sneak peek: john and joe of RIVER

in my own personal life, i find myself constantly torn between two extremes: wanting to create a home that feels simple, clean and traditional and something that’s more modern, colorful and bursting with pattern. right now my own home looks like a tragic mix of the two so today i’m trying to find inspiration in this incredible home belonging to john and joe, owners of the home and garden boutique river in essex, ct. their bright, open and airy home is full of beautiful antiques and oozes the sort of traditional comfort that i think i’ll finally manage to create in my own home one day. both lovers of collections, john and joe have several throughout the house, including antique cameras, art books and one heck of a collection of antique crockery. john and joe were kind enough to include photos of their home and store so i’ve included both here. their home photos (with descriptions) are above the jump here and their beautiful shop photos are after the jump (click here or click “read more” to see the full post). as always you can click here to see additional and full-sized photos of john and joe’s home and their store, river– or, if you’re in the essex area, you can visit john and joe in person at river: 51 main street, essex, ct (860) 304-8480. [thanks to john and joe for sharing their beautiful home with us!]

[images above: Living Room: The living room is a double-height, exposed-beam space. The house was built in 1979 but was redone about 5 years ago. The ceilings are about 25 feet at the highest point – we estimate. The floor of the living room is of reclaimed wood – we think it’s pine – with a section done in slate. The red couches are done in Brunschwig fabric, the black display cabinet is from Lilian August and the console table with the accessories is an antique. Top photo, bedroom: Over the living room is gangway that serves to connect the guestrooms with the master bedroom. The house has many levels and open areas which we love. Our master bedroom which has the bed with the demilune window over it, is actually in 3 levels and is surrounded by windows. Joe is an avid gardener so he likes to inspect his domain!]

[image above: The art above our antique console table is a Terry Rosenberg drawing of ballet dancers practicing. (We also collect the work of a local artist, Sandy Garvin, as well as of an artist from Savannah, Mike Wozniak. There are also pieces that are scattered around the house that have belonged to our families for generations) The painted ostrich egg is from an artist in Paris. The birds nests were found by Joe in the woods by our house over several seasons – no bird went homeless!]

[image above: Over the fireplace, are 3 Indian drawings of mathematical configurations]

[image above: Kitchen: red cabinets were custom as was the granite counter top and the island. The pendant light is from RIVER. The kitchen contains an Irish cabinet which stocks Joe’s collection of china and brownware. He’s been collecting for years! That piece actually attracts most of our visitors who come to the house for the first time. The collection increases weekly, needless to say.]

  1. Julka says:

    I am thrilled to see Terry Rosenberg’s drawing on your site. My family has admired his work for years. I have two of his drawings in my apartment and now I am inspired to post them on my blog!

  2. alexis says:

    i love the bird’s nest! my parents have a couple of birds who make their homes around their yard and my mom saves their nests after they’ve flown away. i think i need to ask her for one…

  3. lena says:

    That bed is heavenly!

  4. read me... says:

    I’m glad ‘m not the only one struggling with wanting more than one thing from my home! This post is wonderful, their home and store are fabulous. Thanks!

  5. ThePeachTree says:

    Something about this home is so reminiscent of my father’s little A frame in WI :) But no were near as gorgeous and divinely decorated!!

  6. Jen says:

    Their home is beautiful, well thought out and not over complicated.

  7. Jil says:

    River is one of my favorite stores. Joe & John have wonderful taste and are extremely talented. Inspirational.

  8. josephine says:

    i really like the hot pink and purple rug in front of the Terry Rosenberg console. any idea where they found it?

  9. Laura says:

    What a great looking shop they have! Thanks for posting about them. I’ll have to stop by when I’m near Essex, CT.

  10. Katelyn says:

    I love this house and their store! The colors of the bedroom are great, I’ve been trying to decide what colors to go with for our room and I think this helped me decide (:

  11. a says:

    i love how the black wood pieces ground the space. i want to read novels all day in this lovely home. thanks for sharing!


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