From the Archives: Move In Ready
Hello! I started collecting images of home design that inspired me more than twenty years ago. At first I would cut out/rip out single images from magazines that I thought were great ideas and/or beautiful rooms. Along the way I started to save spreads of entire homes that I would move into just as they were. I thought it would be fun to share the very first one I ever saved (definitely from the archives!) and start a monthly series with the houses I have saved over the years and note the progression of design styles in general, and styles that speak to me specifically.
The first full home magazine feature I saved was a house profiled in Country Home Magazine in the July/August 2000 issue. The house is in Nantucket, one of my favorite places from afar until I finally visited in 2018 and now one of my favorite places in real life. It was the house of Carolyn Watt and her husband Brook.
The house was built in 1800 and was decorated over twenty years ago. It speaks to the girl in me that grew up in New England. It is safe to say that my taste has evolved a lot since this magazine came out as I'm sure yours has too. I have learned to focus more on the details and the importance of vignettes. I now favor mixing a lot of design periods together, I am drawn to abstract and original art. I play with scale. Nonetheless, there are many fundamental ideas in this house that I still use in design and my love of antique furniture has not waned at all.
I will post the pictures in order of the magazine article and comment a bit on the features and furniture I still really like with some ideas for today.
This is the introduction page to the "content" part of the issue. The Nantucket house was the first article featured in the issue.
I still love the main elements of this dining room. I had two Parsons chairs in my dining room in my Fourth and Fifth houses and am considering having six Parsons chairs in my sixth house. The chest, the mirror, the wicker table, the antique dining table, the dining chairs and the candle mirror sconces are all items I would still buy and use today. This room has a country feel that I no longer gravitate towards. If you changed out the window treatments, chair fabric and the decorative accessories this room would still shine today.
The outside is beautiful and I would take any house on Nantucket no matter what it looks like!
Wallpaper in an entry hall - yes. I was just talking with a friend about how much I like a hall table with legs and how much I like a chair next to a hall table - this has both - so yes. I love the transom window over the door too. Again I would change the styling and keep the furniture. A larger mirror, a lamp on the table with a basket on the shelf underneath the table top would be lovely. Add a dish and decorative object on the tabletop, change out the rug to a vintage runner and this hall is ready for the twenty-first century!
Although I still love white slipcovered furniture, original and unique artwork stacked, and bookshelves anywhere, I don't love this room anymore. It is too dated. The bones of the 1800s house though are still right up my alley.
Wallpaper behind the bookshelves - yes - not this wallpaper anymore though. Wood paneled fireplace -yes. Antiques - yes. Blue and white - yes. Another room where the bones are amazing and the styling needs to be modernized.
I still really like the bones of this kitchen. I would restyle the open shelving and change out the light fixtures though for sure! How funny does that phone look today? I used to collect antique slate chalkboards - I don't do that anymore! I really, really like the table and chairs, the wood countertops and window shades - I would still be happy with all of those today.
I am still a huge fan of an antique desk in the kitchen - it needs a computer now though! and simpler styling.
White linens, architectural elements in design/decorating like the iron strip in the window, wicker, and twin bed bedrooms all still work for me - this room does not though. Today I would want to wallpaper the walls, replace the wall shelf with original artwork, and let the bench sit empty for starters.
Antique furniture is a love of mine for sure. This antique chest though needs a total vignette overhaul lol. The rug needs to be updated too. Wow does this look dated now! Still love a good basket though, always.
Trellises with roses, yes please! - they are timeless.
Iron bed, a sconce and small scale artwork next to the bed, a sconce in the window seat and a fireplace in a bedroom are all still on my list of yeses. Today though, for starters, I would choose different light fixtures and linens for sure. I would empty the bench at the foot of the bed too.
If I saw this house in a magazine today, I would not rip it out and label it "move in ready" because taste is influenced and evolves over time. The thing that really strikes me looking at this house I Ioved enough to place in a binder and wish was mine over twenty years ago is that the changes I would make today are improvements that would have happened naturally over time. I have always been led by the belief that if you start with good bones you have building blocks that will stand the test of time. Walls will be painted, linens will be replaced, new pillows and trinkets purchased - that is inevitable (and fun!). The love of the bones - that is the ideal.
Thank you for taking a stroll down memory lane with me today. Enjoy this last day of September.