Home & Living

House Call

Nelle Somerville brings her own (hot pink) vision to a historic Dickeyville living room.

A Star Is Born: The plaque outside says this house was an officer’s infirmary during the War of 1812 and then completed in 1836 in Dickeyville. But we don’t know for sure. When my husband, Eric, and I widened the staircase, we found these square iron nails, which date to well before the Civil War. It was really fun that our contractor found them and that sort of authenticates the fact that it’s really old. We just don’t know how old.

Herstory: The painting is of my great-grandmother Nelle Tayloe. Her husband is my great-grandfather George Green Tayloe. His sister was Nellie Tayloe Ross. She was elected governor of Wyoming a month after her governor husband died in 1924. George owned a paper company in Memphis, Tennessee, and it was the fashion to do portraits. The artist was a prolific portrait painter named Charles Frederick Naegele, whose work is displayed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The Final Curtain: I told M.L. Glover Interiors that I wanted to find a way to bring hot pink in without it looking super girly. She found the Greek key ribbon on eBay and made the curtains.

Off With Their Legs: Our beloved hickory Chippendale-style sofa that M.L. upholstered in blue velvet would not fit through the door. We had to cut the legs off to get it in the house and then put it back together.

Lucky Seven: There are seven blue Bromo Seltzer Bottles for the seventh anniversary of our July 7, 2007 wedding.

A Life Well-Lived: The two wool blankets are Avoca, and I got those when I lived in Ireland, but now they’re moth-eaten. Nothing is too precious in here. People come over and they think, “Look but don’t touch,” and I’m like, “No, sit.”

By the Book: These are all of my art and design books, like my mad obsession with Martha Stewart, Celtic spirituality, Bunny Mellon’s gardens, and Kehinde Wiley, the artist who did President Obama’s portrait.

Ohh Nuts: The squirrel nutcracker on the coffee table is from this antique store called Heritage Culinary Artifacts in Napa Valley. She only sells antiques that are culinary-related. I love him so much.