Just five years ago, Janie Schoenborn was living happily in New York City, where she was designing her own handbag and accessory line, Buzz by Jane Fox. Her preppy wares were carried in a number of Lilly Pulitzer stores, and executives of the iconic brand took notice of Schoenborn’s talents. Little did she know that her dream job was about to come knocking. “I was asked to develop Lilly’s brand accessories,” says Schoenborn, who is now the company’s fashion director. “It was such a big thrill.”
Seizing the opportunity, Schoenborn left Manhattan behind to be closer to Lilly Pulitzer’s King of Prussia headquarters.
“The Main Line is one of the loveliest places,” says Schoenborn. “The women here are all so dynamic and doing so many wonderful things.”
And it’s no secret that the Main Line is exceptionally supportive of the Lilly Pulitzer brand. “This area is like Lilly Country,” she says. “So many of us grew up wearing it, and we have the emotional connection of wanting our kids to wear it.”
Schoenborn and her family settled in a 1920s-era classic stone Colonial in a northside Bryn Mawr neighborhood. You might expect Lilly Pulitzer’s fashion director to have a home dominated by preppy pink-and-green prints. In this case, you’d be mistaken. “I’m eclectic,” says Schoenborn. “Lilly is a huge part of what I do, but at home I like to mix it into what I already have.”
She admits she’ll be incorporating more of the brand into her house once the Lilly Pulitzer Home collection launches this month. She was heavily involved in the conceptualization and design of the furniture, not to mention an upcoming fabric line by Lee Jofa. “I’m in charge of the print and pattern department,” she says. “At Lilly, everything starts with print and color.”
In search of inspiration for the line, Schoenborn and her design team spent a week visiting antique row in Palm Beach, Fla., along with the woman behind the brand, Lilly Pulitzer, who lives there. Pulitzer continues to consult for her namesake company, offering frequent feedback and suggestions.
“Lilly has a very eclectic home, and she really inspires us,” says Schoenborn. “The antiques stores in that area have the most chic things. They have so many old-school Palm Beach accessories and furnishings that you think, ‘Oh my gosh, I remember that from my grandmother’s home.’”
Schoenborn’s own home also served as inspiration for the brand extension. The two Chinese Chippendale-style armchairs on either end of her living room fireplace influenced similar pieces in the line. “This style has been popular for a long time, and it’s very popular now,” she says.
They “Lillyfied” the style by offering a chair in a hot-pink lacquer. “We’ve seen a lot of lacquer in the market, but you can’t find hot-pink lacquer very often,” she says. “Our customers are not afraid of color. But what’s so great about the line is that it’s not just for Lilly fans; it’s for anyone who loves a little bit of color, whimsy and personality in their home and life.”
Schoenborn is accustomed to working with prints—and, most times, they’re the catalyst for what happens elsewhere. Such was the case in her living room, where she covered two slipper chairs with Schumacher’s Ming Dragon fabric. “I travel to Asia a lot for work, and I really loved this dragon print,” she says.
Accent chairs like these are a great way to bring some sort of print into a room, says Schoenborn. The bold look of the chairs is balanced with a solid-gray couch, colorful pillows and a leopard throw. “You can mix leopard with anything, and it works,” she adds.
Another print acted as a creative springboard for her dining room. She began with the beloved green-on-white Imperial Trellis print from Kelly Wearstler’s wallpaper collection. “I inherited my dining room furniture from my grandparents,” says Schoenborn. “So I loved mixing a modern wallpaper print with traditional pieces.”
She added her personal flair to the set by reupholstering the chair seats in a pink-and-green print. A live lime tree situated in one corner exudes a delicious, natural citrus scent.
Like her grandmother, Schoenborn adores entertaining—especially throwing dinner parties. “It’s great that I’m having my dinners around the same table she did,” says Schoenborn.
They say that a great hostess always has room in her home for a bar cart—and Schoenborn is no exception: A brass bar cart stocked with everything from a Lilly cocktail shaker to bottles of champagne is always at the ready for an impromptu get-together.
The family room is Schoenborn’s favorite retreat, where the single mother spends a lot of time relaxing and hanging out with her two daughters. Skylights in the cathedral ceiling fill the room with sunlight, and French doors leading to the pool and outdoor area are always open in the warm months.
A white couch accented with brightly colored pillows and side chairs in a crisp blue-and-white patterned fabric keep the room’s vibe fresh and chic. Two table lamps with blue-and-white bases stand on the glass-top desk used by Schoenborn and her daughters for art projects.
Since every room in Schoenborn’s home deserves a splash of her favorite color, a pink rug covers the wood floors in the seating area. A coffee table made by Schoenborn’s grandfather brings in more of the preferred hue, thanks to its pink, marble top.
Upstairs, a pink-themed bedroom fit for a pair of princesses is reserved for Schoenborn’s daughters. It has twin beds, bookshelves, a white distressed dressing table with a stool, and plenty of stuffed animals. The bedroom next door serves as the girls’ playroom.
Schoenborn has a crystal-clear image in her mind of what her next house will look like. And it’s hardly a revelation that the color pink is part of her plans. Ideas include a hot-pink foyer with a gold mirror, and closets with interiors painted (of course) hot pink.
“Pink makes you look pretty and happy,” she says. “I’ve seen light pink used on ceilings, and it sets a glow in the room. It’s like living by candlelight—and who wouldn’t love that?”
At Lilly, they say their customers—referred to as “Lilly Lovers”—“lead a colorful life.” Schoenborn’s home certainly reflects that, while still leaving room for her own personality to shine through.