First impressions are key.  And the first step into my home is not just about looking good, it’s got to feel good.  The most traffic happens at the back door of the saltbox.  Whether you are coming or going, I feel that the sight line in front of you, inside and out, is so important.  And I like to blur the line between the two by bringing inside unexpected outdoor finds.  Right as you step inside, I have a wall that sets the tone for what’s going on in the rest of the house, so I treat it as a full scale pseudo window display, keeping it fresh and “in season”.

This means moving different pieces of furniture in and out of that spot (this is a natural routine we call “Murphy Aerobics”). And, in turn, this also means that that particular piece calls for just the right selection and styling of unexpected accessories.  For example, in the winter, I love to create a warm welcome by adding richness in color and elements.  I do this by using an eighteenth century chocolate grain painted chest of drawers and placing above it a French Aubusson painting and a pair of french painted wood buckets (my lucky Paris flea market finds).  I like to leave the fishing poles and walking sticks in their usual positions as a reminder that spring is just around the corner.

At Brimfield this year, I found an old potting table that is very sculptural with a great faded sage patina.  I planned to use it outside, but found myself hauling it back in every time rain was in the forecast.  It did work well outside, but as it rode out the storms inside, it became obvious – from it’s scale and perfectly aged body – that it would work even better inside, in “the spot”.  For the spring and summer, it brings a light-hearted gardening vibe to the space.  An antique grape harvest basket that served another purpose in another part of the house gets a new lease on life by bringing the best of the garden inside – right now, that would be mock orange and roses.

  • When I get to Heaven (assuming all goes as planned), I hope it’s half as comfortable and welcoming as Nora’s house!

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