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
15 thoughts on “Doing White Right”
What a hard question to answer – what is your style? My current home is traditional with vintage flair, but deep down I am hoarding for a cottage, perhaps very similar to the home I once owned. I think I am still a city girl, but I want land on the river with neighbors, but space to breathe and garden. I keep eyeing buildings that go up for sale and think of them as teardowns, just to be able to make my own. I don’t think I have the wherewithal to have a 100 yr old or older home (been there, done that) – too many issues, not enough people who want to work and fix them on my schedule.
Having said all that, this home is idyllic. The new part looks old, but the oldest part doesn’t show its age – both true signs of classic, timeless style.
Thanks for the tour.
Oh, I’m so happy you took us on this tour. I follow Nora and enjoy her posts. I think living on this beautiful property would be very special. The gardens and the quaint interiors really appeal to me.
What is our style? I’d say basically traditionalist, but with an eclectic twist. Our home is a mix of pieces added over time, often pieces found when on a trip. We both appreciate art and live with color. My husband likes a contemporary touch, and I like a touch of whimsey. We’ve blended our styles through 40+ years of marriage. Our home is not large, was built in the 30s, and we think has a unique charm.
So dreamy Linda, and I gasped when I saw the dining room, just stunning! I’m not much of a white decor lover either, but Nora used just enough pops of color to keep things interesting, and of course the everchanging mix of textures. A magical fairy tale setting for sure, thank you for the tour!
What a beautiful home tour! Thanks for taking us along. When you asked what kind of decor do I like, I adore French Country with lots of beautiful color. I’m a color person. I also love that French Country has that aged over time feel. I’m a very sentimental person and love that style because it allows me to display my treasures that were given to me by loved ones or items that I have collected over time.
Swoon Linda…Country House Love for me! I love a lot of differents styles but give me old quilts, weathered wood and white washed beams and walls any day! I wasn’t familiar with her blog…I popped over via your link to her magazine…*gasp*! What a treat and to visit in person with a cute tour guide like Martha Luther King too 🙂 What a gorgeous table. I always thought if we had a coastal home I’d love an oyster shell chandy and light fixture or two. Thanks so much for the tour…come ’em coming!
P.S. I couldn’t help but notice all her Bean bags she was using for her shopping and decorating in her magazine 🙂
There’s an unfortunate streak of practicality that runs in my family that always puts function over form, and need over want every single time, and coming from Cuba with little but the clothes on our backs just reinforced that streak. While I see many of my contemporaries simplifying and getting rid of things, I find myself learning to hang on to a few things that have special meaning for me. I’ll never be a hoarder, that’s for sure, but I’ve learned to enjoy and keep a few things simply for their beauty. So, antiques for me? No. Frequently too fragile, too much work to maintain, often too expensive to restore, and when restored, too much babying to preserve. Also, one-of-a-kind pieces make the OCD in me crazy, because in my head whatever it is, needs a partner for balance. Modern furniture is too stark and cold, but I do like a lot of post-Impressionist art. I guess I like traditional styles, and I do like color. But I also like white. I find it very restful. I love whites paired with fabrics like linen and lace. Houses like this one are gorgeous, but I would find myself longing for bigger rooms and all the amenities of a modern house. And I definitely would want a low-maintenance home. Thanks for the tour, Linda! This was absolutely fascinating!
A BIG Thank you for the tour of Noras home. I follow her “magazine” and do wish she would turn it into a book. Just like when I followed Mary Emmerling and Martha Stewart…Nora please do a book. I have always dreamed big, of having an old home,and searching for the right piece for each room. But along with that would come the finances to repair and upkeep. How fortunate to be able to see in in real life…….I would never want to leave.
OMGosh…what a beautiful home…loved the tour….
regarding my donuts…no grease or oil for these…just a little butter, into a cold skillet and then more or less GRILLED in the pan until golden and I like mine a little crispy around the edges….
Now…I’m going to get my little weather vane out for display…I nearly forgot it…
Oh my word, Linda, what a house you’ve shared with us! Wow, to see it in person and to stroll through each room must’ve been something!! The grounds of the property are so beautiful, too. That is a house of my dreams!!
I am so jealous, Linda!! I love Nora’s blog. Your pics are fabulous and her home is breathtaking. Have a great week.
Oh my, Linda, another awesome house tour. I do not consider myself a country person, but I could move into Nora’s home for a week. Then I would fret that all my time would be spent cleaning and gardening the many details that makes this house interesting. Of course, you are not off. If you were, then we would all be ‘off.’ 😉 My style was traditional. Currently, I find myself more transitional as it is a cleaner look yet, still there is interest. Back to the home tour: IMHO, even though white is not your first preference, you liked the interesting details, the textures, the element of surprise, (bee skep). Nora is a fabulous designer, therefore, the overall look was coordinated, balanced and to scale. I think that is what appealed to you. Sometimes, I find myself attracted to a room that is not my style, but because it is all ‘put together’ I like it. Uh…it took me awhile to figure that I like coordination and balance. Thanks for taking us along, Jill
So interesting! Nora’s home is charming.I loved the tablescape too. I can just image you two gabbing and can totally understand you forgetting to make pictures.
My favorite item was the cabinet filled with treasures from the sea. Nora has so many beautiful treasures and a unique flair for decorating.
You are a fabulous tour guide. I enjoyed this post. Thanks, I’m out to check out her blog.
I can see why you were in love with this fabulous house! What gorgeous architecture and paining it all white made it perfect. The interior was wonderful with whites and naturals, blacks and pops of color – it was so calming and gorgeous. I am ready for more whites in my house!
I recently fell in love with an all white house. There was no clutter–just the basics, and I felt so relaxed. As I age, I prefer simplicity in a home. What a wonderful house you’ve shared with us! I’m eager to read more about Nora and her magazine.
I’m so enjoying all the house tours that you have been taking us on. I especially enjoyed this lovely old home…almost as old as our home we had in New Hampshire. I believe our style changes with the houses we turn into homes. We follow their history, their structure, their surroundings and they talk to us. We please them as much as we please ourselves.