In Conversation with Heide Hendricks and Rafe Churchill

Written on 24th October 2020

Walls & Ceiling: Hardwick White in Estate Emulsion, Woodwork: Shaded White in Estate Eggshell | Photography by Amanda Kirkpatrick 

At Hendricks Churchill, collaboration is everything. Helmed by interior designer Heide Hendricks and architect Rafe Churchill, who joined forces in 2017 after years of individual success in the industry, the work of the Connecticut-based firm is a masterclass in combining disciplines and realising clients’ visions through in-house expertise. Where the pair’s dedication to balance is clearest, however, is in their finished projects – spaces that invariably pair meticulous craftmanship with playfulness, humanity, and warmth. We caught up with Heide and Rafe to talk inspired palettes, favourite projects, and how colour drives their designs.

Tell us about the kinds of projects you work on and how you would define your style

Our style is highly influenced by the setting and vernacular of the area. Both historical renovations and new constructions, our projects have traditional backdrops with fresh and eclectic interiors and modern influences, such as furnishings or lighting, all blended for contemporary living.

Several of your projects in upstate NY and Connecticut feature our paints and papers. What makes Farrow & Ball’s colours the choice for these properties?

We were immediately attracted to Farrow & Ball since well before we combined our design practices three years ago. We were attracted because the brand edits down the palette of colors that work so well in New England lighting. Because of the organic materials, the colors are moody and responsive to light conditions. They refract light in a way that’s truly unique to Farrow & Ball. The added benefit is that you don’t just get a blue in your room – it could start light gray in the morning and be slate blue by sundown. Depending on the time of the day, the room emotes a different feeling, and emotions drive our designs. The paint makes our job easy.

Walls & Ceiling: Ammonite in Estate Emulsion; Trim & Doors: Cornforth White in Estate Eggshell, Window Sash: Studio Green in Estate Eggshell | Photography by Amanda Kirkpatrick

Tell us about one of your favourite projects and how you devised the colour palette. Do the property’s surroundings ever influence what you bring inside the walls?

Both our Millbrook Farmhouse and Ellsworth projects have been dear favourites, especially in our use of Farrow & Ball paint colours.

Millbrook – This home is a great example of using the same shade throughout a small house. Based on the home’s orientation of rooms, the colour reads differently in each space. You benefit from a tonal story, but it’s really the same colour. If a room reads dark, we bring in lighter colours or keep a light mood in bedrooms.

Ellsworth – The farmhouse has evolved over three different phases from the 1790s to the early 1900s. The property’s orientation offers beautiful northern light in the living room and western light in the kitchen. We tried to select colours knowing what time of day we’ll be in the room and the type of light it would receive. The living room was dark in the daytime, so we wanted it to be warm and cozy to hang out in in winter months due to its fireplace, the only one in the home.

Left - Cabinets: Dove Tale in Estate Eggshell, Window Sash: Down Pipe in Estate Eggshell. Right - Walls: Light Blue in Estate Emilsion, Woodwork: Shaded White in Estate Eggshell | Photography by Amanda Kirkpatrick

Hendricks Churchill properties have a modern, simple, yet eclectic feel to them, with statement light fixtures and unique furniture. Where do you source all these wonderful pieces?

I love sourcing as locally as possible to keep a smaller carbon footprint. In fact, all but one piece in my own home, Ellsworth, was sourced locally. If working with made-to-order companies, I look for non-toxic and green qualities. I’m always on the prowl at estate sales and antique shops, and I stockpile the finds at the Hendricks Churchill Reservoir.

What current projects are you working on?

We have exciting upcoming projects in New England, including a home in Falmouth, Maine, where we will merge the local vernacular with contemporary architectural elements; an event barn addition at the Millbrook, New York, project referenced above; and a former candle factory in Nantucket, Massachusetts, which we will be turning into a residence. Beyond the northeast, we will also be completing a project this year in Austin, Texas, our farthest one to date from our base in Connecticut.

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