Christian Siriano is known for making bold statements. But even for someone who dressed Billy
Christian Siriano is known for making bold statements. But even for someone who dressed Billy Porter in a tuxedo ballgown for the Oscars, his move from an antique Colonial house to a modernist dwelling with 11-foot-high windows is a rather dramatic one. “I was looking for a full refresh,” the fashion designer and Project Runway mentor says of his architectural 180. “I felt like my life was a little chaotic. The last year or two, I just haven’t stopped—doing shows, collections, collaborations. I was like, I need a break. I wanted something zen and easy.”
He found it in the form of a sleek, airy structure of wood and stucco boxes in the coastal Connecticut town of Westport—a stylistic anomaly in a region known for traditional shingle houses. Designed by architect Bolek Ryzinski in collaboration with RAAD Studio, its location near the beach was part of the draw. (The first such place Siriano bought eight years ago is further inland in Danbury.) “Full vacation mode,” he says of what was intended to be a weekend escape.
Christian Siriano in the kitchen of his Westport, Connecticut, home, where he’s been quarantining since March. He replaced the brushed nickel hardware originally on the cabinetry with matte black to connect it to the house’s oversized black window frames.
Of course, timing is everything. Siriano closed on the house in February, and less than a month later, as COVID-19 sent the country into lockdown, he and his partner, Kyle Smith, a menswear designer, were sheltering there full-time. In the five months since, Siriano has experienced an aha moment. “It’s like another world up here,” he says. “It’s quiet. We’re completely surrounded by nature.” He’s even taken up cooking. “We sit down at the dining table almost every night. It feels like more real life. New Yorkers order food all the time, and watch a show.” The commute to the city is so manageable that he’s now considering downsizing his Manhattan apartment and staying put.
When it came to furnishing, Siriano had already gotten a jump start. “I’m a pretty heavy weekend antiquer,” he says, noting that the garage of his Danbury home served as a storage unit for contemporary design treasures he had amassed over time but previously had no place for. Among them were a pair of teak Danish midcentury chairs and a Pierre Paulin sofa that “was torn to shreds, so I got it super cheap,” says Siriano. He raided his apartment and office, too. A glass coffee table that had spent five years in his atelier now serves as the centerpiece of his open living room alongside a pair of vintage Mario Bellini for Cassina chairs culled from his apartment.
The scene is set for a day of lounging. A bean-shaped gunite pool surrounded by park-like greenery unfolds just beyond the modernist home, which was designed by architect Bolek Ryzinski in collaboration with RAAD Studio.
The house’s white walls, lofty ceilings, and expansive spaces are the perfect backdrop for his ever-evolving collection. “This architecture just felt like a way to showcase all the things I love, kind of like a gallery space,” he says. “My office is an old 1800s building. I was in all these more period-like settings. I just became obsessed with the idea of light and being surrounded by nature.” So much so that he eschewed curtains throughout. “I want the light,” he declares. “We wake up to it. I was always nervous that modernism wasn’t livable. I’m trying to make sure it’s still comfortable, that we can still hang out.”
One hobby he’s taken up during quarantine is furniture design. His office plays host to his Lula settee, featuring circular back cushions and a bench base of white bouclé atop triangulated wood legs, and downstairs in the living area there’s a chair with similarly playful geometric proportions. “I like that they look like little dresses or people,” says Siriano. After sharing a glimpse of the settee on his Instagram, he recently received his first commission. “It was fabulous. I just posted a snippet and this interior designer reached out. They’re going to do it at the foot of a bed, which I love. It will be super chic.” His foray into interiors is gaining legs in more ways than one: He is also designing the penthouse suite for the upcoming London Hotel in West Hollywood, where, he says, all of the dining chairs will be his own.
Siriano’s office and art studio feature a CB2 desk, Oswald Haerdtl for Thonet chair, and a custom bouclé and wood settee of Siriano’s own design.
The main closet boasts a floor-to-ceiling window and custom cabinetry; 1950s Italian chair from Chairish.
Part of the appeal of Siriano is his ability to passionately and enthusiastically throw himself into so many endeavors. He’s a celebrated fashion designer, television personality, interiors enthusiast, even artist (his paintings, like his furniture, can be custom ordered on his website and several adorn the walls of his home). The vocation that’s garnered him the most applause of late, though, is that of public servant. Early on in the pandemic when mask shortages were dire, Siriano raised his hand to help, transforming his atelier into a mask-making factory. His mobilization around the cause has earned him praise from Governor Cuomo, as well as government funding. He is now an essential business. “It’s been a wild, wild ride,” he says of the whole experience. “Amazing, but challenging. My team has been working every single day.”
Their dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed by Siriano. Now that he is so happily ensconced in his Westport home, he’s turned his Danbury residence into a sort of satellite office for team members to take weekend retreats. “I’m like, ‘I still pay all the bills. You better use it,’” he relays with a laugh. “‘Go there and swim. It’s fabulous.’”
Tour Fashion Star Christian Siriano’s Modernist Connecticut Refuge
Fashion designer and Project Runway mentor Christian Siriano has been quarantining in his modernist Westport, Connecticut, home since March. In the kitchen, natural wood cabinetry topped with Pietra Cardosa stone lends understated drama. The bar stools are 1950s Frederick Weinberg that Siriano had restored.
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