One of the things I love most when I travel are the invitations I sometimes get to visit people's homes. On my recent lecture trip to Cincinnati, I was given that opportunity by the lovely and talented Deborah Ginocchio (I wrote about her HERE).
Deborah: I don't know what your schedule is like tomorrow, but if you have any free time, I'd love to have you over.
Me: What the heck YES!
And do you know what it means when I'm invited?
So top up your coffee and let's go.
(Editor's Note: A huge thanks to Deborah for allowing me photograph her rooms sans fluffing or styling. This is real life, gloriously and seductively imperfect.)
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First impression: Don't you just love a house that instantly lets you know it welcomes all creatures great and small?
Here's a corner of the eat-in kitchen.
The colors and textures remind me of an Old Master painting. Note the rustic linen towel draped over the wooden school chair, the puddled curtains spilling onto the floor and the antique Jacobean style flame-stitched sofa in the background -- it all makes for a room crackling with warmth and character.
Next to the sink is a pottery bowl filled with time-honored cleaning instruments. The twig-like dishwashing brush is one I happen to own as well (both purchased from Ancient Industries HERE.)
I make a mental note to paint the wooden mullions in my bedroom black. There is an indefinable poetry that comes from gazing at the world through a dark-colored frame. Colors appear more kinetic. The mood intensifies.
My husband has big dreams of someday owning a house with a fireplace in the kitchen. This little hearth is big on style and adds a layer of wit to the gleaming appliances next to it.
Help me. I've wandered into the library and am trying to fight off the compulsion to sink down onto that sofa with a copy of "Moll Flanders." I especially love the rush matting on the floor, don't you? (Pottery Barn sells a similar one HERE.) The easy-going unaffected elegance of everything in this house just kills me. And does the profile on that dog look familiar?
Atop a vibrant chair I spot a Duncan Grant pillow made with fabric purchased from the Charleston House shop (available HERE), former home to the Bloomsbury Group. No wonder I feel so at home.
Every room is brimming with mementos and artifacts of a family life well-lived.
Wit abounds. In a corner, I accidentally interrupt three gentlemen deep in conversation.
An upstairs bedroom is home to a Directoire-inspired resting place, a much-loved collection of vintage textiles and a familiar furry sentinel. And just look at that light. It's ethereal. Vermeer would plotz.
Colorful linens piled on a table offer a glimpse into what dinner parties are like here.
When exploring a house, I always try to find one item that reflects, as nearly as possible, the personality of the home. It's the Miss Marple in me. With this little box, I think my search is over. It's Deborah's style distilled.
Last but not least, four feet times two.