From books to French country decor, Stephanie Hollis combines the things she loves to create a cozy home.
Here is how Hollis, an English teacher at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, described the place for our Home of the Week online feature:
"My home embodies a cozy French country cottage with its decor and old-fashioned charm. What made me really drawn to it was the beautiful perennial garden in the front yard and the sloping roof that went over the charming rounded cottage door.
"My house has a very warm and cozy feel. When you walk in, my front landing has a wood-paneled entrance that is very inviting. The living room has a beautiful brick fireplace that is complementary to the brick outside. The long white couch is perfect for cracking open a book in front of the fire, cuddling up in a blanket, and just relaxing.
"On my coffee table, original Nancy Drews in their original blue binding pay homage to my profession as an English teacher and my love for rare books. The blue actually matches my living room and the blue in the bricks outside. After all, they were both from the same time period.
"My house was built in 1935 and has lots of character and feminine charm throughout. My home has many historic and architectural details that make it a house of its time period. For example, the stucco walls in the dining room and living room.
"There are also wall sconces in the living room. However, these are very feminine, too! These are unique pieces that pay tribute to the garden outside, even though the garden came after. The stucco has a floral pattern of roses imprinted in it and the sconces have daisies etched in them. The doorways have keyholes that have a curvy feminine shape surrounding it.
"I was also drawn to the beautiful hardwood floors throughout the house and the thick woodwork that surrounded the windows. The home's neutral color palette enhances the warm interior without competing with the woodwork.
"As an English teacher, I love to read. One of my favorite books is 'Rose Daughter' by Robin McKinley. It is a novel version of 'Beauty and the Beast' (my favorite fairy tale). In the story, Belle ends up residing with her family in Rose Cottage. In her personal spaces would be the motif of a rose. This home reminded me of rose cottage. It had the look of a cottage, with the floral details in the two front rooms. The garden even had roses!
"I really love the style of French country because I had the freedom to play around with both very girly and rustic pieces. I am a girly girl at heart, and I would love to capture cozy and sophisticated elegance.
"My interior designer, Meghan Ebert, helped me out with everything. She picked the neutral palette and the fancy pieces that would define my home. My style can even be a little gaudy but she provided the rustic to balance it out. Meghan knew I would never, ever, give up my crystal chandeliers! My home captures my feminine personality through the inside and out.
"My gold mirror and white wood dressers make me think of Marie Antoinette. I was always interested in her, and I loved her beautiful opulent style. The gold mirror reminds me of the palace at Versailles.
"The dressing room is another feature I love. It has a French chaise lounge for lounging, and all of my clothing has a place. There is even a full-length mirror to try on an outfit. From the rose patterns to the curves in the archway, you can't deny that it has all the charm of a French cottage itself," she wrote.
Do you love your house enough to show it off? This could be your chance.
The Buffalo News is looking for other beautiful local homes and the stories behind them and their décor. Those chosen will be displayed in a weekly feature at buffalonews.com and could be chosen as Home of the Month in a Sunday edition of The Buffalo News.
If you are interested, tell us about your home in 150 words or less, and email 10 images (in .jpg form) of the interior and exterior to email@example.com.
It's OK to separate the images into several emails.
Those chosen for BuffaloNews.com will be contacted by Home and Style Editor Susan Martin. A phone number is helpful. Single-family homes, condominiums, lofts and apartments are eligible.
The News will include your name and the city or town in which you reside but not your exact address. If you have difficulty submitting images, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* In case you missed our last Home of the Week:
Story topics: home of the week