Clare's cape cod

In late October I had a kaffee klatsch with reader Clare, who is British and lives in London, but oh so coincidentally also has a second home in Lee, Mass., just one town over!

kaffee klatsch

Actually, we had two klatsches (and drank tea): First Clare came to my house and got the tour. Then I went to visit her – descending with camera in hand practically frothing after some serious retro recon. I apologize again, Clare! What a pushy broad I can be. But… I think we got on quite well, little chatterboxes who never stopped. Her husband ran screaming from the house. Oh, I mean, he went on a run.

Clare’s house is a little jewel box inside – you open the door, and voila, full of sparkling treasures. What I particularly liked was her amazing “graphic” eye. She has a real knack for using single images or pieces to really stand out to make an artistic statement. Kind of, less is more. And as you can see – very tidy. Normal, she say, even when guests with cameras aren’t coming.

Vintage wallpaper

Back to the graphics. This idea (above) is a great example: If you have just one precious role of vintage wallpaper, use it to cover one wall, with the wall color as ‘frame.’ The photo doesn’t do justice to Clare’s idea (my camera is bouncing too much light off the paper) – in reality, the installation reads almost ‘tone on tone’ with the wallpaper making just the right impact.

50s kitchen with avocado stove, range top and hood

And you can see Clare’s graphic touch in the kitchen as well – the beige subway tile with red accents – is repeated in the carpet squares… all unified with the vintage avocado appliances. Hurrah for avocado!

Don’t forget to call me when you’re back for Christmas, Clare!

  1. MrsPItcher says:

    Our first house was a 4 bedroom Cape Cod. We loved it only it was so small, we outgrew it after our second child was born! We now live in a lovely 3 bedroom rancher with tons more room and built in 1953, and the majority of it is original in excellent condition! Love a pink bathroom!

  2. clare says:

    nancyb, elvis is right, as he was about so much in life (the correct colour for suede shoes, the location of heartbreak hotel, the undesirability of cruelty…); the floor is from Flor. I have to say it marks really easily, and I’m not sure I’d buy it again, but I do like the design. Very easy to lay too, spit spot and you’re done.

    maddy123; thanks! I feel a bit of a fraud being on Pam’s lovely site, as we haven’t created something that’s totally authentic in the way that some of you guys have, but we do love the house and we’ve tried to stay true to its spirit. We fell in love with it the minute we walked through the door (the ding-dong doorbell helped). I adore the Fifties open-plan footprint of it, it’s so easy to live in. And the original bits we found, like the oven and the hob (as we say in Europe!), gave us a starting point for a bit of a style mash-up that reflects our Europeanness and also our love for midcentury style.

    sleepingbee: the cross-tube lights in the kitchen (there’s one over each window) are another thing that are uber-modern but seem to fit the house perfectly. I bought them on sale at Design Within Reach (or Design Way Out of Reach as I prefer to think of it). They were one of the first things I bought, and I think I got the last two available, for about 45 dollars each; despite their extreme modernity they just seem to ‘go’. A bit like the Le Klint lightshade in the dining room which we bought in Copenhagen, carried on a plane from CPH to London, then another plane from London to Boston.

    elvis: too kind. I love ‘things’ but I have to be ruthless with myself; I’ve had to learn restraint the hard way. And I like to make little displays. So sue me.

    sumac sue: You’re very welcome! I wish I could have you all round for coffee, what a nice bunch you sound. That’s the nearest Pam could get me to the camera, by the way. And the bears ate one of my tiny pumpkins, that’s why they don’t balance. We’re not used to bears in London.

  3. Sumac Sue says:

    As I studied the photo of the wonderful exterior a second time, I noticed someone in the doorway — is that Clare? Thanks for welcoming us into your lovely home!

  4. elvis says:

    Beautiful home, Clare. I really like your restrained hand: sometimes I find the totally vintage look a bit over the top (sorry, Pam!)

    nancyb, I think the kitchen “floor” you asked about is actually Flor carpet squares. They’re great in the space!

  5. nancyb says:

    Adorable, but also chic… I love Cape Cods, always thought that would be our second-home upgrade, but alas never found the right one. Did you say if the kitchen floor is original? Love the pops of red!

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