In A Katonah Colonial, A Blend Of Westchester Style And Vision
A delightful mix of old and new harmonizes perfectly in Eric and Louise Newland’s charming abode.
The Newlands in their perennial garden.
When it comes to decorating their Katonah home, Eric and Louise Newland have no do’s and don’ts. “Our house is very eclectic. We like old and new, and we like to mix them. It creates a very warm feeling,” says Eric. The couple, who own the upscale women’s clothing and accessories store Designer One in Larchmont, have infused their 1960s Colonial with their unique sense of style, decorating it with furnishings and artwork that range from 19th-century porcelain urns and antique nesting tables to mid-century modern chairs and outstanding examples of 1970s and '80s American craft.
The Newlands, along with their two young daughters (now 33 and 24), moved into their 3,000-square-foot home back in 1995, and quickly set about making renovations to achieve “the vision we had between us,” says Louise. “We knocked down walls and did the whole house over. We got rid of the slate floor in the entry and put in wood. And we added moldings, French doors, new baseboards, and opened up the space between the kitchen and the family room.”
In terms of the home's decor, Eric and Louise each brought their own history and sense of style. Eric, who had his own Westchester cable show on women’s fashion and lifestyle (as well as a baseball show and a general talk show), grew up in New Rochelle with a mother who was an artist and a collector. “She was devoted to the mid-century modern aesthetic early on and it highly influenced me,” he says. Louise, a Rye native, also had a mother who was an artist, and Louise dabbles in painting herself. Many of the antique furnishings and 19th-century paintings throughout the house are family heirlooms from her side of the family.
The Newlands' artful blending of styles can be detected the moment you walk into their home. To the right of the front door is an original Eames bench, which Eric inherited from his parents. (They owned the Glen House in Stamford, Connecticut, designed by famed modernist architect Richard Neutra.) Also part of the entryway mix is an Empire mahogany side chair, 1920s croquet set, and an original Stickley cherry wood sideboard from the early 20th century.
Garden ornaments adorn the koi pond as well as the perennial gardens.
Adding an element of whimsy to the foyer is what Eric calls their “mini Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” a collection of album covers signed by the likes of Paul McCartney; Steve Martin; and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. They’ve also got a program from the opening of the Kennedy Center signed by Leonard Bernstein, and a signed lithograph created by David Bowie for the Montreux Jazz Festival.
A peek inside the living room reveals another sophisticated combination of old and new, with a 1940s Noguchi lounge chair and other mid-century modern furnishings and American craft accessories sharing space with an early-1800s English pine armoire, French Empire display stand, and Victorian drop-leaf secretary. On the walls are portraits of Louise’s great, great grandmother and grandfather, along with a 19th-century war painting by French general and painter Louis-François Lejeune.
A similar mix is present in the dining room, which, Eric says, is highlighted by “a post-Depression, 1930s carved oak table and chairs.” He says, “I bid on this 30 to 40 years ago at an antiques house in Larchmont. When the sleeve is pulled out, we can seat 14 to 16 people.” The table’s antique silver candelabras were inherited from Louise’s mother, and the chandelier above the table is decorated with Victorian milk glass, an artistic touch added by her mother. On the walls are a variety of American craft pieces, including paintings, mixed media, ceramics, and a mobile. According to Louise, “It’s really a collection of our lives together, our lives before we met, and our families before us.”
The overlap of the Newlands’ work and home life comes into focus when you enter their family room. American craft lamps and pottery abound, similar in style to what the couple sells at Designer One. On the lime-green sectional are colorful pillows by English designer Margo Selby. “We sold these at the store and they were a big hit,” says Eric. “Part of my philosophy always was that people who buy the clothing we sell in our store also have a similar aesthetic in what they collect.”
The Newlands’ interest in decorating their home extends beyond the walls of their house and onto the grounds of their three-acre property. In the front yard, they’ve created a little oasis, highlighted by an irregular-cut bluestone patio that leads up to a koi pond, shaded by an expansive Japanese maple tree. Their backyard, which backs onto conservancy land, is bursting with perennial gardens, creating a “rolling garden of color in the spring, summer, and fall,” says Louise. The couple have also planted specimen trees and bushes, and is working on an extensive fern meadow. Sprinkled across the grounds are garden ornaments infused with sentimental value, from a Buddha given to Louise as a birthday present to a seagull weathervane from Fire Island, where she spent her summers growing up.
“There are houses that are grander and decorated with top-of-the-line furnishings and accessories, but every piece we own in our home has a very soulful connection,” says Eric. “There’s a story behind every single one.”