Excerpt from Living Traditions: Interiors by Matthew Patrick Smyth

Home Tour Book Excerpt SmythConnecticut country with a sense of humor? 
Why not? If this house took itself too seriously as far as décor goes, it wouldn’t suit the couple whose weekend getaway it is. They are light, happy, and fun. They love color. She’s a wonderful cook, and they entertain often.

The guiding principle here was comfort, which is as much a psychological issue as a physical one. Here’s why: I think every room should function for a single occupant as well as it does for a group. That takes planning. The volumes of this house are generous, so I organized the furniture to create both intimate spots for people to curl up in by themselves and to sit with friends. Adding color, detail, texture, and pattern to the corners ensured that there was plenty to look at from any vantage point, which also helps make the far reaches of the room seem not so very far after all.

This house has an interesting combination of rustic and refined elements attributable to the husband’s love of industrial design. He haunts local antiques shows and flea markets, which is the origin of many of the small objects—the mechanical toys, for instance—that give the rooms such a sense of whimsy. This client and I have a ritual: the Saturday morning of every Memorial Day and Labor Day, we go to the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair. The dealers can see that we are looking for something unexpected. You never know what will strike my client’s fancy—last time, he purchased an entire collection of antique chocolate molds.

A version of this article appeared in the September 2011 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Living with Art.