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Design Inspiration for the New Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe

Since the time when the dream of opening the Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe was a concept that kept me up at night until the time it became a possibility that it just might happen, to the again sleepless nights designing, planning, and putting all of the necessary steps into place to make it a reality, there has been one constant… an endless quest for inspiration.

It is sometimes difficult to convey what is in one’s head to another, let alone, to bring it to fruition. I cannot even begin to count the nights where I bolted upright with a vision of a room or a vignette in the barn that was perfectly pictured in my mind. I would furtively grab my pen and paper to covertly scribble a drawing of the vision into my notepad that I keep by my bed, phone flashlight lighting the way for my pen to follow. Hopefully I would have captured enough so that the design idea would not escape me with the light of day. This not only happens with design ideas, but with life ideas as well. My notebook is a maze of scribbled thoughts, ideas and dreams. These middle of the night scribbles are fueled by inspiration from things I have seen in my many magazine subscriptions,

on Pinterest,

on Instagram,

in books,

and all the design sources out there, which are all fueled by pulling the reader in with their visuals.

Inspiration for me also comes from traveling,

from restaurants I have eaten at, from other people’s homes, from the landscape,

and from the buildings on those landscapes.

My tear sheets are many, the pictures in my head even more so. Sometimes I circle just an item in a tear sheet that I like. I am not saving that sheet for the entire aesthetic but for a piece of it.

When I combine these pictures with pieces that I have found on my travels and buying trips….

…the plans begin to take shape.

When coming up with a design for a space, not only do I pull from inspirational sources but I often feel the look that the space inspires. The village in which The Jenny Lind House is in, is one that while it predates the Revolutionary War, does not have the Colonial styling of the proverbial Pennsylvania Farmhouse of that same time period. Some of the buildings were built right after the war and the founding of this country and others were added in the early part of the 1800’s. Their architectural elements reflect the European roots of the people who built them.

My intent is to follow this feeling and inject the interior of our Jenny Lind House with a combination of that European rooted style and the style of the new America in which it was built.

I want to create a place that inspires peace and tranquility, reflects the art world in which this village has been a part of through the years and is experiential while doing so. I am hoping that all of our guests will feel the same way and by walking the floorboards of this house, they too will feel the past inhabitants who resided here in one of its former lives as an inn, a boarding house, a dormitory, a private residence and a restaurant.

I would like to show you, through a blog series over the course of the next few months that precede our opening of the Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe, how this process works. What fuels it, how decisions are made such as paint colors, materials and finishes, how design elements are implemented and furniture choices made. I would like to give you snippets of how this beauty is coming together and peek behind the scenes. This first post is focusing in on the inspiration for the entire project. So with that being said, below you will find images that we have pulled to capture the design aesthetic, that we are working off of to generate that ultimate feeling that will reflect the personality of the Jenny Lind House.

Bathroom Inspiration

You will notice the word Inn on many of my tear sheets. While the building is not going to be an Inn when we first open, it is much easier to write Inn on the myriad of pages that I pull out of the magazines vs mercantile!

Room Inspiration

Outdoor Inspiration

Cafe Inspiration

Textures, colors and design elements that pull it all together

P.S. Don’t worry… while you will see A LOT of pale blue, the entire building will not be that (but the color will certainly be represented!) but this series of photos creates a mood… and that is what we are going for here.

Mercantile Goods Inspiration

~ This is just a sneak peak for that will be the focus of another blog post in this series… the merchandise!

I want to thank each and every one of you for being so enthusiastic about this project of ours… and for patiently hanging in there with us! Renovating an old house in dire need and all the requirements that one needs to open up a food establishment, however small, has been a learning curve for us! We are working to make it all happen and we are feeling our own excitement build as we get closer, step by step, day by day. We cannot wait for you all to experience the magic that is the Jenny Lind and we will be posting quite a bit from here on out so you can follow along in our creation of the new Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe!

With Love ~ Meg and the team at Life’s Patina

P.S. While we don’t yet have a date for the grand opening of our Mercantile & Cafe, we are excited to announce that our Barn at Willowbrook Farm in Malvern, Pennsylvania will be open for our Spring Barn Sale on April 23rd, 24th, 25th & 26th! Stop by to shop our latest collection of vintage finds, architectural salvage, and home decor. Click here for more info!

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  1. Deb Hewitt says:

    Looking forward to future posts

    • Meg Veno says:

      Thank you for following along Deb! I will be doing another post about the progress in two weeks! Keep an eye out đŸ™‚

  2. D.Reynolds says:

    Thanks for your inspiration! Love the plaster walls and heavy ironstone(?) bowls. Will you sell those?

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hi! Thanks for your comment! Aren’t the plaster walls so beautiful?
      You will be seeing those in the mercantile and yes, we will be selling a variety of bowls, some being ironstone!
      Hope to see you in the Mercantile this summer!


  3. Peg McBride says:

    Hoping you can let me know when the new shop is open Thanks

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hello Peg!
      If you are on our email distribution list than you will be getting emails that keep you up to date on the happenings here at Life’s Patina as well as the opening of the new location. No date has been selected yet but we are shooting for mid summer! IF you would like to sign up for our email distribution list, you can do so now on our website at http://www.lifespatina.com

      Thanks for your interest in our new opening Peg!

  4. Cindy Craig says:


  5. MJ Oref says:

    Love your design style. I am evolving into the same.

  6. Lois Mitchell says:

    i am so looking forward to seeing the new life given so lovingly to this beautiful old house.