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Dovecote owner Sarah Kaplan uses an 18th-century cobbler's cottage
in Redding as a design laboratory
and a cozy place to call home
Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, November 2005 -
As a child growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Sarah Kaplan would cringe as her mother dragged her from one
antique shop to the next. "I hated it," she recalls. Her family lived on 12 acres in a tastefully
refurbished horse barn decorated by her mother.
"She had the most beautiful taste," Kaplan says. "It was simple, not pretentious." These days, Kaplan
trolls antique shops twice a week, plucking out brilliant finds and placing them in Dovecote, her Westport store,
which she continually arranges and rearranges with creative director Corey Tippin. How shocked little Sarah Kaplan
would have been if she'd known that one day she'd choose to antique for a living.
WINE PUNCH | A david Hicks fabric from Groundworks (above) gives a colorful and geometric
kick to the sun room. The vintage Mies van der Rohe coffee table is by Knoll.
FUR ON FUR | In the sitting room of Sarah Kaplan and Robert Aldrich's 18th-century
Redding cottage (left), Ulysses and Dexter hold court on a Mies van der Rohe daybed
covered with a faux fur throw from Dovecote.
POOL PALACE | Before its renovation, the pool house (below) had grass growing
in it and large boulders hidden under its second level. After adding zebra wall covering,
sisal flooring and custom drapes, the space looks like something straight out of the
legendary New York City nightclub El Morroco. On a lucite chair found in Palm Beach, Dexter
looks at a ceramic greyhound that Kaplan discovered on one of her many antique trips.
Also like her mother, Kaplan lives in a home filled with unpretentious style. In her 1760s Redding estate,
interior design and decorating are never intellectualized or taken too seriously. "I just like what I like,"
she admits. "I'm not a purist. Sometimes I like things that are ultra-modern. Sometimes I like things that are
old and French, or I'll be attached to a particular color. I just think that at various times different things
look good, for whatever reason."
In the sitting room, a Mies van der Rohe daybed sits comfortably next to a stone fireplace under the original low,
beamed ceilings. In the sun-filled kitchen, painted a bright white, an old French chandelier hangs over streamlined
metal bar stools. In the sunroom, a rippling male torso found in Palm Beach flexes ove a $30 stone horse head found
at a flea market.
"She has an incredible affinity for finding stuff," says Tippin, a former stylist who handles the visuals in the
store and helped Kaplan redo her Redding home in time for a party this summer. He recalls when she brought home
a ceramic greyhoun on one of her forays. "It was kind of kitsch, but I liked it," he says, "and then we put it in
the poolhouse, and it looks fantastic."
Both Kaplan and Tippin share a background in fashion. Kaplan was a buyer for Neiman Marcus in Dallas, and then
for Barneys in New York. (Her husband is Robert Aldrich, president of Giorgio Armani North America.) continued...