by Marisa Marcantonio

When my mother, Nancy Marcantonio, an interior designer living and working in Southport, Connecticut of NHM Interiors, wanted to build her own home, she turned to the Classical American architecture firm of Fairfax and Sammons, a New York and Palm Beach-based husband and wife team who design homes in the classical style with a nod to the needs of how we live today.

My mother has, over the years of working in design, developed a passion for Jeffersonian architecture and Georgian antiques. When the opportunity arose to design her own home, she took the time and did her research to find the right person to execute her vision. It became a wonderful journey. Her priorities included just six requests made to Richard: the living room must be central to the house and should be designed for living in. All the major rooms must have access to the garden; the master bedroom should be on the ground floor; the dining room must be an octagon (a pure bow to Jefferson), and the house should have a walled and private garden. And finally, the garages should not be seen when observing the facade or the garden (they were finally placed entirely underneath the house). For the exterior, a walled garden was designed with a 10 foot high battered wall, which, for the uninitiated means that, as in the old days, no mortar was used.

The creative dialog between architect and interior designer was alive and well from foundation to roof line, where proportion and symmetry were the key elements. Jeffersonian concepts and modern day living were fused, and it was a learning process for me, as I was privy to much of the process. From visiting the job site, to spending time with the amazingly knowledgeable Anne and Richard, to reading the exquisite hand-drawn plans and observing the various phases of construction, the house became a project my sister, Amanda Reynal, an interior designer with her firm Reynal Interiors, and I were a part of. The home took 6 months to plan and design on paper, and 18 months to build. The comfortable scale found at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Edgemont, a house my mother had discovered before her project began -- was inspiration. For materials, clapboard and flat board with wood quoining made the home look like a Jeffersonian house, built in wood not brick, to work within the Connecticut vernacular. The house turned out to be everything my mother had hoped for and more.

Fairfax and Sammons drawings define precise scale and symmetry. The layout and roof line of Lillifields was based loosely on Villa Malcontenta by Palladio.

The back of the house faces the road and sits behind a 10 foot battered wall, to keep the entrance private. The design for the garden is Italianate and rather more formal than the traditional English cottage garden. The house is turned around and the sunken garden creates privacy. The bay windows that flank the loggia have a 1930's Swedish classical feel.

In keeping with a New England vernacular, Lillifields is constructed of clapboard and wooden quoins. The steep roof functions well to throw off the snow of a New England winter. Tall chimneys give the house a strong presence.

The entry foyer with spiraling staircase flanked by columns define the rectangular space.

The living room is defined by an entablature, a cornice with medillions identical to the cornices on the exterior of the house, here rising to a barrel vaulted ceiling of 22 feet in height.

The octagonal dining room/library, a Jefferson favorite, is defined by a round dining table.

The kitchen with breakfast room and garden beyond, create a pastoral view. My mom wanted a chef's kitchen with tons of counter space and storage.

Elegant cabinetry and sky blue marble defined the master bath with classical detailing and made good use of the space.

A soaking tub was set in below floor level and the shower and water closet flanked the tub behind closed mirrored doors.

The loggia with barrel vaulted ceiling painted sky blue reflects light by diffusing it. The herringbone patterned brick of Boston Pavers provide an aged patina.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Over 400 guests attended the Greenwich Red Cross’s Red & White Ball on Saturday, May 15th at a fun and unusual venue, the Net Jets Hangar at the Westchester Airport. This year’s theme, “Stand by Me” embodied the mission of the Red Cross to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies, and the fete featured designer tabletops from a host of designers. The event raised more than $740,000 to support the programs and services of the Greenwich Chapter that provide immediate humanitarian aid – food, shelter, financial assistance, temporary housing, mental health support and emergency supplies to those in need. If all this kindness if making you reach for your check book, reach out to them here, at The Red Cross.
The following designers channeled their creative and charitable energy:
Ashley Allen Home, Bardin Palomo, Betteridge Jewelers and Warren Lagerloef, Carey Karlan - Last Detail, Carolyn Dempsey Design, Cheryle Janelli of Cocoon, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, Gardiner Larson, Gregory McGuire of McGuire Home, Hoagland's of Greenwich, House of Flowers, Jewels by Viggi and Amy Hirsch, Julianne Stirling of Stirling Design Associates, LLC, Kat Burki, Linda Ruderman Interiors, Lynnens Inc with Dransfield & Ross, MacKenzie Childs, Marcia Tucker Interiors, Muse Interiors, Richards, NancyMarcantonio for Baby Decorator, Rhonda Eleish and Edie van Breems for Eleish van Breems, The Flower Bar, Tom Farrington, and ZdM Design Studio.

Marcia Tucker created a tented fantasy with porcelain birds and small flower arrangements around the table. Mixing high and low, she used a blue and white embroidered napkin, beautiful china and chic white plates from CB2.

Adorable!! Nancy Marcantonio of NHM Interiors (go mom!) and her custom nursery design company Baby Decorator created a playful children's table in blue, pink and orange, replete with giant balloons and adorable knit dolls sitting in a chair and on a BMW push car. Colorful Gerber Daisies rose from their vases amidst turquoise and pink rick rack napkins and matching custom octagonal plates. Guests got mod lunch boxes as a take home gift.

Bright baby flatware with binkies for napkin rings.

Cottages and Gardens Magazine's table with flowers arranged by Phillip Gorrivan, china from Frances Palmer and William Yeoward Crystal.

The smart, energetic super talented Edie and Rhonda of Van Breems used stunning Fortuny fabrics for their Gustavian chairs seats and tablecloth, and a ring of orchids surrounded a little leaf-woven pagoda. See more of their furniture at Eleish Van Breems.

Lynnens of Greenwich used Dransfield and Ross table accessories, brass nautical lanterns and a festive paisley print.

Jewels by Viggi used gold- edged L'Objet plates on a red and yellow ikat tablecloth, placing their jewels in a teacup flower arrangement.

Muse Interiors also used a gorgeous ikat for their table, and brought in the summer entertaining classic--foldable tortoise - finish chairs.

Hoagland's table with Hermes's covetable Balcon red and white china.

Photos from Cottages & Gardens by Paul Johnson
Ashley Allan's table has a huge arrangement of just cut garden peonies. White stemware played off the pomegranate colored swirly fabric.