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Take the basics: a roomy house with good bones, in a great location. Combine these elements with a couple of savvy interior design professionals who have eyes for their clients’ needs and tastes. Toss in a willingness to hew to a budget and still provide beautiful and livable interiors, and you’ve got a surefire recipe for the successful decorating that everyone is looking for in these value-conscious times.
The clients—a busy couple with their four young sons—had some practical requirements. For their large, active family, they wanted comfort and ease of maintenance. At the same time, they sought an aesthetic that would align with their somewhat minimalist tastes, and harmonize with the traditional architectural details of the classic Colonial house they had just purchased in Greenwich.
Enter Lauren Muse and Christina Murphy, a pair of design talents for whom this new project would be another point of intersection between their parallel career paths, which began in the nineties at a Manhattan advertising agency where they were co-workers and became friends.
With her first child on the way, Lauren had decided to opt out of the grueling hours and travel requirements of the ad business and take up a career in design. Inspired by the process of decorating the home she and her husband had built in Connecticut, she made the leap by enrolling in the New York School of Interior Design.
Christina, who grew up in Palm Beach and counted the designers Mimi McMakin and her daughter Celerie Kemble among her childhood neighbors and friends, was inspired by Lauren’s decision, and wrestled with the idea of a switch.
“I endured a few sleepless nights until I was forced to address the nearly audible inner voice telling me that interior design was a true passion of mine as well. Within a week, I was in my boss’s office giving notice,” recalls Christina.
Once they finished their studies, the women’s paths diverged. Christina worked for several years at Kemble Interiors, by then a red-hot New York design studio. Lauren, who also jumped into the Greenwich residential sales market, found design clients among her real estate customers. Their word-of-mouth praise helped expand Muse Interiors—her design venture—into a going concern.
When Lauren brought in the Greenwich project—a large new home with grandly scaled rooms—it needed interiors on a tight schedule and finite budget. Lauren, who has an encyclopedic command of local Fairfield County design sources, called her friend, wisely figuring that a team approach could get it done. Christina, who, by the time the project appeared, had moved on from Kemble to her own studio, had files full of resources in New York. Together, the pair produced results—on time and in the black—that are the definition of every client’s dream.