Sheila Bridges, an AD100 designer, takes you inside an elegant country estate.

Sheila Bridges, a true Renaissance woman, has presented a TV show, written two books, and designed the now-iconic Harlem Toile pattern that every socially conscious aesthete adores. It's difficult to keep up with the AD100 talent, who speaks quickly with ideas flying out of her mind and tongue. She manages to strike a combination of charm, warmth, and humor without surrendering her razor-sharp wit. For the past 30 years, her kind personality has utilized design as an outlet for research and discovery, as multifaceted as her interiors. “In my interiors, one of the things I really want to avoid is using the same thing twice,” she adds. In a recent major project she finished in Bedford Hills, New York, she had no concern about repeating herself. real estate qatar

The Cotswolds-style mansion, which sits on 23 acres of lush land, was originally designed in 1936 by architect Phelps Barnum as a country retreat for enthusiastic equestrians, a love shared by Bridges and the present owner. Bridges was entrusted with creating intimate, livable areas within the historic 8,000-square-foot property, all while maintaining faithful to its beautiful original essence and the Art Deco embellishments that remained, with architect David Abelow managing the entire refurbishment (his third project for the clients). Bridges undertook a deep dive into the history of the house and the area in preparation for her work, and those elements served as a decorative starting point for her. The designer notes, "My process always starts with a lot of research and design reconnaissance." “It's all about exploration and learning.”

Despite its size, Abelow thinks the house feels more like a cottage than a great mansion. Bridges increased the sense of intimacy by establishing a separate decorative narrative within each zone, drawing inspiration from the 1930s characteristics that may still be found. The pine-paneled library is one of the house's many well-preserved jewels. Bridges' usual lush and whimsical layering comes to life most vividly here. The limited natural light is maximized by comfortable seating and thoughtful space allocation. Bridges used a gloriously wild Clarence House print with a Tibetan-inspired repeating tiger motif to cover the bay window's curved bench. A relaxing counterpart to the luxurious exuberance beneath are Roman shades in a little more subdued Loro Piana cloth.

The delicate plaster medallions that litter the ceiling in the living room represent Tudor roses with soft curled petals, as well as a heraldic crest and lion, retaining the historical integrity. The formal dining room is much grander, with vibrant handcrafted scenic wallpaper depicting the Bedford Hills home in a mythical former time adorning the walls. Bridges was inspired by a hand-painted mural the clients had commissioned for a prior residence. The dining room's magnificent limestone mantel, carved with the Latin motto Dum spiro, spero, meaning "While I breathe, I hope," is a strong contender for the home's best original element. The refrigerator, a 1930s "icebox" with multiple compartments that the homeowners had restored by a specialist in Maine, is a close second. Bridges took a different strategy when it came to the main house's five bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. “I usually come up with a plan for the bedroom first, and then the bathroom follows,” she says. “In some ways, I worked backwards here, starting with the restrooms because they were all original.” Even faucets and handles were sent out to be renovated, rather than opting for modern replacements, due to the clients' meticulousness. Original Art Deco tiling frames the mirror in the bath off the green bedroom. The asparagus green of the tile is repeated on the adjoining bedroom's walls, which are covered in a quaint Farrow & Ball wallpaper featuring farm-scapes (a subtle homage to the estate itself). “They like clean walls with not a lot of art,” Bridges says, referring to the house's many decorative wall coverings. “As a result, the wallpaper functions as art in and of itself.”

On the walls of the primary suite, embroidered blossoms in a large-scale Fromental silk sprout, and a Dmitriy & Co. bed, luxuriously upholstered in a Holly Hunt mohair, takes center stage. A gigantic totem pole, originally erected on the grounds of the wife's family property in Canada and now at home here, can be seen through the luxurious Christopher Hyland velvet drapes.

This country retreat's outdoor space is, unsurprisingly, a main point. A "hidden garden" built by landscape designer David Kelly of Rees Roberts + Partners is accessible through leaded-glass French doors off a separate family area. The garden, surrounded by towering hedges, invites reflection, supported by the sounds of trickling water from the central fountain and its two neighbouring pools. There's also a pool and a poolhouse, both of which offer stunning views of the sprawling property. A new wood barn designed by Abelow and a historic stone stable with an expansion designed by the architect that houses a gym and squash court are among the other structures.

Go Back