My mom lives in Michigan — where we grew up — in a woodsy suburb. The past few years were tough: her house was in a fire and needed huge repairs. Then her beloved husband Harvey died in December. (We miss him so much.) As a small way to support her, we gave her home a little refresh — think: family photos and a velvety bed — to make it feel cheerful and soft for her next chapter. Take a look around…
On favorite meals: My husband and I cooked all the time, but now that it’s just me, I like oatmeal or avocado toast in the morning. I sometimes cook myself dinner, but mostly I’ll just have bread and cheese. I also make toast with Boursin and sautéed mushrooms, which is so good.
On trusty kitchenware: Back in 1980, we were living in France with baby twins, and I got a Le Creuset dutch oven for $25. Twenty-five dollars was expensive back then. I make TONS of things in it — chicken cacciatore, onion soup, bouillabaisse, sausage ragu pasta… But after 30 years of my using it all the time, the enamel started peeling off. So, I called the company, and they just sent me a new one!
On pictures of kids and grandkids: The gallery wall of my children lifts my spirits every single day. The grandchildren are just adorable. I love the snapshot of us in Manzanita, and Anton eating creme brûlée, and Toby and me in Maine, and everyone looks so smiley. My friend came over the other day and said, ‘You really have fun with your grandchildren!’
On a friendly table: I often bring my laptop here, so I can work next to the views of the woods. The nice thing about a round table is that you can really squeeze people in when they come to visit. I love how it feels sturdy, but the silhouette is light. I also like the pretty color of the wood. And the chairs’ pop of color feels like a theme going through the whole house — cheerful but still elegant.
On pendant lamps: I love the pendant lamp. It’s a tiny work of art. It’s very glowy, and even when it’s all the way on, it’s a soft light. When picking it out, it was hard to choose the color, but in the end the white felt airy and right.
On evening rituals: Right now, I’m watching Somebody Somewhere. I appreciate that it’s set in the Midwest, although the setting feels more rural than where I live in Michigan. The characters laugh all the time, but they still deal with real issues. My daughter Lucy has this sofa, so she recommended it. The brown color feels warm and rich. The back cushions also have a nice give, and the bench seat makes it comfy for watching TV.
On a soft space: This rug is gorgeous. Even though it has a raised circle pattern — which is beautiful — it’s so soft on my feet. And I LOVE having flowers in the house. I used to always say if I were super rich, I’d have flowers in every room and fresh sheets every day!
On pictures of Harvey: I have photos of my late husband all around the house, including the one on the mantlepiece, where I’m kissing him. Another one was from our wedding day, and there’s a picture of us laughing in our old kitchen. But the pictures don’t make me sad; I like to see him. I’m grieving how good it was, and when I see those pictures, I remember that. There’s that saying that love and grief are twins, and that’s true. How lucky was I to have that relationship?
On a comfy bed: I still sleep on the same side of the bed; I think I’ll always sleep on that side and will just rotate the mattress now and again. I love this velvet-y blue bed; it feels good to sit up against pillows and read. The sheets are buttery and indulgent, and the green duvet looks gorgeous with the trees outside the bedroom.
On night owl tendencies: I often stay up late to read or watch shows in bed. When it’s finally midnight and Wordle comes out, I start it at 12:01 and then go to sleep!
On living in Michigan: I enjoy having four seasons, although the winter is a little too long. But we have a beautiful fall and a beautiful spring. And there are so many lakes; I drive past lakes every day. I loved raising kids here — it felt like a small town and the kids could go to the swim club and ride their bikes to the library.
Beds: Zinus. Duvet covers: Lewis. Sheets: Brooklinen. Throw pillow, left: Svenskt Tenn. Throw pillow, right: Svenskt Tenn. New Yorker print: Condé Naste Store. Roland Garros print: Etsy. Rug: Block Shop. Nightstand: Urban Outfitters. Lamp: Lights and Lamps.
On fun decor: The guest bedroom feels more whimsical than the rest of the house. It’s a colorful place for children. Joanna and I found these tennis prints because I enjoy tennis — Harvey and I played together and watched the French Open and U.S. Open on TV. My favorite player is Serena Williams; she’s the greatest athlete of all time. I also think it’s hilarious how John McEnroe is the narrator of the Netflix show Never Have I Ever!
Thank you so much, Mom. We love you!
(Photos by Marta Xochilt Perez for Cup of Jo.)
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