Instagram Stories: @JerseyIceCreamCo

Meet the stylesetting designer couple you're about to want to decorate your weekend house.

Tara Mangini and Percy Bright, the design minds behind interiors firm Jersey Ice Cream Co. 
Tara Mangini and Percy Bright, the design minds behind interiors firm Jersey Ice Cream Co. 
All photos courtesy of @jerseyicecreamco

It was a kind twist of fate that found Percy Bright in possession of a brand-new house, a fixer-upper property in South Philadelphia, at the same moment he suddenly had plenty of free time on his hands. He'd purchased the home days before being laid off from an unfulfilling graphic design job, and decided there was no better time to dive headlong into its in-depth restoration. "I happily missed some of the early renovation days, and came into the picture right when he was starting to decorate and furnish the place," notes his partner, in life and business, Tara Mangini. It was an undeniably atypical courtship—most couples find themselves battling their way through remodels, rather than bonding over them—that has led to an eclectic series of creative ventures, features in the pages of Lonny, and one undeniably inspiring Instagram feed. 

Instagram Stories: @JerseyIceCreamCo

The duo founded Jersey Ice Cream Co. (more on their unusual name, below) and set about designing homes for a cast of cool-kid clients seeking timeless style."I want someone to be able to see the work today and love it just as much as someone walking into a house one hundred years from now and admiring how things look covered with a layer of dust and cobwebs," explains Mangini. Keep reading to see how they conjure such enviable interiors, get their tips for mixing divergent price points, and see what it takes for them to decorate your space.

Instagram Stories: @JerseyIceCreamCo

ON the unusal name

"We founded Jersey Ice Cream Co. in the summer of 2010. We took a trip up to the Brimfield Flea Market a few weeks into dating and stumbled across a booth with a bunch of those old embossing stamps. I had no idea what they were, but after Percy explained how they worked I slipped a piece of paper in, stamped down, and voila, Jersey Ice Cream Co. was born. Initially, we were interested in buying and reselling vintage everything, but as time went on we wanted to have more say as to where our beautiful finds were ending up. We realized at some point that we had essentially been working on our first project, Percy's house, since we met."

On the perfect client collab

"Our typical client is the cool Brooklyn couple who just bought a weekend home in Upstate New York. We want the process to be as enjoyable for everyone involved as possible, and a huge part of that equation is kindness and trust. Because of the way we work, we need clients who we don't mind spending time with, because chances are, we'll spend a few nights under the same roof. In addition to that, they need to be confident enough in our work to hand over the keys and let us have our way with their home. Those two things are a pretty tall order."

Instagram Stories: @JerseyIceCreamCo

On the ups and downs of instagram

"We wish so much that people could actually walk into the houses we design, so I think that's a bit of what we're trying to do when we post things on Instagram. We want them to share in our lives, and see the beauty that we're making. It can be an amazing tool, and has connected us to some of our favorite clients and designers around the world. Still, I find myself equally inspired and overwhelmed by all the beautifully perfect instagram moments. Our day to day lives are more a messy in-progress picture than anything else."

Instagram Stories: @JerseyIceCreamCo

On Mixing High and Low

"It's so easy to get caught up in the fancy, high-end design stuff, but we are big proponents of affordable design. I think the key is picking your battles, and being sure not to confuse affordability with bad quality. If you really love a piece and think it'll make a big impact on a room, I say go for it, even if it's a little pricey. Cover the price tags and listen to your gut. But, just because something is expensive doesn't mean it's well-designed, and sometimes it's hard to see the truth."

TARA AND PERCY'S MUST-FOLLOW INSTAGRAMS

 

  • Instagram Stories: @JerseyIceCreamCo

    @LOCAL_MILK

    Beth Kirby is a friend [and former client] and everything she touches turns beautiful. 

  • Instagram Stories: @JerseyIceCreamCo

    @2SISTERS_ANGIE

    This is one seriously adorable and talented kid, and she lives in a different world than us, so I can just admire and not be jealous.

  • Instagram Stories: @JerseyIceCreamCo

    @ANDNORTH

    They keep us hip on the goings on in Upstate New York, where we spend so much of our time. Getting to know them feels like growing a little family of friends in the middle of nowhere. 

  • Instagram Stories: @JerseyIceCreamCo

    @ZIOANDSONS

    [Anthony D'Argenzio] gathers beautiful photos from everywhere that make me question all my design abilities.

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