Celebrating the 8th Anniversary of CTC&G at Cindy's home

Last night Cindy Rinfret was honored to host the CTC&G (that's Connecticut Cottages & Gardens magazine, for those of you who have been living in a cave the past eight years) anniversary party at her home. Cindy and CTC&G have a long history as she was profiled in their very first issue eight years ago. Since then Cindy has designed her dream  home, Laurel Hill, where this party (and many, many others) have taken place and published her first book, Classic Greenwich Style (Rizzoli) with a second book due in 2013. CTC&G has become one of the most well respected design magazines in the area.

The party was epic, just check out the photos to see for yourself...

 
Upon entering Cindy's house, guests were greeted by friendly faces and champagne. What's better than that?

 The clouds parted so that the party could enjoy the lush grounds at Laurel Hill.

The lovely ladies of Diane James (twin sisters with their mother, Diane James, and friend) are always a delight. If you haven't seen their amazing faux flower creations that look like the real thing you need to do that right now.

Speaking of flowers, this party had gorgeous (real) arrangements, thanks to the master designers at Winston Flowers.

The party was sponsored by Nicolas Feuillatte and a huge hit at the bar were these adorable mini champagne bottles. Our personal fave was the rose champagne. Perfect for extending that summer feeling.

In addition to the champagne selections, guests were treated to a gin & tonic station, and for the more adventurous, to blueberry vodka cocktails, which were enjoyed by Rinfret ladies, Chelsea Garber, Taylor Lagerloef and Margi Vorder Bruegge. It wasn't just the booze that had us smiling, the food was absolutely delicious, thanks to the pro's at Marcia Selden Catering.
 
Cindy along with Marianne Howatson (CEO of CTC&G, above left) and DJ Carey (Editor of CTC&G, above right) toasted to the success of CTC&G. And reflected that Cindy had told the magazine in their inaugural issue that her most creative time was cocktail hour. Cheers to that!

 
Notable guests at the party included Amy Macmillan-Tambini (top left) who has been with CTC&G since the very beginning eight years ago. The most loud-spoken guest was Cindy's pet parrott, who kept party-goers on their toes at the bar.

Here I am with two of my favorite Rinfret ladies, Taylor and Cindy. It was a great night and I can't wait to get together with the rest of the Rinfret team for the A-List Awards next week!

- Elizabeth Ethridge McGann

Our picks from the Gift Show

The New York International Gift Fair is always an exhilarating, yet overwhelming experience. For those of you that have never been, it takes place at Piers 92 and 94 at the Passenger Ship Terminal, in addition to The Javits Convention Center. There are countless vendors and items that can appeal to a vast array of tastes and styles. To say that there is a lot to see would be an understatement. We like to head over to the gift show to find new and exciting items for the Rinfret Home & Garden showroom, as well as unique items for our Rinfret design clients. Check out what we saw and loved below:
Intricate pillow accents were ubiquitous at this year’s show. From beading to applied velvets and silks, there certainly was no shortage of amazing detail. We were particularly drawn to steel blues and grays, mixed with cream colors. A stunning pair of throw pillows can give any piece of furniture a quick “facelift.”
We immediately stopped when we came across this vendor. They had truly unique pieces, with gorgeous wood detailing. The interesting thing about this vendor is that the wood detail (as seen above, with the Greek Key pattern) was not applied, but rather molded directly from the wood base. Not to mention, they offer a variety of 47 finishes that are all environmentally-friendly.

Shagreen was everywhere. We are constantly looking for interesting accessorizing pieces, and we really loved these trays as a finishing piece for a coffee table or ottoman. We also ordered tons of shagreen mirrors and boxes, as exotic skins are always a good way to add a unique touch to any room.
  This vendor really blew us away with their gorgeous ceramic and glass products. Their ceramic line is made in an “old-fashioned” tradition”, using a potter’s wheel. They also develop their colors in house, therefore the colors can be customized to suit any project or client’s needs. We were completely obsessed and ordered a variety of trays, vases, and planters, all of which are due to arrive just in time for the holidays!

The Gold List

Michael Phelps isn't the only one who has earned golds this summer -- we are excited to say that Rinfret, Ltd. is one of just two interior design firms (and a handful of architecture and building firms) to make the Gold List of this summer's Luxe Interiors + Design issue.


It feels good to earn gold!

We also have recently learned that we have won some prestigious design competitions. Stay tuned for the details on that in the fall. We're working hard to keep this winning streak going strong!

Go team Rinfret!

We're Hiring!

Do you love the Rinfret look? Then we have exciting news for you!

Rinfret Home & Garden is looking for a new retail sales person, after our beloved Hilary (whom so many of you know) retired. Being part of the Rinfret, Ltd. team is great fun (and not just because we love to celebrate birthdays with delicious cake). Join a creative group of people who share a love for design. Plus, the shop is smack dab in the midst of fashionable Greenwich Avenue.

This role is a very important one and we are looking for a retail salesperson with knowledge of upscale home furnishings and accessories. A minimum of four years retail experience is mandatory.

The ideal candidate will be customer oriented, computer literate, organized, flexible, personable, able to multi-task, and work independently and part of a team.

This position is immediately available. If interested, please submit resume and cover letter, including salary requirements to jmz@rinfretltd.com.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Who knows? You might be the newest member of the Rinfret team!

The secrets to a cover worthy living room

Cindy Rinfret's interior design for a Greenwich family's stunning Jacobean estate is the cover girl for this month's issue of the fabulous magazine, Luxe Interior + Design. Are you drooling over this luxe look? Read on and we'll show you how to get a living room that has cover girl cred.

There is so much to love in this living room. It's subtly luxurious and touches like glam mirrored end tables give a great transitional edge to an otherwise traditional design.

This side table from Rinfret Home & Garden offers the perfect touch of eye candy to frame a sofa. The transitional design can make a traditional room feel fresh and now.


Cindy Rinfret is a big believer in eclectic design. Using an antique style chinoiserie table with contemporary side tables brings an unexpected and "collected" feel to a room. Perfectly matched furniture can feel stale and uninspired so don't be afraid to mix different styles in a room.

It's just as important to have elements that pull a room together. Throw pillows are the most powerful accessories in a living room and can totally bring together a color scheme.
This throw pillow has a fabulous luxe look. If you can't splurge for the new sofa now, you can give your living room a face lift with a throw pillow that looks and feels expensive.

What's great about throw pillows is that they can lend a formal or more casual vibe to a room and are so easy to switch out. This same room could get a more relaxed summer look with linen throw pillows like the ones below.
To fill a room that is as grand as this one, you need a lot of accessories. Even the most beautifully designed room is not complete until is is filled with accessories.



The blue and white porcelain urn is a timeless choice. Not only does it lend a well-traveled and inherited flair to a living room, but in this room it beautifully continues the blue and cream color scheme.
Chances are, a cover room for a shelter magazine will have some flowers in the mix. There is a reason why stylists are always arranging flowers for photo shoots, they make a room welcoming and more beautiful. Even if you're not prepping your living room for a photo shoot, a well placed flower arrangement should always have a place in your home. If you're not a green thumb or hate how cut flowers die, then just grab a faux flower arrangement like this one. Trust us, no one will know the difference.

So now you know the secrets of a cover-worthy room. The best part? All of the above items are sold at Rinfret Home & Garden. So your luxe look is just a shopping spree away...

Animal Attraction

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past year, you know that animal prints are a hot in fashion, and looks like Michael Kors Spring 2012 collection are keeping the trend going strong.


Animal prints may come and go in the world of fashion but when it comes to interior design, there is always a place for some spots, stripes, furs or horns to add a pop of fun to a room. The look has been around for a long time in the world of design but we don't anticipate ever growing weary of it.

In the lower level of Cindy Rinfret's home is her entertaining area with this funky bar and lounge area. The zebra stripes in the bar stool cushions above and in the throw pillows below totally work with the fun and exotic look that this adult playspace is all about. Add some great fans and French bistro chairs and it adds up to a vacation ambience.



Animal prints in interior design aren't always playful and frivolous - they can also work for really masculine interiors. We may not associate animal prints and furs with men when it comes to fashion but for interior design the element of raw animal hides, furs and antlers can really give a strong and authentic look to a room that feels deliciously masculine.

Above is Tommy Hilfiger's family room (from his bachelor pad days) that is totally macho (in the best sense of the word) with wood paneling, Warhol's cowboy series, and fabulous antler furniture and lighting, plus a lot of leather and fur. This is a room that makes you want to light up a cigar.

A touch of zebra can also feel totally rock and roll, especially when paired with a photo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The rock star bachelor pad look continues in Tommy's master bedroom:


If you're not into the idea of animal prints, a great way to add some warmth and interest to a room is with a great faux fur throw.

This family room by Cindy Rinfret gets a dose of cozy warmth with a fur throw. It's an easy way to get the look and not quite as intense as some of the fashions now, and certainly easier to pull off than the Game of Thrones look...


Which one would you rather wrap yourself in?


What we love: Greek Key

Any client, design assistant or friend of Cindy's knows just how much she loves to use Greek Key accents in her designs. Greek Key is a timeless trend that dates back to the Ancient Greeks, but its great geometric lines feel totally current in transitional interiors.

Here are some of our favorite examples of Greek Key in Cindy's work...

Fabulous window treatments with a chocolate tape in a modified Greek Key design make this elegant entry sing.

Here Cindy took a Chinese antique and transformed it into a headboard. The Greek Key elements in this ancient wood screen are echoed in the Greek Key detail in the throw pillows.

This living room has got so many Greek Key details but the design is used in different ways so that it doesn't feel repetitive.

You might recognize these cut velvet Greek Key throw pillows from the image above. They are Cindy's custom pillows and are a signature look for her interiors.

Here's that signature Greek Key pillow again. We love how it balances the patterns in the window treatments, rug and bedskirt beautifully.

This Greek key motif is used in a chair rail in Cindy's own powder room. It goes to show that beauty is in the details.

This powder room just gets better the longer you look at it. Love this Greek Key detail.

We think the ancient Greeks would be proud!

Crazy for Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie may not be trendy but we bet it's here to last (after all, it's been around since the 17th century). This delicate and beautiful hand-painted style has its roots in China and portrays an idyllic, "imagined" Chinese landscape. It quickly became popular in England and the continent, as well as here in America.

Fast forward a handful of centuries. Cindy Rinfret is a hug fan of chinoiserie and she's an expert at using it in so many different ways. Here are a few of our favorites...


Cindy designed this sexy powder room for a stylish client. We love how the gold accents in the chinoiserie cabinet and chair rail play up the gold sink.

Check out the craftsmanship of this piece.

Here we have another bathroom with chinoiserie as the main focal point but the look and feel are totally different. This is Cindy's own bath and she wanted a more relaxing environment than the showy look of a gilded powder room. The beautiful hand-painted scene of trees and birds on the wall covering that surround the bath create a perfectly peaceful place for a calming soak.

Cindy also knows how to use a great chinoiserie piece to pack a visual punch. This stunning desk is a knockout and earned itself the cover image on Cindy's book Classic Greenwich Style (Rizzoli). Stay tuned to see her updated take on Greenwich Style in her next book with Rizzoli...but that's for a whole other blog post.

Classic chinoiserie often comes in red, black and gold. It's a bold look that just adds to the opulence of this luxurious room.

For a grand entrance, chinoiserie can't be beat. It's timeless elegance and hand-painted artistry make for a wonderful first impression. We love this wall-covering especially for its silver background that adds glamour (not glitz) to this breath taking entry.

You'll have to agree that chinoiserie is definitely not going anywhere, at least for a few more centuries.

Holiday Decorating, Part II: Creative Christmas Trees

Last week we talked about "mantel mania" and this week it's time to go inside the holiday home and take a look at the Christmas tree. After all, it's the most important decorative element this time of year. If you know Cindy Rinfret, you know that she decorates with a "more is more" philosophy, so it's no surprise that she doesn't limit herself to one tree. Each of her children have their own trees, her dogs have their own doggie tree, and sparkling trees brighten up her halls and entry.

The mother of all trees in Cindy's home is without a doubt the monumental tree in her Great Room, below:

A tree like this one demands a lot of ornaments. Luckily for Cindy she has a great selection of ornaments at her own shop, Rinfret Home & Garden, that she can choose from. (If you're close to Greenwich Avenue then lucky you too!)

Here are some of our favorite ornaments right now (all available at Rinfret Home & Garden):

Doesn't this charming ornament remind you of those fantastic, super preppy Tommy Hilfiger ads?


We also love these lifelike red cardinals that you can affix to your tree, wreath, or anything else you can imagine for a festive pop of red that feels fresher than just a glitzy red ball.
If you're more into bling than birds, you'll want these luxe crystal ornaments that will make your chandelier jealous of your Christmas tree.

Cindy's Marketing Director, Elizabeth, loves this doggie ornamanet because it looks just like her Korean Jindo dog. If she could get a Korean Jindo ornament at Rinfret Home & Garden, then we're willing to bet they can get you whatever breed you can think of!


Speaking of dogs, how cute do Cindy's goldens look in her hallway, framed by these simply elegant trees?

Cindy not only has special dog ornaments for her goldens but a whole Christmas tree dedicated to the four legged family members. Check it out:



If you like the idea of a special little tree but aren't a dog person, you should check out the famous Rinfret Teddy Bear Tree:

This is sure to please family members young in age and young at heart.

We could go on and on about all the great ornaments and decorative accessories for Christmas trees but you'll have a lot more fun if you simply come down to Rinfret Home & Garden and check out what we have first hand! While you're at it, you can count how many trees we have (there are a lot).


We hope to see you soon!

Holiday Decorating, Part One: Mantel Mania!

The Christmas season is a decorator's delight. There is no limit to holiday decor - from Christmas trees and tartan tabletops, to bows of garlands along the stairs. This holiday season we are going to look at one element of Christmas decor each week and break it down for you so that it's fun and easy. Decorating should be enjoyable, not overwhelming, especially during this time of year, when we all have enough to stress about.

We're starting off with the mantel. It's the perfect place to begin, as it's the dominating feature in most living rooms and dining rooms and it offers a wonderful place to start off your holiday decorating. (Plus, it gives you time to work up to the Christmas tree, which we'll talk about next week.)

In the spirit of starting out small, this first image shows Cindy Rinfret's library mantel decorated with just two simple urns with sprigs of evergreen. This is a great way to ease into the holiday spirit if you're not quite ready to go all out.

But when it comes to the holidays (and decorating in general) Cindy Rinfret is a firm believer in the "more is more" philosophy. Above, we see her same library but with the added touches of pinecones, red berries and magnolia leaves. It takes the room to a whole new level of festive.

Here's a closeup of this magnificent mantel that's got cover girl status. (It was on the cover of the Holiday 2009 issue of Traditional Home, and additionally is the online cover of this year's Traditional Home holiday feature.)

The mantel mania continues from Cindy's library to her family room, which has a gorgeous mantel that soars to cathedral ceilings and is framed by two French doors.

Bows of pine mixed with gold and silver ribbon and gilded pinecones work together to create a sophisticated look that adds to the beauty of the room.

Part of the fun of the holidays is that it's a great excuse to experiment with your decor and change up your normal look. Cindy might re-design what's on her mantel depending on her mood or to fit the vibe of a party that she's hosting.

Below is the same mantel as seen above, but instead of the red flowers that were centered above the mirror, she's chosen two mirrored vases filled with greenery and anchored them with a collection of fabulous glittery reindeer. The effect is more transitional and understated but no less festive.


Here's yet another mantel in Cindy's home (yes, she has a lot of mantels!) - this one is in her Great Room.

When you are working with a large space, it's important that your mantel decorations be substantial enough that they not get lost in the room. This gorgeous arrangement certainly does the trick. The warm tones of the magnolia leaves (a nice alternative to pine) highlight the gold ribbon and gilded pinecones. It is a holiday look that doesn't rely on the traditional red and green combo but still feels totally Christmas.

Now go look into your box of Christmas decorations and see what you can do to liven up your mantel for the holidays. And if you feel like you need more inspiration, just pop into Rinfret Home & Garden - where we are totally decked for the holidays.

Happy Holidays! Happy Decorating!

How to get your home ready for the holidays

The holiday season is upon us, Halloween has come and gone, and in our part of New England, we've even already had our first blizzard. It's time to start thinking about holiday entertaining and decorating. Cindy has some great tips for taking the stress out of making your home festive and inviting to guests (and you!)...

Think outside the box
Don't rely on Pottery Barn for all of your holiday decorating inspiration - do something personal that you have never seen before. Cindy is a dog lover and has the golden retrievers to prove it, so each year she dedicates a special Christmas tree to her dogs. It's decorated in adorable dog-themed ornaments and setup in the mud room, which is the stomping ground for the pooches. The tree is a great conversation starter at parties and more importantly, brings a smile to Cindy's face every time she sees it.


Make your home cozy and inviting
This is something that you should want for your home year round, but it is especially important around the holidays when you want to make your family and friends feel immediately comfortable at your house.


Faux fur throws are the perfect accessory to cozy up a room. They feel absolutely luxurious but are most of all comfortable. It's just the trick to add both style and comfort to a room. Another tip for fab parties is to make sure that there's plenty of comfy seating for your guests and that the furniture is arranged to make it easy to chat while simultaneously drinking and eating.

Entertain in style!

Take a tip from Mad Men, and whip up an old school cocktail with a fancy shaker (and yes, that means make cocktails - it's much more interesting than the standard white wine that everyone is sick of by their 5th holiday party).

Your guests will notice your extra effort and creativity and you'll find yourself energized by the excitement of using and trying new things.

The best part? You can get all this great stuff (from fur throws and ornaments, to the serving trays and cocktail shakers) at Rinfret Home & Garden. So go ahead and make your home cozy and your parties fabulous! It's easy and fun!

From the Runway to the Living Room: Fall Fashion Comes Home

Like a lot of interior designers, we are also fashionistas at heart, and are watching what's coming down the runway this week at New York Fashion Week.

The line between the fashion and shelter worlds is blurred and what you see on the runway often shows up in the home. There are some Fall trends that really translate to interiors. Here are some of our favorites.

Faux Fur is huge for Fall and is also a major trend for interior design. Above, a Chanel model rocks the fur look from head to toe, and for home, a faux fur throw is the perfect accessory, as seen in the family room of a Rinfret client:


Statement necklaces are so hot now. How does a necklace work in a house you ask? Well, it doesn't - but Cindy Rinfret loves to compare fabulous light fixtures to jewelry. Check out this master bedroom that she designed:


Still not convinced...?

Vera Wang's necklace does share an aesthetic with this gorgeous light fixture, right?


Houndstooth is always a go-to pattern for Fall.

This classic print looks just as good wrapped around your neck as it does on your walls.

In this case, the look is cover girl worthy, as this image of Cindy's own library mantel was the cover image of the Holiday 2009 issue of Traditional Home.

Like houndstooth, leather is another Fall Fashion staple that also works great for interiors.

Anyone can do a leather sofa or ottoman but Cindy Rinfret amped up the wow factor for her client, Tommy Hilfiger by upholstering his dining room walls in brown leather.

Now you can shop for your body and your home. What could be more fun than that?

What I did this summer - by Taylor, the Rinfret summer intern

My summer as an intern at Rinfret is coming to a close and to say that this internship was enriching would be an understatement on all accounts. My summer working at Rinfret has allowed me to learn, experience and witness far more than I could have ever anticipated. From my very first day when Cindy Rinfret walked me through the installation of a spectacular home in Greenwich, I knew that this was going to be an irreplaceable opportunity.

As a soon-to-be senior in college, I have been mulling over what exactly I am going to do for a career for quite some. Interning at Rinfret allowed me to experience firsthand the realities of a successful business in the Interior Design industry. During my first week, I had the privilege of attending a luncheon hosted by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, where Cindy and Dinyar Wadia discussed the realities of this industry, in terms of design and decorating trends.

Above, the Indian Harbor Yacht Club where the lecture was held.

As the lecture progressed, I found myself mesmerized by the discourse between Cindy and Mr. Wadia. At one point in the lecture, they discussed security for the homes that they create, as many of these homes are located in wealthy areas and belong to high-profile clients. Cindy began describing certain "safety rooms" that she had developed for several clients. The purpose of these rooms that she created was to provide shelter, clean air, and necessary resources in the event that another September 11th were to occur. I found this to be compelling because it went far beyond the scope of anything one might imagine for a normal, everyday home, but it exemplifies how function is so highly considered in design.

At another point in the lecture, an audience member asked Cindy how she begins her design process with a new client and if she is able to instinctively pinpoint their tastes right off the bat. Cindy said that there are certain crucial factors that she considers right away, such as their careers, if they have children, and if they have pets. Cindy also noted that she tries to get a strong sense of a client's lifestyle beyond considering how much space they may need inside the home. For example, it might be a family that weekends in the Hamptons, or sits down to a formal dinner every night, or they might have a strong passion for sailing or skiing. She also recognizes how people carry themselves and whether their lifestyle is formal or casual. All of these components together ultimately translate into the vision for the home design.

Listening to Cindy recount this process really resonated with me because design is all about collaborating and learning to work with different personalities and tastes. Furthermore, some of the comments that Cindy made tapped into a psychological side of design, previously unbeknownst to me, and it is something that I ruminated over even after the lecture had completed. I shared these points with friends and family when they asked about my internship because it shows that there is an incredibly critical aspect to design, being that a designer can identify someone's style immediately, and the process is far more than simply choosing paint colors.
Above, an example of a yachting style mood board.

About midway through June, I was helping keep track of updates for an installation in Greenwich when Cindy approached me and asked if I wanted to help her design a room. At this point in summer, I had become so familiar with the products we had in the studio and I had been eager to work on a project that involved some creativity. Cindy told me to grab some Designer's Worksheets and we began by selecting a drapery fabric and moving forth from there. This particular client wanted to keep their existing rug, so we kept choosing fabrics, accessories, and furnishings that coordinated well with the rug until the room was turned into a complete thought.

Being able to shadow Cindy with this design project was such a phenomenal experience because I hope to have my own design company eventually and Rinfret, Ltd. serves as such an inspiration for me. One of the greatest things about my internship is that Cindy and all of the Rinfret designers have all wanted to help me learn. I have had so much more responsibility than a “standard” internship, for instance, where designated tasks might only include filing, copying, and faxing. Being treated as more than an intern has allowed me to learn and expand my abilities, and has given me a strong idea of what a career in this industry will be like. It has been an amazing summer – from meetings with vendors where I viewed new collections, to photo shoots, to assisting with home installations, to picking out furnishings and accessories. I even went with the Rinfret team to the Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Innovation In Design Awards Party. Here I am below with the team, from left to right: Chelsea Garber, Jo Ann Zawalski, Kristen Farrington Dawson, Elizabeth Ethridge McGann, me (Taylor Lagerloef) and Cindy Rinfret:


As my internship is about to culminate, I am wrapping up last-minute projects and assignments. I have been helping one of the designers pick out certain trims and wall-coverings for a client. We wanted to look at some new options, so just last week I was finally able to make it into the city to go to the Decoration & Design Building. In addition to our need for new products, I figured it would be an important place to visit, especially because I had never been before. I must admit, it was a bit overwhelming as there are many showrooms in the building, but I knew exactly what I needed and where I needed to go in the building to find it.


Back in the studio, I would call the showrooms in the D & D Building on a daily basis to check availability of products, place orders, and follow up to ensure the orders arrived on time (which I quickly realized requires a lot of follow-up). It was a bit surreal to finally visit the home base for pretty much everything I had been working on this summer, but I found exactly what I needed and was able to pick up samples right on the spot – definitely a relief as opposed to waiting for them to arrive to the studio!

Check out this stationary monogrammed with Cindy's name from Schumacher (always a required destination at the D&D):

I am now in my second to last week at Rinfret. I am able to look back and realize how fortunate I have been to gain so much knowledge of this industry, inside and out. It is difficult to simply recapitulate what I have learned from this internship as a whole, but on a daily basis I was able to approach work from more than just an intern’s perspective and begin to get a sense of all aspects of a design concept. Although I return to school in two weeks, I couldn’t be more eager and thrilled to graduate and continue a career in interior design.
Yours Truly,
Taylor Lagerloef

Cindy's Favorite Spots in Greenwich

Cindy Rinfret is not your average Greenwich local, she knows this town inside and out, after all, she did write a book called Classic Greenwich Style. Everyone is always asking Cindy what her fave spots in town are, so rather than keep these insider sources to the Rinfret design clients and Cindy's pals, we decided to share the love with you.

Favorite Restaurant: Polpo
Polpo is a classic. Great people-watching and dancing on Friday nights!
Hair Salon: Warren Tricomi
I love Lea for color – blondes do have more fun! Michael and Margot are great for a cut and blow-dry.
Sushi: Kokoro
Best sushi and waiters in town! Kokoro is great for lunch.
Yummy Photography Cakes: Black Forest Bakery
Email your favorite picture and they will put it on a cake for you.
Event Planning/Catering: Jon Cutler
Always there for effortless dinner parties and events. He also has a cute wait staff!
Wine: Liquor Pantry in Port Chester
Has everything, especially “skinny girl” margaritas.
Pharmacy: Grannicks
Support your established local business -- and they deliver!
Best place for people-watching: Whole Foods
They should have happy hour from 5-7.
Gifts: Michelangelo’s
Make any gift special with their custom engraving. I love their St. Christopher enamel necklaces, “The Patron Saint of Travel” – you have to get these for all your loved ones.
Jewelry: Alma Workshops
Alvaro is a master of gems and jewelry. Hill will make anything for you! What a talent!
Outdoor Furniture & Home Accessories: Restoration Hardware
Margaret is the best! She will always help you find what you need to accessorize and furnish your home. If not…got to Rinfret Home & Garden and see Hilary and Jim!!
There, now you know all the secrets!

Blue Bedrooms

Cindy has some favorite colors...green, neutrals, browns...but when it comes to bedrooms, blue is generally a favorite. And why not, blue is a naturally calming color, which is exactly what you want in a bedroom, and best of all, it is so pretty without being too feminine or fussy (because the bedroom generally has a guy sleeping in it too). Here are some of our favorite blue bedrooms that Cindy has designed...

This bedroom for a teenage daughter is way more sophisticated than anything you could find in the pages of PB Teen.

As any mother of a tween will tell you, girls like to talk. And this window seat offers the perfect place for long chats.

This bedroom is in the same home as the one above and you can see that Cindy kept the continuity of calming blues here. But for the master suite, she kicks up the glam factor with a mirrored headboard and side tables. These shiny accents, paired with the modern light fixture, make what might otherwise be a traditional bedroom feel very current.

The sitting area of the master suite is perfectly chic, serene and elegant. A quintessential Cindy Rinfret space.

It's all in the details! Custom headboards and valences with gold bamboo detailing bring this room to the next level.



Blue may be a calming color but that doesn't mean it can't be bold or peppy. For her nautical-inspired design of the Tower Suite at the Ocean House, Cindy kept a blue and cream color scheme throughout the space. The bedroom is the most dramatically blue room, with deep blue walls, floral cream and blue canopy, and blue and cream accessories.

Still dreaming of more blue bedrooms...check out this sublime blue bedroom in the new issue of New England Home's Connecticut. Cindy's client loved it so much that she re-installed the canopy bed when she moved into her new home.

Outdoor Entertaining

It’s time to throw a party outside!
June is the perfect month for an outdoor party – everyone is still giddy about sunshine and summer, and the oppressive heat of July and August have not yet set in. Cindy adores both the outdoors and parties so she is the ultimate hostess when it comes to outdoor entertaining – here are some of her best tips for throwing a fete en plein air.
  1. Set the table in style
Just because your outdoors doesn’t mean that you need to use a plastic gingham tablecloth and plastic sporks. Bring some glamour to outdoor dining and set a beautiful table, complete with flowers and candles – and real silverware!

  1. Be more creative than hotdogs and franks
Sure, everyone loves a good old fashioned BBQ but just as delicious and more unexpected is a grilled pizza. Cindy is lucky enough to have a state of the art pizza oven but even if you don’t, you can still grill a delicious pizza on your grill.
For our fellow tri-state hostesses, if you have not already, you must check out Mario Batali’s latest gourmet experience, Tarry Market in Port Chester. Here you can find the most delicious cheeses, proscuitto, olive oils, breads and more.
If you’re not in the mood for pizza (which is almost incomprehensible, but anyway) you could go the more refined route and do tea sandwiches for a proper English Garden Party ambience. Cucumber and creamcheese is so easy and yummy to make (just cut off the crusts and cut the bread diagonally and voila) but if even that sounds too daunting you can always just call up the kind folks at the Drawing Room in Cos Cob, who can whip up some pre-made tea sandwiches for you
  1. PIMMS!
No garden party is complete without Pimms No. 1 Cup, which is a British Liquer that makes for the best fruity garden cocktail. A staple at an English Garden Party or Polo Match, Pimms is the perfect summer drink as it’s light, cool, fruity and delicious. Plus, it's not too heavy on the alcohol so you can drink away all day and still be standing by sunset.
Now that we’ve given you the tools for a perfect garden party, step away from the computer and go outside and make this happen!
Cheers!!

BLOGFEST 2011

For three jam-packed days earlier this week I was in New York with the creme de la creme of interior design and lifestyle bloggers on a whirlwind adventure called Blogfest 2011.

So much was packed into the itinerary that it is a challenge to condense everything into a blog post (one of the things I learned at Blogfest was to edit) but I'll try...

DAY # 1 - HEARST


The festivities kicked off at Hearst where we had an energizing luncheon on the 44th floor of the impressive Hearst Building.

From there we got an intimate look at the editors that create the pages in House Beautiful, Veranda, and Town & Country.

These industry heavy weights put on a little show of "The View" for us, from left to right: Mark Rozzo of Town & Country (Whoopi) Newell Turner of House Beautiful (Joy) Dara Copinigro of Veranda (Elisabeth) and Beth Greene of Kravet (Barbara).

A highlight at Hearst was getting to see early covers of House Beautiful, which was founded in 1896 and is the #1 shelter magazine today.

After some fabulous champagne toasting on the 44th floor of Hearst, hosted by dapper Mark Rozzo of Town & Country, we were off to the ELLE DECOR Concept House. A favorite space was by Sarah Story (and yes, that is her real name). Hand-painted walls and ceilings reference Klimt and Sarah envisioned the room as a ladies salon. What could be a more fabulous place to have thrilling conversation on art and culture?

Blogfest was similar to a reality show in that everyone was offered cocktails at every turn. The above concoction stood out from the sea of champagne and white wine. Not sure what was in it besides booze, Seattle's best coffee, and a lot of sugar, but it was good.

What? Another cocktail party? The festivities continued Monday night with a chic party thrown by Design TV Joss & Main. Possibly the most fantastic floral arrangements of Blogfest were to be seen here, and trust me, there was some tough competition.

See what I mean? Love that peonies were in season for Blogfest. An informal poll shows that all bloggers say that the peony is their favorite flower.

DAY # 2 - ALL ABOUT DESIGN

If Monday was magazine day then Tuesday was designer day - so no surprise that Tuesday was the fave day for this group of design junkies. We had the morning free so I headed over to the Kips Bay Show House...


As is typical of show houses, Kips Bay was larger than life and not for ordinary living. The bedroom designed by Amanda Nisbit, above, was a standout and made me want to curl up in the bed with a copy of Valley of the Dolls. It was the perfect rich girl gone wrong bedroom, with the shocking Marilyn Minter piece over the bed, along with the feminine yet almost violent hand-painted pink wall covering.

The color rush continued at the D&D Building where I joined my fellow bloggers at a Lilly Pulitzer picnic in this fabulous showroom. That's the cute Kravet team of Jennifer Powell and Ann Feldstein in their best Lilly attire. (Missing from this photo is Beth Greene, who conceived the whole affair, and who also wore the chicest dresses every day, complete with wardrobe changes for evening.)

This room was just too fabulous for words and made me want to light up a pink Virgina Slims and play some high-stakes backgammon.

And from there it was an inspiring talk from design icon, Barbara Barry (with Scott Kravet below)...

The audience of bloggers was a tweet with proclamations of love for Ms. Barry and her inspiring words..."Food cooked with love tastes better"..."Life can be hard but it can be balanced by beauty and gentleness"..."Beauty causes me to slow down"...and on and on. I think we all fell a little bit in love.

Why else would over one hundred accomplished design professionals literally line up to have the chance to meet Barbara Barry?

From the D&D we jetted off to Mayo Studios in Long Island City for a Traditional Home party to celebrate more fabulous designers, included the humble and funny Suzanne Kasler.

Here she is trying to get out of being photographed...sorry, couldn't resist!

This charming desk makes me want to create something beautiful.

Love this pretty inspiration board and the understated pink color scheme.

I couldn't manage more photos of some of the other incredible designers there, including Eric Cohler, Thomas O'Brien and David Easton, as my hands were full with my gorgeous "Inspired Styles" book from Kravet, my enormous goodie bag (worthy of their own blog post), cocktails and finger food.

As we were leaving Mayo Studios, I stumbled upon this inspiring prop/flower room for the stylists working photo shoots here.


DAY # 3 - ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST

The last day of Blogfest ended with a bang with arguably the most powerful woman in interior design. Margaret Russell is the new editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest and former editor-in-chief of ELLE DECOR.

After seeing Margaret on reality TV, I was bracing myself for a bit of a diva, but could not have been more wrong. She may be a Prada wearing Conde Nast editor, but there was no devil in her. It was exciting to hear that she loves blogs and comments herself. And hearing her insider stories was a treat. (She was at Liz Taylor's home on the day she died.)

Blogfest was an inspiration and such a wonderful opportunity to meet other bloggers in this wonderful design community. Thank you to Kravet for making this happen!

May Madness

Sports fans have March Madness, when the TV always has a good basketball or golf game going on, but for us interior design fans, there is May, when it seems like there is always an event geared towards home design.

Last week Rinfret Home & Garden kicked off the month of festivities with a Networking Event that we co-hosted with the magazine, New England Home's Connecticut.


The weather was perfect (finally!) and we had a huge turnout. It was a major networking night that probably had guests calling their printers the next morning to place business card orders.

New England Home set a great tone to the evening with their Editor-in-Chief, Kyle Hoepner encouraging everyone to get to know each other. We love how this new magazine to Fairfield County focuses on networking and building the interior design community. Through networking events like this we have made business connections that have helped Rinfret to grow and that is the experience with most guests at NE Home events. But enough gushing, on to the raffle...
We raffled off a pair of hurricanes (which were filled with business cards from the attendees). Cindy chose the winner, Joy from Joy of Light, who wowed us with her gorgeous matchbook collection (which she gave us samples of). Thanks Joy!

I met a lot of new and interesting people last Tuesday, but to be honest, my favorite part about Rinfret Home & Garden parties is having the chance to have fun with my fabulous co-workers. With Cindy as our leader, we all know how to have a good time, and that we did. Here is, from left to right, Chelsea Garber (Cindy's assistant), Hilary Merrill (the Shop Manager), Kristen Farrington Dawson (Senior Designer), Chelsea again, and me, Elizabeth Ethridge McGann.

The NE Home CT party was definitely the highlight of last week for me but it was certainly not the only thing going on. One might think that Cinco de Mayo was a celebration of shopping rather than to commemorate Mexico's freedom. On May 5th New Canaan held its annual Design Destrict event, which I attended for the first time this year and loved. Hilary Hotchkiss from Moffly Media had told me about it and it sounded like fun but I was really blown away by what an event it was, with all the great design shops in New Canaan staying open late, serving fun cocktails and giving out freebies. It didn't hurt that it was another lovely evening. I'll definitely be back next year. Also on Cinco de Mayo was Art on the Ave on our own Greenwich Avenue. This is such a fun night and it's always great to have an excuse to shop late and check out the work of local artists.

We've barely finished the first week in May and there is so much more to look forward to, with two hotly anticipated events coming up in the next week. This week (May 12 - 14) Rinfret Home & Garden is holding its Fifth Annual Warehouse at Morgan Manhattan (16 Bruce Park Avenue, at the bottom of Greenwich Ave). This is an epic sale and you never know what kind of treasures you might find.

Check out the above photo from last year's Warehouse Sale. Yes, that is a stuffed bear in the background, and yes that sold to a lovely couple with a gorgeous home. (I know because I had the dubious distinction of transporting the bear to its new home.)
But there's a lot more than just taxidermy bears. The Warehouse Sale is famous for its fantastic collection of light fixtures, mirrors and furniture pieces that are marked down to their lowest prices of the year. Come early for the best selection. The sale is this Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Hope to see you there!

The biggest event for me this month is without a doubt Blogfest 2011, which I have been anticipating for months and can't believe that it's just a week away.
Kravet and Lee Jofa have organized a whirlwind three days for interior design bloggers where we will meet such industry heavyweights as Margaret Russell, Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Digest, Newell Turner of House Beautiful, the designer Barbara Barry and many others. I am so honored to be included among the outstanding group of bloggers that will be there and am so excited to meet the faces behind the blogs. Stay tuned for a blog post about this event very soon!!

As part of Blogfest, I'll also get to check some other "May Madness" events off my checklist, including the Kips Bay Designer Showhouse and I'll get a sneak peak of the ELLE Decor Modern Life Concept House. I'm literally counting down the days!

Stay tuned for the behind the scenes of the first ever Blogfest 2011...!

British Invasion (in honor of William & Kate)

The countdown to the Royal Wedding is on and I am swept up into the wedding frenzy, so decided to make this blog post about all things British in the world of design. It wasn't difficult, as the British may have the best taste when it comes to interior design (no offense to the French or Italians). Their unique sense of play and wit, paired with an entire empire of collectibles, makes for fantastically imagined spaces.


This hand-painted headboard that Cindy had commissioned for a little boy's room appeals to the anglophile in me. I'm a sucker for a "Sir" and it doesn't hurt that this boy shares the same name as the prince of the hour.

You know you're doing something right in the library when it has a British vibe to it. This library has a secret bookshelf door (a favorite element in a Cindy Rinfret library) which will make even the most uptight professor smile.


It's impossible to talk about the British without mentioning their dedication to the ritual of tea. This breakfast room (or should I say tea room?) that Cindy designed is in back country Greenwich but it could just as easily be in the English countryside.

Another reason to love British design is that they gave us British Colonial. Cindy designed the above window treatment for a boy's room. The whole bedroom had a British Colonial design scheme, which is perfect for the aspiring explorer in every young man. Along with this fabric, Cindy paired this great British Colonial desk:
Cindy likes to say that one of the main reasons she wanted to have her own design firm is so she could travel around the world shopping for her projects (this was before the less glamorous age of online shopping). London is one of her favorite cities, as this map in her library makes clear.


Aside from just the London map, the eclectic nature of this room also references the British design aesthetic -- a zebra rug from Africa, textiles from India, and shells from Bermuda. The magic of British interiors is that they have an empire's worth of treasures to incorporate into their rooms.


Another reason to love the UK is that they have the royals, while we're stuck with the Clintons and Bush Family. Part of what makes the monarchy so great is that they really know how to make a good insignia. Just because you haven't been knighted by the Queen doesn't mean you can't bring some royalty into your home with this striking needlepoint pillow from Rinfret Home & Garden.

We obviously love all things British but there are a few fave companies from across the pond that we have to highlight here.

Osborne & Little is one of the best fabric houses from England and we love this new collection of velvet fabrics. Maybe the royal wedding is subconsciously making me obsess over all things relating to the monarchy. That could be why I was immediately drawn to these gorgeous purple velvets (both velvet and purple being associated with the monarchy) or maybe it's just because they're so beautiful.

Andrew Martin is another British company that deserves a shout-out.

How much fun is this nail head chest? Perfect for the little princess who's also a little rock and roll.

Christopher Peacock is a master at bringing the English Scullery kitchen to the States. He may have lived in New England for a while, but he's still got the accent and design aesthetic of a Brit. Cindy and Chistopher go way back, as they used to share a space in Greenwich years back. They continue to work together on many projects, as his kitchens are definitely in vogue. Judging by the photo below (from Cindy's project that was published in New England Home's Connecticut) it's not hard to see why:


Last but certainly not least, is Theodore Alexander, which is the gold standard when it comes to British furniture (especially if you want your home to look like it belongs to a Duchess). Their Althorp line includes gorgeous reproductions of the pieces from Princess Diana's childhood home, Althorp (pictured below):

Theodore Alexander is Cindy's go-to choice for dining room furniture.


These chairs are some of Cindy's favorite and have a great preppy spirit with their star detailing. They (and the console in the background) are favorite Theodore Alexander pieces. (You can purchase both these items at Rinfret Home & Garden.)

On a final note, we have to pay tribute to the most iconic element in British design: The Union Jack, as seen above in this fantastic throw pillow, that although small in scale, pulls together this cozy bar in the home of a dapper British client of Cindy's.

Hope you enjoyed your Royal British fix as much as we did!
Cheers to William and Kate for inspiring this blog post!



Tricks of the trade

To say that Cindy Rinfret has a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to creating gorgeous interiors would be the ultimate understatement. A design education at RISD and the University of Copenhagen School of Architecture will give you that, not to mention over twenty years working in the trade with the best architects, upholsterers and stylists.

Here are six of Cindy's best tricks for creating an inviting space.

1. THROW PILLOWS
Got a limited budget? Instead of going broke on an expensive new sofa splurge instead on fabulous throw pillows. Luxurious pillows will bring new life to your sofa and make it look expensive.

We have the most amazing selection of throw pillows in Rinfret Home & Garden right now (as seen above in cheery, spring colors) plus more to be found in our online shop.

2. PAINT THE CEILING
If you have low ceilings there is something you can do to give the appearance of height. Never leave your ceiling white. This is a huge pet peeve of Cindy's. Too often people will put time and energy into decorating a room and then stop short with the ceiling. You can choose a complimentary color to your walls but that may be better left to a professional, so to play it safe you can also simply use the same color as your walls but 50% lighter for the ceiling.


In the above dining room the blue ceiling perfectly compliments the hand-painted wall covering.

3. BE BRAVE
Be brave in design and think outside the box. Try something new and find inspiration in the unexpected. Cindy often incorporates unusual finds from her travels into her interior design.


In Cindy's master bedroom at Laurel Hill, above, she used an unusual piece that she found in Thailand for her headboard.

4. THINK BIG
Think BIG when it comes to lighting. A common mistake is going too small with light fixtures. It can be hard to visualize how a lantern in a crowded showroom will look in your open entryway. So many times our clients will see the enormous box containing their new light fixture and worry that the scale will be too way big - but once they see it installed they immediately recognize why Cindy chose that size. You want people to notice your beautiful light fixtures (especially since these pieces are often pricey) so don't be afraid to make an impact.

See what we mean?

5. IT'S IN THE DETAILS
The beauty is in the details. The fun part of design is in adding the personal touch that says something about you and your family. Whether that be a gorgeous coffee table book that shows off your love of fashion, a map from a favorite city, or a monogrammed pillow, details add personality. Plus, people will notice (and even if they don't, we guarantee that you will, and that's what it's all about).


Even for a decorator show house, Cindy made the extra effort to bring in pieces that referenced the environment of the show house (in this case, the Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI).

6. ACCESSORIZE!!!
Last but not least: accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! Much like the ceiling that is left white, too many projects are left unaccessorized. It's not uncommon to lose steam after spending so much time (and money) finding the perfect rug, furniture and fabrics for your room -- but don't! Accessories are the jewelry of a room. The power of a well placed throw, vase, book or chic tray is not to be underestimated.


The above vignette would be far less interesting without the urn, lantern, frames, art and mirror.

Still feeling greedy for more insider tips? Check out this fantastic interview on the Asmara website (where you will also find the most gorgeous rugs) and hear Cindy describe her process in creating the beautiful design of the Tower Suite at the Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI. (We encourage you to also check out our blog post on this project as well.)