Instagram has such a wonderful way of bringing people together, and today I’m delighted to share the home of Phaedra Brown @houseandgardendog where she shares glimpses into her “layered, collected, colorful, pattern-filled, English country cottage inspired, a-house-is-not-a-home-without-a-dog-and-flowers world.” Phaedra does not have professional interior design training, yet she has created a beautiful home worthy of any shelter magazine. Gracing the interiors is Phaedra’s adorable West Highland Terrier, Wellie. You will definitely want to follow her adventures on Instagram, and today you can get to know more about Phaedra through our Q&A, below! Welcome, Phaedra!
Q: Please tell us about your home and what you have done with it since purchasing.
A: We live in a traditional style home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It was a semi-custom spec home built in the mid 2000’s that the previous owners purchased to live in temporarily while their permanent residence was being constructed. It had good bones and a neutral base. We’ve added more classic elements – wood floors in lieu of carpet (except for my Stark Antelope carpet in the family room), limestone and Belgian blue stone checkered floors in the sunroom and mudroom and crown molding throughout. We also added a fireplace to the dining room, plus paneling, a new mantelpiece and custom painted tile to the bedroom fireplace. Paint has made a tremendous impact. We’ve done a lot of landscaping and gardening as well as some hardscaping. We’re getting ready to gut our primary bathroom which I am really excited about.
Q: Do you have any professional design training? If not, how did you learn?
A: I don’t have any design training. When I was little, I loved to rearrange the doll house furniture more than I wanted to play with the dolls themselves and I do also remember drawing elaborate floor plans. My parents and I used to tour model homes for fun. I’ve always loved looking at magazines and that grew into a love for design books. I think it’s important to understand good design and why things work, even if they aren’t to your specific taste. There is so much to learn and absorb from studying and appreciating beautiful interiors.
Q: How do you define your style?
A: I’d call it a layered and colorful traditional style with an English influence – I love the vibe of English country homes and their bold and sometimes unexpected blending of colors and patterns. There is an appealing looseness to English interiors that doesn’t feel as intentional as American design often is. I love a wonderfully collected look that is full of pattern play.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: Books, magazines, IG… I love to read or watch interviews with designers and hear about their processes. I also love to shop and hunt for things, both in person and online. Looking at beautiful things is always inspiring. Following “tastemakers” – not just for décor, but for their beautiful gardens, flower arrangements and tables can help you enhance your own lifestyle. Think Christopher Spitzmiller, James Farmer, Charlotte Moss and Jenny Rose Innes…
Q: Who are your favorite designers (past and present)?
A: It is hard to narrow down, but here are a few! Bunny Williams – I loved getting to meet her and see her Connecticut home a few years ago. Mario Buatta – I love how he could stuff a room with such enticing layers and color! Cathy Kincaid, Markham Roberts, Matthew Carter. Gil Schafer. Jeffrey Bilhuber, Miles Redd, Tom Scheerer. And the English influences – Ben Pentreath, Emma Burns, Daniel Slowik… I could go on and on!
Q: What are some of your favorite treasures in your home, and why?
A: My stained-glass door panels that my parents commissioned for us as an anniversary present. The Hunt Slonem Bunny painting my husband bought me for Christmas a few years ago. A vintage Hermes Westie ashtray that I spent years hunting for. A tiny chinoiserie lamp that was on my grandma’s telephone table (I wish I had the table too!) and my antique scorched bamboo pieces.
Q: Do you have any favorite collections?
A: I collect Westie needlepoint and artwork. The paintings cover our mudroom walls and I am almost out of space! I’ve been lucky to have been gifted several portraits of both Wellie and my Angel Dempsey that I had before him. I absolutely love lamps and can never pass up a beautiful one, even if I don’t have a spot for it. I’d say we have about 75 in use right now. I love having books everywhere because I like to read and I’m always adding to my collection. I hope one day to have a large library full of books. Right now, they are spread out throughout the house. I love rows of books behind glass. I also love to buy vintage china, especially cabbageware, to mix and match.
Q: Your Westie is so precious! What is your secret to living elegantly with pets?
A: Good manners! No, seriously, dogs need to be trained. I also believe in crate training for puppies. They make beautiful crate covers that can spruce up a metal crate and make it easier to look at. Buy dog beds for different rooms that will fit in with your décor. Throw a colorful quilt or blanket on your sofa if you’re worried about the fabric. And a gorgeous Persian rug will hide a multitude of sins and add so much visual warmth. My go-to rug source is @suzanne.the.rug.dealer . And why have ugly toys when they make so many adorable ones?
Q: What are 5 every day luxuries you could not live without?
A: My morning iced coffee. Fresh flowers (even better when they are from your own garden). The glow from a beautiful lamp. We have lamps on timers in most rooms. Feeding the birds year-round. I love watching them. A beautiful candle. I love Baobab and Nest. And a myrtle topiary. You’ll find you can’t have just one!
Q: When you aren’t busy decorating, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I love gardening and putting together flower arrangements. I love an exuberant, cottage-style garden. I think garden design is as important as interior design and the two should correlate for a cohesive feel. I love to read. And I’m working on my needlepoint skills so that I can complete a game table top I purchased years ago. I’d love to do a chinoiserie-inspired backgammon board but I’m not there yet!
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: Thank you so much for having me! The Glam Pad is the only blog I read. I’m especially jealous you got to interview Mario! It’s an honor to be featured.
Thank you, Phaedra, for joining us today! Your home is proof that you don’t have to be a designer to have great style.
For ongoing inspiration, please follow @houseandgardendog on Instagram.