Cultural Influences Shape A Designer’s Unique Aesthetic
A sleek powder-blue Vespa adds whimsy to a renovated barn, which serves as a creative “play space” for homeowner and D2 Interieurs owner Denise Davies.
Photographs by Jane Beiles
Over the past 11 years I have changed literally every square inch of this house,” says interior designer Denise Davies of her genre-defying home discreetly tucked away on three lush acres in Weston. What sounds like hyperbole becomes completely plausible once one enters the deceptively understated farmhouse with a gambrel roof, and discovers a stylish, chicly curated home full of life, color, and vitality.
Built in 1929, additions were added in 1970, 1980, 1990 and, more recently, in 2018. “The additions were done by different homeowners, so the house is quirky,” says Denise, “but that’s one of the things that attracted us to it.” Denise and her husband Darren have a blended family. Each has a 16-year-old son from a previous marriage and, happily, everyone gets along. Denise’s son, Jesse, lives at home full time while Darren’s son, Jackson, migrates back and forth between his mother’s house just down the street (artist and D2 Art Director Linda Colletta) and this wonderfully unconventional home.
The couple purchased the Lords Highway property in 2007 and originally had envisioned a 2,000 square foot expansion to the 3200 square foot home. The architectural plans were drawn up and the project was ready to go when—Boom!—the 2008 financial crisis put a screeching halt to the ambitious renovation. Denise now believes it was a blessing in disguise. “I am so happy we didn’t proceed at that time,” she admits. “Our house is the perfect size. By waiting it’s allowed us to live in the house and do the construction in on our own time and our own terms.”
Today, all the rooms in the Davies home have been thoughtfully redesigned, modernized, and refreshed. Every space is functional and visually stunning: an authentic reflection of Davies’s dynamic personality and taste. Her worldview and visual vocabulary were shaped during her formative years growing up in Miami, followed by stints in LA, Florence, and New York and these cultural influences come to bear on her unique aesthetic. When a visitor enters this house, it’s like being instantly transported out of Connecticut to a high end VRBO rental in Miami, or Palm Springs, or Berlin.
The house is at once playful and sophisticated. The eye travels from striking mid-century artwork to a diverse collection of abstract ceramic pieces; then to a pair of luxe vintage swivel chairs from Germany, up to the elegant pink foil papered ceiling, finally landing on a neon sign on the living room wall that perfectly captures the overall vibe with one simple word: “FUN.”
Even the laundry room is a showstopper. Located at the top of the stairs on the second floor, the graphic Dropit black and white wallpaper and patterned ceramic flooring juxtaposed against a bright purple sink makes a bold statement, and is an unexpected surprise. Who would think to make their laundry room a focal point? Denise Davies would. “Everyone hates doing laundry,” she declares. “So one of the signature things I do with my design clients—if they’re up for it—is to make the laundry room a fun destination. So of course, I wanted mine to be extra cool!”
Davies didn’t intend to become an interior designer. Her original career path was high fashion, but over years spent living on both coasts, she bought, renovated, and sold a number of properties. She already possessed an eye for style, so it was a natural evolution to bring her fashion sense to the world of interior design. It was never intended it to be a new career, but soon Davies began helping friends and family reimagine their spaces. After relocating from New York to Connecticut, she transitioned seamlessly into the field of professional interior design, opening D2 Interieurs in 2011.
The Westport-based design firm is now growing at warp speed. Three years ago, Davies renovated the 100-year-old barn on her property and created a modern loft-like area that provides an addtional design workspace to help her connect with her creative side.
Over the years, the first floor of the house has been stylishly redone, including the living room, dining room, “man cave,” foyer, powder room, and staircase. The old kitchen was small and dark with no connection to the other living spaces. It’s now a sleek and inviting area with modern white cabinetry and Quartzite vent hood, counters, and center island. Upper cabinets were eliminated and replaced with original artwork, making the kitchen airy and appealing.
The last phase of the renovation included raising the second floor roof two-and-a-half feet and an expansion onto an unused deck. A sophisticated master bathroom suite along with two walk-in closets, a new bathroom for Jesse, and the laundry room were added.
Now that it’s all done, Davies finds it hard to choose her favorite space. “They are all my babies, but if I had to choose, it would be my master bedroom and bathroom suite. It’s the place I can go to unwind and shut out the world after a crazy busy day.”
Her design philosophy? “Surround yourself with things that make you happy,” she says without hesitation. “I always incorporate vintage items into every room I design. This gives the space a curated feel and some history. I have amazing vintage dealers in Miami, Italy, and on the West coast who send me pictures as soon as unique items arrive, so I am constantly buying things both for myself and for my clients. I really like to mix, and I think that’s what makes great design.” She pauses. “When people come here, I want them to feel like that they’ve entered a place completely different from what they were expecting. I want all the spaces I design to feel eclectic, modern, lived-in, and pulled together.”
So is her house finally done? Denise smiles. “It’s done for now, but as a designer, I’m never done. I’m always changing things. I can’t stop! Next up is a new bathroom for Jackson.”