Winter Cozy

Sam Follett, of Plank Design and Newfoundland Staging Company, chats with Gina about what makes her house a home. The house was renovated and decorated with the help of SAM Design. The photo shoot was styled by Sam Follett.

Sam: The space with the three chairs, the nook, what is it that you like to do there?

Gina: It just has a whole different feeling out there. It’s away from the kitchen, it’s away from the television, it says to you “if you’re going to sit here, here’s how you must behave” and that behaviour is not so much about the electronics; there’s not going to be any television watched out there. It’s going to be about conversation. And I really like how the design that was recommended was meant to do that. It brought the chairs together with the really nice light that hangs over it, so I like that.

Sam: And the quilt that’s in that room – is there any story behind that?

Gina: My mom is a big quilter, and I have a cupboard full of homemade quilts, so quilts are on beds, they’re everywhere here. And I find by putting my mom’s quilt out there it adds to that “come in, sit down and take a load off.”

Sam: Is there anything more you want to say about that space before we get to this space?

Gina: That space, I guess the only other thing I would say is…I wanted a space that reflected very much who I feel I am, so I brought together a Jessica Waterman piece, which really reminds me – my family’s roots are Fogo Island – and there’s something about Jessica Waterman’s work that makes me feel connected to Fogo Island, and I think anyone from anywhere in rural Newfoundland would be able to say the same thing because she’s got a quilt look and also a rustic simplicity in how she uses wood. So that piece was important to me, and then just the calmness of the fabric and the rug that I picked up from SAM Design and everything – a little bit of a Scandinavian look, so it just really appeals to me personally, and I don’t really care what anybody else thinks (laughing).

There’s also a piece out there that’s painted a peachy pink, like a salmon colour, and that’s a Newfoundland-made piece of furniture that was in my dad’s house growing up (in Fogo) and it’s been painted many times and it doesn’t matter, you can put any colour paint on that and the vibe of it shines through. It’s very utilitarian. If you open the drawers it’s just plain wood, but I love the look, it adds to the feel of the space.

Sam: Coming into this space, with the fireplace, we moved the rocking chair over and made a vignette, can you tell us a little bit about the rocking chair? It looks like it had a few coats of paint as well.

Gina: Yes, absolutely. Exactly the same as the dresser that’s out there. That lived in – I can’t tell you who made it, but it did sit in my grandmother’s house at Barr’d Islands on Fogo Island, it sat in her window with generally some sort of afghan on it. It was plain wood when I got it. It’s had many, many rocks looking out over the ocean. You can see there’s strings on it. And there’s some sort of contraption of a string with a nail on it in the middle, that’s used to tighten it that’s critical to the chair holding together. You can’t touch that.

Sam: And what about the teddy bear?

Gina: The teddy is very old. He’s an antique teddy that comes from my husband’s family. I think it was his grandfather’s when he was a small child, so he’s a 100-year-old teddy.

Sam: Is he a Newfoundland teddy?

Gina: No, he’d actually be a Quebec teddy. He’s travelled around, and he’s been in many corners, but you know, the old things have a place.

This story originally appeared in the winter, 2016 issue of Home & Cabin.