Daniele Churchill triumphs at home, in the garden and at business
By Jane K. Dove
Photographs by David Bravo
Daniele Churchill has created a spectacular home and garden in Bedford that mirror her exquisite, eclectic taste.
“And above all,” she said. “It is a happy house.”
An owner of Churchills of Mount Kisco, a specialty clothing boutique, she has used her keen eye for beauty and design and love of order and tranquility to craft a living environment that is both a feast for the eyes and a balm for the senses.
“I never second-guess myself,” she said as she showed off her breathtaking creation. “I make a decision and then stick to it. Everything I have brought in here just seemed to work out perfectly. I bought a lot while the house was under construction. But the overall result is just what I had hoped.”
That self-possession is rooted in the heartland.
“My mother was a Parisian who my dad brought home to the Midwest,” Churchill recalled. “I grew up in the restaurant business, with my family owning and operating a four-star French restaurant in Omaha. I was the youngest of four children and worked in the business from the time I was a little girl. When my parents divorced when I was 17, I ran the restaurant myself – very successfully.”
The restaurant led to Churchill meeting her husband, Lee Einsidler, an executive in the liquor industry.
“Lee was transferred back to New York City and we married in 1984,” she said. “We moved around with his assignments, finally ending up in New Rochelle after some time in Chicago and New Jersey.”
The couple have two sons, Aaron, 26 and Jeffrey, 23.
“From New Rochelle, we moved to a contemporary house right next door to this one,” Churchill said. “That was 18 years ago and basically where we raised our family, with the boys attending Bedford Village elementary and Fox Lane high schools. We still own the house.”
Several years ago, Einsidler decided he wanted a bigger house for the family. “We knew our neighbor next door so we made her an offer six years ago, knocked down her house and started building this one,” Churchill said. “Lee wanted a large pool, so that became an integral part of our plans.”
Daniele said she had a vision of a large, landscaped pool backed by terraces, a huge covered porch with a fireplace and another tall fireplace inside a big room overlooking it all.
“I saw glass, stone and wood in a variety of combinations,” she said. “I worked closely with an architect, but I would say 80 percent of the ideas were mine.”
Creating an aura of peace and tranquility was also high on Churchill’s list.
“I wanted soothing surroundings, both inside and out,” she said, “I do yoga several times a week and have a special room just for that. Everything you see here was created to be natural and kind to the senses.”
The heart of Churchill’s home is the spectacular pool, terrace and family room combination.
One flows smoothly into the other, with design elements of stone and a variety of warm-colored natural woods creating the seamlessness.
The 85,000 gallon salt-water pool with two infinity edges is bordered by an array of manicured plants and shrubs. Colors abound, with scarlet Japanese maples serving as accents to a variety of green hues, while towering shade trees frame the outer perimeter. A trickling waterfall provides a soft and soothing background accompaniment. Flagstones in varying shapes and sizes offer generous terrace space for sitting, sunning and entertaining on multiple levels. Outdoor furnishings are mostly of wood, with tones that harmonize perfectly with the hues in the flagstones.
“At night, there is wonderful up-lighting to accent certain specimens,” Churchill said. “And speakers are hidden among the shrubbery.”
Stepping up onto the 65-foot-long covered porch, guests can sink into deeply-cushioned chairs or sit at large wooden tables positioned on radiant heated floors. Overhead, the wooden roof features a planked finish, magnificent hanging chandeliers and several fans. Special nano doors slide open completely, linking the porch to the interior family room. In one corner of the porch, cushioned couches are positioned in front of a stone fireplace. A large gas grill makes outdoor cooking easy.
Entering the family room, visitors are immediately struck by the 35-foot beamed ceilings, a 14-foot stone fireplace with a huge circa 1880 clock face reclaimed from a tower in London and a broad, furnished balcony. All light fixtures have been custom-made, and the room is accented with a 1,250 gallon salt-water tank filled with colorful fish.
The family room has a wet bar at one end and a luxury kitchen accented with copper counters and black walnut cabinets at the other. Opening off of it are “his and her” cabanas with baths joined by a central sauna and a steam room.
The first floor is completed by a separate apartment with a small kitchen area and luxury bath. Younger son Jeffrey is the current occupant.
The home’s second floor has four bedrooms and baths, including a master bedroom with luxury bath and a walk-up, walk-in closet. Arched wooden doors with broad moldings, all custom-made, form yet another unifying design element throughout the home.
The lower level, with its diamond-shaped coffered ceiling, boasts a 10-seat movie theater with leather recliners, a yoga room, a large “hang-out” room with fireplace and wet bar, and a 250-gallon reef and coral fish tank.
Throughout the home, Churchill has decorated with an eye to the eclectic and the unusual, as well as a variety of geometric shapes and patterns. She has created unity of design by choosing colors of mahogany, burgundy, rich beige, taupe, honey, amber, ochre and mustard. The end result is a home that glows with warmth and color, inviting guests to linger in the calm ambience she has created.
Back to business
Once Churchill finished building and decorating her home, she decided to take a new direction and started Churchills of Mount Kisco, an upscale designer clothing boutique.
“I had had some major health challenges, had my marriage come to an end and decided it was time to try something different,” she said. “I went into the store with a partner, Lori Land, and we opened our doors in 2009.”
Churchills features a full line of designer clothing and accessories for men and women. “We like to think of it as one-stop shopping,” Churchill said. “We carry everything from casual to eveningwear, including shoes and jewelry.”
Some of the labels featured at Churchills include René Lezard, Dear, alldresssedup, Giorgio Erato, Current/Elliott and Elizabeth Weinstock for women; and J Brand, Hanro, Form v Function, Vince, and Rag and Bone for men. The store boasts some well-known clients, including Oscar-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and singer Rob Thomas.
In addition to being at Churchills every day, Churchill is also very active in the local community.
“I have gotten involved with fundraising for the Mount Kisco Library, donated to the Mount Kisco 9/11 Memorial; and helped start a music therapy program at Northern Westchester Hospital,” she said. “I am also active with a pediatric cancer charity, the Mount Kisco Child Care Center and Pets Alive, a no-kill animal sanctuary in Middletown and Elmsford.”
At this point in her journey, Churchill said she is happy with her full and vibrant life, loves her daily interaction with her several lively dogs and enjoys giving back through her charitable work.
“It’s all about finding the right balance,” she said. “I believe I have done this in my home, personal and business life. I am an optimist who believes in continually moving forward and I will.”