Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween.  It's one of those rare times when you just get to have fun; dressing up and getting candy on a school night, walking around the neighborhood with friends, shuffling through the leaves giddy on sugar and a little chilly on a fall night - all good.

When I was a kid, my mom made us the most incredible costumes by hand.  I was three in this picture and still have the clown suit in my kids' dress up bin, along with a bunny and a crayon box constructed out of felt.

In college, Halloween was a BIG deal.  Boulder put on the Mall Crawl, and thousands of people (kids and grown ups) dressed up and paraded from one end of Pearl Street to the other.  I remember one year, my brother (who also went to college with me) went as Merlin - Even at 21, he made his costume himself out of purple taffeta and silver foil.  It was the most magical night of the year.

Now, as a parent, I am not as crafty as I used to be.  I am only capable of semi-homemade.  Here is a picture of my daughter last year as a witch - we bought the dress, wig and the hat, but made the cape from scratch complete with pom pom fringe and iron-on spiders.

This year I was asked to join The Daily Basic's Pinterest group Halloween Decorating. The ideas that people pinned were so much fun, and I loved how many people pitched in!  Here is one of mine - hands down the best semi-homemade idea for Halloween thus far.  It's been repinned over 440 times!

Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Wellesley feature

Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing one of my projects featured in the Boston Globe Magazine entitled Wellesley Preppy.  This new construction carriage-style house is bright and fresh and a great example of why I am always preaching about "cohesive" design.  With a view to the back of the house from the front door, and a long hallway in between, it was important that the overall palette of the space be fluent throughout, and that the colors that greeted you when you stepped across the threshold drew you down the corridor into the beautiful kitchen and family room waiting for you at the other end.

When I was hired by the client, the walls throughout the space were already painted a very neutral flax, with the exception of the powder room's pink and green toile wallpaper and the dining room which was dressed in Benjamin Moore's Van Deusen Blue (HC156).  After learning that my client's favorite colors were classic navy and Kelly green, we decided to go preppy and infused saturated hues of pink, green and blue with new upholstery, draperies, artwork and accessories.  The warm wood tones found in the flooring and the library complemented the scheme and extended the invitation to come in and get cozy.  Lilly Pulitzer, Brunschwig & Fils, and Schumacher fabrics showed sophistication in their colorways but kept the space playful and family friendly.

Here is a tour from front to back...

All photos taken by Michael J. Lee Photography

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's pretty again!

It's fall!  And my house is finished!  And I have a great book of clients!  And all the experts are saying that they are looking for a "return to pretty"!  Yay!!

Good thing that I have lots of "pretty" up my sleeve....

And, thanks Michael J. Lee for all of the "pretty" photos!

And, thanks Michael J. Lee for all of the "pretty" photos!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Almost over

Hello.  It's me.  I've missed you.  All.  I've wanted to write.  I've wanted to chat.  It's been a long time.  As said, I've been knee deep in my own project.  And, self-admittedly, it was hard.  Living among construction and chaos is claustrophobic.  And exhausting.  And stifling.  And makes it hard to want to talk about it, or anything else.  But, here I am, 11.5 months away from the beginning, and weeks away from the end, almost done, and so unbelievably happy with the outcome, that I am actually having it photographed this week, just days before the year anniversary of breaking ground.  Somehow, taking photos, means closure...

I wrote last year that "I understand" what my clients go through, and though I do and will always now appreciate the process, I can't believe how badly the construction affected my life.  This is a life lesson.  This is a professional lesson.  I wonder if maybe my next step should be getting a license to GC ..... :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

& Then, blogging again...

Guest blogging for & Then, New England School of Art & Design's online publication...

The Many Forms of Inspiration

Elizabeth Benedict (Certificate, 2006) joins & Then as a guest blogger. If you are interested in being our next guest blogger please drop me a line at 
SONY DSCI had just had my first kid when I went back to school for design. My husband could see that I was so used to corporate life, that while I loved being a mother, I certainly wasn’t ready to be a homemaker. He enrolled me in the Intro class at NESAD before my son was a year old and said that my path was up to me. I took the advice and ran with it – finished the then Certificate program and hung my own shingle in 2005. Happily still in business, I now have my own assistant. It makes me regret never being an intern.
Interior Design is so much more than what you learn in school. It is so much more than the confidence you have in your own style or the desire that you have to design for someone else. It’s time management, and people management, and math, and science, and scheduling, and billing, and dealing with so many outside forces that you have no control over (like shippers and receivers and dye lots and backorders and custom finishes that require more than one strike off). For me, I love the beginning phase of this cycle – the hellos and the dreams. I love putting together a space (or many spaces within a space). I love the collaboration between the client and the architect and the contractor and me. And then, there’s the middle, and a lot of junk. Junk that I never knew about, since I was never an intern; which, if you do intern, you will know about. And then, most importantly, I love the end, where it’s back to being a collaboration, that’s beautiful and exactly as you imagined it would all work out.
Recently, actually, within the past week, I had two people tell me that they wanted to go back to school for ID – both middle-aged women, with kids. I never thought that I would be one of the designers who would preach – GO BACK TO SCHOOL, WORK IN A FIRM, LEARN FROM SOMEONE IN THE FIELD – but suddenly, it was coming out of my mouth. And I was making sure that I fed them the intern speech – Real life is so much about what happens outside the classroom. Don’t get me wrong, I learned so much in those classes (especially rendering from Tommy Yamamoto), but most of what I learned came from what I experienced as an active participant in design. Over the years, that participation has meant traveling (both personally & professionally), being part of trade shows and keeping up with new products, working with showrooms and peers, social media, keeping up with CEUs, learning new technology, and interacting with current students. It’s a big world, inspiration comes in many forms. Concepts grow from ideas that turn into conversations; conversations that you have in the field; experiences that influence you to take the next step.

Friday, May 31, 2013


Today hit 96 degrees in Boston.  Coming off of a weekend where I needed a wool hat, I'm welcoming the heat.  It's finally time to break out the shorts and plant the garden.  BUT, it's almost too hot to do so.  So, instead I'm thinking about porch swings and sitting still, maybe rocking a bit, in my shorts looking at my garden that needs to be tended to, on a cooler day...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Recommended reading

Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting in on an intimate Q&A between Kravet's media maven Jennifer Powell and interior designer Thom Filicia (remember from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy).  Anyway, long before he became a TV personality, he was a designer and continues to not only run a successful practice in NYC but create a licensed line for Kravet.  He has just come out with a great book entitled American Beauty in which he chronicles his own home renovation in the Finger Lakes region of New York.  His chat was charming and candid and filled with lots of laughs.  The best thing that came from it though was his advice to all of Kravets' VIPs in the room.  When talking about his philosophy on design, he said (and I'll paraphrase what I remember);

Let me put it to you this way - if your best friend won't let you drive his new car then he probably shouldn't be driving that car either.  Possessions shouldn't be so precious that you can't enjoy them, and if you can't enjoy what you have or the spaces that surround you, then you're missing the whole point...  

His new book describes the casual elegance that he refers to as Americana, where his dogs (Taco and Foxy) are just as free to roam the house as his guests in wet swimsuits and sandy feet.  He is very grounded about creating spaces that can be lived in instead of just looked at (though he is really good at achieving a balance of both).  It's his real life, and I really love his message...

note the forward by Tina Fey :)