Jane's dining room features my dream wallcoverings... Scenes of North America, by Zuber.
Q: How to you go about creating an elegant home that stands the test of time?
A: First, you must take into account the architecture of the home. Once you respect the architecture, the decoration should work in tandem. An understated, quietly elegant, and especially comfortable room will always stand the test of time.
A Buccelatti sterling tea service and William Yeoward hurricanes grace an 18th century English serpentine sideboard. The Hart mirror is from 1850.
Jane sets an elegant tablescape pairing Herend Rothchilds Bird Blue with Bunny champagne flutes from William Yeoward.
Q: What influenced you to become an interior designer?
A: It was more like "whom" influenced me. Here is a long winded answer to your question. As a young girl, I would visit my grandmother who had a wonderful 1920's brick Georgian with superb bones. My memories will always be of her walking around the house balancing fabric and wallpaper swatches with her decorator! Such Fun! They had the most engaging conversations (eavesdropping was allowed), and the ideas were flowing. Before I knew it, I was simply drawn into the romance of decorating. I simply could not wait to see the finished results which were stunning! She is the only one I can remember, who had a "summer and winter" look back then. The carpets were rolled up in the summer, and out came the white linen slipcovers with sisal rugs. It always felt cool and inviting. The living room fashioned dark green lacquered walls with tons of blue and white porcelains. This prompted my love of porcelains, especially anything blue and white from that day forward!
St Antoine from Farrow & Ball is an elegant choice for a classic entryway.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration?
A: Fortunately, I had the opportunity to travel overseas extensively at an early age. This enabled me to fall in love with different cultures and walk away with a more fine tuned aesthetic. My passion for history and art history increased my vocabulary of preferred shapes and colors. An enjoyable pastime with my husband is antiquing in and around Connecticut, as well as in our travels.
Gould hummingbird prints, a John Boone lamp with french knotted Abat Jour shade, and Herend trays accent a mid 19th century English Pembroke table.
Q: What are your go-fabrics, paint color, wallcoverings, linens etc.?
A: Wow! Those are complicated questions! So many fabulous choices, and so much depends on the palette and design direction of a project. For fabrics, I am partial to the prints of Bennison, and over the past couple of years, I have fallen in LOVE with the Blithfield linen prints. Both fabric companies have created timeless patterns and colorways conducive to a classic interior. My favorite textured fabrics and solids are from Holland & Sherry and Rogers & Goffigon. I simply love working with natural fibers.
Beautiful 16th century Delft garniture and an American 19th century oil painting.
Paint colors are so subjective, and even an emotional decision. Depending on your thoughts on color, and your overall visual goals, you want to make sure there is a flow from room to room. A monochromatic scheme allows you much more flexibility and the opportunity to highlight furnishings or an art collection. My " go to" paint companies are Farrow & Ball and Donald Kaufman. Both color collections allow you the flexibility for rich colors depending on the hue.
Wallcoverings are an effective way to bring color, and pattern to your walls as an alternative to paint. Recently, I paperbacked an overall Bennison pattern, "Pomegranate" in blue and white for a formal powder room. The effect was impressive without being over done.
Bennison Pomegranate (image via Jane Ellsworth)
I LOVE linens both for tabletop and bedding! Once the colors have been established for the bedrooms, dining, breakfast room etc., I like to work with Leron and E. Braun. For the everyday linens you need for guest rooms and secondary bedrooms, you cannot go wrong with some of the specialty linen shops around our area.
A small scaled Chippendale Lady’s Secretary holds a lovely collection of Rose Famille porcelain.
Q: What are your favorite interior design books?
A: In no special order...
- The Finest Rooms by America's Great Decorators by Russell
- House & Garden's Best in Decoration
- Colefax and Fowler by Chester Jones (a HUGE fan of John Fowler and Nancy Lancaster!)
- Frances Elkins: Interior Design by Stephen Saliny
The pages are divinely faded and edges are worn after many hours of pouring over every detail.
Q: What are the five classic design elements you feel every home should have?
A: 1. Structure a room, and then lighten it up
2. Scale and Color Integrity
3. Visual Richness and textured value
4. Sense of Romance and Grace
5. Select an object either furniture or accessory that can become a piece of sculpture
Q: Do you have any favorite collections or antique treasures?
A: My love of porcelains started early, so I have a extensive collection of Delft, and Canton, a homage to my passion for blue and white! Our home in Nantucket houses a large collection of folk art and vintage decoys.
Q: When you are not busy designing, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
A: That's an easy question! I've been playing the piano most of my life, so whenever I have a break in my day, you will find me trying to carve out precious time to practice! My other passion is golf. As a single digit golfer, I try and escape and hit the links whenever possible. Growing up this was a family pastime, and now I can enjoy this will my husband and children.
Needlepoint pillows from Jane's Nantucket home. "I love to needlepoint whether I am watching TV, and it's the best for traveling," she said. Image via Jane Ellsworth.