Inside Neko Case's Vermont Home
By The Piano
Leave the McMansions to run-of-the-mill rock stars. Indie musician Neko Case put her inimitable stamp on a historic Vermont farm, with quirky salvage, bold new finds, and more than a few heirloom seeds.
Rarely do the terms "rock star" and "homebody" describe the same person. Then again, Neko Case is far from your typical rock star. Or homebody. The Grammy nominee, whose genre-defying sound falls somewhere between alt-country and punk-folk, spends as many as 10 months a year on the road. But just because she's not physically at her 1787 Vermont farmhouse doesn't mean she isn't there — dreaming and decorating, room by room, in her head.
In this photo: Neko Case does much of her composing in the kitchen, at an old piano she rescued from a nearby frat house. The alcove's mirrored tile, along with the white version covering the walls, is by Artistic Tile. As for the border up top? Pratt & Larson custom-made that tile, dubbing the color "Neko red."
Case personalized the piano with a vintage tractor emblem that just happens to bear her name. She bought the flea-market tiger painting while on tour. "A number of my friends are musicians, and if the piano is in the kitchen, people will play it," Case says.
An Anthropologie sofa, upholstered in Josef Frank fabric, and a Heywood-Wakefield coffee table furnish the living room, painted in Behr's Elm Bark.
With the exception of the late-1700s beams, Case started from scratch in the kitchen — transforming the space with custom cabinetry, counters of locally quarried Danby marble, and a refurbished 1950s stove. The floor tile is by Daltile; the stools came from Restoration Hardware.
Everything in Case's breakfast room carries a backstory: The wainscoting was constructed from her kitchen's old cabinets; the slate panels hail from a schoolhouse; the flooring once made up a bowling lane; and the Viva Terra furniture sports recycled yardsticks. Even Case's dog Liza started life in a shelter.
The musician characterizes her decorative mash-up as "a combination of science classroom, hunting lodge, and Art Nouveau battleship."
A wingback chair by AK-LH serves as both extra seating and a conversation starter in the dining room, where Case displays her collection of more than 500 albums. The walls wear Farrow & Ball's Brinjal.
Trompe L'oeil Library
Deborah Bowness's photo-realistic wallpaper, plus a few actual bookshelves, turns the upstairs hallway into a de facto library.
The master bath's pale-blue tub by FTF Designs pops against charcoal Ann Sacks tiles. The large linoleum collage is by Bill Miller; the towel rack is a Restoration Hardware find.
Bright Idea: Display art against a tiled wall by suspending it, via wire, from Sheetrock above.
An Ikea duvet, Eileen Fisher's blanket and shams, and a needlepoint dog pillow from Urban Outfitters dress Case's upholstered bed. She purchased the wallpaper at UK firm Cole & Son when she played London. Case chose her bedroom’s dramatic tufted headboard because "it feels like a couch."