Thursday, December 2, 2010

Deck the halls, walls and playroom dolls!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love Christmas. I think the root of my love of Christmas is a love of home and the idea of being in cozy surroundings with good friends, family and always good food. The other things I love about Christmas is decking the halls! It is the true embodiment of Family Style decortating...a train set in the living room is acutally part of the design scheme! Let yourself be a kid again. It is a licsense to go kitchy, quirky or elegant. You don't have to limit yourself to red and green -- pink and gold are my other favorite yuel tide colors. Go with what works in your space. This year I am doing all red lights on my tree...the pinks and blues of the multi-colored lights I had last year clashed so with my red alligator and creme suede walls that it made my eyes blurry! Christams decor is also a great way to compensate for the inevitably long tally of things you haven't gotten to on your decorating wish list....put your big tree in front of that bay window that still doesn't have curtains and hang a wreath on the blank canvas above the fireplace that you are still trying to solve. And don't neglect your children's rooms and guest rooms. They are a great spot for fanciful table top trees. I put a purple one in my daughters room. She loves it!
Then, have your friends over and show it off. I think this is the best time of the year to entertain... your house always looks its best with a little Christmas magic!

Happy Jolly Days!

A vision of sugarplums!
(This one is from

These next few photos are the prefect example of an elegant approach to adding holiday cheer.
( by Gregory Van Boven)

Ho!Ho!Ho! Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hide and Seek

Let's face it, you are not going to hang out in your living room if the only activities it is set up for is your annual Christmas party and your dinning room table will just collect dust if it is only reserved for Thanksgiving dinner. Take back these museum rooms and set them up for actual living...but don't dumb them down either!The best way to do this is by finding creative ways to stash. Whether it is text books, Chutes and Ladders or art supplies, hide these necessities of life in your more "grown up" rooms so you will have a reason to go in there with your "less grown up" family members. Here are some ideas that will keep your space chic but inviting too...

This fabulous armoire from Chapman Radcliffe Home is the perfect hideaway for any clutter


Have your ottoman built "pop top" to stash cozy blankets, toys, school books...(this one by Markham Roberts from via

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Have a seat...

Upholstered furniture is my absolute favorite blank slate to create upon because it combines several of my favorite things: fabric, trim and tailoring. The only rule when designing upholstery is that it has to not only be comfortable to sit in but it needs to look comfortable too! A sure fire way to keep people out of your living room is to fill it with stiff furniture, like those elegant wood-framed sofas, perhaps passed down by a grandmother or two... They just don't invite you in!
After you have met that criteria, the sky is the limit! Well tailored upholstery is a great place to add that WOW factor that takes a room up a notch. These are the type of details that customize your look and are  immune to the wear and tear of life....a boxy Crate and Barrel sofa and a well tailored sofa with sculpted arms and a tufted back will hold up just the same against a a little girls slumber party, I have tried it!
Here are some of my favorites:

I love this bedroom from Just want to dive right in!
I designed this chair to incorporate this fabulous red alligator fabric I found to compliment the yummy cut red fabric from Scalamandre.

I love the back height of this chair, just high enough to rest your elbow.  This one is from Robin Bruce furniture.

A tufted sofa can work in a living room or a is not necessarily a more formal look, it just shows you thought enough to add a little extra touch. This one is from Robert Bruce furniture.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Welcome Home

Welcome back! I feel like the fall is really my "new years" fresh start. I guess I am still in the Back to School mode after all these years...even though none of my children are really there yet! What better way to be welcomed home then by this fabulous pink lacquered door. It pinpoints my philosophy that your foyer, and for that matter, your front door is the first thing your guests, and you, will see. So let it set the tone for the rest of your house. This one is from Kelly Wearstler and I love it!

Foyers are a great place to add those unique finds that may not have a specific purpose but are just so chic. Like this,  Muirfeld Bench from

Add some really fun fabric...maybe kelley green or hot pink...and it would be a knock out! Without too much to lure little ones or their teenage siblings into hanging out in the foyer, it is one of the "safest" places in the house to add some Wow! Happy hunting!

**just a note to those that have signed up to "follow" my blog: I have added Feedburner as another option for getting updates when I post and I find it a little more user friendly, sending emails directly to you when I make a new post. So you may want to go that route!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What's on the Wall....

Walls are one of my most favorite spots to add Wow Factor. High gloss lacquer, wallpaper, faux paint, upholstered suede (like I have in my living to come), and intriguing arrangements of prints, mirrors and quirky objects add so much too a room, even if you are not ready, or can't afford, to add a stick of furniture! Chic walls are also fairly immune to the ruff and tumble living scars of goldfish crumbs, spilled cokes or pet hair :)
I will write a lot about this topic in the future but just wanted to throw out a few ideas to start...

***A note about high gloss lacquer. My absolute favorite is Farrow and Ball. They have stopped making their oil based lacquer but the water based one they replaced it with is just as great. It almost makes the walls look wet. I have many clients that have one or two rooms that aren't in the budget to tackle right away. This is a fairly inexpensive way to make a spot fabulous. Paint these empty rooms in a bold color....charcoal grey, mustard the high gloss lacquer. Instead of these empty rooms being sluffed off and hidden when guests come by they will be like a movie preview of what is to come....

This is part of Tory Burch's home featured in Vogue a few years ago. the walls are upholstered in kelley green velvet...yummy!

Mirrors are a great alternative to expensive artwork. While I am sure this fabulous one cost a pretty penny there other great ones out there....I love to hunt them down in antique markets.
Even piece of coral can become art on your wall. This is from Mrs. Howard, a fabulous site!

Even the white walls of this hallway fell finishing and luxurious in white lacquer!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Family Style -- elegant, chic and completely cozy

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.