Friday, September 12, 2014

Interiors | Tudor Cottage Plans

I'm so excited to share this home with you today.  It is a charming Tudor cottage in my neighborhood that was recently renovated.  The new owners took special care to preserve the original charm, yet update the spaces to function better for their family + lifestyle.  I love that they renovated in a way that makes the entire home liveable, too often I see renovations or additions that don't flow well with the original home and as a result the older parts of sit pretty much unused.  Not so with this house.

They asked for my help to decorate the living room and kitchen (office and bedrooms down the road).  They wanted warm colors and cottage cozy rooms.  I've added a couple shots, taken with my iPhone so the quality isn't great but it gives you just a tiny peek at the spaces.   What you miss in the kitchen is the gorgeous farmhouse sink, pantry wall, and built-in banquette in the eat-in nook.  What you miss in the living room is the light filled second seating area, french doors to the office and large wall of built-ins. The homeowners were a bit stumped as to why the kitchen cabinetry didn't look like they envisioned.  You can see the trim is a bright white, the cabinets cream and the walls a taupe, almost mushroom gray, all great colors on their own, not so great when combined together.    The family room is pretty much a blank canvas except for a pair of new chairs and sofa.  But it doesn't currently flow well with the adjoining kitchen.

My plan for the kitchen is to make it more monochromatic.  To lighten the walls to a warm ivory (not yellow), to add fabrics is shades of pale, buttery yellow, warm cream, and natural linen in the banquette area.  To swap out the existing black table for a weathered farmhouse table and slip covered chairs. (we'll be using an outdoor linen lookalike fabric for all seating)  The windows and French doors will get bamboo shades, plus a sweet soft roman valence in the eat-in nook in one of my all time favorite Peter Dunham prints.  For lighting, they'll add a fabulous lantern over the table, brass pendants over the peninsula and a school house light over the sink.  Also to bring in more shades of white they'll hang creamware platters and ironstone on the wall.  Overall, the idea is to eliminate the sharp contrast lines between trim, wall paint and cabinet color.  Make the cream cabinets and white trim live harmoniously together.  The result will be a cozy, warm space, perfect for everyday living and entertaining.  (You can't tell from the board but the buffalo check is a linen fabric with a very large scale, muted check pattern and it is downright delicious.  Just when I think I can't possibly add more checks to my own home I come across one like this and desperately want it for myself.  A theme that is becoming a trend with all my decorating work - I pretty much always find something I want for myself! :))

As for the living room, the plan is to lighten the walls in the same color as the kitchen.  I gave them several options for cream colored paints to try.  Paint is tricky and needs to be seen in the light of the
home on different walls, at different times of the day before you will know for sure the perfect shade.  The large built in will be painted a green gray (I'd love to talk them into lining the backs with grasscloth, but that might take a little convincing. ;) ) The family photos will all be framed in antique gold frames with off white mattes.  We'll create the allusion of a foyer with a patterned, wool runner and an antique chest and mirror.  Chairs and sofa will get new throw pillows and ivory cashmere throws.  The main seating area will be grounded with a seagrass rug and another in the second seating area.  We'll add a console behind the sofa to divide the spaces.  Bamboo shades and floral drapes will go on windows.  Two, caster legged, upholstered chairs in an ivory and beige windowpane check and a large round, box pleated ottoman in a small plaid, will go into the separate seating area.  Since it is a Tudor, we'd like to incorporate some traditional English pieces like an antique ladder back armchair in the seating area and some antique bamboo side tables too.  Lastly for art,  a collection of antique pressed botanicals on the wall opposite the fireplace.  The details not shown on the inspiration board were provided to the owners via a private Pinterest board, a system that I'm finding to work well.

I will share after shots as they complete the rooms.  I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it feels to watch the light bulb go off when presenting ideas, that moment when people realize, oh my gosh, I get it, I love this and I can totally see how it will work in my home.  The process of consulting is very different than full service design.  I want to make sure the homeowners have sufficient inspiration and sources so they can go off and create rooms they will love.  

I will be sharing more of my process and how I approach decorating a room in the weeks ahead.  I have several projects that I'm excited to show you.  Plus a really amazing before and after too, coming this fall. (Steph, that is you.  Get ready!! :)) I actually cried seeing the results and it's not even my home. Haha. Back soon....

Sources not provided out of respect to clients, if you are interested in a decorating consult, please email me at

Antique chest styling on the inspiration board for the family room by the talented Marianne Simon


  1. Outstanding! Those rooms will be gorgeous. I love the mix of textures -- it will be so homey. Well done.

  2. OMG! It is just fabulous! I love the kitchen style. And that bread board basket! Where did you find that? Oh, I can't wait for the future!

  3. So pretty! I can't wait to see the after. I have that exact ivory windowpane check picked for chairs. I love it!

  4. I love your choices, Tessa! What a pretty house…can't wait to see the finished rooms!

  5. Beautiful house - I have always loved tudor homes and your inspiration boards are wonderful!

  6. Oops, so sorry Dina! I accidentally deleted your sweet comment. Thank you so much! Here is it...

    "Absolutely stunning, I'm blown away. This new venture is going to be so much fun to follow as a blog reader :-) Love BM Creamy White, great non-yellow warm cream. Your clients are very blessed to have you as their consultant. "

  7. Absolutely gorgeous!! I love every single detail!! I can't wait to follow the progress!! I'm so excited for you!

  8. Beautiful work, Tessa! So excited to follow along!