Change Your Life!

The cover of House Beautiful this month shouts, “Change your look, change your life!” and then offers up the charming design of this Southampton home by Markham Roberts.  Yes.  Indeed.  No need to sit here, staring into the mirror watching my face slide off my cheekbones.  Change my look!  I could use a little lift.

The classic and cheerful chintz in Markham’s design is Dahlia by Clarence House, but I’ve been kicking around Cowtan and Tout’s Moss Rose for the kitchen.  (What, you were thinking Botox?  Heavens.)  

Not instead of the windowpane check, in addition to.  Maybe just one.

In the mood of the day, I polled my constituents.  The eldest, nearly twelve, glanced up and raised an eyebrow, “Um, no.”  The middle walked right by it on the way to the pantry and mumbled, “Whatever.”  The sunshiny youngest said, “Sure, Mom, I like it.” until his brothers pummeled him with groans then he quickly switched sides.  Traitor.  Mr. Blandings’s take?  “Too girly.”
Just for the record.  I am a girl.
Image, top, House Beautiful, October 2008.  Photography by Francesco Lagnese.
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24 thoughts on “Change Your Life!

  1. Ah, for once “chintz-y” is implied as a good thing!

    I say a “whatever” can be acquiesced into approval, and no do overs on voting, so the “Sure, I like it.” in combination with your vote mark a clear victory in favour of the choice.

    Besides, it pulls in the fabulous print on the wall beautifully.

  2. Moss Rose is a favorite of mine. I have used it for clients and for myself and am always thrilled with the results. It is completely beautiful to live with. I vote yes!

  3. Just think what lucky girls those dear daughter-in-laws shall be, having you to bring about change along with “bouquet de garni.” I have a weakness for flowers and anything green. Girls need flowers in “whatever” form. Enjoy being a girl.

  4. The 4-year-old boy in my family can always be counted on to say a new paint color is pretty or a wooden elephant is really cool.

    I love the flowers you chose — love the Roberts room too. But I guess you are out numbered. Especially since your guys probably spend more time in that room.

  5. Oh Mrs. Blandings, you are soooo outnumbered in that household! I say stand your ground, conquer, go for it! BTW, loved those remarks. That little one is a doll!

  6. OOOOOOOOOH, I love it!!! Go for it!
    I have some vintage draperies that were my mother-in-laws that are like that and my little wheels are turning right now about how to incorporate that ‘chintz’ look in one of my rooms. I just love a change from the hum-drum, don’t you?
    The Markam Roberts room is fab!

  7. Love it, and the cute show of support from the youngest Blanding…How is the dining room shaping up- Did you decide on the curtains and wall arrangements???

  8. I adore that fabric! Perhaps a simpler fabric slipcover for the main body of the sofa — and that gorgeous print for the cushions? Just to work with the majority in your household? LOL!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  9. Moss Rose is anything but “girly” Mrs B.
    To begin with it’s practically monochromatic. Or rather the palette is subdued and limited. Easy on the eyes in other words. A single cushion, however, won’t cut it. There must be 2 cushions along with an open armchair covered in the Moss Rose, to give satisfaction. Otherwise it’s just a token gesture.

  10. Two things: One, chintz is always good, whether or not it happens to be fashionable at the moment, and either one of those fresh, airy designs would look great in your pretty green room.

    Two, forget that polling-the-family nonsense. Unless it’s a matter of physical comfort, what they want doesn’t matter, only what you want. If they happen to like it, too, great. If not, Oh, well…

    When I was ten, my chintz-&-mahogany mother went out & bought a 9-foot long plum mohair sofa with freaky exposed feet & an amorphic chair in garish Popsicle orange wool. Who knows what was going through her mind? All I know is that my 3 brothers & I hated the stuff, but somehow, we managed to survive. Thrive, even. So don't waste time worrying about harming your boys' developing aesthetic sensibilities. What's more important for them than having a decor to their taste[s] is having a happy mom, and if green roses & ferns make you happy, well, that's all that matters.

  11. Thanks to all for your backing on this matter; the pattern had, really, captured my heart.

    Toby – I do think you are right about a little more. And, any chance at a sneak peek of the Women? I think I will have to go solo this weekend.

    M. Magnaverde – what a treat to have you here, as I understand that it is your stunning and personal abode that graces the pages of my current O Home. One of four boys, at least, no sisters? I’m always enchanted with how these boys who grew up in fraternity houses turn into charming gentlemen. It’s all the mother’s influence, I hope. I adore the mohair story – sometimes you just need to mix things up.

  12. Love the Chintz. It’s always good for boys to have something a tad girly around.

    As far as the Women. Just got back. Very cute. My weekly therapy is a movie every Friday morning. by myself. And I love it. No schedule of anothers to work around. And no one to judge how much butter I’m putting on my popcorn.

    Happy Weekend.

  13. Have you NEVER learned anything from me yet? never ask your husband or children about your choices for your house. YOU are the only there that cares about it, makes it pretty, loves it, etc. Your opinion is the ONLY one that matters. GO for it. It looks absolutely fabulous and I love that fabric and I want the new HB!


  14. Oh, Mrs. B…I adore this chintz! It’s lovely. And chintz is always good. When you see something as wonderful as this, how could you help but love it!

    Once I spent over three hours in Cowtan and Tout in London, ogling their large samples. I could have moved right on in as Cowtan is one of my favorite fabric lines. My husband didn’t think he’d ever get me to leave! The artistry (color and design) on their chintzes is breathtaking. Soooo, I say “Go for it!” Those boys will have wives one day who will thank you for breaking them in early! 😉

    Have a great weekend,


  15. Other comments are correct. My friend(a male) was corrected by his attorney when expressing opinions about how his new wife decorated the house(after she did it). They don’t have the right to an opinion except in their space, as long as its comfortable to sit on. They can only see half the subtlety of color that you can, and so you need to train them by subjecting them to fabulous, very subtle and not pink, chintz.

  16. I might just take a pass on The Women, Patricia, having had my fill of remakes since the dreadful new Brideshead Revisited. Have been breathlessly awaiting your review of BR by the way….

  17. when you reported asking them I thought you were re-doing the entire sofa – but a pillow – your silly to ask – heck its a gigantic memo if you only want one make it out of that !

  18. Hooray! On its own, my TIVO recorded “Mr. Blanding’s Builds His Dreamhouse” c. 1948. I immediately thought of you! I’m sitting down to watch it right now.

  19. Love it! And if it’s a slipcover, perhaps a seasonal changing will keep the peanut gallery happy. I loved the HB article you showed. The magazine were in fine form this month!

  20. In the fresh just-in-the-door issue (October 2008) of Veranda magazine — check out pages 172-173 — a double page spread with some lovely green-and-white floral fabric (Jane Shelton linen?) and a plain-fabric-but-gorgeous green sofa!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage who nearly choked on her martini when she saw these pages — rushed over to the computer to let you know!

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