Saturday, September 30, 2017

Inspiration | A Place to Call Home | Book Review

I spent a good portion of the last few days taking in the latest book from Gil Schafer, A Place to Call Home (yes, the exact same title as the new James Farmer book.  I know several of you have noticed that too.  A little publisher oopsie-daisy especially having them both come out at the same time).  Schafer's first book is one of my all time favorites, so this one was highly anticipated and every bit as inspiring as his first. He a master at building classic homes that evoke warmth and an instant sense of history.  The exteriors are perfect, the kind of homes you have to stop and stare at when passing by, and the interiors are so welcoming you would never want to leave.

Here are a just a few of my favorites from the book...

The most beautifully scaled entrance with a gravel driveway to boot.

I want this to be my home office + design studio


Mismatched and collected.  It feels like this room came together without any prescription or adherence to decorating "rules" yet it all works perfectly.  A testament to buying what you love and not over thinking any one item too much.

There are an abundance of the MOST charming bathrooms in this book.

That bench!

 My favorite kind of country style (and a peek at another charming bathroom with the red wallpaper)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Our Home | Country House Style | The Book

This summer I shared on instagram that our home was photographed for a book.  Yes, a BOOK!  Not just a corner here and there but 25+ pages of our home, in print, forever.  Eeeeeek!  Such a huge honor that I still can't quite believed happened.  I LOVE books so much and interior design books are some of the most treasured in my home library.  Sitting down with a gorgeous book and getting lost in the pages and filled with inspiration is one of life's great luxuries.  Since a few teaser pics were released this week, I thought it a perfect time to recap the experience a little on the blog.

For starters, no, I am not the author.  I find the idea of publishing my own book incredibly glamorous,  but alas, I would never be able to devote the time and energy that is required to even come close to getting a book deal, never mind actually doing the work to create the book.  (I struggle to find time to write a blog post!)  I think many of us in the design and blogging community dream of having our work featured in a book, but making it a reality is a whole lot harder.  When Nora Murphy (who I blogged about here) contacted me and asked if she could include our home in a book pitch about country style I didn't even have to think about it for a second - yes, yes, absolutely, positively, yes! Nora's home and online magazine have inspired me more than shelter magazines over the years.  Her style speaks to my New England loving esthetic in a way that makes traditional country feel fresh and current. Her home is pretty much perfection.  When she called to say the deal was a go and she would be coming out to shoot our home over the summer I was giddy!  (and nervous too :))

 I started thinking about the permanence of a book.  And all the things, some big, some small, that aren't quite perfect in our home.  I panicked a little prior to the shoot.   I had a long list of to-dos that I knew wouldn't all happen. Would they be disappointed when they saw our home in person?  Would our home look ok in the summer, since it's really so much prettier in the fall and winter?  Um, and I still didn't have living room drapes up! It was probably a good thing that we were on vacation right before the shoot so I didn't have time to fuss and fiddle with our house.  There were maybe a couple little things here and there that I fixed (chipped paint on kitchen cabinets, rotten fence pickets) or changed (table lamps in family room) but overall I just surrendered thinking they will style it how they want it.

Nora and her team arrived on what was the muggiest, rainiest, hottest weekend of the summer.  They were a crew of the loveliest ladies and Coner (her son).  They were rather unfazed by the weather and my steamed up old, single pane, windows.  They didn't re-style anything in our home.  Even though I kept encouraging them to change whatever they needed.  No big truck of flowers arrived, just lots of hydrangeas from my mum's garden that I snipped the day before.  My own accessories were moved around a bit when needed, but everything was just photographed as it is every day.  At first I worried a bit about the lack of styling I did, but later, as the two days went on, I appreciated this approach more and more.  (Even if since they've left, I've made a few changes that I wish I'd done for the book.)  It felt so genuine, it was a detailed collection of photos of our home at a moment in time.  Such care was taken to capture our home as we live in it.  Homes are ever evolving and changing.  I do more styling for a blog post than I did for a book shoot - which seems crazy.  The boys collection of clay and ceramic art projects on the bookcases - yep, that was photographed.  Random bamboo skewers I use to test baked goods that were in an old wine glass on my kitchen shelves - yes, those too stayed.  It was remarkable, really, how they cared so much about the shots feeling real.  I think that will make this book different in the best way.

In between photos we nibbled on cheese boards and my chocolate cake (after it was photographed), I walked into town with Coner and learned all about his life in CT and plans after college, I hung out with Nora (who is as lovely,  down to earth, and easy going as you expect her to be) in my living room and we talked shop about the highs and challenges of helping others decorate their homes and other important things like how to harvest moss from my backyard (where it apparently is plentiful - who knew?)  and after a couple days we all left as friends. Seriously, such an awesome experience.  Now I just wait in complete anticipation for the final book.  There are 5 other country homes featured, along with Nora's, of course, and each is so different, yet in many ways the same.  I think it will forever and always be my favorite book of all time.