Michael Trapp's Shop
Pencil-thin Junipers Reach for the Sky
View over the Upper pool Behind Michael's Shop
Looking from the Upper Level to the Lap Pool below
Steep Steps to the Lower Garden
The stone Spiral Staircase
The Cool Dark Lower Garden and Pool
Steps to the Pool
Architectural Fragments Add an Ancient Feel to the Stone Wall
Urns Flank the Path Parallel to the Pool
The Steps Return to the the Upper Level
Looking Back at the Pool
Stone Benches Invite the Visitor to Stay a While Longer
Simple Composition: White Urn Backed by Boxwood
Michael Trapp knows how to create a mood. He converted an 19th century Greek Revival house overlooking the Housatonic River in West Cornwall, CT into a shop nearly twenty years ago. The shop is chalk-full of architectural fragments, balustrades, antique furniture, pots, urns, statuary and textiles. The 3/4 acre garden surrounding the shop compliments it perfectly. He "wanted to make the house and garden seem as though the were 500 years old." In doing so he brings us to Europe, for the garden has an unmistakable Italian and French atmosphere.
The house and garden are situated on a very steep slope and has a dramatic stone stairway leading to the lower garden and lap pool with handsome limestone coping. The garden boasts 78 tons of cobblestone paths. The plant material is very limited. There is plenty of boxwood, arborvitae, juniper and yew creating walls and repeated vertical elements. The upper garden has some cottage plants like hollyhocks but the lower garden is in deep shade and has a dark and romantic aura.
Michael Trapp's garden has an intention fortified with restraint which makes the garden so successful. Every detail reinforces the feeling of a Tuscan villa on a steep slope complete with vistas and axes. You are taken away to another time, another place. If you are ever in northwestern Connecticut, Michael Trapp's shop and garden should be a must-see destination. There are many exquisite items, but each time I visit his shop, I manage to find a very special inexpensive artifact that I can use to embellish my garden. It is also a charming reminder of this alluring garden.