A SUMMERSET STORY | THE DEN

November 21, 2021

For those who spent many a Saturday evening eagerly awaiting a Summerset Series update in recent months, I raise a glass in appreciation (and admiration, really) for staying the course in the high spirit of interiors, design and witty home renovation commentary. As weeks crept by and the finish line for Phase One dangled like a carrot on the Newport horizon, your messages, inquiries and good-natured humor were warmly welcomed, thank you.

Somewhere in the early stages of starting this process, I heard an interior designer comment that one should design a home for oneself, not for the guests that drop by on occasion. Simple as it may sound, it’s downright brilliant really. In the sacred land of real estate, where a tally of bed and bath rooms rules supreme, the notion led me to do the unthinkable – au revoir second guest bedroom, hello cozy-as-hell den.

While on the subject of brilliance, the Brits have institutionalized a term for the very space I was determined to emulate, the ‘snug‘. Defined by a fellow island culture as a small room which oozes warmth and coziness, who wouldn’t relinquish twelve square feet of closet space, not to mention a realtor’s scorn, in favor of a room purposely designed for naps, reading, sipping coffee or a cocktail, and intimate chats with your nearest and dearest. Visions of beadboard clad walls, a cozy Chesterfield chock full of cushions and a moody paint palette kept me awake at night.

Insert Heidi, whose own ‘Cabin + The Snug‘ project on an opposing coast was already a design sensation, having captured the eyes of editors and enthusiasts alike. Having hit the wall on color selections and a paint schedule deadline looming large, I booked a session on the freshly launched platform The Expert, confident Heidi’s eye was exactly what I needed to nail down the details on this oh-so-daring den. The result, a room drenched in saturated and sultry Studio Green, and the rest we’ll say is history.

Inspired to create your own cozy space destined for morning meditation or reading the Sunday Times? All the ingredients for The Den, along with other Summerset spaces, including The Green Room and The Primary Bath in one easy-to-find location.

Inspiration Sources: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08

 

SUMMERSET SERIES | NO. 6

March 28, 2021

 

While postings here have, shall we say, fallen a bit off course of late, behind the scenes renovations at Summerset have been moving ahead like the little engine that could. I dare even consider, we may be entering the proverbial ‘home stretch’ of Phase One. Have I mentioned there’s a Part Deux to this project we haven’t even touched on yet? One that includes knock-down demo, excavation and a new build so contested by a neighbor, let’s just say, I spent months honing my negotiating skills to earn favorable approval by the infamous Newport zoning board. I’ll save more on that story (and the new construction) for later, after a restock on the side of sanity + a much needed summer sabbatical to catch my breath.

In the interim, I promise to continue with more delectable details and room-by-room inspiration boards like those shared here and here; I love creating them as much as many of you enjoy pouring over them. And let’s be honest, despite how it may appear on the ‘Gram, where cheeky commentary and whimsical tunes paint a pretty picture for your Saturday night entertainment, not all of this process has been lollipops and rainbows.

Admittedly, I hit the design wall a couple of times, leaned into The Expert and emerged on the other side thankfully re-inspired and ready to take action. That process in and of itself deserves its very own post, because no matter your experience or know-how, acknowledging when to ask for help and working with a designer you trust can be the difference between completing a paint schedule or pouring another glass of wine.

A change of season appears to be right around the corner here in New England, we’ll be celebrating by wrapping up Phase One in coming weeks, throwing open our new French doors to the sights and sounds of Spring and layering in the touches that make any renovation uniquely personal. If you’re with us for the long haul, thanks for sticking around. And if you’re ready to jump ship, I totally get that too – some days I’m right there with you (insert wink).

 

It’s 2021, and like many things to look forward to this week, the construction scene at Summerset has decidedly departed 2020 waving au revoir to caution tape and saying hello new chapter. Our crew is making significant progress, spaces are taking form and soon, visions transition to reality.  Next to debut in ‘A Summerset Story’, the most private of spaces, the primary bath.

Full transparency folks, no rhyme or reason to the sequence in which rooms are being shared, in similar approach to navigating life these days, let’s just roll with it, shall we? The 2nd floor (aka primary) bath – a room that will embody by far the greatest transformation from where it all started. (Lest you forget and need a walk down pre-reno memory lane, drop in here for a refresh of what the space looked like before – cramped, not the least bit cozy, all accentuated by that cringe-worthy infamous platform.)

Our expansion yielded considerably more space to allocate accordingly and yet, I’ve been dead set on the design of the bath be respectful to the remainder of the house, both in scale and sentiment. Original layout drawn up by the architect took a turn early on after a walk-through with our plumber, who quickly identified challenges given the age of the house, particularly pitch relative to location of key drainage points and a desire to minimize construction to other non-reno areas of the home. In creative collaboration, we re-dealt a winning deck for ourselves and have since been on a path to primary bath perfection.

I welcome you to check out some of my inspiration saved here and in the words of friend, mentor and purveyor of the perfect bath – Barbara Sallick, create an experience that’s meaningful for you.

Inspiration Sources: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08

CREATIVE CRUSH | DECEMBER

December 23, 2020

 

Soon the stockings will be hung by the chimney with care and like holiday cheer, hot toddies, mistletoe + holly, I’m a firm believer in the more the merrier. With little more than a week until this rollercoaster ride of a year draws to a close, only fitting we sneak in one last serving of our Creative Crush series for 2020. Back in February when I created Around the Pound, like visions of sugar plum fairies, I imagined a visual extension of the Around the Pound you already know here. From fashion to food, frivolity to faucets, like a great meal, if it catches my eye, it’s totally worth sharing. Just because the year is ending (can we get an Amen?), certainly doesn’t mean the inspiration will too. Join us in 2021 for fresh new content – occasionally golden, always deliciously creative. Until the ball drops, wishing you and yours a very merry holiday.

CREATIVE CRUSH | DECEMBER EDITION

Grandmillenialism grandeur. | (@louiseroehome | @nathaliefarmanfarma)

Stairway to heaven. (@thecarpetworkroom)

Corner crush. (@johnderiancompany)

Holiday treasure. (@angrybaker)

Round and round we go. (@hopeinthewoods | @galleryl7)

Woolens. (@sezane | @fecastleberry)

Sweater weather. (@demyleeny)

Dressing room dreaming. (@plainenglishkitchens)

 

Introducing A Summerset Story’, a promised walk-through of the innermost design details going into our quaint cottage in the City-by-the-Sea. I’m not here to bore you with before-and-after photos, how-to’s or a laundry list of sources. Rather, consider this your golden ticket to 100% unadulterated inspiration. Drawing from the Newport tours that showcase our neighboring Bellevue beauties, an intimate look at my creative vision for the 1940-home (albeit on a much less grandiose scale and without those awful, pre-COVID communal headsets).

We start with what I’ve nicknamed ‘The Green Room’, a small open area directly off an even smaller (code word for tiny) entry – blessed with a cathedral ceiling, amazing afternoon light and a mood I fancy one part bucolic/one part botanical. My perception of palette isn’t one reserved for color, but an enlightened mix of paint, pattern, textiles and more. Those gosh-darn delectable details I’m forever championing? They’re here too, because like a great cocktail party (remember those?), the more the merrier.

If you’re captivated by the images I’ve included here, I’ve saved them all, along with a few extra servings, on a new story board. Feel free to beg, borrow and steal pin them to your own, or simply follow along, I fully embrace that approach too. Check out some of my other boards while you’re there, I’d love to have you.

Inspiration sources: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08

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