Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nancy Braithwaite - a Bit Later

Before we go forward in Nancy's design, I wanted to show you the checkered mudroom walls we modeled after the checkered bedroom walls Nancy originated.  Be kind, I am no Nancy Braithwaite, nor a fabulous photographer, but have liked our walls ever since we completed them.  I've often thought of changing them to something lighter, but just can't - they hide a multitude of sins in the dirt department, and the mudroom is the entrance we use most often dropping shoes, boots and groceries along the way.  Here are our walls.

Up until this treatment, I'd changed the walls in the mudroom about 5 times - they were painted, they were wall papered, but I always grew tired of them and felt they were just not right.  Since the room is fairly small, it always was an easy room to make-over.  The anecdote I wanted to share is as follows: I chose to complete this make-over on the Saturday before Easter Sunday when quite a few guests were expected for Easter dinner.  I'd painted the background beige color and now it was time for the chocolate brown squares.  Both of my sons were helping me apply the brown color with a stencil I'd made while my poor husband was napping in the nearby den nursing a toothache.  We were having fun, but my husband heard only signs of slow progress.  He came out of the den with a plumb line, a level and masking tape, instructing one son to use a plumb line and level to measure off the squares, instructing the other son to follow the lines with masking tape, and instructing me to dab on the brown tones.  "What are you going to do?" I asked.
"I am going to finish my nap.  My work here is done."  And it was - work progressed much faster after his instruction and the mudroom walls were complete and everything back in order that evening.  It made for an amusing anecdote for all our Easter Sunday guests.

Again, in case you did not read my last post (which you should do), this is Nancy's room inspiring mine.  Hers looks so mellow.  Mine looks so garishly new even after 12 years.  I keep hoping it will mellow.

Back to business and onto a Nancy Braithwaite design from 1997.  Her porch design made the cover of House Beautiful  in March of that year.

I love her "textures" on the floor, windows, and upholstery in the living room...

...and the colors she and her client chose for the family room below.

Believe it or not, I - a huge lover of kitchens - am not a fan of this one.  The chair pads and the stencils over the doors just do not speak to me.  (I'm sure Nancy and the home owner could care less about what speaks to me.)

But the bedroom does speak to me - the chocolate and white stripes, the Nantucket baskets, and the old blue trunk are all great.

I apologize for not sourcing the following images.  I tore them out of a wonderful magazine, tucked them into the House Beautiful issue from above, and never even knew what a blog was.  (I do know it was written by Danny Flanders, photographed by John Coolidge and the architect was Norman Askins.)  This is the same Highlands home from above but redesigned by Askins and Braithwaite.   Since the owners always had a very difficult time leaving their Highlands house in the autumn, they decided to make it their main home and their Atlanta home their visiting home.  I'm so glad they did.  This became a great house.

Love this family room and its colors and textures.  Reminds me a bit of the Wyeth homes I covered in 2012.  (By the by, I am trying to label my posts from 2012 and blogspot won't let me.  I had no problem labeling the 2013 posts.  Anyone know what I am doing wrong?) 

What follows is one quick image from 2012, so you know the similarity I am talking about.  The beams, the antiques, the colors, the textures and the hooked rugs all seem related somehow.  Great design is definitely timeless.

Enough of my wandering, back to Nancy Braithwaite's redesign in this mountain home.

Sorry for this pieced together image - why I usually do not tear out.  

Love all the antiques here especially the corner cupboard...

...and all these neutrals.

Note the pattern on the floor - checkerboard.

Many of the treasures from their Atlanta home were moved to the Highlands home, and Braithwaite "used some furniture from their house in Atlanta and, in many cases slipcovered it, so we didn't buy a lot of new pieces."  The house is now comfortable and has incorporated the owners' favorite things.  I hope they are still in this home and love living there as much as I loved seeing it.

To end this post, I'm including a kitchen from my Pinterest boards.  It's one "I have loved" and has that mountain feeling.  Stainless steel is so great paired with stone and beams and wood.

And last, but never least, a dessert from blueberries, one of my favorite fruits.

It's been fun writing this post today because it is rainy and cool outside.  I can hear the rain tapping the roof as I tap my keyboard.  Very cozy - but I fear I may have rambled too much.  Blame it on the weather.  Next time more Braithwaite and less rambling.  I promise.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Visit to the Early Nancy Braithwaite

Atlantan Nancy Braithwaite's design spoke to me 25 years ago - she is why I kept many early magazine issues.  And her design still speaks to me today - her pale walls and ceilings, her spare furnishings and her southern antiques.  Her work was a change for me from the more cluttered, cozy New England rooms I had been admiring.  See if you see what I mean as you browse the following images.

I saved this issue of Early American Life from 1985...

because of the following image of the Braithwaite living room with a white quilt behind an antique sawback table.  Burl bowl atop is perfect.  Everything's perfect here.

Early Nantucket baskets sit atop her pine mantel gleaned from an early Georgian house.

And the three legged table in hallway.  She mixes her plain white walls with beautiful antiques. I loved this mixture then and and still do.  This kind of mixture reminds me of Hugh Newell Jacobsen's design on a Nantucket house.  (See my "Hugh Newell Jacobsen in Nantucket" post - wish I knew how to link it.)

The following images were saved by a friend of mine.  She very graciously gave them to me because she has moved on from Braithwaite's early style, but they serve to clearly show the designer's later change.

Sorry for the folds which have been in place for 25 years.  Note the burl bowl below - same as above -

and the mantel with Nantucket baskets.

We'll see this blue fabric changed to white in a few years.

Daughters referred to in the text below are now married with children of their own.

Always liked her darkish dining room.

But I have never seen many pictures of her kitchen in any early articles.  Guess I must accept that not everyone loves kitchens as much as yours truly does.

Bedroom looks so dated compared to her later bedroom as you will see.  Not loving the green here.

In 1993, things did indeed change.  Her dining room on the cover of House Beautiful looks a bit like a Restoration Hardware room today.  Gone are the wicker chairs and the quilt-covered table we saw above.  Now we see white chairs, a plain table and a very neat chandelier.

Gone is all that blue fabric.  As the caption reads, she really "distilled and pared".

How "today" her living room looks in 1993 with its clean spareness.

Love these interior shutters absent during the blue period.

The wicker chairs seem to have now found their way to the kitchen (still being ignored).  The sitting room almost has a Belgian feel, doesn't it?

To the bedrooms...

I really liked the checkerboard effect in the bedroom below.  Because I liked these walls so much, I "checkerboard-ed" the walls in our mudroom.  (It's probably dated today, but the room retains its checkerboard walls.  I will try to take photos of the room and post them next time along with an anecdote about the day it was painted.)

Nancy Braithwaite had burlap bed hangings.  I sewed a burlap shower curtain.  Dated or not I still like both her hangings and my shower curtain.  The interior shutters are beautiful in this room too.  And the sisal rug is so "today" for 1993.

In 1994, the British edition of House and Garden featured the same rooms but with some interesting additions.  Take a peek.

The now familiar sitting room replete with Nantucket baskets, and same antique sawbuck table used as coffee table.

Again, too brief a view of the kitchen.

Veranda and staircase not seen before.

Included this narrow slice of whole sitting room for its text.

The now familiar bedrooms.

I love her "natural textures"and "muted colors".

And finally, because these magazine editors above chose not to show much of the Braithwaite kitchen, I'll end with two kitchens I have loved chosen from my pinterest board.  Both kitchens seem to have the "muted colors and natural textures" Nancy Braithewaite used years ago.  She was so ahead of her time in many ways. 

And just a quick nod to fruit of the season paired with basic toasted cheese.

Much more of Braithwaite to come and maybe even a Henninger mudroom - so stay tuned.  And stay cool - brutally hot here today.