A designing way

Lynn Morgan Design creates inviting rooms that are often the colors of the sea.

Images of Lynn Morgan’s interiors make you want to plunge right into them and curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. At a Rowayton oyster house, rooms in various shades of blue and white with nice but nautical stripes and shell patterns bring the Long Island Sound — just footsteps away — indoors. The spaces in a New Canaan Colonial play with a similar palette — minus the shells and the thin stripes — adding a breezy sophistication that brings Palm Beach north. And a Big Sky ski lodge lets you “rough” it with cathedral ceilings, stone and wood furnishings, an earthy palette and floor-length windows that command soaring views of the Rockies. 

“I’ve never been guided by trends,” says Morgan, whose Lynn Morgan Design is based in Rowayton. Rather, the easy-to-talk-with designer is guided not only by her own tastes but those of her clients — along with their backgrounds and the settings of their projects —“to help them achieve their own style.” So the sandy-colored lodge in Big Sky Country is a world away from the New Canaan Colonial with its saturation of color — as if it were a  Thomas McKnight painting come to life — because, well, Big Sky Country is a world away from New Canaan. Geography is important to Morgan. So is personal history.

“Where they grow up says a lot about a person,” she says.

But whatever the interior, touches of Morgan thread through — the love of the sea and its primary colors, blue and white, with pops of shades like crimson and lime. Curved, upholstered furnishings marry hard, angular pieces. Artwork dominates walls. (Those are Andy Warhol paintings of Native Americans in the ski lodge.) Education, particularly visual literacy — reading art books and attending galleries, museums and fairs like Art Basel — is also important to her.

Morgan’s love of the sea and its cool palette was born in Savannah, Georgia — a place redolent of American history. There she grew up rearranging furnishings in her childhood home, painting furniture with her mother and traveling to Palm Beach. She still has a home in Savannah, in the historic district and, when we spoke, was off to the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Palm Beach. (The New York show house is upcoming).

After boarding school, Morgan attended Mount Vernon Junior College in Washington, D.C. (now part of George Washington University). Then she headed to New York City and a career in magazine publishing. From a young intern, she made her way up to decorating editor at the now defunct House & Garden where she learned both the decorating and magazine businesses as she traveled for the publication. Other jobs may have paid better. Few offered such an entrée into the worlds of color and composition.

“We ate tuna fish sandwiches and loved it,” she recalls.

Once Morgan married and had children, the commute from Connecticut to New York City became a bit much and Lynn Morgan Design was born. She still travels, juggling projects around the country. In Greenwich, she’s been working on the interior of a 22,000-square-foot house for four years; in South Carolina, on a plantation. Along the way, she has noticed one trend and that is a return to glamour and romance, which should stand her in good stead.

But then, her work has always been about “a timeless sense of design.”

For more, visit lynnmorgandesign.com.

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