A Family Affair
Blending traditional and contemporary, a ridge home shines
The legendary designer Elsie de Wolfe once said, “It is the personality of the mistress that the house expresses. Men are forever guests in our homes, no matter how much happiness they find there.” Elsie de Wolfe had never met the Fabros, where decorating is very much a family affair.
Both Chris, a financial analyst, and Leslie, a former teacher, grew up surrounded by design. Chris was greatly influenced by his father, an architect. He prefers a cleaner, more modern line while Leslie describes herself as more of a traditionalist. Their Greenfield Hill home, located in the gated community of The Ridge, is a blend of their styles with items sourced from antique dealers and artisans from around the country, commissioned works of art, and treasures from Leslie’s childhood home in New Canaan.
The Fabros moved into their home eight years ago from a much smaller cape in Westport. After a long search, Leslie was introduced to interior designer Emily Fuhrman of Sage & Ginger. “In designing our home, we preferred to mix and match different styles, rather than being too modern or too traditional. Emily listened to us and successfully married our ideas to come up with a design appealing to both of us.”
One of the goals for the home was to display a collection of art and furniture, but do it in a manner that would allow for two very active boys and a labrador retriever to live comfortably.
“It was great working with Leslie and Chris because they both have a real appreciation for design. They were open and drawn to unique pieces and willing to take risks which took our search way beyond local showrooms. We commissioned works from multiple artists and sourced items from dealers all over the country,” says Fuhrman.
The living room represents Leslie and Chris’s aesthetic. The painting that hangs over the sofa was ordered online through 1stdibs from a dealer in Texas. “We only saw a picture of the living room painting online,” Fuhrman explains. “It definitely takes a bold personality to make such a risky move and it complements the room perfectly.” The painting over the fireplace was a commissioned piece by Kerri Rosenthal and the prints over the bar area were gifts from Leslie’s parents. Fuhrman believes that “art is more than just paintings on canvas—it’s the mix of textures, colors, and mediums that creates depth and interest.”
The dining room shares the same eclectic formality found in the living room, which was designed around the table and buffet. The Fabros sought to fill the remaining spaces with pieces that were more modern. The chairs come from Artistic Frame, and to differentiate the head chairs from the side chairs they chose to use a different fabric. But the focal point is indisputably the painting of the lotus flowers that Chris found on a business trip in Singapore. He sent pictures home and both women loved it.
As with most homes, the family room is the true center. Because that space enjoys a tremendous amount of natural light, the decision was made not to dress the windows. Instead, the attention was placed on the walls which were painted in a glaze to add a subtle texture and pop. “We chose a large clean-lined sectional by Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman with a curved back corner which goes a long way to soften the oversized piece, and covered it in a rich, chocolate indoor/outdoor velvet from Donghia,” explains Fuhrman. Leslie wanted a game table for the boys, so we had a table custom made by Bausman & Company that sits off to the side of the fireplace.” Even in this high traffic living area, the Fabros sought custom made pieces. The coffee table and TV console are from The Stela Collection by Traci Anton. Framed vintage posters of Italian landmarks—a nod to the couple’s Italian descent—complete the room’s look.
The space for the kids’ lounge remained empty for a while until the Fabros and Fuhrman decided on the best use. “Since the home has plenty of space for play and TV lounging, we decided to make this into a homework/art space for the boys. We wanted this area to be inspirational and inviting so the boys would want to spend time here doing their work and crafts.”
Here they chose a modern earthy look and the boys selected the fun, chalkboard paint for the accent wall. A round table from Orient Express Furniture with a concrete resin top and wood base is modern, functional and can take a beating. The bright orange chairs from Zuo Modern add a pop of color and really give the space its personality. They sit on an indoor/outdoor rug from Jaipur with a circle pattern in orange and white.
In a home filled with a lot of masculinity, Leslie wanted to create a retreat for herself that was distinctly fun and feminine. Since her office is tucked away in a private space on the second floor they were able to depart from the overall theme of the home. “Leslie wanted a really fresh, modern vibe. We chose a feminine desk from Bungalow 5 that sits under a hot-pink floral light fixture from Worlds Away,” says Fuhrman. “We continued the pink with a Phillip Jeffries grass cloth that we placed in the two alcoves that house white lacquered geometric bookshelves from Modloft.”
Fuhrman found an abstract painting by local artist Audrey Klotz that they all agreed pulled the room’s colors together. A sheer silvery fabric from Mokum was used for roman shades on the windows. “We had a lot of fun creating this space,” say Leslie.