Hay House: How Designer Sheila Bridges Made Space for Herself

Judith Zeng

For additional than two decades, the inside designer Sheila Bridges, a imaginative beacon for Bill Clinton, Tom Clancy and Sean (Diddy) Combs, the hip-hop mogul presently recognized as Adore, has divided her time in between Harlem and the Hudson Valley. Most of those people a long time, Ms. Bridges, 57, retreated to an antique farmhouse in the city of Germantown in Columbia County, the place she stored horses, sheep, goats and chickens. But in 2019, she moved into a 1,600-square-foot village house in the vicinity of Hudson, N.Y., that was designed for her from scratch. (Given that 2015, she has also maintained a compact residence in Reykjavik, Iceland.) Speaking from her weekend house, she talked about planning to please the best shopper: herself. (This job interview was edited for duration and clarity.)

Why did you identify your new Hudson Valley residence Hay Dwelling?

It was sort of a joke. So numerous persons have these very fanciful names for their properties. This is the opposite of a farm, but I have hay bales, which I brought below. And the property seems like a barn.

Was it a wrestle to restrict the dimension to 1,600 square feet?

It was a obstacle, but the objective was to downsize my lifestyle on some degree. I’m just one particular person. The even bigger the residence, the extra problems in phrases of upkeep. I’m attempting to go away from that as I get a very little older.

Did you at the very least go away room for a operate house?

I didn’t style the home imagining that I would be listed here 24/7, but fortunately the attic is an open area. In the course of the pandemic I turned it into a working studio. I experienced California Closets arrive in and build storage for our wallpaper, fabrics and umbrellas, and I put in desks. It labored out very nicely. It does not intrude on the relaxation of my dwelling room. A single of the worries we all have faced is how do you separate these spaces when you are sitting down at a laptop computer 12 hrs a working day.

I couldn’t enable noticing that the wall therapies on the floor floor are, for you, very simple.

With the architecture and design, it produced perception to have white partitions. I believe you seen how a lot art I have on the walls all the color and texture occur from the art, the sculpture, the carpets, the upholstery. The bedrooms are pretty vibrant. So mainly, when you come into my home, it type of looks like a white box, but as quickly as you open any doorway, you’re strike with color and sample in a way that I assume most men and women affiliate with my work.

Which came to start with: the soaring ceiling or the decision to make mobiles a focal place?

Each.

Sorry, it just cannot be the two.

I generally experienced mobiles in my rooms, even as a little one. I realized that I wanted to have mobiles in this house and owning 17-foot-or-whatsoever ceilings gave me the opportunity to do that. This is the first residence that I’ve designed for myself that was crafted from the floor up. I preferred to encompass myself with the issues that I appreciate and are meaningful to me. This is a household for a good deal of art items that I’ve gathered or that ended up handed down from my mother and father and that I have acquired in excess of the many years.

A lot of individuals struggle with what to do with inherited objects. Do you have information about how to include family treasures into one’s residence?

I think no matter if inherited or not, if it is one thing that you enjoy you have to make area for it. I’m sitting down listed here searching at a lamp in my living space that employed to be in the residing room of my parents’ home in Philadelphia for 50-some decades and it just functions. That’s the beauty of mixing durations. I appreciate mixing aged and new, classic and modern, and it tends to make it less complicated to embrace the things that may perhaps have belonged to your family if you’re not so rigid about only having just one style of furnishings in your house.

Your dwelling-space beams and higher-flooring ceiling remind me that you are not a human being who is fearful to paint wood.

It all relies upon on the architecture and what you want the room to appear like. In my condominium in the town, the wood paneling is painted in a Farrow & Ball Oval Place Blue, but it operates mainly because of the quite classical kind of architecture. The paneling is mahogany, but it was not in very good condition. I did not have the funds to restore it, so I determined to paint it, which seriously aided to disguise a ton of those flaws. This house is brand new, so the white paint appears to operate incredibly nicely. There is not a specific rule.

7 years ago, you created a sequel to your Harlem Toile de Jouy wallpaper called Hudson Valley Toile that carefully poked entertaining at town persons pouring into the location. You showed a homosexual farmer couple in the style of “American Gothic,” a station wagon driver searching for foie gras, and Rip Van Winkle waking up on a crowded Rip Van Winkle Bridge, which spans the river concerning Hudson and Catskill. Ignoring for a instant that this function is in the Brooklyn Museum’s long-lasting assortment, would you style and design the identical motifs nowadays?

These scenes are like visual tropes. They turned a minor clichéd. We have noticed them all perform out. Toile is a pleasurable way to doc them. I should insert that the roofed composition on the bridge driving Rip Van Winkle was not too long ago torn down. Somebody commented a short while ago that one of the wonderful pieces of documenting these issues in wallpaper is preserving what no longer exists.

Even though you no more time individual a farm, you nevertheless have nearly an acre to are likely. What are you performing out there?

My assets gets a large amount of drinking water, so there is a rain yard. I also have elevated beds and previous year I grew tomatoes and kale and lettuces and spinach and cucumbers and all kinds of herbs. Practically nothing tremendous complex. It’s fenced simply because I have generally had canine and I want to keep the deer out. I just looked out my window this early morning and noticed a doe munching on my neighbors’ hedges throughout the avenue. My neighbors shell out the winter season in Florida and I’m positive they’ll come residence to some recently formed shrubs and trees.

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