Meet the Designer: Heide Hendricks
Uncover Heidi Hendricks' authentic design style.
Heide Hendricks and her architect/third-generation builder husband, Rafe Churchill, adopted a hobby of buying and fixing up inexpensive properties, which in turn attracted potential clients. Now merged, Hendricks Churchill occupies an office on the green in Sharon, Connecticut, a renovated Greek Revival that houses the staff along with Reservoir, a warehouse and gallery space, featuring Hendricks’ sourced and edited collection of heirloom rugs, contemporary art, furniture and textiles.
You and Rafe both grew up in Woodbury. What coincidence brought you together?
We probably lived just a few miles apart, but we went to school and college without knowing each other. One day, home for the summer, I was helping out at my father’s sign company, sanding and painting, and Rafe happened to come by to visit a friend. We hit it off and became good friends.
What is it like to be partners at work?
We work so well together because there are distinct lines between our work. He doesn’t really care about furnishings, textiles, rugs; and I don’t walk in and say this trim is wrong, what were you thinking? We overlap in finishes, tiles, lighting fixtures—we have a yin yang thing going on. Our aesthetics were aligned from the first, and we continue to evolve together.
You started doing renovations as a hobby—what draws you to a house?
There has to be an authenticity. You want to walk in and feel there’s a history there—charming details we can embellish, as if it had been lovingly cared for over the years.
How do you give a sense of history to new construction?
You stay true to the traditional, but the rooms are larger and the ceilings are higher. The trim details look as if they were carefully considered by a carpenter, not just stock moldings off the shelves.
Why do you introduce colorful trim into rooms with traditional white plaster walls?
It’s a great opportunity to get color into a space in moderation. Also, it’s easy to change out the trim color rather than repaint the whole room.
What’s the idea behind your Reservoir retail operation?
I’m always out at flea markets, estate sales, looking at interesting, unusual, well-made items—maybe some piece with great bones that needs the right fabric. I stockpile so it doesn’t end up in my own home; I love having an inventory.
How do you divest yourself of an object you love?
It’s an irony, but I’m not materialistic, not attached to things. I love beautiful things but don’t feel I have to own them.
But there must be an object you’d hate to part with.
A friend remarked she’s seen so many of our homes and some pieces never get cut. There’s a large slab table, very wabi-sabi, rustic and primitive, and its been our outdoor table for 20 years. I think I originally found it in the town dump.
The print version of this article appears with the headline: Heide Hendricks.