Weddings can be great motivators. When designer Barbara Yeast’s daughter announced her engagement and her wish to have her wedding pictures taken at home, Yeast sprang into action.
“They got married in September, and I used it as an excuse to update everything,” Yeast says.
The home is a Colonial dream, reminiscent of the house in the 1991 remake of the movie Father of the Bride. Set back from the street, its formality tamed by the charm of shake shingles and a white picket fence, the home exudes a well-tended air. This was not always the case. “It was in horrible shape when we bought it,” remembers Yeast of her and her husband, John’s, purchase 25 years ago. “That’s when we did the major work,” she says of a renovation that enlarged the kitchen, added a family room and relocated the garage.
The wedding was not an anomaly; the Yeasts enjoy entertaining family and friends.
“We love to barbecue and hang out by the pool,” she says.
The house has easily accommodated their friends and the comings and goings of their daughter and their twin boys over the yeas. The spiffing that was needed was nothing more than a very sophisticated update.
“It was more formal before,” says Yeast. “Lots of red, blue and yellow. I was ready for something more neutral.”
Yeast started work on the living room. “I needed to get rid of all that damask,” she says.
Now the sunny space is grounded by a diamond sisal rug, which is both classic and unfussy. The cream upholstery of the camelback sofa and club chairs provides a warm backdrop for the blue-and-white pottery and crisp ikat pillows. The most striking component of the room is the collection of antique prints over the mantel.
The dining room echoes the same theme but with bold navy and white-paneled walls. The same navy provides the background for the interior of the built-in cupboard; a perfect setting for some of Yeast’s silver and china. New, more casual slipcovers for the dining chairs keep things fresh.
The tobacco-colored grasscloth of the library defines a warm, inviting and cozy space. Everything here is new, as well as hard-working and functional.
“I used indoor/outdoor fabric on everything,” Yeast says. “There are so many good choices now.”
This is especially important as the couple’s golden retrievers, Hank and Audrey, enjoy free reign of the house.
The tiled floor of the sunroom is not original, but the Yeasts wanted it to feel as though it could have been there when the house was built in the 1940s. The white wicker and crisp, black-and-white striped sofa provide a seamless transition.
A long gallery wall in the entry showcases a fraction of Yeast’s collection of antique prints. Over the years she has amassed thousands, and what began as a personal passion has evolved into a business.
“I started buying in England about 30 years ago,” she says. “I had my own collection, and then I started buying for my clients.”
Many of these prints are illustrations from antique books.
“I would never cut up a book in good condition, but sometimes they’re partially damaged, and I can salvage these beautiful pieces that make great art.”
Yeast began selling at Mission Road Antique Mall and the business grew from there.
“I started with a simple hand-held mat cutter so I could do some of my own framing,” she said. Now she has a full-service frame shop that accommodates clients and the business.
Tucked away on the upper level of the house is Yeast’s design studio. Stocked with the requisite fabric books and a generous workstation is an inspiration board that is smart, functional and fun.
The entire long wall is hung with clipboards (the installation of which would take an exacting eye and careful measurements.) The images that are clipped here reflect Yeast’s mood; soothing neutrals, classic furniture, strong lines in lighting and walls of prints. The combination of which creates a happy marriage, indeed.