A House into a Home

As I tell my clients, every one has his or her own style.  As a designer, it's my job to identify it, envision it, amplify it, and then bring that style to life. However, there comes a time in every designer’s career when they have the privilege to come across what I like to call, their “Decorating Doppelgänger." For those of you who aren’t familiar with this German phenomenon, a Doppelgänger is defined as one’s counterpart in a living person. More than three years ago, I was lucky enough to meet mine.  



Mary Jo Anderson was my first client. She liked my home and said, “Hey you should decorate for a living! Start with my house!” She took a risk on me and it was fortunately a match made in Red Bird (that’s a Newburyport store joke;). Yes, Mary Jo is my client but it’s definitely a simpatico partnership.

Aside from sharing the same style (minus a few tweaks, she likes clean-lines while I like antiques!), I credit another commonality that makes us true decorating doppelgängers. No matter how much we adore beautiful objects, we share the same mindset, “The most important thing about a home is who we share it with.”

Whether it was their modest urban apartment, their charming seaside boathouse, or now, a grand Nantucket-style home, the Anderson's possess a fabulous yet grounded way of life. It’s a sort of chic but casual lifestyle that’s beautiful in it’s own contradiction.

For example, as I’ve walked through the front door of each home, the same backdrop comforts me. The kids run wild and crack up while jazz music crackles in the background. A humorous florescent portrait of their dog hangs above their cozy linen sofa. We drink Coors Lite in Koozies with fancy cheeses on a marble cutting board. It’s these conflicting scenes that make their house truly a home and better yet, interesting!

The best part? That front door behind me never really closes. It’s constantly revolving, welcoming different friends and family with open arms. Mary Jo creates the type of home that is aesthetically stunning yet her guests feel comfortable enough to raid the fridge. Everything is chic but nothing is forbidden. This task is a hard balance to achieve and Mary walks that tight rope beautifully.

As my mom and I photograph the Anderson’s home, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride. Not because of our collective work but I'm proud of my very own Doppelgänger. She has finally created her dream home that reflects the life, family, and loved ones that she holds the highest in her heart.


So as Mary Jo says, "Come on in!"



A bumble bee for MJ's husband, head of house, and the host with the most.. Bryce Anderson!





In the design, we wanted to mix tropical materials with a clean look! For Portsmouth shoppers and timeless pieces, visit the The Weekender House








Below is a room that's off the entrance. At first, a sitting room seemed too formal for a laid-back fam but this room has turned into a hosting hub because of it's close proximity to the dining room!  (The leather chairs were a steal from Jordan's and even get better with age! -never judge a furnishing by it's label!;)  And who can resist a Tommy Bahama banana leaf pillow from Whitlock and Co.?









Alas!  The Dining Room. As you have probably heard me mention many a' time...lighting is everything!!  We debated on whether to do the single Darlana lantern from Circa Lighting or the linear alternative.  I'm so glad we went big!  Pst...this rustic farm/pedestal dining table ISN'T Restoration Hardware and it's half the $$$!







As we head into the family nucleus- the kitchen/family room, notice the tropical, airy materials.  It creates cohesiveness and a feeling of tranquility.   I've said it before and I'll say it again, neutrals are your friends!





I spy Allie & Chippy!





For this design Ivory & Bone favored Muralo Paint colors.  The rich hues evoke a calming vibe while allowing your art to take center stage. See Angela at Exeter Paint in Seabrook, NH, she's the best!



If you haven't been seeing green, take a closer look.  Sage Market + Design in Newburyport breathes it's beautiful life into every home it touches!  Whether it's their vibrant fiddle leaf figs, adorable succulents, or textured planters, their decor is transforming!  If there's anything I&B appreciates, it's bringing the outdoors in!















Mary Jo is notorious for anything that involves a quote or sentimental meaning!  She chooses specific art pieces that tell a story, her family's story.  She tastefully runs with these personal touches and it makes all the difference! (especially these Nautical signs by local artist, Lauren Rathebone and the adorable customizable prints by Simple b).














A Master in the works...(stay tuned!)



A geography nut...

MJ best4


A courageous lovebug...

MJ best


The soon-to-be cherry on top!

MJ best1


Thank you to the Anderson family for your never-ending support.

~ Ivory & Bone