Every time I get an email from Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co., my heart skips a little beat because I know it’s going to be something good. The couple runs a vintage shop and design business here in Brooklyn where they do custom work, carpentry, wall finishes, etc. Last summer we featured their eight-week sublet in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and before that, we featured their Philadelphia home here. In the FAQs on their website, Tara and Percy wrote that their dream job would be if someone bought a house, gave them a budget and keys and said, “Here. I trust you. Make it beautiful.” I think they’re still pinching themselves, but that’s exactly what happened in this Hudson Valley home. Consider this a little preview of Monday’s sneak peek, when we’ll be sharing the entire home. — Amy Azzarito
Image above: Kitchen: The kitchen was one thing that the homeowner, Debby, for sure wanted to change. She hated the stained glass window and the general country-kitchen-ness to it all. We wanted this to be a kitchen you could really use. We’d seen enough to know that Debby’s family loved to cook and learned the hard way that the lack or restaurants around meant you pretty much HAD to cook. Percy is a great puzzle solver and spent some days figuring out how we could maximize counter space and hide things that we didn’t love, namely, the fridge. We had seen some great pictures of dual-toned kitchens like this, and it seemed like a great way to freshen up the idea of classic wainscoting. We spent many, many days (special thanks to Kathy Bright!) priming and painting and repainting the dark half of the kitchen, but what a rewarding process. The result was so slick and classic. And that sharp division line around the room was just exciting to look at. All of the things we didn’t want to see seemed to disappear into the dark lower half, and things we did want to see, like our perfectly white and mismatched dishes, were displayed in lath-clad cabinets or on butcher-block countertops. We instantly wanted to bake pies and stews. Complete success. The only things that remain from the old kitchen are the floors, the fridge, the oven, a few of the drawers and the glass doors from the old built-in that we re-used. I only wish we could have kept those green summer leaves outside, as well. (Paint color: Black Horizon, Benjamin Moore)
See more of this Hudson Valley home after the jump . . .
Time: Debby and her family, the greatest clients that anyone could ever ask for, had just relocated to a new Brooklyn apartment and closed on an upstate house and needed some help turning these places into homes. And they wanted it fast. Debby had two dreams: To make their Brooklyn apartment functional as quickly as possible and to be able to spend Thanksgiving upstate with her family feeling at home and not surrounded by unpacked boxes and empty spaces. It was September.
We took on their Brooklyn apartment as a trial run, and after loving what we did with the place, Debby trusted us enough to completely take over their upstate renovations. We went up to check out the house, which was completely empty except for a few boxes of clothes, some pots and pans and an Ikea table. To this day, I’m not exactly sure what Debby thought she was getting herself into, but we came back to her with a plan to design, renovate, furnish and style the entire house. To our utter delight, she gave us her blessing, and we got to work.
At times like this, I really wish I kept a more detailed calendar, but to the best of our memory, we took the entire house from before to after in about 85 days.
Image above: Ian’s Room: From what I hear, all of the kids wanted this room, so maybe we jumped the gun calling it Ian’s room, but we thought of him during the design process, so I think it became his room long before the kids had anything to say about it. We were dying to rip up the rugs in there no matter what but could never have imagined we’d find beautiful wide-plank flooring underneath. Well, at least in half of the room. We decided to embrace the split in the room by painting half of the floor and refinishing the other half. With a bold statement on the floors, we wanted to keep the rest of the room pretty neutral. I kept saying, “It needs something, it needs something,” and in the end, the lath wall was just that. Everything in the room is handmade or vintage except the lamp (Home Goods) and bedding (Ikea Down Comforter & Hanes Sheets).
Image above: Living Room: This room seemed easy enough to transform, but we did our best to complicate the process. While we originally planned on just furnishing the room, we ended up redoing the floors, plastering the walls, painting the fireplace, replacing the mantel AND furnishing it. It is now the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. And oh, the joy of a fireplace. It begs you to relax, and sometimes you simply have to listen. Everything in the room is handmade or vintage except the tufted couch (Home Decorator’s Collection), the silver standing lamp (Ikea) the rugs (Home Goods!) and some of the throw pillows. (Paint color on fireplace: Black Horizon, Benjamin Moore)