Chauncey Boothby Is the Mary Poppins of the Design World

How the Rowayton, Connecticut, interiors guru works design magic.

Chauncey Boothby
Jessica Antola


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For many designers, accessorizing is a chance to show off their practical magic, turning a pile of bricks into a home with a capital H. Chauncey Boothby’s clients refer to it as “Chauncifying.”

“I think they envision me showing up with my Mary Poppins bag and twitching my nose!” jokes the Rowayton, Connecticut, decorator. In reality, she says, there’s “a lot less magic and a lot more schlepping” involved in finding the quirky pieces that help create her signature New England–inspired interiors. “For me, it’s not necessarily the scale that’s important, but rather the texture. To fully accessorize a room, I usually pair new soft goods like pillows and throws with vintage wooden boxes or baskets,” Boothby says. “I love the mix of wicker and caning with walnut woods, brass elements, and ceramic vases and dishes—and always an element of greenery.”

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The cobalt blues and mossy greens of Boothby’s native Maine helped inspire a client’s guest room. Bed ­canopy fabric, Les Indiennes. Lamps, Visual Comfort.
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Boothby, a Maine native, credits two years spent under the tutelage of Charlotte Moss (she has also done stints with David Easton and Ashley Whittaker) for spurring her love of unconventional techniques: “Charlotte once sent me into the trenches of Manhattan’s Garment District to hunt for the perfect gray wool pinstripe to upholster the walls of a powder room,” she recalls. “From her I learned not to limit my resources, because you never know when or where inspiration will strike!”

But Boothby insists that resources don’t have to be costly or exotic. “Paint can transform anything," she says. "It can take a white box of a room and make it a cozy den, make outdated cabinets look new again, or rejuvenate old furniture. Can’t afford curtains? Paint the window trim, and the room will look finished. It’s magic.”


This story originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of CQ.

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