My design projects around the globe have shown me that vibrant health is yours to choose, and it begins at home!  If you feel overwhelmed, fatigued, and stressed, your home may be contributing to your feeling of being out of balance. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may have accumulated in the well-insulated rooms, and stagnant air may be compounding their effects.

 

 

How do I know this?  Years of exposure to highly chemical environments left me feeling less than my best. My own dip into ill health convinced me that there was SOMETHING I could do to help myself. Once I learned what it was, I wanted to help other people find the answer, too. That’s why I wrote my book, Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior. 

 

 

My new consulting services are designed to offer you the flexibility to make your home as eco-friendly as you wish, always combined with luxurious beauty and comfort. Three levels of design–light, medium, or deep green–let you choose just how sustainable you’d like your surroundings to be. Anything is possible, from choosing an organic fabric for throw pillows to a complete home design.

 

Photo credit: Jeff Allen

How we furnish our homes, what we choose to eat, what we buy to wear, and what we throw away all MATTERS!  By being as intentional in your choices for your home as you are in your life, you’ll find a new surge of energy and happiness. You’ll eat better, sleep better, live better!

After working with me, clients tell me they love the new feeling of serenity in their homes. Some say it feels like a breath of fresh air!

 

 

Come visit  my website, where Dujardin Design Green Consulting Services are explained in more detail. Or call me for a free consultation that WILL change your life! My grateful clients tell me I improve and inspire their lives.  I can’t wait to meet you and show you how I can help.

Westport CT

203-838-8100

Nantucket MA

508-228-1120

Something New Under the Sun

 

The real saying is “there’s nothing new under the sun,” but that’s not been true lately.  New things are happening! In addition to the launch of my new Dujardin Design Green Consulting Service, I’ve been invited to serve my communities in new ways. Service to the community is rewarding, but especially so when it speaks to some deep love in your own heart, or supports a belief you hold. Do you agree?

 

 

Photography by Steve Turner, Courtney of David Scott Parker Architects

That’s the case for me with the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Musuem. The first of my new service commitments is that I have joined their Board of Trustees in Norwalk, Connecticut. A national historic landmark, the mansion is considered one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire style country houses in the United States. As a supporter of historic preservation, having restored my own historic Captain’s house on Nantucket Island, I am delighted to share my expertise with the Board.

 

 

Interior photo by Sarah Grote Photography

I had served on the LMMM Board once before, so in a way, this is like returning to a loved home. The Mansion was a technological marvel of its time, with hot and cold indoor plumbing, gas lighting, ventilation, and a central heating system. Unfortunately, that system burned a ton of coal a day, but that was appropriate for the Victorian era, and relied on the best technology available then.

 

 

From the best thinking of times past to the best thinking of today: I’ve also been asked to join the Connecticut Green Building Council‘s (CTGBC) Green Homes Committee, as well as their Health and Wellness Committee. My life has been dedicated to creating healthy homes for my clients, and I am passionate about protecting our health while living holistically. I am so pleased to have been invited to serve alongside some of the area’s best minds in green building and living.

 

 

I believe that we can continue to find new ways to protect our natural resources and still live in comfort and health. The CTGBC is committed to transforming the way our buildings are designed and constructed, “helping advance spaces that are better for the environment, and healthier for us to live, work and play in.” Of course, this is exactly the intersection of profession and passion for me!

 

Always advocating for planet Earth: accepting my Design Futures Senior Fellow Award!

On the Green Homes Committee, I’ll be encouraging the adoption of green building practices around the state, whether for new construction or existing homes. The Health and Wellness Committee is responsible for developing awareness of green initiatives for the healthcare industry. I know that our buildings–the “containers” we live and work in– have a definite impact on our day to day health. Of course a green environment will support healing in those struggling with illness–another great way to give back to the world!

 

 

Don’t you love this statement by the Japanese writer Ryunosuke Satoro? “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” And an ocean is a powerful, transformative force. I’ll see you there!

 

 

Nantucket Island, my second home

 

 

 

Autism Speaks Walk

 

 

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, refers to a broad range of challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and and nonverbal communication. There are many subtypes of autism, and any person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. Most are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences, and many are accompanied by medical issues such as intestinal issues, seizures, and sleep disturbances.

 

 

 

An estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States is on the autism spectrum.

 

 

 

For many years, I have been a supporter of Autism Speaks, and my husband, Frank, and I have participated in many Autism Speaks Walk events. This year, the Autism Speaks Walk on Nantucket is on August 18th. Taking compassionate action is what makes a real difference in the world. It’s compassionate action that has allowed Autism Speaks to make great strides forward in research and support for children and families affected by the disorder.

 

 

 

Last month, Autism Speaks launched a $1.5 million funding opportunity for treatment studies, with an emphasis on physical and mental health conditions that accompany autism.

 

 

 

I’m a fervent believer in the work of Autism Speaks, which is why I wholeheartedly support what they do. I’ll be walking this year with Frank and my two little Bichons, Tuffy and G.G. The Walk leaves from Sandbar Jetties Beach at 9:45 a.m., with opening remarks at 9:30 a.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

 

 

Start a team, join a team, or come on your own! For more information, contact Eden E. Carr at 617-726-1515.

My Travel Notebook: Italy

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

In my last post about my travels to France, I shared the places I went, delighted with how they inspired me in my work in interior design. My trip didn’t stop at the border of France, however;  my husband, Frank, and I continued on into Italy. And the longer we were away, the more I thought about how it is that beauty can inspire us not only in the design of our homes, but also in the design for our lives.

 

 

As a fine artist who became an interior designer, something I loved in Italy (and in France) were the beautiful colors. In Verona, the buildings were a perfect foil for the brightly shining sun with their citrusy shades of tangerine, gold, pale yellow and sunburnt red. Life lesson: the world is a colorful place!

 

 

All the colors of Italy are subtly glorious. This old synagogue in what was once a Jewish ghetto shares the golden tones of the buildings in Verona, but it also inspires awe, as religious buildings are meant to. You must look closer to see the many intricate designs that proclaim it a Jewish house of worship.

 

 

Looking closer is one of the requirements of travel. At first glance, we see the bigger picture: the architecture, the ruins of this ancient amphitheater in Verona, the cobbled streets. It is only when we look closer that we see the faces of the people, their smiles, what they carry, who they are. (An earthquake in 1176 destroyed the amphitheater here; this is the only remaining fragment of the outer ring.)

 

 

Close attention to detail is also a requirement for an interior designer. Details bring a room to life, give it movement, personality and that elegant je ne sais quois. The ceiling in the breakfast room at our hotel in Villa Cordevigo near Lake Garda reminded me of both an important design rule, and one for living: lift your eyes. Look up.

 

 

The Murano glass chandeliers there were a source of light and delight. Shouldn’t every light fixture be both? I think so!

 

 

Italian is known as the language of love, and Verona is known as the City of Love. Romance is celebrated where Shakespeare set his story of star-crossed lovers. Romeo and Juliet, sadly, were based on a real life feuding family. Today, people in search of love, forgiveness, or who simply want to celebrate their own unique love story write letters and leave them here. The city of Verona receives over 5,000 letters a year to Juliet.

 

 

The statue of Juliet is said to be good luck to lovers. When the original bronze statue, cast in 1969, was removed for repairs, restoration staff found hundreds of letters from star-crossed lovers that had been squeezed into the statue through cracks in the exterior. In addition to notes, there were tiny padlock keys. Couples often buy padlocks, write their names in indelible ink, then either hide or throw away the key.

 

 

People come from all over the world to stand beneath Juliet’s balcony. Don’t you love the symmetry of the Romanesque windows underneath?

 

 

We saw many villas designed by the 16th century architect, Andrea Palladio. Palladio based his work on a study of classical Roman architecture, which gives much of the region its unique appearance.This is Villa Emo, designed by Palladio in 1559. It remained in the Emo family until it was sold in 2004. The landscape has a continuous history since Roman times, and it has been suggested that the straight lines of the villa reflect the straight lines of Roman roads.

 

 

 

In the land where the Renaissance began, with a culture and architecture heavily influenced by the Classical ideals of Greek and Roman civilizations, rich detail can be found everywhere you turn.

 

 

Villa Barbaro, also known as Villa di Maser, was built by Palladio for Daniele Barbaro, ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I of England, and his brother, Marcantonio, ambassador to King Charles IX of France.

 

 

 

The frescoes in Villa Barbaro are by the artist Paolo Veronese. He painted the wife of Marcantonio Barbaro, Giustiniana, along with her youngest son’s wet nurse, her parrot, and her spaniel dog.

 

 

Here is our tour guide, Janet Simmonds, with Frank, standing outside the Villa Foscari, also known as La Malcontenta. In the 16th century, rich patricians of Venice had villas built to expand their empires through agriculture. (The name La Malcontenta has several explanations, all hinging on a supposedly unhappy wife many years ago.)

 

 

We stayed in one 16th century villa, the Hotel Villa Franceschi, the former residence of jewelers to the Doge (the Italian chief of state). The villa stands at a bend in the River Brenta, and is the gateway to Venice.

 

 

The end of day is always a favorite time for me, when the sun begins its descent toward the horizon, and gently slants against the buildings. The quality of light is different in different locations. I’ve always found sunlight on Nantucket to be especially luminous. I love the sunlight in Italy, too.

 

 

This is our room at the Villa Franceschi. The guest rooms are opulent, with marble fireplaces and terra cotta floor tiles, and the ceilings have their original wooden beams. It’s important to revere our history, and restore our ancient buildings. I felt the same way when I restored a sea captain’s house on Nantucket years ago.

 

 

I have always found a mix of old and new, layered throughout a home, to give both grace and grounding to the interiors I create for my clients. I came home feeling more strongly than ever that in a home with a modern look and feel, there is still room for antiquities and fine antiques.

 

 

Many of my clients have inherited pieces or vintage collectibles that they want retained in their homes. By combining new with old, a recently decorated room has the look of one that has evolved over the years. The end result is a cohesive blend of style and comfort, as it is here at the Villa Franceschi.

 

 

You find symmetry, balance and order throughout Italy, including in formal gardens, as in the maze at the abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore.

 

 

Also called the Borges Labyrinth, it was created in honor of the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, to recall one of his best known stories, The Garden of Forking Paths. Because Borges became blind at age 55, a handrail was installed so blind people can walk the maze without assistance.

 

 

Italian gardens are beautiful, with or without a maze. There are many paths to follow, as in life. Since we can’t do everything and be everywhere, we have to choose which ones to walk.

 

 

Let’s walk toward beauty.

 

 

I’ve always been drawn to the beauty of water, and the end of our trip found us floating through the canals of Venice, following the same route George Clooney took with his bride Amal following their Venetian wedding. That was only fitting for a trip planned to celebrate our fourteenth wedding anniversary!

 

 

Janet arranged a private boat tour for us, and it was a magical day.

 

 

Passing under the Bridge of Sighs was a solemn moment. It is said that Casanova was one of the prisoners who sighed while crossing from the Hall of Magistrates to the prison on the other side. The glimpse of blue sky beyond was the last view of clouds and sun the prisoners would see for some time. (But Casanova escaped in 1756, slipping out of his cell into the palace, where a guard let him out. A happy ending!)

 

 

The last time Frank and I were in Venice, we were here to oversee the printing of my interior design book, Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior. We met my London-based book designer, Stafford Cliff, in Padua where the printer was located, but were able to take in a bit of Venice before we returned home to the states. That was a working vacation, though, which is a contradiction in terms!

 

 

Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I think that the world must be examined, too. Luckily, we don’t need to travel to Italy, or to France, to find inspiration. It’s all around us. We just have to look for the angels of beauty that are everywhere, and remember we are blessed. (This angel can be found in the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, in Venice).

 

 

Like Casanova, we had a happy ending too: we made it home in time for the Peony festival in our own front yard. So we had a glass of wine to celebrate.

 

 

Saluti!

My Travel Notebook: France

“Work, travel, save, repeat.”

I’ve been traveling through France and Italy recently, celebrating a belated tenth anniversary with my husband, Frank. We engaged the services of the talented Janet Simmonds from the Grand Tourist, (she writes a fascinating blog she calls the Educated Traveller –British spelling!) She put together an itinerary for us that moved us from Southern France, beginning in Beaulieu-sur-mer to Venice, Italy, with elegant meals, private tours, and spectacular sights.

 

I found design inspiration everywhere–in the food, languages, colors, architecture and interiors–and I want to share my inspiration with you. I thought we’d begin with France, since that’s where we went first.

 

 

The creamy tones of the La Reserve Hotel got our trip off on a calming note. The bright pink roses that punctuated the patio were the perfect compliment, and added life to the scenery.

 

 

Indoors, the coral exterior evolved into dazzles of orange with grey and taupe. It reminded me of a favorite project I did for an Hermes orange loving client in Manhattan. Here’s my take on orange and neutrals, below:

 

 

Orange is eye-catching in floral arrangements, too. Both across the room…

 

 

…and close up!

 

 

We loved our room, which was a delightful blend of old and new. I loved how the interiors of La Reserve combined contemporary furnishings with priceless antiques, which adds such depth, warmth and richness! Much more interesting, I think, than all modern, which doesn’t take a location’s history into account.

 

 

The thread of good design holds true throughout the ages. Good design from the 18th century can play off good design from the 21st century. Here’s an example from my own design work, below: an 18th century buffet against 21st century lacquered walls. This is in a Manhattan apartment.

 

 

Meanwhile, there were no complaints about the shades of blue that met us in the pool and sea outside our door.

 

 

The saltwater pool was heated, and free of chemicals.

 

 

Wandering through the charming medieval town of St. Paul de Vence meant finding history of more than 1,000 years at every turn. In the 20th century, artists began coming to St. Paul to paint its famous brown stone buildings in the silken light of southern France.

 

 

As we walked through St. Paul, I couldn’t stop thinking about the rustic stone, and how that might translate into a modern home. Using natural materials is simple but stunning in its impact. Natural stones are endlessly elegant and eco-friendly. They bring a richness of texture and color to a room.

 

 

Here’s another of our Dujardin designs in Manhattan, where we used rough stone to create a dramatic backdrop to the sleek-lined furniture. We used antique horse blankets to cover the pillows–unusual materials and unique applications make an interior innovative!

 

 

Back in St. Paul, I was struck by how a mosaic of small stones could be one way to add movement and depth to a space, and offer many natural hues to work with.

 

 

Next stop: the bar at La Colombe d’Or, where we had an aperitif before dinner. The rough stone walls with muted colors depicting leaping stags was a masculine touch.

 

 

Aged paint on stone walls paired well with these surprisingly glitzy silver pillows.

 

 

The beautiful dining room at La Colombe d’Or, where Frank and I enjoyed our much delayed anniversary dinner–at last!

 

 

The simple stone building was once a weekend haunt for artists.

 

 

It’s still filled with their artwork–incredible pieces by Matisse, Miro, Calder, Picasso and Chagall.

 

 

Imagine eating dinner in an art museum, with comfortable surroundings and delicious food.

 

 

Everywhere you turn, there is priceless art.

 

 

Anybody interested in a fireplace with a sunken gathering area? Winters in New England seem to require one of these. The placement of the seating would concentrate the heat nicely while enjoying a brandy after dinner.

 

 

No one was eating outdoors, but aren’t these weathered urns planted with greenery just gorgeous with the stone tile floor?

 

 

Colors aren’t limited to artwork, as you can see in the purple irises growing in the field.

 

 

This quiet beauty in pink and white is the former home of David Niven, the British actor. We took a walk from Beaulieu-sur-mer to St. Jean Cap Ferrat to see the house. One scene from Niven’s last movie–the Pink Panther–was filmed there in 1983, the year before his death.

 

 

Gold doorknobs on the white door are the perfect accent. Pink and gold and white is stunning.

 

 

An ornate gate that simultaneously invites you in and says, “not so fast! Are you invited?”

 

 

A marble sign with the name of your home is always elegant. Especially if you’re David Niven.

 

 

We’ll be back soon as we continue our journey to Italy! Come along with us next month. I have so much more to show you!

 

 

At Home in the Country

 

I’m so pleased to have another of Dujardin Design Associate’s projects published by our friends at New England Home CT Magazine.  They’re also the publishers of New England Home, and both magazines are full of design inspiration. In their Spring 2018 edition, they tell the story of our design work at a beautiful country home located in the gracious town of Washington Depot, Connecticut. This is the eighth project we’ve completed for this client, by now a longtime friend.

When this client found another dream home for the next phase of her life (previous homes were in New York City, Greenwich, and California!), we knew we were going to have a wonderful time working together again.  Washington Depot is one of three towns that were the actual inspiration for the town of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls, so you can just imagine the feeling of warmth and small town camaraderie.

We’re so excited to show it to you. If you can pick up a copy of the magazine, please do. It’s on the stands until July 23, 2018. Here’s a sneak peek!

 

A trend in home buying and interior design right now is the need to remake our homes to fit the next stage of our lives. Whether you’re making space for a nursery, adding an in-law suite for an elder relative, or moving to a new location to embrace retirement, the chance to re-envision your home is an exciting time. Keeping what you treasure but adding new furniture, rugs and accessories to fit your new lifestyle is the best way to embrace the future!

 

 

One of the joys–and struggles–of moving is deciding what to keep and what to give away. New storage and display pieces can help you make those choices.

 

 

I’ve always believed that our surroundings influence our lives in countless quiet ways. This client loves the farms and rolling countryside she can see outside her windows,

 

 

Whatever stage of life you’re in, you can make your home a place that fully supports your daily activities and offers rest and respite at night. A good interior design plan helps you achieve beauty, comfort, and sanctuary without leaving home. Vacations aren’t the only option for rejuvenation when you truly love where you live.

 

Building Noah’s Ark

Reka and Zeya, CT’s Beardsley Zoo’s two rare Amur tiger cubs

There are many things in life that demand my attention, but some of them leap to the front of the line. Zoos had not been on my radar screen, but that changed with the news that Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo was hand-rearing two critically endangered Amur tiger cubs.

 

Zeya, shortly after birth

Having my little grandsons visiting with me when the tiger cubs were born was good timing, as we learned about endangered tigers and the Zoo’s work to save endangered animals together. I found out that without the help of accredited zoos, my grandchildren’s grandchildren may never see a live tiger, or any number of other species on earth today.

 

The Amur leopard is the rarest big cat on earth, with fewer than 60 individuals surviving in the wild.

The world around us is changing. According to the World Wildlife Fund, earth has lost half of its wildlife in the last 40 years. We are confronting the loss of wildlife on a massive scale, largely due to human interaction. One estimate says that there are currently 16,938 animal and plant species threatened with extinction. One in three on the list are amphibians, one in four are mammals, and one in eight are birds.

 

Northern white rhinos are functionally extinct, with only a handful of rapidly aging individuals left in captivity.

Lists of the most endangered animals in the world today include the Amur leopard, gorillas, sea turtles, orangutans, Sumatran elephants, the Saola, the Vaquita porpoise, the tiger (all subspecies), rhinos, and pangolins. There are many, many more.

 

 

The single largest cause of threats to animals? Habitat loss, due to deforestation, the expansion of farms across fragile areas, and logging. In addition, many of these animals are poached for their horns, tusks, or bones, have organs that are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, or are persecuted and hunted. Other factors include climate change, resource depletion, and territory fragmentation, which keeps healthy, genetically different animals from successful breeding.

 

Tigers at CT’s Beardsley Zoo.

There are many organizations fighting to help animals in the wild, with varying levels of success. The “wild,” as it used to exist, is rapidly disappearing. While some well-intended activists call for animals to be released from captivity, their perspective does not address the fact that wild habitats today are facing environmental degradation and animals are being hunted to extinction. Many animals in the wild are theoretically protected, but that does not mean they are safe.

 

Deforestation is causing a decline in the Red panda population as their nesting trees and their primary diet, bamboo, are being destroyed. This is Meri, CT’s Beardsley Zoo’s four year old female, who may help sustain her species. 

Today’s accredited zoos and aquariums have had to become Noah’s Arks, sustaining populations through carefully monitored captive breeding programs, and providing a home, nutrition, medical care, and survival to some of the world’s most endangered species.

 

Most of the areas the Golden Lion tamarin call home have been poorly protected. A sustained Zoo breeding program beginning in the 1970s allowed Brazil’s GLT population to rebound somewhat due to reintroduction. Continued loss of forest habitat, however, keeps the GLT on the endangered list. 

According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), of 2,800 USDA licensed animal exhibitors in the U.S., only 230 are accredited members of the AZA. Why does that matter? Because the AZA requires that its member zoos meet rigorous standards for animal welfare, conservation, education, and science. One of its primary rules for membership is respecting the dignity of animals in a zoo’s care, and acting with the animal’s best interests in mind. (Here’s a list of accredited organizations.)

 

An endangered wolf cub born at CT’s Beardsley Zoo

No baby animal is ever born at an accredited zoo without a specific breeding recommendation from experts at the AZA, who keep careful track of genetics. Zoos also contribute to animal conservation efforts worldwide. Extinction rates for many species, though, continue to rise. Accredited zoos are many species’ last hope to survive total elimination.

 

 Endangered South American maned wolf cubs born at CT’s Beardsley Zoo

On November 25th, the Zoo’s female Amur tiger, Changbai, gave birth to four Amur tiger cubs, although only two survived.  The two surviving cubs, both females, were removed from Changbai when she showed no interest in taking care of them.

 

Handfeeding an Amur tiger cub in CT’s Beardsley Zoo’s animal Health Care Center

Both cubs were taken to the Zoo’s animal Health Care Center, where staff handfed the babies and housed them in a 90 degree ambient temperature nursery, to maintain their body temperature.

 

Amur tiger cubs only a few days old 

At first, the cubs were given only a 25% chance of survival. A feline replacement formula, supplemented with vitamins, was prepared for them five times a day, around the clock. Today, the cubs are four months old, healthy and active. Their survival is an important step forward in maintaining the genetic diversity of Amur tigers worldwide.

 

Reka, at two months old

Over the last century, tiger numbers have fallen by about 95%, and tigers now survive in 40% less space than they occupied just a decade ago. The Connecticut tigers are Amurs, and sadly, there are only about 500 Amur tigers left in wild places–specifically, the Amur River Valley region where Russia, China and North Korea meet.

 

Wild Amur tiger in the Amur River Basin, Russia

Michael Hutchins, director of conservation and science for the AZA said, “Millions of dollars go to house artwork in museums, but there are more Rembrandts in the world than there are Siberian (Amur) tigers.”

 

Amur tiger cub at CT’s Beardsley Zoo. The cubs’ survival is important to sustaining the critically endangered tiger species.

The AZA says: “We believe in a better future for all living things. We envision a world where all people respect, value and conserve wildlife and wild places.”

Want to watch the tiger cubs on a live web cam? Click here.

To contribute to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, or to help fundraise for a new tiger habitat, click here.

 

A Connecticut Christmas

 

There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow… I couldn’t bring you all to my neighborhood holiday fete, so I decided to bring the party to you.  Welcome to my house, and let’s share a Connecticut Christmas together!

 

 

Come in, and let me take your coats. It’s warm inside–my husband, Frank, made a fire, and my father, Bob, is standing by at the bar. We have champagne to start the evening. This is a celebration!

 

 

Make yourselves at home. I love Christmas pillows, don’t you? I had these custom made for a home on Nantucket, and I look forward to getting them out every year. Reminding myself to be M-E-R-R-Y is a very special part of my holiday traditions!

 

 

One of my favorite things about decorating for the holidays is adding splashes of Christmas crimson and red throughout the house. Ten months of the year, I opt for soothing neutrals: the white of sandy beaches, the soft beige of driftwood, the soothing blues of the ocean. But once November arrives, I bring out the red ribbon and of course, the red and green stockings.

 

 

I love the warmth of a red tablecloth, too.

 

 

I hope you’re hungry! We’re serving shrimp with cocktail sauce,

 

 

brie en brioche, assorted mini quiche, pigs in a blanket (everyone’s favorite!), pumpernickel with crudites and dip,

 

 

mini lobster rolls, and mini crab rolls with lemon dill aioli. Yum. (The toothpicks are homemade!)

 

 

Dessert is special Christmas cupcakes,

 

 

and white Bichon puppy cupcakes–they look just like our two little Bichons, G.G. and Tuffy.

 

 

And of course, Christmas cookies!

 

 

Don’t forget the chocolates…a nod to Nantucket with chocolate whale truffles from Sweet Inspirations on the island. Better take one now–they go fast!

 

 

I love the old-fashioned Christmas touches

 

 

With children’s toys to evoke the true joy of giving

 

 

And a little Russian flavor for my dad…

 

 

There’s plenty of time for relaxing by the fire

 

 

before it’s time to say goodbye.

 

 

The next morning, we’ll all wake to a snowy winter wonderland!

 

 

and I’ll enjoy a morning cuddle with my two tired little helpers, G.G. and Tuffy.

 

Have a happy, healthy holiday season!