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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Repetition Repetition Repetition

I had so much fun on the Newport House Tour this past Sunday. All of the houses had incredible architecture and most of them had some truly fabulous decor. I went with six other highly critical women and we pretty much all agreed that we'd just like to run home and grab a few family photos and then move right into Seaweed that afternoon. This house is situated at the very end of Newport's famed Cliff Walk so maybe it had something to do with the views (below) overlooking Bailey's Beach and the rocky Atlantic coastline. However, the decor by interior designer David Hammond of New Canaan, CT was also incredbily desirable.
What was most interesting about the decor is that they used the exact same rugs and upholstery fabric in every room of the house. On the one hand, I think there is so much fabulous fabric out there, why on earth do such a thing, but on the other, with such spectacular views, why distract from them. The other genius thing about it that we can all use in our own lives is that it makes the furniture so much easier to re-arrange or to move from house to house. There were variations in the shape of the chairs and some of them had nailhead trim or other accents, but the fabric tied each room together. It was even on some upholstered headboards in the bedrooms. But how nice would it be to want to move a chair or couch to another room and not have to worry about whether it is going to match what is already there? This is a great idea for the person who likes to re-arrange their furniture on a regular basis. The walls were also almost all painted the same neutral color, but the wainscotting varied from room to room (see top photo), my favorite of which was the diamond pattern wainscotting, and there were some pale accent colors in beach tones on some of the ceilings and walls. All of the moldings were a beautiful bright white. I imagine they were probably originally a deep cherry or some other dark wood, but the white made it so much more light and airy like a beach house should be. This monotone look also worked well because the rooms of the house, including the bedrooms, all flowed from one to the next so it was nice not to have each room competing with the other. Unfortunately, because this was a house tour and not a designer showhouse, the details of what fabrics and products they used were not listed, but I've rounded up a few items that could provide a similar look on a much smaller budget.
This Tanzania Sisal Rug by Natural Area Rugs with its wide texture is similar to the ones used in the house except theirs had an even wider texture and I'm almost certain it was wool because it was so soft underfoot and it's driving me crazy that I can't find a similar one online so this is as close as I could get.
A neutral fabric like this Sauvage fabric from Donghia makes it easy to accessorize the same fabric differently in each room.
The lamps were mostly oversized and glass with large cylindrical shades like this Bell Jar Table Lamp from West Elm. However, be warned that clear glass lamps have no way of hiding the cord (my guess is that they photoshopped the cord out of this image and if not they need to share their secret on how to hide it). I love this style, but it is so frustrating to see the cord trailing. Whoever solves this design dilemna will be a genius in my book!
Additional lighting is provided by oversized hurricane lanterns like these Modern Hurricanes from Ralph Lauren.
Most of the accessories were oversized pieces of coral, sea fans (below) and other sealife (including a partial skeleton of what I think was a whale that was A-MAZ-ING) like these from Sea Shell City. They also had beautiful pewter and silver accessories in sealife shapes and the walls were mostly covered in nautical themes prints and maps.

The repetition wasn't limited to the main rooms in the house. All of the bathrooms were done in navy and white with a matte finish, but they did have some fun here and there like adding a Crystal Ship Chandelier like this one from Z Gallerie to one of the bathrooms to add a little sparkle.
Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to see the kitchen which is situated on the basement level (for the former servants of course) but I'm sure that was fabulous too. I LOVE color, but I seriously was ready to go home and paint my entire house white after touring this house. And it's my understanding that this is the family's summer home so it was probably a bit easier to edit to a more simple style, but I think there are some great lessons learned that can be used by all of us whether we live on this grand scale or a much, much, much, much smaller one.

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