My house is colorful. I have blue, green, purple, pink, some red … and I’m always attracted to color, whether it is bold and bright or peaceful pastel. Not that I don’t enjoy reading all the white, chippy blogs and admire the talent it takes to pull together a look using only textures! But I was content to admire from afar and never thought I could live like that … until I went on this house tour.
The Newtown, CT Historical Society sponsors a fund raising house and garden tour to raise money for various causes and this year the tour included the house of the talented, creative writer of the highly acclaimed blog, Connecticut Country House, just named Best Overall Design Blog at the 2016 Design Bloggers Convention where it earned a place in the Design Blog Hall of Fame. Nora Murphy lives with her family in an old (1767!) house in Newtown which has been perfectly updated ~~ there is no doubt that the house is old, with its small rooms, wide wood floors and oyster ceilings preserved ~~ but it is also the home of a modern family. And in case you don’t know Nora yet, you’ve seen her work at Ethan Allen, where she is Creative Director and recently produced their lifestyle magazine Muses. Come along with me for a tour.
I was already in love when we pulled up to the house. The center section, with its teeny second floor windows, is the oldest. The above view is the house seen from the street, which you will see on her blog. For the tour we are entering through the back door. I really wanted to pull the cord and ring that bell, but Nora was already at the door welcoming us when we arrived!
Somehow, with all of the greeting and intros and gabbing (sigh~~I can go non stop, I’m afraid) I didn’t get a photo of the living room, OR of Nora!!! But you can check out both on her blog. I finally remembered to pick up the camera as we went through to the dining room. She had stories about almost every object in her collection and I could hardly take it all in! Many of her antiques were sourced locally or on Nantucket. I love the idea of the cabinet over the fireplace! And that Cod! A brilliant use of a little sparkle in the space! And you can see (and easily touch) the oyster ceilings!
The dining and living rooms make up the first floor of the oldest part of the house. Three teeny tiny upstairs bedrooms (remember those little windows?) were not really providing a peaceful sanctuary for Nora and her busy family, so she came up with this ingenious solution. She added this wing.
Yes, it was once a chicken coop, imported from Massachusetts (in pieces) and nearly 100 years newer than the main part of the house. The cupola was lifted atop by crane. The rooster weathervane is a little tipsy just thinking about it!
The entire wing is the master suite ~~ bedroom and bath. I love the contrast of the bed and the blue painted chests. And of course books are a wonderful accent in any room! The prints over the bed are very old, but updated with pure white mats and frames. Don’t miss the walls and that weathervane. I love it all!!
The master bath has twin sinks topped by this unique mirror, and if you think you have never seen one like it before you are correct. It is a window frame from the Flatiron building in NYC, fitted with a mirror. You can see the shower stall reflected in it, with its original wood from the chicken coop. Note the Guy Wolff pot. He is based in Connecticut and so his pots are quite appropriate in an old CT house! The fixtures and the chandelier add just the right bit of brassy sparkle!
As we left the chicken coop we passed through one of the haunted areas of the house and spent some time waiting for the young man who has been seen in the area to appear, but no luck! Three ghosts have been seen on several occasions in different areas of the house, all friendly! 🙂
The house just gets better as we go along. The right wing of the house begins with this fabulous cabinet, filled with treasures of the sea.
This antique bee skep was fascinating! I’ve been seeing these everywhere lately and this one was in perfect condition. It sits next to another old painted cabinet with some of its original blue paint.
The chair at the end of the passage was found at the Brimfield Antiques show. There’s more info about it on Nora’s blog.
Martha Luther King, possibly the friendliest kitty ever, showed us the floor. She really did seem to think it was her duty to take us around.
Just beyond the painted cabinet was a powder room with an antique french weathervane in the window. You can imagine that I was going crazy over the weathervanes in this house!
Let’s turn around and go back towards the gray cabinet before we tour the kitchen. I wanted to linger over the copper watering cans. The bright white walls really brighten up a space that could be very dark and small, and I love the way the diagonal blocks on the floor help widen the hall.
Even though I’m not much of a cook I do love to visit kitchens.
Looking back over my photos, I can see that I was more focused on the interesting bits, like the baskets on the wall and this heart pan.
I was already in full swoon mode over the baskets, weathervanes and hearts, and then I stepped into the dining area. Take a look before I start jabbering.
Some pieces are reproductions (the chair at the head of the table) and others are antiques. The chandelier is new but painted with chalk paint to look old. It was very effective!
Before we make a beeline for the sideboard (like I did!) let’s turn around and see the kitchen once more, and be sure to note the basket on the wall and the lovely view out the window. You can also see where Martha dines! (meow!)
Back to the juicy details of the sideboard. Now I’m looking for fabulous buckets and topiary forms. I LOVE these!!!
And speaking of fabulousness, check out this centerpiece. Oysters are a major weakness of mine. And these are paired with bees!! I must say that this was one of the few, IF NOT ONLY, times I have ever been on a house or table tour and did not need/want to redo the tablesetting. If you are a tablescaper fanatic like me you know exactly what I mean! But I truly loved it all.
This was also a Garden tour, and I drooled at the thought of what was just out the door!
After the quiet colors of the house this floral display made me catch my breath. Glorious!
Nora loves her garden, which was filled with lettuces and herbs of all sorts.
But I was especially attracted by the pink roses on this side of the house, just outside of the kitchen.
This lovely house is almost as opposite as one can be to my home which is a large (too large now!) brick Georgian filled with chintz, mahogany, brass and crystal and yes it still looks fabulous so don’t get me started on that oops sorry for the mini tantrum but I loved this tiny white house with its cozy, warm, comfortable, serene feeling. Is this the next step for me? We will eventually want to move and are currently debating what is to be next for us. I believe that houses have some sort of soul or spirit and house tours and visits can reveal much to me.
Okay, now if you are still with me and haven’t decided I’m a little off, I’ll ask you what your style is? Did you like this house? Do you go through phases? I think I need several houses (Mr. Fun just almost fainted) so all the sides of me can play.
joining the fun at these parties