Blog :: 2014

Stacey' Holiday Gift Guide for Women

Remember to shop locally this holiday seadon at the wonderful stores in our neighborhood. I have found gifts with a touch of luxury, whimsy, comfort and chicness, which are perfect for your wife, sister, daughter, co-worker or friend.

For the woman who loves art, this glorious photograph by Sandi Fellman is a wonderful gift. The artist transforms singular flowers and insects into abstract studies of shape, color and form. Edition of 11 $3,500. (Frame:$400)

KMR Arts- 2 Titus Road, Washington Depot- 860-868-7533

Who would not love these luxe clutches from Lambertson Truex? Perfect as a makeup bag or evening accessory, they are available in black, teal, camel and leopard or camel python. $225

Privet House -13 East Shore Road, New Preston-860.868.1800

All that glitters with geodes and crystals will delight the woman who loves statement necklaces and accessories.
Raw pyrite and crystal necklaces $148- $188;
The Geode Slab, slicked agate on geode cheese board with a silver rim. $350

J. Seitz & Co. -9 East Shore Road, New Preston- 860-868-0119

You can choose a unique scent that she will love; lemongrass & ginger or orange blossom & grapefruit are two of my favorites. $42 to $48
Huntington & Hope- 2 Green Hill Rd- Washington Depot- 860-868-2424

Shower her in fresh water pearls! Here is a delightful selection of necklaces, bracelets and chokers from DK Schulman. Lariat Necklace $390; Bracelet $300; Choker $250
D.K. Schulman- 15 East Shore Road, New Preston- 860-868-4300

These Giraffe at Home blankets are sooo soft and warm. They come in baby to twin size. $99- $279

Best Monogram Fine Linens & Gifts- 1 Titus Road, Washington Depot - (860) 868-7707

If she loves to sit in front of a roaring fire with her favorite book, here is a selection of the best on interior design, travel and photography.
Robert Couturier 'Designing Paradises' by Robert Couturier $60;100 Places in France Every Women Should Go by Marcia DeSanctis $19.95;
Chasing Beauty in the Litchfield Hills by Lesley Meyer $35
Hickory Stick Bookshop - 2 Green Hill Road, Washington Depot- 860-868-0525

Keep her warm and looking stylish in these lovely cashmere and lamb's wool gloves and scarves. Scarves from $75 to $278; Gloves from $45 to $95
J.McLaughlin - 6 Bee Brook Road, Washington Depot- 203-557-9275

Love these Simon Pearce pitchers myself and I sure she will too! The Irish-born designer makes the most unique glassware and is carried locally in New Preston. $130- $150
New Preston Kitchen GoodsNew Preston- 11 East Shore Road, New Preston- 860-868-1264

She might not buy cashmere lounge wear for herself but you could! Here is a luxurious jacket and pants for her to wear around town or while she travels.

Jacket $428; Pant $378
Nusport - Green Hill Road, Washington Depot- 860-868-3776

For the woman who loves a touch of green, here are some selections from Pergola: 
Handblown green glass vases with bulbs, for forcing paper whites $24; Mountain pine zinc lined tray $165; 

John Derian green lacquered wood tray. $495

Pergola - 7 East. Shore Road, New Preston. 860-868-4769

These pretty eucalyptus stoneware baskets are ideal gifts for the chic hostess who likes to keep her bread and fruit looking good! From $39.95 - $49.95
The Pantry- 5 Titus Road, Washington Depot- 860-868-0258

Party at Stacey's: A Holiday Feature in Litchfield Magazine

Photo:Wendy Carlson

I was excited to see the holiday issue of Litchfield magazine and the story on my ladies holiday party with good friends Susanna Salk, Marcia DeSanctis, Jessica Travelstead, Karen Davis and Cara Hodges of Oliphant Design. I had a great evening discussing our memorable holiday stories with the writer Wendy Carlson.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

'One afternoon just weeks before the Christmas season, Stacey Matthews invited professional women of every ilk- designers, writers, and retailers- to her Roxbury home to clink champagne flutes and kick off the holidays. Well, sort of.

"Actually, we do this all the time," says Matthews, of the impromptu soiree. The holiday season, however, can be an especially hectic time for Stacey, who with husband Pels is co-principal of The Matthews Group, part of William Raveis. "It's a total myth that the market is not busy here in the winter. I think a lot of agents like to spend the winter in Florida and perpetuate that myth," says Matthews. "But our weekend buyers tend to get their bonuses in December and January, so they want to buy then," she adds.

To read the entire story, please click here.

Stacey's Holiday Gift Guide for Men

You're making your list, and checking it twice; gonna find out if he's naughty OR nice. I wanted to select some great local holiday gift ideas for all the men in your life whether they have been naughty or not. Here you will find my twelve fun ideas for the perfect gift for your husband, son, brother or friend. Best of all, they come from wonderful local stores with on-site owners who bring innovative product offerings to our area every holiday season


Men who like performance cars will LOVE the ultimate performance Bixby Bicycle from Shinola. The Bixby is Shinola's "cruiser" bike with a Shimano 3-speed internal hub. The American-made steel frame and fork are designed for comfort, utility and smooth riding, in dry or wet conditions. Style, Smooth and. Efficient; the Bixby has it all. $1,950.

Privet House 13 East Shore Road, New Preston-860.868.1800


For the avid reader, here are three book choices that run the gamut from humorous memories, salacious storytelling and intrigue. Give to your husband or boyfriend or husband to bring on vacation or read by the fireplace at home: Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers & Swells by Graydon Carter features the best of early Vanity Fair. $29.95; So Anyway by John Cleese. This hilarious biography, from the Englishman who brought us Monty Python, is a must-read. $28.00;The Map Thief by Michael Blanding is the gripping story of an esteemed rare map dealer. $27.50. The Hickory Stick Bookshop - 2 Green Hill Road, Washington- 860-868-0525


Bon Voyage! Travel in the ultimate style with these silk and leather toiletry cases in a variety of patterns. Perfect for trips to Palm Beach or Palm Springs and all the places in between. $68. J. McLaughlin - 6 Bee Brook Road, Washington- 203-557-9275


Get Buggy with it. For the Outdoor enthusiast, the 'Cicadas' are framed specimens by Christopher Marley. There are four different specimens, one for each season- spring,summer, fall, winter- and they are prices at $275 each. Pergola. 7 East. Shore Road, New Preston. 860-868-4769



Cheers!For the bon vivant and wine enthusiast, what could be better than this chic, rustic Nantucket Wine Bucket in wicker with a plastic liner $98. New Preston Kitchen Goods - 11 East Shore Road, New Preston- 860-868-1264


Got wood? If you guy is an antique lover or a furniture geek, this ultimate reference book will make him deliriously happy! The Furniture Bible celebrates Christophe Pourny's two decades of experience as a master furniture restorer. $35. The natural furniture tonics from Christophe Pourny are a love potion for all things wood. Made in Brooklyn.Tonic $20 Reviver $22 Privet House 13 East Shore Road, New Preston 860.868.1800




Baby it's cold outside. Keep him warm and stylish this season, this Orange Primaloft Men's Coat at J. Seitz is the perfect 'husband present and a great buy at $148. J. Seitz & Co - 9 East Shore Road, New Preston- 860-868-0119




Here is gift that will be a welcome sweet treat for a holiday host, male coworker or friend. These unique Toffee boxes from Sweeets come in milk, dark or white chocolate, all of which coat almond squares. $19 Sweeets - 13 East Shore Road, New Preston- 860-868-3388






Master Chef. Do you have a guy in the family who won't get out of the kitchen? These cutting boards are made exclusively for Privet House to our specifications by a family-owned and operated lumber mill located in the rolling hills of Litchfield County in Connecticut. Wood grain and color will vary slightly due to the reclaimed nature of the wood. .Assorted Sizes Made in America $95 - $175. Privet House. 13 East Shore Road, New Preston-860.868.1800


If the man in your life has a passion for art, this photograph by Kim Keever is a lush gorgeous landscape. Thisunique artist creates an enormous aquarium by arranging objects and materials (branches, moss, plants, etc.) to create fantastical topographies.Edition of six, price upon requestKMR Arts - 2 Titus Road, Washington- 860-868-7533




I love these classic, preppy and country chic style selections from J. McLauglin. You can find the perfect belt for your man from these choices of canvas embroidered or leather belts ranging from $58 to $95. J. McLauglhin - 6 Bee Brook Road, Washington- 203-557-9275


Baby, what time is it? Men will love the Shinola Runwell Chronograph 41mm, which is the only chronograph watch that tracks the return of American watchmaking with split second precision.$750. Privet House - 13 East Shore Road, New Preston- 860.868.1800


The Wine Cellar Revisited: Luxury and Modern Design

"A man, fallen on hard times, sold his art collection but kept his wine cellar. When asked why he did not sell his wine, he said, 'A man can live without art, but not without culture.'"

- Anonymous.

This Wine Cellar at Vaillant House is expertly designed to be both functional and extremely attractive. Wine cellars protect wine from harmful external influences by maintaining a consistent temperature. Wine like food is a perishable product. If wine is exposed to too much heat, light, or humidity, it can spoil. A good cellar helps the wine maintain its quality but may also improve both the aroma and complexity of a particular vintage.

Wine cellars have been in existence for over 3,700 years. Many Americans travel to France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Portugal to visit famous wine cellars and taste premier vintage wines. Wine connoisseurs who appreciate and collect wine, particulary grape wines from certain regions, can truly appreciate a wine cellar. Is there a wonderful spot to sample a favorite wine than this sitting area outside this cellar?

Wine Spotlight from the Wine Spectator to try over the holidays:

Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnivale of Love 2012:

Sinewy, lithe and expressive, packing red berry, black cherry and cardamon aromas and flavors into a tightly focused package. The finish expands and powers up, driving a long and meary finish, displays muscle and poise. drink though 2022. From the McLaren Vale, Australia with an issue date of June 15th, 2014.

Here is an interesting article on the property that was featured in Rural Intelligence.


Vaillant House featured in Rural Intelligence

A thoughtful and interesting article on Vaillant House is featured on the Rural Intelligence site. Offering his insights about the property is longtime Washington, CT builder/contractor Sean Woodward, "What's funny about the house is that you could drive down that road and not even know that it's there." The writer elaborates,"The house" he is referring to is the Vaillant house, after the family who owned it for more than a century and who are all descendants of decoration artist Louis David Vaillant. More than three years ago, the remaining Vaillants gathered their votes and decided that it was time to sell the 8-bedroom, three-season Italian villa, one of the first homes in the area designed by famed architect and almost-native son Ehrick Rossiter."

At the time, an article was written in the Wall Street Journal about the sale of the family home. Luckily, the home has been lovingly restored and designed to the highest standards.

The article highlights the renovation and interior decoration that has enhanced this historical house. Here are the two before and after images of the exquisite sunroom. To read the entire story, click here.


Stacey Matthews featured in Happening in the Hills

A profile of Stacey Matthews is the lead story in the current issue of Happening in the Hills. Personal style, fashion, design, country life and entertaining are all featured in the article.

Here is an excerpt from the piece:

"As a former Wall Street trader, Stacey Matthews certainly saw the value in the unique beauty of Litchfield County when she first came here fourteen years ago. Originally just spending weekends in an antique farmhouse that she renovated with her husband Pels, the couple and their twin boys eventually moved to the area full time. Now, the owner of a successful real estate agency, Matthews has formed bonds with numerous artisans, designers, retailers, chefs and other local businesses.

Tall with striking auburn hair, Matthews has a strong sense of personal style both in the home and with her apparel and accessory choices. On this day, she wore a bold Madeline Weinrib brown and white striped caftan dress paired with a pendant from the Indian design collaborative Yatra. We asked her about some of her influences, inspirations and style must-haves."


To read on the entire article, click on the link below:

Happening in the Hills: Style, Substance and Real Estate Savvy

In Our Neighborhood: Highlighting People and Places in the County


Matt Wood, photo courtesy of Happening in the Hills

We are amazed at the breadth of talent and the robust Art community in our region. The walls of our offices are always showcasing individuals painters, sculpters and multi-media artists. We seek out for our own home works of art created by local artists who, though nationally known, are rooted in our towns.

We have a dramatic gold painting by Woodbury based artist Matt Wood in our dining area which is hung above a fireplace. It is one of our very favorite paintings. You can see in another work featured below how Matt does not shy away from a richly saturated the color palette. Here is a link to an article featuring the artist that appeared on the popular Happening in the Hills web site.


An excerpt from the article, "Albert Einstein once wrote that "true art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist." On a recent summer afternoon, Matt Wood strode out of his studio in a paint-specked shirt, arms outstretched, with a welcoming, "Let me show you everything." That 'everything' is apparent on all the walls and in every corner of the artist's home. There is a mural on the bedroom wall depicting the time he spent in the 1980s living in his bronze 1979 Chevrolet Caprice and burying his art in New Mexico and Texas (more on that later). In the living room, a painting with a face sporting a Day-Glo afro created with his daughter's melted crayons lives alongside a dramatic drawing of a women covered by glass and black paint to reassemble a burka. As we ramble down to the downstairs studio, photographs spill over a large table and there is a rendering of Copernicus that encompasses the entire ceiling."


Photograph by Matt Wood

Matt is also know for his original art murals and painted an exquisite pastoral scene that graces the wall of the pool area of the Mayflower Spa in Washington, CT. Below is a foyer on a local estate where he created a magical interior vista by replicating photos of trees on the property and using a technique with silver aluminum sheets and reverse imaging.


Click here for more information about Matt Wood and his art.


Country Life: Bunnies in the Garden

Baby Bunny

This baby was in our garden one recent morning. My son held the bunny who was only four inches long! We thought we would look up some details about bunnies in the area:

Where can you find them?

The cottontail rabbit can be found in meadows and shrubby areas in the eastern and south-central United States.

What is their habitat?

Cottontails love open grassy areas, cleared land and fields with a mixture of lush grasses and herbs. They also look for dense shriubs that provide cover and protect them from predators. An interesting note, they are rarely found in deep woods.

Rabbits and bunnies charm us from childhood and throughtout our life. Here is a quote from the 'Tale of Peter Rabbit', a favorite story for young people.

"I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening.

His mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea; and she gave a dose of it to Peter!

'One table-spoonful to be taken at bed-time.'

But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and blackberries for supper."

Beatrix Potter


A Mansion where Liberace Played and Stayed

Birdsey Hall

Birdsey Hall was built in 1810 by Birdsey Norton who, in his travels to the south as a cheese merchant, was impressed by the mansions he saw and resolved to build one in Goshen. The main house is built of red brick made from Goshen clay and is decorated with marble from nearby Norfolk.

Later in its life, it was owned by Liberace's long term friend, Fred Favorite. Many in town think this ownership was a beard and the house is referred to by locals as "Liberace's House". We were told that Liberace visited the home frequently and kept a piano there.


Much to our surprise, Thomas Catlin Easton, read our recent Facebook post and added to the history of the house. "The Steinway was in the Northeast corner of the first level of the original building. If this was it, then it was there right where the round table is. I got to meet, have breakfast with, and hear Lee play that piano back in 1979. Fred Favorite and Bob DeVoye were friends of mine and I got to live at the house while they were away producing a musical in NY state. Oh the stories to be told... "

Liberace Post The photo at right shows where Liberace's Steinway was at that time.

He added, "Another note: Lee had a pristine Dusenberg (or some such) in the garage under the breakfast room (checkered marble floor off the kitchen). Bats used to fly down the flu in the master bedroom and we had to use a tennis racket to corral them! Singer Sergio Franchi stayed there when he would play at the dinner theater (I forgot the name). Thanks for the memories! Lastly, the house was on the Underground Railroad, is just down the road from Abolitionist John Brown's birthplace, and Harriet Beecher Stowe was born further down the road in Litchfield"

To add some more color to the story, Thomas shared, " Finally, Lee, Fred and Bob had closets and the attic full of rather outlandish (but real) costumes from various shows. Lee's bedroom was painted powder blue (his favorite color) and, just between us, he wandered the house in white fur muck lucks and a red, white fur-lined bathrobe. He also had an absolutely beautiful, functioning, extremely old harpsichord in the room opposite the music room. OK, that's it!"

For details on the property:

Call or Email: Stacey Matthews: 860-868-0511 to request more information.



  1. Jonathan Warren on

    The upright harpsichord given to Liberace by Sergio Franchi is on exhibit with the Liberace Museum Collection in Las Vegas, at Thriller Villa, the former home of Michael Jackson.

    Country Life: Baby Duckling

    At my friend's farm, I had a chance to hold this baby duckling that fit in my cupped hand. His fur was bright yellow and he was alert to all around him. I have included below some tips on caring for ducklings: Duck 1

    Feeding Baby Ducks

    • Never feed ducks without water. Water helps get food down and clean beak vents. Always give baby ducks access to water for at least an hour before feeding.
    • Ducklings have no teeth but appreciate finely chopped fruits, vegetables or greens. Small insects and worms make good treats, as well.


    • Not just an escape from predators and the elements, ducks need shelter to provide quiet and seclusion.
    • The shelter should be well ventilated and large enough that your ducks can fully expand their wings and groom.


    • Ducklings need a ready source of clean water. Chick fountains are recommended.
    • Ducklings will play in water, making a mess. Be sure to clean it often.
    • Water should be no more than ¼" deep. Make sure ducks can easily escape the water. Baby ducks love to play in water but can easily drown if they tire.
    • Ducklings don't produce waterproofing oil until 4 weeks of age. In the wild, mothers apply it. Swimming your ducks too early can result in death from chill or even drowning from fatigue.

    Duck 2