Every house I have ever lived in, inspires me to create a HOME. But wow–over time, have my tastes changed. I’m old enough to have lived in the avocado green & harvest gold period. This was our first house, a track house with spring green carpeting and touches of orange and gold everywhere. I even painted my antique wicker desk orange. (I still have that lovely desk and now it is properly white.)
Our second house went through many stages: from a yellow living room to a lovely federal blue. From orange shag carpeting in the family room to oatmeal Berber. During negotiations on our third home, I walked out the door, unable to picture how this house with great bones could actually become a home. But after conceding and after a total remodel, the house became everything I wanted. But life changed, my husband took a job in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Cape Cod in Des Moines will probably remain my favorite. But following the usual pattern, it needed a lot of work. That’s when I discovered Mary Engelbreit, her ability to transform each room so that it reveals your personality, highlights the things you love.
The smallest bedroom had not been touched in years. So—I painted the walls a soft light gold and sponged on deeper shades for texture. The trim was white. I hung Belgium lace valences on the windows and a quilt behind the bed to serve as a headboard. I sanded an old chest, only to bring it down to “pedimento”– revealing was was underneath–blue. New hardware highlighted that color. I hung a copy of a Picasso print from his blue period, and used white whicker baskets to hold pillows and shawls. A drawing of a picnic on laminated pressboard became a table when I set it on top of a luggage rack. I loved to tell anyone that admired the room: “Nothing in this room is new. I just dug in my closets.” I wish I had a photo of it to show you.
Many of my ideas were fueled by reading Engelbreit’s books and looking at endless photos of her transformations. It was great fun and the bones of the house were perfect for the style of that time. (Next week: Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic)
Below, more Ideas from Mary Engelbreit: All photos are of rooms done by Engelbreit–they are not my rooms.