Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Blast from the Past

I have always loved the idea of reviving a fabulous grand old house with a kiss of the new, while keeping its old character in with real history and really good bones. I had hoped this would be a house I could actually live in but alas, not quite there yet! Next best thing, getting to decorate one! Late this spring I got to join some other amazing designers taking part in the Traditional Home Magazine / Greensboro Jr. League Showhouse. We took over the amazing Adamsleigh mansion, just outside of Hight Point - furniture mecca. It is one of those homes truly from another era...with a "prohibition room" in the basement and an iron gate on the second floor landing that the owners installed after the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped, to protect their own brood.

As you can imagine, Traditional Home was able to attract some design icons to work on the house...Suzanne Kasler, Miles Redd, Eric name a few. As was fitting among that company, I was assigned the maids the end of a long hallway on the second floor:)

I attempted to turn this little nook into a modern day study hall and hang out spot for the young lady of the house. Perhaps a bit sophisticated for Justin Bieber karaoke parties, but you are never to young to surround yourself with beautiful design:)

I have to give a quick shout out to some of the wonderful companies that helped me....oomph's amazing tables and desk, South, Julian Chichester, Quadrille, Kravet and Ro Sham Beau. Thank you!!!

The house will be featured in the October issue of Traditional Home, here is a sneak peak!

Perhaps one of my favorite things in the design world is lacquer walls!! This paint is from Fine Paints of makes the walls look almost wet...

This was the best part of the whole very dear friends Elizabeth and Allison stoping by for a visit:)

I covered the ceiling in this Quadrille fabric on a ceiling, makes the whole room feel warmer.

This is one of the side tables from oomph ( The most sumptuous part is the lizard skin top.!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Family Style - In Black and White

Despite my seemingly diligent and high tech blogging (ha, those of you who have been following me for a while know I tend to go silent for a while during the "busy season", i.e. big installs,  back to school, Halloween, birthdays, Christmas...ok, its always a struggle for me to actually get on my computer, but I digress)....despite my affinity for blogging, I am a sucker for the real thing in design porn....high gloss, heavy paper stock magazines. Finding one of my favorites....Veranda, Tradtional Home, House Beautiful, Southern Living...hiding in my mailbox makes me abnormally happy.  It is like someone, or I guess Martin our mailman, has left a little present for me.  I like to wait until there are no children around me, ideally in my living room with an ice cold beer, before I unwrap and indulge. Now that you know a little about my romantic attachment to design magazines you can appreciate how excited and gitty I feel when I am fortunate enough to be featured in one of them!

This month it was Connecticut Cottages and Gardens....Cate Branca worked her prose magic and made the mantra I have been celebrating from my Family Style soap box, come to life in black and white! Take a look...I know this link won't give you quite the thrill of the real high gloss thing, but hope you enjoy!

Here is the link:

Here it is in high gloss...

Here are the other photos from the shoot....Dining Room


Living Room

Family Room


Master Bedroom

Master Bath


Here is one more lucky placement recently in one of my favorites!!!

I love their Send Us a Picture section....

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wasted Space

Why move to a bigger house or add on that extra square footage when you likely don't even use what you've got! There are so many spaces in our homes that we love to polish up and show off but we never go in there to enjoy ourselves! Wasted space #1....the Dining Room.

The Dinning Room is not just the place for Downton Abbey-esq dinner parties. Bring it to its full potential! As long as you don't have silk seat cushions make a vow to use the beautiful room with an expansive table and room the whole family, more often. The beautiful curtains, chic wallpaper and (hopefully) faux painted ceiling will remain unscathed....

I find that if you do not give a space a purpose you won't use it. Give that to your dinning room, after all, it looks so fabulous! Family game night, book club, study hall, Sunday Super...your dining room is the perfect spot to host. Here are some of my thoughts on the space that will hopefully expand the square footage and living space in your home....

~use that beautiful sideboard to hold cards and board games
~cover your seat cushions in something extra fav here is faux leather (think snake or alligator)....even Sunbrella fabric will work in this dressier space
~if its not in your budget, hold off on the rug, the table will cover up the expansive floor...and depending on the age of your family you may end up with more food on the floor then the table
~if you do add a rug make sure you have at least 3 feet off the edge of the table on all sides so that you have room to move your chair around without "falling off" the rug!
~i am a believer that antiques get better with age, but if you are going to cringe at every falling fork, get a glass top made to fit
~every dining room does not need silk curtains. They can be gorgeous... but if you want  to keep the space more in-formal, but still "special feeling", go for a more tailored window treatment in a more casual fabric...I am thinking linen panels with a scalloped edge...

Here are some dinning dens I love....

This Room looks ready for an elegant dinner party OR homework study session!

This room by Suzanne Kasler looks glam and elegant but if those chairs are covered in a pale blue faux leather,  there is nothing keeping family game night away!

Love the wallpaper in this dining room by Phoebe Howard.

If this were my dining room, we would eat every meal in here. Wouldn't  it just make you happy to be in there??
by Miles Redd

This dining room is definitely on the more elegant end...but I say the slip covers say "family room".
by Suzanne Kasler

Monday, March 18, 2013

Family Style - elegant, chic and completely cozy

This is a the very first blog post I put up three years is a replay for all those who are new to my blog! More posts to come!

No matter how many toddlers, teens or canines live in your home, every room can look like it fits on the pages of Elle Decor or House Beautiful and still be enjoyed by every member of your family. Why leave the decked out living room for only the occasional guest?  
My Connecticut cottage is my cocoon, my refuge from the hustle and bustle of carpools, pediatrician visits and client meetings. I love to spend time in every room in my home and since a brood of three toddlers and two mutts follow me wherever I go, they feel at home in every space too. The advice I give my clients, and which I live by too, is to embrace the chaos of young and energetic households...plan spaces for the way you  live, but do LIVE in every space. Then, this is the fun part, while planning your life add in a layer of sophisticated eye candy to cater to adult tastes, I like to call it the "Wow Factor" and every room needs one: exquisite trims, rich fabric and faux painting have a home in even the most boisterous space and when added thoughtfully do not need to comprise the life inside the home.

I started this blog to address all those other design savvy mothers out there that may have a fabulously well styled closet but put the house on hold until juice boxes or skateboards were a faded memory. I am telling you...don't wait! Embrace your home and do not compromise your design aesthetic

I plan to offer advice in this blog on some of the  more vexing questions others moms have presented me what do you do with bookshelves!?? or paint, yikes! as well as share some of my tricks for creating spaces, like  your living room for example, that are comfortable for babies, cocktail party guests and Sunday morning lounging --- all while looking completely fabulous.

Here are some examples of rooms I adore, for different reasons. But if you look closely, most of them would stand up to life!

I LOVE this playroom by Alessandra Branca. Why can't the kids space look like a million bucks!

The ceiling is a great place to spend your design capital with no fear of messy footprint.
This is such a dreamy room for a little girl...can't you just see the curtains pulled back before the show! 
(this is by Mary McDonald, one of my absolute favorite designers)

Anyone would feel at home in this room with a glass of wine or story book. Ottoman coffee tables are a great way to beckon loungers into a room.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Throw back the curtains and let in the sun!

I love, love, love window treatments! Fabric just makes me happy :) With the window as you canvas you can add color, texture, volume and couture tailoring that makes any room look like it is ready to walk down the runway.

This is also one of the best spots to spend your design dollars. Window dressings do not get the same wear and tear as a sofa, so splurge on that sumptuous kelly green trellis, you will have it for a very long time!

I will take simple linen curtain panels over a naked window any day...but what I really love is to add divine details that really dress the room. I love to do a scallop welt along the leading edge of panels -- that is decorator speak for the inside edge of each panel, where the two panels would meet if the curtains were closed:) Another fave is to create a box pleat trim, using the same fabric as the body of the panel, to apply to the leading edge. It creates kind of a tailored ruffle. Oh....and I love a good tape trim. Even on a fabric with lots of pattern, the solid line of tape just accentuates the print!

Another note for your little black book on decorating....It always amazes me how much window treatments soften a room. Clients often make the mistake of saying that they don't want anything on the widow to take away from a beautiful view....that is such a mistake! Sumptuous window treatments are like a frame on a love painting, they make everything even more beautiful!

Here are some of my muses.....

Here is a serene bedroom I did with a scalloped edge on the windows.

I love this! It looks like a fun ball gown.
Richard Keith Langham

Such a clean addition to creamy curtains.
Richard Keith Langham

Valances are like a fun hat at the Kentucky Derby. Love this one by Miles Redd

Here is another topper by Miles Redd

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Room of Their Own

You know I am a big believer in making every room in your home welcoming to every member of your family....don't lock your kids out of the living room or pups out of the bedroom -- or you won't hang out in there either! That being said, I love the idea of creating a family room for kids that really fits their needs....but looks so fabulous that all the adults will want to hang out in there too!
If you have a spare spot upstairs, dress it up as a second family room with comfy seating, storage, art table, room for wii games or ping pong. This room is a great excuse for that vintage Ms. Pacman game you have always wanted to own. Here you can live vicariously through your children! Also create a nook for them to be organized and productive in their own chic study hall.

Here are a few rooms that I would like to call my own...and so would my kids!

I love this study hall. It will just make your children want to study physics! This most beautiful elements, that add the most punch; the wallpaper, shades and chandelier, are well out of reach of the daily wear and tear!
Annsley Interiors Boston

This is one of my favorite kid rooms! The ceilings and walls make it so crisp and clean and all the action happens below. This works for a playroom, study hall or tv room!
Alessandra Branca

Great idea to store all their stuff! This storage solution could be part of any great room!

This is it! Exactly what I am talking about!!
Suzanne Kasler

Grown-ups and kids will want to cozy up in this book nook!

What a great room to hang for them to hang out with their friends. A  TV on the opposite wall would  make it a great movie room!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Gift of Design

What could be a better gift to yourself then an afternoon snuggled up on the sofa while the children play quietly, maybe drinking a glass of wine, and you flipping through beautiful images of decked decors?? Well, we can all have a Christmas wish:)

If you want to give the gift inspiration here are a few of my all-time fave design books....

I love most everything she does...clean, crisp glamour.

This book is filled with elegant rooms that can give inspiration for even the most humble abodes...

This is the new book by Charlotte Moss...she has such an eye for interesting things...

I have been a fan of Charlotte's from an early age. This is the first design book I ever  owned. My mother gave it to me for Christmas one year and I still treasure it!

Miles Redd does fabulous things with color...lots of lacquered wall....

Classic and Pretty