An eclectic mix on Pheasant Run
Photographs by Jane Beiles
As a visitor entering Lana Taubin’s Pheasant Run home, you initially feel as if you’ve taken a step back in time to a kinder, gentler era. Past the large pine door lies a rag rug; there’s a rocking chair, a small bench, and a wooden pedestal upon which sits a woven basket holding bird’s eggs. On the landing an old-fashioned milk can stands before a wall of framed family photographs that go back four generations. Walk into the main living space and your eye falls upon a cross-stitch sampler that cheerfully proclaims, “Laughter brings sunshine into the home.”
The message is loud and clear: Pretension is not welcome here, but everyone else is. Seriously, you just want to plop down on one of the faded chintz-covered sofas facing the fieldstone fireplace, put your feet up, and be Lana Taubin’s friend. You want to be invited to one of her get-togethers and arrive with a big pot of chili.
Taubin’s home is best described as time travel with a twist. Elderly mason jars coexist with colorful martini glasses and champagne flutes; a turn-of-the-century wooden potty sits beneath a console table displaying a metal sculpture of a rooster. The kitchen has a pressed tin backsplash and a butcher-block island. There are also concrete countertops and stainless steel appliances: reminders that this is a modern interpretation of the past.
Taubin, a fitness trainer and coach, describes her style as, “a mix of country, cottage, vintage, and shabby chic.” She bought the cul-de-sac property in 2001 and renovated it in 2008 to increase the size of the kitchen and the family room for her three children (Remi 13, Shane 11, and Arden 7), to have a place to play and hang out with friends. The end result is a series of rooms that are aesthetically connected through a palette of ivory, bisque, and pale celadon, but each has its own distinct personality.
The homeowner’s decorating philosophy is simple. “Most of the décor and furniture in my home are flea-market finds and consignment shop treasures,” she says. As she slices wedges of green apple for a cheese plate, Taubin confides, “I like finding the beauty in imperfections. I typically choose things out of appreciation for what was used, well-loved, weathered—‘character’ if you will. I want my home to be warm and charming.”
Warm and charming it is. And quirky. And layered. There are many collections of things: an assortment of architectural pieces, tag sale picture frames, old farm and buggy wheels, weathervanes, birdhouses, period yellow ceramics, wooden bowls, and cross stich samplers. And then there are the trays.
Lots of vintage floral tin trays that inject unexpected pops of color and add whimsy. They show up in the master bedroom, in bathrooms, the dining room, and on a feature wall by the back staircase. “The trays come from the shabby chic days,” says Taubin. “I couldn’t get enough of floral motifs. I bought one as cheap wall art and now they’re everywhere, and I still love them.” Not everyone could pull this off, but Taubin does, with élan.
Her taste is more maximilist than minimalist but despite the many collections, the house feels welcoming rather than cluttered. It’s visually interesting because no matter where you turn there’s always something to look at.
The dining room, for example, is decorated primarily in ivory and warm neutrals, and features an over-the-top crystal chandelier, voluptuous silk curtains, and an antique painted sideboard all unexpectedly combined with a casual sisal rug and comfy, slipcovered chairs. The overall affect is elegant, inviting, and playful.
Taubin’s aesthetic isn’t enslaved to the matchy-matchy convention. “When I entertain, I mix and match pewter, silver, and several sets of vintage china.”
French doors lead to a spacious, sun-filled living room with a large fireplace. Surprisingly, this room has the least amount of furniture in the house, which Taubin says is intentional. She wanted a versatile space that could be easily transformed from a personal and family office into an additional dining area for large holiday gat
herings. “This room has been the setting for kids’ birthday parties, large dinner parties, dance parties, a playroom, and more. We have even pitched a tent in this room,” says Taubin.
She didn’t inherit any cherished family heirlooms so Taubin created her own by frequenting tag sales and thrift shops, and gratefully accepting hand-me-downs from close friends. “In each room of my house, there is a piece of furniture that has been handed down from a friend—a grandfather clock, a table, a lamp.”
Daughter Arden’s room is pale ballet slipper pink and sweetly connected to the past by a circular rag rug, an antique dresser with crystal knobs, and an old wooden school desk. Save for the smattering of modern toys and storybooks, it could be a young girl’s farmhouse bedroom circa 1915. Taubin’s master bedroom is light-filled and peaceful, featuring a four-poster bed dressed with an antique quilt, a pair of feminine ruffled bedside lampshades, and the ubiquitous tin trays.
Weather-worn road signs (Slow! Children, Speed Limit 30, Right Turn Only) festoon the walls of the bonus room and create an appropriately relaxed atmosphere. People live in this room. There’s a game table, a dartboard, and a large pine cabinet overflowing with games and puzzles. A craft basket stands at the ready, should the creative urge strike.
“My favorite room in the house is actually the nook in the upstairs hallway,” says Taubin, “It’s a little sanctuary for me, and for my kids. It’s where I fold laundry, read books, and just relax.” A ’50s era wicker settee sits across from a gallery of Sunday painter landscapes that Taubin imagines “escaping into.”
During the renovation process, Taubin also included the exterior of the property to create a big backyard entertaining space. Artfully landscaped with stone retaining walls, grasses, and hydrangeas, there are numerous conversation areas with inviting weathered gray furniture. The focal point is a tall brick fireplace that immediately evokes Rockwellian images of bundling up, toasting marshmallows, and sipping cocoa.
While it is clear that this home and its setting are picturesque year-round, they seem particularly suited to autumn, perhaps because Taubin embraces the season so enthusiastically. “I love decorating for Halloween because it brings a lot of color to my otherwise muted décor. Fall is my favorite time of the year.”