Twenty First Century People, Nineteenth Century Life

nytimes 1In today’s NY Times is an article entitled, “It’s All 1810 to Them.” Obviously, I took one look at that title and knew the article was for me. This home, built in 1810, is located in Stockton, NJ, and has been painstakingly restored over the last five years by its owners, John & Judy Hobday, down to the antique nails in the floor. Although not everything is original to the structure, it all dates to either to the 18th or early 19th centuries. 
nytimes 4The Hobdays added the fireplace to the house, constructing it from stones found on the property.nytimes 5 nytimes 6 nytimes 7The mantel for the new fireplace dates to the 1790s.nytimes 8 nytimes 9The door, its lock, and keys are all 18th century, and are not original to the house. nytimes 2nytimes 3The tiger maple bed and bedside tables are custom. And as you can tell from the four poster bed, the ceilings in the Hobday’s house are barely seven feet high. And while the rooms and the structure are obviously historic, they also feel surprisingly modern. nytimes 10Next up for the Hobday’s? The restoration of an 18th century outbuilding on a property as a studio for Judy. A project like this is a true labor of love, and not cheap. The Hobday’s five year renovation came in at just over $1 million. However, to a preservationist like me, the rewards for doing a project like this far outweigh the costs. Which probably explains why I live in a city full of potential projects like this one.

For the full article, visit here.

Photos via NY Times

The Prettiest Paper

Portraits, InteriorsWalking in the door on Church Street, one of the first things people ever ask me about is the wallpaper in the front hall. And I am often surprised when I tell people that it is Meg Braff Designs, and they had no idea that the designer had a line of wallpaper. Launched in 2011, Meg Braff Designs includes both wallpaper and fabrics. When midcentury wallpaper company Philip Graf put their archives up for sale, which included paper from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, Braff purchased every single roll. These timeless patterns have now been updated in new color ways, and look as fresh today as they did in the ’60s.  Portraits, InteriorsThe wallpaper in our front hall is called “Ferns.” DSC_0009The wallpaper in the powder room is called “Grille of Kells”IMG_2695I visited Meg Braff’s shop in Locust Valley, NY last summer, and felt like a kid in a candy store standing at a table covered in beautiful wallpaper samples. One of the best things about Meg Braff Designs wallpaper is that you can customize the colors. So if you like a certain pattern, but wish it could be blue instead of green, you can have it in blue.Meg BraffMeg Braff Designs just put some new patterns up on their website and I am already in love with a number of them. There are so many beautiful papers to choose from, it is almost impossible to pick just one … which is why the two wallpapers in my house are both Meg Braff Designs.

Visit Meg Braff Designs online here, or if you’re in the NYC/Long Island area I would highly recommend a trip to her shop in Locust Valley.

Front hall and close up photos by Francesco Lagnese all other photos by the author

Picking Pomegranates

Pomegranate2Spring has sprung, and I’m thinking about dinner parties in the garden. I keep coming back to the raffia collections at Pomegranate. Available in a variety of festive colors and styles, the raffia collection includes placemats, coasters, and napkin rings. As my outdoor table is very narrow, I really like the circular Ford Raffia Placemat – part placemat, part charger. The prices are also very reasonable, with a set of four placemats available for $70 and a set of four napkin rings for $26. So head on over to Pomegranate, and start planning your outdoor dinner parties – would love to hear about your favorites! Click on the links below.

Kelly Hemstitch Placemats/Parish Placemat/Ford Coaster/Raffia Napkin Rings/Baldwin Placemat/Ford Placemat

Talking with Tom

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 9.37.45 AMHave you checked out the Tom Scheerer interview on 1st dibs? You all know the huge Scheerer fan that I am, so this is obviously right up my alley. In the interview, Scheerer refers to his style as “No nonsense American decorating;” and discusses the inspiration of Hicks and Baldwin, his love of the Saarinen table, and spending time at his home in Paris perfecting “the art of doing nothing.”

Interiors of Tom Scheerer for Book

Sag Harbor

Interiors of Tom Scheerer for Book

Harbour Island


Harbour Island

TomScheerer_Warner_ 47

Hobe Sound, FL

In the interview, Scheerer goes on to give his opinions on entertaining, tell us about his new favorite app (instagram), what music he is listening to,  his favorite restaurants, and even what types of gifts he likes to give. At the end of the interview, Scheerer also gives us his quick picks of things he likes that are for sale on 1st dibs right now … so essentially if you purchase one of those items, it is as if Scheerer was helping you decorate your home. So head on over to 1st dibs and check out the interview with Tom Scheerer. Also, if you still have yet to purchase Scheerer’s book, Tom Scheerer Decorates, read my review here, I highly recommend it.

photos by Francesco Lagnese 

Saving Merchant’s House Museum

MHMHello! Sorry I have been out of commission this week, I was literally out of commission, with the stomach flu. Ugh. Thankfully, I’m feeling better just in time for the weekend! So if you ever venture over to the My Stuff section of Lacquered Life, you will find that I mention a favorite historic house museum, Merchant’s House Museum. Located on East Fourth Street between Bowery and Lafayette in New York, the Merchant’s House is the only fully preserved 19th century home in New York. Stepping inside the beautiful Greek Revival Merchant’s House is like stepping back in time, or straight into a Henry James or Edith Wharton novel – a dream.
MHM 1MHM 2Many of the architectural details of the Merchant’s House Museum are unparalleled, and it is said that the decorative plasterwork in the double parlors, seen above, is some of the most valuable intact ornamental plaster from the period and surpasses even that of the White House. MHM 3 MHM 4Oh, and did I mention the walled garden behind the house? It is like walking into the secret garden, on East Fourth Street! This post has a motivation. The Merchant’s House Museum is in grave danger as a developer threatens to build a nine story hotel adjacent to the building. The demolition of the existing structure next door and the construction of a nine story building will be catastrophic to many of the architectural details of the Merchant’s House. It is so important that we support the Merchant’s House Museum and protect these unique and irreplaceable parts of our cities and towns. So if you live in NYC or are in town, go visit MHM. Take a tour, perhaps participate in one of their 19th century walking tours of the neighborhood, or learn about the irish immigrant experience in NYC. Maybe even make a donation or purchase a membership. Because every dollar, and every minute we appreciate places like this, and strive to protect them, makes a difference. Visit for more information.