Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tricks of the trade

To say that Cindy Rinfret has a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to creating gorgeous interiors would be the ultimate understatement. A design education at RISD and the University of Copenhagen School of Architecture will give you that, not to mention over twenty years working in the trade with the best architects, upholsterers and stylists.

Here are six of Cindy's best tricks for creating an inviting space.

Got a limited budget? Instead of going broke on an expensive new sofa splurge instead on fabulous throw pillows. Luxurious pillows will bring new life to your sofa and make it look expensive.

We have the most amazing selection of throw pillows in Rinfret Home & Garden right now (as seen above in cheery, spring colors) plus more to be found in our online shop.

If you have low ceilings there is something you can do to give the appearance of height. Never leave your ceiling white. This is a huge pet peeve of Cindy's. Too often people will put time and energy into decorating a room and then stop short with the ceiling. You can choose a complimentary color to your walls but that may be better left to a professional, so to play it safe you can also simply use the same color as your walls but 50% lighter for the ceiling.

In the above dining room the blue ceiling perfectly compliments the hand-painted wall covering.

Be brave in design and think outside the box. Try something new and find inspiration in the unexpected. Cindy often incorporates unusual finds from her travels into her interior design.

In Cindy's master bedroom at Laurel Hill, above, she used an unusual piece that she found in Thailand for her headboard.

Think BIG when it comes to lighting. A common mistake is going too small with light fixtures. It can be hard to visualize how a lantern in a crowded showroom will look in your open entryway. So many times our clients will see the enormous box containing their new light fixture and worry that the scale will be too way big - but once they see it installed they immediately recognize why Cindy chose that size. You want people to notice your beautiful light fixtures (especially since these pieces are often pricey) so don't be afraid to make an impact.

See what we mean?

The beauty is in the details. The fun part of design is in adding the personal touch that says something about you and your family. Whether that be a gorgeous coffee table book that shows off your love of fashion, a map from a favorite city, or a monogrammed pillow, details add personality. Plus, people will notice (and even if they don't, we guarantee that you will, and that's what it's all about).

Even for a decorator show house, Cindy made the extra effort to bring in pieces that referenced the environment of the show house (in this case, the Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI).

Last but not least: accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! Much like the ceiling that is left white, too many projects are left unaccessorized. It's not uncommon to lose steam after spending so much time (and money) finding the perfect rug, furniture and fabrics for your room -- but don't! Accessories are the jewelry of a room. The power of a well placed throw, vase, book or chic tray is not to be underestimated.

The above vignette would be far less interesting without the urn, lantern, frames, art and mirror.

Still feeling greedy for more insider tips? Check out this fantastic interview on the Asmara website (where you will also find the most gorgeous rugs) and hear Cindy describe her process in creating the beautiful design of the Tower Suite at the Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI. (We encourage you to also check out our blog post on this project as well.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Cleaning

It is officially Spring and in the spirit of "Spring Cleaning" we thought we would share with you some of our favorite baths. Perhaps these may inspire you to update a bath in your own home, after all, Spring is a time for new beginnings.

The gorgeous bath above is from Tommy Hilfiger's former home in Greenwich and it epitomizes the luxurious yet light and open bath that pretty much everyone loves.

This bath is from Cindy Rinfret's home, Laurel Hill. Cindy ends each day with a peaceful bubble bath so when she designed her home she made sure that this space was beautiful and calming. To achieve this look she used hand-painted paper from Gracie. The shelves next to the bath feature photos of loved ones and coral collected on travels. It's no wonder that this is one of Cindy's favorite places in her home.

This powder room is also from Cindy's home. Powder Rooms are such fun because these jewel box spaces offer the perfect opportunity to take risks.

We love the Greek Key detail on the sink that is again mirrored in the tape along the chair rail.

This bath is simple and preppy, and fittingly so as it's in the Ocean House in the exclusive blue blood vacation spot, Watch Hill, RI. Monogrammed towels don't just have to be initials, if you have a summer cottage with a cute name, put it on the towels. Design is truly in the details.

As we noted before, powder rooms offer a space to have fun and take risks. Cindy did just that with this Western Ranch's powder room.

Believe it or not, but the bath below belongs to the same owner. The house is different (located in Greenwich instead of Wyoming):

This is one of our ultimate favorite baths. It is feminine without being froufrou, and stylish without being trendy. Check out more photos of this bath in a gorgeous spread from the latest issue of Beautiful Kitchens & Baths.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What's Hot & What's Not: Cindy's Design Philosophy

This past weekend Cindy gave a presentation to the Junior League of Greenwich on "What's Hot & What's Not" in interior design. Her talk was so well received that we thought we should share it with all of you here.

The main takeaway from the lecture was that homes are meant to be lived in and should be luxurious yet comfortable and reflect your personality and your family's lifestyle. The days of living and dining rooms that are only used for guests are over. As Cindy loves to say, "life is too short to put your jewelry in the vault -- wear it!" Here are some photos that Cindy showed in her presentation as examples of how her own home reflects her philosophy of comfortable luxury and the importance of making your home work for your lifestyle.

Cindy's dining room is intimate in scale and that's how she likes it. The space is perfect for dinners at home with her family.

Cindy loves to throw big dinner parties, and when she does (like the time she had over forty guests at her house for Thanksgiving) she clears out the furniture and makes a grand statement with a long table.

In addition to entertaining, Cindy loves the outdoors. Her "outdoor dining room," complete with a pizza oven, is picture-perfect for a baby shower.

A favorite place in Cindy's home is her outdoor living room. Some might think that Connecticut is not an ideal place for outdoor living but Cindy and her family have been known to linger by the fire in this "room" as they cuddle under blankets while holding hot drinks.

Many of you have seen Cindy's designs in gorgeous magazine spreads, or in her book, but have you ever wondered what these rooms looked like before Cindy blessed them with her magic touch? Cindy brought the JL ladies behind the scenes into some of her most fabulous projects and let's just say that there were lots of oohs and ahhs in the room. See for yourself:

Tommy Hilfiger and his wife Dee look fabulous in their ultra-luxe penthouse duplex in the iconic Plaza Hotel. But what this spread doesn't reveal is that this super chic apartment had to be totally gut-renovated before it could achieve the aura of timeless elegance. This photo of the same staircase shows just how much work went into creating it:

Here's another gorgeous spread:

Take a look at the same master bedroom during construction and before the addition of the glamorous headboard and chic bedding from Leotine Linens.

As you can see, the Plaza project for Tommy was a total renovation. Interior design doesn't always have be about gut renovation to achieve dramatic results. Accessories can result in a dramatic transformation, without the headache of painting or construction. The difference that some accessories can make is evident in a project that Cindy did for a Greenwich family that won Connecticut Cottages & Gardens' Innovation in Design Awards in 2010. The magazine had to shoot the home for their IDA issue but the client had not yet accessorized so we had to bring over items from Rinfret Home & Garden to get the client's dining room, below, photo shoot ready.

Here's the magazine-worthy result:

Well, we hope you enjoyed this little teaser on Cindy's presentation for the Junior League. It goes to show that you don't have to do a total gut renovation to achieve dramatic results. And when decorating, always remember that your home should make you feel comfortable so stay away from anything that doesn't suit your lifestyle because this is YOUR home. Now go decorate!