My Stone Castle


Casual Luxury, Castle Style

Last fall, while on a money-minded mission to purchase a chandelier for the living room, my girlfriend and I happened upon a consignment store in Westport, CT, brimming to rafters with dusty treasures.  While sifting through relics, next to me was a shopper up to his elbows in a box of andirons. As he pondered each set, his enthusiasm bubbling over, it was clear he had a keen aesthetic and a well-trained eye for style and a bargain. My friend and I jumped into his enthusiasm, and we began to chatter, laugh, sort, and dig, aligned with our fellow shopper in our missions to find the perfect treasure.
Back in the car, giggling from our serendipitous encounter, my girlfriend turned to me and said “You know who that guy is, right.”

That’s Mar Jennings!

Emmy-nominated TV Host, and best-selling author, Mar Jennings. “OMG, you’re right!”  I sputtered, rushing back into the consignment store.  I tackled Mar, still on his andiron quest, and blurted . . . ”I just bought a castle. We are going to renovate it. Wanna feature it on your show?”

And so it began. The Castle at Cornwall was going to be featured on Life on Mar’s: The Home Makeover Show. Mar and his crew came the following week, and a few more times during the renovation, with cameras, drones and lights and filmed the before, middle and after of this crazy project.  We talked about design strategy, timelines and priorities, money saving objectives, and the look and feel we were trying to accomplish. Mar was a tremendous help!
Mar is a best selling author. His latest book, Life on Mars, Creating Casual Luxury, is the cure for all design dilemmas. His six principles on how to achieve casual luxury, hit the nail on the head. It’s as if I found my decorating soul mate, a voice I could understand. His approach is grounded in authenticity, whimsy and unpretentiousness which guided me to a look and feel in our home that is inviting, friendly, classic and elegant.  Mar says, “Casual luxury works in a home regardless of its size, personal style, and in any room. Casual Luxury has no boundaries.” 
Mar’s inventive and original blueprint for design infuses mother nature’s colors and textures throughout the home and garden.  This lifestyle expert does it with simplicity and style, balancing natural solutions with everyday elegance. “Having a beautiful home or apartment is an attainable goal,” says Jennings. “If I can do it by mixing price points, my personal style, and local resources, then you can, too!”
For Russ and me, creating casual luxury in a room starts with a favorite piece.  It can be a carpet, a piece of art, a family heirloom, or an important antique. Some of our favorite important pieces were inherited, purchased at discount auction houses/sites or found in backrooms of furniture stores.  We never pay retail or top dollar.  And part of what makes them important is the thrill of finding something we love, appropriate for the space, that doesn’t break the bank.
On Sunday, as we filmed the final episode of Season 3 of Life on Mars, focused on the “big reveal” of the castle renovation.  I was thrilled to see Mar’s reaction to what we had created.  He was delighted with our interpretation of casual luxury and how we used what we already had to create a home that balances elegance and comfort, luxury and relaxation. 
We look forward to sharing the journey of the renovation of the Castle at Cornwall on Life on Mars: The Home Makeover Show: Episodes 12 and 13!

Food for thought: Who have you met serendipitously? How have they helped and/or inspired you?

For more on Mar Jennings visit https://www.marjennings.com/lifeonmars/
For the new book visit Amazon.com: Life on Mar’s: Creating Casual Luxury (LIFE ON MAR’S A FOUR SEASON GARDEN)

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