Friday, December 30, 2011

Farewell and onward

As the eve of 2012 draws near, I am looking back on 2011 and thankful for such an adventurous year. From roadtripping all over the USA, to an Southeast Asian homecoming, to loafing it in Bermuda, I have found inspiration from all over the globe! I feel blessed for my entry into the digital age and am grateful that I am able to share my travels and creations with you.

So farewell 2011. I am looking forward to indulging in Sedona in January, skiing in the White Mountains in February, hitting High Point in April, and RV'ing the Pacific Northwest over summer break. I have some fun projects kicking in too and am excited to work with some old friends. It's on to a new year, so keep reading 'cause there's so much more to tell!

Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A super sunny sun room

After taking the week off to spend time with the family and relax in my in-laws' newly finished sun room, I finally got back to work this morning and took some photographs of the space.  My husband surprised me with a wide-angle lens for Christmas, so hopefully you'll like the shots as much as I do. 

This was a great room to redo.  The original space had dark stained wood paneling on three of the walls, with one wall of exposed brick.  It had a terracotta tiled floor and too much furniture.  It was very 1970s.  To update the space, we brightened up the walls with Ben Moore's Powell Buff and all of the trim work, including the beams in the ceiling, went White Dove.  For some architectural detail, we kept the exposed brick and pulled the wood tone back into the room with natural woven roman shades.  We also softened up the tile floor with a beautiful wool and sisal Stark Carpet.  Now it's light and airy and the most utilized room in the house!

Here are some super-grainy before pictures so that you can get an idea of what I had to work with:

And, here is the reveal of what it looks like now:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maybe just a hint

Signing off for the holidays

I love the moments in my life of forced disengagement, times when you have no other choice but to give in and actually relax.  It's part of the reason why we have rented a ski house, up in the mountains with no reception.  It's part of the reason why I like long flights, without wifi.  And, it's part of the reason why I like spending the holidays at my in-laws, where cheer, gluttony, and naps are expected.  It helps that I was the one who designed the room that you get to take refuge in! 

Can't wait to photograph it, sign back on (briefly), and update this post!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

For the first time in a long time, I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with just my family - my birth family; Mom, older brother, and younger sister (but, unfortunately, missing Dad).  It was my mom's 70th birthday, so we decided to get together and head to the City to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, take in a show, and have dinner to celebrate the occasion.  Given the description of "birth family", the day could have gone a number of ways, but luckily, it really turned out to be a terrific time.

First.  The tree was great - big and bright and everything that the City is about at Christmastime.  Second.  The show, Sister Act, was an unbelievable surprise - so funny, great acting, amazing vocals, and 3rd row!  And last but not least, the shining star of the day, was our dinner at Saxon + Parole in the East Village at Bowery and Bleeker (  One of the owners is an architect at the amazing firm AvroKO who designed the space (, and is a good friend/colleague of my brother's, so needless-to-say, he didn't let us down...

Even though I'm now favorably bias to this restaurant after being treated like a VIP, the place actually does has phenomenal food, an incredible wine list (and wine room), lots of fun, savory drinks, and an interior that makes me want to specialize in hospitality design.  The name of it, or reference to it on its signage and logo, suggests a fresh equestrian vibe.  With recycled barnboard covering the walls, horse blankets suspended by leather-strapping that partition the bar from the dining space, and horseshoes hanging from the rafters in the ceiling, it's easy to settle in and warm up next to a candlelit fire...

So, Happy Birthday Mom!  I'm glad that we behaved for you and that you really did have a great day...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My baby's room is growing up

Remember the peek of my Craigslist chair?

Here's the peek of the room that it's going in.


More to come once it's properly accessorized... 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Soak it up

December is always such a whirlwind of a month.  Everyone rushes from the moment they finish the Thanksgiving turkey until the end of the year trying to fit in all that wasn't accomplished during the first eleven months.  Don't get me wrong, I'm describing myself.  In the past two weeks, I have decorated the house for the season, I have begun and finished all of my Christmas shopping (remember I have 4 kids who still believe in Santa), I have ordered, hand-addressed, and mailed my holiday cards, I've moved the elf-on-the-shelf fourteen times, I have finished two installations with another tomorrow, I've spec'd out a new job, I have ran a half marathon, I've had coffee with old friends and lunch with new ones...  The list goes on and on, and we're only halfway through the month!

So what's my point?

December should be a time of reflection; to look back on the past year and take note of what you've achieved; a time to set new goals for the year that's ahead.  And, what better a way to do this than to sit and relax in a nice warm tub.  The weather outside is frightful, so fill her up and get in; soak up the season, and stop rushing around!!

Estate Tub 74"
Urban Archaeology


Abrazo™ freestanding bath


Thursday, December 8, 2011

A needle in the haystack

I love new clients.  They are a good reminder that there are always new and exciting products to be discovered in the ever changing world of interior design.  While there are many ways to begin a project, I like to figure out the color palette first.  From here, I can think about cabinetry, wood stains, flooring, etc.  And, being fortunate enough to be so close to the Boston Design Center, I have the luxury of thumbing through wings of fabrics, hundreds (even thousands) of different patterns and textures, every time I need to find just one.  When you have a new relationship, it all becomes fresh again, and uncovering a new scheme can be really fun. 

Before entering the building, I usually have a general idea of what I'm after (or at least a favorite color to start with), but it's not until I come across a few something-specials that momentum starts to build.  If I can get just one piece right, then the rest will fall into place.  After all, there are so many great fabrics houses out there to mix-and-match with!

For this particular open kitchen/great room space, I'm thinking about Ben Moore's Mountainscape (870) on the walls, Vermont white granite countertops, a sensibly chic farm table, some painted pale blue, wooden bar stools and these...

Monday, December 5, 2011

The need for speed

When I started decorating, my first job received a lot of press, and the project was featured in some local papers.  But since then, I haven't given much thought or effort into getting published - until recently.  There comes a point in your career when suddenly you want some validation that what you're doing is worthy of continuing on its journey.  After all, working while raising a family requires a lot juggling and missed moments on both sides, and sometimes I wonder if choosing one over the other would be better in the long run.

A few weeks ago, a freelance style writer contacted me about an article that she was doing for a local magazine about holiday decorating.  While this really isn't what I was expecting to be showcasing, I was happy for the introduction.  It turns out that I like to talk about what I do, regardless of what angle it's coming from.  In fact, I love what I do, and the more that I have on my plate, the more I need the creative outlet.  (Remember that description of myself from my 1st blog post??)

And now here I am, seven years later, finally putting myself out there, butting in on Twitter chats, posting my blogs to Facebook, and finding peers and friends along the way who are constantly expanding the conversation and cheering each other on, encouraging one another to share their work.  The digital age is speeding along, and although I'm a little late to the train, I'm ready to jump on. 

So here it is, my debut in Newton Living (page 24, Lights Out)...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Countdown to Christmas!

I know not all of you celebrate Christmas, but I do, and I am trying my best to remember what all of the excitement is about.  Just off the heels of Thanksgiving and still suffering through a week of leftover turkey, today I finally got my first glimpse of the season when I came home and found that my favorite annual box from UPS was on my doorstep.

Years ago, after I finished working on a client's house in Raleigh, North Carolina, she sent me a magnolia wreath as a gift for the holidays.  Not only did it remind me of her and her lovely home, but it added a little southern charm to mine.  Ever since, I have continued the fashion on my front door (and my back door, and on my banister, and my back gate).   

I usually place my order in August and ask for delivery after Thanksgiving.  The wreaths come unadorned, so it's up to you how you dress yours up.  Mine takes a simple sheer gold ribbon until mid-January, and then once the season is over, I take off its shimmer and leave it up through March.

Although I buy fresh every year, the wreath dries beautifully to a muted rust-colored patina (if kept indoors, it will age to light green). 

And so, on this 1st day of December, it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Family formal

We all know that I grew up in a house that had a formal living room.  Though my current house intentionally doesn't have one, I am feeling nostalgic creating this one for a client.  Our main objective is to design the space for a young family of four, but also to showcase some pretty fabulous family heirlooms, including a pair of 19th century Louis XV fauteuils.

The backdrop of this room is a buttery yellow wall, paired with antiques from my client's grandmother.  To marry the generations and young-up the old, we have chosen to work with a cheery color palette and mix in a handful of patterns.

Here is a picture of what the fauteuils looked like before we redid them:

Because we didn't want to interrupt the integrity of the chair while reupholstering it, we only replaced the rotted webbing but kept the original horsehair stuffing.  We also chose an appropriate Schumacher fabric in keeping with the period of the piece, but vamped it up with a contrasting Stroheim fabric on the back (like the old saying about a mullet - business in the front, party in the back).

BTW, did you notice that the party continues onto the floor?!

To soften up the space, we added in throw pillows in various textures, colors, embellishments, and monograms:

We also took the trim from some of the pillows and brought it back up onto the draperies.

And then we carried the drapery fabric down to the chair and ottoman (or at least a similar version of it).

And now we'll be working on the finishing touches and looking for some accessories and artwork to complete (and reveal) this lovely, cohesive, family-friendly living room.  I wonder if they'll be open to a paperweight collection...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Feels like spring!

When asked my favorite color, I usually give a different answer every time.  There are so many beautiful ones to choose from out there and depending on my mood (or the season), it's hard to actually choose a single one.  But more times than most, my answer is green - new, spring, grass green.  Given that it's my favorite most of the time, I'm so excited about how this storyboard is coming along for a client of mine wanting to jazz up her basement.  When she moved in, there were blue walls, a beige broadloom carpet, and white built-ins.  She owns a large, chocolate brown, leather sectional already, so we're using that as our jumping off point.  The carpet is staying, but we're lightening up the walls to Ben Moore's Wheeling Neutral.  So, now with a cleaner backdrop we can start to infuse color and bring a little bit of spring underground...


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A little thanks

During this Thanksgiving week, I just wanted to offer a quick shout-out to my readers to thank you all for your following and support.  While I started out on this venture with no true path, this blog is rapidly becoming part of my weekly routine.  It has been therapeutic to slow down and take a moment each week to think about how different aspects of design are translated into my everyday life.

This holiday in particular is especially important to me and my line of work.  It is when we invite family and friends into our homes to share in a big meal, drink wine, and enjoy the personal spaces that we work so hard to create.  As a designer, it has always been my intention to build interiors that suit the personalities of my clients.  It's about giving them objective advice, presenting the proper choices and helping guide them to a decision of their own.  I am proud to say that my mission statement has been the exact same since I wrote it while I was a student at New England School of Art & Design ten years ago. 

To help clients find balance and comfort and a place to call "home"
By creating spaces that reflect who they are or want to become.   

So after you've feasted on turkey and trimmings, let the tryptophan kick in, sit back (maybe loosen up the belt a notch) and take a look around.  Enjoy the homes that you have been invited into and know that you are surrounded with personal touches that are true reflections of your hosts.

From my house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The peek

So I'm in the process of turning my baby's room into a big girl's room.  Our little friend from the post below is the first addition into the space.  While I can't reveal the entire room just yet, here is the new and improved Craig's List splurge.  We lost the skirt (and the swivel) and added a tapered leg with a dark lacquered finish; the semi-attached/semi-tufted back cushion became a clean tight back; and we outlined the frame of the chair with a contrast welt and oversized nailheads.  All in, I am still under $1000.  While recycled furniture isn't necessarily always cheaper than new, it sure does feel good to repurpose something if you can...

Thanks, Olger!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A sneak peek of a sneak peek

Here is the chair that I bought off Craig's List for $25.  Isn't it pretty?  Imagine it naked.

Yes, I am redoing it.  Yes, I am putting it in my own house.  New version being delivered on Thursday...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The family closet

When me moved into our house, the first thing that I insisted on was moving the laundry room up from the basement to the second floor - where clothes naturally come off and on.  As a growing family with little kids, I couldn't imagine trekking down two flights of stairs multiple times a day to do the wash.  We were turning a spare bedroom into our master dressing room so we had an extra closet that wasn't going to be used.  Hence, the laundry room ended up in ours. 

At first I loved the convenience of it being in our room - throw a load in before bed, switch it in the morning when I get up, and fold the clothes while the kids are in the tub...  But, now that the kids are in every activity under the sun and changing three times per day, the wash is nonstop and my bedroom is turning into the family closet.  I'm still 100% on board for having the laundry room on the second floor of the house, but the novelty of having it in my bedroom has worn off.  Now I am left drooling over this one with multiple washing machines, lots of storage, and a great table to fold on.  Honestly, this is becoming my dream room...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Art in a bubble

I grew up in a house that had a formal living room.  It was the kind of room that you only went in on holidays.  Everything was off limits.  My mother had a lot of collections; Herends, cut crystal, sterling frames, and lots of worldly things that used to belong to my great-grandmother.  They were placed in nice vignettes around the room, but the showstopper of the space was her paperweight collection. 

The collection sat dead center in the middle of the room on a beautiful Asian-inspired, brass and glass coffee table.  There must have been at least fifty pieces perfectly placed over the entire area of the table.  I used to worry that the weight of them would eventually break through the glass (and it didn't help that I was a pudgy preteen practicing cartwheels in the next room).  Sometimes at night, I would sneak into the living room and pick them up one at a time.  Each one was remarkably different and each one of them told a different story inside their own little bubble.  I always said that I wouldn't be a collector, but last week I bought my first one...

goldstein paperweights

Monday, November 7, 2011

Industrial design IS pretty

Just back from a quick weekend down to the City to celebrate an old friend (and client)'s 40th birthday.  It seems to be the season for that.  Anyway, it was another beautiful weekend, so we took advantage of the sunny day and headed down to the High Line for the first time.  This, my friends, is the only thing that New York was ever missing.  Not only does it let you see the skyline from the skyline, but it gives you a little bit of raw nature while you're strolling along.  I love that the use of materials throughout the stretch is true to the original origin - abandoned train tracks, tall and overgrown grasses, wood planked lounge chairs, etc; what I like to call scenic industry. 

Once again I'll leave you with a few of my pics - always finding a little bit of inspiration for my interiors from what surrounds me on the exterior.  There's a lot of dialogue going on these days about how fashion is influencing design (and, another conversation to continue in another excerpt).  Although I think that there's validity in this conversation, my feeling is that interior design, in its roots, has always been more organic.  Design to me comes from the outside in, literally.