Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday Decorating, Part II: Creative Christmas Trees

Last week we talked about "mantel mania" and this week it's time to go inside the holiday home and take a look at the Christmas tree. After all, it's the most important decorative element this time of year. If you know Cindy Rinfret, you know that she decorates with a "more is more" philosophy, so it's no surprise that she doesn't limit herself to one tree. Each of her children have their own trees, her dogs have their own doggie tree, and sparkling trees brighten up her halls and entry.

The mother of all trees in Cindy's home is without a doubt the monumental tree in her Great Room, below:

A tree like this one demands a lot of ornaments. Luckily for Cindy she has a great selection of ornaments at her own shop, Rinfret Home & Garden, that she can choose from. (If you're close to Greenwich Avenue then lucky you too!)

Here are some of our favorite ornaments right now (all available at Rinfret Home & Garden):

Doesn't this charming ornament remind you of those fantastic, super preppy Tommy Hilfiger ads?

We also love these lifelike red cardinals that you can affix to your tree, wreath, or anything else you can imagine for a festive pop of red that feels fresher than just a glitzy red ball.
If you're more into bling than birds, you'll want these luxe crystal ornaments that will make your chandelier jealous of your Christmas tree.

Cindy's Marketing Director, Elizabeth, loves this doggie ornamanet because it looks just like her Korean Jindo dog. If she could get a Korean Jindo ornament at Rinfret Home & Garden, then we're willing to bet they can get you whatever breed you can think of!

Speaking of dogs, how cute do Cindy's goldens look in her hallway, framed by these simply elegant trees?

Cindy not only has special dog ornaments for her goldens but a whole Christmas tree dedicated to the four legged family members. Check it out:

If you like the idea of a special little tree but aren't a dog person, you should check out the famous Rinfret Teddy Bear Tree:

This is sure to please family members young in age and young at heart.

We could go on and on about all the great ornaments and decorative accessories for Christmas trees but you'll have a lot more fun if you simply come down to Rinfret Home & Garden and check out what we have first hand! While you're at it, you can count how many trees we have (there are a lot).

We hope to see you soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Decorating, Part One: Mantel Mania!

The Christmas season is a decorator's delight. There is no limit to holiday decor - from Christmas trees and tartan tabletops, to bows of garlands along the stairs. This holiday season we are going to look at one element of Christmas decor each week and break it down for you so that it's fun and easy. Decorating should be enjoyable, not overwhelming, especially during this time of year, when we all have enough to stress about.

We're starting off with the mantel. It's the perfect place to begin, as it's the dominating feature in most living rooms and dining rooms and it offers a wonderful place to start off your holiday decorating. (Plus, it gives you time to work up to the Christmas tree, which we'll talk about next week.)

In the spirit of starting out small, this first image shows Cindy Rinfret's library mantel decorated with just two simple urns with sprigs of evergreen. This is a great way to ease into the holiday spirit if you're not quite ready to go all out.

But when it comes to the holidays (and decorating in general) Cindy Rinfret is a firm believer in the "more is more" philosophy. Above, we see her same library but with the added touches of pinecones, red berries and magnolia leaves. It takes the room to a whole new level of festive.

Here's a closeup of this magnificent mantel that's got cover girl status. (It was on the cover of the Holiday 2009 issue of Traditional Home, and additionally is the online cover of this year's Traditional Home holiday feature.)

The mantel mania continues from Cindy's library to her family room, which has a gorgeous mantel that soars to cathedral ceilings and is framed by two French doors.

Bows of pine mixed with gold and silver ribbon and gilded pinecones work together to create a sophisticated look that adds to the beauty of the room.

Part of the fun of the holidays is that it's a great excuse to experiment with your decor and change up your normal look. Cindy might re-design what's on her mantel depending on her mood or to fit the vibe of a party that she's hosting.

Below is the same mantel as seen above, but instead of the red flowers that were centered above the mirror, she's chosen two mirrored vases filled with greenery and anchored them with a collection of fabulous glittery reindeer. The effect is more transitional and understated but no less festive.

Here's yet another mantel in Cindy's home (yes, she has a lot of mantels!) - this one is in her Great Room.

When you are working with a large space, it's important that your mantel decorations be substantial enough that they not get lost in the room. This gorgeous arrangement certainly does the trick. The warm tones of the magnolia leaves (a nice alternative to pine) highlight the gold ribbon and gilded pinecones. It is a holiday look that doesn't rely on the traditional red and green combo but still feels totally Christmas.

Now go look into your box of Christmas decorations and see what you can do to liven up your mantel for the holidays. And if you feel like you need more inspiration, just pop into Rinfret Home & Garden - where we are totally decked for the holidays.

Happy Holidays! Happy Decorating!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How to get your home ready for the holidays

The holiday season is upon us, Halloween has come and gone, and in our part of New England, we've even already had our first blizzard. It's time to start thinking about holiday entertaining and decorating. Cindy has some great tips for taking the stress out of making your home festive and inviting to guests (and you!)...

Think outside the box
Don't rely on Pottery Barn for all of your holiday decorating inspiration - do something personal that you have never seen before. Cindy is a dog lover and has the golden retrievers to prove it, so each year she dedicates a special Christmas tree to her dogs. It's decorated in adorable dog-themed ornaments and setup in the mud room, which is the stomping ground for the pooches. The tree is a great conversation starter at parties and more importantly, brings a smile to Cindy's face every time she sees it.

Make your home cozy and inviting
This is something that you should want for your home year round, but it is especially important around the holidays when you want to make your family and friends feel immediately comfortable at your house.

Faux fur throws are the perfect accessory to cozy up a room. They feel absolutely luxurious but are most of all comfortable. It's just the trick to add both style and comfort to a room. Another tip for fab parties is to make sure that there's plenty of comfy seating for your guests and that the furniture is arranged to make it easy to chat while simultaneously drinking and eating.

Entertain in style!

Take a tip from Mad Men, and whip up an old school cocktail with a fancy shaker (and yes, that means make cocktails - it's much more interesting than the standard white wine that everyone is sick of by their 5th holiday party).

Your guests will notice your extra effort and creativity and you'll find yourself energized by the excitement of using and trying new things.

The best part? You can get all this great stuff (from fur throws and ornaments, to the serving trays and cocktail shakers) at Rinfret Home & Garden. So go ahead and make your home cozy and your parties fabulous! It's easy and fun!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From the Runway to the Living Room: Fall Fashion Comes Home

Like a lot of interior designers, we are also fashionistas at heart, and are watching what's coming down the runway this week at New York Fashion Week.

The line between the fashion and shelter worlds is blurred and what you see on the runway often shows up in the home. There are some Fall trends that really translate to interiors. Here are some of our favorites.

Faux Fur is huge for Fall and is also a major trend for interior design. Above, a Chanel model rocks the fur look from head to toe, and for home, a faux fur throw is the perfect accessory, as seen in the family room of a Rinfret client:

Statement necklaces are so hot now. How does a necklace work in a house you ask? Well, it doesn't - but Cindy Rinfret loves to compare fabulous light fixtures to jewelry. Check out this master bedroom that she designed:

Still not convinced...?

Vera Wang's necklace does share an aesthetic with this gorgeous light fixture, right?

Houndstooth is always a go-to pattern for Fall.

This classic print looks just as good wrapped around your neck as it does on your walls.

In this case, the look is cover girl worthy, as this image of Cindy's own library mantel was the cover image of the Holiday 2009 issue of Traditional Home.

Like houndstooth, leather is another Fall Fashion staple that also works great for interiors.

Anyone can do a leather sofa or ottoman but Cindy Rinfret amped up the wow factor for her client, Tommy Hilfiger by upholstering his dining room walls in brown leather.

Now you can shop for your body and your home. What could be more fun than that?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What I did this summer - by Taylor, the Rinfret summer intern

My summer as an intern at Rinfret is coming to a close and to say that this internship was enriching would be an understatement on all accounts. My summer working at Rinfret has allowed me to learn, experience and witness far more than I could have ever anticipated. From my very first day when Cindy Rinfret walked me through the installation of a spectacular home in Greenwich, I knew that this was going to be an irreplaceable opportunity.

As a soon-to-be senior in college, I have been mulling over what exactly I am going to do for a career for quite some. Interning at Rinfret allowed me to experience firsthand the realities of a successful business in the Interior Design industry. During my first week, I had the privilege of attending a luncheon hosted by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, where Cindy and Dinyar Wadia discussed the realities of this industry, in terms of design and decorating trends.

Above, the Indian Harbor Yacht Club where the lecture was held.

As the lecture progressed, I found myself mesmerized by the discourse between Cindy and Mr. Wadia. At one point in the lecture, they discussed security for the homes that they create, as many of these homes are located in wealthy areas and belong to high-profile clients. Cindy began describing certain "safety rooms" that she had developed for several clients. The purpose of these rooms that she created was to provide shelter, clean air, and necessary resources in the event that another September 11th were to occur. I found this to be compelling because it went far beyond the scope of anything one might imagine for a normal, everyday home, but it exemplifies how function is so highly considered in design.

At another point in the lecture, an audience member asked Cindy how she begins her design process with a new client and if she is able to instinctively pinpoint their tastes right off the bat. Cindy said that there are certain crucial factors that she considers right away, such as their careers, if they have children, and if they have pets. Cindy also noted that she tries to get a strong sense of a client's lifestyle beyond considering how much space they may need inside the home. For example, it might be a family that weekends in the Hamptons, or sits down to a formal dinner every night, or they might have a strong passion for sailing or skiing. She also recognizes how people carry themselves and whether their lifestyle is formal or casual. All of these components together ultimately translate into the vision for the home design.

Listening to Cindy recount this process really resonated with me because design is all about collaborating and learning to work with different personalities and tastes. Furthermore, some of the comments that Cindy made tapped into a psychological side of design, previously unbeknownst to me, and it is something that I ruminated over even after the lecture had completed. I shared these points with friends and family when they asked about my internship because it shows that there is an incredibly critical aspect to design, being that a designer can identify someone's style immediately, and the process is far more than simply choosing paint colors.
Above, an example of a yachting style mood board.

About midway through June, I was helping keep track of updates for an installation in Greenwich when Cindy approached me and asked if I wanted to help her design a room. At this point in summer, I had become so familiar with the products we had in the studio and I had been eager to work on a project that involved some creativity. Cindy told me to grab some Designer's Worksheets and we began by selecting a drapery fabric and moving forth from there. This particular client wanted to keep their existing rug, so we kept choosing fabrics, accessories, and furnishings that coordinated well with the rug until the room was turned into a complete thought.

Being able to shadow Cindy with this design project was such a phenomenal experience because I hope to have my own design company eventually and Rinfret, Ltd. serves as such an inspiration for me. One of the greatest things about my internship is that Cindy and all of the Rinfret designers have all wanted to help me learn. I have had so much more responsibility than a “standard” internship, for instance, where designated tasks might only include filing, copying, and faxing. Being treated as more than an intern has allowed me to learn and expand my abilities, and has given me a strong idea of what a career in this industry will be like. It has been an amazing summer – from meetings with vendors where I viewed new collections, to photo shoots, to assisting with home installations, to picking out furnishings and accessories. I even went with the Rinfret team to the Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Innovation In Design Awards Party. Here I am below with the team, from left to right: Chelsea Garber, Jo Ann Zawalski, Kristen Farrington Dawson, Elizabeth Ethridge McGann, me (Taylor Lagerloef) and Cindy Rinfret:

As my internship is about to culminate, I am wrapping up last-minute projects and assignments. I have been helping one of the designers pick out certain trims and wall-coverings for a client. We wanted to look at some new options, so just last week I was finally able to make it into the city to go to the Decoration & Design Building. In addition to our need for new products, I figured it would be an important place to visit, especially because I had never been before. I must admit, it was a bit overwhelming as there are many showrooms in the building, but I knew exactly what I needed and where I needed to go in the building to find it.

Back in the studio, I would call the showrooms in the D & D Building on a daily basis to check availability of products, place orders, and follow up to ensure the orders arrived on time (which I quickly realized requires a lot of follow-up). It was a bit surreal to finally visit the home base for pretty much everything I had been working on this summer, but I found exactly what I needed and was able to pick up samples right on the spot – definitely a relief as opposed to waiting for them to arrive to the studio!

Check out this stationary monogrammed with Cindy's name from Schumacher (always a required destination at the D&D):

I am now in my second to last week at Rinfret. I am able to look back and realize how fortunate I have been to gain so much knowledge of this industry, inside and out. It is difficult to simply recapitulate what I have learned from this internship as a whole, but on a daily basis I was able to approach work from more than just an intern’s perspective and begin to get a sense of all aspects of a design concept. Although I return to school in two weeks, I couldn’t be more eager and thrilled to graduate and continue a career in interior design.
Yours Truly,
Taylor Lagerloef

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cindy's Favorite Spots in Greenwich

Cindy Rinfret is not your average Greenwich local, she knows this town inside and out, after all, she did write a book called Classic Greenwich Style. Everyone is always asking Cindy what her fave spots in town are, so rather than keep these insider sources to the Rinfret design clients and Cindy's pals, we decided to share the love with you.

Favorite Restaurant: Polpo
Polpo is a classic. Great people-watching and dancing on Friday nights!
Hair Salon: Warren Tricomi
I love Lea for color – blondes do have more fun! Michael and Margot are great for a cut and blow-dry.
Sushi: Kokoro
Best sushi and waiters in town! Kokoro is great for lunch.
Yummy Photography Cakes: Black Forest Bakery
Email your favorite picture and they will put it on a cake for you.
Event Planning/Catering: Jon Cutler
Always there for effortless dinner parties and events. He also has a cute wait staff!
Wine: Liquor Pantry in Port Chester
Has everything, especially “skinny girl” margaritas.
Pharmacy: Grannicks
Support your established local business -- and they deliver!
Best place for people-watching: Whole Foods
They should have happy hour from 5-7.
Gifts: Michelangelo’s
Make any gift special with their custom engraving. I love their St. Christopher enamel necklaces, “The Patron Saint of Travel” – you have to get these for all your loved ones.
Jewelry: Alma Workshops
Alvaro is a master of gems and jewelry. Hill will make anything for you! What a talent!
Outdoor Furniture & Home Accessories: Restoration Hardware
Margaret is the best! She will always help you find what you need to accessorize and furnish your home. If not…got to Rinfret Home & Garden and see Hilary and Jim!!
There, now you know all the secrets!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blue Bedrooms

Cindy has some favorite, neutrals, browns...but when it comes to bedrooms, blue is generally a favorite. And why not, blue is a naturally calming color, which is exactly what you want in a bedroom, and best of all, it is so pretty without being too feminine or fussy (because the bedroom generally has a guy sleeping in it too). Here are some of our favorite blue bedrooms that Cindy has designed...

This bedroom for a teenage daughter is way more sophisticated than anything you could find in the pages of PB Teen.

As any mother of a tween will tell you, girls like to talk. And this window seat offers the perfect place for long chats.

This bedroom is in the same home as the one above and you can see that Cindy kept the continuity of calming blues here. But for the master suite, she kicks up the glam factor with a mirrored headboard and side tables. These shiny accents, paired with the modern light fixture, make what might otherwise be a traditional bedroom feel very current.

The sitting area of the master suite is perfectly chic, serene and elegant. A quintessential Cindy Rinfret space.

It's all in the details! Custom headboards and valences with gold bamboo detailing bring this room to the next level.

Blue may be a calming color but that doesn't mean it can't be bold or peppy. For her nautical-inspired design of the Tower Suite at the Ocean House, Cindy kept a blue and cream color scheme throughout the space. The bedroom is the most dramatically blue room, with deep blue walls, floral cream and blue canopy, and blue and cream accessories.

Still dreaming of more blue bedrooms...check out this sublime blue bedroom in the new issue of New England Home's Connecticut. Cindy's client loved it so much that she re-installed the canopy bed when she moved into her new home.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Outdoor Entertaining

It’s time to throw a party outside!
June is the perfect month for an outdoor party – everyone is still giddy about sunshine and summer, and the oppressive heat of July and August have not yet set in. Cindy adores both the outdoors and parties so she is the ultimate hostess when it comes to outdoor entertaining – here are some of her best tips for throwing a fete en plein air.
  1. Set the table in style
Just because your outdoors doesn’t mean that you need to use a plastic gingham tablecloth and plastic sporks. Bring some glamour to outdoor dining and set a beautiful table, complete with flowers and candles – and real silverware!

  1. Be more creative than hotdogs and franks
Sure, everyone loves a good old fashioned BBQ but just as delicious and more unexpected is a grilled pizza. Cindy is lucky enough to have a state of the art pizza oven but even if you don’t, you can still grill a delicious pizza on your grill.
For our fellow tri-state hostesses, if you have not already, you must check out Mario Batali’s latest gourmet experience, Tarry Market in Port Chester. Here you can find the most delicious cheeses, proscuitto, olive oils, breads and more.
If you’re not in the mood for pizza (which is almost incomprehensible, but anyway) you could go the more refined route and do tea sandwiches for a proper English Garden Party ambience. Cucumber and creamcheese is so easy and yummy to make (just cut off the crusts and cut the bread diagonally and voila) but if even that sounds too daunting you can always just call up the kind folks at the Drawing Room in Cos Cob, who can whip up some pre-made tea sandwiches for you
  1. PIMMS!
No garden party is complete without Pimms No. 1 Cup, which is a British Liquer that makes for the best fruity garden cocktail. A staple at an English Garden Party or Polo Match, Pimms is the perfect summer drink as it’s light, cool, fruity and delicious. Plus, it's not too heavy on the alcohol so you can drink away all day and still be standing by sunset.
Now that we’ve given you the tools for a perfect garden party, step away from the computer and go outside and make this happen!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


For three jam-packed days earlier this week I was in New York with the creme de la creme of interior design and lifestyle bloggers on a whirlwind adventure called Blogfest 2011.

So much was packed into the itinerary that it is a challenge to condense everything into a blog post (one of the things I learned at Blogfest was to edit) but I'll try...


The festivities kicked off at Hearst where we had an energizing luncheon on the 44th floor of the impressive Hearst Building.

From there we got an intimate look at the editors that create the pages in House Beautiful, Veranda, and Town & Country.

These industry heavy weights put on a little show of "The View" for us, from left to right: Mark Rozzo of Town & Country (Whoopi) Newell Turner of House Beautiful (Joy) Dara Copinigro of Veranda (Elisabeth) and Beth Greene of Kravet (Barbara).

A highlight at Hearst was getting to see early covers of House Beautiful, which was founded in 1896 and is the #1 shelter magazine today.

After some fabulous champagne toasting on the 44th floor of Hearst, hosted by dapper Mark Rozzo of Town & Country, we were off to the ELLE DECOR Concept House. A favorite space was by Sarah Story (and yes, that is her real name). Hand-painted walls and ceilings reference Klimt and Sarah envisioned the room as a ladies salon. What could be a more fabulous place to have thrilling conversation on art and culture?

Blogfest was similar to a reality show in that everyone was offered cocktails at every turn. The above concoction stood out from the sea of champagne and white wine. Not sure what was in it besides booze, Seattle's best coffee, and a lot of sugar, but it was good.

What? Another cocktail party? The festivities continued Monday night with a chic party thrown by Design TV Joss & Main. Possibly the most fantastic floral arrangements of Blogfest were to be seen here, and trust me, there was some tough competition.

See what I mean? Love that peonies were in season for Blogfest. An informal poll shows that all bloggers say that the peony is their favorite flower.


If Monday was magazine day then Tuesday was designer day - so no surprise that Tuesday was the fave day for this group of design junkies. We had the morning free so I headed over to the Kips Bay Show House...

As is typical of show houses, Kips Bay was larger than life and not for ordinary living. The bedroom designed by Amanda Nisbit, above, was a standout and made me want to curl up in the bed with a copy of Valley of the Dolls. It was the perfect rich girl gone wrong bedroom, with the shocking Marilyn Minter piece over the bed, along with the feminine yet almost violent hand-painted pink wall covering.

The color rush continued at the D&D Building where I joined my fellow bloggers at a Lilly Pulitzer picnic in this fabulous showroom. That's the cute Kravet team of Jennifer Powell and Ann Feldstein in their best Lilly attire. (Missing from this photo is Beth Greene, who conceived the whole affair, and who also wore the chicest dresses every day, complete with wardrobe changes for evening.)

This room was just too fabulous for words and made me want to light up a pink Virgina Slims and play some high-stakes backgammon.

And from there it was an inspiring talk from design icon, Barbara Barry (with Scott Kravet below)...

The audience of bloggers was a tweet with proclamations of love for Ms. Barry and her inspiring words..."Food cooked with love tastes better"..."Life can be hard but it can be balanced by beauty and gentleness"..."Beauty causes me to slow down"...and on and on. I think we all fell a little bit in love.

Why else would over one hundred accomplished design professionals literally line up to have the chance to meet Barbara Barry?

From the D&D we jetted off to Mayo Studios in Long Island City for a Traditional Home party to celebrate more fabulous designers, included the humble and funny Suzanne Kasler.

Here she is trying to get out of being photographed...sorry, couldn't resist!

This charming desk makes me want to create something beautiful.

Love this pretty inspiration board and the understated pink color scheme.

I couldn't manage more photos of some of the other incredible designers there, including Eric Cohler, Thomas O'Brien and David Easton, as my hands were full with my gorgeous "Inspired Styles" book from Kravet, my enormous goodie bag (worthy of their own blog post), cocktails and finger food.

As we were leaving Mayo Studios, I stumbled upon this inspiring prop/flower room for the stylists working photo shoots here.


The last day of Blogfest ended with a bang with arguably the most powerful woman in interior design. Margaret Russell is the new editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest and former editor-in-chief of ELLE DECOR.

After seeing Margaret on reality TV, I was bracing myself for a bit of a diva, but could not have been more wrong. She may be a Prada wearing Conde Nast editor, but there was no devil in her. It was exciting to hear that she loves blogs and comments herself. And hearing her insider stories was a treat. (She was at Liz Taylor's home on the day she died.)

Blogfest was an inspiration and such a wonderful opportunity to meet other bloggers in this wonderful design community. Thank you to Kravet for making this happen!