Jessie Davidson Interiors

Thicket by Jessie Davidson Interiors

Category: around-the-house

Around The House

Seasoned Designers

Two remarkable designers, who practice their hand-applied craft with seasoned skill, evoke inspiration in very different ways!

Matt Nafranowicz of the The Straight Thread has been developing a custom line of upholstered furniture under the name Designed & Built. Matt and partners are combining their design and construction knowledge to create "a collection of furniture designed and built in our workshop that is rooted in the ideals of the upper Midwest. It is understated and matter-of-fact."

I love the clean lines and unadorned simplicity of Matt's work. He has a great design eye and applies skills developed during his tenure as an apprentice in a Parisian Atelier.

In England, Marthe Armitage, artist and wallpaper designer, still prints papers on a lithographic press she has used since the 1960's. Marthe works tirelessly creating beautiful, intricate new designs that are now in a collection called Wit & Wisdom sold through Lewis & Wood .

March 22, 2015 by Jessie Davidson

Around The House

Murals Add Depth & Interest

Designers have been using murals for decades to spark interest and add illusion in dining rooms, grand entrance halls, even powder rooms. Familiar companies who have been creating hand painted papers for murals are Graciede Gournay, and Zuber to mention just a few. Gracie, founded in 1898 by Charles R. Gracie, remains today a family run business, an example of their craft is above. And, de Gournay makes fabulous artisan-created papers as well as elegant porcelain, custom furniture, and mirrors that are truly custom works of art. Enjoy this video segment from Zuber et Cie, it will give you an idea of how labor intensive creating these murals can be! 

I love watching the addition of pigment to a medium.  It’s a bit like cooking!

We recently approached a client’s entrance and stair hall with the idea of installing a wallpapered mural, but found that the space could be overwhelmed by the visual denseness of most murals.  Instead we commissioned a local artist, Julie Lawrence, to create a hand painted, garden inspired mural throughout the narrow space.  We were able to control the number of visual elements, their placement on the walls, and deliver specific plant material that the client loves.  It has become such a refreshing and open area, transitioning to the main living spaces of the home.  We’re all thrilled with the results!

March 14, 2014 by Jessie Davidson

Around The House

Light Animates

Have you ever noticed how happy a space becomes when the sun is streaming though the windows and the sky above is a shockingly vivid blue?  Have you noticed how warm and inviting a room becomes at night with appropriately placed, varying levels of artificial light?  Or, have you ever experienced a home or garden by candlelight alone?

Lighting, when placed properly, creates texture and animates interiors in such a wonderful way.  The days of the six inch can-light, reducing an average ceiling to rows of unsightly holes, are (thankfully) gone.  In a small living area, say 14 feet square, eight sources of light are needed to create texture, ambiance, and animation.  Table and floor lamps provide task lighting.  Wall sconces provide soft illumination in the periphery areas.  A wall-washer to two – small low voltage halogen cans - spotlight artwork.  And, a chandelier may provide general illumination.  Within this room the areas of light and low light make the space more interesting and eminently approachable. I pulled a few images from my portfolio, above and below, as a taste of these lighting concepts.

When summer arrives, try lighting your garden or terrace areas with candles alone.  I realized, after joining an evening candlelight garden walk in Charleston, that the light of candles provides the most beautiful and compelling way to experience an evening outdoors.

I can’t resist the opportunity to feature some of my favorite companies that create superb light fixtures…Enjoy!

1.) Charles Edwards – Peter Pan Lantern

2.) Charles Edwards – Montpellier Lantern

3.) Soane – Owl Lantern 

4.) Collier Webb – Scallop Light Sconce 

5.) Richard Scofield Lighting – English Box Sconce 

6.) Urban Electric Co. – Lucien Ceiling Light 

7.) Soane - Reading Wall Light with Swivel 

*Images from Jessie Davidson Interiors and the above listed lighting craftsmen.

January 09, 2014 by Jessie Davidson

Around the House

That Little House in Camden, Maine

The little house in Maine, now dubbed “Three”, is significantly done.  This is tricky business for creative types because nothing is ever really done, but just a project in perpetual motion.

Of course there are the usual things gone awry; yet, overall it looks relaxed, minimal, light filled, and very calming.  I haven’t had time to throw myself on the sofa to read a great book, but that will happen soon….with luck!

We used Farrow & Ball Pointing on the walls, Lamproom Gray on the floor, and Benjamin Moore Wickham Grey on the ceilings.  The only exception is the ceiling of my bedroom which is a whisper of dusty pink and looks like the inside of a shell.

I can’t wait for my friend, Julie, accomplished artist, curator of color and style, to add her painted design to the kitchen floor!

Garden design will be the next step in this process so I will keep you updated in the coming months.

November 18, 2013 by Jessie Davidson

Around The House

Maine Cottage House Tour

I went to camp in Maine when I was twelve.  I remember loving the crisp chilly mornings, clear skies, the fragrance of pine, and the ice cold lake where we sailed and took water skiing lessons.  What a treat!

Fast forward to seven years ago when I had the distinct opportunity to design a client’s home in Maine . My love of the state was immediately rekindled, and I recently bought a tiny ugly duckling of a cottage in the picturesque harbor town of Camden.  So here begins the saga of a project…..there isn’t an interior designer around that can resist one, right? Welcome!

You must know that ugly it is; and, a cottage it is not.  In Maine when one refers to their cottage it is a very grand shingle style home, preferably on the water, architect designed and built at the turn of the 20th Century.  Mine is a “wee” thing that in time will be cute, built in stages around 1920-30.  Our images show you what is being torn apart before the “new” emerges.  With luck, next month’s blog post will present the new ever-so-tiny home near the harbor, so please stay tuned!

August 26, 2013 by Jessie Davidson

Around the House

Novels and Nosegays

We have had such an amazing spring this year in the Midwest and Northeast with lots of rainfall and cool temperatures…..creating flowers and blankets of green as far as the eye can see!  This leads my thoughts to floral creations everywhere; those made by nature and those manmade in the likeness of nature.

Nosegays - lovely little bouquets of blossoms, herbs, wildflowers, and greenery - make lovely gifts and surprising accents in your home.  The term nosegay dates back to the fifteenth century when these diminutive arrangements given as gifts were considered an ornament or gift to the nose!

Some also refer to the term tussie-mussie, a small flower arrangement commonly given in Victorian times as a gift with special meaning.  Each flower represents a human attribute, so to decode your tussie-mussie was to read the message of the giver.  A wonderful read is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. You’ll  enjoy the novel and  learn the meaning of different flowers.

If you just can’t bear to clip stems, change water, and generally care for little floral arrangements in your home, look for Diane James Designs. As you can see from these images, her faux floral arrangements are lovely and extremely realistic.

June 17, 2013 by Jessie Davidson

Around the House

Adelaide Vaughan Furniture

Isn’t it intriguing how we tuck little visual and auditory memories into our brains and they pop out again from time to time without us really being startled by them?  My grandmother’s home was a visual treasure trove to me as a child, although I wasn’t really aware of it at the time. 

So, when I set out to design upholstered seating that was comfortable, well-scaled, and suited to more traditional homes, I dove into those visual memories for inspiration.  I also had clients who needed seating that was more adaptable to assorted spaces than the oversized chairs and sofas that have dominated the market for decades.  The first piece that emerged was the scallop-skirted small club chair named Adelaide after my grandmother Adelaide B. Davidson. 

Since its inception the Adelaide Vaughan  line has grown to six chairs, one chaise, and several ottomans. Everything is custom made, so design details can easily be tweaked and sizes shifted slightly to suit the needs of the customer.  The inspiration for each piece has been something historical….a chair purchased at an antique fair in France or an image of a great chair from the late nineteenth century.  My pieces integrate well in many settings from living rooms to bedrooms.

Enjoy perusing the furniture section of our website for ideas and details.  Or pick up a copy of the March/April issue of Victoria Magazine where you will find a feature article on Adelaide Vaughan Furniture. I am delighted to share these pieces with you! 

April 10, 2013 by Jessie Davidson

Around The House

Alpaca Dreaming

When the earth is covered in a blanket of snow and the thermometer doesn’t raise its little head above fifteen degrees, my thoughts go to yummy-soft and cozy fabrics. What better comfort than to wrap up in something soft and warm to spend a few hours reading, cup of tea in hand?

Alpaca is a clear favorite for its extreme softness and warmth. The best socks I have ever been given are made of alpaca!

We visited Alicia Adams at the New York Gift Show last month. She raises alpacas on her farm in upstate New York and makes some of the most sumptuous throws, shawls, cowls and sweaters. Check out the beautiful images of her farm, family, and products at her site:

Alta Pampa offers their Baby Alpaca fabric to the trade (in Chicago through Holland & Sherry) and it is so insanely soft I can think only of pillows and throws!

Sandra Jordan, who operates from Healdsburg, California in the Russian River Valley (for those of you who are wine lovers), offers an exquisite line of highly colorful alpaca/wool blends. I had a coat made from her fabric for which I continue to enjoy lots of compliments.

We’ve included gorgeous images from each of these companies but be sure to peruse their websites to get a feel for more of their wonderful products - you’ll be warm in no time!

February 13, 2013 by Jessie Davidson

Around The House

An Homage to Linen

Quite some time ago, I learned that linen is the most beautiful and varied fiber. One of my first memories of it was on Christmas as a child, watching my grandmother, Adelaide Davidson, opening presents from friends that invariably were monogrammed hankies and tea towels. I think it was their gift of choice to each other, and what a lovely one at that! I am now the lucky recipient of many of those beautiful old monogrammed linens and enjoy having them a part of my daily life. If you take care of linen, it lasts a very long time!

Fast forward a few years and I discovered that linen sheets are one of the best kept secrets that unfortunately so few people know about! They are yummy soft and keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Honest. Just think of the linen suits that men used to sport in the summer - and still do in the South. 

Many of the better bed linen suppliers offer linen sheets but don’t promote them to the American market. What a shame! I have long held that everyone should treat themselves at least once in their lifetime to a set of monogrammed linen sheets - they last forever and add an elegance and beauty to your every day living. Beware - once you have spoiled yourself there may be no going back to what you have previously known! 

Julia B, who specializes in particularly beautiful custom monogrammed bed and table linens, has a high quality linen that she uses for sheets, duvet covers and pillow shams. I have included a few pictures of the treasured pieces I have purchased from her as well as the link to her lovely new website - . I am happy to answer any questions you may have about sheeting and I hope you consider linen the next time you make a purchase for your bed. Sweet dreams!

January 06, 2013 by Jessie Davidson

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