We sat down last week with friend and owner of our favorite new antique store, Gray House Antiques in Manchester-by-the-sea, Massachusetts. We loved hearing her perspective on interior design, antiques, and how she styled our products in her own home. Enjoy!
Design Philosophy & Style
Tell us about your personal design philosophy for your own home? What kind of an environment are you trying to create? Does this differ from what you collect for your store?
I grew up in Belgium which is usually pretty cold and damp. We have long winters here in New England. I try to create environments that are warm with a lot of visual layers. I like that an eye can discover something new in a room even after having visited it many times. My shop is essentially an extension of my home. Everything I have in the shop is something I would have in my own home.
What are 3 words to describe your style?
Collected, cozy, easy
Favorite design advice?
Fill up a room slowly. You'll end up with a better result.
Where do you find the most inspiration?
I like to mix a lot of eras and places of origin. Travel is a constant inspiration for me. But looking at great design books and instagram accounts are probably how I spend most of my time. I also subscribe to a lot of shelter magazines. House and Garden UK is my favorite.
Favorite Spaces & Finds
What is your favorite room and/or space in your home, and why?
My living room. It just feels like a warm hug. It holds a lot of my favorite pieces that I've found over the years.
Favorite/least expensive treasure you’ve found?
I love antique children's chairs. They are more interesting to me tucked under a console table than the standard matching ottoman approach. I've found a couple of them for next to nothing over the years.
Most favorite splurge?
A pair of 19th century portraits I found at an antique shop on Charles St. in Boston. I like to make up stories about their relationship and personalities. I love them. They make me laugh.
Favorite home item that you found while traveling?
An old, gilded reclining Buddha carving. I found it at an antique store in Luang Prabang, Laos. It's not particularly old or valuable, but I was shopping with my father and it's a nice memory of that day. It now sits in my office built-ins.
Any trends that you don’t care for? Or design pet-peeves that you have?
Hmm not really! You do you. That's how you'll end up with a space that makes you happy.
Your favorite local place/places to source materials/furniture/etc for your home?
The Boston Design Center is wonderful. I love browsing fabrics at Studio 534.
Your favorite faraway place/places to source materials/furniture/etc for your home?
Maine. Maybe that's not very faraway, but my girls manage to make most places feel very far away when we're all in the car together!
What is your favorite Artemis Design Co. item, and why?
Women's slippers. I love them. I wear them three out of four seasons of the year. They are very easy to pop on and go.
Best advice you've ever received?
Bring a cardigan
What is your favorite book, and why?
The Frog and Toad series. I loved them as a child and now my six-year-old and I read them together. It fills my heart.
Cannot live without?
Howard Feed N Wax furniture polish