Article Contributed by The Local Vault.
As one of the most highly esteemed Greenwich based interior designers, Cindy Rinfret has been transforming the homes of her clients for over twenty years with a design philosophy that we whole heartedly agree with: “Your home should be like your favorite outfit – comfortable, yet luxurious, like the perfect cashmere sweater with your most comfortable, well lived in pair of jeans.”
While she is known today for defining true “Classic Greenwich Style,” both in her daily work as a designer and decorator but also in her two well loved books “Classic Greenwich Style” (Rizzoli 2006) and “Greenwich Style: Inspired Family Homes” (Rizzoli 2013), she made her start in Manhattan after having studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Copenhagen School of Architecture in Denmark.
This combination of city chic and international savoir faire merged with her love of the country resulting in a unique yet classic look that blends “antiques with transitional pieces for a look that is inviting to the eye and to a family’s lifestyle.”
This month, she shares her favorite pieces in our collection and lets us in on the one design trend she hopes is on the way out and what daily luxuries she can’t live without.
TLV: You are known for your luxurious yet comfortable design aesthetic. What is one daily luxury you can’t live without (or at least would prefer not to)?
CR: I love fresh flowers , orchids and scented candles. Luxurious design should engage all the senses — it is not just about what you see but also how a room smells and feels.
After a long day, I always have a fabulous cashmere or fur throw on my favorite sofa with a glass of white wine. That is something I can’t live without.
TLV: Your designs often have a focus on family oriented spaces. What design elements are important to keep in mind when creating a space for the whole family to enjoy together?
CR: I often use a large sectional with two chaises on each end so the entire family, including the dogs, can gather together to watch TV. Comfort and durability is the key. It’s so important to have large enough pieces that you can sink into and enjoy together. Beautiful, soft pillows are the “jewelry”‘ that make the sofa luxurious and stylish.
TLV: What current trend are you over? What current trend can you not get enough of?
CR: I am a bit tired of the minimal gray monochromatic look.
I am not into “trends” but I think the use of fabulous wall coverings such as Phillip Jeffries and tailored curtains with gorgeous detailed borders is where my design aesthetic is these days.
Also, no room should be “too precious” that you are afraid to use it. In the homes I design my clients use every room in the house and nothing is off limits. Comfort and luxury can go together.
TLV: What is the biggest difference in designing for clients’ homes in Manhattan vs homes in Greenwich?
CR: In New York City I find the homes are more of a stage set, a little more formal because they are used mostly in the evening. In the city cabinetry seems more important to show your collections or for storage.
In the country you have to take into consideration the inside as it relates to the outside. The gardens are always part of my thought when designing interiors and I think about how the home functions throughout the seasons for family life and entertaining.
TLV: When did you first know that designing interiors was your passion?
CR: I have always loved history and architecture. When vacationing I would find myself taking pictures of rooms and architectural details, even from an early age.
I love “a Nest” and I get so much joy from creating beautiful homes for my clients and for my own family to make precious memories in. I eat, sleep and breath design and have a passion for comfort and beauty.
TLV: How did living abroad (in Denmark when you attended school at the Copenhagen School of Architecture) impact your design aesthetic?
CR: I believe travel is the key to great design. Seeing the world and being exposed to all its beauty and architecture develops ones eye and increases creativity. I learned about furniture and fabrics by scouring all the antique dealers and furniture fairs. Danish design was the thing when I was in college. I think my sensibility is more a European, collected style. Travel is great exposure and such an important learning experience for design and life in general.
TLV: We love your design philosophy: “Your home should be like your favorite outfit – comfortable, yet luxurious, like the perfect cashmere sweater with your most comfortable , well lived in pair of jeans.”
CR: Is there a piece in your home that best reflects this sentiment?
I think my master bathroom because it is the first and last place I see every day. I have my favorite family photographs and pictures of Greece and Harbour Island in my bath niche, along with my Buddah from India and jars filled with shells and sand from my favorite places in the world. Here I also keep a great collection of etchings and scented soaps and oils form Morocco. All these favorite things of mine are arranged against a backdrop of custom colored “Gracie” panels which also happens to be another thing I am passionate about! This bath is my personal oasis.
Every room of my home and my clients home hopefully have all the elements of luxury and understated elegance. They look collected and traveled, feel inviting and embrace friends and family. If you live with the things you love and have collected you will never get tired of your home. That’s whyI don’t follow trends but simply embrace the things that make me happy.
TLV: What is the best piece of advice that has impacted your life as a designer?
CR: Always do the right thing for your clients and you will build long lasting relationships and trust. I have many repeat clients spanning 25 years. One client I have done 14 projects for. That has to do with style but more so trust and hard work. This is true in life as well. Also, purchase and live with things you love and that make you happy. True of life as well!
TLV: Summer is on its way out and the holidays are around the corner. What is your favorite holiday to decorate for in your home? Or What is your favorite holiday tradition you keep with your family?
CR: I do love Christmas. I have a dog tree in my mudroom where I hang my family’s collection of golden retriever ornaments and picture framed ornaments of all the family pets we have had past and present. My children and I all love this tree.
I also have individual trees in each child’s room with their own ornaments they either made or we bought on vacations. Each tree includes their baby shoes, first ballet slippers and other personal memorabilia that are important to them and their childhood. This tree served as a night light from Thanksgiving weekend through New Years and is a sentimental bit of tradition I hope they carry forward to their own children someday.