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.)

Thoughts on the Viceroy Anguilla

Four years ago, my husband & I spent an idyllic honeymoon in Anguilla (at the Cap Juluca resort)—a deluxe slice of paradise in the British West Indies—so to say I’d been aching to get back since is the understatement of a lifetime. I had also yet to see the much-anticipated and very controversial Viceroy Anguilla; that happens to be decorated by one of my favorite designers, Kelly Wearstler. After recently meeting with the sweet, petit duo (Kelly Wearstler & mogul husband Brad Korzan)—while doing some creative consulting for them—I was even more compelled.

Getting to Anguilla is an adventure on it’s own. If you don’t have a PJ or a small fortune to fly to the island directly, you can (do what I’ve done twice now) and catch a reasonable direct flight to St. Martin. You land in the Dutch side of St. Martin, go through customs, take a half-hour cab to the French side of the same island, go through customs, take a 45-min boat ride to Anguilla, go through British customs, and then you’ve got a 15-minute drive. The streets are not well marked and everyone gives you directions by way of “large tree” or “old stone church”, but there are so few roads, it’s almost impossible to get lost.

The Viceroy is at the west end of the island in an area called Meads Bay. After about 15 minutes of dusty roads speckled with modest shelters, the sight of the grand Viceroy entrance is a startling one. In perfect mid-century-glam Wearstler-fashion, large slabs of marble, smooth waterfalls and pedestals-of-fire lure you into the enclave and deliver instant chills: of fear and excitement.

Upon arrival, you are swallowed into a dark, ornate lobby—robust with decorative bobbles—and then spat out into a vast, sun-drenched colonnade of empire palms flanked by two marble halls that direct you out to the water’s edge. Jutting out from the top of a craggy reef cliff, sits the head of the Viceroy. Waves crash up against the rocks from below and (if you’re a Bond girl) you can’t help but think ‘ooh, villain lair!’.

According to forthcoming Anguillans, this particular part of the main structure was so impulsively built that during storms large waves pound right into the main restaurant, Coba, and flood the space—damaging the exquisite decor and custom furniture—regularly. Adventurous diners have reportedly requested the up-close experience at the risk of being abandoned and soaked. This phenomenon comes as pure amusement to some locals whom dreaded the construction of the resort from the get-go: native Anguillans and visitors alike covet Anguilla for it’s serenity and small-town-security, so such a large compound threatened the volume of outsiders coming to the island.

A cucumber-infused-vodka bloody mary (in an alligator-skin seat at the Sunset Lounge bar) and the alluring infinity pool nearby will help you forget this dichotomy immediately. As it turns out, the private pool-side cabanas and spa are not to be missed either. And if you get a spa treatment, you are welcome to use to the private patio & pool that overlooks the ocean: it’s incredibly sexy! I’d also recommend dinner at Coba: the view is to die for, the food is excellent, and the sound of the crashing waves is energizing.

A member of the delightful and attentive staff gave us a tour of the lodging options at the resort. Each room and suite is meticulously decorated a la Wearstler, and with great attention to privacy. The Residences (villas & townhouse) are delicious, multi-suite, beach-front homes equipped with pools, to-die-for outdoor showers, gigantic bathrooms, and gorgeous professional kitchens.

Although we found that most of the seating in the resort is challenging to actually sit in (exhibit A, shown below), I was pleased to see the beachy-take on some of Wearstler’s signature pieces—like the seagrass-upholstery on her typically leather Souffle Chair. I was impressed that she was not only able to blend her rock ‘n roll signature with the natural surroundings, but also make them sing. With all the opulent lounging, dining, bathing and recreational options at The Viceroy Anguilla, the guests will never want for more (nor a flight home)… but maybe just one more cucumber-infused bloody mary…

Rental car: Bass Car Rental. They can meet you at your hotel or ferry. Beats catching super-pricey cabs everywhere. And it’s so fun to be able to freely explore the whole island.
Fishing: If you like hard-core deep-sea fishing, take a day-trip with local fisherman, “Nature Boy” Webster. His family (of Irish decent, though you’d never know from his sun-kissed skin) has been living on Anguilla for 300 years. He’s a fascinating guy to spend the day with.
Dining: Don’t miss Veya, Straw Hat, Blanchard’sBlanchard’s Beach Shack (is the best bang for buck on the island). Le Bon Pain Bakery makes the best cafe latte, baguettes, sandwiches and pastries on the island.
Don’t Miss: Bankie Banx Dune Preserve beach bungalow/bar. It’s the funkiest place you’ll ever see (treehouse meets shipwreck) and Bankie is one cool ass, sexy ol’ rasta. They regularly have live music, and make great drinks & bbq.
Sandy Island: an incredibly beautiful & tiny island about a half mile off the shore of Anguilla. Pack a book, some serious sunblock, snorkeling gear and your wallet and go for the afternoon. They have a hut with a nearly-full bar and a great seafood menu, but other than that, it’s just sand and water. You can catch a shuttle boat from the dock in Sandy Ground (ask the bar tender at Johnno’s: they will keep you rum-punched-up until the boat arrives to pick you up).

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