Photographs: Jane Beiles
Originally from Northern California, interior decorator Tori Legge of Stirling Mills has an affinity for airy, organic style. “I like an open feel to homes that bring the outside in,” she says.
Always an entrepreneur, the former owner of her own marketing company has an eye for design, and launched her career in decorating when a friend asked for help redoing her home. Now, she’s working on an array of projects in Fairfield County, including some for New Canaan’s Cobble Court Interiors.
In her designs, Legge offers a dose of California style to grateful Nutmeggers. “I’m a minimalist, but I like to have standout pieces,” she explains, insisting that there is a place for contemporary style in Connecticut. One of her recent projects was a home that looks traditional from the street, but is a glass box modern in the back.
To keep things light, the designer prefers a calm, neutral palette, “not a color block house.” For the main pieces, Legge suggests subtle colors in gorgeous textures such as mohair or velvet. “Add color and pattern with pillows, for example, rather than a bold sofa you’ll quickly get tired of,” she says. For accessories, Legge says she is one of the few people that loves gold and mixing metals (which explains her New Canaan Holiday House Tour theme of silver and gold).
To balance the natural color scheme, the designer likes to add color through art, which she says makes a house. “It’s so personal, and it takes time to purchase pieces that complement who you are as a family,” she explains, but insists that the time and financial investment are more than worth it.
Legge also likes updating accessories seasonally, especially in the dark of winter. “You can do wonders with pillows, or a huge ficus plant,” Legge suggests. For her own home, the designer has an arsenal of rotating accessories, like a huge shell she breaks out in warmer months. “It’s fun and new when you bring it back out!”
For bigger renovations (which the designer has several of on the docket this year), the updates must be seamless. “No one wants a renovation to be obvious,” Legge says. Subtle changes, however can breathe new life into old furniture.
Some of-the-moment upgrades to make for 2014? “People have been hopping on my gold bandwagon,” Legge says. “I’m also seeing tons of wallpaper—there’s a lot of great vinyl’s—and gray wood. And Belgian style glam is making a comeback.”