Home Made Lovely- Hilary’s home tour

A weekly series featuring inspiring homes from around the
blogging community.  I’ve asked each blogger the same question-
“What does creating a lovely home mean to you?”
Here’s what Hilary shared…

Hello m’dears! I’m Hilary Rushford, founder of Dean Street Society in Brooklyn, NY
where I work as a personal stylist for “real people with real budgets.” I am so honored to
welcome you into my home sweet home here on Dean Street which, along with the
community I’ve found in our neighborhood, inspired the name of my beloved business.

When I moved to New York City 8 years ago, I had no idea how much creating a lovely
home would mean to me. I could not have imagined that amidst the bustle of an energetic city
& a rich life of constant transitions, having a stable home would be my anchor. And for many
years it wasn’t. I bopped throughout different neighborhoods & living scenarios with my heart
aching for a place of my own & shedding tears that finding an apartment in NYC can be harder
than finding a job. Then in August of 2009, through a series of 6 impossible things before
breakfast {also known as the overwhelmingly providence of God} I found a home on
Dean Street in Brooklyn that changed my life.
Our home is a few blocks from our church & dozens of friends’ apartments. It’s large enough
that we’ve hosted parties for 100+ from Christmas to birthdays to the Superbowl. If you’ve lived
in a suburb for 10 years that might not sound remarkable. But in a city of 8 million people, to
have a community within walking distance is truly a miracle, as is the kind of space where you
can openly invite a whole neighborhood without fear that only 30 will actually fit. And since
our love language is hospitality, we truly feel we’ve been bestowed this precious gift & try to
be good stewards of it whether hosting large theme costume parties, weekly neighborhood
breakfasts, entrepreneurs meet-ups, or just being a place where people know they can
rest or work when they need to hide out.

A Kitchen to Inspire Conversation

Friends and guests are first greeted in our large kitchen, featuring a sprawling
chalkboard wall (etched by yours truly) with some of our favorite quotes from the likes of
Marianne Williamson, Alice in Wonderland & The West Wing, to name a few!
Our kitchen colors are red & blue, but as I don’t like things that are too matchy-matchy,
we bring in a variety of shades as we find cool pieces. The big red tin my mother kept cookie
cutters in when I was little, the peacock blue vase I found at a thrift store upstate along
with the antique candleholder & old camera all complement one another.
I often say when I grow up I want to be crafty. This wall collage is one of the few
times I’ve actually followed through on a DIY project. The photos are from calendars
by Alicia Bock & too beautiful to part with each December.

The first thing I knew when I walked in the apartment was that I couldn’t stand the orangey
color of the cabinets. So we took the doors off & leave them open. I not only love the way it
looks, but feel it makes it homey for guests as they never have to look for something & can
just grab a mug for coffee.

We’re known for our themed costume parties, such as our Mad Men Holiday Soiree
pictured here. Our brilliant friend Dana Tanamachi {whose handiwork you’ve seen this month
on the cover of Oprah’s magazine!} “brands” our parties on our second chalkboard wall where
we have all the guests take a photo. {You can see more photos on how to decorate
& dress for Mad Men  on my style blog.}

A Living Room to Inspire Community

The living room is downstairs and is a space so big it took quite a while for it to not feel like
a fraternity rec room. We’ve finally filled it with 3 couches, 3 arm chairs & lots of jewel tone
colors. Recently we had a bunch of guys over watching football & I wanted to melt that more
than one of them noted, “It’s really cozy down here.” It’s exactly how we want people to feel:
welcome to relax & stay awhile.

As the daughter of a preacher & professor with a 10,000 book library in my childhood home,
it’s no surprise that there are books in literally every room of our house. Here on the coffee table,
an antique piece I scored on Craigslist, we’ve got a stack of NY & Brooklyn themed titles.

To tie together the color scheme downstairs I cut & pasted a vision board of magazine
clippings & then took a picture of it on my iPhone. We then carried that to the fabric store to
make pillows, emailed it to our mothers to keep an eye out for Christmas gifts, etc. Of course
now I’d use Pinterest instead of a glue stick!  {Which is also what I encourage my style clients
to do with their wardrobe wish lists so they stay on track while shopping.}

The green chair & wooden door {along with the blue end table & red chair in kitchen}
are street merch, meaning we walked past them on the street & brought them home with us!
{A common Brooklyn practice worthy of serious bragging rights here.} The footrest was made
by my aunt back in the 70’s, & my darling typewriter I purchased on Portobello Road in London.
A few dozen friends posing for a “family portrait” at one of our soirees.

A Bedroom to Inspire Imagination

Every bedroom I’ve had in NYC has been magical in it’s own way. My first was no bigger
than the width of my bed, but the tiny space made me feel cozy in the midst of Hell’s Kitchen
&  the noise whirring on 9th Avenue. My second was in a fancy high-rise with a view of
Manhattan across the river that was so glorious I could never bring myself to draw the shades
& started sleeping with an eye mask instead. This time it’s a room without a view, just some
quiet dilapidated buildings, lots of sunlight & so much room to breathe & think. Looking
around I feel as though this room, this home, is what made me feel grounded enough to
launch my business a year ago.

This desk is a set with the coffee table in the living room. I sit here to write, research, & have
Skype sessions with my styling clients across the country. The handful of books on the shelf
are truly my most prized possessions in the world as they belonged to my grandmothers, aunt,
or are rare copies my dad bought for me as gifts. I think there’s nothing so charming as an old
book with a story {no pun intended!}.

This is Charlotte, my vintage beach cruiser, she’s pleased to meet you. Since starting my
style blog I’ve pondered what to do with this sun-drenched wall to make it ideal for shoots, so
in a few months time the frames may have relocated to the hallway & I’ll have a photographer’s
drop cloth on the wall so I can shoot in the natural light.
I used to have all my winter accessories folded in cubbies that were constantly a disaster.
This distressed ladder & retro luggage piece have made it so much easier to grab the scarves,
gloves, umbrellas I need on my way out the door. As a stylist I’d say accessories are one of my
favorite go-to’s. But since I don’t like clutter, I’ve had to amass a handful of ways to separate
& store them so I’m not searching & untangling. The tea cups belonged to my grandmother
& the monogrammed handkerchief reminds me of a friend we lost last year.
This is actually the first time I’ve ever let someone “in” my closet! When I tell my clients how
to organize their closets, it’s exactly how I was doing it for years before I ever become a stylist:
I organize by type, then by color, & then once I’ve worn something it goes to the back/bottom.
This way I’m never searching for something & know exactly what is/isn’t getting worn to be a
good steward of what I own & clear the clutter. Since shoes are what I’m most often changing
to try in front of the mirror, they’re at the easiest-to-get-to spot.
I’d love to welcome you into my home personally via Skype if you’re ever interested in a
styling session, or to show you around Brooklyn with a neighborhood shopping tour! If you
are ever traveling to NYC, you must check out our darling little borough. Brooklyn is filled
with passionate, creative people who love being a part of their neighborhood & sharing the
best shops & cafes with tourists wandering down the street. {And yes, we can point out
where Michelle Williams & Maggie Gyllenhall live too.}

So come say hello!

with grace & gumption, Hilary