before and afterDIY

Jersey Ice Cream Co’s Vacation Home Transformation

by Maxwell Tielman

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When Tara Mangini and Percy Bright design a home, parts of their process might strike some as a little bit unorthodox. Rather than overseeing a project from afar, for example, the founders of Jersey Ice Cream Co. take up residence in the very homes they are creating, spending practically every waking hour inside of the project at hand. While some might view this as unnecessary or needlessly obsessive, I’m not sure if their work could be done any other way. Although in simplest terms, Tara and Percy are designing homes, what they create surpasses that definition on so many levels. They take to each project with the eyes and imaginations of Baroque painters; crafting tangible stories, three-dimensional portraits, and lived-in works of art. In many ways, they approach each project in the way that a stage designer might—collecting objects, colors and textures that, while oftentimes containing their own histories, come together to weave an entirely unique tale of their own. This was certainly the case with their most recent project, an old but haphazardly remodeled house that was transformed into a dazzling vacation retreat. We’re going to run the entire house tour next Monday, but we thought that we’d give you all a quick glimpse at some of the amazing Before & Afters today. Check out all of the photos, plus Tara and Percy’s design notes, after the jump! —Max


Our job was to turn this very confused house into a vacation home that would be the backdrop for years of memories to come. The place had some great bones and original details, but was painted in harsh purples and greens and oranges and yellows, filled with heavy furniture, and done wrong by a few bad additions and remodels. We wanted to peel things back closer to their original state, but of course update things and make them feel current at the same time. 

The inspiration was a blend of the story of The Magic Egg, Wes Anderson, and our clients. They are the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, and after talking with them a few times, creating a home that they would love really became our driving force. We could tell they were the kind of people who host amazing dinner parties (we’ve since been to them, and yes, they are amazing), who have gobs of friends they love, who never hesitate to open their doors to a stranger. The home needed to be comforting and welcoming to everyone, filled with moments of magic, and, of course, needed to be able to sleep as many people as possible! 

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We live in the houses that we renovate, so we dug into the project and just didn’t stop until it was finished. We had a guiding vision for each room, but we were happy to let things organically grow and change to suit the space. It’s mentally overwhelming to try to renovate and furnish an entire house at the same time, but when we’re working on projects like this they really become our lives, so you manage to wrap your head around it somehow. Lists help. Lots of trips to Home Depot happen. And you just keep working until it’s done! 

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Everyone involved couldn’t be happier about the house. Revealing it to our clients was such a beautiful moment. We’re so proud that our hard work resulted in a house that will be loved for years and years to come. 


Front Room – mostly vintage furnishings, trim is painted in Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore.

Living Room – Leather couch is vintage, tan couch is from West Elm. Rug from Anthropologie, fur rugs from Overland. Curtains from Pottery Barn.

Kitchen – Overhead table light is by lightexture. Other overhead lights by School House Electric. Trim color is Revere Pewter. Counters are butcher block by Lumber Liquidators. Cabinets are custom ordered. Dishes and jars are a mix of vintage and Crate + Barrel.

Bedroom – Trim color is hand mixed. Walls are plastered. Bed linens are from House of Baltic Linen on Etsy. Moroccan wall hanging is from NaativStudios on Etsy. Brass lights are School House Electric. Nest overhead light is from Wayfair.

Bath – shower curtain is Gaiam. Tiles are from Home Depot. Everything else is vintage or found.

Powder Room – Paint color is Seaworthy by Benjamin Moore. Most fixtures are existing or vintage. Faucet is from Wayfair.

Girls Room – Wallpaper is Apothecary’s Garden from Trustworth Studios. Bedding is a mix of target sheets, Restoration Hardware Duvet cover and West Elm Shams. Other furnishings are vintage or one of a kind.

Porch – Paint color is underwater by Berr. Most other things are vintage. Hanging lights are from Target. Pillows are a mix of Ikea and West Elm.


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  • This makes my heart ache with longing! It’s incredible work. I find it so hard to see the whole picture and the details at the same time. Really awesome job.

  • Perfection! I love how vintage pieces are mixed throughout. Just the right touch for this magical house.

  • Gorgeous transformation and not too overdone – it is a perfect place of respite!
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

  • I definitely think they did an amazing job and loved their layouts and textures. I do find myself intrigued by all those bright and bold colors though. It’s not something you see often today which would have been fun to see used. I do think someday we will all get tired of raw wood on the walls just like we got tired of paneling.

    Lastly, I really wish the photos were side by side and I feel like the layout of the website would greatly benefit from a wider column. The posts are so cramped in this narrow column. Is there any website design updates in the near future?

  • wow! I love this transformation! The colours, textures, furniture… everything is juts perfect! I’m going to pin it like crazy! ;)

  • The thing I like best about this transformation is how it displays the difference between a home that someone obviously put a lot of time into designing, and a professional vision and skill. The difference is just miles apart. It is gorgeous!

  • Gorgeous renovations. I like how the kitchen is light and bright. My favorite room is probably the dining. The wood wall is amazing and I love the mixture of wood in the room. Although the overall feel of the house is dark to me, it is cozy and very beautiful. Great improvement. I normally don’t like textured walls, but this application is very well done. Almost looks like concrete. Great post.

  • This Before&After completely blew my mind–SO inspiring! :D
    (of course I knew it was going to be great when they listed Wes Anderson as a major inspiration).
    An Amazing Space.
    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this!

  • Gorgeous!! I especially loved how they used the moody wood paneling instead of painting it all gloss white or something. That first before picture shows everything that is bad about accent walls. Why paint half of one random wall purple? What on earth were they “accenting”?

  • I am so interested by the paint effects created, as though wallpaper had just been pulled off of pearlescent walls! I’d love more information on this process.

  • Hi. The blue walls in the living room are so attractive. What is the technique that you used to create that lovely texture on the walls?