Tag Archives: house tour

House Tour: Melissa’s Dreamy Fall Abode

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Inspiration and tagged , | | | 6 Replies

Today, we’re catching up with Melissa of Melissa Ross Photography to tour her lovely home, beautifully decorated for the autumn season. Enjoy the tour!

Can you tell us a bit about your home?

“Our house is located in Glenshaw, PA, a small community just north of Pittsburgh. Glenshaw was founded in the early 19th century, and features many notable homes of Federal and Victorian architecture, as well as early 20th century catalog homes. Our four bedroom home has its own unique history in that its construction was commissioned in the early 1900s by a single woman of means who worked as a manager at the local telephone company. Although she eventually did marry much later in life, she remained in her home until she died at the age of 102 years old. The home’s current occupants besides me are my husband, our daughter, our pudgy cat and our rambunctious Airedale terrier.”

What do you love most about your home?

“I think we are a great example of how your home can be both stylish and functional. With an active young daughter and multiple pets, our friends and family must think we’re crazy for having so much white furniture, but when you have slip covers, white is ideal. Pop them in the washer with hot water and bleach, and they’re as good as new again. Plus, everything goes with white. We like to change things up now and then, so we never have to worry if a paint color or pillow is going to match the furniture.”

What is your decorating philosophy?

“Simple, classic lines with a combination of modern and early American décor.  You’ll find bold furniture sporting mid century inspired upholstery next to elements that predate the furniture by 150 years. Seating elements are modern and comfortable. Also, everything needs the resilience to withstand an Airedale terrier. There’s a reason they’re described as naturally lively and sometimes very rowdy!”

What features about your home set it apart or make it unique?

“Our house is noteworthy for having a unique exterior style that we haven’t seen elsewhere in Pittsburgh. It’s an early 1900s hybrid of classic styles, with a symmetrical center chimney cape with a gambrel (barn style) roof line in the manner of a Dutch colonial.  It has a traditional New England feel, but in the middle of Steeler country.”

How does your work as a photographer influence the way you decorate your home?

“I’m a big advocate of effectively using negative space, both in photography and decorating. You don’t have to have every wall covered or every corner furnished in order to have a beautifully decorated home. Just like the eyes need a place to rest when viewing a photograph, you don’t want to feel overstimulated or crowded in when you’re trying to relax at home.”

Where do you like to shop for art, furniture, and decor?

“For several years, we’ve spent the summer months travelling to various eastern Ohio towns that host antique fairs. There are some really great ones in places like Burton, Hudson and Zoar, where you can find anything from early American furniture to mid-century modern kitchenware. The internet has been a big resource as well, especially eBay and Craigslist. For example, our theater chairs, which were advertised on Craigslist, once served as seating in a local synagogue. It just goes to show that you never know where a great décor find will turn up!”


Why do you shop at Pottery Barn?

“I love how Pottery Barn’s furniture fits in seamlessly with our period pieces. In recent years, it’s become more and more challenging to find authentic antique furniture that’s affordable, so we’ve relied on Pottery Barn to get the look that we want without paying auction house prices. I also love how Pottery Barn encourages its customers to decorate with found objects. I don’t know how many times I’ve browsed the latest catalog and was inspired to dig out old forgotten items out of our basement and place them on display. Lastly, Pottery Barn makes some seriously comfortable furniture. We have the Basic Sectional in our living room, and there’s no better place to curl up with a book or to take a nap after a big holiday meal.”

Do you have a piece of art/furniture/decor that has special meaning to you or a special backstory?

“We have an unusual antique Hoosier pantry wall cabinet that was originally used in a delicatessen that was owned by members of [my husband] Mark’s family. It’s now retired from storing pastrami and cheese and is enjoying a second life as my craft supply cabinet.”

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Source: Photos courtesy Melissa Ross Photography

A Holiday House Tour With Our Big House on the Prairie

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Inspiration and tagged , , | | | 3 Replies

Karen, who blogs at Our Big House on the Prairie, has a gift for creating a festive, cozy, holiday-decorated home. We’re so happy to share some photos from her lovely abode — you’re in for an absolutely festive tour. We also spoke with Karen about her decorating style and holiday traditions.

Can you give us a brief history of your home?

“Our home was built in 1907-08. We purchased the house in foreclosure in July 2010 and embarked on a two and a half year renovation. Every inch of the house was in need of tender loving care . . . and some parts needed a complete overhaul. We are thankful we survived the process.”

How do you use your office during the year? Does its use change at all over the holidays?

“I own a business where I help people care for their photos by getting them off their hard drives and into their lives. My office is where I preserve my own family’s memories and stories — and in the process help others do the same. I coach a team around the country, and all of that happens around my computer. It’s so important — both mentally and emotionally — to have a beautiful place to work. I use my Pottery Barn shelves to surround myself with my favorite things . . . photo albums, favorite needlework, a picture of my daddy, gifts from my children and my cherished collection of 17 Susan Branch journals. (For 17 years I have celebrated each day with written comments at bedtime in a journal.) This year I added my Top 40 movies to my shelves! My work is steady throughout the year, but my Pottery Barn project table probably sees a little more action around Christmas. My wish for the world: That every woman gets a Bradford Project Table.”

Can you tell us about all of the stockings and mittens you have hanging? There are a lot!

“We are a blended family of ten kids — and now six grandchildren! With spouses, our stocking count is up to sixteen! With every wedding I get to pick a new stocking. Our stockings are handknit in Bosnia by underprivileged women. Since we are adding grandchildren at an alarming (and wonderful!) rate -— 5 in this past year. I made an executive decision that the grandchildren would have mittens instead.”

Do you have a favorite room in your home?

“My favorite room would be the kitchen . . . and our bedroom . . . and the master bathroom . . . and my office. Ha.”

Are there any Pottery Barn products you used to decorate with this year that you particularly love?

“I loved bringing wrapped Christmas gifts home from Pottery Barn and incorporating them right into my decorating! Isn’t that why we love Pottery Barn, because everything coordinates? Right down to their wrapping paper, ribbon and tags! My friends are not going to get their gifts until the last minute. I loved seeing the way Pottery Barn filled glass decanters with ornaments in the store. I went home and did the same. My favorite new thing is the real wax flameless candles that you set on a timer with the touch of a button. Every night at 5:30 pm my candles all come on like magic and flicker for 5 hours. It has added a real magical feel to the house this holiday. And I know it is time to go to bed when all my candles are out — ha.”

“I also loved putting the Pottery Barn Kids chair Santa hats – on my PB kitchen stools, and I love the Pottery Barn mercury glass collection because I think it reflects the beauty of our leaded windows — no pun intended. This holiday I wrapped it in white toile netting and added vintage snow.”

Your tree is lovely! What kind is it? Is this how you usually decorate it every year?

“Our tree this year is a Douglas Fir. I like Frasier Firs, too. The important thing for me is fresh. “Life is too short for plastic greenery” is what I like to say. This year I did everything fresh, even the evergreen boughs on the mantels and at the front door . . . it made me happier. The tree is decorated with ornaments that have been lovingly collected over the years. If we tried, we could probably tell our family history with that Christmas tree.”

How are you celebrating the holidays this year? Are you hosting family?

“This year I am celebrating by creating a family recipe book with photos and family stories. It is actually Volume 2 of Mother Rabbit Cooks. Our family will gather to celebrate after the holidays because we alternate with the ‘outlaws’ and this isn’t our year.”

What advice do you have for others who want to enjoy their holiday decorating more?

“Force yourself to get it done early by being on a Christmas Home Tour or scheduling a big holiday Party. And make a great playlist of classic Christmas music.”

Why do you shop at Pottery Barn?

“I like one-stop shopping. I am not a mall shopper. I like having everything I love all in one place. I love beautiful, classic design. I love how everything in the store fits together and works together because I like my whole house to feel coordinated. I also like the way that my vintage Pottery Barn pieces work with the new stuff — and last year’s pillows mix and match with this season. I love the prints that make me want to stand and stare at them. I love the color palettes. I love getting my PB catalogs and being inspired . . . Not only are they a decorating guide, but they transport you to places that you can dream about creating for your own home. Somehow we learn about warmth and creating intimate spaces, color and good design just by flipping through the pages. They ‘teach us’ with pictures. I love feeling inspired by walking into the Pottery Barn store — and I love the kind people who work there. I loved renovating a home knowing that Pottery Barn had everything I needed — and wanted! From the light fixtures to the mirrors and house numbers.”

Take the full tour of Karen’s beautiful home!

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Source: Photos courtesy Our Big House on the Prairie/a>

This House Tour is Filled With Holiday Cheer

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Holiday, Inspiration and tagged , , , , , | | | 21 Replies

Today, we’re happy to take you on a tour of blogger Jennifer Rizzo‘s holiday-decorated home. Jennifer is hosting a virtual holiday house tour of 20 homes on her blog this week. Keep reading to learn more about the holiday house tour and to discover Jennifer’s favorite aspects of decorating for the holidays!

How did you come up with the idea for the virtual holiday house tour?

“Every year, the local garden club in our area hosts a holiday house walk. They decorate these beautiful homes and then open it to the public. I look forward to the event every year. Seeing all of the amazing ideas and inspiration that they come up with — it really gets me in the holiday spirit. I thought there must be some way to do a house walk that everyone can enjoy and that’s how the idea came to fruition. I first lined up three homes a day for five days to make it a week-long event. This year I’ve added more amazing homes so there is even more inspiration.”



What is the response to the virtual holiday tour like this year as compared to the first year?

“There was a much bigger response than I expected for the first walk. I just thought it was going to be a fun little walk that my readers could enjoy. I had about three homes  a day and they are set up so tour goers can visit each house in order, like a real house walk. I couldn’t believe how many people ‘walked’ through the tour. This year it’s even bigger with four to five homes a day and the traffic has grown to amazing proportions. The bloggers who are participating have really outdone themselves and I am so impressed by how clever they are. Their homes are beautiful and their ability to make their homes shine is amazing. The following Monday I always have  a party on my blog where other bloggers can show of their holiday homes. Last year there were over 150 extra homes full of decorating inspiration.”

Are there any easy ways you recommend for adding holiday cheer and décor to your home, especially if you’re pressed for time?

“I think greenery goes a really long way. Even faux greenery. A touch of green, a touch of sparkle,a scented candle and it all seems festive once you put Bing Crosby on.”


What holiday decorating tradition does your family have?

“We always try to decorate the house together as a family with some holiday music playing while we enjoy hot cocoa. Then the kids put the candy canes on the tree(their favorite part). In the end and I always give in and let them have one to kick off the season.”


What holiday décor from your home are you particularly happy about or inspired by this year?

“I really love the area in my breakfast nook. It’s where my family and I spend the most time and it’s decorated with my most favorite things: silver, glass and natural elements. I love the draped greenery on the vintage mirror and the added fun touches such as the pom-pom runner and mini bottle brush trees. I really love the way the vintage, silver chafing dish lid collage looks on my wall. I think it looks interesting and holiday-ish with out looking too glitzy.”

Visit Jennifer’s blog and take the entire tour here!

Source: Photos by Jennifer Rizzo

Diminutive Dimensions Belie This Guest House’s Immense Style

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Inspiration and tagged , , , | | | 8 Replies

By any stretch of the imagination, 700 square feet is a small space. So, when interior designer Elizabeth Martin of Elizabeth Martin Design was tasked to create a welcoming, stylish guest house that favored those dimensions, she made very deliberate choices when it came to furnishings, art and layout of the home.

The cottage, which is located on the property of a larger home in Northern California’s Atherton area, now boasts interiors and exteriors that would encourage even the most reluctant of small space dwellers to contemplate an extended stay.

Today, we catch up with Elizabeth to ask her how she created this chic space, as well as share her tips for creating a chic guest room or guest house design of your own.

Can you tell us a little about this space? 

“The space is essentially a one-room cottage with a center pony wall separating the living area from the sleeping area with a bathroom on the sleeping side. The space has arched windows on either end that run the height of the open beamed ceilings. On the living room side, French doors open out onto an attached loggia porch that has its own fireplace with views of a swimming pool.

In designing this cottage, I wanted the feeling to be light and bright, yet unfussy and collected over time. The color palette is taken from the outdoors with more neutrals than serious color. All the materials, from the limestone stone floors to the cotton and linen fabrics are meant to punctuate the casual feeling.”


What are you favorite things about this space?

“I love the simplicity… and that nothing is too precious. The slipcovered utilitarian sofa with the 18th century wooden horse behind. These sorts of juxtapositions in design are what I love. A litmus test for me when designing a space is asking …could I live here?…and the answer is a resounding yes.  I could move in here tomorrow and be perfectly content.”


How is it used?

“This was intended for visiting parents, guests . . . and on occasion a busy mom that may take refuge from an extremely active life. The cottage is contained with its own entrance, bathroom, kitchenette and television. Therefore guests intentionally are not beholden to their hosts for the small things. What’s the expression . . . ‘Fish and houseguests may go bad after three days’ . . . Whereas,  in this instance, this guest cottage affords that visitors may stay long after their potential expiration date.”

What were your biggest challenges on this project?

“The biggest challenge of this project was to create the illusion that the cottage is actually larger than it is. So economy was everything. As an example of this, the headboard was made to fit into the notched wall and climbs to its height at over eight feet. The eye is actually drawn up to the open ceiling and thus the perception of more space.”

What were your other considerations when designing the bedroom area?

“I wanted to create a sleeping area that was inviting so that guests might feel they were in the better version of their own bedroom. To do this we used a hand-blocked print for the headboard fabric then amplified the tufting so that it was extra deep and soft. You can’t quite see this, though on the floor there is a antique Moroccan rug that is extra shaggy so that when getting in and out of the bed one steps onto something extra soft.”

How did you layer and style the bed?

“I love contrasts and so I wanted to place the newness of crisp white bed linens (at 700 thread count) against the antique ikat at the foot of the bed and top it with a vintage Balinese printed center pillow.”

The outdoor space is fantastic. How did you go about designing it?

“For me this outdoor space is the definition of California living — connecting the outdoors to the indoors and seamlessly being able to live and enjoy both. My intention here was to make everything in the outdoor space flow into the indoor areas. I also wanted all the outdoor furniture to disappear and feel a part of the landscape. It is more about the lack of color out here with textures and form than anything. (We do bring in the unexpected striped floor pillows as an accent that is repeated with the rug in the bathroom mat.)

From a utilitarian perspective we had to consider the elements so all the furniture except the collapsible stool lives outdoors. (The stool however travels indoors when needed.) And all the fabrics are solution died so they can withstand sun.”


What artists are featured in the guest house?

“The abstract painting on the back wall is by Sherie Franssen, a California artist. The black and white is by Doug Glovaski and the small oil painting at the kitchen area is by Terry St. John.”

What advice do you have for readers who want to design or redecorate a guest room or guesthouse?

“Number one rule; do not over decorate! Guest rooms are about creating the space for your guests to relax. When there is too much stuff or the room is overly ‘done,” the room can feel imposing and therefore loses its ease.

A goal when decorating a room for others is to make it functional first then add art and objects to make it more interesting and personal. (Though remember, no family photos.) When I say personal I do not mean in the literal sense. Good spaces intended for guests leave ‘room’ for the guest to feel as though it is their home even though it very well might be your home.”
Source: Photos by David Duncan Livingston