Jersey Ice Cream Co. Magic Egg Farmhouse
Okay I know I say this all the time… But this house is actually my favourite on the internet! It’s rustic and whimsical and charming… Like if Wes Anderson built a farmhouse and lived there with his grandma. Nestled in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, the house was bought as a vacation home and entrusted to Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co.. If the name sounds familiar, it might be because I’ve fangirled about their work in previous posts. (Skye McAlpine’s London flat and Beth Kirby’s kitchen. Check them out for more earthy interior inspo).
I’m pretty obsessed with everything these guys create, but if I had to pick a real-life project closet to the dream house in my imagination, this would be it.
"The inspiration was a blend of the story of The Magic Egg, Wes Anderson, and our clients. They are the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, and after talking with them a few times, creating a home that they would love really became our driving force.
We could tell they were the kind of people who host amazing dinner parties (we’ve since been to them, and yes, they are amazing), who have gobs of friends they love, who never hesitate to open their doors to a stranger. The home needed to be comforting and welcoming to everyone, filled with moments of magic, and, of course, needed to be able to sleep as many people as possible!" Tara explains.
When describing their approach to designing this space, Tara had this to day; “We wanted things to feel really rich right when you come in the door, so you walk through the leaf-and-key covered entryway into this room. I love the different patterns in the rug and couch and how surprisingly well they work together."
"We knew we wanted to do some gallery style walls, so we had our eye out for great artwork all throughout the job. The woman in the portrait had kind of a scary face, so we covered it up with old love letters. That’s an old trick from my low-budget designing days.“ Tara says. Hiding scary faces with a bundle of love letters? It sounds like something out of a Taylor Swift song.
“This is the breakfast nook, which is just off the front room. That little window looks out onto the front yard. The light in this little spot is always nice and it’s the perfect place to have some tea or write some emails. In fact, I’m sitting in this very spot as I write this!" Tara says. "The ceilings date back to the original owners of the house. We briefly thought about painting them, but thank god we didn’t! They bring an instant sense of warmth and history to the rooms.”
Painted trim and heavily patterned wallpaper might sound like a nightmare pairing, but the muted tones keep it from looking too gawdy. This probably wouldn't work so well if the colour scheme was pink and orange and sparkly. (Just typing that gave me nausea.)
The furniture in the living room is a mix of American high-street stores- Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and West Elm- and vintage finds.
I have a Moroccan pouffe like this one, and it's one of my favourite pieces. If you're hoping to get your hands (or indeed feet!) on one, check out Dublin-based online store Dar Sol.
“Things came together so organically in the kitchen. The table was initially a placeholder, but we loved it so much we kept it. Same with that little table to the left. When we’re furnishing a house we buy SO many things. It was really wonderful to find that by the end almost everything had found a place.” explains Tara.
“The lower sideboard was one of the very few pieces of furniture that survived the early clean-out of the house. Despite the horrors of the original kitchen, you could tell that was a keeper. I knew I wanted to do shelves with white dishes and bowls and things, so was on the hunt while we were working on the house. So many of the dishes up there I got for less than a dollar.”
“The countertop in this picture is actually the top of a long table. The table was one of those ‘We need this, it’s so cheap and great but we have nowhere to put it’ buys. It was a great moment when we found out that we actually had the perfect somewhere to put it.”
“This is a shot of the kitchen as you would see it if you walked into the room. I love that this kitchen looks good no matter what. We added that shelf with nails unexpectedly, and it makes things look beautifully cluttered at all times. You can throw any pot or pan up there and it just works. Effortless design is great in any space, but in a kitchen, it’s a dream. “
The deep teal colour is 'Seaworthy' by Benjamin Moore, which is now available in MRCB in Dublin 8. It looks amazing next to the antique brass details.
“This is a little bed nook that we built into the hallway. Originally it was just a big empty space with a weird table in it, but we knew instantly it was calling for a built-in bed like this. It’s so perfect to be perched up there looking out the window down at the back pond. I can’t say I’ve had much time to spend there during our renovation, but it seems like a spot that will get lots of action once snow-watching season is back.” says Tara.
“This is the master bedroom. Talk about a complete change. This space was so nuts when we first got to the house – red and yellow walls, light blue ceilings, ornate detailing, black-and-white duvet cover to match the black-and-white drapes. The whole house was a bit of an eyesore, but this room was insanity. The whole room now just begs you to sleep in late. I love the simplicity of it. Barn wood, plaster and linen will always be a perfect combination in my mind.”
We really struggled trying to find great tile that wouldn’t break the budget. These marble hex tiles turned out to be perfect. I love how they catch the light.”
“This is the front guest bedroom. I love so many things about this space. The headboard, which Percy made from reclaimed wood, the brass lamp, which we got for $10 at Brimfield flea market, the dark linen sheets, and of course, the wallpaper! It’s supposed to represent temptation, (hence the name of the pattern; 'Temptation' by Trustworth Studios) but it looks like dancing Roman angels to me. It’s a pretty intense pattern, but really makes the room something special. I also love the sheet combination in here. If we get a house of our own I’m pulling for indigo linen sheets like this.”
The wooden coat rack was another vintage find. I love the ease of hooks, and try to put them everywhere I possibly can.”
The light in this room is always beautiful, but the wallpaper simply makes the space! You can’t wake up in that room without feeling a little extra bounce in your step.”
How cute is this wallpaper?! It's 'Apothecary’s Garden' from Trustworth Studios.
I had some reservations about the color when I started, but it ended up being perfect for the space. It still feels bright during the day, and at night, when the lights are twinkling, it feels like a magical world attached to the house.”
The accompanying guesthouse was designed in an all-neutral palette with lots of timber finishes, kilim textiles and macrame. Pretty much all of my favourite things!
For a similar hanging chair, check out Home Lust. And if anyone wants to buy one for me, I wouldn't say no...!
"We live in the houses that we renovate, so we dug into the project and just didn’t stop until it was finished. We had a guiding vision for each room, but we were happy to let things organically grow and change to suit the space. It’s mentally overwhelming to try to renovate and furnish an entire house at the same time, but when we’re working on projects like this they really become our lives, so you manage to wrap your head around it somehow. Lists help. Lots of trips to Home Depot happen. And you just keep working until it’s done!"
Quotes from Tara originally appeared on Design Sponge.