I have always loved Kathleen Kelley’s brownstone apartment in the 1998 movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. I can’t believe it’s 16 years ago! It still looks very charming though. It looks light-filled, cozy and bespoke. You don’t often hear that term used to apply to home decor, but it just means that it is tailored, or made to suit. It’s partly because of the built -in bookcases and window seat, but also because of the paint colours and fabrics, and furniture. The colour scheme is maily creamy white and white with honey toned woods and teal green accents. It looks a little Scandinavian-country in design.
Elements of Design:
Here we see the open concept bedroom space. Kathleen Kelly’s personality shines through in the array of prints and quilts and piles of books. Some yellows and pinks are dabbled through the fairly nuetral palette, just to bring a cheery touch. The distressed cabinet adds a shot of pretty colour and style. This end of the apartment doesn’t have wainscoting, but still has the deep baseboards.
At the other end of the apartment we see the sofa vingette. Another pretty print on the slip cover, and more on the cushions. It all looks very feminine. The daisies are Kathleen’s favourite flower, and they look right at home here, adding a casual, cheerful presence. Now we also see the rich wainscotting. It is painted the same colour as the off white wood trim and cupboards. The wall above is cream, creating a light and spacious feel. Simple sheer curtains were used throughout, allowing the beautiful woodwork to be seen.
I love the retro kitchen. It’s tiny but it packs alot of style. In New York, unless you have a substantial housing budget, you have to make the best of a small kitchen. And it can work for one person at a time. I love the old stove. And it goes great with the checkerboard tiles. The colours are perfect, and perhaps form the starting point for the apartment’s colour scheme.
This is another shot of the kitchen. You would almost think you were in Paris or Rome with it’s old world charm. The window definitely amps up the charm factor. The little distressed table and the white enamelware tins take it into retro-country. Accessories play a big role in the decor. The soft peach walls and teal accents look fresh, and coordinate with the floor tiles. The French doors, seen in the foreground add old world charm. The woodwork is fabulous in this apartment, and you can see a little of the floral motif behind the glass door. These rosettes in the middle of the door frames is something that we saw in Sherlock Holmes’ brownstone as well.
The Devil is in the Details:
Here we see the rosette in a closer photo, and the amazing woodworking detail. We also get a small glimpse of the bathroom. All we can see is the lovely sink cabinet with the old style latches, marble countertop, and pretty sconces. There is a floral theme in the decor, seen in most of the artwork, the fabrics, the woodwork, and in the vase seen in the photo above.
Take Away Lesson:
When coming up with a decorating plan take your cues from the permanent fixtures. In this case cream and white creates an envelope for traditional decor accented with the same teal that is found in the kitchen floor tiles. Going with a traditional decor flows from the beautiful woodwork and 19th century architectural elements of the brownstone style.
Most importantly, go with what you like and feel comfortable with. As we saw in last week’s blog, Sherlock’s brownstone followed a completely different design plan, creating a tension between the traditional elements of the brownstone and the modern, iconic furnishings. That suited his character in a way that Kathleen Kelly’s home never would- two completely different stories.