Designing the interior of an entire house can be a major undertaking, especially if you’ve recently moved to a home in the Connecticut suburbs from a smaller apartment in NYC. That’s why many homeowners turn to an interior designer to guide them through the process.
Prevu recently sat down with interior designer Fiona Leonard, Principal of Fiona Leonard Interiors, to get her perspectives on curating a Greenwich home, finding your style, and interior design trends in Greenwich and neighboring towns..
Fiona Leonard: I start with a kind of style inventory—taking mental cues from a client’s fashion aesthetic, inspiration photos and how they describe their lifestyle. Sometimes I’ll take a stack of fabrics with me and ask the client to weed out any that don’t resonate. If there’s style discord between a couple, I try to drill down further to find middle ground.
Beyond questions of style, it’s also important to ask some practical questions at the start of a design project. For example, how will they actually use the space? Sometimes designing a room is more about function than form.
Quite simply, color is back. Gone are the murky monochrome grey palettes we were seeing for so long. Grey remains a key neutral, but it’s now interwoven with jewel tones and natural textures like rattan and woven textiles that add depth and luxury to a space. Rather than fear color, people are embracing it as a way to make their spaces stand out and show personality.
Big picture, I tell people to avoid the natural temptation to rush in and furnish everything immediately. There is infinite value in taking a breath and living in spaces for a bit to understand how they will be used in day-to-day life. For example, will that formal living room be well served as a family game room? Could you add a wall to make an office? Or take one down to open up space for entertaining? A thoughtful process will also give you time to find things you really like, so you don’t have to rush into purchases just to fill up walls and rooms.
It’s all about balancing the mix—you need contradictions to bring out the best in furnishings and objects. For example, too much of the same, whether wallpaper or antique objects, can make a space feel contrived. Edit, edit, edit until everything you have serves a purpose—it’s useful or elevates the space.
I adore designing family rooms, because I know the value of a cozy gathering space at the heart of a home. But a close second? Mudrooms. No other room can have such a singular transformative effect on daily living. A well-designed mudroom provides organization systems that can prevent clutter from accumulating in other spaces. Having a place for all the “stuff” of modern life sets you up for success and builds harmony into your surroundings.
In no particular order, I love Circa for lighting; Waterworks for fixtures; and Oomph, Trovare, Lillian August, and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams for furniture and accessories. Solo shopping trips can help you refine your taste and prepare to meet with your interior designer, who can streamline and simplify the process of making your home fully yours.
About Fiona Leonard Interiors
The merging of distinct design preferences into a seamless aesthetic stronger than the sum of its parts—it’s familiar territory for Fiona Leonard. She draws on 20 years in the halls of Rinfret, Sills Huniford and Alisberg Parker, and at the helm of her eponymous firm, to chase that elusive middle ground. By embracing the essentials of each space and combining eclectic color and objects with clean, modern lines, Fiona delivers the palette, proportion and practical finishes that span varied viewpoints of a home’s inhabitants.
To see more photos of designs by Fiona Leonard Interiors, you can follow on instagram @fionaleonardinteriors.
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