The Stylings of Upstate Space with Jersey Ice Cream Co.
Jersey Ice Cream Co. | Earlton, NY
The name Jersey Ice Cream Co. started out as a joke between sought-after interior design duo Tara Mangini and Percy Bright. They were milling around the Brimfield Antique Show a few years ago, the largest outdoor flea market in New England, when their eyes fell on an old embossing machine. Curious to know what the embossed text read, they worked the lever, and a little seal appeared: Jersey Ice Cream Co. After that day, they decided that if they were ever to open a business together, that’s exactly what they would call it.
Today, Jersey Ice Cream Co. is a full-service interior design business that Tara and Percy manage entirely on their own (with the exception of some plumbing and electrical assistance). Working mostly on vacation homes, they are “homeless home designers” relocating every few months to live in the home they are hired to work on. Their aesthetic is one of vintage simplicity, one that feels classic and will age classically, and their attention to every last detail is inimitable. When the two of them move to a new town, they keep an ear to the ground for the barn sales and flea markets, however, Percy is adept at custom building any necessary tables, shelving, or headboards a space may need. Last year, the couple moved to Earlton, NY to work on a late-18th-century Catskills farmhouse retreat that had long been soused in a palette of all the wrong colors and all the wrong furniture. It was a big job to say the least, but five months later, Tara and Percy pulled out of the farmhouse’s long driveway with a finished product that was one for the books, with none other than Local Milk’s Beth Kirby photographing its completion.
“It was nowhere on either of our radars to do this kind of work upstate,” says Tara, who remembers the difficulties of doing the same kind of work in New York City. “When we started to get offers for upstate homes, we thought, “This is amazing! We can pull our car up front! There’s a barn over there with tools! We can be loud!” It was just so much easier and it eliminated all those outside stressors of the city. Physically and creatively, we felt really free across the board.”
“This is one of the first rooms you see when you walk in the house and we really wanted it to appear lush. I love the way the patterns work together in here.”
“People always ask why we put so much time into finding pieces we love, only to leave them behind in a house that isn’t ours. Usually it’s easy, but looking at this picture, I feel a little tinge of sadness for all of these perfect things: table, two-toned plaster, portrait – I love you, plant – I love you…even if you stab me in the eye.”
“A tiny glimpse at the entryway and the sun-filled breakfast nook. The entryway was bare with white and purple-painted drywall when we got to the house. Transforming that space was so exciting. The hidden key wallpaper is the perfect promise of magical things.”
“Small rooms are often overlooked, but can be wonderful because they are so easy to transform. This little powder room was nothing but a horrible extension of the entryway, but we added pattern boards, a rich paint color and brass details.”
“So much love was poured into this house, but this kitchen is really the beating heart of it all. It was one of the last rooms we tackled and everything came together to create such a wonderful space. There’s definitely some magic going on in there – I swear, food tastes better in that kitchen, your friends are funnier, it’s really a joy.”
“The sideboard was original to the house and one of the few things that survived our scrutiny. The shelves above are perfect for showing off pretty bowls and golden quails.”
“Bringing barn wood into the kitchen really helped warm up the space. This table/wall/shelf/hook combination is killer because you can put anything over there and it looks incredible. It’s one thing to style a space, but it’s another to be able to throw some produce around and sling some pots up and still have it look beautiful.”
“This mudroom showed promise right from the start. Rain boots and painted beadboard will always feel like home.”
“We were on a wallpaper hunt for quite a while. Once we found Trustworth Wallpaper, we were obsessed and wanted to use as many of their papers as we could. Not everyone would be into a pattern this outrageous, but we lucked out with some really amazing clients. Percy threw together the gorgeous bed frame in a couple hours and that lamp was a great flea market find. Isn’t it wonderful how things come together?”
“This is a little bonus living room on the second floor that’s a great space for cuddling up and projecting movies. We found the emergency exit rope at a vintage place down in Nashville and couldn’t get it out of our minds! We finally had our friend Jeremy pick it up and send it to us – that wall wouldn’t be complete without it!”
“The plastered walls in here really make the whole bathroom seem like it’s from another era. Before you fret – yes, there is also a shower in the corner, but the tub is bigger than it looks! Special thanks to Joanie for finding us that great sink.”
“The upstairs hallway had this gaping empty space that was begging for a little window seat like this and we happily obliged! It’s the perfect place for summer reading and winter snow watching.”
“More beauty from Trustworth Wallpaper! How could anyone wake up in this room and not be happy? Vintage metal bed frames were a great Brimfield find.”
“Looking at this now I can hardly believe that it was such an uninviting room to begin with, but you would be surprised what bad design can do. We were very lucky to have so many original details to work with. Once we plastered the walls and ripped out the bright red carpet, it was easy to see that this room would be the perfect place to spend long winter nights.”
“The master bedroom was such a strange space when we started, but you would never know it from looking at these pictures. Percy never fails to create amazing bedrooms and I love how the headboard seamlessly turns into the wall. The rest of the walls are plastered a light gray and the whole space is very simple and relaxing.”
“This back porch is a summer dream. Views of the pond, sun streaming in during the day, lights twinkling at night, and crickets and birds chirping all day long. We took the space from white to this dark deep underwater green. If you are ever toying with the idea of painting your porch a rich dark color – do it.”