Michael and Kenleigh Larock, the dynamic duo behind The Drawing Room Design Boutique, Gallery and Café, met in design school at Syracuse University. Kenleigh grew up in Connecticut, Michael in Cincinnati, Ohio. Both Michael and Kenleigh come from creative families of entrepreneurs. Kenleigh’s parents, both designers, and local business owners of Karen’s Interiors and Design Studio, in Greenwich for over 40 years, taught Kenleigh at a young age the importance for the arts and shared with her their infatuations with design. Michael’s father took over a fluid management company founded by his grandfather, who went on to start what was at the time, our countries first commuter airline, Comair. This cross section of industries fueled Michael’s passion for engineering, travel, design and architecture.
In 1997, Kenleigh and Michael graduated from Syracuse, both with Bachelor Degrees in Fine Arts, focusing in Advertising Design. In addition, Kenleigh minored in painting, Michael in architecture.
Sharing the passion for both art and design, after college they quickly jumped into the fast-paced world of advertising in New York City. Together, they focused their creative efforts on ad campaigns for a variety of clients, creating innovative, awarding winning designs.
After a few years, Kenleigh decided to break from the confinements of the advertising world and pursued her passion for food and design while working as a freelance style editor at the Food Network and as a private chef for a number of clients in Fairfield County. Also, during this time she became trained in decorative painting and faux finishing. Similarly, Michael also had his fill of the corporate advertising world, and turned his focus on the emerging field of web design.
With successful careers as individuals, the pair made the decision to combine artistic efforts and in 1999 founded Larock Studios LLC, a decorative painting business. As decorative painters, they transformed interiors in both commercial and the residential interior spaces. It was at this time they truly realized their passion for interiors and color. They found they had a unique and interesting perspective as a husband and wife team, not only for painting, but for design. Coinciding with their decorative painting business, Michael and Kenleigh began working as design consultants for their clients, transforming the ordinary in to the extraordinary. Their excitement for traveling and beauty transcend into each of their projects.
With hard work and big dreams, Kenleigh and Michael opened the doors to The Drawing Room Boutique in 2004. The space was created with everything they love in mind; art, color, design, and entertaining. The space was filled with exquisite home accessories, ranging from luxurious pillows, to antique furniture, jewelry and gifts. As word began circulating around the area of their unique eye, requests were pouring in. Consultation after consultation turned into project after project, and the demand for what they were carrying in their boutique was tremendous.
The couple didn’t stop at that. A year after opening the boutique, in 2005, The Drawing Room Café was born. Stemming from their passion for entertaining and cooking, the European style eatery (which then was connected to the boutique) boasts a wonderful menu of mouthwatering delights with its primary focus on using high quality ingredients, prepared simply. Michael and Kenleigh searched far and wide for the perfect coffee beans, teas and the finest and freshest ingredients to go along with the perfection of the boutique. The Drawing Room has developed its own coffee and espresso blends that are roasted specifically and only for the café. The same obsessive research went into seeking out the perfect tea leaf. The Drawing Room Café is one of the few locations in the area that offers a wide variety of high quality loose tea, ranging from simple English Breakfast to unique herbal infusions of raspberry leaf, chamomile, rose hips, peppermint, hibiscus and ginger which make up their “Hot Mama” tea.
As a pace formed for The Drawing Room, business boomed. Between the bustling café and buzzing boutique, to Kenleigh and Michael’s design consultations, there has never been a dull moment at The Drawing Room. With the creative spirit that makes up the heart of both Michael and Kenleigh, there has always been the desire to generate more, to fashion things not done before and to rise above the ordinary.
Their determination to continuously expand their business and build upon their reputation has most recently resulted in the expansion of their design boutique and the creation of the new Gallery. The popular design boutique has moved into a new, larger space in a bordering property, and the Gallery now occupies the space adjoining to the café.
It’s newest addition, the Drawing Room Gallery, is a project that Kenleigh and Michael have always envisioned as part of their brand, especially with their backgrounds as art students. Now a reality, the gallery is the dream child of Michael, Kenleigh and its curator, Cameron Schmitz, Kenleigh’s sister. Together the three have hand-picked inspiring artwork and tasteful exhibits that are shown on a bi-monthly schedule.
The Larock’s are the quintessential modern day small business owners. Rooted in tradition, their business mixes newfangled knowledge and years of experience for the perfect harmony to run a successful contemporary small business.