This weekend’s Get the Look Decor is inspired by the home of Mary Carroll. Located in Liberty Corner, the middle of New Jersey’s horse country, Mary’s house was built by her father, and she lived there as a child. Today, she shares it with her husband and two almost-grown children.
Describe your decorating style.
I live with what I love — antiques, thrift-store finds, books. I love the juxtaposition of formal and utilitarian. I love to see wear and tear, chippy paint, and tarnished silver. Comfort is paramount — down-filled cushions, wooly throws, and footstools (not coffee tables!) are key for me. Collections of tole trays, milk glass, pressed flowers, and old books fill our house.
[Clockwise from top left: Reclaimed Wood Outdoor Garden Bench by GreenSouthLiving; Industrial Metal Side Table by Firepitsatlanta; Personalized Steel Planter by HeaneyDesigns; Linen Napkins with Lace Trim by Cottonridgevintage; Aqua Tole Tray by IWANTVINTAGE; 20×20 Geometric Pillow Cover by thecottagecupboard.]
Did you decide to decorate in this style or was there an evolution to your decorating process?
Having inherited a house with low ceilings, pine paneling and odd little nooks and crannies, I was set on this path out of necessity. My parents instilled in me a love of antiques and old houses, and my favorite thrift stores and antiques malls have reinforced it. Sometimes I would love to have a modern house to decorate, but I would probably just fill it with odd little collections (like my silver gravy boats) anyway.
[Clockwise from top left: Her name is Betty – Chair by VintagePalettes; Hamilton Greenfield Manor Mantle Clock by ImSoVintage; Antique Red Desk by Restoredchic; Fireplace Bellows by laughingcoyote; Autumn Inspired 13 Book Collection by jaysworld; Braided Iron Fireplace Hearth Tool Set by ArtinIron.]
What is your favorite part about your home?
Our living room is warm and cozy, with its pine paneling, fireplace, and full shelves of antique books. There is also a large window with an old Chippendale-style sofa beneath, which is the perfect spot for breakfast and a book. I also love our kitchen, which we renovated about eight years ago. Painted cabinets, a dish rack, an old library table and a collection of white and cream dishes make it a comfortable and beautiful gathering place.
Does your home hold any strong memories?
This is truly a family home. My father built our home with his own hands and my mother filled it with antique books and furniture. My husband and I raised our two children here, and added our own touches and renovations over the years. It’s filled with memories.
Where are your favorite places to shop for home items?
First of all, I shop my house. I’ve got way too many collections to choose from. I love to visit thrift stores and make the rounds of my favorite antiques stores, too. HomeGoods is also a favorite. I also love Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware for their inspiring catalogs, and Target for their inexpensive yet stylish pieces.
What inspires you when it comes to decorating?
I love to go to decorator show houses and holiday house tours. Earlier this year, we visited designer Bunny Williams’ garden as part of the The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program, and her beautifully decorated barn was also open. It is a soaring space filled with antique furniture, textiles and books. I secretly hope that Bunny will adopt me, and I can live in her barn.
Do you have any favorite decorating tips you’d like to share?
I don’t really feel qualified to give decorating tips, but I will anyway. Train your eye by looking at books, magazines, films, photography and art — light, shape, pattern and color can be translated for your home from many different art forms. Always include something old, to give a sense of history and continuity to even modern interiors. And live with what you love — life’s too short to spend it surrounded by ugly furnishings.
Looking for more styles and interiors? Check out our video series, There’s No Place Like Here, where creative types show us their unique spaces — infused with their aesthetic and filled with the treasures they collect. Get involved and show us your amazing space in this Flickr pool.