Design

A Connecticut Home That Defines Coziness

Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Justin Reis and his partner Mark live in Hampton, Connecticut, with two dogs and 10 chickens. “This year, with everything that’s happened in the world, we’ve renewed our gratitude for being out here,” says Justin. “A plot of land we can call our own; touching the earth has been so calming.” Below, he gives us a peek inside…

TOILE GUEST BEDROOM
Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Rug: Custom Beni Rug. Bedding: Parachute. Pillows: Beam BK.

On an “aha” moment: When we first did a tour of the house, I was in a miserable mood. Nothing felt right, and I walked into this bedroom and I was like, this is it.

On creating a welcoming space: After we had guests over, I was neurotic about asking people, were you comfortable? We wanted it to be the perfect spot. I even slept in there myself. I also feel like people have a bad habit of putting things that they don’t want to see all the time into guest rooms. I flipped that on its head and put things that we really love in there.

Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Console table: 289 and a Half. Squiggle vases: cktc ceramics. Swirl vase: vintage Nemadji pot.

On female artwork: Almost all the art in this room features women; it’s a celebration of women. They’re looking at each other if you follow your eye across the room. The only men in that room are three prints of old court jesters. The women are the hero, and I love that idea.

HALLWAY
Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Rug: Charlap Hyman & Herrero for Patterson Flynn Martin Espiral.

On choosing this paint color: It took many a sample. [laughs] The hallway extends downstairs, too, so this was one of the first colors we chose in the house. We looked at softer yellows and blues but the green felt ‘of a time.’ The second we put it on the wall it felt like it had been there for 100 years.

Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Bottom left art piece: “Genius” by Nir Hod. Bottom right art piece: “Smiler” by Dirk Meinzer.

On finding a bust: We had been looking, and there were so many busts to choose from. We couldn’t find the right one. We were in an antique mall a few towns over and loved that she had this very sweet bow on her head — it felt very strange and specific and it softened her.

TWINS GUEST ROOM
Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Sheets: Parachute. Thank you ceramic bag: Marian Bull. Needlepoint anger pillow: Jonathan Adler. Snake pillow: BeamBK. Monkey lamp: Seletti.

On choosing twin beds: This is a strange room — long and super narrow and off the other guest bedroom. We were thinking, what do we do with this? We were combing through interiors books and looking at old homes and how New Englanders set up houses. We saw all these beautiful twin beds. They’re sweet and homey. Twin beds hug you, it’s just you in the bed.

THE COUPLE’S BEDROOM
Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

American flag art: Natalie Baxter.

On a meet-cute: Mark and I met in Boston. I was an editor at Boston Common magazine, and we were doing a photo shoot on men about town. Mark was featured because he was running events at the Mandarin hotel. He was super stiff on set, and I was like, what is with this guy? So, the photographer and I put on M.C. Hammer and we were like, you have to dance, buddy. He was such a great sport and totally lit up. We hit it off.

On creating a comfortable bed: This is the lowest bed we’ve ever had, and now I’m a strong advocate for low beds. You can really plop into them, and it feels great. The bed also used to be against a wall but we moved it into the middle of the room to make the room feel cozier — and to be closer to the fireplace which we like falling asleep next to.

LIVING ROOM
Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Sofa: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Blue ottoman: Target, similar. Coffee table: ABC Home, similar. Sconce: Onefortythree.

On life during quarantine: We were hanging on by a string in March and April — we did more puzzles than I’ve ever done in my entire life. Then spring came, and we realized, we’re seeing this house every day and watching the gardens grow. It gave us the feeling that things were going to be okay. We went to our hands — gardening, ceramics, woodworking, making things and touching things.

KITCHEN
Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Pendant lights: Tom Dixon. Dutch oven: Great Jones. Bar stools: From The Source. Ceramics: Justin Reis Ceramics. Cutting board: Mark Schwindenhammer.

On an old house’s quirks: The house is super crooked. You put a ball down and it rolls from one side to the other. But I like that it’s not cookie cutter. At first I was annoyed by how drafty the windows are, and the cracks in the walls, but now you can see that it has history and that’s something special.

On a personal touch: We designed the two waterfall islands, which was a fun challenge. There’s a textual lived-in quality to it that we loved — it’s leather finish granite in fantasy brown.

DINING ROOM
Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Table: Restoration Hardware. Chairs: All Modern. Bar cart: CB2, similar.

On frescoed walls: We first walked into the room and I was like, this is so fun, it’s fantastic, how amazing to have these frescos or whatever you’d call them! They were in rough shape, but we wanted to keep them. It’s a really beautiful, hand-painted piece — it’s signed, her first name is Maria from 1948. We really cherish them.

On mixing things up: The dining room is usually for dinner when we entertain — but during those dark days of COVID, we needed to mix things up a little bit. We came in here together and made evenings feel special. I make a mean grilled pizza or big pasta dishes.

STUDIO
Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

Ceramics: Justin Reis. Cutting boards: 289 And A Half. Gold chair: CB2, similar.

On a second career: Two years ago, I had a job producing events, and I realized I was channeling all my creativity into work. So, I tried to learn the piano and that was a disaster. Then I signed up for a pottery lesson and loved it immediately. It was unlike anything I’d ever done — frustrating, tough to control. The clay has to guide you and tell you what it needs to be. I’d post about pots here and there, and people started asking if they could buy things. I thought, I’d try a website and see how it goes. It clicked! It was very exciting. It’s my side hustle. Once quarantine started and I left my job, it’s become more of a full-time thing.

Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

On finding an aesthetic: I love making these bumpy vases. There’s something about these bumps that I can’t get away from. They’re like little creatures when I pull them out of the kiln.

Justin Reis Connecticut House Tour

On feathered friends: We have 10 chickens. We got six at first and named them after the six wives of Henry VIII. The next batch were four, so we named them after four other female monarchs — Marie, Elizabeth, Victoria and Mary. And our two dogs. It’s a full, happy house.

Thank you so much, Justin!

P.S. More home tours, and readers share their cozy corners.

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo, styling by Cecilia Elguero.)

  1. Erika says...

    Possibly my favorite home tour? And that says a lot because I enjoy them all.
    Love them!
    xx

  2. Mel says...

    This post was like a warm hug on a cold post Christmas morning. These men, and this house gave me all the cozy feels.

  3. Michelle says...

    Ok – I am Australian woman and a I think you may be living my alternate life (if I was a man living in the northern hemispheres). And this may be because I loved the ‘love story’ between David and Patrick on Schitts Creek and this could be the house that they move into. Are you sure your names are not David and Patrick.
    From the Southern Hemisphere, I feel your love, truth and purpose. You had me at the twin beds in the long room.
    Michelle

  4. Their warmth, humor, and candor really shine through. So much character and intention behind their design choices. I love that they celebrate and cherish the imperfect aspects of their home, which of course make it “perfect” for them.

  5. Nicole says...

    What a lovely tour! The bed being right next to the fireplace instead of against a wall is a revelation for me…I love how it creates dramatic sections to the large room (I can imagine that the space behind the bed is a dressing area of sorts). Thank you for sharing such a cozy space for my cozy morning!

  6. Tara says...

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see these gentleman create a gift guide for us! I’m sure it would be eclectic and interesting!

  7. Anon says...

    What a delight! And this house really is about as cozy and welcoming as they get!

  8. angelina says...

    I’d love a tutorial on his grilled pizza technique. I can not get it right.

    • Kate says...

      maybe there’s fancier looking results using a different guide, but this is how I do it and it’s so easy and the best pizza crust I’ve made after attempting many versions! https://smittenkitchen.com/2017/06/grilled-pizza/. Hope this helps!

    • Justin says...

      I haven’t tried Deb’s recipes that Kate shared but I swear by my Smitten Kitchen Cookbook so I’m sure those are worth giving it a try!

      My approach is pretty similar. I usually use store bought dough (so quick!). I get all my toppings prepped (Caramelized Onion, Fig Jam, and Brie is a go-to) while heating the grill. Once the grill is decently hot (med-high), I oil one side of my dough and cook that side for a few minutes until crispy. Then I flip the dough, layer on my toppings, close the lid and let it cook for a few more minutes until the cheese has gotten to the right consistency.

      Some tips I’ve learned along the way: don’t be afraid of charred spots, if using Mozzarella slice as thinly as humanly possible and add *late* because it is so full of water, metal tongs are your best friend for getting pizzas on and off the grill, my middles tend to be a bit thinner so I try to take it easy on heavy toppings there, and make a few versions at once and cut into small pieces so everyone can try everything!

  9. Cheryl says...

    Cheers to this love letter of a house, it’s so romantic and thoughtful. The hair bow on the bust is giving me all the Lady Gaga feels. Women and warmth and art, what could be better?

    • jdp says...

      and men! especially men like these…

  10. janine says...

    This house is so sweet! It must be around a similar age to my house – mine was built in 1915. It’s got similar ceiling beams to this house. We also try to keep things in the spirit of the age of the house, with modern touches. We have an interior door with a glass panel that has a very Victorian-looking lady etched in the glass. I have no idea if it’s original to the house, but it’s such a random, cool detail!

    • Hi Janine, Thanks for commenting. Our house was built in 1820 so just celebrating 200 years!

  11. So, when may I have a sleepover? So charming, chic, and cozy.

  12. Nichole says...

    “Master” bedroom…I think I’ve read this terminology is harmful. How about “first” bedroom?

    • anabelle says...

      choose your battles…

    • Allie says...

      A lot of real estate companies, including the one I work at, have swapped it out for Owner’s Suite or Owner’s Bedroom. There are a lot of terms that we use in our everyday lives that we wouldn’t if we consider their roots so I definitely agree that the use of Master in real estate should go.

  13. Amy says...

    I pinned the kitchen and then realized I needed to pin every room!

  14. Christina Copp says...

    This house is like stepping into my Nana’s house in the best possible way. Cozy, familiar, warm, interesting, but a lot cooler – well done to these two gentlemen, I adore it.

  15. lee says...

    LOVE this tour! It’s so cozy and has me wishing I could be invited for a weekend away at their place. : )

  16. Danielle says...

    What an incredible house! I’d love to hear more about their art collection. Any chance someone knows who made that print of a male head in the last picture?

  17. JB says...

    I love everything, but especially that pink rug in the living room! I see others were commenting on it as well – would Justin and Mark be willing to share their source? Thanks for the great tour!

    • Justin says...

      Believe it or not, it was an eBay find!

  18. L says...

    Wow I love it all so much! What a delightful place to be stuck in this year – so inspiring!

  19. Liz says...

    Just wanted to check in with COJ for the day and as soon as I saw this post stopped gift wrapping immediately. What a treat! Such a lovely home! Makes me miss living in Connecticut terribly. Would you you ask Mark and Justin where the marvelous table with the wood top/metal base in the last photo is from? Pretty, pretty, please. XO

    • Hi Liz, thanks for your kind comment. The kitchen table is from Restoration Hardware.

    • Liz says...

      Thanks, Mark! <3

  20. Laura says...

    love the house! As a long long time reader, wanted to leave some feedback on the ad at the bottom of the page. It kept re-loading and bumping me back into the middle of the post, making it really hard to read to the end!

    • Jen says...

      That has been happening to me a ton, too!

  21. Sara says...

    This house made me swoon – the colour, the warmth and all the beautiful art and wood. And – I’ve already messaged Justin to buy one of his beautiful pieces. This was a balm on a dark December day.

  22. Kate says...

    What a wonderful home and an inspiring, creative couple! I live in New England and find the winters so dreary, but maybe I just haven’t found the right wallpaper?

  23. Anna says...

    Can I come live here? Soooo cozy, omg. Wow. Just beautiful!

  24. M says...

    Love, love, LOVE this!

  25. Stephanie says...

    LOVE. Great art, patterns, color, and old-world charm. I have also been looking for the right bust – they found a great one. I want to befriend them so I can stay as a guest! I have a new puzzle to bring and some wine lol.

  26. Rachel says...

    THE RUGS!!!! WOW. Can we get info on all of them??!

  27. manda says...

    The crooked floor made me laugh… my old kitchen floor was crooked and the Cat knew it! She would play with a ping-pong ball by sitting in the middle of the floor and bat it across the room so it would roll back to her over and over again! <3

  28. Emma says...

    WOW, this house took my breath away, it is what I call *a comfortable home* you walk in and feel welcomed and at home. I love the rug in the living room and the wall paper in the guest room, what and who made that wallpaper please? I would change nothing about this house, I would bring my dog and my books with my needlework and make a cup of tea and feel very comfortable.

    • Justin says...

      The wallpaper came with the house! It’s one of the things that sold us on it!

  29. Sarah says...

    I’ve been religiously reading COJ for years and came to this beautiful corner of the web not expecting to instantaneously be transported back to my childhood. I grew up in Hampton’s neighboring town, spent years traipsing all over the quiet corner with friends. But the wallpaper has my heart aching, I spent a year working on a small organic farm with a wood fired-kiln (the synchronicities!) in Scotland, CT, and that winter wallpapered an almost identical wallpaper to the almost identical farmhouse. And yes, I used an exacto blade as the ceiling sloped as much as the floor, but in a different direction! Since then I’ve lived in SF and two different continents but this post reminded me that so much of it started there and no matter how far I go, the roots stay intact! Thanks for this sacred reminder, Justin and Mark, and enjoy! Hampton’s luck to have you!

    • LK says...

      I used to take riding lessons Indian Hollow Stables!

  30. Sarah S says...

    What a beautiful home! This makes me miss all the old homes of Connecticut. I stayed in an Airbnb in Woodbury CT a few years ago that had a very similar vibe to this home. I moved from New Haven to LA last year but oh do I miss the history and architecture of New England!

  31. Emily says...

    I love all the textures and patterns that look cozy yet not overwhelming. Every time I see a new house tour I want to completely redecorate!

  32. Sonja says...

    This house might be perfect.

  33. Maureen says...

    Wow – unique and beautiful. And the rugs! Swoon. Really enjoyed this peak, thank you.

  34. karen says...

    I adore the green in the hallway.
    I am amazed at the beauty of the waterfall counters in kitchen.
    I am most inspired by the dining room- such modern pieces with the vintage, formal wall paint and it works so well. The light fixture was a bold, impressive choice.

  35. Lauren H says...

    A great house tour is one I feel compelled to look at at least twice in order to make sure that I am taking everything in — as I did with this one! One of the best parts about this house is Justin’s ability to combine something modern in each room (sometimes art, sometimes light fixtures, sometimes a coffee table) to keep everything from feeling too predictable. Very well done!

  36. NinDC says...

    This may be one of my all time favorite house tours. It reminds me of New England family, without being stuffy. The colors, the antiques, and mix of whimsy is wonderful!!

    One thing– is anyone else alarmed by the distance of the master bed to the fire?

    What color did they use in the library? (I think the wall color is the same as the bookshelves but can’t tell.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      on the living room bookshelves, they made a custom blue. Justin says: “we customized a blue and used Benjamin Moore’s After Midnight as our base!”

  37. Anyone else wanna know what the dogs’s names are?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Scout and Webster! They’re brother and sister.

  38. Paige says...

    Swooning!
    The patterns, the pottery… and I love the pink rug in the living room. Bravo!

    • Emma says...

      Oh you are so right, that a fabulous rug……my favorite color is pink and it would go great in my bedroom.

  39. Kiana says...

    I love this house. So original and full of life in a way that we don’t really get to see anymore. The kitchen is my favorite though. I love the pop of blue.

  40. Kate says...

    Ohhh what is the navy paint color for the kitchen cabinets and bookcases? Stunningggg.

  41. Bianca says...

    Wow, this is one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen. It completely warms my heart, I would live there in an instant ❤️

  42. J Ray says...

    I gasped when I saw the rough beams in the twin bed room…and I love the carpets! Terrific carpet collection, guys!

  43. Meg says...

    A gorgeous home! Would love to see what the outside looks like (and the chickens!). I am swooning over the master bedroom. I want to fall asleep next to the fire.

  44. a.n. says...

    whoa, i love that comfy, dark living room! all of this is so dreamy.

  45. Rebecca says...

    What a lovely home! I’m just sad I didn’t know about Justin’s pottery before I did my Christmas shopping! :( Bookmarking for 2021 (and my own birthday!!).

    • Kristi Houk says...

      Me too!

  46. Kelly Drummond says...

    Cottagecore! but… somehow better. I love it! And those little grow lights on their cactus, brilliant!

  47. Wow-what a beautiful, warm, interesting home – and what a warm, interesting couple! Love all of the artwork. “The women are the hero” – love that too. Also enjoyed the tasteful taxidermy.

  48. Becky says...

    The exposed beams are amazing and I love the contrast with the modern kitchen. I also live in a crooked house. In New England we have found that is super common because the houses are so old obviously. When we considered buying we looked at houses from the 1700s (the ceilings were just too low and with old family burials in the backfields) and the newest ones were from the 1800s. My one issue with this quirk is that I have to race to clean up a spill before it goes under my fridge!

  49. ND says...

    So beautiful and warm.May I know the dining room hanging sputnik lamp link? Thank you!

    • Meg says...

      yes! i would love to know that too.

    • Thanks for the comment. The dining room chandelier is a reproduction of Lindsay Adelman’s “branching bubbles”

  50. ND says...

    So beautiful and warm.May I know the dining room hanging sputnik lamp link? Thank you!

  51. nicole says...

    This is my favorite house tour ever. It has so much history and character, color and personality. You can totally see the owners in their spaces. Totally wonderful.

  52. liz says...

    jeeez this place is a dream!!! just wow.

  53. Susan says...

    What is the hallway paint color? I love it!

    • kiki says...

      yes! this! please share :)

    • Jo says...

      Yes! I’m dying to know, too :) So, so lovely!

    • Justin says...

      It’s a color called Breathe from Behr!

  54. Hali says...

    SOB. That people live like this. So beautiful!! If I were ever invited to stay at a home like this, I’d splurge on Liberty London Pajamas and brand new slippers just so I could really do justice to mornings spent padding around amongst those unbelievably beautiful walls. Just so gorgeous!

    • Ellen says...

      What a perfect response to this heart melting home!

  55. CC says...

    This home is stunning; I don’t know what else to say about it! I wish I could curl up in any one of those rooms with a great book and a cup of hot chocolate or a glass of wine and then cook/eat a meal in that kitchen and/or dining room. Thanks for sharing this!

  56. KC says...

    What a dreamy space! Filled with such character and personality that only comes with time, thoughtfulness and countless hours of collecting. Without knowing Justin and Mark, I still feel like it’s just SO “them”. I love that.

  57. Sarah says...

    Really loved this house tour (exposed wooden beams, floors, furniture, art works – everything!) and would have loved to get a glimpse of the garden, too! Only suspect the hallway bust with the bow on the head to actually be an interpretation of the Apollo Belvedere…

  58. Emily says...

    WOW this is definitely my favorite home tour you’ve ever done! I love the mixture of antique and contemporary pieces and all the beautiful details. I would love to stay in that guest room.

  59. Ann says...

    I love the modern kitchen within the old interior and that they decided to do it that way. Very refreshing to see! I love how they named their chickens too. That made me lol.

  60. Deb says...

    This is my dream house. They said they like having guests, right? I’ll bring a bottle ;-)

  61. RN says...

    GORGEOUS. Gorgeous couple, gorgeous home. Lucky chickens :)

  62. Laurel says...

    This house! The rugs! The artwork! The cutting boards! This is my aesthetic through and through!

  63. Belchik says...

    breathtaking!

    • Andy says...

      Can we please get the name of the green paint colour and brand?

      Thank you!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes! Justin says: “A color called Breathe by Behr!“

  64. Amory says...

    Gorgeous kitchen cabinet color -what is it please? TY!

  65. Jo says...

    I had multiple gasp-out-loud moments scrolling this post. I think I love the homes I could never possibly recreate more than the ones that are within reach–it takes away any feeling of jealousy or inadequacy and just lets me revel in the beauty!

  66. Emma says...

    What is the green color you finally settled on? Might it be F&B Breakfast Room Green? It’s beautiful!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes! It’s Breathe by Behr.

  67. Jeanne says...

    Such a cute couple. I got a very John Derian feel from their home. I really liked how they arranged the bed in the center. I would have never thought of that and it totally works.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh good call, Austeja!

  68. Gemma says...

    Bought a lovely vase :-)

  69. What a beautiful home. I could live the rest of my days in that toile guest bedroom and be a very happy woman indeed

  70. Tracy says...

    this house is iconic. so beautiful. it’s like a comfy museum.

    question about chicken names: henry viii married two anne’s, three catherine’s, and one jane LOL… so, how does justin distinguish between the ladies?
    x

    • nadine says...

      Great question! I would name the chickens with the entire name, ex Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleaves. It sounds even more royal :D

    • Justin says...

      Great question! From our first batch we’ve got one white chicken, three black ones, and two brown ones. So we bunched them by colors (the Annes are brown and the Catherines are black)—they do all have their full and proper names (Catherine Parr, Catherine Howard, etc.) and they all look slightly different so telling them apart is easier than you’d think!

  71. b says...

    All that natural wood – the doors! the beams! All the heart eyes. This is my dream come to life.

  72. maywyn says...

    Beautuful, Gorgeous, warm, totally New England homey! I thought the dogs are ceramic. Adorable dogs fit the handsome couple perfectly. The green color feels as natural as the woods. The 2 handled mug, I can see half full hot chocolate, half full marshmallows. Toile farm scene wallpaper, I believe that’s a dude plowing, and a young boy adding to the count. 😊

  73. Minerrva says...

    Curious why all the diagonal rods across the top halves of the windows. I know people use those to prevent break ins, but that would be so incongruous! It must be something else?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I didn’t notice that until you pointed it out! I’ll ask Justin xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Here’s his answer! “They are our old-timey, country locks. There’s another farmhouse in the neighborhood that has them and we loved how it looked. Since the windows are original—and we would never change them—they don’t have any locks. The little rods add some security but also keep the very old (read: drafty) windows in place and a bit more taut against the frame.”

    • Julia says...

      I live in a town with a lot of first period houses, and have noticed a lot of them have these diagonal rods in the windows! Curious to hear the answer!

    • Meghan says...

      Yes! It keeps old, drafty windows in place. We have these diagonal rods in our French Quarter apartment :)

  74. celeste says...

    I will check out the pottery store! My grandma used to pot like this. I miss her.

  75. Allyson says...

    Their style is a dream! I live in an old house and with it came some amazing old thick brocade wallpaper- it’s basically fabric. I need a Marian Bull mug now. This was a great Home Tour. I feel so inspired. Thanks gentlemen!

  76. Charlotte K says...

    That toile room!!! Love it!

  77. Abbey says...

    I’m swooooooning! I grew up in New England and got tired of the squeaky old wood and wallpaper thing pretty early in life. But THIS! What a beautiful marriage between creative, playful, and old New England charm.
    Also, Justin and Mark remind me of my best friends. What could be cozier?

    • Eloise says...

      THIS! I rolled my eyes at the first photo, expecting typical “New England blah,” but boy was I wrong!!