In theory it's pretty easy to style a house for photography so that it appears lived in. Bring in some food and fresh flowers, put some croquet mallets in the entry, and casually toss a handbag on a chic bench. But just because there are kids and dogs in residence, it doesn't mean the chef quality range is ever turned on. Do you think it's possible to tell the difference between a home that has been staged to look used versus one that truly is? Bunny Williams says rooms that are used acquire a soul.
One of the published houses that has always felt authentically lived in to me is Kristen Panitch's. Beverly Hills-based architect Gerald Colcord, active from 1924 to 1984, originally designed it, and Grey Crawford captured it for Elle Decor, June 2005. (A book on Colcord's work is now available.)
Another home that definitely feels loved is the Rheinstein's. So, as a shout out to Mrs. Blandings and her recent research into the field of outdoor furniture, here are some images from that L.A. house (via Southern Accents).
Shown below, the Rheinstein porch via House Beautiful. Click here to learn more about the chairs.
Below is an image cropped from House Beautiful, part of a feature on the home of Suzanne Rheinstein's friend Courtnay Daniels. It always reminds me of Nancy Lancaster and her penchant for putting homey things like dog beds in formal entries.
I also think Betsy Burnham's house has soul (In Style Home, 2005, photography by Lisa Romerein).
And staged or spontaneous, this shot of Kristen Buckingham's dining room is still one of my favorites for the year so far. (Simon Upton for Elle Decor, March 2009.)