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The Guesthouse

images courtesy of Jersey Ice Cream Co




'Creating means living.' 

― Dejan Stojanovic


Jersey Ice Cream Co. is a dynamic duo comprised of two awe inspiring individuals who coined their company name through taking a trip to Brimfield Flea Market and stumbling across a booth with an old embossing stamp with the print Jersey Ice Cream Co. fitted.

Percy Bright and Tara Mangini - partners in life and business, met through a mutual friend five years ago and the rest is history. Baseless and nomadic, Percy and Tara are quite an interesting couple, designing homes yet homeless themselves with a storage unit to call "base" on Rt. 130, New Jersey. 'We relocate to the homes we renovate, and do a lot of traveling and the occasional parent couch-crashing in between. Percy used to own a house in Philadelphia, but we were there so little that the idea of just doing away with a permanent place actually started to make more sense. We go back and forth between loving the freedom of our living arrangement, and really wishing we had a place to unpack our bags and call home, but really can’t complain.' One of the biggest problems encountered by the duo is the frequent answering of the question - "where do you live?" where resorting to a simple answer of New York City, the best way to avert conversation, if only momentarily. 

Focusing on creating 'functional spaces that feel sincere and timeless' is their mission statement rather than trying to describe their aesthetic with words such as vintage, reclaimed and salvaged that can often have a one dimensional depth when it comes to design and creating. 

Jersey Ice Cream Co. creates perfect dream-like settings to take rest and solitude throughout a busy working week and to find rest and solace on peaceful, quiet weekends - a place to find nest and to feel at home. 

 '...we definitely have conversations about how a space makes us feel and how we want a space to make us feel. We consider what the room is being used for currently, how it could transform in the future, what it might have been in the past. Little stories develop - nicknames, children we imagine growing up in these rooms, fathers growing into grandfathers, all that good home-cooking, heart warming type stuff. It’s hard to talk about without feeling sort of pretentious, but it’s true.'

Recently, Percy and Tara created a well considered space in Earlton, NY, a guest house for a young married couple Gideon and Rachael with a baby on the way. The space, a small guesthouse on the property fitted with a bathroom, an eat-in kitchenette, living room and bedroom.  'We first saw it when we came to look at the main house for our initial consultation. It was just painted white, not purple and orange and blue like the main house, so that was a plus. But the bathroom was basically rotted out, it was filled with junk, and the whole place just felt like it was crawling with mice and spiders. Because it was. You could tell it could easily be turned into something great, but if someone had made me spend the night there I definitely would have cried.' Just a little walk across the yard from the main house the guesthouse boasts an easy going West Coast vibe, keeping in tune with the bones of the original space there was no intention of doing anything to the wooden beams and natural floors originally in the guesthouse. 'We wanted to keep the general feeling of ease about it, and not busy up something that already felt pretty good.'

'When I had apartments I would paint them a million different colours. When we started designing with such neutral palettes, part of me felt like a traitor, but I’ve really fallen for the sense of peace and calm that it creates. I think a big key to keeping things from feeling dull despite the restricted palette is texture. You can have bedding that is all gray, but if everything has a different texture it gives things a different depth and that brings some richness to an otherwise super boring moment. When you are working with such a neutral palette small details can really make a difference. A green plant, a pink textile, gold lighting – something that might otherwise just blend in has a chance to really be a centrepiece.' The ultimate goal for Jersey Ice Cream Co. is to create something simple, somewhat stark but warm and inviting

With only six weeks to complete the project, and little to no options for ordering goods much of the pieces were created from scratch - 'Percy made a lot of things – the bed frame and headboard, the bunk beds, the daybed, the entry built-in, the kitchen shelves, etc. We found the kitchen sink at a Habitat Restore, which was a life saver. Though it’s a small under-mount sink, Percy routed out a space so it could drop in and sit flush with the countertop in an interesting way. We got the big woven macramé things over the bed for $15 a piece at a flea market. Somehow it all comes together.'


To learn more about Percy & Tara and Jersey Ice Cream Co. visit: