MY LADY CRUSH: Mary Emmerling

One of my favorite bloggers, Julia from Hooked On Houses, posted about this classic shingled house in the Hamptons.

My first thought was that it might be country style icon + author, Mary Emmerling’s, old house.

If that name doesn’t ring any bells . . . Mary Emmerling published this iconic book, American Country, in 1980, which started the country style decorating trend that remains very popular.

American Country, 1980

American Country, 1980

I’m a huge fan + have followed Mary’s career since this book was published. Who remembers her HGTV series, Country Style?

She was also the editor of the late, great Country Home magazine.

In ’02, my friend, Alan, + I went to her book signing (American Country Cottages) in Chicago.  She was very cool + laughed at all our jokes!


She was kind of wowed by my bringing her 1st book with me, + imagine her surprise when I showed her some magazine articles that I’d saved!

SELF 1983, Country Living + Early American Life 1982.

SELF 1983, Country Living + Early American Life 1982.

Anyway, here are some photos of Mary’s Hamptons house — the one I thought might have been in Hooked on Houses last week.

A version of this flag gate is in the Folk Art Museum in NYC.

A version of this flag gate is in the American Folk Art Museum in NYC.

Okay, so now I realize the farmhouse in the Hooked on Houses blog is not Mary’s former home. I’ve never been to the Hamptons (soon!), but I know that there are 100’s of single-clad houses there!  See also: Ina Garten!

Look! Mary was a shopkeeper in the 80’s (so was I!) I think she + her 2 children lived above the store (as did I!)

The American Country Store in NYC.

The American Country Store in NYC.

Last week, Julia from Hooked on Houses blog + I chatted a little about Mary; we wondered what she’s doing now.

I know she’s married + lives in Arizona.  Her daughter, Samantha, writes for House Beautiful magazine.

I saw somewhere that Mary is a co-owner of a new retail store, but I can’t seem to find anything online.

Coincidentally, her latest book’s just been published.

Shall I get a copy? I’m not sure!

Mary Emmerling's Art of the Skull.

Mary Emmerling’s Art of the Skull.

Buy it here!


8 responses to “MY LADY CRUSH: Mary Emmerling

  • James

    OK, Once again Kay, nail on the head. I Love Mary too, I still have a few copies of her magazine from the 90’s. When ever we are in Key West or Santa Fe, I fantasize about running into her and Reg at the market…they has homes in both places

  • Dolores Larson

    I have that first book also, and most of the books following it. All of her rooms looked like something I wanted to live in. Not as fond of her Spanish and Southwest decorating in later years tho.

  • Mimi

    I stumbled upon this post today, more than a year late, as usual. But I too, am a huge fan of Mary Emmerling. I remember her from her years at Mlle. Magazine, along with Mary Randolph Carter and, I think, Bo Niles. Their very names conjure up the casual antique-strewn look of the late 70s I so loved…

  • Vanessa Dargain

    I can’t bear to part with my old Country Home magazines from the 80 ‘ s
    and 90 ‘ either . I still refer to them for decorating ideas . Mary’s rustic
    Americana style is timeless . Her AMERICAN COUNTRY COTTAGES
    book is my favorite one . She was at Albuquerque antiques show a few years back and signed she signed it for me . Yes !
    Glad I stumbled on to your blog . It is as inspiring as Mary . Thanks .

  • V. Dargain

    You said it girl . Timeless ! My favorite is the summer 1983 issue . Mary Emmerling was just a fledgling staffer then . It had an article on
    “Personality Decorating ” that I often reread .
    That’s a very ambitious idea for keeping the American Colonial decorating style alive in contemporary minds . I wish you all the best
    with . You can certainly count on me to read it when once it’s posted .

  • Dolores

    Looking forward to seeing your posts on the old Country Home magazines. When they folded, I felt like a friend had died!

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