CCHL, vol. 2

In retrospect, every room I’ve crafted for myself has been a cottage. While my mother was having her 70’s moment of mylar paper and orange carpet, my room was yellow faux bamboo and quilts.
The dorm rooms and apartments that followed all included chintz, most memorably that Ralph Lauren black floral that I am sure I would still have in a plastic bin had it not been for the toenails of a beloved, albeit rambunctious pup. (Not Rosie. Rosie would never.)
The split-level that was Mr. Blandings’s, and then mine, whose entry hall was papered with faux stone and ivy, seemed happy to receive the iron bed and the braided rug and the wicker.
Most of the things I tend to gather are the stuff of other people’s second homes. I stopped short on a walk this week with Mrs. Griswald to study two wicker chairs left by the side of the road, “I think I might need these.” “Um. Well. You could…” And I caught the wisdom in her unsaid words and walked on.
Moving twice is hard enough; acquiring stuff to move is total folly.
All images House Beautiful, design by Justine Cushing; photography by Don Freeman.
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21 thoughts on “CCHL, vol. 2

  1. Lovely shots! I so relate – and the last time we moved – I just gave a ton away – I couldn't even remotely cope with the things that my upscale local consignment shop didn't want!

  2. Love these rooms. They say WELCOME. They are of a timeless, classical and enduring style. The use of "antiques" or looks like, soft furnishings, some leg as you say, pictures, potpourri of style on the walls, chinz…CT Country or English Country, charming, inviting and never not in style despite the everything beige and white look.

    I would want a leopard needlepoint rug instead of the zebra!

    Follow your heart so sayeth this Connecticutite.

  3. The one thing moving has offered me…was a chance to update and redo. I was able to recover and remove things in transition whereas if we were in one place, I'm sure my husband would have thought everything was "good enough".

    Wishing this transition time for you to be helpful in making any updates and changes you've been dreaming of.

  4. It's interesting. I know where I got the Platonic ideal for my house furnishings, my father's family and mother's taste, – where do you suppose yours came from? I'm thinking Olympus. Inspiration itself. As along as we're doing Ancient Greeks. I love the CCH ideal, BTW, I think many of us would rather live like that than in many of the photos foisted upon us across the Internet.

  5. Mrs. B, how is Rosie doing with the move? Moving twice is only for the strong of body and mind. I bet your entire crew is doing well. 🙂

  6. isn't it strange how one either likes EXACTLY what one's parents like, or go the complete opposite? My grandparents were strict modernists while my parents both favor early american (boringness), while I have a certainly different (more glamorous?) mix of periods that I favor. I guess we're all rebels, much like you!

  7. Interesting post. I think we often forge our idea of home in opposition to what a parent chose.

    I grew up in a house that was a total mish-mash, a combination of faux French provincial in the living room and '60s day-glo mod in the family room, all of it begun in earnest and then abandoned before complete. Every home of mine, even my first studio apartment, has been a "contemporary traditional" look, completely accessorized, looking much like a model home, because I hated living in such a chaotic-looking setting in childhood. It's taken me decades to loosen up.

  8. I fear that, you, too were born to the wrong decorating mother. Mine, child of the depression, hated antiques or anything old. Her style, in one could call it that, 'Danish modern.' I rebelled. First to American country (it was 1975), then English country, then living with my MIL's things after she died, now it's my years of living mish-mash. Still think you need to hop in that car and bring those wicker chairs home. That new sun room might need them.

  9. Dear Mrs. Blandings,

    Good thing you weren't walking with me. I live in a very upwordly mobile, yuppie community (Bethesda Maryland) that throws out more beautiful furniture and accessories than I can haul home. I made a Uturn last night to pick up a double tiered colonial chandelier that appears new and which is now sitting in my hallway. A few years back in a serious snow storm I rescued an exquisite French desk, curved legs, leather inlaid top, which now graces my living room and joins 4 Louis XVI chairs that needed caning in the seats when I found them, and a real leather club chair with ottoman, all curbside finds. The maple dining table that was on the curb still has one broken leg but I will get that fixed. I think God puts that stuff out there just for me. Ann

  10. Hi Patricia – your blog's title caught my eye, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is my favorite movie! I'm a residential architect in Dublin, Ohio and quote the movie frequently in discussions with clients – especially the "paint colors" scene with Mrs. Blandings! I'm enjoying your blog, keep it up!

  11. I could move into these rooms with my toothbrush…….when House Beautiful. ??????

    They are cozy…..light, and "slightly worn"!

    My favorite! j And I love, love love the pom-pom girl…….she is so cool! heaven!


  12. I also saved these tears and corresponded with Justine about the rooms. She occasionally does a room around NYC in between bridge games
    Endearing story about the Rose Cummings lamp on the black table – how her own frugal mum had to have it.
    Lovely keeping patterns on windows and upholstery alike – such an elegant tea stained background.

  13. I grew up in Connecticut, in Fairfield County before it was overrun by hedge fund managers. The homes I remember are more low key, and sparser, than the stuff you see in magazines today. More like the sort of thing Tom Scheerer would do on Nantucket. In other words, no flash, no investment grade art, dial down the chintz. The New England aesthetic is all about restraint, while the big frothy look is more Virginia, more Nancy Lancaster. In any case, small rooms with low ceilings (to save on precious heat) don't lend themselves to splashy theatrical effects. OTOH, it's pretty easy to make these homes cosy, comfortable, and charming. They even lend themselves to a bit of modernism, via the Shaker connection. Mark Hampton did an excellent essay on this look in On Decorating.

  14. Please let us know if the chairs are still their and give directions. My husband sold my wicker setee in our garage sale.

    I'm anxious to watch you transform the new house.

  15. Love those rooms!
    They have a lovely lived in feel, yet elegant!

    And I pick up everything at curbside which looks remotely usable and then make something out of it…or not!
    I can't help it, I'm a hopeless magpie!

  16. Oh, I would have loved to have seen those wicker chairs. I have a real problem with curbside temptations myself…The light and mood in these images takes my breath away. Not to mention the sheer gorgeousness of the furnishings. Lovely post!


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