Take the City to the Suburbs

Denise Davies of D2 Interieurs ensures a smooth transition for a family of transplants.
Dining

A Moooi lighting fixture stretches over the dining room table, which is set on a wool-and-silk hand-knotted rug. Photographs by Ellen McDermott.

Lee and Jennifer Shufro didn’t want to play it safe. While touring the streets of Westport and other Fairfield County towns in search of a house for themselves and their young sons, they admired the neo-Colonials and Greek Revivals. But their minds were set on a house that would stand out. “We also wanted an interior designer who would push us a bit, someone who would bring in flair, something different,” says Lee, “Denise Davies was that person. And because we learned right away that Denise speaks her mind, we listened to her and followed her advice.” 

Davies, whose namesake business, D2 Interieurs, is based in Weston, understood the couple well. In addition to handing prospective clients a list of questions to answer about their lives, Davies begins every potential project with an interview. “I have an innate gift for pulling out of people what their style is,” says Davies. “In that getting-to-know-you first meeting, I really get who people are. It was important for this lovely couple that I help them make a home that was kid friendly, but also sophisticated. And I’ve developed a niche, which is designing homes for young families moving out of the city from an apartment.” 

That was exactly the situation here. The Shufros had been renting a cramped rental in Manhattan’s Battery Park City. “When the pandemic hit, nothing about it worked for us,” says Lee. With the whole family home all the time, the apartment felt confining. They fled to a rental home in Rowayton, and soon decided to buy a house somewhere nearby. 

They purchased the brand-new Westport spec home— a collaboration between Able Construction and Vita Design Group—and commissioned Davies to begin work even before the sale closed. “We had some furniture, of course, in the apartment,” says Lee, “but nothing to furnish a house like this.” Apart from a sofa and some mattresses and bed frames, Davies needed to furnish everything from scratch.

Sectional

In the living room, a custom sectional is upholstered with a Holly Hunt fabric; the banana silk rug is also a custom design. Photographs by Ellen McDermott.

Davies never takes her clients shopping. “It confuses most clients,” she says, “and because we have everything—fabric samples, tiles—at my firm, there’s no need to go into a store.” Lee adds, “Denise has a process. She adopts your vision for the home, shows you examples from which you make choices, then constructs the house room by room.”

In keeping with the decidedly contemporary feel of the architecture, Davies adhered to a largely neutral palette. One of the challenges, she admits, was the number of windows in the residence—long expanses of clerestories and entire window walls, many of which open out. “You can’t easily add treatments [to those windows],” she says, “and with lots of windows—which bring in lots of wonderful natural light—it can be a challenge to create a sense of warmth and intimacy.”

Master Bed

The primary bedroom is a calm oasis that uses a Phillip Jeffries’ grasscloth wallcovering; the bed is dressed with fabrics and shams from, respectively, Holly Hunt and Knoll. Photographs by Ellen McDermott.

But Davies’ embrace of quiet, softly hued furnishings and textured grasscloth wall-coverings, particularly in the primary bedroom, fosters a kind of familial cocooning. One of Davies’ signature techniques is to wallpaper ceilings. In Jennifer’s home office, Davies chose a highly patterned blue-and-white wallpaper for the ceiling. “A pattern like that on the walls would have made the room way too busy,” says Davies, “but on the ceiling, it makes it memorable and really defines it.” Lee adds rhetorically, “Who would think to do something that creative with a ceiling?”

The Shufros seem almost embarrassed to admit they no longer miss city living. “Denise was able to pull our entire house together in something like two months,” says Lee, with awe in his voice. “We couldn’t be more pleased. She created a calming effect for our family—a place where we’ll be staying.”