After living in a walk in brooklyn for 10 years, Taylor Swaim — who is the social media manager for perfume brands Mizensir Perfumes And The Creed House – was ready for a change. “I wanted to buy something of my own, and it wasn’t possible in town,” she says. “Then all of a sudden there was Covid and remote work, which brought me to this little corner of Connecticut.” Today, she gives us a peek inside her sunny home, which was built in the 1800s, with photos of Kate Jordan…
Table and chairs: vintage. Lantern: Target, similar.
On fortuitous moments: When I came across this house, it ticked both of my house search boxes: it was a historic house And was not a complete gut job. I made an offer, not expecting to get it (the market was competitive), so I was thrilled when it worked.
From an unexpected friendship: There’s a groundhog in the garden who’s really comfortable with me. It’s fun and boring. He likes to sit on my back steps and sunbathe like a dog, which is cute, but he also undoes my yard work.
Dining chairs and covers: Ikea, similar. Table: vintage, “passed down by my grandmother”.
On a route that will please everyone: A typical Saturday in the summer, when friends come to visit, take them to a nearby town and have breakfast at The Po Cafe. This is an excellent restaurant built in the old post office building in town. Then we will take a morning hike and stop at the Farmer’s Market. The markets here are out of this world.
On easy hosting: Back in New York, I used to be more valuable when hosting people — like having the perfect cheese platter or the perfect spread. Now that I’m older, I’ve realized it’s so nice when people pass by on a whim, and we relax with a bottle of wine and random snacks. It’s really more about enjoying the people you’re with and less about having everything flawless, which was a learning curve from my 20s to 30s.
To find your personal design style: I try not to limit myself to a specific style or get all my pieces from one place. Instead, I allow myself to gravitate towards what touches me. The pieces that make you happy will always work in your home. This is what makes the design timeless.
Artistic portraits: Josh Young.
On an affordable art hack: I’ve been known to buy art books and the exact photos I like of them and frame them. That’s where it Photo by Paul McCartney came from.
On favorite reads: I love the author Mary Karr – she wrote The Liars Club, which is a wonderful anecdotal memoir about family. And I still read David Sedaris during the Christmas period, especially Holidays on ice.
On bookmarked desserts: I recently invited some friends over and served a delicious cardamom and citrus cake. It contains olive oil and yogurt, gluten-free almond flour and a beautiful blood orange glaze.
Cooking with the seasons: Now that we’re heading into summer, I love anything with tomatoes in it. My friends have always had an “annual tomato party” in August – it’s a dinner party where every recipe has tomatoes in it.
Copper fish: vintage, similar.
On small claims to fame: Television writer Amy Sherman-Palladino based Gilmore Girls on this area of Connecticut. They even talk about our town — Woodbury — on the show! Every once in a while I’ll put on an episode to laugh and capture those moments when they mention our town by name.
THE DINING ROOM
Couch: pottery barn. Pillow: vintage. Runner: Carpets eSale. Lamp: Martha Stewart for Kmart, similar. Parisian illustration: “a gift from my friend Josh Youngthis is my old address when I lived in Paris.
On decoration advice for the youngest: I look at my former Cup of Jo home tour, and while I still love it, there are a few things I see now and think “Oh my God, that was such a specific moment in design time!” Like the herringbone rug. I loved it back then, but it was so trendy.
Living in a historic district: The house next door was built in the 1600’s and the closest house in the mid 1700’s. My house is the ‘youngest’ which is crazy to think. The street is beautiful and full of old charm.
GUEST BEDROOM DOWNSTAIRS
Painting: Tate Olive by Benjamin Moore. Bed frame, side table and wardrobe: vintage. Chandelier: antique, “passed down from my grandmother”. Drapery: western elm. Pillows: The Indians, similar. Comforter: Ordinary goods. Portrait: ancient of garden lifestyle. Picture light: Amazon.
On special parts: This portrait is moody and adds drama, – she is such a regal looking woman! I wanted the room to match her mood, so I went with the green paint. But once I hung it on the wall, it faded into the wall. This light give him more punch. It also provides a beautiful evening glow.
GUEST ROOM ON THE FLOOR
Bedding: Doen, similar. Gingham pillowcase: The Indians. Side table, lamp, mirror: vintage. Horse illustration: Souvenir Longines Paris Horse Show. Basket: Target. Floral art : Paint by numbers (“I did this during lockdown, and it was featured in CoJ cozy corners!”).
On feminine energy: In the 1990s, a mother and her two daughters lived here. In fact, they stopped after I moved in. They were so happy to have another woman take care of the house because they put a lot of effort into it and they said the house had a feminine energy. It made me feel warm and fuzzy.
Make your inner child proud: I call this my ‘Grown-up Horse Girl’ room. I started riding in elementary school and was part of the equestrian team in middle school. I won these ribbons when I was a kid. But being a rider in the 90s was something I felt shy about and kept secret; I never told my friends about it and I didn’t show my ribbons. But, as an adult, I’m like, ‘You know what, I still really like horses!’ This part of my life will always be important to me, so it deserves a place in my home.
On the beauty of slowing down: I like to listen to music in the morning, light a candle, sip my coffee and start the day slowly. In New York, my morning routine was: wake up, drink coffee, go to gym class, and rush to the office. Waking up to the light and enjoying the morning has been such a great change.
Jewelry holder: whirlpool fish.
On fresh scents: I work for a company that works with perfume brands, so I can try different perfumes and candles. I am currently wearing Parisian music, which is woody and musky with a bit of floral. In my mind, that’s exactly what a cool Parisian would smell like.
As a solo owner: Ever since I bought this place, I’ve felt a lot of ‘Oh my God, are you doing this on your own? Are you a single woman buying a house? From a financial point of view, it’s a bit daunting. But the reward is that it’s all up to me. If I want to paint a room olive green, I can. If I want to sleep in flowery sheets, I can. It’s good to have that freedom.
On finding happiness outside of the traditional roadmap: In my twenties, I assumed that buying a house was a stepping stone after marriage. But my life has not followed this trajectory; and the older I got, the more I realized ‘I can still have the life I envisioned, even if some boxes aren’t checked.’ And it’s a wonderful experience to not be afraid to go out and live the life you want, on your own.
Thank you so much, taylor! Your house is magnificent.
(Photos of Kate Jordan for the Cup of Jo.)
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