Entry hall, Thomas Janes, Whitehall, SC; many thanks to Courtney for the source.

You know that game some couples play? You know, "If I die, who do you think you would marry?" This is not a good idea on any level, especially as, if this comes up, it is usually not in time of crisis, but instead after the inquirer has had a drink or two. Be forewarned: There is no good way to answer this question. In addition, if anyone asks it of you, pretend you are having an appendicitis. Better yet, have an appendicitis.

Which is why when Sarah at Things That Inspire asked me to post a virtual dream house I squirmed a little. It makes me feel unfaithful. I love my house. It is my dream house. How could I think of another? But, heck, it's just a game so here goes.

My living room is loosely modeled on Bunny William's living room both above and below. This room is the perfect combination of formal and informal. It communicates her wonderful taste without being overly impressed with itself. And, I adore the klismos chairs.

Living Room, Bunny Williams, her own.

Amelia Handegan for Thomas Ravenel, House Beautiful, July, 2003.

This living room by Amelia Handegan has also had a strong influence on mine. This room and Williams's both focus on variations of a single color using a variety of fabrics and textures. I do use my living room as a retreat from the testosterone bouncing off the walls in almost every other room, but it is mostly for entertaining. It's a careful balance to communicate that a room is special - not just for dogs and kids and carry-out - and to still be welcoming. I think a living room wants to say, "We were careful here. We took some time. We hold it dear, but we want to share it with you, because you are special too." Not a tomb, a treasure.

Brian McCarthy, Elle Decor, December, 2007.

Dining rooms need drama. I was torn between this and the Michael Smith (end of post), but while I love the sculpture of the pieces in the Smith room, a dining room needs to go "pow!" for me. It needs to knock your socks off. Red, black, lacquer, crystal. Yep, that sounds about right.

Mari Ann and Michael Maher's home, Elle Decor, July/August, 2007.

Whether it's gros point or needlepoint on that wing chair matters not; I simply would never want to leave. Piles of books, bar on a tray in the corner, and the light looks dreamy. Library perfection.

Victoria Hagan, Town & Country.

Kitchens should be white. Or so says Van Day Truex and who am I to argue with him? Almost all the kitchens in my file look remarkably, or unremarkably depending on your taste, the same. I pay particular attention to Hagan's kitchens because she has children and I think she gets it.

Howard Slatkin, Architectural Digest.
I do not have a mudroom now, so this is total luxury for me. You cannot imagine how much I would use the shower for dog and boys alike.

Lynn von Kersting, La Strada della Dolce Vita

This is where I'd like to teach the shoe-tying, gather the markers and monitor the algebra. Cheerful stripes and chintz would surely send everyone out the door with smiles on their faces and welcome them home again at the end. Family Room.

Cool enough for the boys, Christopher Robin enough for me. I'd have to add another bunk, then I could lay awake in my room listening to the quiet talking and laughter that always comes once the lights are out. The only time they seem to like each other is before sleep. Then you can hear in the murmurs from one twin bed to the next the connection that will make them brothers the rest of their lives.

And "our" room, that I often mistakenly refer to as "my" room. In reality and fantasy, it is last on the list. Our current bedroom languishes in leftover hell of both linens and furniture. When the eldest claimed it to convalesce, Mr. Blandings and I blushed as well-wishers paraded through with balloons and books. It's time for a little attention. That made choosing this image tricky. I don't think either one of us knows exactly what we want, but it should be soothing and comfortable. The black iron canopy seems to give the room a little edge and structure to balance out the softness of the rug and fabric.
What? No, darling dream house, I don't think she's prettier than you! Besides, she's had all that work done. You're a natural beauty.

Post Script
These rooms came in and went out of the post so many times, I think they deserve a mention.

Brian McCarthy. I couldn't have this room and the red dining room. In addition, this seemed to be overpowering the rest of the scheme and I just couldn't quite get comfortable with it.

Michael Smith for Maria and Gary Gersh. This room is so pretty. But, again, it wasn't working with the whole, and, as much as it enchants me, it's a bit to subtle to serve as my own dining room.

And, Albert Hadley's study for Brooke Astor. This is one of my top ten rooms, but I couldn't have this and the McCarthy dining room as well. I'm so hoping Mr. Hadley would understand.