Photography by ChiChi Ubiña
Pops of color are everywhere, as one enters artist, Pam Reimers’ gracious home in Greenwich. Her background in textile and jewelry design come through in her house and garden. We enjoyed a visit with Pam at her renovated, charming house.
Tell us about your design career.
I received a BFA from Syracuse University majoring in Textile Design. My first job upon graduating was at Wamsutta Mills designing bed linens. It was an exciting time in the industry as all the bedding being produced included bold colors and patterns. I was commuting to work from home in Scarsdale to New York City my first year, when my father passed away suddenly. My father owned a costume jewelry company, Polcini Jewelry, which he inherited from my grandfather who started the business in 1911. At the time, with my background in design, my mother, two sisters and I decided to keep the business and maintain its legacy. I became the chief designer for the company. We sold our jewelry both domestically and internationally. During that time, I continued to freelance as a bed linen designer for Wamsutta.
After 10 successful years in the jewelry business, we decided to close the company, and I continued freelancing for Wamsutta along with other textile mills, including Mar-tex, Springs, J.P. Stevens and Dan River. Living in New York at the time, I was studying painting at the Arts Students League with Abstract Expressionist painter, Richard Pousette Dart. After our first child was born, although I was no longer designing textiles, I continued painting and had a studio at the National Arts Club in NYC.
My husband and I moved to Greenwich after our second child was born, and my primary focus became raising a family. It was several years later, after our children had moved away to school, that I started painting again and taking classes at Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan. Currently, I am also a member of the Greenwich Arts Council, a community organization offering programs and classes in the arts. They are located on Greenwich Avenue and house the Bendheim Gallery, including programs and events. I have sold my paintings through their annual event, Art to the Avenue, as well as privately.Tell us about your art and inspiration.
Over the past few years, I have changed my medium to painting in oils. Prior, I was painting with acrylics and when I was designing textiles I painted with gouache. Oils, although more challenging at times to work with, have a special quality of gestural freedom that acrylics do not. They also have a wonderful luminosity. I generally paint on canvas or linen.
Most recently, I have been painting abstract land and seascapes. Mother Nature is the greatest influence in my paintings. How could you not be inspired by her radiant beauty?
Colors are a big theme for you. How do you choose your colors in your life?
Growing up, my mother with her keen eye for style and design, was my greatest influence and support. She continually gave me confidence with my artistic abilities and color sense. At an early age I realized that I “think in color.” To me, color is intuitive.
Have you considered going back to textile design?
The industry has changed much over the years. When I was designing, all the patterns were painted by hand on paper, and then engraved and printed from the artwork. Now most of the designing is computerized. I’m not sure that I’d return because I love to paint which I’m doing with my canvases, but you never know!
Tell us about your home renovation.
A few years ago, we renovated and expanded the kitchen, incorporating a windowed seating area, added on a mudroom and bathroom, and built a large space above the garage. I use this space as an office and studio for painting and other creative projects, like working on the various floral designs that I create and enter in Flower Shows. The room is a large space where I have a built-in desk, with bookshelves and cabinets, along with an area where I paint. There is also a separate seating area with a gas fireplace and large TV above where we watch movies.
In the kitchen, for the finish on the cabinets, I chose Fine Paints of Europe paint for its durability and high gloss shine. It brightens up the whole room. Being a family that enjoys cooking, we installed a La Cornue range. Aside from roasting the most amazing chicken ever, the range itself looks like a work of art. For the island and countertops, I used two different types of materials. For the center island, I chose honed white Calcutta Vino Grigio marble, and for the perimeter countertops, used black Absolute granite with a leathered finish. The black and white contrast adds dimension to the space. I had been searching for light fixtures to go above the island in the kitchen, and during a visit to the Hamptons, came upon the perfect fixtures at John Salibello in Bridgehampton. He also has a store in New York filled with an incredible selection of lighting fixtures and furniture.
In the mudroom, the countertops and integrated sink are Vericrete Concrete fabricated by Brooks Custom. The hanging light fixture is by Colleen & Company and the painting above the alcove seat I painted.Who was your architect?
We contracted Sam Mitchell of Mitchell Studio, an architect whose work I admired. I had seen a project that he was working on at the time and was impressed with his talent. He did an exceptional job creating the space and layout, and I fo-cused on the interior details and design.
Did you use a landscape designer? Tell us about your garden.
After we completed the renovation, we used Kate Reid Landscape Design for the design and layout of the backyard and spa. With her trained eye and supreme talent, she chose a lot of the plantings, placement, and design and was overall a pleasure to work with. During our redesign of the backyard, we inherited the many antique English planters and various garden accessories from my father-in-law, who was an avid gardener. We incorporated many of these items into the gardens in the front as well.
How did you choose specific plantings?
I wanted the plantings to be somewhat low maintenance. For color, we chose a few different varieties of hydrangea, along with viburnum, and a climbing David Austin rose called Generous Gardner. We used boxwood, ilex, and liriope to create structure.
Have you studied horticulture?
Shortly after we moved to Greenwich, I became a member of Hortulus, a Garden Club in Greenwich. It was through Hortulus where I gained my training, knowledge, and appreciation for horticulture, along with a love for floral design. I also peruse garden nurseries often choosing annuals for our various garden containers and learn a lot in the process. I replant the containers seasonally using annuals in the warmer months and cut branches and greens in the winter.
Where does all the color come from in your home and garden?
The color, inside our home and outside in the garden, reflect my background in textile design where color is paramount. The important concepts in textile design are pattern, texture, and color. In my garden, these three elements guide my choices.
Your gardens are beautiful rooms for the summer months.
The courtyard kitchen garden is our favorite area to sit. It’s an intimate space we created when we moved into the house 20 years ago, adding the fountain and stone wall at the time. It’s my love. Every season, I plant a few new perennials and being it is a shady area, I add color with different begonia varieties.