The MNY Spotlight
Jenny Bohannon, Interior Designer
Can you define what it means to be a 'Grand Millennial'?
In truth, I grew up unknowingly immersed in this style. My parents were very strict when it came to “modern television,” so I grew up watching all the classics — High Society, Dial M for Murder, Sabrina, and countless others! These films nurtured a love of classical womanhood, and influenced me in every possible way, from fashion to decorating.
How do you approach decorating a room? Is there usually something you start with first (wallpaper, furniture, etc.)
Antiques and Fine Art are where we tend to begin, although I should preface that by noting we walked into a house here at Tallwood already filled with the loveliest vintage wallpapers and murals. I've adopted a “whole of house” approach to decorating and try to practice William Yeoward’s wise advice, “Fewer things, better things.” It is slow going at times and requires great discipline, to consistently choose quality over quantity; but, in my view, taking the long view has always proven to be the wisest approach to decorating. I don’t go to an Estate Sale looking to furnish a particular room, but to find beautiful pieces that I am confident will work well with the general aesthetic of Tallwood. In the end, it is sometimes difficult to decide in which room to place an antique or a piece of fine art, because these things have a habit of looking good anywhere and everywhere, lol.
How do you manage to keep your home so beautiful and elegant with all the (adorable) animals you look after?
I laughed as I read this question, because, while we do have farm pets, they live in a stable; whereas, we also have three little boys who live in the house, lol. Truthfully, the key to fine living with children and farm pets is to make sure your priorities are in order, and to place more importance on the “people” in your life, than on the “possessions” in your life. Things sometimes get messy, and things sometimes break. That has to be ok. They’re things. I should also note that we only occasionally allow our farm pets to come inside, usually for a very short time, and only on floor cleaning day, lol.
Do you have an all time favorite piece that you've found at a thrift/antique store?
Every piece in our home has a story, so this was a tough one. I would have to narrow it down to either the English Cupboards that grace our kitchen, which I sourced via our local Craigslist, from a military family who had imported them from England but was downsizing; or the sweet 18th Century French Settee that currently resides in our Evening Room, which I sourced from the most glamorous Estate Sale in Georgetown many years ago. I’m also currently obsessed with a pair of vintage prints my Aunt gave me, that once belonged to my grandparents, who had very fine taste.
Can you share any vintage/thrifting shopping tips for newbies?
In answer to this question, I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge that there are many localities in which antiquing and/or thrifting options are slim. Those who live in wealthy metropolitan areas are inadvertently set up for success when it comes to these things. Having said that, we have a solid Craigslist here in the Washington D.C. area, and a few of my favorite search terms are “French Antique,” “Wicker,” and “China Set.” Most all of our furniture has been sourced locally via Craigslist. Estate Sales are another favorite furniture source and can be previewed via estatesales.net. For smaller items that can be easily shipped, such as antique art, vintage table linens, and old china patterns, Ebay and Etsy are my go-to’s.
An understated elegance and “fitting the occasion,” so to speak, is what I strive for in my personal style. Whether mucking out stalls, which, thankfully, usually falls to my husband, lol; caring for our sweet farm pets, which, thankfully, usually falls to my children; or hosting a small dinner party, there is appropriate or “fitting” attire that lends itself most beautifully to elegant country living. I like to think that the interiors here at Tallwood are also “fitting, but if we were to go head-to-head, I’m fairly certain the "Mirror, mirror on the wall" would tell me that “she” is the “fairest one of all,” lol.
What are your favorite Mestiza pieces?
The entire collection is lovely, but my current personal favorites are the Shimmy Shimmy Tassel Dress and Puff Puff Midi Dress. Also, can we talk about the NAMES of these dresses?! They’re as lovely as the dresses themselves!