Chic Peek with Betsy Best

I am so excited to bring you a Chic Peek tour from my place of birth, Tampa, Florida! I had the honor to speak to a garden club in Tampa at the stunning home of Betsy Best. She graciously welcomed us to film her beautiful home for The Potted Boxwood. As you will see, the home is adorned in many  lovely  fabrics and full of timeless collections.

Betsy very generously explained many of the rooms for all of you below. She truly has a talent of putting together exquisite rooms that stand the test of time. I am so grateful that she allowed us peek into her chicly designed world.


See the home tour here:

Entrance Hall – I decorated with pieces of papier-mâché (I have been collecting it for years), used 2 antique rugs, reupholstered my grandmother’s sofa and found a large piece of contemporary artwork. Installed antique Baccarat chandelier, sconces are from a local estate and are antique. I have been collecting artwork to make a gallery wall on the staircase and plan to paint this area (still debating color but the artwork will probably indicate what I should do!).

Living Room- I totally forgot to mention that this room had a decorative fireplace between the built-in cabinets making it a dead-end room. I removed it and installed a door to the family room so that we had circular flow. The window treatments I had made about 3 years ago in a current Scalamandre fabric. Our piano I had given to my mother (it was a better size for her condo and I play the flute) and had to recently re-accommodate when she moved (which pretty much removed a seating area). The art is a mix of antiques (above the imari lamps) flanking a contemporary piece (which I left unframed for a little edginess – about as edgy as I will ever get!), childhood portraits of my daughters (each done at 10 years of age), and collections of papier-mache, imari and antique tortoise and ivory boxes. The pillow on the center of the sofa was made from an Hermes scarf. The furniture is a mix of antiques and reproductions (the drop leaf table and leather wing chair). The lamps are antique imari vases that were wired. The light fixture is from a local estate and I had the shades made in the same Scalamandre fabric as the dining room window treatments.


Dining Room – this room has my favorite wallpaper, Shanghai by Scalamandre, and the same silk window treatments I had made 20 years ago. The sideboard is an English antique from my grandmother, the table is from England, reproduction chairs (because antiques can be more fragile and I wanted all of the chairs to be arm chairs so guests would want to stay and talk!), antique mirror over a mid century (date of production, not style!) Baker cabinet, china cabinet is a Baker reproduction (hopefully I can replace that soon with my mothers antique peice which is in storage.  I plan to line the back of it in the same silk as the window treatments – I always order extra fabric when doing upholstery or window treatments because dye lots can differ and fabric gets discontinued. With that supply I do not worry so much about spills or accidents if things do not clean properly. Granted, I have not had to always use it, but sometimes an opportunity like lining a china cabinet, backing a pillow or reupholstering a chair seat presents itself! The chairs flanking the china cabinet are antiques and beautifully upholstered in silk and a coordinating trim. They have cane seats underneath the cushions (which can be fragile!) so they are more for looks! The china cabinet holds a collection of antique porcelain and vintage and antique silver – both collected and inherited. The artwork over the sideboard and vintage Kittinger server (which holds an antique English silver service with my favorite cow creamers) is modern (mid-‘50’s to ‘60’s) and I think adds an interesting counterpoint to the antiques in the room. Light fixture is another antique Baccarat piece.

Powder Bath – wallpaper is a now discontinued Scalamandre. Cabinet is a repurposed antique (top was separated and hung above) with an added black marble top, imari bowl used for a sink and a fixture for the water. The artwork above the toilet is vintage from a consignment store and the ancestral portrait is from a local dealer. The red cabinet is newer piece and holds a collection of papier-mache boxes. The light fixture is vintage bamboo.

Family Room – I  redid this room right before Covid! Window treatments and sofas are in Lee Jofa, I used one reproduction side table and mixed in some contemporary side tables and the lucite coffee table. Both rugs are antiques. We put silver framed photographs on the console under the tv for the wedding and decided to keep them there, the artwork over the mantle is one of my favorite pieces (fauvist period, very textural) and the artwork on the gallery wall (and elsewhere in the room) is a mix of high/low (anywhere from a high end gallery in SanFrancisco to a second hand store in Portland, Oregon) and some internet finds.

Sun Room – soon to be reupholstered, if not replaced!  Furniture (and lampshades), center floral pillow made from a Vera Neumann napkin (yes, I collect old Vera napkins, placemats and tablecloths), antique wicker desk, chair and bookcase. Light fixture painted in a faux bamboo style (like the pair in the breakfast room and kitchen which were painted to resemble the Scalamandre wallpaper).

Vestibule/Bar – wallpaper on walls and ceiling is Scalamandre, the bar has a collection of cocktail shakers and a few antique decanters, antique oriental rugs. Light fixture in bar is a vintage piece I was lucky to find – matched perfectly!

Exterior Porch – this is furnished with a collection of antique wicker, all dating from the late 1800’s to the 1920’s and a white fire pit we found on Wayfair! Gazebo furniture and lounge chairs are Brown-Jordan. The best thing we did during covid was to screen in this porch! It has 3 large retractable screens which open onto the stairs.