C2 Limited Design Associates
Christina Romann and Craig Smith have been collaborating for many years on the design of luxury hospitality projects around the world, first with various firms in New York City and more recently (since 2008) as principals of C2 Limited Design Associates in Fairfield. New England Home’s Connecticut talked with them just before the holidays about how their business and their partnership have evolved.
Kyle Hoepner: You have long worked together in hospitality and resort design. Would you care to share some of your favorite projects over the years?
C2: We have been designing and re-styling private clubs, luxury hotels and resorts, many with historical and geographical significance, for twenty-plus years. Our long-term partnerships have led to our becoming curators and design stewards for many of our favorite hotel, club and resort clients. Some of our most memorable assignments have been the Greenbrier Sporting Club at the famed Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, the award-winning repositioning of the historic Hotel Hershey and Cottages in Pennsylvania and the envisioning and resort styling of the Turks & Caicos Sporting Club, an exclusive private island resort and residential development in the British West Indies. Newer assignments include the exclusive Tryall Club in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and the Coral Beach & Tennis Club in Bermuda.
KH: More recently you’ve also moved into designing second (or third, or fourth or fifth...) homes for residential clients. How did this transition take place?
C2: It began when we were asked to create several home-furnishings collections that embodied the unique flair and contextual aesthetic of the resort we were designing. Within a month of completing our first featured home interior at the resort, we closed on assignments for eight more homes.
KH: Why the focus on secondary homes?
C2: The focus was not intentional; it really just fell into our laps through word of mouth. Our clients tend to run in the same circles and all seem to have social connections through the resorts and private clubs we work on.
KH: Do you see hotel and resort design influencing home design in general these days? Or vice versa?
C2: It is interesting that you pose this question. Our hotel and resort clients are all gravitating toward a residential feel—albeit in a commercial setting requiring durability, safety-code compliance and the like—while our residential clientele all want their bathrooms to be spa-inspired and their bedrooms tailored after hotel suites.
KH: Are there differences in how you work with institutional versus private clients? Or changes in approach that have developed over time with your older clients?
C2: Since the day we started our firm we have been blessed with the absolute best clients, many of whom have become friends, leading into multigenerational relationships within families. The only real difference we have seen over time is the desire for a fresh take on what is truly classic. You see this, for example, in Christina’s Dorothy Draper–inspired interiors at The Greenbrier and her transitional clubhouse decor at Long Island’s Old Westbury Golf & Country Club.
KH: How do the two of you work together as a team? I gather that, generally, Craig focuses on the architecture and planning and Christina on the interiors—but I’m sure in reality there is plenty of cross-pollination or overlap back and forth as you hash out new designs.
C2: There is a delineation, with Christina handling the soft goods, furnishings and color palette and Craig handling the sense of space, interior flow and period detailing. With that said, the delineation is really blurred through the cohesive integration of details, materials, fixtures and furnishings. What you will see in all of our spaces is that the interior details support the palette and furnishings as much as the furnishings and light fixtures counterbalance the rooms’ proportions. It has always been not merely the statement of space but rather the intense experience of the space that matters to us.
KH: What motivated your move to Connecticut?
C2: Southport was the real attraction for both of us. In our eyes, Southport is the quintessential New England harbor village—quaint yet elegantly refined in both its architectural aesthetic and residents.
KH: Are there special aspects to working here?
C2: Considering the aforesaid, every day and every season is an inspiration in good taste and the way life is meant to be lived. •
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