Art Takes Center Stage in a Fairfield Home
Text by Erika Ayn Finch Photography by Willie Cole
When designers Meghan De Maria and Courtney Yanni with Southport’s Moss Design first stepped foot into their client’s Fairfield home, they were struck by the traditional aesthetic, which didn’t match the home-owner’s vibrant personality.
“We really had to get her out of her comfort zone,” says De Maria, Moss Design’s principal designer.“Once she believed in what we were putting in front of her, it was like an explosion happened. She’s originally from New Jersey, and I like to say we brought in a little Jersey glitz to the space.”
The other thing the firm brought: art. De Maria and Yanni both collect fine art, and De Maria was an art history major. (Yanni started her career as a producer for Food Network.) When art consultant Lisa Cooper, owner of Elisa Contemporary Art, showed the designers Gold Rush by James Rieck, which Cooper had discovered at Lyons Wier Gallery in New York City, the pair knew the painting was destined for their Fairfield project. “It’s our client,” says De Maria. “It’s her blond hair; it’s how she would have dressed and worn her hair in the ’50s. I knew that by hanging it in the dining room, guests would talk about that art the entire dinner party.”
Yanni says the client quickly understood the importance of having fine art in her family’s home, but purchasing the right pieces doesn’t happen overnight. It was seven months later that everyone involved fell under the spell of an abstract painting for the formal living room. Serendipitously, the painting comes from artist Willie Cole, who also works as a photographer and who photographed the home. The painting, Series 1, worked well with the room’s saturated greens, golds, and blues.
The final piece to the art puzzle didn’t fall into place for another year. Moss Design reached out to New York-based art advisor Betsy Biscone to help find the perfect piece for the his-and-her office space. Biscone presented Will Be Home By 5 P.M., a semi-figurative Flashe-and-oil painting by emerging artist Hiejin Yoo. “They initially passed on it,” remembers Biscone, “but they kept coming back to it. They loved the story behind it—the car pulling away from the home, reluctantly waving goodbye to go to work.”
Each painting makes an impact in its space, and though two of the three can be seen from the foyer, they don’t compete but rather complete the home. “A space isn’t finished without art,” says De Maria.
Meghan De Maria, Courtney Yanni, Moss Design