Her Home


Inside Suzanne Marie Lambert’s East Walnut Hills home.

Taking a step into artist Suzanne Marie Lambert’s cozy East Walnut Hills home is like strolling through a three-dimensional scrapbook — every surface is laden with trinkets from multiple continents, family photographs, colorful art and an array of inspiring quotes.

Friends often gasp that it feels like a museum and after exhibiting her personal artwork in France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and many U.S. cities, one would only expect Parisian flea-market treasures, Algerian baubles and mementos from New Mexico nature walks to cluster into a personal archive. Lambert’s sense of creating an aesthetic journey through artifacts and portraitsis not only prevalent in her home, but her artwork as well.

Lambert lives the artist’s dream of being a painter, photographer and sculptor, traveling to various cities and leaving her paintings in galleries and homes like footprints left behind. Nestled among the historic mansion-style domiciles of East Walnut Hills, her home is perfectly niched between the bustle of downtown and the eclecticism of O’Bryonville.

Although she spent many years living in the sunlight and warmth of South Beach and time in Paris, Lambert loves the convenience and collaboration Cincinnati has to offer.

“Once I moved here, I got immersed in it,” Lambert says. “There’s a really strong connection between artists here and working together. I think that Cincinnati is getting a name for itself in visual arts.”

Lambert used to have a studio in a large, local warehouse, but traveling out of her home never seemed to be on her agenda. “I ended up never going there because I didn’t feel like leaving,” she says. “I always ended up painting in my kitchen.”

Luckily, Lambert’s large, high-ceilinged dining room is all the escape she needs to create her abstract, vibrant-hued murals and paintings. Cacti and art supplies line the long hand-painted windows, which bring in enough sunlight to illuminate the room like a Southwestern sun parlor.

When inspiration subsides in Cincinnati, Lambert turns to her studio in the south side of Paris, which she visits three times a year. However, she’s always happy to leave the sidewalks of the City of Light and return home. “I kind of live in my studio now, it’s taken up my whole house.” See her work at suzannemarielambert.com.

“Most of my paintings I do as sort of an expression or reflection of a place I’ve been or a person that I know,” Lambert says. “I’ve done a lot of paintings about Paris. Sometimes I write things on the side in distressed French.” Her paintings can be found around Cincinnati in Urban Eden in OTR, Cafe De Paris in Garfield Park and many homes throughout the city.

Walking across Lambert’s paint-splotched canvas floor emits the feeling of walking across an artist’s palette. “I save the canvas that I use as a floor drop and stretch it, frame it and sell them,” she says.

Handwritten and cut-out quotes from Henry David Thoreau and Marcel Duchamp are juxtaposed on the wall next to photos of Andy Warhol and an image of Miles Davis, peering from a postcard with a confident gaze. All of these chosen words reflect Lambert’s daily mantra, “They’re what I want to remind myself,” she says. One of her favorite quotes comes from Victor Hugo: “There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”

“I crave color, I desire light” is a quote Lambert penned many years ago, which ruminates throughout her work. This corner of her dining-room-turned-studio is her “place of contemplation, rumination, reading, writing, picture-looking and dreaming.” The windows behind the chair are a pair from her vast collection of abandoned windows, which she paints, adding a trendy yet rustic feel throughout the home.

“Sometimes you’ll be on the Metro in Paris and I’ve seen these gypsy guys just jump on the Metro and start playing … it’s so fun because they’re always so free and into it and they’re rockin’ it and that’s how they make a living,” she says. This inspiration has led Lambert to pursue the accordion. “My fantasy is this: I just want to have an exhibition and when everybody’s there I’ll just whip out the accordion and start playing.”

“A photograph is a painting made with other tools,” Lambert says. One of Lambert’s favorite subjects to photograph is people, from musicians to her own family. Family portraits ornament the mantelpiece and bookshelves. Black and white portraits of her son compliment teal and orange photos of Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe — Lambert’s  favorite female painters.

Lambert dismisses traditional notebook buying for a new, upcycled approach: turning colorful catalogue pages blank again. “I decided that instead of throwing away books, you know, little brochures, I thought that if I painted pages, then I can draw in them and use them as journals,” she says.

“This one, I’ve already started using as my journal,” she says.

“I have many groups of photographs of my family and loved ones around my place. The two photos, which can be seen, are one of me sitting on a sidewalk curb at Findlay Market; my granddaughter is just in view over my right shoulder. The other photograph is of my grandmother, Torah Lambert, who I adored. She lived to be 102 years old,” Lambert says. “Also you [can] see a small ceramic bowl. I made this bowl when I was in 8th grade. It was the first clay I ever worked with. I was really into hand-painting little blue flowers on my creations at that time.”

Rustic colors are often seen in Lambert’s paintings, influenced from her frequent visits to her daughter in Albuquerque. “The skull was a gift from a longtime, dear friend,” she says. “My favorite things to do in the Southwest are to hike, photograph, paint, eat local foods, mostly enjoying the big, blue sky, mountains and my family, of course.”   

Stylist Ivy Pitzer makes every day a runway.

In Hollywood-land, everyone has a professional stylist on speed dial. But we mere mortals here in the Midwest are, for the most part, not celebrities; we pound the pavement, toil away at our 40-plus hour jobs and work at home raising our children. 

How could a stylist fit into our lives, or better yet, our often-restricted budgets? Moreover, do we need a stylist? After all, if we’re not in front of the glaring eye of the camera each day or being hounded by paparazzi, could we justify hiring a professional to help us with our wardrobe? 

Well, according to Ivy Pitzer of Wardrobe Therapy, the answer is a resounding yes. So much more than an expert shopper hired to raise your personal glamour quotient — although she can certainly do that — Pitzer considers herself a “personal concierge service,” and is completely proficient at making your life easier. By weeding out the clutter that leeches valuable time from your day, evaluating your individual style, and giving you some organizational guidelines designed to add simplicity and peace to your day-to-day existence, she can streamline your life through your closet.  

According to Pitzer, the process starts by taking a good, hard look in the mirror. Seriously. Most women have absolutely no idea about their own body shape, and tend to fill their closet with ill-fitting garments. 

Pitzer begins by taking your measurements, evaluating your existing wardrobe and editing out the pieces that don’t work, especially unflattering silhouettes. No more wasted morning hours trying on everything in your closet hoping to find something that fits.  

When all of your fashion don’ts are tossed aside, it’s time to shop and integrate new pieces into your wardrobe, maximizing what you have left and starting to work in the fashion dos. That’s where Pitzer’s judiciously trained eye really earns its keep, making sensible purchases in all price ranges and giving you a “look book,” which shows you many ways to wear each clothing item. 

Lee Hoffheimer, vice president of institutional advancement at the Cincinnati Museum Center and a client of Pitzer, relies heavily on her look book, which Pitzer created after evaluating Hoffheimer’s wardrobe and lifestyle. She says, “Once Ivy started personal shopping for me, she made my wardrobe come alive by mixing items that I already owned with the new, updated pieces, and creating a look book for me. The look book definitely made getting ready for work an enjoyable process.” 

But have no fear that the baby will get thrown out with the bath water; Pitzer is quite clear about the items that you shouldn’t ever consider pitching.

“Never toss out that perfect blazer or your beautiful printed blouses. I love to mix these with pencil skirts, wide-leg trousers and denim. Beautiful dresses in solids are classic items that can be dressed up or down with just a change of accessories,” she says. 

The idea is to have a wardrobe grounded in a solid foundation of basics, and to add trendy pieces seasonally. Hot on Pitzer’s radar this fall are jackets or tops with peplums, fur vests, reptile accessories, leather accents on feminine pieces and anything in bright colors.   

With your old, unwanted items weeded out, and new, figure-flattering pieces purchased, the process of closet organization begins. Pitzer is a firm believer in being able to see everything you own. After all, she says, “If you can’t see it, you won’t wear it, right?” Tops and bottoms should be hung together, and colors should go from light to dark. If you want to keep things really regulated, go from strapless to sleeveless to short-sleeved to long-sleeved.  

Client Rebecca Weller, an artist who also works creating visuals for Anthropologie, relies on Pitzer’s organizational skills and keen editorial eye to help her keep her huge wardrobe under control. Working in retail allows her to accumulate a closet to die for, all at a discount, but putting the pieces together seamlessly in new ways can often be a struggle. “Ivy just knows what works and she assembles outfits in ways that I would never dream of,” says Weller, “saving me loads of time.”

Save Yourself Some Time With Pitzer’s Top Tips

  • Know your shape and what fits you properly. Measure yourself!
  • Don’t hide! Many women hide body parts they don’t like behind ill-fitting clothing.
  • Take a chance. Throw a wrench in your wardrobe and add an updated, colorful print. 
  • Invest in 2-3 skinny belts in the season’s hottest colors, and 1-2 textured belts in a reptile or animal print. Mix and match them with both casual and dressy clothing.
  • Start with the basics. Everyone should get properly fitted for a bra. It will immediately give your wardrobe a boost. Knickers of Hyde Park or Nordstrom are fantastic.

Photography by Gina Weathersby/Kiwi Street Studios

Interior designer Aubrie Welsh decorates on a budget.

No matter your design style, taking on the task of redecorating can feel a bit overwhelming. And trying to do it on a budget can feel nearly impossible. Local interior designer Aubrie Welsh of Aubrie Welsh Interiors offers some advice to prove decorating on a budget really isn’t all that daunting — you just have to know where to look.   

A Cincinnati native and graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s Design, Architecture, Art and Planning school, Welsh opened her Mt. Auburn studio in December 2008. Working with both residential and commercial clients, she mixes and matches price points to create a complete space.  

Here are some of her best tips for pulling together a beautiful living space without spending a fortune.

Start With Art 

“One way to fill out a wall to create a focal element is with artwork. While I’m always keeping an eye out for the perfect investment piece, often I’ll use less expensive images as framed subject matter. A great place to find vintage books full of prints or illustrations is the Cincinnati Library used book sale held each year in June. I’ve purchased a book full of Currier & Ives prints, and another full of illustrations and watercolor paintings from Ludwig Bemelmans’ travels around Paris. Add an Ikea ‘Ribba’ frame for $19.99, and you’re ready to hang it.”

Explore Online 

“Etsy can also be a great place to look for artwork or custom pillows without the typical ‘custom’ price increase. Sure, you have to be discerning, but once you find vendors that fit your style, it’s a great source for original works of art, well-designed furniture, etc. A couple of etsy vendor’s I’m fond of right now include: WillaSkyeHome (good source for decorative pillows), Dwellbeing (vintage accent furniture, sourced by local architect Sara Aschliman), MatteArt (whimsical illustrations by Matte Stephens), MaiAutumn (beautiful watercolors).”

Add Some Color 

“Paint is another inexpensive way to add a pop of color or dramatic new look without updating everything in the room. Personally, I tend to prefer mostly neutral colors, but that doesn’t mean beige. … Paint can be a bit tricky. Always give it some time before deciding. Make sure you’re looking at the swatch in a vertical manner, as that’s how it will look up on the wall. Also, be sure to look at the swatch on every wall surface in the room, as the lighting will shift the color as you move around the room.”

Welsh’s Quick Tips & Tricks

  • Save your money for investment pieces. “Many times you can find these at a much lower price if you know the right places to look.”
  • Be creative and listen to your aesthetic. “An artful, curated space is much more interesting (not to mention fun) than pieces that are too matchy, look dated or are no longer your style.”
  • Have a discerning eye. “Use an inspiring piece such as an old chair you’ve wanted to reupholster or a bold print on your wall that you can build the room around.”
  • Hardware. “Adding unique, colorful hardware to an otherwise simple dresser or desk can instantly update the piece. Anthropologie has terrific hardware options at great price points!”

Bringing It All Together

Scouring flea markets, estate sales and auctions, Welsh has found many of the rare, vintage pieces in her home for a fraction of what they originally cost. We dissect her dining room to find out where she got her items and how much they cost:  

  • Vintage concrete greyhound statues, estate sale, $125 
  • Wingback chairs (retail $1,200/chair), estate sale, $175 for the pair, reupholstered later
  • Pillows and throw, West Elm, $100
  • Moooi red table (retail $3,200), Design Within Reach Warehouse Sale, $27
  • Heller clear chairs (retail $220), Design Within Reach Warehouse Sale, $60/chair
  • Pendant light, Circa Lighting, $420
  • Silk drapery, West Elm, $44/panel on sale
  • Vintage rug (retail $2,600), estate sale, $225
  • Vases and mantel accessories, Anthropologie, $42
  • Silk magnolia branches, Target, $16/stem
  • Artwork above fireplace, Anne Wainscott print from the “Inspired by Anne” exhibit at Landor, $0 
  • Total cost: around $1,600

Carolyn and Wes Boatman turn an aging barn into an artistic getaway.

Tucked in the rolling hills of Northern Kentucky, about an hour away from the hustle and bustle of city life, on a little-more-than one lane road, visitors will find the home of artists Carolyn and Wes Boatman: The Country Lodge at Sabbath Song Farm. 

Originally a 100-year-old, broken-down, gambrel-roofed barn, The Country Lodge at Sabbath Song Farm is now an incredible bed and breakfast situated on 265 acres of Kentucky’s most beautiful ridges, surrounded by enough inspiration to last a lifetime. It is also the Garden Art Studio of Carolyn Boatman. 

It is in this studio Carolyn creates, educates, entertains and delights her guests and students. The Country Lodge has also become a showplace for Carolyn’s art, and not just the kind that hangs on walls. Carolyn is indeed an artist, with paint and canvas, mosaic pieces and glass, antiques and barn quilts; her talents run the gamut. But she is also quite talented in the kitchen, where she prepares incredible meals for those who are fortunate enough to get a reservation at the lodge, which sleeps 10. 

From simple Crock-Pot pizzas to goat cheese French onion tarts and apple pie to vanilla tres leches cake, Carolyn is always trying something fresh and homegrown. She’s even working on a cookbook, Weekends in the Country. But it’s her artistic flair for hospitality that keeps guests coming back. Carolyn said she didn’t call herself an “artist” until she was nearing 50, but her mother told her in kindergarten, “You are an artist.” Those words and the sound of her mother’s voice have never left her. 

When you step inside the walls of The Country Lodge, you are immediately surrounded by a sensory experience: art on the walls, fragrant aromas from the kitchen, sunflower arrangements on tables, mini oil canvases and spectacular colors. Her artistic abilities even find their way into the garden where antique glassware is creatively fashioned into hum- mingbird feeders set against a backdrop of wild flowers. 

“I have always been creative, trying new things, experimenting with color and planning how to please people,” says Carolyn. “But life gets in the way of the things we want to do.”

Carolyn has previously been an event planner, social director, speaker and lecturer. She even owned her own creative business in Cincinnati, Words Made Visual, in the early ‘90s. But her artistic abilities were honed while living in California with her nine-time Emmy winning composer husband, Wes. It was during this time she sought out teachers whose work inspired her, gaining their wisdom and in- sight, which she then tweaked and changed, smoothed and burnished, and created into her own masterpieces. 

Now, in her Country Lodge art classes, “Tuesdays on Toadvine,” Carolyn shares her artistic wisdom. She has perfected many dif- ferent techniques, which she teaches to small groups of artists. On weekend sabbaticals, she teaches her “Soul Print Sojourn,” a two-day trip through personal introspective and charcoal. And scrapbooking groups can find fitting accommodations at The Country Lodge for a weekend of creative cutting, pasting and stamping. It is not unusual for groups to spend the entire 48 hours in creative activity. 

But The Country Lodge is ready to be enjoyed year-round, regardless of artistic ability. The picturesque setting lends credence to the abilities of Carolyn, as you have to wonder what was created and what came naturally. “There is a gift of nature in every season,” she says. 

Spring brings “Hummingbird Teas” and barn quilt classes. During summer, seven Paso Fino horses graze in the fields, 15 old English mastiff dogs run the fence lines, and The Country Lodge explodes with colorful gardens, sunflowers and warm breezes. The fields and ponds entice guests to walk the property, exploring the decades-old gravestones, and wading in the creeks, watching for deer, turkey and many different birds. Fall is a colorful spectacle. From the back deck of The Country Lodge, guests can see the ridges of trees and fields changing from multiple shades of green to vibrant golds, reds and yellows. It’s a time for horse-drawn wagon rides through the fields and snuggling with quilts that are placed around the rooms. Winter arrives and with it comes “Pie Bake Weekends” and “Girl- friend Getaways.” If the fields are lucky enough to be topped with snow, the view is truly breathtaking. 

Taking a trip to The Country Lodge at Sabbath Song Farm not only allows people to step away and into a quieter time, but just the atmosphere of the property itself calms. Whether it is the clean, country air or the fragrance of growing things, or the knowledge that you are, for a short time, in a place where you’re away from everyday problems, the experience draws people back — over and over again. The Country Lodge at Sabbath Song Farm is itself art in the country.