Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Four years ago I was pregnant with my youngest child who was due the 2nd week of March.  Given that my other three all came two weeks early, I was convinced that she was going to be a Leap Year baby.  This had me crazy.  I became so nervous that she would be the girl with birthdays only every four years that I actually put myself on bed rest for one day - 2/29/08.  Yes, you can call it extreme nesting. 

Anyway, shortly after that silly day, I used this fun "Look Before You Leap" Jaima Brown wallpaper in a little girl's bathroom.  It made me laugh when I put it up because had my daughter been an actual leap baby, I would have done her whole room in it...

Happy Leap Day!

Sample Image

Room scene from (It also comes in peach and yellow!)

 Sample Image    Sample Image

Monday, February 27, 2012

I warned you

To follow up on my last post, I survived February vacation week.  I won't say that it didn't have its moments, but I am now writing about what I predicted I would.  Luckily my husband read my mind and realized that those moments had potential to become fiascoes, so before he left me alone with the kids, he made sure that I was relaxed enough handle the job without him, and he surprised me with a day trip over to The Woodstock Inn in Vermont.  The good news about there being little snow while you're on a ski vacation is that it gives you an excuse to spend the day at the spa instead of on the slopes, especially when it's in a brand new LEED certified space!

Over the years, I have been to this part of Vermont many times and I am always surprised by how sophisticated such a quaint little town can be.  Not only are there great shops to wander in and out of, but there are lots of gourmet dining options as well, including The Restaurant at Simon Pearce in the neighboring village of Quechee.   But, as fabulous as the area is, the Inn steals the show and I was happy enough to spend the afternoon there.  Think rustic chic - a little Thos. Moser mixed in with reclaimed wide plank wood floors and some mod lighting - oh, and an incredible Swedish massage that I didn't have to hope for after the trip...



Friday, February 17, 2012

Heaven help me

Today is the beginning of the kids' February break.  We will be spending the week up at our ski dump where there is little snow, 10 channels on the TV and no wireless connection (unless I stand patiently by the window).  Oh, and my husband will not be there all week.  When I return, you can expect a post on either great spa getaways, must-have bar carts, or decorating for a client on Xanax.  In the meantime, I will be putting my PJs on inside out tonight and doing an old fashioned snow dance with hopes that the week will be filled with great skiing, ice skating, sledding and lots of winter fun.  Maybe Mother Nature will hear us if we all pitch in...

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I have an addiction

My sister just moved into a new house so this week I stopped by to check it out.  When I got there, she wasn't home, so I decided to do some exploring through her cute little town.  When I spotted a flower shop, I thought that I might as well pick her up a housewarming gift.  I was thankful that I didn't come prepared because what I found inside made my week - a perfect pair of newly reupholstered Dutch armchairs!  When I commented to the salesperson that I liked them, she let me know that they were for sale.  Before I had even picked out which plant to buy, I had committed to the pair. 

I've come to realize that I have a chair addiction, especially if they are offered in pairs and on the cheap.  In past posts I have written about how I like to rework used furniture, and almost always, that means some kind of chair.  Regardless of the fact that we don't need another chair, the fabric was a cute cheetah print in that spring, grass-green colorway that I love.  It really is true that if you keep your eyes open, you'll find a treasure.  So not only did I walk away from the florist with a beautiful purple orchid but my dining room got some new friends....

Monday, February 13, 2012

A sweetheart of a room

It's just about Valentines Day so I can't help but to think red.  Though I'm not a huge fan of the primary color, I do love shades of brick and pops of pink.  But just for fun, I'm going to pull together a sweetheart of room for the occasion.

Imagine a cozy living room...

With a bottle of champagne on ice on top of The Big Pine Key Chest by Somerset Bay

A pair of these beautiful Mottega lamps dimmed down low

Chocolate covered strawberries on The Platform Cocktail Table from Somerset Bay's Modern Loft collection

Two of Kravet's Sundance chairs in front of the fire
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Upholstered in their rich ikat fabric
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Or you can get close on this curved A.Rudin sofa

Especially if it's covered in this incredible Donghia mohair

But, only if he shows up with these from Winston's


Friday, February 10, 2012

Practicality pays off

OK - We are just coming off of a week's worth of my kids being sick; 3 out of the 4 of them had the stomach virus.  And, of course, they all got sick at night while they were asleep all over their custom bedding and beautiful wool carpets.  When my youngest daughter kicked it off on Sunday, my first reaction was obviously to panic.  Yes, for her well being, but more so for the well being of her room.  The sloppy Joes all over her Classic Cloth duvet was enough to make me want to hurl too.  But after a deep breath, I realized that we had chosen smart materials when decorating her room, and though cleaning it up would be a hassle, all would be fine in the end.  Little did I know that the hassle would become a routine for the next several nights....

Here was the routine:

1.  Get child out of room, bathed and put back to sleep elsewhere.
2.  Strip bed, get rid of the gross stuff, and spray the stains with Shout.
3.  Wash everything on the warm, gentle cycle.
4.  Fill a bowl with water and grab a dishtowel.
5.  Wet and blot the carpet several times until clean.
6.  Dry everything on delicate.
7.  Iron (the worst part) if necessary.
8.  Repeat the next night.

My children tend to get the stomach virus more often than most so I intentionally chose durable fabrics that are easy to clean.  All of their duvet covers are 100% cotton and can be washed at home.  Coordinating fabrics used for bed skirts, throw pillows and upholstery have been treated with Teflon (or more recently Nano-Tex).  And carpets are wool because not only is it soft, it is naturally a stain resistant fiber.  By using these practical materials, we have once again escaped disaster and remain stain free. 

Remember, custom doesn't need to be Dry Clean Only.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

5 walls of fun

Ceilings are sometimes referred to as the 5th wall in a room, and they are not always meant to be painted 'ceiling white'.  Though I do like mine to be a shade of white, I usually tint it with a cast of the wall color to soften the contrast.  And, if I'm doing a small bathroom with wallpaper that is a texture or has a small repeat, I like to wrap the whole space, ceiling and all. 

But lately, I've had the urge to reverse my norm by painting the walls and papering the ceiling instead.  Given the right environment, this can be a great look.

Apartment Therapy

I think the best paper for this application would be something that didn't have a direction such as a geometric, trellis or lattice.  I also like something that has a little white in it to set off the contrast between the walls, the trim and the pattern.  Here are some of my favorites:

Thibaut Designs


Sample Image
Jaima Brown

Osbourne & Little

Click here for a close-up of a section of this wallpaper.

Click here for a close-up of a section of this wallpaper.

Click here for a close-up of a section of this wallpaper.
Cole & Son (x3)


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

One concept throughout

It's not that often that I work with a neutral color palette.  I tend to use bold, saturated hues in most of my design.  But this project was different.  This was a pied-à-terre, and the client wanted it to feel like they were staying in a hotel.  Being that it was at the Ritz, they weren't too far off in their request. 

We knew going into the job that this was going to be a place where the client would stay during the week while he worked in Town, and his family and his personal belongings would stay home while he was here on assignment.  He knew that when the contract was over, the pieces that we used to furnish the space would be given to his children to furnish theirs, so we chose a color scheme that could work almost anywhere.  The cream, pear, and apricot combination was used in every room and all of the pieces in the unit could be interchangeable.  Even the artwork was intentionally chosen to mix-and-match with the furnishings.

Because the space was treated as a whole, this 1200 square foot residence felt bigger than it actually was.  This is the reason that cohesive design gets me so excited!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ready for some football!

In honor of Superbowl Sunday, I will be cooking and eating like I'm a bachelor betting on the game.  I plan to tap a fresh keg of beer, make nachos smothered in 3 different types of cheese and top it with jalapenos, sour cream and guacamole.  Then at halftime, I'll be dishing out some homemade Sloppy Joes with a side of coleslaw and chips, followed by chocolate chip, double fudge brownies a-la-mode.  Healthy (NOT).

Even though I'll be glued to the TV (having yet to decide whether I'm for my hometown Giants or my new ground Patriots), I'll still be playing the role of hostess with the mostest by serving up this 10,000 calorie feast with a little panache (buffet style of course).  After all, I haven't forgotten that I have a reputation to uphold!

Beer will be served in monogrammed glass pints with a pitcher on hand to minimize trips away from the TV during those can't-be-missed commercials (

Cloth Napkins with a subtle football theme will be used (

And good dishes too (
kate spade new york Market Street Blue Dinnerware  
Sloppy Joes will be served from this pop-of-color bowl.
Large Multi Bowl

And nachos will be piled up high here - both from

Serving Platter

To keep it casual, I'll use these baskets for fresh flaky rolls.
And their coasters to keep my tabletops dry (both from Artifacts Trading Co).


So, even if you plan on looking like a crazed football fan, you can still put out a stylish spread before behaving badly...  Go Team!?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An emporium for all

Today I had the chance to meet Jon Ames of a recently opened store in Waltham called Darby Road. This little shop is a welcome addition to a dying breed in home decor.  In the past few years we have lost a lot of the unique retail stores in our area to big box and main stream competition, and unfortunately if you are not working with a designer, you are forced to shop with the masses at the generics.  Not that you can't pull together a look or two from these types of places, but I find that the retail chains all follow each other on trends and individual tastes are hard to cater to. 

I miss the emporiums like In Home Furnishings that offer lots of product from different vendors all in one place.  I'm seeing some small stores pop up around town that are doing this on a smaller scale, but are mainly focused on the details of a space instead of the bigger purchases.  Darby Road offers not only custom, antique and imported furnishings, but an eclectic mix of vintage finds and home accessories.  John told me that some of their tables are repurposed from old houses and that just about anything in the shop can be reworked or refinished to meet your needs.  And, if you're not having any luck in their Main Street shop, they also have a 10,000 square foot warehouse annex just a block away.