Lessons in decorating your home from the Jersey Icecream Co.

I’m quite sure you’ve swooned over Beth Kirby’s & Skye McAlpine’s kitchens, but you might not know about the interior whizz kids who helped design them.

Tara Mangini and Percy Bright set up the Jersey Icecream Co. in 2010 and have rather quickly managed to carve out a very distinct feel to the spaces they decorate. There’s always something handmade and homey, textured and warm about their interiors. The duo, based in America, began decorating homes in the Hudson Valley taking farm houses and making them feel just the the right side of lived in.

For me, their skill lies in how they manage to take American houses – think big, glossy floors, thousands of spotlights, flimsy walls that have hardly aged – and make them look like they’ve been loved for generations.

That folky, rustic look isn’t actually as simple as it seems. A shabby chic dresser too many and baskets of eggs everywhere and the whole thing takes a nose dive towards a dreaded shabby-chic ‘theme’. So if you love what the Jersey Icecream Co. do, here’s a few pointers to get you started…

Use reclaimed wood

If you’re thinking about built in cupboards or built in anything quite frankly then consider opting for reclaimed boards or old shutters.

Distressed plaster walls

This is really their trademark.  They use a secret recipe of colour tinted gypsum plaster. If you like the look consider leaving some walls in raw plaster. If that feels too extreme lime wash can help to achieve a similar feel.

Panel it

This is the best way to add a layer of interest and texture to a room. If a house is lacking in period features this can really add some personality.

Darker paint on doors and woodwork

A really simple and inexpensive trick which turns the ‘rules’ of decorating on its’ head. If you’ve got your eye on some crittal steel doors but don’t quite have the funds to achieve it then this is your answer.

Add a portrait

The joy of a vintage oil painting knows no bounds.  Keep your eyes peeled whenever you’re at an antique or flea market. Failing that Ebay invariably comes up with a treasure if you spend long enough looking.


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Rachel Griffiths

Could live in all of this very happily