Belle in the Big Apple
Wednesday, Jan 13,2010
Brought to you by Mayfair Apartments
Even living in a city as rough around the edges as New York, Jennifer Barnette exudes Southern charm. This Montgomery born gal represents everything a Southern Belle should be. Her big city home brings to life the tradition and love of the South.
What made you choose your home?
For the first six years that I lived in New York City after moving from Montgomery, AL, I managed to make the best of the inside of my apartment that was situated in the borough of Queens. Sadly, outside my double-bolted door never felt so sweet or safe as home should. When it was time to make my most recent move to a three bedroom that could accommodate my two new Bama-born roommates and me, we knew we wanted to spend as much time finding the right new neighborhood as the right floor plan. In the middle of the East River lies a secluded community on Roosevelt Island. A hidden treasure (even to most New Yorkers), the island features unbelievable river walks, stunning views of the city skyline, and green space everywhere you turn. What's more, it feels like a small town, yet is located just a 3 minute sky-tram ride from the Upper East Side.
Why do you love it?
Not a day goes by that I don't feel grateful for my living space. It's large enough for us to all enjoy dinner together at the kitchen table (a rarity in this city) and to accommodate dozens of friends at our Southern style soirees. Our view of the water and the 59th Street Bridge help us find quiet after a long day in the city.
What is your decor style?
When people stop by (whether they are from down South or not) they always comment on how "Southern" it feels. Curious what they mean by this, I've asked for explanation and been thrilled by the response: livable, traditional but creative, and inviting. My eye tends towards shapes, patterns and textures similar to those my mother adored, often with French or musical influences.
What are your fave pieces of furniture and where are they from?
Is a piano considered furniture? I just love the miniature studio upright that I picked up at Jere's Antiques on a birthday weekend in Savannah. It lives just under the opening on the staircase, a perfect spot for a singer to perch while being accompanied below. In the corner sits a paint-stained drafting table picked up almost a decade ago at an antique shop in Montevallo, AL. And of course I cherish mother's old rocker inlaid with mother of pearl (matters not that it's a bit too fragile to be used!) My shoes live in a shabby forlorn display case from a going-out-of-business vintage clothing shop in the Fashion District. My favorite art pieces are by dear friends or were picked up by my parents at auctions benefitting the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.
What do you want your home to say about you?
British artist, architect, furniture and textile designer William Morris said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." Dixie Carter also talks about that notion in her memoir, Trying to Get to Heaven. If guests can find a balance of sentimentality and practicality in my home, I'll be quite pleased.
What's the best part about coming home at night?
There's a sense of continuity and relevance that comes from being surrounded by my own, and my family's, and even a stranger's history. Coming home to wonderful roommates who say "pie", "sky", and "hi" with a long "I" sound just like I do is pretty great, too.