Good Reading

Combine classic texture and traditional art for a nook worth sinking into.

traditional art

Stately and cozy, with the unconditional love of man’s best friend as a decorative reminder, this comfy reading nook is the best place to sink into a literary classic.

“When I come home from work and my pets are waiting for me, it’s the icing on the cake,” homeowner Karen Kennedy says of her space. Karen has a love of dogs that carries beyond her pit bull, Sweetheart, and her poodle/schnauzer mix, Fritz. In addition to collecting Victorian oil paintings depicting dogs, she also volunteers and raises funds for the Brittany Foundation, a local all-breed dog rescue. Combined with her skills obtained from fashion school, Karen has created an area in her home where all her loves come together. The look is easy to achieve with a few flea-market finds and antique or even reproduction fabric and classic furniture.


Karen found the overstuffed wingback chair as is at a garage sale. It fit perfectly into the space, which she had begun to develop with an English manor feel by incorporating a Jacobean-style writing desk and tea table. All that is needed is a comfy chair; Karen’s wingback is a perfect classic touch; however, a club chair or chaise lounge would work well too.


The classic red-and-white toile is a perfect element of romanticism for an otherwise imperial-style nook. The bright color and large-scale pattern adds whimsy and a bit of energy. Translate the look to fit your existing furniture by employing a slipcover in a similar pattern.


Dog-lover Karen, who proudly calls her home a bit of a dog museum, began collecting her Victorian paintings in the theme of domestic pets long before she had an idea how her collection would be displayed. By gathering her paintings and displaying them in one area she makes a grander impact. The repetition creates a whimsical display, while the variations in frame add modern interest. Create this look by grouping a large cluster of one type of collectible you already own. Consider such things as landscape paintings, antique samplers or framed crocheted doilies.


Keep accessories to a minimum, as you want the collection and the chair pattern to take center stage. For a traditional British look, do as Karen did and stick to cut crystal or silver serveware for a functional, decorative touch. Add a plush throw pillow in the same collectible theme to make the setting even more inviting.


By Jickie Torres
Photograph by Mark Tanner


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