Out East

Tommy7Good Morning Lacquered Lifers! I flew up north and came out east yesterday to start a project with a new client, and in honor of my being on the South Fork, I thought I would share again one of my favorite East Hampton cottages, decorated by my favorite, you guessed it, Tom Scheerer. This house has that comfortable yet very chic aesthetic that is a signature of Tom Scheerer’s work, and which is why his work is always at the top of my list. Obviously it helps that the historic cottage itself has great bones – note the beams, the woodwork, the fireplace, the windows(!) – but Scheerer’s decorating plays to the bones of this cottage perfectly – some antique, some not, cozy yet sophisticated … the epitome of old East Hampton. Tommy4 Tommy3 Tommy1Tommy6Tommy5Tommy2Photos via House Beautiful

The South and its Gracious Rooms

Good Morning Lacquered Lifers! Starting a renovation is daunting. Despite what you may think about someone who does this for a living, the design and management of your own project is always twice as hard as it is for your clients. Why? Because like in anything, you are your own harshest critic, and find yourself second guessing yourself in ways that you don’t with other projects. That being said, during the infancy stages of a project I am always stocking up on new books and magazines to get my creative juices flowing. The most recent arrival? Barbara Westbrook’s Gracious RoomsBarbaraWestbrook_cover

Westbrook was raised in Virginia, and has spent all of her adult life in Georgia, making her a consummate Southern Lady, and it shows in her decorating. From  lakeside retreats to country houses in the city, this book cuts a wide swath showing you all manner of design scenarios. It also has sections with titles like “Living with Collections,” “Everything in its Place” and “The Ins and Outs of Symmetry,” which offer tips and details on achieving some of the designs put forth in the photographs. Who doesn’t love a good decorating book that includes tricks of the trade? BarbaraWestbrook_p087BarbaraWestbrook_p079 BarbaraWestbrook_p053 BarbaraWestbrook_p015Westbrook’s interiors have that chic, yet extremely comfortable look, that to this Yankee transplant seems to be something that can only truly be captured by Southern decorators. The title says it all, Gracious Rooms, that is exactly what each of these rooms are. Gracious. Just like all of the great Southern ladies I have been lucky enough to know here in Charleston. 

Click here to purchase Barbara Westbrook’s Gracious Rooms.

Zero Worries at Zero George

IMG_8824Good Morning Lacquered Lifers. Slowly but surely Mr. B and the pups and I are getting settled here at New Street … not too settled, of course, as we prepare to embark on a renovation, but settled enough that it feels like home. The night before we closed on New Street, however, we were not so settled, as all of our furniture had been moved out of Church Street, so we decided to have a little “staycation” and head over to Zero George for the evening. Upon our arrival at Zero George, the staff asked us how our move was going! That attention to detail and courteousness, coupled with the complementary wine and cheese in our room, was enough for Mr. B and I to immediately decide that we should extend our stay another night … and we had been there all of 20 minutes. IMG_9356

We stayed for two luxurious nights, enjoyed two lovely breakfasts in the courtyard, and one truly amazing dinner as well. Despite our physical and emotional stress over moving from Church Street to New Street, the two nights at Zero George truly helped us relax and unwind amidst the chaos. We stayed for two nights, in two different rooms ( I wanted to check out all the spaces so I could report back), and both rooms were absolutely lovely. Soothing gray tones in the rooms, good lighting, comfortable beds, and cushy robes. Wonderful. In addition, the setting at Zero George, while it feels so very Charlestonian, also feels very European, with the four buildings surrounding a lush courtyard. You can also enjoy cocktails on the piazza of the main building, or on the piazza outside your room!

Only two of my photos really turned out well (the two above), so for the additional photos below, I rely on the photographic skills of Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg of Ann Street Studio (a favorite). 
ZeroGeorge ZeroGeorge_01 ZeroGeorge_03Next time you plan a visit to Charleston, I strongly suggest a stay at Zero George and get a real feeling for the hospitality that the Holy City is known for.

Greek or Italian? A Little Help from Jane Scott Hodges

Good Morning Lacquered Lifers! The photos of Jane Scott Hodges’ New Orleans home in the current issue of House Beautiful were of particular interest to me as I begin research on our New Street house. My first instinct was to categorize the New Street house as Italianate, based on its build date (1872), bow front, and door surround; and assume that the six over six windows were a later addition. However, upon closer inspection, the windows could be original, and after seeing Hodges’ house, I realize that New Street may just be an amalgam of different architectural styles, which includes Greek Revival, despite a build date which came after the popularity of Greek Revival architecture had waned. The house was in fact built by an architect to be used as his personal residence, so he may have been more eager to incorporate different styles to suit his taste, rather than follow what was on trend at the time. IMG_9380scotthodges4I look at the columns on Hodges’ 1869 Garden District home, and I see similarities between the columns on her house, and the columns at New Street. While Hodges’ house has the Greek Revival facade characterized by a front door surround with a transom and sidelights, the house also sports a bracketed cornice, which is indicative of the Italianate style. At New Street, the Italianate detailing is found at the front door surround (hard to see in the picture above), while the cornice has the wide divided band of trim which is more typical of the Greek Revival style. Both houses, with their late nineteenth century build dates, feature architectural details indicative of the two architectural styles, making it difficult to define their styles. But really who likes to be put in a box anyway?scotthodges2In addition to the exterior, I look at the interior of Hodges’ home, and I can take cues from some of the extant architectural details. At New Street, the majority of the interior architectural details were removed and replaced with a more “colonial revival” look, a change I will be reversing. The crown moulding in Hodges’ double parlors is what would have been at New Street, as well as a ceiling medallion in the center of the room. DSC_0316scotthodges3 copy

Hodges’ marble mantelpieces are also of interest, as the mantels here at New Street were also removed in favor of colonial revival mantelpieces with dentil moulding. In fact, the house has a total of eight fireplaces, only three of which have mantelpieces, the rest of which were closed up in the first part of the twentieth century … looking forward to opening those back up.scotthodges3DSC_0318
scotthodgesOne day, most likely in the very distant future, you will see a scene like this one, with Hamish and Hugh lounging in a finished front hall … until then ….

Photos via House Beautiful