Passion is Prudent
A Westport home bursts with color and charm at the behest of creatively-minded homeowners.
“I have a little wanderlust, and we just wanted a new adventure,” says Amy Lynch on moving her family to Westport a few years ago after more than two decades in Brooklyn. “We fell in love with this little old house that was for-sale-by-owner. We loved its quirks and eccentricities. We both [Amy and her husband, Rummy] grew up in old houses with parents who are all about maintaining history [with] moms who had great eyes for decorating and color. Rummy’s dad was an architect and mine had an antiques store… We loved that it wasn’t your typical historic house, but we had to adhere to rules because it’s in a historic district.”
Neither Amy, the VP Brand Creative Director of American Eagle, nor Rummy have a formal design background. But they both have a keen eye and a love for the unexpected. They came into their relationship with a mishmash of midcentury pieces, artwork and antiques, plus a love of curation and the hunt. “We intentionally went into the house to make it 100 percent ours,” says Lynch. “I wanted it to feel like everything around me is meaningful.” They did light renovations, tweaking the flow just a bit but keeping all of the house’s quirkier elements—like a funky window and hand-built cabinets in the pass-through bar area—and adding a new entry that functions more as a mudroom for their two boys. They painted the entire space white and sanded the floors for a clean slate. “We wanted to live in it and see where the light hit before we made big decisions. We made it a very personal curation of stuff in all the rooms.”
The new entry is painted entirely in Farrow & Ball’s Studio Green. Two one-of-a-kind chairs—one looks like a pelican and one a rooster—from Holler & Squall fill up space and make a statement. “It’s a large space, so we needed to fill it up, and when you walk in it’s like a ‘whoa what are those?’ moment,” explains Lynch. Off the new entry is the former one (now the landing), where a pair of Lichtensteins, purchased by Rummy’s father, hang over a red modular Ikea table the couple has had for 20 years. “The prints are important to us because we remember them in Rummy’s house growing up, and we thought they’d be a big wow.”
The formal living room is simple, but bold. “We wanted to blast that room with color,” says Lynch. A curved green sofa fits into the bow window. A pair of midcentury armchairs is covered in Josef Frank’s Hawaii print. “I have always loved Josef Frank, and my mom’s side of the family is Swedish. We fell in love with his pattern and the optimism of his prints. If you look around, you’ll see the house is connected with little touches of green.”
That touch of green explodes in the more-is-more dining room. Iconic banana leaf wallpaper covers the walls, and Pelle Designs’ Original Bubble chandelier hangs in the center of the room. Ward Bennett mohair velvet boardroom chairs found at auction surround the table. Explains Lynch, “The wallpaper was going to be in the new entry, but we did a last-minute switch. It felt more fun in the dining room, the whole room feels like it has weird-60s-vibe. Sometimes we just really go for it.”
She adds: “The house is a happy place, and a lot of that is because there is so much color and it’s such a high-low mix of things that nothing feels too precious. It’s a real good-time Charlie, I think. Color intrinsically makes people happy—that makes people relax and have a good time.”
The print version of this article appears with the headline: Passion Project.