“If you buy something you love, there’s always a place for it.”
-Michelle R. Smith
There is a spring breeze blowing in the design world, courtesy of Michelle R. Smith. With numerous features on her NYC apartment and Sag Harbor home appearing over the last few months (here, here, here and her closet! here), this is a girl after my own true heart. She thinks interiors should be a bit “almost accidental looking” and is clearly no fan of the color red either. Ironically, what feels fresh is that Smith has her feet firmly planted in the past, using both beautiful antiques and flea market finds to ground her lovely interiors. That’s not to say there aren’t quirky modern pieces, but they are used to activate the spaces rather than as a list of big names of design giants past. Frankly I’ve been a bit exhausted with some of the design press lately in that sense. I even find myself being pulled from what I really love because of the difficulties in sourcing here in Doha, but she has gone and truly reminded me. All of this, plus the 100+ degree weather here, is starting to make me ache for our little Victorian beach house at the shore.
She has “make artwork look more valuable than it is” down pat, stacking and layering small pieces low on the walls. Artful but not overly styled vignettes are another signature.
Mellowed rugs and actual wooden antiques that aren’t painted. I feel like its been ages since we have seen large case pieces used in simple settings and she has many of them. Perhaps its just the New Yorker in me – there is never enough closet space – but a tall secretary or armoire just makes a room. Hers is one just peeking out on the right in this shot, a great vertical counterpoint to the built-in bookshelves.
She has the fancy meets rough equation down perfectly.
A dream of a New York City galley kitchen – with a giant window no less – and quirky repurposed industrial egg beater light fixtures. Be sure to note the candy molds hung next to the window, reminding me of kashigata. Wondering if I should be considering this very neutral Farrow & Ball Charleston Gray for my beach house kitchen?
An absolute mix of metals – copper, nickel, brass and a bit of tarnished silver.
The simplest of bathrooms with unlacquered brass hardware.
Without sounding too scandalous it’s in the bedrooms that I truly fall in love. Antique bedsteads, marble-topped night stands, fluffy white linens and old-fashioned lampshades…
…aged Persians again and big antique mirrored wardrobes. It’s all just a little bit granny but not.
The guest room has a similar feel…
…with stacked works on paper and a giant campaign chest.
As much as I like her NYC apartment, its her house in Sag Harbor that has me dreaming of home (or home-home as my girls would call it). Maybe its the vintage cottage vibe, but somehow so many of her choices are familiar to me.
European sideboards with gargoyles make the best drink stations.
Most of the house has been painted Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue, the kind of neutral historic color that plays well with everything and seems just right for an old fishing village. These kind of soft grayed colors are found throughout our beach house, some Benjamin Moore and others Farrow & Ball.
A familiar view, with a dining room side chair, resting quietly under a piece of artwork.
Is this a gently tweaked original kitchen? I’m not sure but what I would give to have had something like this to work with!
The bathroom in Sag Harbor is making me the most homesick…
…and I am wondering how much ‘oldating’ she had to do here and how much was original. Wait, just got my answer – the bathrooms were gut jobs and have been completely reimagined!
Old houses always need quirky solutions to small spaces, like back-to-back beds in the guest room, and vacation ones need to sleep as many guests as possible. We know what that’s like and have managed to squeeze bed space in even unlikely places.
But more than any of the other spaces, I’m back to the dreamy master bedroom, with its blush pink walls, four-poster, white lace…
…gleaming wooden dresser and smoky antique rug. It reminds me of the prettiest pink bedrooms ever and makes me want to be home-home to sleep in mine.
Just forty days and counting!
So Long Summer…Vignettes and Views Around the House
Renovation Report…”Oldating” the Beach House Bathroom
Brooklyn Belle from Hilary Robertson and Alastair McCowan
Weaving in Global Antiques…Katie Leede’s World Traveler’s Abode