Desk with a mid-centry vibe and personalized photos

A Sneak Peek into Lara’s Home

Mar 18, 2021

Ok so you’ve seen my portrait studio and probably have a feel for my vibe. But one question I hear a lot is “What does your home look like?” — So I thought I’d share a little sneak peek into my house!

My Vibe

I’m a true sentimental at heart. Literally every piece in my home has a story, sentimental meaning or a deep connection. My living room furniture is my maternal grandparent’s, a wedding present from their parents. My bed is a replica of what my husband Nick’s grandparents had. I have a church pew from my paternal grandparents’ tiny church.

My sister and I traveled Europe after I graduated. As she and I sat drinking hot chocolate in Paris, I kept my eye on this amazing street artist painting and fell in love with the piece. My very first grown-up purchase. It still hangs above my desk.

I honestly don’t know if I have an affinity for mid-century modern because of my love for these pieces or if I love these pieces because of my love of mid-century modern. Nonetheless, I love clean lines and a connection with indoor-outdoor living.

But of course, I own a portrait studio so mostly what adorns my walls are family images.

My First Collection

It started with my oldest, Caitie (my strawberry blond) newborn photoshoot. I did Baby’s First Year, a newborn photo session, a 6-month photo session, and a first birthday photo session.

I designed the portrait collection with Marcy, to be 4 pieces: 2 30×30 and 2 20X30’s. The pieces would sit in a perfect square, my nod to mid-century. It was in our gallery mount finish which of course has clean, straight lines. And it was designed for the home I was in at the time, a 1940’s cape.

Well. I was already 3 months pregnant (and very much showing) at Caitie’s first birthday photoshoot. So we had to rethink the collection because I’d obviously need to do the exact same portraits for both my babies!

We moved into my new home by the time Lorelai was 3 months old. And crazy enough the portrait collection fit perfectly. Honestly, it’s not so crazy. I tell folks all the time. Your home might change but your style doesn’t. You are still going to have the same vibe, the same energy, and most likely the same furniture no matter the home. So don’t let not being in your forever home deter you from enjoying décor that makes you happy today!

Through The Years Collection

As you can see, this collection is above my beloved pew. This portrait collection spans 10 years (yes, all from the studio). So I select one or two of my favorite images from the year and add them to the collection. It looks so incredibly cohesive for a few reasons:

  1. All of the images are in black and white. We recommend this for a few reasons. One, I love the emotion evoked from a strong black and white portrait. Two, you don’t need to worry about what you wore 10 years ago clashing with today’s trendy colors. And finally, it allows you to mix in-studio and outdoor images seamlessly.
  2. I use all one frame. Hint, hint, one more reason you should go to a pro! And I vary the size. I also vary if the image is matted or un-matted. To add visual interest.
  3. Super special to me is that this collection merges my family and my studio family. Michelle’s work is next to Marcy’s work is next to Kaeleigh’s work. And is totally cohesive.

Albums, My Ultimate

Ok, so I own a studio. You would imagine I have thousands of photos of my kiddos. And I do. So albums are my fav. I curate one each year with all my favorite images. It tells the story of our life, curated if you will, and the ladies’ growth! I find myself and the ladies flipping through and remembering how little they were!

But I also love them for the décor factor. As I mentioned, I love everything in my home to tell a story or have deep meaning. I’m not the kind of person to look through Amazon and pick a coffee table book that looks cool. That’s just not my style. But a creamy suede album filled with images of my favorite people totally is. It matches my color story and has a deep texture, perfect to display!

Caitie & Lorelai’s Room

My little ladies share a room by choice. We used to try to separate them and then I’d peek into their room in the morning and inevitably they were together. I know it won’t last but I’ll take it as long as they want!

They have this really close bond.  And as someone who’s super close to her sisters, I love every minute of it. We did these super fun bed jumping sessions. They were sweet and they were playful. And I literally couldn’t get enough of them! So, we did a 9-piece collection for my little ladies’ room.

What I particularly love is that it shows their connection so perfectly. Yes, Caitie has read to Lorelai before she even could. And yes, Lorelai beats Caitie over the head with pillows all the time! And (sound up) ‘I will always belong right here with you & you’ll always belong with me.” … no I’m not crying. And no, those giggles don’t get me every time.

While 9 pieces sounds like a lot, each is only 10×10 so super small when taken alone but tells an incredible story when layered together.

Statement Piece

Ok so by definition a statement piece, kinda like jewelry, is large and well, makes a statement. This is my all-time fav. You would see the sister images in the studio lobby. This is a 30×40 in our signature gold bamboo frame and because of the scale and simplicity of it works perfectly over this console table.

You’ll hear us talk a lot about scale. The size of the piece truly matters. Because this such a sold piece it works alone over a piece of furniture. PS: yes, those are dog bones I use as decor.

Ask for What You Want

I fell in love with this image during Caitie’s 6-month portrait session for so many reasons. It’ was developmentally appropriate, with her little hand in her mouth. And her hair is so amazing. And she’s wearing the dress Nick picked out (one of my family traditions) for her to come home from the hospital. It’s Burberry because that is my grandmother’s tartan. She was a Thompson and Nick and I used to play Gin Rummy with her Saturdays after we graduated from college. This is what I mean by everything in my home has a story.

Anyway, long way round. I loved this image. So when it came time for Lorelai’s 6-month photo session, I asked Marcy to replicate it so we could hang them together. And what I love about this image is Lorelai’s little expression and Caitie (22 months old) standing on her toes. The big takeaway from this one, don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for what you want.

Final Thoughts

Your home is your sanctuary. It’s your cocoon. It’s where you go to draw energy, recuperate and relax. It should be full of things that give you energy, joy, and peace. My advice is to surround yourself with all the things you love.

About the Author

Lara Aman Mattey

Founder I Owner I Ivory Tree

Lara is the coolest person alive, according to her husband, Nick, & two little ladies, Caitie & Lorelai. But she thinks her time is limited on that statement as they continue to grow older. Lara comes from a large family, with whom she is still very close with & you’ll often see shared through the blog and on social media. She went to Penn State (We Are…) where she met Nick.

Ivory Tree's very own photographer, Marcy shot her newborn photography sessions & Lara was hooked! Lara is not a photographer, super weird, we know. But lives for the experience, creative direction, and meeting all the cool folks who come through the Ivory Tree Portraits studio!

In addition to studio awards, Lara was also recognized at a Women of Influence on the Main Line in 2023.

Follow along as she shares studio antics, personal antidotes, & fun stuff going on in the community.

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