By Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson, Elle Decor
Christian Siriano has that curious love of green, which, as Oscar Wilde would say, is always the sign of a subtle artistic temperament. But just a few steps beyond the kiwi-hued entryway and the equally verdant living room of the designer’s Danbury, Connecticut home, you’ll discover a creative streak that goes far beyond the bounds of subtlety.
There is, for one, the sunny yellow seating area where we started our Saturday morning tour. Christian — who spends weekends here entertaining fresh-air-starved friends from New York City and catching his breath after a whirlwind summer that included dressing Michelle Obama, getting married, and launching a bedding collection at Bed Bath & Beyond — seems slow to relinquish that Manhattan intensity fellow creatives know well.
Or maybe it’s the exuberance of the home — a 19th-century colonial, which he shares with his husband, Brad Walsh — we’re picking up on.
It is impossible to miss.
“I wanted to make sure the house was super colorful and bright,” Christian says of his vision for the space. “It’s a getaway house, so we can do things that we wouldn’t normally do… fill it with things that we just love.”
Take, for instance, the turquoise console flanked by a bust Christian picked up at the nearby Newburgh Vintage Emporium — a favorite weekend haunt of the couple — and topped with a framed clipping from an old issue of Ladies Home Journal magazine.
In the formal living room (not to be confused with the family room at the back of the house), stripes meet ikat and clean-lined florals to captivating effect, while a pair of chinoiserie cabinets stand guard against boredom, showcasing a small sampling of the tchotchkes Brad admits he has a hard time passing up.
“The house is quite eclectic,” Christian notes, “And because I’m a designer, it’s all about the prints and the fabric and the textiles.”
That is, however, where the overlap between Christian’s expertise as a fashion designer and his penchant for interior design ends.
“Brad says I’m not allowed to design a room based on a collection I’m working on, but I kind of did that upstairs,” he says, referencing a second bright yellow space featuring a nature motif hand-drawn by friend and artist Anna Hafner. “We were doing an African, jungle-inspired collection and I was decorating that room at the same time. It’s so vibrant.”
By contrast, Christian and Brad occupy what they describe as a more neutral-hued, French-inspired apartment in New York City. The impact of that space on their design decisions here are most evident up a second flight of stairs in the couple’s attic-turned-master bedroom and bath, where whitewashed floors, white walls and white bedding create a cocoon-like vibe.
The room also stands as a testament to Christian’s ability to make design decisions practically on the fly. “We remodeled the attic in the last four months and it was decorated the day it was finished,” Christian says. “I had the bed ordered, I had the lamps downstairs, the settee… everything else we bought in one day, all vintage, in Connecticut,” he says.
Growing up, he remembers the design process being far more gradual though. “My mother just loved decorating, but it would take her two years to pick out a sofa,” he jokes.
Here, where Christian and Brad have spent weekends for the past three years, design happens fast, with accessories and art constantly making their way out of suitcases and flea markets and storage, and finding their rightful place along the home’s colorful walls and shelves.
“The house is full. Not much more can go in here,” Christian says. And that could only mean one thing: That he’s already plotting on something new — next summer’s overhaul of the barn out back.
But first, Fashion Week.