This week's Friday Favorites column is set in the fun and functional family room of our neighbor, friend and business owner, Jen. Her wonderfully talented father has been giving Jen paintings for years and all it took was a little bit of paint on the walls and new frames to make them fit right in!
Tell us about these items.
My dad is an artist, a beautiful self-taught artist. If you give him any picture or if he finds a picture, he can copy it perfectly. He had given me these and other paintings that were hung haphazardly throughout our house. Once we started redecorating, I decided on my color palette: greens and whites because they are bright, happy and cheery colors. After doing everything else in the house, this room was the last holdout. There wasn't that much we could do in here with the furniture because there is really only one full wall. But once we figured that out, it didn't make sense to have bright colors and modern decor with my father's paintings in beige mats and wood frames. So my interior designer, Kristina Rinaldi [of Rinaldi Interior Design] reframed them all at Summit Frame & Art with fun mats and really simple clean-lined frames. Then she put them all out on the floor and came up with this layout. It took her hours! Now, after all that, we spend all our time in these two rooms [the family room and the kitchen]. They're bright and they're happy and it's full of nature and it reminds me of my dad. The kids talk about "Grandpa did these" and "Grandpa's art" and it's really nice.
Were these pieces in other parts of your house before?
They were all over and they didn't make sense. So we grouped them by color and theme. This grouping is a brighter color theme. This room does not actually get a lot of light so we needed bright and happy colors. You know how they say you should always serve food on a white plate? I think art should go on a white wall; so we painted the walls white. It just made everything pop. If you were to look in another room, you would see some of my dad's work that is more woodsy: browns and autumnal colors.
Did you then use the art to pull in these other pieces and colors or did you have them already?
I already had them in this room. But now, with this grouping, it all blends together: the greens, a little bit of blues, some oranges. We actually almost got an orange couch but I couldn't pull the trigger!
Was there any hesitation to putting the art pieces up?
I had a hesitation to reframe because it costs so much money. But I got over it quickly once I realized that I'm lucky to not have to pay for my art and that it's worth the cost to do the framing right.
Was this your first home? How did you choose it?
It is our second home and we've been here for 7 years. We wanted an old home with a lot of character. We moved here after four years in San Francisco and wanted the same charm as our Edwardian flat there. And we wanted to be able to walk everywhere. Size-wise this house is great. We loved the high ceilings (they're 11 or 12 foot ceilings) and the proximity to town. We walk everywhere!
Where do you get your inspiration?
Kristina… and Elle Decor. Really, I don't have much time to do a lot of research so it's mostly Kristina.
Tell us more about how you work with Kristina.
We had been here for a few years and all of our things were beige, white and chocolate brown. EVERYTHING. We thought we were done with babies and our stuff was old and worn. We figured that now we could invest in nice things. So that was about four years ago and was when I met Kristina. When we started, she said, "You're too young for beige." And then she really opened my eyes to color. The first thing she did was the kitchen cabinets. The kitchen and the cabinets used to be all wood - we called it the woodfest - and I hated it. So she had us paint the cabinets white and it transformed the kitchen. We didn't even change the hardware! That experience got me addicted to Kristina and the idea that little things can really make a big difference.
After the kitchen, we did the front hall which is my second favorite thing in the house. That display used to be a really hideous, shallow broom closet. We had the carpenter build shelves and Kristina suggested we paint the back grey and put white things against it. Now it's just clean and simple. And I love the wallpaper because it climbs all the way up, like the vines are climbing.
The wallpaper in the dining room I did probably 6 years ago. I was scared to do it because wallpaper was not "in." My cousin pushed me into it and I'm so glad I did!
So now with Kristina, we have such a high level of trust. It's makes things so much easier. Recently, I needed some new dishes so I told her, "Just pick them out."
Complete the phrase, "Here in this house…"
We are great chillers. We relax and try to hang together without a lot of planning. We're so busy and this house (and these rooms) are our haven for chilling together.
Thanks, Jen, for letting us peek into your lovely and happy home! Your use of wallpaper and original paintings has us inspired.