The Stylish Litchfield County Home of Instagram’s Eva Chen
The fashion guru's country home gets a pared-down, classic look.
“She loved the vibe of it,” says designer Heide Hendricks of the Litchfield County house client Eva Chen found in the perfect spot for her country home. By chance, Chen, Instagram’s director of fashion and shopping partnerships (and former Lucky and Teen Vogue editor in chief), looked at Hendrick’s farmhouse that was on the market and, while the house was perfect, the location was not as secluded as Chen wanted. So, while a real estate transaction between the two didn’t follow, a partnership did when Chen decided on a 1929 farmhouse with iconic New England vernacular still intact and an ideal setting. “She loved the house, but it needed a singular architectural direction,” says Hendricks. “We just know how to go into an older house and peel away the modifications, so it looks like one style.”
The inside was inconsistent in tone from room to room and would not accommodate the way Chen and her family live. “She wanted us to take the footprint and give it an open flow, but with segmented spaces where you could be alone with a book or an area where it fostered more of a gathering. It’s not a huge house. We wanted to help her create multi-use spaces without making it a big open loft,” says Hendricks. The designer and her team took down a wall to create a large living space on one side of the house, while the other side focused on segmented space. A garage was converted to a grandparents’ suite, the kitchen and bathrooms were renovated, floors refinished, and every surface painted.
Chen looked to Hendricks to guide her on the interior selections. “She describes herself as not at all an interior person, but is an aesthete,” says Hendricks. “We helped her figure out that she gravitates toward the midcentury. Her interiors are similar to how she dresses: pared down, minimal and classic, but not opposed to pops of color or pattern used sparingly.”
The living room was arranged with multi-seating areas: with places to read and places to socialize. For the spaces the kids gravitate toward, Hendricks used materials that could take a beating. A Perennials indoor/ outdoor fabric covers a pair of tub chairs, and on a curved back sofa from Lawson-Fenning, is a durable tight weave from Romo. A window seat and a reading corner are also covered in indoor/ outdoor fabrics. Unifying the room is a large jute rug layered with an antique rug. “We kept the palette pretty subdued with very little pattern and soft colors. I love pattern but with Eva’s comfort zone, she gravitates more towards soft, quiet colors,” says Hendricks.
Hendricks pushed Chen out of her comfort zone in the dining room covered in a vibrant French paper. “Eva was reluctant to have a rich ornate pattern. We showed her that it flows so nicely with the rest of the house because every color in the house is in the wallpaper,” says Hendricks. She adds, “It’s almost like a vibrant, interesting coat liner—you don’t see it all the time but when you do, it feels special.” A leather-wrapped light fixture hanging above the table is striking but uncomplicated, allowing the wallpaper to have its moment.
Hendricks reined in the pattern and upped the functionality in the kitchen, which was once a galley. “We took down a wall to make a large space and changed the look of the fireplace to something more minimal. We added blue kitchen cabinets and a worktable instead of an island—they didn’t want to encourage eating at the island! It needed to be a dedicated worktable, and it seemed more appropriate here. It feels like it [the house] has been set up with solid bones and structure so you can throw life at it,” says Hendricks. “We gave her the type of decor that will look better as you live in it.”
The print version of this article appears with the headline: House of Style.