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With Flying Colors
By Marni Elyse Katz | Photo: by Eric Roth | October 1, 2018
Designer Liz Caan takes a Weston home from boring to brilliant, brimming with multicolor hues.
It all started with the turquoise armoire in the living room. The Weston homeowner, who used to work in the fashion industry, had purchased it years ago for her first apartment from a Cape Cod antique shop. “She loved it, so we embraced it,” says designer Liz Caan, who wove moments of turquoise, large and small, throughout the house.
Caan’s mission—to transform the blandly impersonal interiors of the newly built Georgian colonial into a happy, fun home for a spirited family of five—was easy thanks to the trusting nature of her client. “I knew Liz would deliver a quirky, cool style,” the homeowner says. “I definitely did not want matchy-matchy.” Caan adds, “The house needed some crazy to make it special.”
Rather than confront visitors with color up front, Caan eased into it, filling the gracious entry with neutral tones in interesting textures. Taking a cue from the homeowner’s love of animal prints, Caan lined the stairs with a black and taupe cheetah print runner by Stark and laid a metallic silver-splattered cowhide on the floor. (“My kids thought someone accidently spilled paint on it!” the homeowner says with a laugh.) Grass cloth adds depth to the walls, and an existing antique secretary gets funky when paired with a shaggy Tibetan lamb-covered Lucite stool.
A glance at the living room to the right confirms that the homeowner has gone all in. “She was trusting and fearless,” Caan says. Despite the tame taupe sofa trimmed in fringe, the room bursts with color and pattern. The turquoise armoire pops prettily against hemp wallpaper printed with an orchid-colored geometric, while the rug’s smaller-scale print provides pattern underfoot. Caan balances the organic lines of the homeowner’s existing animal print armchair, which infuses a secondary touch of turquoise, with a nailhead-studded armchair in stripes. “The colors in the striped fabric unify the palette,” says Caan. “It was one of those moments where you reach into the bin and say, ‘Aha, this is it!’”
Whereas the living room started out with a few of the homeowner’s own pieces, which informed Caan’s scheme, she designed the family room from scratch. A custom-colored honeycomb hex rug from Stark sets the stage for a wild zebra print-upholstered sofa and a pair of scrumptious velvet lounge chairs with a disco vibe. “Without the sheen, dark, saturated colors can go dead,” says Caan. For the finishing touch, a third chair is upholstered in a four-color stripe-y geometric. “It’s a clunky silhouette, but everyone loved it, so we disguised it with a far-out pattern,” she says. “It’s hiding in plain sight.”
The mahogany paneled den was a time of reckoning. “All that wood wasn’t doing the room any favors,” says Caan. “It read as expected and overshadowed the amazing herringbone floors.” Her solution? To lacquer the whole thing Benjamin Moore’s Calypso Blue. The homeowner admits she wavered. For a minute. Then she realized, “If you’re going to be a bear, you may as well be a grizzly.”
Caan employed a brighter, more neutral palette in the dining room, working around the table that the homeowner had inherited from her parents. Cole & Son’s Woods & Pears wallpaper ensconces the room, and an enormous gilded brass orb hangs at the center, echoing the wallpaper’s dangling golden pears. “The table and chairs are small in scale,” Caan says. “We needed a statement-making piece to occupy the extra air space.”
The butler’s pantry, which connects the dining room to the kitchen, is lined in violet and metallic gold Katie Ridder Leaf wallpaper. “It’s perfect for a small space,” Caan says. “Too much would be overpowering.” A lantern in the same violet hue hangs over the sleek dining table in the crisp white eat-in kitchen.
Caan carried orchid accents up to the master bedroom, which has the feel of an elegant boutique hotel suite. Lavender and dove gray striped wallpaper in a subtle lizard print is a soothing backdrop for the gray velvet-upholstered bed. “We used velvets, wool sateens and other sumptuous materials in a soft palette to create a haven,” Caan says.
It’s a fun, uplifting house and Caan is satisfied, noting that it finally reflects the personality of the people who live there. The homeowner loves it and feels confident guests do too. “Most people say, ‘Wow!’ I think that means they like it,” she says. “No matter what, it makes an impact.”
Liz Caan & Co.
Aerin for Visual Comfort
Dining room pendant light
Master bedroom wallpaper
Butler’s pantry wallpaper
Dining room wallpaper
Osborne & Little
Living room throw pillows
Entry and living room wallpaper
Butler’s pantry cabinet hardware
Living room armchair
Living room coffee table and side tables