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At home with star-favorite boutique owner

Sarah Kaplan

This design diva changes her Connecticut cottage as often as she changes the merchandise in her hot home store!

Celebrity Living, January 2006 - It's Sarah Kaplan's classic yet eclectic design sense that has made fellow Connecticut residents Martha Stewart, Harry Connick Jr. and his wife, Jill Goodacre, fans of the designer's 2,500-square-foot Westport home style store Dovecote, she says. But in her own Redding, CT "cottage" (all 3,500 square feet of it!), Kaplan follows the call of the wild.

Everywhere you look in Sarah's five-bedroom home, which sits on 3.5 acres in Redding (pop. 8,655), you find evidence of her love for the animal kingdom — like the greyhound statue in the guest cottage, her mother's antelope-print Stark rug and scattered ceramic sea urchins in the library. And this equestrian fan who grew up in a converted horse stable in Toledo, Ohio, even has a horse head statue in her sunroom. "I love everything horses. I bought the horse head in a flea market for $20! I used to show horses and compete in the Midwest," the designer says.

LITTLE CREATURES Kaplan's craze for wildlife isn't limited to design elements either. "My animals are my favorite things. I have three dogs, one cat and four rescued rabbits," Sarah tells CL. But she's also hoping to fill up her home, which she shares with husband of two years, Robert Aldrich, 38, the president of Giorgio Armani Menswear in North America, with some other guests, too. "Hopefully I'll have many kids! I'd like to have two and adopt a girl from China," she says.

To DO AND REDO Meanwhile, if running Dovecote and travelng to Paris and Palm Beach to seek out antique finds for her shop and enjoying married life isn't keeping her busy enough, then home improvement certainly is! "We redid all four bathrooms and gutted the kitchen. All three fireplaces needed to be done over. The guesthouse was falling in on itself, so we totally renovated that. Grass was growing through the floors!" Sarah says.

You'd think all that work would have worn Sarah out, but think again! "This home is in a constant state of redesign! What looks good to me today might not look good to me next month. It's quirky. There isn't a straight line anywhere, but it's the perfect house for someone like me, who likes to decorate," she tells CL. "I start at one end and go to the other and then start again!" Good thing this doyenne of decorating owns her own boutique!
By Amy Zavatto and Lisa Chase