Decorating with Neutral Colors | Home Style
An eclectic swirl of styles is at work in the living room, where the tables are deliberately worn–as they are throughout the house–to a weathered patina. “We chose them that way, so a few more scratches or dings won’t ever hurt them,” McGuill says. In fact, aged-to-perfection surfaces are found in almost every corner here. Against one wall sits a giant mirror crisscrossed with elegant, cathedral-like framing that McGuill unearthed one year at the Brimfield Antique Show. “It’s one of my favorite things in the house,” she says. “It just opens up the room.” Brimfield is a major source of inspiration. McGuill rhapsodizes about “stumbling on unique pieces that don’t look like much at first–vintage bird prints for $5 apiece, say–and creating galleries out of them that I know I won’t see in any home-furnishings catalogue.”
Hazy washes of light pour in through the sunroom just off of the all-white kitchen, where McGuill sits at the table. She’s thinking about color again, or the absence of it. “Every piece of artwork or furniture comes to life with white,” she says. “Even when you paint furniture white, it takes on a certain place of importance. When all of these elements work together, nothing stands out, so everything flows.”
There’s more evidence just to her left, in the dining room–the only room without white walls, yet it continues the flow with light-taupe walls and mismatched ironstone ceramic pitchers. “I wanted a little less of a country feel in here,” McGuill explains, walking over to her shelves. “Bringing in different eras and feelings can be just as effective as bringing in different textures and colors.”
That might be the best explanation for the funky retro-’50s sign that spells out “GUESTS” in neon letters. A score that McGuill found at a bed-and-breakfast in New Jersey years ago, it’s a fitting emblem to hover over a dining room that feeds so many friends and family members. And even though it couldn’t be more stylistically different from so many natural, rustic things around it, it still works within the mix: the sign’s hot glow against the cool walls, the smoothness of the glass against the worn table.
“The way we live, nothing is off-limits,” McGuill says. “I love design and I love our home, but most of all, I love the people in it.”