Interiorssneak peeks

Hudson Valley Home from Jersey Ice Cream Co.

by Amy Azzarito

Thursday, we had a little preview of this home in the Before & Afters, but there were so many great photos that I just couldn’t resist including it today as a sneak peek. This home was designed by Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co. Last September, Debby, a Brooklyn client, came to the couple with a design challenge. She had a new country home in Greenville, NY, where she hoped to host Thanksgiving — just a few months away. The couple rolled up their sleeves and got right to work. It might have been a daunting challenge for some, but Tara and Percy worked wonders with an eight-week sublet in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. (Previously, we also featured their Philadelphia home here.) Tara and Percy had redone Debby’s Brooklyn apartment, so they knew how the family lived, cooked and spent time together. They wanted the house to be beautiful, but they also wanted a space that would really work for them — they wanted to create a kitchen that made you want to cook, a living room that was warm and enticing, a bathroom that was soothing and spa-like and a dining room that could host big dinners and extravagant breakfasts. They wanted to accentuate everything true and original about the house and create that same unity of feeling in the spaces that were new or lacking character. Tara and Percy said that some nights after they had uncovered the original floorboards or pulled down layers of wallpaper to the original patterns, they half-listened for ghosts and hoped they would approve of their work.  (If you want to see more of the before, check out the Jersey Ice Cream Company blog) Thanks, Tara and Percy, as well as Debby and family! — Amy Azzarito

Photographs by Tara Mangini

From Debby: “We really want this house tour to be about Tara and Percy because we are so grateful for what they have given us. They were like alchemists who took a quirky and disjointed house and turned [it] into something special. The main part of the house was built in 1860 but had been added onto many times. It had windows of varying heights and styles, random level changes and an odd floor plan. Tara and Percy took the best bits and then added and subtracted to create a home that shows its past but feels especially made for us. They will have to tell the details of the renovation because after we hired them in September, we didn’t have to make another decision! It was like waiting for Christmas.”

Image above: I don’t think there’s a single inch of this room we didn’t touch. Originally the dining room was split into two tiny dark rooms that were both too small for a decent-sized table. We knew from working with them on their Brooklyn home that Debby and her family loved to cook and share big meals. They frequently extend dinner invitations to friends and strangers alike, and we wanted them to be able to host a dinner for 15 if they needed to, which they did on Thanksgiving! We knocked down the dividing wall, which was thin and obviously a recent addition to the house. That gave us a glimpse down to the original floors, which were hiding under about five layers of laminate flooring and cheap wood. We decided we had to liberate those wide planks and spent days and days ripping up the splintering layers, sanding, staining and polyurethane-ing. We plastered the walls and ceiling, which gives the entire room a fairy tale feel that’s breathtaking by sun or candlelight, especially with the color break. We built the table with reclaimed floor boards and paired it with a collection of mismatched vintage chairs. The sideboard was a great storage solution for the room and was made with old lath and cabinets we salvaged from the old kitchen built-in. The lighting fixture above was added, as well, and was made with reclaimed lath and cloth-covered wire. The curtains and made with vintage sheer linen fabric.

Image above: We found ourselves naturally drawn to the fireplace and wanted to create a living room that would encourage snuggling and tea drinking. The room was big and bright to begin with, so we just wanted to cozy it up a bit. We plastered the walls, which always instantly helps create some depth, redid the floors and went on to furnishing. All the pictures and wall hangings are vintage finds, as well as that little tea cup! Percy made the coffee table from some great barn wood we picked up and used throughout the house. The couch we found at a weird vintage store in the middle of nowhere for about $150! Total dream come true.

Image above: Emma tufted couch from Home Decorators Collection under the window, a vintage print chair that we hated to part with and, of course, a roaring fire.

See more of this Hudson Valley home after the jump!

Image above: The original fireplace was a bad combination of soot-covered brick and a cheaply made mantel. We painted the brick a deep gray to freshen it up and give it a look that would stay clean even with all of the dirt and soot that naturally builds up around the fireplace. We replaced the mantel with a reclaimed beam and filled it with vintage finds.

Image above: This is the other half of the dining room. We wanted to add another door to brighten up the space and encourage movement toward the back of the house. We found that gorgeous door at ReStore in Philadelphia, complete with the original glass panes, and knew it was the one. It seems that at some point the front porch may have wrapped around the house a bit more, and we think that’s maybe why there was the division in the floors when we got down to the bottom layer. We patched up some big holes and were able to keep the original parts that were left. We ended up with a perfect division in the floors that helps separate the main dining room from the little entry way. It was one of those little hidden blessings that end up being better than you could have hoped for. The bench is made from an old porch swing that had seen its last day, and the wreath is made from vines that we found on one of our winter walks.

Image above: I love this view from the living room into the dining room. The wood floors and the fields of plaster are just dreamy. Debby has big plans for her upstate garden, and we wanted to make spaces that could be filled with vases and flowers come spring. Percy built this little side table with that in mind. The wall hanging is a vintage throw rug canvas titled “Garden Wall,” which was just perfect for the space.

Image above: Tea and donuts and cookbooks.

Image above: The sunroom! As with the front room, this was a newly constructed space that needed some warming up. We got a bunch of old barn wood from a super sweet guy up there and used it to clad the wall and ceiling. We white-washed the wood to give it more of a gray tone, added some shelving and a side table and voila! Overall, it was a really fun process, but be warned: There is no way to white-wash a ceiling and not end up completely covered in paint.

Image above: Peek from a little walkthrough hall into the sunroom. We covered the hallway wall in homasote and canvas to create a huge and gorgeous bulletin board perfect for pinning up maps and letters and old photos.

Image above: Full view from the little walkthrough hallway into the sunroom. Plaster and wood — one of our favorite combinations. Big comfy couch and amazing views. If Debby ever needs space to expand her flower business, this room would also make for a great studio.

Image above: The oh-so-controversial “black” kitchen. We wanted to create a look that was bold and classic, and we and Debby were drawn to this look. It’s unfussy and romantic and feels very true to the house. The wainscoting is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Black Horizon, and the walls above are plastered.

Image above: We instantly fell in love with that basin sink, which perfectly enough was salvaged from an old flower shop and custom built into the existing cabinets. It’s perfect for preparing big meals and hiding dirty dishes for photographs. Good old Ikea butcher-block countertops. Vintage industrial light fixture. Handmade curtains.

Image above: A peek into the master bedroom. Talk about a transformation. Oh, and don’t forget to notice the railing. Made by Percy!

Image above: This room was like a tiny creepy dollhouse when we walked in. The ceilings were just over 6 feet high, and Percy would literally hit his head on them if he stood up too tall. The wallpaper was this dark green flower pattern that made you feel like you were in a fun house. We knocked into the ceiling, which made a HUGE difference. We planned to plaster the all of the walls and ceiling, but once we started peeling off the wall paper, we discovered this amazing pattern about three layers down that we just had to let peek out a little. The headboard is a frame from an old screen door, and the side tables are clad with reclaimed wood tops. The chair is a flea market find as is the blanket hanging on it. Linen duvet cover from Etsy. Hand-sewn curtains.

Image above: This dresser was an amazing flea market find. You can only kind of see it here, but it has such a beautiful curve to it. The handles are perfect, too. We wanted to get down to the original floors in the master bedroom, as well, but when we started to rip them up, they just ended about three-quarters of the way through the room. The floor you see here we had to lay down in a pinch. After some banging with rocks and hammers, you almost can’t tell where the old floor ends and the new one begins.

Image above: A beautiful little corner where all things come together. We found that hook awhile ago and have been waiting for the perfect place to use it. So happy it ended up here.

Image above: The bathroom! Oh my goodness, you really need to see the before picture of this to appreciate it. Pastel flowered wallpaper and the cheapest vanity from Home Depot. There was really nothing cute or soothing about this bathroom. We hope that now it is the sanctuary Debby was hoping for. Percy made the vanity with the same barn wood we used throughout the house, and it is simply gorgeous. The ceramic sink on top was a dream find at ReStore. The walls are Tadelakt, which is a Moroccan waterproof plaster that gets rubbed with olive oil soap. It looks almost like marble up close. The shower curtain is handmade with vintage fabric.

Image above: The vanity! Swoon. P.S. There’s a built-in medicine cabinet hiding behind that mirror.

Image above: One of the small bedrooms, which we always called Ian’s room. The floor in this room is split to highlight the wood difference, so one side is refinished original wood planks and the other is painted. Because of this, we wanted to keep the rest of the room fairly simple, but it seemed to need a little punch to really complete the look. Lath came to the rescue and added a little coziness to the room, as well. Percy made the bed frame, which has two built-in drawers for storage. The rug is an amazing eBay find, and the table is an old school desk complete with stickers and a place to stash books and papers.

Image above: This is the other side of the same room. Note the floor change! And that sweet chair we found at the greatest Goodwill ever. We made the bookshelf from two different pieces that fit together perfectly. We went to a bunch of book sales and loaded it up with classic paperbacks for reading by the fire.

Image above: We almost hated to part with that US mailing map. Beautiful vintage find.

Image above: You can’t see it here, but this room is actually made up of two little rooms. Each one sort of plays off the other. While this room has a white wall with faint blue polka dots, the wall in the other room is blue with white polka dots. I obsess over paint colors and always end up loving how walls look with their splashes of different colored options. This one was too beautiful to cover up, so we left it as it was and painted the polka dots on top. Hundreds of polka dots. Hand painted by me. Crazy town. Gorgeous wood bed frame made by Percy, with drawers for storage below.

Image above: A glimpse into the living room from the main entryway. There was enough room in the living room to have a more informal dining table, which is what you see here. Perfect farm table with vintage chairs.

Image above: Close-up of the wide plank floors that run through the house. What a joy to find these hiding under dingy carpets.

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  • This is one of if not the best homes I’ve ever seen on here! Simply stunning… amazing job.

  • That master bedroom is so well done in retaining the vintage wallpaper, and the calm feel of the white plaster with unfinished wooden beams to compliment. However, I don’t think I could sleep in there after watching a horror flick! It seems haunted in some beautiful way.

  • This is clearly a very beautiful home and a really pro makeover, but i feel like overall it misses a touch of color …and I don’t mean a red couch! Rather a cushion or a piece of art to break up the spaces. The earth tones and natural materials are harmonious and meaningful, but for me, they’re also monotonous. A tiny pop of yellow, turquoise or orange — with that canvas, Mmmmmmm.

    • Rhonda

      I understand your point, but I think what I love about this house so much is the way it embraces neutrals. As I’ve gotten older I’ve grown tired of color at home, because I like my house to be a respite from too much visual stimulation. The homeowners here requested the same, so I think this color palette is actually what they wanted :)


  • I love the textures! And the subtle hues! It is just so well done. I’ve never wanted to hire designers before since often the homes tend to go extra fancy. But this is modest & clever. Makes me wish I could hire them. Now I am thinking about plaster…..

  • Taste & style is unique to each person and their homes. If you think netural rooms need a pop of color or a pillow- great, good for you! Go buy yourself a yellow pillow and throw it on your chair in your home. But this is someone else’s home and you don’t need to tell them home to decorate. Cearly they love their home just as it is! And they should because it’s gorgeous!!!

  • heck yeah, those floors are wonderful. and the bathroom vanity!! love it!!!
    nice work, you very creative people. and, thanks for sharing. i will be looking up the tadelakt details.

  • I noticed that this is a country home. It looks like such a soothing escape. It might not be my ideal for the everyday but as a retreat it looks wonderful!

  • I’m with Rhonada on that one. To me it looks while not necessarily boring, rather bland and plain. Although I get that this style was exactly what they were going for and it is still pretty and well done.

  • I love Tara and Piercy’s work. They’re incredibly talented. And I love how this house has so many little references to the Hudson Valley’s kind of hodgepodge, rural farmhouse in-a-pinch architecture, where there are two kinds of floors and walls begging for plaster. Of course most builders around here would just about die seeing these awesome lath walls and screen door headboards. Yes! I know JerseyIceCream from etsy and am thrilled to see how they’re growing. Lucky Debby, too. Thanks, D*S for this great one.

  • Attractive and obviously a labor of absolute love- to be admired!!
    For me though it looks like a museum- an ode to the history of Hudson Valley- I keep thinking I’ll see a Red Coat at any moment.
    Even though it has a relaxing color scheme, one yellow note book, red pen or green sweater not put away and the whole thing would be ruined. This is too me is not relaxing at all, but horrendously nerve racking!!

  • I’m torn. On the one hand I do enjoy the peaceful neutrals, and the abundance of texture and subtle pattern. But one thing I always wonder when seeing a make-over or straight-from-the-interior-designer’s-vision, what do people do with all of their ‘old stuff’? Which leads to the main point… how we live, or don’t live, with color. For me, that’s essential. For these homeowners, obviously not. I can’t imagine not including some of my precious, colorful, and meaningful possessions into a new design. I think I would last about a month in a home with little or no color. I was happy to notice the colorful veggies in the kitchen, though!

  • Thanks for all the comments, everyone! It really means a lot to us.

    I just wanted to chime in with a quick note on color.

    Tara and I worked, lived, ate, slept, and did everything else at the house for five months. We knew it inside and out. We got to know Debby and her family and their way of life, what they wanted from a vacation home, their own vision for the house. And we had plenty of time to try out all sorts of options everywhere. In the end, bold fully saturated colors just didn’t feel right. If you’ve ever been inside frontier houses, historic homes, old farmhouses, barns, etc., then you understand. We didn’t sit down and decide on a certain palette ahead of time, but in the end what evolved was a rich natural palette with layers of texture and desaturated color mixed in.

    Debby has plans for a huge garden out back, and what we designed inside–though gorgeous on its own–is going to provide a stunning backdrop to all the flowers that will make their way inside during the warmer months.

  • I don’t know if anyone here is familiar with the book House of Leaves, but this is exactly what I imagined that house to look like (minus the creepy, unexplained doors and structural fluctuations). I have never been more inspired to bring a more neutral palette to my own home, and I would love to see photos of the rooms filled with fresh flowers come spring and summer.

  • Absolutely lovely home! Love the juxtaposition of textures….raw wood and ethereal, cloud -colored painted surfaces. Well done!

  • I like simpleness of the design, but to me it also seems kind of Depression-era chic. Not for my taste, but clearly met the needs of the owners. One question I have about the vintage decorations- were any of the photos, hung up trinkets from the owners, or were they selections from the decorators? The paintings in the bedroom on the floor- who picked them? I guess having lots of Things around that someone else picked seems inauthentic to me. I would like to go there for a retreat, though. Seems serene.

  • I adore the colors in every room, but I am dying to know what the wall colors are in the dining and living room. Do you know the name of them?

  • My theory about a neutral home is that it allows the people in it to be the color, if that makes sense

  • did you tint the plaster with paint? what paint color is the fireplace? tones of gray? I muuust know! :) thanks, hannah

  • Just recognized this home featured throughout Anthropologie’s new House and Home catalog- how cool! I love the neutrals, but this was a fun way to see how color can work within this space.

  • I’d also love to know the brand and color of the paint you used on the fireplace. Is it a satin? Thank you! Beautiful work!

  • In the sunroom, was there already a solid wall to glue / nail the vertical planks too ???

  • Lovely, lovely, lovely….. I agree with the subdued feel of this home, faded with time, so peaceful and serene! Could you share paint color choices and effects you used on the wall in the bedroom, and floor color? Love your work! If you ever have a job in the midwest near Iowa, would love to peek in at your job in progress! Also… lastly and maybe most importantly — you have excellent curating skills with antiques to blend into the overall home decor…. do you have a place where you sell beautiful finds? @paperskyco