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Sparkle & Shimmer

In New Canaan, Connecticut, a homeowner and designer collaborated to create a delicate personal world.

New Canaan, Connecticut, is a town of hidden gems. Here you’ll find the most famous Modernist home in America, Philip Johnson’s Glass House, tucked away and hidden from street view. To the casual visitor, it may seem that every other home in New Canaan was erected in the 18th century or built to look that way, but exteriors can be deceiving.

The living room shines with a profusion of crystal and acrylic. The sculpture in the corner is Lalique.

Take, for example, the home of Cathy Kangas, CEO of Prai Beauty, a luxury skincare company, and a national board member of the Humane Society of the United States: Behind the reserved façade of her red-brick Georgian, she and designer Jeanne Ferraro, with help from Safavieh, have crafted a delicate and shimmering personal world. In place of Yankee simplicity, we find Venetian mirrors, lacquered cabinets, Louis XV desks, crystal sculptures (including a massive up-lit nude by Lalique), a profusion of perfectly transparent acrylic tables, damask wall coverings, silk rugs, fresh flowers and attention-grabbing artwork of the animals Kangas loves—horses, elephants (she has rescued one), leopards, dogs….

Outsized portraits of horses help give the upstairs hall its contemporary feel.

That’s to say nothing of the real dogs. She has five of them, all large, ranging from golden retriever up to St. Bernard. Pets that big inevitably must be counted as part of the décor. Somehow every room in the house remains pristine.

In the homeowner’s study, nearly every surface has a delicate sheen.

One of the more striking spaces in the home is the upstairs hall. There are three elements, all from Safavieh, that play wonderfully together: a massive crystal chandelier, which hangs below eye level in the stairwell; a Regency style round table whose every surface is mirrored; and several framed photographic portraits of horses—two of them monumental close-ups in black-and-white.

The façade of Cathy Kangas’s symmetrical Georgian home gives no hint of the feminine wit and whimsy to be found within.

As the contents of the upstairs hall suggest, this is one of the more eclectic homes furnished by Safavieh, with styles representing every century from the 17th to the 21st. Yet the visual effect is not one of eclecticism. Everything seems remarkably unified through color, satiny finishes, the repetition of subtle patterns and the generous use of transparent materials—glass, crystal and acrylic. You might call it feminine chic, a fitting style for a woman who owns a luxury skincare company.

In the living room, a large Venetian mirror presides over a French sofa, both from Safavieh.

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