Decorating for the holidays and all year long
Seven years ago, Andrea and Andrew Shantz were charmed by this 18th-century colonial. “We especially liked this antique home because it is within biking distance of Fairfield center,” explains Andrea. The circa-1709 house was first owned by Captain John Osborn, who was elected the Deputy of Fairfield in 1699. The dining room is among the original rooms and retains its period paneling and details. The toile wallpaper sets a cheerful backdrop for a traditional red-and-green holiday color scheme, but this year Andrea hoped for a more sophisticated approach. Kelly Sohigian, of kellydesigns, took on the project.
For the Shantz’s dining room, Sohigian let the paper inspire her design scheme. “The toile scene represents the harvest, so I drew from that,” she explains. “Pheasants abound, so I placed feathers throughout the décor.” Sohigian incorporated burlap as table runners, alternating with plaid cloths, and also as ribbons and accents on the chairs. Above the fireplace, a burlap-covered frame surrounds a wreath, adding a whimsical element to the room. On the mantle, she blended a mixed-green garland of pine, boxwood, spruce, and cedar with both faux and real magnolia leaves. White lights woven into the garlands cast a soft glow.
On the table some modern touches add sparkle—mercury glass pedestals hold deep burgundy candles. Sohigian loves mixing old and new such as her collection of sterling napkin rings. “The current and classic can come together in a very cohesive way.”
Sohigian likes to shop locally and found decorative items at Vintage Garden, a gift and flower shop owned by Kathy Lee. “I love to expand on traditional greens and reds,” says Lee of the centerpiece. “Using seasonal leaves, like magnolia and eucalyptus add drama to a tablescape.” At each place setting, Sohigian created mini bouquets in mint-julep cups themed from the centerpiece arrangement. “It’s so inviting and I know my guests will be enchanted,” added Andrea Shantz.
For more information on Kelly Sohigian’s designs, visit kellydesignsofct.com or Kathy Lee and Vintage Garden, visit