Category Archives: interiors

behind the scenes with ruthie sommers

Do you remember this colorful home in House Beautiful, designed by Ruthie Sommers? I started following Ruthie on Pinterest, where I then discovered she started a blog. She recently posted about the above living room and its origins, and I was so very excited to get some of the behind-the-scenes details. I particularly loved her description of the design:

Lets make this feel like a preppy 80′s house that Mark Hampton may have designed so we never have to decorate again and we smile when we walk in the rooms.

Isn’t that wonderful? I also just love hearing designers and decorators talk. Sometimes seeing rooms in print, you get this distinct feeling that decorators are a little self-serious. But honestly, after making rounds at the Kips Bay show house this year, the overwhelming impression left by designers is they just really, really love this stuff. I mean, when I interviewed Miles Redd he talked about his Frydaddy. Decorators, they’re just like us with deep-frying mishaps and a love for good preppy houses.

As far as news around these parts goes, I have things to share–dining chairs came! living room painted! the purchase of a pair of slipper chairs! curtains!–just lacking the wherewithal to write it all up. I have a feeling once I buy my first bouquet of the season (don’t judge: my neighborhood seriously lacks good flower selection!), I’ll take a bunch of photos and be basically obligated to blog them. It’s some sort of blogger commandment, I think.

6 cottage entry essentials

cottage console

Original image by Paul Whicheloe

I’ve been looking for entry inspiration, especially anything with storage that doesn’t amount to pre-school cubbies. So when I found Janet Gregg’s home in Cottage Living, I took note of this vignette. Lots of clever containers with laid-back style.

Jaeva Table Lamp – Lulu & Georgia / Atlantis Clam Shell – Z Gallerie / Mandarin Altar Table – Home Decorators / Elephant Hamper – Home Decorators / Java Tribal Ikat Pillow – Society Social / Tortoise Bamboo Chair – Maison Midi

a colorful ruthie sommers project

green and pink living room

All photos by Simon Watson

I’m beginning to think Ruthie Sommers is my dream decorator. Her interiors never shy from color or pattern, and this Lake Forest home, featured in House Beautiful, is no exception.

There are those decorators whose rooms are lovely, but I –wisely or not– think I could pull off the same thing with the 100k budget of their clients. But then I look at a home like this, and know, no, I could not do this. Between the striped bathroom and the gorgeously colorful dining room, I bow down.
pink sofa green and yellow room blue dining room striped bathroom floral bedroomgreen bedroom

an original pre-war bathroom

prewar tile prewar sink
I would like to first note this is not our bathroom (though a sick, project-hungry part of me wish it were)! This is from the unit across the hall from us, currently on the market. It’s a one bedroom with several of the original details in place, including this bathroom.

I love seeing pictures like this because I’m obsessed with research. Even though I have no intention of going full-hog 1920s, I like to see what things looked like then. So many of the elements in this bathroom are still very much relevant today–a swap of hardware and fittings along with repaired tiles and a gorgeous shower curtain, this would be a perfectly lovely bathroom. And as much as some people like to declare subway tile “over,” it’s a classic.

I wish I had snapped a picture of the kitchen sink. We went into the unit originally to look at the french doors; we’re trying to figure out if we should go the Home Depot route there or if it’s really worth finding salvage doors that fit. I wanted to see if the original doors had the wavy glass or not (they did not), and ended up touring the rest of the apartment. The kitchen! Giant, giant farmhouse sink. The rest of the kitchen was essentially nonexistent, but that sink!

We’re really hoping whoever buys the apartment doesn’t intend to throw out all these goodies, or destroy the floor plan. The unit definitely needs work, but could be such a gem with the right vision! I tried talking my parents into buying it but I don’t think fourth floor walk-up living appeals to them, for some reason.

If we ever get around to re-doing our bath, I’m keeping these images in mind.

dark brown living rooms

brown living rooms

Clockwise from Left: a Carolyne Roehm-designed living room, Jose Picayo for House Beautiful, David Netto-designed living room photographed by Max Kim Bee for Veranda, Hunter-Barnes-designed living room, Mario Buatta-designed living room

I’m at a self-inflicted standstill with the apartment. There are many things I could be doing that are low cost –stripping hardware, painting the hallway, freshening all of the trim with a coat of paint– but there is only so much necessary, boring work I can handle!

Fortunately, I got the call today from MGBW that my banquette and sofa will be delivered this week. I haven’t wanted to do anything in the living room without seeing the new sofa in person, but now! Now I can actually begin to think about painting the room again.

In my head, Deep Caviar still makes total sense to me for a wall color. Then I rounded up these images and noticed all the brown rooms I liked used yellow as an accent. Oops. I did find one room with a pale blue sofa, but gosh if that color combination feels like the early oughts. Another moment of insight: all of the rooms feature a neutral rug, not a color fest like mine. Lots to consider here, but nonetheless, still very excited to see my custom furniture orders in person!