This Colorful Family Home Is Peppered With Reading Nooks
(Photos by John Gruen.)
“We just got a puppy named Mango,” announces author Maggie Pouncey, who lives with her husband, Matt, and their sons, Dominic and Felix, in Rhinebeck, New York. “Our pets are all named after stone fruits — our other dog is Apricot, and our cats are Peach and Plum.” Here, Maggie gives us a tour around the happy chaos…
On pink paint: We rented apartments for many years, and this house is the first place we’ve ever owned. We can finally make the space just how we want it, so I went for it with the pink! I hoped our living room would be an oasis but also welcoming for the kid crew. Odessa Pink by Benjamin Moore felt right.
Armchairs: vintage from Holler and Squall. Pillows: Block Shop. Rug: vintage from Breuckelen Berber. Bookcases: Built-in by previous owners. Floor lamp: Schoolhouse. Desk: CB2. Painting: by Wolf Kahn.
On happy reunions: The painting above the desk is by Wolf Kahn, and the painting above the fireplace is by Emily Mason, his wife. They were friends with my parents when I was growing up. When my parents got divorced, my mom got the Emily Mason painting and my dad got the Wolf Khan painting. Now, the two paintings are back together in my house.
Print: Amanda Jane Jones. Chair: hand-me-down.
On family heirlooms: We have hand-me-down furniture from my parents, grandparents and even great grandparents. It’s funny because it gets hard to judge them aesthetically. Sometimes I’m like ‘Do I even like that chair?’ But I have such a warm attachment to everything. We have a giant chest passed down from my great grandmother, and it still has a slight scent of her perfume, which is so wild. Once in a while you get a waft.
On a new chapter: I ran a children’s bookstore, Stories, in Brooklyn for five years. In 2021, the pandemic had taken its toll, and we had to close. When you create something you love, letting go is so hard. You have to let yourself grieve. Especially when it’s a physical space that isn’t there anymore, it feels so gone. But figuring out a new adventure was very healing and helpful.
Desk: “My dad’s writing desk.” Lamp: hand-me-down.
On the magic of children’s books: My first novel came out when my older son Felix was born, and I experienced a very confusing identity shift. Before motherhood, I thought I was going to write fiction for adults my entire life. But at the end of my maternity leave, I had this four-month-old baby, and I realized, ‘No way can I write another novel.’ I felt lost. But in that time, I really fell in love with current children’s books. There is so much diversity. A kid interested in the adventures of a girls’ basketball team or climate-related dystopian fantasies can find great books that speak to them — books that are mirrors to help them feel seen and windows into other worlds. That’s what led me to open Stories, and from there, write A Fort on the Moon.