A Conversation with Bettina Routh

Bettina Routh, LLC, Greenwich, CT, (203) 661-1122 

1. What inspires you?

Great architecture inspires me. If an architect has provided high ceilings, the right amount and correct placement of windows in each room (too many can be a designer's nightmare), generous moldings, casings and door openings, and good room proportion, the interior design flows easily from there. Symmetry that provides a beautiful vista from one room into the next is an architectural gift and a wonderful vignette opportunity for the designer.

2. Favorite part of home to design?

Hands down, my favorite part of the home to design is the Master Bedroom. It is the most personal space in a home, so you need to know your clients very well. This room is all about comfort and relaxation, where the lighting, acoustics, and bed are located becomes the most important element.

3. Tried & True tricks you use to update a house

If you are trying to update with minimal messy (and expensive) construction, I like to make sure that baseboard and crown moldings are generous, bookcase shelves are nice and thick, and that hardware on curtains, bookcases and doors, are of excellent quality with the metal finish that you really want. Don't feel that you need to be stuck with the cheap brass hardware that the builder or owners before you had chosen. Don't skimp when it comes to the hardware, moldings, and light fixtures in your home as they are like the jewelry in any room.

I also love to paint the back interior of bookcases in a rich color to add depth and show off your books and objects. This gives you an opportunity to add just a splash of color in perhaps an otherwise more neutral room.

4. Paint Colors you like to use

One of my all time favorite paint colors is Clunch by Farrow & Ball. It is the most perfect neutral that seems to adapt with the weather. It is beautiful in any kind of room on a bright sunny or stormy gray day. Clunch is also the perfect wall color as a backdrop for artwork.

5. What is your favorite UECo. light and why?

It changes constantly, but currently my favorite is the Virginia Hanging Lantern. It is the perfect combination of a classic shape with an updated modern twist. I will be installing two of them, oversized with restoration glass, in a barn-style great room with a 22 foot high, white-washed wood-planked ceiling. Even as large as they are, they feel light and airy and won't over power the room - can't wait to see them hanging in the space.

6. How have you incorporated UECo. into your installations?

I've used many hanging fixtures over kitchen islands and staircases. The ability to custom color the lanterns with a painted metal finish has allowed me to customize fixtures to work with kitchen cabinets, wall stencils, etc. when other metal finishes may not work. While I have used several wall mounted fixtures, I particularly love the soft light of the Belle Meade wall sconce, which I used in a banquette niche. (see photo)

7. Three Luxury Elements to include in interior design?

1. Fresh flowers, always
2. One chair or ottoman covered in splurge fabric (ie. An embroidered fabric, a great leather, or any fabric by Robert Kime)
3.A valuable piece of art in an unpredictable place

8. Favorite place to visit for design inspiration:

Venice: for the rich art history, wonderfully chic Italians, and Fortuny fabric.

9. Six Favorite fixtures If I can only choose six faves, they'd be:

Virginia Lantern, Piedmont Lantern (oh so versatile!), Andrew reflector sconce (especially wonderful in dining rooms), Maxine Up-Down (great on bookcases), Garrison (nice solution for people who don't like sconces with shades, but also don't like seeing a bare bulb), Melissa Table and Floor Lamps. 

Virginia Piedmont Andrew Reflector Maxine Up Down Garrison Melissa