Home Tour: Creative Details Reign in a Modern Country House

Peter Dolkas
THE DOSSIER: NAME: Jessica Musumeci and David Curcurito. TRADE: Creative directors, Seventeen and Esquire, respectively. VIBE: Black and white and rad all over. ABODE: Three-bedroom, two-bath weekend home with a one-bedroom, one-bath guest house in Stone Ridge, NY, 90 miles north of Manhattan.

In contrast to the "overwhelmingly busy" and bright magazine covers she designs as Creative Director of Seventeen, Jessica Musumeci's home and wardrobe consist mostly of black, white, and neutrals.  "I like to keep things minimalistic," she says. "If I add colour, it's usually on my shoes or the bits that surround us (books, artwork, pillows), not the main items. I need to have a sense of order and peace in my living space."


After moving into their upstate New York weekend home, Musumeci and her companion David Curcurito, creative director of Esquire, updated their home's brick-red and mustard-yellow exterior with richly stained cedar and pale grey paint. Musumeci purchased a beautiful collection of furniture, including a kitchen table from Restoration Hardware, original Saarinen Tulip chairs, and a deep-cushioned linen sofa from Shabby Chic. While her restrained selections were in line with the building's experimental architecture, her love for order, right angles, and straight lines had gotten the best of it. "After living in the house for a year, I realised what I was missing. I had no home accessories," Musumeci says. "I needed someone to come in and hang stuff on the walls, mess things up, and un-align stuff."


Luckily, she knew just the person: Leanne Ford Shaffer. The two had met years earlier when Shaffer was styling fashion shoots for Seventeen, and the pair had collaborated on a number of issues. "She could make an outfit cool just by piling on the right accessories," Musumeci says. "I'd turn my back, and she'd be crafting something out of feathers and macaroni . . . and it would work. She's incredibly talented that way." Shaffer has since launched ACRE Goods + Services with husband Brad Shaffer, expanding her horizons from wardrobe styling to all things visual: rebranding efforts, photoshoot production, interior design, and more.


Shaffer gladly obliged and sought to create a space with warm simplicity and escape-from-the-city sanity. "I wanted to make a space to be proud of, with minimal upkeep," Shaffer says. "You don't want a weekend escape that you have to work on every time you're there." So she loaded up a truck in Pennsylvania with finds from Brimfield Flea Market, Tri-State Antiques, Cleveland Art, and local Pittsburgh-area antique shops and drove it north.


Then, Shaffer did what she does best: making miracles out of macaroni. She tore up an old atlas book from the '60s and adhered it to a guest room wall. "It was so amazing, the faded pages, the teal and cream colours, the fact that the world is even different now than when it was printed," she says. She propped an old portrait of Abraham Lincoln behind the firewood, giving new meaning to the idea of Lincoln logs. She carved out cubbies in the staircase bookcase for Hendrick's gin, Bartram's bitters, and Curcurito's rocks glasses. "Now we have a cool bar, and it didn't cost us a dime," Musumeci says. "What a brilliant idea."


And in the most miraculous combination of creative minds, Shaffer unearthed a college art project of Musumeci's in the garage -- wallpapers made with about 100 different patterns of letterforms -- and pinned them to a guest room wall, their edges curling up freely, un-aligned just so. The result is perfectly unfussy and cool -- just like the home's owners.

Like Shaffer's "rock-'n'-roll church" aesthetic? See how she and husband Brad renovated their own home, a converted Pennsylvania school house.


JM1 JM14 JM10
Tulip Arm Chair, $1648, Knoll Olin Rug, From $20, Crate & Barrel King/Queen Linen Duvet Set, $99, H&M
JM15 JM13 JM12
Componibili, $169, Moma Store Raleigh Upholstered Bed, From $594, Pottery Barn Preston Side Table, $995, Jonathan Adler
JM9 JM11 JM8
Plus Side Table, $299, CB2 Sheep Skin Rug, $144, Zinc Door Haven't You Met Yet, $130, Z Gallerie
Wassily Chair, $1848, DWR Charade Tiered Studded Vase, $175, Jonathan Adler Farmhouse Salvaged Wood Table, From $1555, Restoration Hardware
Bertoia Side Chair, $561, DWR Nelson Saucer Pendant, $329, Room & Board Masters Chair, $269, DWR
Are you drawn to neutral or black and white interiors? Or do you crave colour? Tell us in the comments. Photographs: Reid Rolls

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