05 March 2012

The Beautiful World of Amy Howard

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A reader emailed me suggesting I write a story about Amy Howard – the uber talented furniture and interior designer and artist.   I’ve loved Amy’s work for a while now – so I was thrilled when the reader said she could talk with the powers that be and maybe get them to send some special photographs to show on Cote de Texas.   I love my readers – especially those bearing gifts of high res & huge photographs.  Those are the best kind.

Amy is a southerner – from Memphis Tennessee.  She is an artist by training and began in the business teaching decorative arts, along with painting murals for clients.   In 1991, Amy and her husband started their company, The Amy Howard Collection, by painting room divider screens which they then sold to antique shops and individuals.   The business quickly expanded and new pieces were continually added.  Their motto became:    “If we can’t find it, then we’ll make it.”  Today, she has over 300 pieces in her collection which is sold around the country in decorative showrooms.   There is also a retail store in Memphis, along with an outlet store in Nashville.    The Amy Howard Collection is diverse and represents many different design eras – from the 18th century to Moderne, 30s Glamour, and even Belgian inspired.  

 

 

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The invitation to an Amy Howard At Home seminar

 

An artist and teacher at heart,  Amy continues to give seminars in her field and has branched out with a second company, Amy Howard At Home. This collection is for DIYers and professionals and includes materials for different applications such as antiquing mirrors, gilding, zinc applications, stripping, and a host of other products. Her seminars are hugely popular and quickly sell out.

 

 

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This photo in a design magazine showed two of Amy Howard Collection’s chest – Serpentine.

My first awareness of the collection was with the Serpentine nightstand which I had seen in a magazine.  In fact, a lot of people took notice of this piece.  The blogger Things That Inspire wrote a lovely story about the collection HERE.   I thought these were the prettiest chests I had seen, and even encouraged a friend to buy them for her own bedroom. 

 

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The Serpentine chest – such a beautiful finish!!

 

Despite having an extensive catalogue, The Amy Howard Collection still does custom work – in fact 70% of their business is custom.  Here is a drawing for a custom cabinet for a client.  And, all furniture is made in their factory in Memphis – 100% American made, which is a rarity in the furniture business today.

 

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And a snapshot of the finished cabinet.

 

 

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Interior designer and blogger Tobi Fairley used the Darnell Demilune Commode in this entrance hall, as shown in House Beautiful.

 

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Not all product is fancy or from the 18th century -  here is a Belgian inspired coffee table with a zinc top.  This Sonoma table is also available as end tables.

 

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The outlet store in Nashville gets great merchandise – here the Serpentine chest was for sale at a significant savings.  I wish we had an outlet store in Texas!!!  Such a beauty!

 

 

 

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The Howards live in this gorgeous French styled house in Memphis.  The elegant house is filled with antiques and furniture from The Amy Howard Collection, of course! 

 

 

 

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Close up of the front of the house, decorated with gourds for Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

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Entering the house, there is a long hall that runs from one side of the house to the other.  The living/dining room is in the middle of the hall – just past the arches by the potted urns.  Notice the stone statue at the end of the hall.    The floors throughout the house are Campania stone, about which Howard says she has never regretted the choice of this flooring – mainly for the ease in keeping them clean.

 

 

 

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Blogger and designer Brooke Giannetti and her husband architect Steve stayed at the Howards’ house during their book tour.  They took this photo of the house decorated for Christmas.   Here you can see the statue          flanked by Italian altar sticks – so beautiful!!

 

 

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Looking the other direction, you can see the stone staircase with its iron railing.  I love stone stairs!  So elegant.  The Salon – half living area and half dining area – is through the arches on the right.  For a beautiful view, these arches are lined up with the arched French doors in the grand hall and the Salon.

 

 

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The Salon is an oversized room that fits the living area and the dining area.  It is divided into three sections – the dining area, under a gorgeous chandelier, is in the middle of the arm.   Decorated in creams, ivories and golds, the furniture is from the Amy Howard Collection, along with antiques the Howards have bought in Europe.  The door to the right of the fireplace leads off to the Howards’ master bedroom suite.

 

 

 

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The dining table, set for dinner.  The pair of trumeaus seen here flanking the sofa are from AHC.

 

 

 

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Notice the crusty garden urn mixed with gilt finery.

 

 

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Notice the sconces on both sides of the room.

 

 

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Taken from an antique putti that Amy found in Paris, the collection now carries these beautiful sconces.

 

 

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Close up of the trumeau and fireplace. 

 

 

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The powder room is an old fountain.  Where do you turn on the faucet?

 

 

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Do you see the foot pedals on the floor?  That’s how you operate the water flow.  This picture is from a magazine photoshoot – quite dramatic compared to the first picture of the powder room!

 

 

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The library has dark painted walls.  This is how the room was decorated several years ago.  It’s totally different today!

 

 

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Before, there were chartreuse curtains, like the velvet settee.

 

 

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Today, the library is done in whites – with an antique rug replace the sisal one.  The curtains are Schumacher’s Kelly Wearstler’s fabric, which Howard adores.

 

 

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So pretty – I love the white against the black here – and all the fine antiques in the shelves.  Nice juxtaposition of the contemporary fabric against all the antiques!

 

 

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In the front window – a desk made out of pedestals.    More of the Wearstler fabric.  Gorgeous altar sticks.

 

 

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A close up of the desk in the window.  Amy loves flowers and says her house always has three things – music, lit candles, and flowers.  (Mine is the same, except instead of music my house is always blasting sports!)

 

 

 

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Close up of the antique tie backs that Amy loves to collect.

 

 

 

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Another item Howard collects are antique gilt laurel wreaths – once given as a trophy of sorts.  While Howard’s are 18th century, the company is now offering hand made replicas of the laurel wreaths!!

 

 

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Howard also likes to collect documents and seals.  Love this vignette!!

 

 

 

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From the magazine shoot, the back entryway shows a collection of Amy Howard Collection furniture.

 

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Today, charming sconces and an elegant mirror replace the lamps and more casual mirror.  The console is gorgeous with its fluted legs and hardware.

 

 

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The kitchen shares the space with a large family room.  Notice the screened  cabinet.  Bar stools have Lucite legs.  AHC has several pieces of Lucite furniture in the line.

 

 

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Another view – showing the black subway tile backsplash.  Notice the fluted legs on the island!

 

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The breakfast area – with a match to the kitchen’s cabinet.

 

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Another view – showing the cabinet.  Table and chairs from AHC.

 

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A few years ago, the room as shown in a magazine looked like this with white walls and dark wood console in the window.

 

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Today, the walls are somewhat darker.   I love the set of prints framed and hung to act as one large piece of art.  The coffee table is beautiful with nailheads and mirrored.

 

 

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Today, the walls are a bit darker.   Howard replaced the dark wood  c0nsole in the window with a Lucite one and industrial styled stools.

 

 

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Closeup of the front window now.

 

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On the console, garden urn, old book without binding, coral.

 

 

 

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Picture from the magazine shoot.  There are two chests with sunburst mirrors above in this room.  Howard loves symmetry and it shows in her house.

 

 

 

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The second cabinet fits snuggly in a small niche.   These are all items found in the AHC catalogue.  The lamps are especially darling.

 

 

 

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Off the kitchen is the laundry room.  Perhaps they can hire me to be the maid?  This laundry room is beyond functional – it’s beautiful!!  Notice the mirrored cabinet doors and the antique French clock. 

 

 

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The Howards’ bedroom is their private retreat – meant to be quiet and cozy.  The Juliet bed is stunning and is of course from  The Amy Howard Collection – as is all the furniture in this room.  The sitting area has since been completely changed – shown below.

 

 

 

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The walls are upholstered in creamy linen – matching the curtains exactly.

 

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Close up of the elegant mirrored nightstand – notice the fluted legs that run up the sides.  Just beautiful!

 

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Today, the sitting area consists of the AHC backless sofa with a pair of Lucite contemporary tables.  Old world Fortuny pillows in gold add a classic touch.

 

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Close up – notice the floor lamp!!!!

 

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In the vanity – the skirted table and bench are covered in more Fortuny fabric!   The walls are covered in a raw silk.  Notice the antique Venetian mirror found in New Orleans.  In her blog, Howard adds these tips:  “Remember light floor and dark walls... or darker floors and lighter walls. That is what can create the most impact when you have monochromatic color themes. I also hung a very contemporary painting in this room for visual impact. I am very careful to not stay with one period of design. It is best to mix all styles and periods for the most impact.”

 

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And the master bathroom – whoa!!!  Look at the mirrored vanity with marble countertop.  And notice the interior shutters.  The toilet is hidden behind a mirrored French door – while the chandelier adds even more sparkle. 

 

 

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On the upstairs landing, Howard created a sitting area for her children to read and study  – something she says they never did!!   The walls are papered.

 

 

 

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Close up view – taken from the magazine shoot.  More Fortuny pillows.  Fortuny is that kind of fabric that you can never have too much of!!

 

 

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Howard took special care in the design of the bathrooms in her house.  This one is her son’s bathroom.

 

 

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And off the family room, another old fountain – this one was found in Rome.  The wood door is also an antique. 

 

 

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The back of the house is just as pretty as the front.  The Salon is seen in the middle of the house, under the covered porch.   The master bedroom is to the right. 

 

 

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A side view of the swimming pool with its fountain on the right.  Notice the vine covered fences.

 

 

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Gravel and box and topiary – so French.

 

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Howard said growing the hedges and vines took many years – but was worth the wait for the privacy they provide from the neighbors.

 

 

 

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And though Amy Howard concentrates on designing furniture for The Amy Howard Collection and giving teaching seminars for Amy Howard At Home, she still has time to decorate.  On Facebook, she recently posted this teenager’s bedroom she had just installed and I can’t resist showing it here.  Charming!!!  Notice the mirrored edge on the headboard.  Love the wallpaper and fabrics, too.

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into Amy Howard’s world.  It is so gracious and generous of her to invite us inside her home.  Amy is so open with her knowledge – which  she shares at her teaching seminars and on her blog.  She is the true epitome of a Southern Lady!!!   Be sure to visit her web sites to see pictures of all her collection:  HERE.

 

To visit the Amy Howard At Home web site for all the furniture refininshing products and to read about her upcoming seminars, go HERE

 

AND, finally, Amy has several pages on Facebook AND she writes a wonderful and very informative blog, Amy Howard Daily HERE.

 

 

 

63 comments:

  1. Certainly a busy and talented lady.
    What a showplace!
    pve

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  2. Wow, so beautiful. I am now officially OBSESSED with that wheat grass / lion powder room. I didn't realize they did so much custom work either!!

    Love all these photos.

    xoxo,
    lauren

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  3. I've enjoyed Amy's blog for a while now- filled with gorgeous pieces, of course.

    I believe you would describe her home as perfection?

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  4. I loved reading about how her business evolved, and of course her home is beautiful, but I'm eager to know more about some over products...especially the antique mirror and antique zinc solutions! So glad to know about Amy Howard thanks to you!

    xo,
    Linsey

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  5. Another super researched article. What a lovely home. I wish my laundry looked like that, I wouldn't mind the six loads of laundry I did yesterday!

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  6. As always, a beautiful post. I am falling in love with Lucite! Amy used it so beautifully in her home. Thank you for introducing her to me. xo, emily

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  7. Thank you for a very well researched post. I am so honored to have had a post on us by such a wonderful writer and blogger.
    I'm thrilled to have so many new friends from blogland.
    Please plan on coming to Memphis and having a tour of the studio soon!
    xoxo
    Amy

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  8. What a lovely home, thoughtfully designed and detailed. Thanks for the tour!

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  9. As always, this is a great post. I recently installed the paper in the girl's bedroom in a playroom I am working on, and it is as fun and bold in person as it looks in the picture. Thanks for sharing, Joni-.

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  10. I do love her use of symmetry and the vignette details. Fun!

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  11. I always thought her painted furniture was beautiful. Her house is impressive indeed.

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  12. So very lovely and really appeals to me. The pale blue bedroom makes me want to change my bedroom tomorrow. The serenity of the evergreens and boxwoods is beautiful. Thank you for the photos and your expert commentary.

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  13. Wow! Rarely do I see this many images and love them all! Just gorgeous!
    There is nowhere to start, so I will just say I love it all, and thank you for sharing this designer's gorgeous work. I have always found her work stunning.
    Have a nice week, Jone.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  14. Thank you, Joni, for another stunningly beautiful post! That vine-covered pool area has made me swoon. xx's

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  15. Hi
    it is a wonderful and most beautiful images .It is a beautiful collections of Furniture Factory Outlet .i would like to thanking you for sharing the beautiful images.

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  16. That beautiful blue serpentine chest will be imprinted in my mind forever. Also love the Juliet 4-poster bed.

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  17. The chandelier looks great! reminds me of a breakfast and bed.

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Beautiful....love her work and her home is beautiful. My favorites were the library with its dark walls, the dining room and that room with the black cabinetry. Also love the old fountain converted to a vanity...fabulous looking! Thank you for sharing Joni..this was great fun.

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  20. I just love Amy’s blog and now we’re treated to her stunning home. She has only shown snippets on her blog so it’s nice to see the whole rooms. I love her serpentine chest and could use two in my living room, I wish she had a store closer. She’s as talented as she is kind and gracious to opening up her home to us thank you to you both.

    Enjoy your day!
    XX
    Debra~

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  21. Hi,
    I have ordered Amy Howards Toscana finish kit about a month ago. The color I ordered is on back order, but I can't wait for it to arrive to me in Canada. I love the furniture that they manufacture, especially the items that have all the carving and the European look. I would love to attend one of the workshops, but being in Canada makes it more difficult to attend. Hopefully sometime they will offer an online workshops for people farther away. Thank you for sharing all the beautiful photos of Amy's home.

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  22. Beautiful but cold and corporate looking. Although impressive, this home does nothing for me.

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  23. I love the brown toile wallpaper in the powder room.

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  24. I am floored!! Wow!! One of the most beautiful homes ever featured on your blog. The Rome fountain as sink leaves me gasping--exquisite!!
    Thank you for introducing me to Amy Howard. Her furniture is gorgeous. Visiting my son in Nashville at the end of the month and will definitely be stopping in to the outlet store.
    Another fabulous post, Joni.
    xoxo, Anne

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  25. Joni, another incredible post. I have always loved Amy Howard's gorgeous furniture and the beauty of her design. I learned so much more about her this morning. What a great way to begin the day! We have a pair of Amy Howard Chinoiserie chairs that we purchased back in 2004. They have migrated to a variety of rooms in 2 different houses, and they are always the stars wherever they land. Most people who sit in them think they are antique. No one does finishes like Amy Howard. Thank you Joni!

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  26. In my dream of dreams THIS would be the one! It is absolutely one of the most beautiful homes I've seen (and I see a LOT of them.) The "care" that is taken in the design and implementation is, to me, perfect. THEN, they change it to something equally stunning. Joni, thanks! franki

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  27. Oh my gosh - what an absolutely inspiring post. Every picture is GORGEOUS! And I sooooo want an antique fountain in one of my bathrooms! Thanks as always, Joni!
    ♡ Kate

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  28. WOW.. what a treat to see a home that beautiful and dare I say... perfect? Thank you for sharing. This is truly one of the BEST homes you have ever featured Joni because it was truly reflective of the owners (from what I could gather).. So many homes today on all the design blogs are simply following a formula of trends but not this one. This one is collected, styled and arranged with beautiful things from various periods. You can tell that the Howards know what good design is and the set the trend rather than follow them. I look forward to popping over to her blog.

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  29. Stunningly beautiful. You can be the maid and I will be there cook!

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  30. Simply beautiful home! I agree with 3 Peanuts...this is one of the best homes that you have featured on Cote de Texas. LOVE the sunburst mirrors with matching chests...thanks for sharing!!

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  31. Beautiful!! Her home and her furniture!! Love it a lot!

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  32. So much pretty to look at ! I'm going to come back later so I can savor it.

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  33. Joni so stunning. Amy has impeccable taste.

    I ran out of coffee reading this; plus had to save some images for inspiration!

    Xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  34. Truly one of the best homes you have featured in a long time. Every room is different and yet the flow of the house is smooth and tranquil. The spaces are beautiful, light and inviting. If there was one thing awkward about the layout is the combination of the living room/dining room. This is quite unusual. I loved the library, both the before and after photos. The kitchen/breakfast area is also stunning. Great post.

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  35. Love her style! Wonderful post Joni. I could move right in to her home and be very happy!

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  36. cindy hattersley designMarch 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Lovely post Joanie! I have always loved that Juliet Bed. My how her collection has evolved over the years!

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  37. Thanks, Joni, for the beautiful post. I loved the vignettes, as they are great inspirations. What an elegantly beautiful home!

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  38. Amy and Gene Howard are such lovely and talented people.
    Their house is both gorgeous and inviting.
    Steve and I feel blessed to have them in our lives.

    Joni, as always, you did a wonderful job capturing the Howards' passion for their art and their desire to share their love of beauty with everyone.

    xo
    Brooke

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  39. I love Amy Howard's wonderful style! Thanks so much for the great pictures.

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  40. Her style is exquisite. I have read her blog before and seen some of these photos but never in the same series of photos. So beautiful.

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  41. Lordy I love all of this! My gosh sign me up for one of everything! Now I'm going back to look at every delicious picture again...

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  42. I just love Amy Howard's home! Would love to move right in..

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  43. Joni....you just make my day. Your blog is beyond fantastic. You are to the world of design blogs, what Willie Wonka is to the candy world. Thanks for all your hard wok and amazing eye! By the way, the home is AMAZING!!!!

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  44. Another wonderful post, Joni-thank you! I fell totally in love with those gorgeous stone floors- so must research Campania Stone now.( the laundry room alone was a stunner!) I found it interesting how many contrasts there were in the house- the kitchen seemed so masculine to me with all the black and boldness of the drapery, as opposed to the light and airy femininity of the open,soft living areas- such a soothing environment for dining and viewing the heartstoppingly gorgeous outdoors(what an understatement!!!)

    I was privileged to see the serpentine chest up close in a French shop in my area a few years ago, which also featured some other lovely pieces from her collection.(shop no longer esists, sadly)
    Again thanks for affording us the pleasure of seeing the "life lived" behind the artist!


    Alice A

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  45. Oh WOW ...... what a beautiful home. Opulence mixed with my favourite distressed furniture. Love the bathroom. The pedal on the floor is very European. I remember being in a restaurant in Italy, went to the restroom and didn't know how to wash my hands !! haha. Our friend had been first and said that there was a puzzle to work out in there !!
    .....and, many, many thanks for your lovely comment. It was so kind of you. XXXX

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  46. My morning cup of coffee could not have been any better. Thanks

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  47. ROAD TRIP to Nashville outlet stat! ;-)) I love reading about amazingly talented women like Amy. Makes me proud to be a WOMAN! Love you Joni girl! xo, Jennifer @ vreelandroad.blogspot.com

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  48. What a gorgeous home -- where to start? I love the kitchen, because it's "neutral" enough that you can do whatever you want with drapery fabric and accessories to follow your color whims over the years, yet it's not one of those BLAND neutral kitchens; there's a lot of style, substance, and character in the cabinetry and the stone floors and countertops. I'm also lusting shamelessly over the landscaping. I would eat road kill every day if I thought it would make my bushes grow faster. Gross, but totally true -- privacy is becoming more and more of an elusive luxury. I wonder how much it would cost for a landscaper to put in an insta-hedge for me with a giant crane...???

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  49. Oh Joni, what lovely rooms and grounds. I would love about 4-5 of those different images to be part of my home. You do find the best of the best for us.
    Karen

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  50. I thought you were going to give some insight on furniture and not leave us hanging to decide.

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  51. What is there not to like about this home, it truly is a dream home. Stunning.

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  55. That laundry room is a work of art, just stunning! So nice to see someone making that room lovely and paying such lovely attention to detail in it, like the mirrored upper cabinet doors.

    And I loved the canopy on their bed, VERY pretty!

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