Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nantucket Dream Home

I was poking through Pinterest the other day and came across this beautiful image which really captured my imagination:

The image lead me to the blog Inspiring Interiors and a photo spread from a 2010 Issue of New England Home Cape and Islands magazine.

The whole house project is just a beautiful example of fresh New England design style and you can certainly feel the ocean winds wafting through. Design credit goes to the homeowners themselves; Architects Lyman Perry and Scott Hutton; Builder: Ron Winters, 30 Acre Wood; Landscape Design: Elizabeth O’Rourke, Jardin International.

Love, love the simple floaty window treatments.

I sometimes get a little sick of the ubiquitous brown wood or ebonized black Windsor chairs we see in so many New England interiors. But these fresh and breezy blue English style Windsor chairs are perfection.

Okay, okay, black Windsor chairs, but these "Birdcage" style chairs are unique.

I am a sucker for green cabinetry!

Note the black hardware on the shutters, what a great detail when the shutters are open.

Who doesn't love a cozy little nook?

Fantastic black slate floor, black cabinet and the rustic basket. Sigh...

Breath deeply.

(Photos by: Michael Partenio and Text by: Stacy Kunstel/ Read the story here).

Monday, July 30, 2012

Retail vs. High End Custom Furnishings

Read on here...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: The Tapestry Room


As mentioned last week, I attended a private tour at the Gardner Museum in Boston with several design bloggers. The best part is that we were allowed to take photos (no flash!) as long as we were with the museum staff members. Last week I shared images of the famous courtyard from various vantage points. This post will focus on the Tapestry Room, which is very large and very dark. It's fabulous. These pics were taken with my iPad, by the way.
There are two big focal points in this room - the fireplace and the tapestries. Showing Mrs. Gardner's truly international viewpoint, elements in this space come from all over the world. The first focus in the room is the enormous stone fireplace that comes from France. It's so big that it was impossible for me to capture it in one image! In the above photo, you will see the shadows of someone's head standing in front of the fireplace that's how tall it is.

Here's a close up of the center piece of the mantel which shows carves angels, fleur-de-lys motif, court jesters, griffins, and more.

Over the mantle: The Archangel Michael by Pedro Garcia de Benabarre, 1455-1480
Details of the carving in the stone mantle.



The restored floor, that had been hidden under years of gunge and black paint.

The gorgeous 16th century tapestries are going to be sent back to Belgium for restoration soon.

More about the Tapestry Room here.

All above photos by Linda Merrill


Below are photos taken in 1926, TE Marr & Sons, via WBUR.

And a photo from early 2012, showing the renovated space, returning it to its former glory. Photo WBUR/Jesse Costa.


Coming soon, the new Renzo Piano Wing!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Neff-Ramis-Ireland-Witherspoon: Ojai's Libbey Estate

This month's Elle Decor has hit the stands, featuring a radiantly beautiful Reese Witherspoon on the cover and her recently re-decorated home on the insides. Reese's house is nearly as famous as she is and it seems very nearly as photographed.

Before Reese, there was Kathryn Ireland, whose book Creating a Home profiled the history and her renovations of the house. Before Kathryn, actor/director Harold Ramis lived there, and starting it all was famed architect Wallace Neff, who built it in the first place as a barn in the 1920s. In the 1940's architect Austen Pierpoint converted it to a house.

It's really fascinating to see the changes this one property has undergone, and now we get to see how Miss Reese has made it her own. When we interviewed Kathryn on The Skirted Roundtable last year, she told us that Reese had purchased the house AND all its contents. Seems she and her decorator Kristen Buckingham have pretty much thrown it all out and started over since her purchase in 2008.

Let's play compare and contrast, that's always fun:

Starting in the Living Room, the Elle Decor/Reese Images (photographs by William Waldon) show a muted palette, rustic throughout.  There is an eclectic mix of furnishings spanning different time periods with only the occasional punch of green in the plants and lamp bases which draw the eye towards the windows and the lush greenery in the exteriors.

Reese has created a small sitting area and table are in the back end of the living room - it's almost like a small library type space. Kathryn, as you'll see below, used this space for her formal dining room.

Contrasted with Kathryn's bold and lively mix of pattern and color:

Kathryn's dining area.

(note, the image above is unusually muted and based on the other images, not indicative of the actual color palette)

Reese's Dining Area continues the eclectic yet muted palette from the living room. I believe that Kathryn used this space off the kitchen for comfortable seating and had a smaller kitchen table in the kitchen as you can see below. The floors match. I wonder if they closed this off from the kitchen, somehow? The Elle Decor feature doesn't include the kitchen so it's hard to tell.

And above is Kathryn's light and bright kitchen with open upper shelves. From the chair in the foreground, you can see how open this sitting area is to the kitchen. But Reese's dining room seems too formal to be a part of this much more casual kitchen plan.

Reese's kids rooms have gotten a makeover as well. There is more use of color in these spaces than in the public rooms.

But they still don't come close to Kathryn's bold views:

And for fun, these are the real estate photos of the staged house prior to Reese's purchase. Interestingly, these are also very dull in color.

So, the question is: which do you prefer: Kathryn Ireland's bold style, or Reese's (and by Reese I mean designer Kristen Buchingham) more muted palette? Which do you think works best with the original architecture of the house? My personal opinion is that I am visually drawn to the updated space, but think I'd have been more comfortable hanging out in Kathryn's space, which feels more welcoming. In fact, both designs totally reflect their owners. Kathryn IS colorful, comfortable and a little sloppy while Reese is more reserved, cerebral and (by her own admission) very Type A.

What do you think?

Photos courtesy of: Elle Decor/William Waldon, House Beautiful/Scot Schy, Kathryn Ireland, The Realestalker, Vogue Living/Thibault Jeanson, Creating a Home by Kathryn Ireland.

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