In Connecticut, a House That Blurs the Boundaries of Time and Place

THE TEXTILE DESIGNER Nathalie Farman-Farma was a studious 16-year-old in 1984 when her French-born father’s new banking job in Manhattan required moving the family from the elegant western Parisian suburb of Le Vésinet to what might be its stateside equivalent: Greenwich, Conn. Her mother, Eleanor, who met her father, Jean-Paul, while they were students at Stanford University, had grown up in Northern California as a daughter of William Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, and settled on their new town a bit randomly; she sent a letter to The New York Times asking where the best public schools could be found in America and received a list in response.

Greenwich was a bit sleepier then, says Farman-Farma, now 52. The town, a 30-mile drive northeast of Manhattan, was full of Federal-style homes Edith Wharton would have recognized, such as the 6,960-square-foot, three-story 1892 house into which Farman-Farma’s parents settled their four children. They kept the outside white and the shutters dark green, and while they brought in a few family antiques and a good rug or two, they never updated the house with the latest kitchen gadgetry or decorating trends. Kids and dogs were free to gambol through the large parlors and 11 modestly sized bedrooms upstairs, and there were lots of books to read on the pillared porch.

After studying classics in college, Farman-Farma worked as an editor at The New Yorker and, in 2000, married Amir Farman-Farma, now 56, a financier from a royal Iranian family. Today, the couple lives in London with their two teenage children, in a Chelsea townhouse from which she also runs the design studio of her five-year-old textile line, Décors Barbares. (Her first book, “Décors Barbares: The Enchanting Interiors of Nathalie Farman-Farma,” was published last month.) But her mother, now in her 70s (her father died in 2005), continues to live in the Greenwich house, as bulldozers raze neighboring properties of similar vintage to make way for vast neo-Norman compounds.

While the house, on a promontory that overlooks Long Island Sound, is hardly au courant, Farman-Farma has nonetheless helped it evolve: Over the years, she has reimagined the interiors as a reflection of her peripatetic personal history and her well-researched ethnographic obsessions. With references that careen from Russian fairy tales and Uzbek ceramics to the rustic cabins of the Sierra Nevada and the soignée interiors of the World War II-era Parisian decorator Madeleine Castaing, Farman-Farma’s aesthetic catholicism melds seamlessly with the house’s East Coast establishment origins. As she did with her mother’s family property on Lake Tahoe and her own early 19th-century London residence and office, she has created a living laboratory for her layered taste. In a design era that favors vast glass walls and near empty rooms, Farman-Farma’s ethos seems as anachronistic as the Greenwich house itself. “Obviously,” she says, on a late summer afternoon, perched in a crosshatched wicker armchair covered in her black-background Sarafane fabric beside an ottoman draped in an embroidered antique fabric from India, “I don’t have much

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Male Connecticut College student charged with voyeurism in connection with incident in dorm bathroom, police say

A Connecticut College student was arrested Saturday night and charged with voyeurism after an incident in a dorm bathroom, police said Monday.

Nicholas Spellman, 19, was charged with voyeurism and disorderly conduct after police seized multiple electronic devices, New London police Capt. Brian Wright said.

Police were called to the dorm a few minutes after 10 p.m. Saturday after a reported incident in the bathroom, but police did not release further details Monday. 

Spellman, who is from Wilbraham, Mass., was released on bond and is scheduled to appear Nov. 20 in Superior Court in New London.

Police have asked anyone who has reason to believe they were a victim of of this type of crime or who has information about this incident or others like it to contact the detective bureau at 860-447-1481 or submitting an anonymous text tip to “Tip411” at 847411.

Police made a similar arrest in March 2019 when they charged former student Carlos Antonio Alberti, then 21 years old, with seven counts of voyeurism for allegedly recording female students in dorm bathrooms from October 2018 to January 2019. Alberti pleaded not guilty and pre-trial proceedings are scheduled to begin next month in Superior Court in New London.

Zach Murdock can be reached at [email protected]

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©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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Connecticut Flower & Garden Show canceled due to coronavirus pandemic

The 40th annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, scheduled from Feb. 25 to 28, 2021 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, has been canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on Wednesday.

“I want to be sure we have a safe and profitable environment for all and it would be unfair to ask attendees and exhibitors – many of them small family businesses, like mine – to jeopardize their health and financial well-being,” Kristie Gonsalves, president of North East Expos, the show’s producer, said in a news release.

Gonsalves pointed out that the show uses all of the space in the center’s exhibition hall and seminar rooms. In the past, the show has attracted 40,000 people, and the exhibitors depend on that revenue.

“Employing socially distanced booths, one-way aisles and limiting the number of people inside at any one time would not only be difficult, but could affect the bottom line of hundreds of quality exhibitors,” she wrote.

The next Connecticut Flower & Garden Show is scheduled for Feb. 24 to 27, 2022.

North East Expos also produces the Connecticut Fishing & Outdoor Show at Mohegan Sun and the Northeast Fishing & Hunting Show at Connecticut Convention Center. No decision has been made regarding those 2021 shows.

Susan Dunne can be reached at [email protected]

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©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com

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Connecticut Flower & Garden Show cancels February event over COVID-19 uncertainty

HARTFORD — Organizers of the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show announced Wednesday the cancellation of its February 2021 event due to uncertainty about the impact coronavirus will have over the next five months.

One of New England’s largest and most prestigious flower shows, the 40th annual show was scheduled to take place on Feb. 25-28, 2021 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

“This has been a very difficult decision but we believe that, as of now, we would be unable to produce a successful Connecticut Flower & Garden Show at the Connecticut Convention Center this February,” said Kristie Gonsalves, president of North East Expos, Inc. and a past president of the National Association of Consumer Show Producers. “I want to be sure we have a safe and profitable environment for all and it would be unfair to ask attendees and exhibitors – many of them small family businesses, like mine – to jeopardize their health and financial well-being just to continue with a tradition…even this beautiful, joyful one.”

North East Expos also produces the successful Connecticut Fishing & Outdoor Show at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. and the Northeast Fishing & Hunting Show at the Connecticut Convention Center. No decision has been made yet about the status of those 2021 shows.

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