It's all too familiar, the designer-client relationship I deal with on a regular basis. The same old ambiguous white porcelain knick knack here... a vase there, and they call it a day. Rinse and repeat! People are searching in shiny new stores for something that they simply will not find and only a creative team like Jersey Ice Cream Co. can deliver. They are searching for the soul of their home.
For me, it's their absolutely brilliant use of texture as a key element in every space. Allowing mismatched wood and painted boards to become focal, gives the feeling that they've been there for hundreds of years and makes you wonder who of centuries past stubbed their toe on that small crack just there. It's a graceful balance of simplicity and warmth. When I look at these photos, I feel almost as if I'm reading a book. I get a sense of who they are, and what they do, and read, and ... and perhaps there is a kettle of tea on while Henry paints his latest work of art feverishly away in the front room.
That is the only sort of living I'd like to do.
Tara Mangini and Percy Bright, the design duo behind all of this beautiful work at Jersey Ice Cream Co., are giving us a special look Inside the Makers Workshop and what it takes to transform your space into "homes that feel true to themselves–sincere yet functional–the homes they were always meant to be."
"There's so much to tell even about this little corner! This is a shot from our first big job, completely designing, renovating and furnishing a house up in Freehold, NY, our introduction to upstate and the life of living where we work. This is the formal dining room, which when we got there was split up into these two tiny dark rooms. The clients loved to host a good dinner party, so we knocked down the wall and turned it into one big room, so big, that you can't even see the dining table in this shot! We added that old beat up farmhouse door to bring some light into the room and a little more flow into the house. We had gotten down the original floors in the rest of the room, but in that entry patch it was a mishmash of all different types of wood, perhaps from when that part of the house was actually a porch, but we salvaged what we could and ended up loving the little patchwork quality of it. We plastered the walls and ceilings in blue, with that split color variation that I just love. The bench is made by Percy with parts of an old porch swing, and that spindly wreath is something I put together with sticks and dried flowers from outside. "
"Paint swatches! I love picking paint colors, but it admittedly, drives me crazy. I can't even imagine how many days of my life have been decimated to the pursuit of finding the perfect color. You stare at those things for hours, check on them at different times of day, look at them from different angles, compare your options again and again, and then you finally settle on something, bring it home, paint a wall, and it looks completely different than the little color chip you've been analyzing. Throw in the fact that I'm color blind - yes, a color blind designer, maybe we shouldn't tell the whole world that? - and it's a serious feat. I like to think I've gotten somewhat better at it over the years, but realistically, I've probably just accepted the fact that it's going to take about 5 color samples to really find what you're looking for. I ended up painting those rooms in a pale gray and hand painting polka dots on the main walls."
"Our Philadelphia house! This house is really what started it all for us. Neither of us has a traditional design background, so this house essentially became our thesis project. Percy bought the house before we met, and as luck would have it, got laid off the next week. He decided to take it as a sign, and spent the next year renovating the house and learning so many of the skills that are crucial to our lives today. When I came on the scene, he was just getting to the decorating and styling phase of the job, which suited me perfectly! We scoured flea markets - in fact, our first weekend getaway together was to Brimfield - and rearranged furniture and picked out bedding and furniture and tried to create a house that we loved and that represented us as designers. This room was one of the last we tackled. When we started dating it had bright red shiny walls, and that's about it. We saw a picture somewhere of a beautiful grand room with gorgeous molding, and decided that's exactly what the room was calling for. Percy pulled the wood for the project from an abandoned school up in North Philly. Honestly, it was such an undertaking just to get the molding into the house; that the room ended up so beautiful is a true testament to his insanity. I mean that of course in the best way. "