101 Guidesamy merrickliving inproduct

living in: little women

by amym

I’m going level with you, I’m a huge nerd for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Only last year I took a pilgrimage to see the real Orchard House lived in by the Alcott family. Okay so it wasn’t technically a pilgrimage, seeing as I was in Concord, Ma on other business but let me tell you, I do enjoy a historical tour none the less. The 1994 movie version is great, the book is even better and the house in person is spectacular. Feminine, early American, homey farmhouse style just can’t be beat and is exactly what I’m craving in my own house come fall.

In Little Women, the March family struggles to stay afloat in civil war era New England while the father is away at war. Cozy quilts, wide plank floor boards, fresh flowers and sisterly affection hide a multitude of frayed edges and “fallen from proper society” furnishings. I love things that look a little patched, plus these days it’s become a necessity again. Score one for the make do and mend movement!

[image above, clockwise from top left: aged brass floor lamp $375, oxford chair $3225, hardy playing cards $8.95, leather framed mirror $425, antique log cabin quilt $775, spool bed $499.99, madura pillow $115, adoptable kitten, porcelain doll $50]

Now on to the important stuff, which March sister are you most like? My four close friends and I frequently go back and forth about who’s who. We’ve even had Little Women slumber parties were we all pile under a quilt and watch the movie. Yes, we are nerds. Rough and tumble Jo, sweet and shy Beth, motherly Meg or plucky Amy? Truly a question for the ages…..

[image above, clockwise from top left: two candle sconce, marble bust $425, sampler poster $40, striped wallpaper, upright piano, braided wool rug $79+, antique brass candlesticks $40, antique wicker trunks $1800 a set, wooden top $7, ladder back chairs $142, chronograph wall clock $139]

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  • Although my name is Amy, I am definitely more like Beth. I have to be careful, lest I become a recluse. I love all things home, and all things family. But I love all four sisters, and Louisa too! Thanks fo much for this sweet post…

  • ooooh! So cool you posted this! This movie was actually filmed near me… down the road from my uncle actually. It really is that pretty here:) We still have houses scattered around that look just like that one.

  • Love this! I even named my daughter Jo! We visited the house in Concord this spring – I LOVED “Amy’s” drawings on the walls of her room. Just fabulous. . .

  • Five years ago, I took a road trip with my father to Concord to see the house too. It was a pilgrimage for me because we came all the way from France. Of course, we had other things we wanted to see in New England, but it was super important to me that I see the Alcott house.

  • love this post! Little Women is my namesake, my mother named me Amy Jo, and we’ve both had an obsession with Alcott throughout our lives. I think i have resembled all these women at different points in my life, right now as a SAHM i think i have a lot of Meg, but I aim to keep my creativeness and identity like Jo, and definitely have my Amy moments. love this blog, and thanks for the post!

  • Oh I wish I could see that house! I, too, love Little Women. I remember watching all the movie versions growing up and wildly anticipating the 1994 release. Jo and Beth were always my favorites…although I’m an visual artist like Amy and a bossy oldest sister like Meg.

  • Oh gosh, Wendi. Amy’s room was the best!!! The kitchen also stole my heart.

    PS- I’m pretty much a Jo, wild creative bursts of excitement and a white hot temper, but i’d be lying if i didn’t mention that i am a true Amy March when it comes to possessions!

  • OMG loved nerding out for a few minutes with all you ladies today! I have always had a special place in my heart for Little Women! Loved the post :)

  • I love, love, love this column!! As an architectural historian, it speaks to my secret desire to spend more time dealing with the history of material culture and the aesthetics of times past. Gosh, it would be fun to provide historic consulting services to film producers, wouldn’t it?

  • Little Women is my #1 movie :) Love it! Love this post!! ;) One thing on my list of places to go is to the real Orchard House.

  • Hahaha! You are speaking my language! I am a Little Women nerd in hiding:) I usually watch it twice a year or more.
    Hmmm…. I am right smack in the middle of Jo and Meg. I always felt so bad for Beth and I wanted to smack Amy…in a good way!!! haha
    Great Column:)

  • This was a great post! I too love Little Women. I was actually just in a community theatre production of it. I played Marmee… I so related to her. Not sure which sister I would be.. parts of me live in all of them.
    Anyways awesome post! Loved it. Thanks.

  • I love this post. My sister and I must have watched that version a thousand times, mouthing along lines like “Blast these wretched skirts” and “What do those girls doooo over there all day?” The furnishing and finds fit perfectly. Bravo!

  • I got so excited when I saw this! I psychotically love this movie and book.

    If Meg and Joe had a baby, that would be me. But I would have married Laurie in a heartbeat, so I don’t know where that leaves me.

  • I had the music from the 1994 film in my wedding! The piano song when Beth dies was for walking down the aisle (I like making ppl cry) and the main theme when exiting the church as man/wife. Sigh! I need to visit that house!!

  • Fantastic post! I’m secretly obsessed with Little Women & actually live very close to Concord. When my fiance & I go swimming at Walden Pond, we always try to swing by Orchard House. I wanted so much to get married at Fruitlands because of the Alcott connection, but couldn’t make it happen.

  • What a great post! And I looooove that bed! Darn, I was looking for a bed like that a few months ago, what a fantastic price!!

    Now I just want to curl up under a quilt, cat in lap, cup of tea in hand with a good book. Sigh!

  • Oh my goodness… I have loved Little Women and Louisa May Alcott since I was like in first grade! Thanks for the lovely, creative post and finding such perfect matches. I’m a Meg who dreams to be morel like a Jo.

  • this is one of my most favorite books and movies ever!!! The scene where Meg gets married and everyone joins hands and walks around her and her husband and sings “for the beauty of the earth” gets me every time…. I can’t stop crying after that…. :) love this post!

  • This the greatest post ever. I adore this movie and watch at Christmas time every year. I would totally be Jo! Fiesty and out spoken!

  • YES! I so wanted to suggest this movie (as I am also a Little Women nerd) but was too shy. I am so glad we understand each other. And, of course, there are some absolutely lovely pieces here. I might love you a little. Just a smidge.

  • i just watched this last week for the bazillionth time. way to tap into a classic. i’ve been recently motivated to pick up pieces and tidbits for our home that make me nostalgic–sort of an eclectic collection. would love to incorporate my favorite movies into that as well. brilliant!

  • And I would say that I’m a mix between Meg and Beth. However, I think Professor Bhaer is dreamy so maybe there’s a touch of Jo in me too?

  • jo was my girl. must have read this book six times between 10 and 14. cried every time. taught me so much about female strength, compassion, and intelligence. love this posting. forgot about the movie and will have to buy it.

  • I’ve never seen the 1994 version, but it looks right up my alley. I’ll check it out!

    Maybe the next Living In feature could be…

    The Girl with the Pearl Earring????

    I love the look of that movie…


  • My husband and I are huge fans of Little Women. Don’t tell anyone that I told you that he is into it too. I knew I wanted to marry him when he told me that he watched Little Women in the middle of the night, every Christmas. How cute its that?

    I think I am a Jo. I look at her life and see so many similarities. I LOVE her.

    Fritzi Marie

  • I’m right in the middle of re-reading the book for the first time in years. I forgot how much I love it. I’m looking forward to watching the 1994 movie again once I’m done. Maybe one of the older ones while I’m at it.

  • I grew up in a family of all girls, so Little Women was a staple in our house! Thanks for the beautiful spread

  • Hello from Portugal. I really loved this post. I’m so far away that I can only dream of a visit to the Alcott house. Truly loved the movie and the book I read it on my early teenage years. Went fascinated about it, because I simply love everything that’s Victorian. Lovely! Thank you for reminding…

  • In my American Writers class in college, I remember our professor telling us that after Alcott had publishing the book, there was this enormous public outcry that Jo hadn’t ended up with Laurie, and so Alcott came out with the second volume (I prefer the first to stand as is).

    I probably am more Jo with a dash of Meg and Beth and can definitely delve into Amy territory. I think most people can!

    I love the coziness of this post. Bring on autumn!

  • Great post! I agree that there should be a living in: amelie in the future. I also just saw (500) days of summer and am in love with both of their apartments, especially the chalkboard wall behind the bed (although in reality it would probably make me sneeze).

  • oh la la, i’m also a big fan of the march sisters. it was my favorite book when i was 11, and even now i still love it. reading it is perfect during long winter evening (particulary on christmas period) with a cup of tea and cakes. jo was my girl ! but now i’m sure i’m more like meg !

  • I LOVE, LOVE this column! My heart skipped a little beat when I realized that it was Little Women this week! Love those candle sconces! And that you included a little kitten that needs a home!

  • I just adore the book and 1994 movie too. I think I’ll have to read it again this year. I guess I’d have to say I’m like Jo, am like Beth at the thought of parties and like to dress up fancy like Amy. You can call me “Jethy.” I just love the movie ambiance when they’re playing in the attic.

  • might I suggest my favorite Katherine Hepburn version (ca. 1934)? I do believe I wore out the public library’s VHS copy as a kid. Hepburn makes the most fanatastic, bold and passionate Jo. Plus the setting is also quite charming (even if it is black and white…)

  • LOVE this post and love that you are a nerd for little women. I actually collect old copies of the book and ask for them in every used book store I go to!

  • The movie makes me cry throughout the entire thing! I love it, but have to make sure I’m ready to cry before watching it. I have no idea which sister I am! I’m creative like Jo, but not such a tomboy. I’m probably a mix between Jo and Meg. Now I want to watch the movie…

  • Someone recently pointed out to me how many books for young women revolve around three or four different types of girls, usually each with a different color hair. We all need to find ourselves in one of them, whether it is Jo, or Betsy of Betsy-Tacy, or the over-age girls of Sex and the City.

  • Little Women was the favorite game to play day after day on the playground under the big trees amongst myself and three friends in grade school. I was always Jo. When the movie came out in college, we reunited for a dinner.

  • Beautiful post! Just the other day, I was telling a friend that the scene in which rose petals are dropped over the dolls after Beth’s death is the saddest movie moment I have ever seen. Your selections are perfect!

  • I borrowed Little Women and sequels from the library as a 10yo and would read them under my blankets with a torch after I was meant to be asleep.

    They (and Anne of Green Gables) had a huge influence on me… for a start , really getting me into reading. But also understanding that education was important (first in my big family to finish high school and go to university).

    I totally and completely identified with Jo. Though now as a new mum, my attention is more on home and family, perhaps I’m morphing into Meg.

  • I loved that book so much as a child. I still have my worn paperback copy, with the cover ripped off. I always thought I was a Jo as a child, though these days, I often find strength in emulating Marmee.

  • Oh my gosh. I have been in love with this book since I was a little girl. I bet you I am one of few 3rd graders who listed Little Women as their favorite book. The movie became one of my all-time favorites, even though it isn’t as good as the book. I got it for Christmas when I was young and refused to open another present until we watched the movie. It has since become a tradition to watch the movie every Christmas in our family.

    I am probably most like Meg, loving home and cherishing family, a little bossy. Maybe its an oldest sibling thing. :-)

  • I love love love love love these movie features. I would LOVE to see a design guide for Paris When It Sizzles. The apartment and clothes, and of course, Paris is so glamourous. The definition of glamour. Le sigh.

  • I discovered Little Women during middle school and have reread it over and over again. I got so excited when I saw it was the featured movie this week. I am, or at least I hope I am, very much like Jo. (:

  • How funny, a friend and I watched this while crafting this weekend; of course we had the obligatory ‘Which March sister are we?’ conversation. Glad to know there are other nerds like us out there!

  • I’ve loved Little Women since I was nine years old and discovered an old copy belonging to my mother. This is a sweet post and makes me want to do another re read (probably the 10’th time.)
    For anyone who ever wondered about the mostly absent Mr. March the Grealdine Brooks novel ‘March’ is a wonderful book.

  • perfect post! honestly, perfect. louisa alcott has been my favorite author since I was a little girl and I’ve read Little Women so many times I’ve worn out three copies! I’m definitely a Jo, but have a lot of Beth in me too. Thanks for such beautiful inspiration!

  • I was thinking about Little Women the other day for the first time in years when I found an ancient copy in the library of the villa in Umbria we were staying in… I loved those books passionately and can’t wait until I can read them to my own daughter (she’s 7 months old now).

    Which sister? Well, naturally I wish I was like Jo, of course, but I think I have a strong streak of Amy in me! I’m sure most style bloggers do, really, don’t we? She’s determined, stylish, more patient than she lets on and she succeeds.

    I hate to say it, but I usually had to sit on a desire to strangle Beth, I’m afraid.

    As for Anne of Green Gables, now…

  • I’m from Pakistan, and I loved Little Women as a child!
    I loved revisiting them, it has been ages now, and the coziness and sweetness,love,lessons and sadness still stirs the memory!
    Truly a universally popular story written by Louisa M Alcott.

  • When the 1990s movie came out I dragged my then-boyfriend to it for MY birthday. Kicking & screaming, I might add. He LOVED it. He had no idea Little Women was about such spirited funny people. When people haven’t read it they think it is sentimental and Victorian, but it is really about being who you truly are.

    My parents were wonderful enough to take me to Orchard House when I was 12 years old, on a family driving vacation from South Carolina. I’ve been back since because it’s two towns over now. I loved the book so much I had to move to New England!!!!

  • Im an Amy, god i loved that book. I always thought of jo as pretentious, even though she was my favorite character lol. I wish I was more of a Jo, but Im stuck up and snobby and spoiled like amy…I was poorly raised.

    I always loved that house, something about civil war decor is so beautiful and rugged. Right before the gilded age when we were trying to hold on to the past, our grandmothers quilts, and old family chairs, etc. Everything during that time was so old until everything became so new, that was the beauty of that time.

  • I LOVE the March sisters!
    In the ’50s my mum and her sisters used to act out Little Women in their garden and get the local children to pay to watch – mum always had to play Beth and die on the clothes mangle (made to look like a bed). It’s now become a tradition to cry ‘Your only beauty!’ when my sister or I gets a haircut.
    Thanks for the great post.

  • I love Little Women! I am glad my mother bought me the books when I was growing up (it is not common children literature in Europe) :-) Jo is my absolute favorite, such a great woman!

  • !!! This is incredible, Amy! I’m swooning over everything, but my favorite “piece” is obviously the adoptable kitten. Cutie!

    This post and these comments may have just convinced me to finally see the movie… I’m so crazy about the book, I never have–I know my expectations are way too high!

  • Thanks for showing a braided rug! They’re so great — rugged, reversible, and classic Americana. Plus there are tons of looks out there for everyone. I design braided rugs, and I just wanted to make sure you guys at d*s know I appreciate the shout out — so many people forget about braids! Love the site — read it everyday!

  • this might be my favorite ds post yet! my friend and i visited concord years ago but didn’t make it in time for a tour…another trip is top of my list!

    i’ve always been told i’m a beth but i think i’m becoming a hybrid of marmie/meg/jo as i get older!

  • Ah, this post hit the heart of it, didn’t it? Design and homemaking and warmth and comfort. Orchard House ranks up there with all those places that I feel I design/decorate/home-make to create, Orchard House, Bag End, The Burrow, Green Gables, the list goes on. We’re all inspired by these places – they’re our homes too! Lovely lovely post.

  • Does anyone know why rose petals were spread on Beth’s bed after she died? I’ve never heard of that custom.

  • OH my…..I just arrived on this from from A Cup of Jo and I know I’m a little late, but I almost cried reading all the responses because i love this movie/story SO MUCH. i watched the wynona ryder version again just a few weeks ago and cried my eyes out!! This is one of the greatest posts ever!! I really would like to go see Orchard House myself. I didn’t know you could!

    oh- and i have to say, i have a little bit of all of them in me, but i’m pretty much a jo…

  • I know you wrote this ages ago, but I have to tell you about the time in my life when, at 14, I watched Little Women every night – alone in my house – cross stitching samplers on linen. Oh, how I still wish for the transcended life of the March sisters!

  • Thanks for the post. Thrilled to find others who love Little Women, too. I was lucky to visit Orchard House a few years ago. My mum, the wonderful women who named me after one of the March sisters, and my sister. A special holiday.

  • Checked the comments, and though I don’t think anybody else mentioned, sorry if I’m repeating any information here…but that bed isn’t $390. It’s discounted by that amount, but it’s actually $499.

  • Haven’t seen this in quite a while. I like house and the furnishings with the exception of the oval braided rug. I’ve always found those ugly.

  • I am a man who adores this movie an have a best friend who’s as macho as they come and wore out his daughter-in-law’s VHS copy of it. So glad that others are recommending the earlier versions with Katherine Hepburn (1933) and June Allyson (1949). There was also an opera in English broadcast on PBS a few years back. The story worked in that form too. You just can’t ruin it.

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