A few weeks ago a journalist from BBC.com contact me, asking to interview me for a piece she was writing about renovating a historic home.  I was less than a week away from giving birth and super nervous about being interviewed, but I took a risk.  I am only quoted briefly (thank goodness), but they included one of my photographs of our library!  The full article is here. They interviewed people from all over the globe, France, Argentina, Mexico, and then little old me.  There is a lot of focus on the “moneypit” side of renovating an old home, but then there is my Pollyanna perspective at the end.  While, it is true, there are mountains of headaches included in renovating an old home, we have found there to be lots of rewards.  Specifically, for a control freak like myself, the house gets to be exactly how I want it.  In light of the article I thought I would finally share some real before and afters of my favorite room in the house, our Library.

This is what the room looked like the day of closing.  As you can see, good bones, hardwood floors, amazing light and that staircase, but…horrible paint colors, rotting wood window seats, terrible tile around fireplace and a dead end flow to the the room on the left.

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Enter our amazing contractor Dan Shanks and architect Kyle Sheffield from LDA Architect.  I had dreams and loads of Pinterest pins, but need their expertise, skill and vision to make it happen.  No joke, there was a staircase behind that one wall, leading up to the 3rd floor illegal apartment, so it wasn’t as easy as just punching a hole in the wall to make a door.

Here I am testing out black paint colors.  I was determined to paint the room black.

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I also had dreams and sketches of a beautiful wall of builtin bookshelves.

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Dan and his team made them a reality.

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Here they are complete.  Obviously my styling and book collection is a work in progress, but I think they are my favorite thing in the house.  You can see the gorgeous crown molding and fascia Dan added to the room, and those two litter french doors were my sister’s idea. It definitely took a lot of time, money, patience and the help of a village of people, but I am so in love with this room.

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P.S.  I am also lucky enough to call the amazing interior designer, Erin Gates, a friend and believe me…I was texting her all the time, throughout the process.

The other week a editorial came out on Style Me Pretty Living, on a home I photographed for Jennifer Blecher, author of a new tween children’s series, Star Sisters.  The series follows two sisters, Coco and Lucy, and their various adventures like, a royal wedding and summer camp.  They are great for reading together with your little one and as they learn to read chapter books on their own.  In addition to Jennifer’s new series, her home reflects a perfect mix of adult sophistication and kid-friendly colors and fun.  She mixes Ikea lighting with designer fabrics, family heirlooms with paintings of her own.  It is fun, colorful and bright and is one of my favorite interior shoots to date.  Styling assistant Amy Hendren.

Go over to Style Me Pretty Living for the full spread and article.  Below are some (a lot) of my favorites.

Dinning room with Ikea PS Makros fixture , wood grain fabric on the chairs.  Love.

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Paintings by Jennifer.

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Living room/Family room.  All in one function.  Because who, with children, really ever uses a formal Living Room?Style Me Pretty Living - Jen Blecher homeStyle Me Pretty Living - Jen Blecher homeStyle Me Pretty Living - Jen Blecher home

Kids play room.  What is not to love here?!?!  Pagoda/bamboo lighting, Woods Brocatelle fabric, and loads of books.

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Style Me Pretty Living - Jen Blecher homeFabulously fun and sophisticated little girls room.

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Another one of her 3 daughter’s rooms.

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Number 3 of the girls’ rooms.

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Jennifer’s study with book shelves filled with books that have actually been read.

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Entryway

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Fabulous zinc cabinet.

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Here is another one from the archive files, a photo shoot I did this past fall for a textile designer Seema Krish. Seema is another favorite client of mine and always an absolute pleasure to work with.  She had some fabulous ideas on how to style and hang her fabrics for the shoot.  Don’t you just love working with creative geniuses.  I’m not worthy of my clients.

:)

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Friday nesting

May 9, 2014

I usually take Friday’s off to be with my daughter, but still get a few free hours at the house in the morning while she is at preschool.  This Friday morning nesting project is the library wall in her new room and getting it ready to move her into it.  Library wall and reading nook complete!

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My great-grandparents dining room buffet turned chest of drawers.  I am going to get these gold ring pulls to jazz it up a bit, but I like the deep formal wood in juxtaposition with the sweet white children’s decor. photo 1

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Happy Friday to all and Happy Mother’s day to all the moms!  XOXO

Prints

May 5, 2014

In the next week we will be transitioning our 2 year old to her “big girl” room to make way for the nursery to become the baby’s room.  Even though we have lived in the house for 8 months now I hadn’t found the time or inspiration to get anything up on the walls of either room.  That said, I of course have a vision: a safari theme for the nursery and a black and white equestrian theme for my toddler’s room.

This is the “nursery.”  Dark gray walls (BM Marina Gray), white crib, black and cherry, Hitchcock, dresser (like this) from my childhood bedroom, and a moroccan berber rug I got on one of Rugs USA’s 65% off sales.  9 x 12 rugs aren’t cheep but on sale the Rugs USA one is a steal and super soft.  It just takes about a month or two of vacuuming to reduce the shed.  (Or rolling around on it with your toddler in Lululemon pants.  Those things are like a lint magnet.)  Please excuse the grainy Instagram photo.

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There is a huge empty wall adjacent to the crib I want to fill with Audubon like safari prints.  Something a bit more sophisticated than your run of the mill nursery animals.  I found these prints on Etsy, a shop called Swanborough Prints and fell in love.  A couple in England make these water colors and digitally clean and enhance the illustrations.  I love that they are hand made.

Here are some prints I have flagged.

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I’d love to frame them in a black bamboo.  I found this website to order frames, but it it still pretty pricey.  I may wait to see how the prints come in and see if I can use a standard 8×10 mat and frame them from that.

Giraffe print framedFor my little girl’s “big girl” room. I went with Benjamin Moore, Blanched Coral and a black and white theme.  I think I am going to incorporate an equestrian theme.  I have a photo shoot with some horses this week and am hoping to get a shot of my own to blow up in her room.  I of course and totally appropriating my love of animals and horses into my children’s room, but I figure it is better than “Princess” crap, right?

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I took this shot about a year ago, and love it, but cannot for the life of me find the high res or raw version.  Damn you bad work flow…lesson learned.

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I am also mounting some shallow shelves up the whole wall to act as a library.  Children’s books are so beautiful and colorful, why not incorporate them into the decor.  Plus, little ones love that cover visual to help them pick out a book.  Those little spines get lost in a sea of books so easily when stacked in a traditional bookshelf.

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Almost two years ago Amanda Brooks quit her job as Barneys New York’s vice president and fashion director and left New York for a life in the English Country side with her family.  To say her new life in Oxforshire is storybook like, is an understatement.  Storybooks aren’t this picturesque and “rustic” never looked this chic.  I am obsessed with following her in Instagram. Where she chronicles her daily activities such as riding, hunting, writing,  making perfect al fresco lunches for her family and chasing after an excaped pot belly pig here and there.  The Selby also did a editorial on their home and family life.  As a animal and horse obsessed little girl, this would have been my dream house in which to grow up.  Warning: It is all very landed-gentry, Downton Abby, Pride and Prejudice perfect.  I love it!

From The Selby: The House

 

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A little girl’s dream:

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Just living the country life:7_17_12_AmandaBrooksOBS186831

 

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More picturesque images from her Instagram:

Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Indoors

March 18, 2014

The calendar may show spring’s arrival this week, but our temperatures here in New England show it is on the slow train this year, so I have decided to bring it inside!  The days are getting longer and our new home seems to be perfectly situated to get gorgeous sunlight throughout the day.  I am so glad I went with a warm light gray (Benjamin Moore Athena) throughout most of the house (save my black library).  It really seems to catch the light, keeping things bright, but also warm.  To add some spring in doors I bought some of those cheep grocery store bouquets, (ya know, the ones with a lot of “filler flowers” in them) and separated them out into these lovely barnacle shaped containers I got at TJ MAXX.  I really love the sprawling wild flower look.

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The house is coming along but, clearly I have lots of decorating, drapery and picture hanging to do but things are coming along. Living Room looking into Dinning Room. SpringFlowers-4

For the past year I have been working various different photo shoots and projects for a new design and lifestyle book by Erin Gates of Elements of Style.  Two weeks ago we shot her head shot for the book and yesterday the book went on pre-sale on Amazon.com!  Knowing that she has impeccable taste I was thrilled and honored when she asked me to help contribute some of my photography skills to her book.  I knew she wasn’t just asking me as a friend as she wouldn’t settle for less than perfect for her book. (Over the years I have had the pleasure of working closely with Erin; I shared my first studio space in Boston with her, and have also come to call her a dear friend.)  I am also humbled to have my photography credit name next to some of my interior photographer idols and fellow contributors Michael Partenio and Michael J Lee.  On top of all that, the book pre-order sales made Elements of style #1 best selling Home Decorating book on Amazon and top 50 on all of Amazon!  Crazy.  Pre-order yours now so you won’t have to wait come the release date.  Looks like there will surely be addition printing needed!  Congrats Erin and I am so so thrilled to be a part of this book in even my small way.  (Don’t worry, mom, mother-in-law, sister and sister-in-laws…I have already per-ordered some for you.)  Pre-order it here.

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Cover photograph by Michael J Lee.

Unused head shot from our shoot…you will have to get the book to see which photo she choose.

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The dogs were not always this cooperative.

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Studio Sale!

March 11, 2014

Our studio is having a sale!!!!  I’ll be debuting some new prints for only $25-$100 as they are fresh from processing and unframed.  8 x 10 and 11 x 14.  Here is a sneak peek from my new ocean series.  Hope to see you there!  JSGD, JHill Design, Jill Rosenwald, Lawrence McRae and The Third Piece will all be participating too!

Note: these are the in studio sale prices for these first run prints. Please feel free to contact me if you can’t make it and want to order some.

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Ocean Series:

Sea Island, GA – 11 x 14 print $75

Sea Island, Georgia

Spanish Moss - 8 x 10 print: $25 Spanish Moss Bikes Sea Island

Horseshoe Crab – 8 x 10 print: $25

Horseshoe Crab

Cohasset – 8 x 10 print: $25

Cohasset, MA

Prints at the sale will be un-matted and unframed, but all of them are available for purchase at almost any size, matted, framed, and my favorite…acrylic mounted.  Below is a sample of the gorgeous glossy acrylic mount.

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A photo shoot I did for Shelter Interiors is now up on Style Me Pretty.  Julie from Shelter Interiors has such a great way with adding bold colors and patterns into a traditional mix, with lux surprises here and there like some Hicks Hexagon wallpaper inside a china cabinet or modern photograph in a formal dining room.  This house feels so chic and put together, while totally livable.  I love it.

Here are some from the shoot, but go over to Style Me Pretty for the whole article.

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