Family Life- Decorating

Moving is one of the top ten most stressful things a person can do, but decorating a new place can relieve the stress…at least it does for me. It’s been over fifteen years since I’ve done a whole house and I’m having fun shopping for fabrics, paint colors and antiques.


Right now the dining room is at the top of the my list. This room will serve multiple functions- dining, library and a bed for overnight guests. Our first project was to design and build shelves for the loads of unpacked boxes of books. We left the back exposed and used cleats to showcase the house’s planking.

(Photo- Martha Browne)

Fireside Chats

A series of magazine images where the fireplace takes center stage.


#4. Playwright George Bernard Shaw covered his wood fireplace mantel in the dining room with photographs of men he admired including Gandhi, Lenin and Ibsen.

(Photo- Derry Moore for Architectural Digest, May 1982)

Interiors- Safe Harbor

Seaside homes are synonymous with summer. And this one, from the current pages of Elle Decor Magazine, is a visual treat.

safeharborelledecor01-optInterior details- Both sofas are 19th century. Plaid Ralph Lauren fabric covers the sofa in the foreground. An antique nautical trunk came from Brimfield. Walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Setting Plaster.’ Floors are original to the house.

elledecorsafeharbordining02collage-optThe colorful mural of Provencetown Harbor was done by Rafael Arana. Gateleg table, chairs and light fixture are all antiques (top). More Farrow & Ball paint- ‘Tanner’s Brown‘ for the custom cabinets and ‘Cream‘ for the beadboard (bottom left & right).

elledecorsafeharborlibrarybedroom-optLeather wing chair was found at Chelsea Antiques. The unusual light fixture is actually a salvaged boat hatch. Unexpected ‘Dash of Curry’ by Benjamin Moore covers the paneling.

(Photos- Douglas Friedman for Elle Decor, July/August 2015)

Nibs Guest- Merri Cvetan

Merri Cvetan is currently a busy designer, blogger and contributor for The Home Depot. She became interested with interiors way back when she and her husband restored an old 1890’s farmhouse. One favorite project was doing the kitchen…and more specifically, finding her beloved copper sink. But I’ll let Merri tell you the rest-


” A little background information. My family’s 1890s farmhouse was sold ‘as is.’ We wanted a fixer-upper out in the country, but not too far from neighbors. The house needed remodeling and restoration from the roof right down to the cellar foundation. We took on the project with our eyes wide open. It doesn’t matter if a house is 100 years old or not. Any remodeling is a huge undertaking. In our case, it meant gutting and starting over. However, my husband and I didn’t want to loose the integrity of the farmhouse in the process.

Our house was fortunate to have two kitchens. It had been a two family home for years. This could have been a drawback for some potential buyers but we saw it as an asset. It allowed us to remodel one kitchen while continuing to cook and eat in the other. The kitchen we kept had cabinets from the 1920s (below). They were in good condition. We simply removed them, cleaned them up and placed them in our new kitchen layout (above).


The sink was a different matter. We were sad to find out that it had been torn out and junked before we moved in. So, we hit the flea markets to find another sink that would work. We couldn’t believe our luck when we came across this beauty from a tavern. The tin sink had it all- double bowls for lots of washing and cleaning, an integrated drain board and side splashes that still retained the original chipped paint.


Even though the tin had worn off in the basins themselves, it revealed something I love- old copper!


At first we wondered how it would hold up. Besides the daily wear and tear, we use it as a utility sink for paint brushes, etc. It’s amazing. You just can’t hurt this baby!


A two-handle bridge style faucet complements our old sink. It was a deck mounted version since we didn’t want to drill holes into the back splash. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect faucet.

Our tavern sink is unusual and has become the focal point of the kitchen. We get lots of compliments and comments about it. My favorite is that the sink…” looks great in your house, but it’s not for everyone!”

I’m sure that’s fine with Merri as she has no plans in parting with it. :)

Thanks, Merri. I always enjoy hearing how people work on their homes. This post is especially timely, too, since Scott and I are looking for our own farmhouse.

Notes- The Home Depot carries a bunch of copper sinks you can check out. Also, for old house enthusiasts there’s Historic House Parts. Merri’s Perrin and Rowe faucet model has been discontinued but this one is very similar minus the white porcelain handles.

(Photos- Merri Cvetan)