sneak peek: john murphy

the design*sponge team have all been fans of john murphy‘s photographs – housed in his trademark ornate frames hand-finished in punchy colors – for some time now! so it’s such a thrill to get a look into his philly home! just three years ago, john and family moved outside of the city proper to a home that backs up to 9 acres of protected land. so although they are just 6 miles from central philly, the kids can run around and john can lay in his hammock and watch deer and fox in the backyard! {thanks john!} -amy

[Having moved from an ornate 19th century butcher shop we had renovated in the city, we wanted to keep the design in this house really simple. The entrance way is quite big proportionately to the rest of the house. It is adjacent to our dining room so frequently doubles as an impromptu stage where the kids perform after dinner jam sessions to a captive audience. The pew is from an antique shop in Philly. The bins below do a good job containing the kids shoes and boots. The color photograph is by Stuart Netsky.]

The kitchen walls were originally covered in emerald green floral wallpaper. We painted over the dark wood cabinets and updated the hardware. We removed all of the wall cabinets from above the stove in favor of shelves, making everything readily available for mealtime (which with 2 kids under 6 takes place 4 or 5 times a day!) We basically live in the kitchen. The Large print is by Leslie Mutchler, the smaller print on the shelf by Candy Depew. The ginormous clock is from IKEA – a leftover from a loft we lived in.

The pillow shams and throw, like most things around here, seem to rotate a lot. I think these are by EnVogue. The other pillows are handmade. The Danish chair was a Craigslist buy, the lamps by Target, bed and nightstands from Ikea. The angel (below) was salvaged from a church that was being torn down. The print above the bed is by Briana Feola and the other by Keith Shore. The tiny ceramic and feather clock was a gift. I haven’t any idea what time it is, but I love that clock!

CLICK HERE for the rest of John’s sneak peek (including all 10 images) after the jump!


CLICK HERE for the rest of john’s peek (including all of the images on one page) after the jump!

The two chairs in our living room were from the same Craigslist buy as the one in our bedroom. The embroidered pillows were a local find, the cylindrical table from the Brooklyn Flea. The lamp is from West Elm.


I’ve had the small pleather sofa in my son Dylan’s room for years. It’s the perfect size for a kid and easy to keep clean. The corvette painting above the sofa is by Jeff McMahon.

The bed in my daughter Olivia’s room is another flea market find. The pillows are handmade from vintage handkerchiefs. The print of mine above her bed was a gift to her, entitled “You Being Here Changes Everything.” Ain’t that the truth!

The hammock was the greatest Father’s Day gift ever.

  1. Tara says:

    What a great family home! Good design, but GREAT atmosphere. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Chelsea says:

    That’s a KoeKoeK clock by Chris Koens ( I have coveted it for quite some time!

  3. Duk Design says:

    I love your collage photography. So beautiful and fun! Great patterns and colors throughout the house as well

  4. sara says:

    The black/white/ochre bedroom is so cozy — makes me want to take a nap! (In a good way!)

  5. Silvia says:

    I realy feel a big envy of your hammock in that nice garden!…

  6. robin says:

    the rug in her son’s room is incredible!

  7. Justyna Anna says:

    i love the simplicity of the kitchen and the blue in the baby room. would love to see more pics from the garden, must be lovely…

  8. I love his work and I really love his home! Is that a blurred print in the first photo, or does that actually what it looks like?

  9. John says:

    Thanks everyone!
    Amber, the print is an out of focus photograph of one of Monets haystack paintings. It was a gift from the director of InLiquid whereI did curatorial work for many years.

  10. tonia says:

    I like the bed frame in the first bedroom (bed linens look comfy too). Do you have any info on this bed?

  11. Ellen says:

    I love the creative idea for the farm bench with the bins underneath for storage…beautiful and functional.

  12. So cool, John & family!! I love the vintage orange sofa as well as the bench in the entry hall. Loved seeing this!! John, you are EVEN cooler than I realized!!!

  13. Tonia, the bed (and side tables) appear to be from IKEA’s MALM line.

  14. Christine says:

    Great to see Leslie’s work up here. I love those catalog pieces.

  15. What a cozy and lovely home!

  16. Emily says:

    Another gorgeous home! It looks so cozy and nice and fun for kids and grown-ups alike.

  17. Janet says:

    So homey. And the hammock. I’m jealous. I live in Philly with no back yard. My next place must have space for a hammock.

  18. Erika says:

    gosh, that blue room and yellow frame is stunning.

  19. Angie says:

    luv your website! amazing stuff!
    I’m a friend of John’s glad you found him.

  20. Wendy says:

    Nice place. I love the kitchen makeover. It looks very comfortable and inviting.

  21. Anna says:

    Looks super cozy!

    Can you tell me more about the “for like ever” print?

  22. John says:

    Thx again guys Sorry Tonia, yes the bed is from Ikea (thanks Vicki :). Anna, the For Like Ever print is a limited edition by Village, but they have since made posters and other FLE merch.

  23. jessica says:

    can you tell me the paint color in the bedroom? i am looking for that color for my bathroom…

  24. Michelle says:

    OMG! Where did you get that shark on top of your sofa?? I want it NOW!

    Cheese Lovers International

  25. efia says:

    Feels like a home!

  26. helena says:

    leslie mutchler’s print is fantastic in the space.

  27. Shannon says:

    What color paint is on the walls in the first picture? It looks purple or a purplie gray?

  28. Chries says:

    Hi John!

    Where did you get that poster that says “FOR LIKE EVER” Reminds me of my teeny bopping jr high school days… i love it! =)


  29. Chries says:

    Sorry! I see you already posted the answer to my question above.



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