Finding the balance between a stylish and kid-friendly interior can be challenging, but Bare Beauty founder Jessica Morse took it one step further with her Charleston home. The "clean" beauty enthusiast worked with interior stylist Ruth Campbell to decorate an elevated sanctuary for her family with a nontoxic and sustainable state of mind. “I wanted to honor the home’s history, but decorating exclusively with antiques can create a stuffy feeling—fast,” she told MyDomaine. “We mixed old and new to create a functional family home, and when we do buy new, we aim for sustainable, fair-trade, nontoxic, and eco-friendly options.”
While the styling came easy, sourcing them wasn’t. “To quote Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part,” she explained. “Searching for months or even years for an antique that fits the space, aesthetic, and budget will try anyone’s patience, but it’s always worth it. Also, if I’m buying a new piece, I try to wait until I can find an eco-friendly, ethically made option. Let’s just say that it’s taken four years for this house to come together.” Ahead, Morse shares her style notes and decorating process.
“I suppose my style is coastal contemporary meets traditional,” she said. “While I love clean lines, minimalism, and bright white spaces, I also like a rich, layered, collected look. I mix West Indies and other British Colonial antiques with contemporary pieces to keep our historic home looking appropriate but fresh.”
Being made in the U.S. was a priority for Morse when selecting furniture because these pieces tend to have fewer toxic chemicals during manufacturing. “I love Lee Industries because their furniture is exceptionally made, and all of their frames are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certified,” she explained. “Their flame retardant–free cushions and padding are made of soy-based materials and recycled plastic bottles, their low-VOC soy finishes are water based, and most of their metal components are made of recycled materials. I also chose an organic white twill fabric. Some friends think I’m crazy to choose the color white if I’m deciding against stain-resistant fabric, but I have no regrets. I also ordered an extra set of cushion covers, just in case.”
“I always buy vintage or antiques whenever possible,” she said. “Not only do they add character to your home, the quality is typically better, and they are most definitely less toxic and less wasteful. Also, when you buy antique furniture, you are not contributing to the very real problem of deforestation.”
“I know it’s not in vogue to say this, but I’m not much of a color person,” she said. “I love wearing and decorating with neutrals, and I prefer to add color through art, or natural elements like plants and crystals. Most of the house is painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove, the furniture has a natural finish, and the textiles are white linen or other natural fibers. I also love using Oushak rugs for their washed-out non-color colors.”
“I love the way our home entertains, and it accommodates houseguests very well, but mostly, I love the way our family can truly live here,” she said. “I aimed for bright, warm, and welcoming, and I like to think that those are the feelings that our home exudes. Nothing here is more precious than the memories we are making.”
“When my husband and I were first married, we lived in a tiny carriage house and collected a lot of midcentury pieces, partly because of their low profile and slender lines and partly because it was all we could afford,” she said. “When we moved to our current home, combining those pieces with antiques that are of a larger scale was a challenge at first, but now I love the way that the two styles work together. The juxtaposition keeps our home from looking too trendy or too serious.”