A custom handknotted wool rug designed by Gorrivan and made through Holland & Sherry infuses the living room with his colorful reinterpretation of a vine arbor/treillage pattern.
This transatlantic designer and his family never miss an opportunity to drop in on their cozy Washington, CT nest.
For designer Philip Gorrivan, finding the perfect country house meant creating a comfortable and stylish retreat for his family to create memories when they gather on this side of the Atlantic. The project has also provided a vehicle for his creativity to soar and an outlet for an interesting narrative and authenticity that speaks to the interests of himself and his family.
With he and his wife coming from Maine and Vermont respectively, they’ve both inherited many Colonial pieces. “It’s fun to weave those into the space and to bring in some interesting modern pieces to keep it fresh and create a contrast between rural and midcentury,” shares Gorrivan, who included plenty of Scandinavian furniture in the mix.
The kitchen’s neutral palette is accentuated by a collection of 18th century creamware.
“This is a place where I can experiment, try new things, work with new finishes,” the designers says. “If you look at my (other) work, I’m often weaving in lots of color in my projects. I guess I could have brought in more color, but I wanted Mother Nature to set the tone.”
This house has good bones, deep fireplaces and wide chestnut floors; the previous owner had done some nice additions, so how to proceed with the interiors was a gradual evolution. “A country house shouldn’t feel done up,” states Gorrivan, whose vision was to marry nice materials and interesting finishes with some imperfection as well.
He approached the project on a room-by-room basis and appreciated the luxury of living in the new home for a while before making changes. Getting to know the house helped guide him through the process.
Instead of a woodland scene, the handpainted Gracie wallpaper introduces a fun tropical motif to the dining room, which includes a furniture grouping Gorrivan had imagined in his head for years before seeing the property.
Dramatic wallpaper and a colorful collection create a bold statement.
Gorrivan describes the home as a series of really small and then bigger rooms. “I really love little rooms,” he adds. “They give you that moment to do something really special. You can create a little jewel box.” The smallest room in this house is an office that sits just three people, and Gorrivan notes that the family is often attracted to this space.
Furthermore, Gorrivan’s love of wallpaper is evident throughout the house. “I used a handprinted Gracie wallcovering for the dining room, which is something I always dreamed of. Instead of introducing a woodland scene, I wanted this unexpected tropical gray pattern. You have to have fun. I think it’s super cool given the fact that we’re in the middle of the Connecticut woods.” The dining room also includes a Jean-Michel Frank table and chairs from the Pompidou Center.
Camouflage wallpaper resembling the bark of a sycamore tree provides subtle color
in the guest bedroom while hinting at the woodlands outside.
He also used a lot of tweeds and wovens from the Highland Court fabric collection he designs for Duralee. “In the family room, I’ve got big windowpane plaids, which I think are perfect for the country, but it’s a resize so they’re a little bit bigger,” he tells. “They’re not so expected.” In the living room, he introduced the windowpane element through a colorful custom wool rug he designed with Holland & Sherry.
As is an avid collector, Gorrivan also favors groupings. “They create impact,” he says. “In the dining room it’s all about that purple moment.” The collection started off with a few pieces of Wiener Werkstätte amethyst glass and Bohemian glass from the early 20th century, and now it includes English, early American and Italian glass, as well as chestnut-colored whiskey bottles unearthed from the property, which was once used for sheep farming.
Photography Courtesy of Joshua McHugh.
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