Swiss Miss

The living room with a narrow stairwell up to a small studio and DOLL ROOM!

Welcome to the home of Jorge & Katie Lengyel. You met them last Fall in my post about DIY Hypertufa Potting Containers (which would be a great project to do this weekend for your new plantings.) Jorge is an Argentinean gentleman and artist, Katie is Dutch with a passion for crafting, collecting, and anything Anglophile. Together they have built a petit chalet that is multi-cultural, very-colorful and eccentric beyond belief.

The home is situated on a shaded property that slopes towards sparkling Lake Mohawk in the beautiful and über-Swiss village of Sparta, NJ. Between Katie’s collections, Jorge’s ingenuity, and both of their vivid imaginations, they’ve built themselves a really unique and fantastical abode worthy only of fairytales and fables. I think you’ll agree that this feast for the eyes is like nothing you’ve ever seen in real life!

Wall of eclectic finds and projects including poster of Katie’s coveted Jim Morrison

Katie made this fabulous little ottoman. She used nozzles for legs as well. Such a fun piece.

Pie chest filled with china and adorned with kitsch galore

This is my favorite vignette in the house. Big porcelain basin in the kitchen with 2 faucets looks out onto their front porch and natural landscaping. The sill is covered in colorful toys, some as-is, some Katie’s hybrid sculptures.

 

To the left and right of the sink are these great and simple industrial racks that hold their drying dishes and everyday needs… and some kitsch of course

To the left and right of the sink are these great and simple industrial racks that hold their drying dishes and everyday needs… and some kitsch of course.

This kitchen cabinetry serves as both storage and a buffet for the dining room. Katie and Jorge cut thick felt trim for each shelf and attached it with decorative nail heads. This is one of the spots Katie displays her British wares

The silver is always polished and in use on the Anglo’d-out buffet in the dining room

A view from the den into the dining room and kitchen beyond. Two leather chairs in foreground face a cast iron potbelly stove and a TV. Very cozy spot on a cool night.

One of Katie & Jorge’s siamese cats, Hunter

Love this cage aux folles. Not something you see every day.

 

A quick peak into the bedroom. As you can see, this is where the blue & white china lives.

I even love her abundant perfume station (I too am a huge user of French perfumer Annick Goutal)… with a few nods to the motherland of course.

There is too much going on in Katie’s office (behind the living room stairs) to really show you in one photo, but here’s a little detail of the mix of things either waiting to be worked into one of her sculptures or just hanging around to keep her company while she works.

The powder room is incredible! The glossy, rich brown tiled walls reflect the gentle light that comes off the shell piece—that the couple made—for a really dramatic look.

The deluxe wet bar in their family room. Loads of lights spills in from the wall of doors that exit to the back porch.

A delicious little detail from above the wet bar

A detail of the ornately mosaic’d fireplace that Jorge made for Katie in their family room.

The breakfast table in their family room. As you can see, this room is all about the white and light collections

And antique china cupboard is flanked by two fabulous peeling columns.

A birdhouse collection hovers above the entertainment cupboard in the family room.

A detail of another collection in their almost-all-white family room.

 

This is Jorge about to do some gardening in the back yard. He built the home they live in. Detail of back porch in the background.

What I don’t even get to show you is the full master suite (i just give you a few details) with walk-in closet, 4-poster bead and steam shower; Jorge’s office upstairs; the creepy and magical doll room Katie has for her doll collection (too narrow to shoot); the full guest suite downstairs; the ornate herb storage wall-unit they have built leading to the basement off the kitchen; and the magnificent wrap-around back porch with abundant vintage planters (perhaps photographer friend Laura Moss will provide exterior for an upcoming post: she focused on the exterior of the home while I drooled over the interior.)

Re-soul a Slipper

Give new life to  garage sale find this weekend. Whether it be a new purchase from your Memorial Day weekend hunting or one of the pieces you’ve been hanging onto, just rip the bandaid off and do it. Here’s a quick slipper chair remodel I did in a few hours yesterday. All it entailed was a fresh coat of glossy spray paint, a piece of fabric and 2 samples of latex wall paint from my local hardware store. Directions below. Good luck and happy hunting this weekend!

Cut a piece of fabric large enough to wrap around and be stapled. Always give yourself a little extra.

I taped off o wide stripe down the center of the fabric. Measure from each side to make sure your pretty centered.

I brushed on white latex paint for a white edge

Then pink. If you want the lines to be perfect, let the white dry, then tape a new line for the pink. I wanted mine to be a little organic so i freehanded it

remove the tape and let it dry thoroughly

if you need to replace the foam, do so by tracing the seat onto the foam and then cut it out with scissors.

Once lined up precisely, glue your foam in place so that it doesn’t shift while you’re upholstering or in the future

I staple-gunned the fabric taught to the wooden seat, pulling the foam to a rounded edge along the sides of the cushion. Again, measure to make sure your stripe is centered and straight before you staple.

Et Voila! A new soul for your Slipper chair!


 

 

Mod Squad

I attended ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) on Monday with the fabulous team from New York Spaces magazine. We scoured miles of isles in the vast Javitz Center (in NYC) looking for interesting, inspiring product and big-picture trends in the marketplace.
Here are a few notable designs that caught my attention at the show:

really wild extruded tiles that fit together like puzzle pieces. Roughly 7 inches deep if i remember correctly… Use them for walls, floors, exterior patios, outdoor shower floors that need good drainage… the possibilities are endless and these things are probably indestructible: strength in numbers. They are by eclectic and bohemian brand, Bespoke

Fun chair by Bend in collaboration with another artist. Great piece to get all you DIYers wheels turning…

Really beautiful hand-woven chandeliers by Naomi Paul. They are collapsable, so shipping and moving are not issues.

Was never a fan of Lladro, but they are doing some interesting things as of late. I really dig their “The Guest” collection, and in particular this one by artist, Rolito. Very funky.

 

Edgy (literally) large-scale chandeliers by Gabriel Scott. The metallic interiors glistened from within the matte-finished geometric shells. So fabulous and versatile. I can imagine in a number of scenarios, classic, modern and bohemian…

Perfect little ottomans by Gabriel Scott that screamed haberdashery and fine tailoring

Opulent shagreen-patterned wallpaper in a fish scale pattern by ShagreenArt Inc. So outrageous.

Flipped when I saw this snake china by the 2nd oldest (2nd to Meisen) china manufacturer in Europe, Augartem Wein. This pattern is by Gabrielle Rotherman and was inspired by her series of snake-themed fine art.

Fabulously simple white & silver giraffe wallpaper by Sissy + Marley. Would be great in a kid’s room (obviously) or a powder room or small space.

One of several large and outrageous lights by Fort Standard

There were so many incredible prints from Eskayel, I didn’t know what to shoot! They are just REALLY LIVABLE —yet funky—patterns. Very bohemian chic.

Incredible fixtures by Apparatus! Every single one was a stunner. The sconce on the lower right side—knocked my socks off and—is made with horse hair! They even have versions with black horse hair and enameled metal. I die…

Deluxe tropical wallpaper by Timorous Beasties. Dorothy Draper’s face would melt…

The Best Sink I have ever seen. From the Metrio System by Stone Forest. I want it all. I love how the hardware fits into the stone perfectly, the thick slab, the finish of the metal…it’s perfection… speechless. I want one.

Also flipped out when I saw these porcelain skull perfume atomizers by the 2nd oldest (2nd to Meisen) china manufacturer in Europe, Augartem Wein. This is the kind of perfume atomizer I’d have in my boudoir…

Delectable little bite-size thumb drives—by Beyond Object—that look like jewelry

 

 

 

 

Mansion in May Showhouse

Over the weekend I visited the Mansion In May designer showhouse. Attracting over 25,000 visitors annually (I swear there were that many there on Sunday alone) and charging $50/pp, this very well-organized event raises tens of thousands of dollars for the Morristown Medical Center and—according to the Co-Chair—is the highest grossing showhouse in the country.

This year’s mansion—the Blairsden Estate—is located in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey. Blairsden is an historic 62,000 square foot, 38-room (with 25 fireplaces and 19 bathrooms) Beaux-arts estate that was completed in 1903 as a country home for Clinton Ledyard Blair—an American investment banker, sportsman and commodore of the New York Yacht Club in his early 30’s—by prominent architectural firm Carrère and Hastings.

After the death of CLB in 1949 (at the age of 82,) Blairsden—with 50 acres of the original 550 acres—was sold for an estimated $65,000 to the Sisters of St. John the Baptist and renamed St. Joseph’s Villa.

According to Art & Architecture of New Jersey, the history of the Sisters’ stay had been considered mysterious with speculation about a series of murders [of orphans] at the mansion and questions about how the nuns ran the estate. [Much to my dismay,] these rumors have been put to rest through correspondence with a former member of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist. [She confirms that] St. Joseph’s Villa was run as a retreat house open to anyone who cared to visit. It was never operated as a hotel or orphanage. Supposedly the only shooting with even a distant connection to the Sisters of St. John the Baptist occurred at the James Pierpont Morgan mansion in Glen Cove, Long Island. J.P. Morgan himself was shot in the leg at this estate, but the wound was not fatal. Sisters who made their novitiate there remember speaking of the “JP Morgan murder” which was a myth, since the famous millionaire was not murdered.

In 2002, the Sisters sold the property to the Foundation for Classical Architecture which has since been carefully restoring the house and grounds. They, in turn, sold the estate in 2012 for $4.5 million to a private owner identified by local officials as T. Eric Galloway (a NY developer and President of the Lantern Organization.) 50+ interior designers and landscape designers have spent the past few months bringing their assigned spaces in Blairsden to their original glory and beyond. Here’s a taste of my favorite highlights of the showhouse. You can still see the home until May 31, 2014.

Skylight in James Yarosh’s sun-filled central, upstairs gallery

Sitting area in BHE Studio’s salon/tea room.

Great wallpaper in BHE Studio’s Tea Bar

sitting area in Houndstooth Interior Design’s kid’s room. It was fun and colorful, yet refined and elegant.

CW&I’s “deco in bloom” guest bedroom. I wanted to dive into this deluxe bed

My favorite piece by a popular Russian artist who’s name has escaped me. The subject in the painting is the Daughter of Peter the great. This was in Elizabeth Guest’s lovely room

 

For these and more photos scroll through my slideshow:

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