Monday, August 1, 2011

Can I Live Here Please?

One of the things I love most when I travel are the invitations I sometimes get to visit people's homes. On my recent lecture trip to Cincinnati, I was given that opportunity by the lovely and talented Deborah Ginocchio (I wrote about her HERE).

Deborah: I don't know what your schedule is like tomorrow, but if you have any free time, I'd love to have you over.
Me: What the heck YES!

And do you know what it means when I'm invited?
You're invited.
So top up your coffee and let's go.

(Editor's Note: A huge thanks to Deborah for allowing me photograph her rooms sans fluffing or styling. This is real life, gloriously and seductively imperfect.)

* * * * *

First impression: Don't you just love a house that instantly lets you know it welcomes all creatures great and small?

Here's a corner of the eat-in kitchen.
The colors and textures remind me of an Old Master painting. Note the rustic linen towel draped over the wooden school chair, the puddled curtains spilling onto the floor and the antique Jacobean style flame-stitched sofa in the background -- it all makes for a room crackling with warmth and character.

Next to the sink is a pottery bowl filled with time-honored cleaning instruments. The twig-like dishwashing brush is one I happen to own as well (both purchased from Ancient Industries HERE.)

I make a mental note to paint the wooden mullions in my bedroom black. There is an indefinable poetry that comes from gazing at the world through a dark-colored frame. Colors appear more kinetic. The mood intensifies.

My husband has big dreams of someday owning a house with a fireplace in the kitchen. This little hearth is big on style and adds a layer of wit to the gleaming appliances next to it.

Help me. I've wandered into the library and am trying to fight off the compulsion to sink down onto that sofa with a copy of "Moll Flanders." I especially love the rush matting on the floor, don't you? (Pottery Barn sells a similar one HERE.) The easy-going unaffected elegance of everything in this house just kills me. And does the profile on that dog look familiar?

Atop a vibrant chair I spot a Duncan Grant pillow made with fabric purchased from the Charleston House shop (available HERE), former home to the Bloomsbury Group. No wonder I feel so at home.

Every room is brimming with mementos and artifacts of a family life well-lived.

Wit abounds. In a corner, I accidentally interrupt three gentlemen deep in conversation.

An upstairs bedroom is home to a Directoire-inspired resting place, a much-loved collection of vintage textiles and a familiar furry sentinel. And just look at that light. It's ethereal. Vermeer would plotz.

Colorful linens piled on a table offer a glimpse into what dinner parties are like here.

When exploring a house, I always try to find one item that reflects, as nearly as possible, the personality of the home. It's the Miss Marple in me. With this little box, I think my search is over. It's Deborah's style distilled.

Last but not least, four feet times two.

40 comments:

Lily said...

Oh I love a good house gossip, to see a spontaneous portrait of how someone lives, a glimpse of their character, and this place looks so charming! For me a house full of talismans and books and roses and dogs and paintings and sea chests and daydreams is so much more important than big TVs and trendy countertops, it's got be a magical outpost! I remember a previous post when you asked us to describe the character of our house as if it were a person- I loved that one and all the responses.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Vermeer would plotz indeed.

Emily said...

Thank you Deborah for allowing us to tour your very unique home through Lisa's lens. I especially love the green settee in photo number 9!

Dianne said...

Lovely home! How gracious of her.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

By the way.... remember when we discussed Beaufort? Well, I was there last week and couldn't stop thinking about you. Yes, you simply must go! I swear, words and ideas just squish up between one's toes there. Here's an experience I had just last week......

http://fromthehouseofedward.blogspot.com/2011/07/black-gate.html

24 Corners said...

It's so nice to see that the 'layered look' is alive and well and living in Deborah's house. There is such a wonderful, calming feeling that envelopes me whenever I see a home in which every square inch has been saturated with the personality and character of its owner. There is such a sense of comfort, warmth and welcome in homes like that, and loads of interesting charm...perfection is what it's called I believe!
So kind of her to allow us this very fun peak.
xo J~

btw- Love the sentinel!

helen tilston said...

Lisa please thank Deborah for sharing her delightful charming, well loved and lived in home. It brought to mind our family home in Ireland in my childhood. Items collected over a lifetime, with a patina to prove it.
You are right, each photo is like a still life and the values are all in the medium range with soft edges. Oh to have a week in that library, just locked away.
This has been a beautiful visit, thank you.
Helenxx

Customized Walls said...

Wonderful home! I would never dare to live in new construction. As a NH girl, old homes are plentiful. Love this!

sanctuaryhome said...

Absolutely lovely home. It feels warm and inviting, yet polished. So glad she invited you.

Charlotte Holmes said...

Exquisite--elegant and comfortable, unpretentious. Thank you for the tour!

Teacats said...

charming and wonderful -- just like the owner! Many thansk for the tour!

Daniel-Halifax said...

Love this place! Love everything about it. Love this post. love love lovey love!

Diane James Home said...

What fun to peak behind private doors and glimpse at wonderful interiors that I would never have a chance to see! Deborah has such style and effortless grace in her decor and I loved seeing you frame your pictures with black "mullions".

Miss Cavendish said...

Oh, a bulldog makes every house a home . . . :-)

Helen James said...

Can I move in tooo, love love it, Thank you

Lisa Daria said...

Many paintings could be made from this interior, beautiful.

Nina in Brooklyn said...

My name is Nina Ginocchio and I was fortunate enough to grow up in this beautiful house. My mom has been blushing profusely (as she frequently does) in reading this post and comments. She has such a creative eye and a unique sensibility; she sees design about 10 steps befor anyone else. I've definitely inherited a craving for color and flea markets for her (thank you, mom, for helping to make me broke). I can't imagine having spent my childhood anywhere else, so it's hard for me to be objective, but the house truly does represent our lives in that space. It's colorful and full and in places loud and (sorry, mom) messy, but it feels like a home. Thank you for the beautiful pictures and for finding the spirit of my mom in that space. Credit should also be given to my dad who adjusts to the constantly changing decor--there's always something new popping up. Lisa, do you think you could send those pictures to my mom, she would love to have copies of them, and can't quite figure out how to print them without destroying their beautiful quality.

Nina in Brooklyn said...

In rereading my comment, I want to apologize for the errors, it was written in haste.

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Nina in Brooklyn:
Thank you so much for weighing in -- how heart-warming your tale is! That house is special, all right. I felt it from the moment I entered. You are lucky, indeed. (And yes, I will email her my photos!) xx

Susan's Snippets said...

Lisa -

Thank you very much from that huge part of me that loves driving at night thru neighborhoods and being estatic when the lights are on inside of homes and I can see in (albeit from the street, I have yet to press my face against anyone's window for fear of arrest!).

If you head to Chicago and want to make a visit to a western burb...

to meet you and introduce you to my 1899 farmhouse would be more than superb!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Susan's Snippets: Love that idea. :)

Hausfrau said...

Loving it all! Funny, I've been wanting to pick up a couple of those scrubbers from Ancient Industries. I first found these years ago in a Mexican market, for super-cheap. Wish I'd bought at least ten!

Esssay said...

Thank you for sharing such relevant topic with us. I really love all the great stuff you provide. Thanks again and keep it coming.

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agogablog said...

Is there any way you could find out what the fabric on the chair under the Duncan Grant pillow is? And the provenance of that amazing box?

Angie Muresan said...

Oh, so lovely and cozy. Thank you Deborah and thank you, Lisa for the tour.

Ruth said...

WOW, I love it! I want to redo my house NOW! Thanks for the gorgeous photos and fun descriptions.

Cassandra said...

Gorgeous house - I love how you describe everything!

Michelle said...

What a spectacular home. I just love homes like this. They are full of character and charm. The green settee is just wonderful. My home is filled with vintage and French furniture and this would be perfect. Love your blog, can't wait to read your next post xx

Kathy said...

Ok I just fell in love with this post, these photos, this blog, that dog, that rug, thus...YOU! I am not a big blog reader (lack of time) but every now and I then I treat myself to a leisurely read. I landed here and spent a nice amount of time. Beautiful respite. If you find yourself on 3rd Street, stop in and say HELLO; we're mainly private appt, but open to public and Tues, Thurs and Fri. Would love to meet the woman behind the humor. Cheers--Kathy Delgado (vintageweave interiors)

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