Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Vital Signs

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.)


La Maison Fou said...

I love the simple fresh kitchen in the 2rd pic. I too loved that dog from HB.

Laura Casey Interiors. said...

I feel like when a well lived in room has been staged for a photo shoot something always comes through- be it an extra wrinkle in the linen or faint footprints on the floor. Post well done.

Style Court said...

Laura -- that's a really good point. I'm going to start looking for those kinds of details.

Leslie -- it's hard to resist babies and dogs :)

Mrs. Blandings said...

I'd like to think I can tell. I loved Michael Bastain's (sp - too lazy to check) apt. in domino because it looked so real.

I have that Daniels image in my file, too. A perfect entry.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Thanks, as always, for the shout out!

Style Court said...

I wish i had a large format, crystal clear version of that "Michael" video too. On the all time fave list.

le style et la matière said...

There are some home magazines I won't buy because the pictures of interiors look too stilted. I like to see a room breathe.
PS I just published a post on a variant of the peacock armchair and so put in a link to your discussion from 7th May.

Found said...

great post! kristen panitch's home has been in my favorite file for the past couple of years and i am delighted to learn more about the architect. i also love the image of buckingham's dining leaves me wanting to know more about that family, especially that poodle. xo, caitlin

Cote de Texas said...

i think you can def. tell when a house is staged by real estate people for the sale photos. yuck.

what gorgeous pictures. I'm going to get that book - never heard of it = the cover alone is reason enough to buy it.

erika said...

I think when I'm looking at a well-styled home... the word "styled" never comes to mind... usually it's done so well I feel as though they have just brought in the cameras and gone to town... caught the home in it's natural state. Hard to do, but when it's done all you want to do is transplant yourself into the image and live life with those folks. Speaks volumes that most of the time, these homes that are so perfectly styled are those of designers.
Wonderful post... as always!

Style Court said...

Thanks Erika!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

They're all the most beautiful homes, and like you say -they have that soul of being lived in! You don't have to have an ugly house for it to be lived in (something I feel is sometimes hard to convince clients of!). Practical can be beautiful!

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Yes, yes, yes! It's the scuff marks, wine stains and rumpled pillows that reveal the soul of a home, not the polished dining table that no one's ever eaten at or the unused La Cornue eight-burner range.

And I think I have to get that Colcord book now... thanks for pointing it out (not). :) xx

Brillante Home Decor said...

It is so true that some magazines publish only museum style rooms and then in others you see gorgeous rooms where you feel at home immediately.
Good point!