Design & Décor, Living with Style, People, Places & Spaces

The Decorated Home: Living with Style and Joy

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All roads lead to Newport and luckily for us, decorator Meg Braff has found herself sharing more Newport time with her base in Locust Valley, NY. When her devastatingly fresh and appealing new book advises, “when choosing patterns, look to your home’s surroundings and heritage for inspiration,” I think back to a dinner she hosted this summer at her home. Playing on Newport’s long history of Chinese inspiration, the Asian wallpapers and lacquer red trim details used throughout the rooms were as memorable as a yummy glass of bubbly.

Photo Credit: Simon Upton / The Interior Archive

So I very much looked forward to chatting about her new book over a refreshing iced tea break in the garden. The Decorated Home: Living with Style and Joy just makes you happy leafing through it’s pages.

This new addition to the world of decorating is so welcome for it is bright, uncomplicated and boasts an easy to understand format…which actually also mirrors the advice dispensed by Meg. Each chapter begins with a brief intro (in large typeface) punctuated with two-color key points dispensing Meg’s practical bon mots. Additionally, the clean, uncluttered images throughout are accompanied by full, explanatory captions, another well thought out concept for this book (as coincidences go, perhaps one reason I feel so “at home” with this book is that I’ve worked with some of her team in years past — Jill Cohen published my first book, Private Newport, and Doug Turshen designed my second book, Living Newport).

Photo Credit: Savage Gibson

As Charlotte Moss points out in her introduction, “there is a uniqueness to her process that draws from her ebullient personality.” Living with Style and Joy is not just a subtitle for Meg’s book but a true reflection of her sound, comforting decorating advice that informs her private side also.

Photo credit (clockwise from top left): Lisa Romerein II; Annie Schlecter; Lisa Romerein II/Getty Images; Lisa Romerein II/Getty Images; Annie Schlecter; Annie Schlecter.

A few of those inspired thoughts that I’ve enjoyed as I leafed through the book…

In pursuit of color… “The most intriguing paint colors are those that are just offbeat enough to catch your eye.”

Photo Credit: Thibault Jeanson

“Apricot is cheerful and welcoming, yet it lends the right degree of formality and elegance.”

Photo Credit: Savage Gibson

On that challenging topic of mixing patterns… “Like fashion (think Coco Chanel’s advice that after dressing, look in the mirror and take one thing off) pattern benefits from a good edit.”

Photo Credit: Tria Giovan

Also, “Layers of scale work best when you mix patterns.”

Photo Credit: Savage Gibson

Gracious dining…Meg and I share a passion for making entertaining easy; it’s about having everything accessible. And she adds a special note, “having a focal point in the dining room is grounding and adds a sense of intimacy. Remember, a dining room is a gift — not everyone has one, so you should enjoy it and share it.”

Photo Credit: Tria Giovan

Cheerful kitchen… “If your home lacks space for a separate breakfast room, try dressing up your island.”

Photo Credit: Savage Gibson

And closing with the chapter that sums it up…”It’s in the details — there’s something to be said for buying things you love first and incorporating them into the home later; believe me, it will come together over time.”

Photo Credit: Jeff McNamara

Trusting Meg Braff’s vision and taste may be one of the best things you do for yourself!

Thank you, Meg, for joining me at Parterre for a chat about all things design and joy-filled.

Featured Image Credit, Thibault Jeanson.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".