Sam Allen’s Star Turn

Page 1 of today’s New York Times Home & Garden section features a long — very, very long — story on “Sam Allen, Teenage Decorator.”

If the name and subject sound familiar, it’s because “06880” profiled Sam — the son of Double L Farm Stand owner Lloyd Allen — back in May.

But we’ll defer to the Paper of Record.  The Times piece begins:

This affluent town has long been associated with Martha Stewart, who built her domestic empire here while living in a farmhouse on Turkey Hill Road.  But in the last year or so, a new local talent has emerged: a boyishly handsome designer named Sam Allen.

Open The Weston Forum newspaper, and there he is, sharing his “latest obsession” with readers of his weekly column.

Leaf through a recent issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, and it’s hard to miss the six-page spread of an Hermès-orange bedroom suite he designed for three sisters in exclusive Greenfield Hill.  Swing by the high-end home store Dovecote, and there, on a miniature brass easel, is his business card, advertising Sam Allen Interiors on thick Weimaraner-gray card stock.

“Everyone in my area of Connecticut seems to know him,” said Gerry Bush-Jaffray, who hired Mr. Allen to help decorate her 7,000-square-foot house in nearby Weston.

Sam Allen, with a client. (Photo/Tony Cenicola for the New York Times)

But while many consider him a rising star, Mr. Allen still lives with his mother in Weston, where he works out of a tiny office in her house.  And though he advises the readers of his column how to freshen up their rooms (“It’s time to abandon safe, go-to colors”), in his room, piles of wrinkled clothes are heaped on the bed.  Around town, the pampered housewives of Fairfield County greet him enthusiastically by name, but at home, he gets grief from his little sister.

That’s because the new design star is a teenager.

“Because I’m so young, some people don’t take me seriously,” Mr. Allen, 19, said one recent morning as he zoomed around Westport in his white Lexus S.U.V., running errands on behalf of clients.  “I say, ‘I’m an interior designer,’ and they think I look through a Pottery Barn catalog.”

Mr. Allen, who has been honing his skills since age 12, added emphatically, “No, that’s not what I’m doing.”

It used to be even worse.  When he was 17, he said, he was meeting with a client to discuss his vision for her austere concrete-and-glass home in Fairfield, Conn., when her husband walked in and said skeptically, “I don’t want to be rude, but how old are you?”

Drinking one Diet Coke after another and talking animatedly about ikat prints, Mr. Allen comes across like a Bravo reality show waiting to happen.  You don’t spend an afternoon with him so much as strap yourself in for the ride.

To read more — including the classic quote from a Weston High School English teacher, who remembers him as  “the boy who read Vogue instead of To Kill a Mockingbird”– click here.

2 responses to “Sam Allen’s Star Turn

  1. This guy is fantastic. When I’m ready to hire a designer, he is at top of my list. Absolutely, he personifies the difference between designer v a decorator.

  2. I would just like to add, that To Kill a Mockingbird was the “one” book that caught Sam’s interest, and the one book the he “read” in school.