Real Homes- New England edition

I want to purpose to show more “real homes” in some future blog posts…homes I have consulted on but not done”full service expensive remodeling or decorating consults” on, just mini consults or “fluffing” here and there…sure these are very nice homes, and they may be anything from historic homes to lived in suburban or 1950s ranch style, whatever the case it does not matter.  All houses and homes have assets and things that can be tweaked and played up or down. My goal is show some non-perfect, non-Pinterest “real life” living and  photography in all of its BEAUTY and NORMALCY. And yes I know “normal” is subjective but let’s remember what real life, lived in homes look like without professional photography and perfect styling..they are still lovely, and this one is really lovely!


Indeed this one is a treat, straight from New England!

The email from the homeowner went like this

       I am interested in design, but I am looking for someone to help me finish my living room, family room, dining room, stairs, etc.  I have most of my furniture, but I need help with pillows, accessories, paint colors, lighting, etc.  I just bought my house three years ago.  It is our forever house, so I am taking my time to decorate it.  It is a sea captain’s house built in 1825, but renovated in around 1910.


Of course she had me at 1825 and Sea Captain’s home! And then she randomly showed me a photo of the kitchen (wish I had it, it was pre the lights and very lived in looking but i could see the beautiful bones beyond the backpacks and shoes…

I helped with pillow fabrics and pulling together the living room etc with a few accessories and coffee table. And a choosing new lights for kitchen. Online consults can be as big or little as needed!


You notice my favorite combo and starting points but evolved into more pattern and blue which was fine!… Ticking stripe for slipcovers, coffee table ideas and of course blue and right and neutral paint, the art is by a local artist Alison Hill, some of the other art in the room is by the family!

Online consults include basic boards but also some “crazy boards” with notes to illustrate and ideas for narrowing in on patterns and colors.  Some honest back and forth saying “you know I don’t love that KW ikat” or “I do!”


When you are working online sometimes choosing fabrics can be a bit of a puzzle but it is possible for sure especially with etsy and the willingness of showrooms and vendors to send samples! And lots of email!


Another real life aspect to these photos, which are simply phone pictures from the client, is they also show REAL LIFE transitions, meaning one picture shows her new rug in place and others show the temporary natural jute rug in place.  Because real life means sometimes you have to move the nice new red rug to the dining room until you find one for that space! It’s a good and reminds me how homes are always evolving and shifting!



And the kitchen oh the kitchen!! Once the homeowner sent me a random phone picture of the kitchen I was REALLY smitten with this home.  The kitchen addition/remodel is exquisite with the beams and floors and now with the new lights!


Look at the floor boards and beams…they did an amazing remodel..all I did was choose the lighting for island which the homeowner then ordered over phone and email with Cindy at True Blue Home.  I love working with True Blue  because they are true blue Visual Comfort retailer, unlike some of the flash sales sites that sell similar lights.   When you order through True Blue Home in Texas you get the full guarantee of Visual Comfort and more personalized customer service if there are any hiccups!  And wow that brass with the beams and look she has mixed finishes..brass lights (gilded iron to be specific) polished nickel on the kitchen hardware and bronze on the stools..and boy does it work!


Sometimes all you need is a few new pillows, a ticking stripe slipcover on an old chair, a rug or lights in kitchen…it is a process and it takes time but when it eventually starts to take shape it is so worth it.  My client’s husband is an artist so she already has some great art and of course the bones of an 1825 house doesn’t hurt!


And the big point is not to compare..her real life kitchen is amazing and her home is full of history but I bet she lacks big bathrooms and closets?! We all have different assets in our homes that we can play up..for some it is a kitchen or a porch or natural light or location.  Embrace the positive and try to downplay the things you love least.


More ‘Suburban Charm’ house

Finally more Before and Afters of this wonderful home. To see full gallery go here.


The kitchen alone is jaw-dropping.  Cabinets were removed and shiplap added to ceiling along with new range and counters that look like marble but perform like near steel!(I will share some sources in time) This home proves you can add charm to life in suburbia.  Becki Griffin of Curious Details helped me capture photos of this amazing transformation from dated cookie cutter to fresh and charming home.

These were the AFTER photos of the kitchen/dining/breakfast area . . . Complete with LG Haus Quartz countertops and Visual comfort lighting via True Blue Home.  That one big Darlana lantern is perfecto! I love the Darlana because it has no glass to keep clean and it also comes in lots of sizes and brass!


The light above the dining table is a bargain from Horchow and mixes just fine with the higher end lighting in the kitchen proper. Kitchen lighting (the lantern is the darlana and the sconce is the boston library) is by Visual Comfort via True Blue Home.

Speaking of light, adding a window to this space REALLY transformed it and let in the very best light, natural! Below you can see some of the before and during photos.

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The window was added where his hand is placed to the left of fridge cabinet area if you can tell…and that window makes so much difference!  clarkeimagewindow
And the reclaimed shelves and larger than usual subway tile!

clarkekitchen1 clarkekitchen2

The Master bath is also one of my faves in this house…the tile is NOT marble..there is no real marble in this bath!


Mama said “with all of my kids I have to be able to use bleach!” So we used the marmot tile from Arizona tile and its magic along with more LG Haus on the counters and scads of white Daltile subway and tile picture railing..and an amazing Victoria + Albert tub!



What is so special is about the house is the children and family and sweet heart of hospitality of the family…since we shot these photos, they have added another babe to the pack!  Congratulations Clarke family..You are tops!



The contractor Jesus Melgar Contracting did an amazing job on this project as did Heather Chavez of Traditions Windows who did the blinds and drapes. (she can do ANYTHING with windows, cannot say enough good things about Traditions Windows!)

Thank you again to Becki Griffin for helping capture my work and the beautiful families and homes in my life!

More next week about the upcoming POP UP SHOP in my Studio!

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