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How interior designer Sherrill Canet’s Locust Valley home turned into a ‘design laboratory’

“Everyone’s house should evolve and grow and be fresh,” says interior designer Sherrill Canet.

Designer Sherrill Canet in the dining room of

Designer Sherrill Canet in the dining room of her Locust Valley home, March 30, 2018. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

To say that Sherrill Canet’s family has become accustomed to her frequent design experiments in their Locust Valley home is an understatement.

“At a certain point over the years, my husband and sons no longer noticed when I redid a room,” says Canet, an interior designer for high-end homes from New York to San Francisco. “The only time they did was when they would start to put their drink down and say, ‘Hey, where did that table go?’ ”

Constantly painting rooms, changing out furniture and replacing lamps and tables has become pretty much status quo in the home, which Canet describes as a “design laboratory.”

“Everyone’s house should evolve and grow and be fresh,” says Canet, who during her career has created her own line of carpets, fabrics and wall coverings in addition to a furniture collection. “It’s a joy to be able to enjoy things and then move them along and try something new.”

Her pursuit of fresh looks in home decor began while she was attending the Inchbald School of Design in London. When she returned to the United States, it was with a cargo container full of English antiques. This, in turn, led to opening an antiques store in Locust Valley, which, of course, had to be constantly restocked. Thus was born her personal designer lab/home.

“I’d fall in love with something I bought and want it in the house,” she says. “Then, I’d want to try something else and replace it.”

SELLING TAPPAN HILL

The house itself has an impressive pedigree.

Known as Tappan Hill and built in 1919, the Georgian Colonial was designed by Harrie T. Lindeberg, an architect known for building country homes in upscale suburbs for a Gatsby-like clientele. His style marked a shift from the baronial homes of the Gold Coast era to ones with an emphasis on comfort and conveniences.

Currently on the market for $2.65 million, it boasts six bedrooms, four full and two half-baths and seven working fireplaces. The 2 1⁄2-acre property also has a two-bedroom, two-bath carriage house and grounds that include a terraced garden and a pool.

Lindeberg gave the ornamental wrought-iron front door of Tappan Hill a spider web design, complete with creatures caught in the web. One, a locust, is perhaps a sly reference to the area by the architect, who built his own home in Locust Valley.

KEEPING IT FRESH

Canet and her husband, Eduardo, an investment adviser, bought the house 30 years ago and raised two children there. Some of her designs were made especially for it, such as a sofa with the middle back section kept open to avoid obstructing the view of the living room fireplace. The reason she came up with her own furniture line was because she felt there were too few outlets for high-end pieces, she says.

“It doesn’t cost much more to get exactly what you want,” says Canet, who also has an economics degree from Fordham University.

An example of the range of styles she has explored over the years probably is best represented by the living room. One section of her 2010 book, “Sherrill Canet, A La Carte: The Elements of an Elegant Home” (Pointed Leaf Press), shows several living room transformations. At one time, it was painted a robin’s-egg blue and had a leopard-print carpet. Later, the walls were covered with pearlized, pineapple-print paper and Chinese screens were added. During another period the walls became peach-hued with orange- and ivory-toned accents.

After Tappan Hill is sold, Canet plans to keep offices in both New York and the Palm Beach, Florida, area.

Before the move, the house will undergo another transition, one that she hasn’t quite figured out yet. Who knows — she might even return that missing drink table.

“It will be interesting to see what I leave,” she says, “and what I keep.”

Budget-friendly tips for your new look

Interior designer Sherrill Canet mostly designs interiors for homeowners with rarefied income levels, but that doesn’t mean such efforts have to cost thousands of dollars. Below are a few of her budget-friendly tips to add some freshness to your home.

  • Start by training your eye, Canet says. Look at homes in fashion magazines or check out websites that offer design tips.
  • Paint is probably the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to create a new look, she says. Another quick fix is to buy new rugs, pillows or sofa covers.
  • Check out what’s trending on fashion runways to see what colors are popular. Bluish-pink is something to keep an eye out for at the moment, says Canet.
  • Curtains are a bit passé now, she says. “So, if your curtains are really sorry looking, get rid of them.”

— JAMES KINDALL

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