Thursday, June 29, 2017

Reno Project Reveal | Powder Room

Today I have the chance to share the before and after of our little jewel-box powder room! This is a fun one for me personally because although this is a tiny space of very few square feet, I didn't have a powder room in my last home and so I really embraced the opportunity to go bold. We'll start with the before; here is an image from the real estate listing, you can see the (stubborn to remove) wallpaper that was in place since 1989.  Red oak cabinet, wall-to-wall mirror & tulip-style builder basic light fixture were all original to the house.

(You can view part 1 and part 2 of the powder room reno with all the plans and inspiration along the way).

The mirror, vanity, linoleum flooring, and lighting were all removed:

The only catch was (as you can see in my moodboard below) we selected a metal washstand that exposed the floor, but our water supply came up from the floor, so we had to get our plumber to moves those pipes into the wall before we could move forward installing our vanity. Often times, every step forward has 1-2 steps backwards before you can get to the pretty stuff! 

Here's the complete list of sources I selected:

Scalamandre Zebras from DecoratorsBest | Vendome sconces from Circa Lighting | Tresa Lavatory Faucet from Brizo | Toilet tissue holder from Brizo | Silver julep cup from Enchanted Home | Beaded mirror from RH | Gramercy powder room washstand from RH | Marble basketweave tile from Julian Tile

Marble tile was installed, and I love the way the oak floor meets so flush with the marble without any transition. As you can see just above and below, we installed this amazing Metrie recessed paneling in the entryway. To complement the entry millwork, we added simple board and batten with flat stock from Metrie to dress up the lower half of the wall. And let's be fully honest, I also anticipated little toddler hands could be destructive to pretty wallpaper and thought this could be and easy-to-clean and practical option:

And now the completed afters; dark, moody, and pretty:

As for the washstand from RH, I found it was a lot more budget-friendly to purchase the washstand without the marble top. Pricing for having our own marble top cut and installed was much less expensive, and I could choose the piece of stone I wanted. I went with the powder room size vanity, which fit perfectly into our tiny space.

The traditional Charlotte toilet tissue holder from Brizo is so pretty, and I added conversation-starting art (a DIY) atop the toilet.

The Vendome sconces were a favorite of mine for a long time, their classic curves are perfect!

photo by Tracey Ayton Photography

Another 'fun' structural detail - the air vent was in the floor and had to be moved or I would literally have had a vent placed in front of the vanity right in the middle of the mosaic tile! (the vent has a towel stuffed into it below):

You can see that the vent is now neatly tucked into the corner:

Metrie crown molding and door casing added to the architectural details of the paneling:

In case you are curious how I hide the extra toilet paper for guests since I now lack concealed storage, I purchased an inexpensive metal tissue tower from Amazon and it does the trick:

I just adore the look of a vintage-inspired cross handle faucet, and honestly the Tresa Lavatory faucet from Brizo is the prettiest faucet I have ever owned!! It comes in 4 finishes, I personally selected polished nickel to tie in with the metal of the washstand and water supply kit.

Now, I'm so thrilled that you can see a peek of this little jewel-box right when you walk into the entry of the home. It makes me happy every time I see it, and it definitely sets a first-impression with guests.

Before & after from the entry:

Thank you for taking a peek at the progress of my home! It feels like there are never-ending projects on my list but one by one they are coming to completion. We've got many rooms left so stay tuned for more reno fun in the coming months.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Textbook Tuesday | Out East - Houses and Gardens of the Hamptons

With the summer months ahead, we collectively turn to outdoor living and dinning inspiration. What better place to turn than the iconic shingled houses and oceanfront cottages of the Hamptons? In Out East (out next month from Vendome Press), Jennifer Ash Rudick and photographer Tria Giovan take us on an insider's tour of more that 30 of the Hampton's most exquisite homes and gardens. Rudick, a long-time Southampton resident, explains that "few areas can lay claim to the fact that almost every American architect of note has worked here," ( Through reading this lovely hardcover collection I came to appreciate that this locale blends colonialism, contemporary design, and coastal charm. Here's a peek inside:

Of course we can admire the outdoors spaces of such a charming coastal community, but the indoor spaces are equally as spectacular. Some of my favorites:

I particularly feel drawn to the pattern-on-pattern maximalist spaces, which may seem atypical for oceanfront homes, but I love how cozy and inviting they appear:

The bedroom below, also featured on the cover of this month's Architectural Digest, is another perfect example of bringing maximalism to the Hampton's vacation homes:

I'm sure I'd never leave if I could inhabit any one of these stunning homes. Anyone who adores the summer-chic style of the Hampton's and the charm of beach-front communities will need to add Out East: Houses and Gardens of the Hampton's to their personal design library!


Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday's Favorites To Follow

Minneapolis-based design duo Marita Simmons and Krysta Gibbons together are the brains behind Kipling House Interiors. Their fantastic neo-traditional work caught my eye on instagram, and I'm so happy to have found them! Their classic and timeless style is evident in every project they've produced. Here is just a small sampling to entice you, hop to their website and instagram to see more:

Pierre Frey wallpaper combined with the Coleen & Company sconces is divine!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Artist Q&A | Susan Harter of Muralpapers

Interior design by Morrissey Saypol Interiors, wallpaper Aldsworth Faded by Susan Harter

Susan Harter is the artist behind the ingenious concept of creating life-size mural wallpaper from her original paintings. These works of art create the highly-sought after look of imported exotic papers that we have all come to love and envy, but with a fresh, painterly twist. Susan's muralpapers have graced the pages of Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and the Washington Post, to name a few. After long admiring her work, I was thrilled to be able to have a chat with Susan, learn more about what brought her into this world of art and design, and share her stunning work with you today.

Interior design by Carter and Co.,  Boston. To get this look, try Susan's Barrington's Mist mural.

Nancy Marcus: What led you to the field of art?

Susan Harter:
I was studying sociology at college, then a friend dragged me to a painting class.  She was too nervous to go alone. She ended up hating it, but I was hooked, especially when the professor hugged me at the end of class and said, "Never stop doing this!"
I'm never happier than when I'm painting, or out in nature. Painting mural landscapes combines both. I'm just delighted I can make a living at it.

Peaceful bedroom in Delft -Classic Blue wallpaper 

NM: What do you love most about your career?

I love the chance to see some of America's most beautiful homes, and learn from some of the best designers. Interior designers elevate ordinary living to an art form. The discipline fascinates me; their choice to constantly create beauty and visual harmony, rather than settle for whatever's easy. Designers create little heavens on earth. I wish everyone had the time, energy, and funds to create one for themselves. I like to joke that if we all could do that, we'd have no war. We'd be too busy making the world beautiful!

I also love the freedom of running my own business. My studio is in a brick loft  in Port Townsend, WA, a gorgeous little Victorian seaport at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula. Bald eagles fly over downtown, deer wander around eating roses. Anytime I need a break, I can walk my dogs to the ocean and watch the sailboats.

A sophisticated nursery designed by Erin Gates, with Calmsden Grisaille wallpaper

A sophisticated nursery designed by Erin Gates, with Calmsden Grisaille wallpaper

NM: How would you describe your personal style? And do the wallpapers you create influence your own décor choices?

My career started in Boston, and I was fortunate to work with some of the greats of New England Design (folks like Bill Hodgins, Charles Spada, Richard Fitzgerald, Michael Carter, Eugene Lawrence, and Gerald Pomeroy).  Boston style still shows its Puritan roots. It's never gaudy, never overstated. But it's not stuffy, either. Though it's grounded in traditional forms and classic proportions, there's an emphasis on clear, light, subtle colors. That, and an almost Shaker-like rejection of excessive ornament, make it perennially fresh.

I wish I could say my own home is as stunning as those of my clients! Interior design is a discipline I'm still learning, and I confess my own home is often in a state of churning.  I get inspired by each new great design I see. But my home palette, yes, is pretty much the same as my mural palette. I think interior colors are most restful when they mimic nature, and peace is what I'm after at home. The world is challenging enough without being challenged by your wall colors!

Interior design by Veronica Castellucci, Delft-Black wallpaper

NM: I love that answer, and I couldn't agree more! Soothing color palettes are evident throughout your works and I think 'peaceful,' is probably the perfect descriptor of your murals.

NM: What/who has been your greatest professional influence?

David Webster of Webster and Co. in Boston is someone to whom I'll always be grateful. He believed in my mural wallpaper in it's earliest, roughest, "here's my dream" version.  He was kind enough to promote it, and the work of emerging artists everywhere.  Truly an extraordinary man with a generous heart and a killer eye for design. I'll also always be grateful to Eugene Lawrence, who gave me so many fun projects (and whose kind, yet frank, criticisms helped hone my painting skills).

NM: What project are you most proud of?

Recently I donated a mural to a charitable auction, and the proceeds went to an orphanage in Africa. I'd love to do more of that. Before starting my career as a muralist, I worked for Oxfam, raising funds for overseas development projects. So that donation felt like coming full-circle.  I feel like I should shout here, "Attention designers! Think of my wallpaper for charitable show houses!"

NM: I love that full-circle circumstance, how fantastic. I hope designers will indeed connect with talents such as yourself for such amazing causes. I absolutely loved your collaboration with M and M Interior Design for the Lake Forest Showhouse, and such a fantastic cause.

Collaboration with M and M Interior Design at the Lake Forest Showhouse

NM: What is your next career venture?

Oh, I'm just bubbling with ideas! On my desk today is a sketch of a cactus-strewn landscape inspired by a recent trip to AZ, while one of my wonderful assistants is stretching canvas for a painting of Puget Sound.  The move west has inspired all kinds of new artwork ideas. We're also experimenting with some exciting new printing techniques, and substrates.  A friend in town weaves the most amazing silks - for fashion designers like Chanel -  which she can back for us as woven wallpaper.  So, new products coming soon!

Sue De Chiara's dining room in a custom colorway of the Calmsden design

Sue De Chiara's dining room in a custom colorway of the Calmsden design

NM: Susan I know I am not just speaking for myself when I say I cannot wait to see what you are cooking up. I love hearing that your creative brain is brewing what's next, and I know you will be successful in whatever you touch. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story and your talent with us today, it was an honor to have you! (to see more from Susan Harter, visit her website here).

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