September 8, 2012


For those who live on the edge of what is current or in vogue the idea of painting a room a deep dark color is nothing new.  The trend started a few years ago but is now being completely embraced by the mainstream.  People have become comfortable with creating a room full of mystery and drama even in more traditional homes and modernists love the white Eames chairs, Saarinen tables and the like against a dark back-drop.

It seems as though trim work, doorways and bookcases are also getting the treatment.  No longer is the typical white trim!  We have moved into making architectural details really stand out and make a statement by accenting them in greys, browns, blues and blacks.  Now you know me, I love an all white room (ok all white house) but I do love the idea of a dark, cool study or TV room to get away from the heat of summer or the chill of winter.  and I love the idea of the high-contrast room within a house… a surprise if you will.

A great room to try this tend in is the bedroom.  A room typically darkened by night and a place you spend the majority of your time in sleeping, a dark cozy room is like a cocoon.  I adore this tufted headboard and think the colors here are beautiful.

Dark can go totally glam, and I love it…

…and dark can go rustic.  No matter your look there is a dark that you can make work.  Coastal house? Try Navy.  Uber-traditional, try Chocolate.  Modern? Go black!  It’s really a few gallons of paint and a weekend… trust me it’s worth the risk.


Thank you all for hanging in there with my two-week (plus) absence.  I had an amazing time with close friends in Provincetown, MA.  Of course, I can’t wait to get back there and of course I am loving all things seaside inspired.  I happen to think that you don’t need bright colors and seashell print fabrics everywhere to create a seaside inspired home… in fact, it’s more authentic and genuine if you don’t.  An anchor coffee table or a ship’s wheel fire screen will give off an even better vibe.  I love the layered up boat and ship prints in this space, I love the mix-matched furniture and I love the neutral palette.

Here is where I spent my vacation…

The view from our wharf, never get tired of the beautiful light on Cape Cod.

the other side of the Wharf… this view isn’t too bad either.  We had a second floor private deck the first week, love!

Week two we were lucky enough to share the end unit with close friends.  Do I really have to say anything else? How about a few more shots of our room…

Candle light cocktails before an evening out.  The room was a mix of blue and white stripes, Ralph Lauren meets sea shanty = perfection.

With the extra-large window open sea breezes blew through all day and all night.  Every window had an amazing view and the attitude was easy and relaxed and quintessentially seaside… and not a seashell print in sight.  The season for seaside style is coming to an end ( goodbye summer ) but I’ll be busy all winter long creating beautiful and neutral spaces for clients and I’ll hold this vacation in my heart… true seaside style.


Spanish Dream House

August 9, 2012

I know I have a lot of dream houses, and the two room cabin on the ocean is still number one on my list but if I was to have multiples I’d add one like this to the list.  I love tile roofs (see yesterdays post) and the thick walls of  spanish style homes.  White slip covers on everything and a big collection of pottery from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s sounds good to me as the interiors starting point.  The intricate patterns, deep rich colors and heavy beams of a home like this would be complimented by easy relaxed shapes in sold neutrals and give the architecture a chance to really shine.  The light and relaxed upholstery would also lighten up the aesthetic as these houses can be dark ( cool in the summer – warm in the winter ).  Nothing more boring that walking into a Spanish style house and seeing nothing but dark carved wood furniture and heavy trimmed drapes, I like the idea of an unexpected interior.   Here are a few more houses I love  and some interior shots that help articulate the style I’d like to see inside…

Love the littleness of this one and that giant window up front, yes please!

This is close, maybe a bit dark but love the rug in this room…

This one really puts the colonial in Spanish Colonial Revival!

This is a good color palette, missing a bit of pizzazz?

This is a good color but I prefer the traditional creamy white exterior.

Yes, yes, yes… this is the look.  Clean, bright, fresh.

Awnings, too cute. House great, yard… not so much.

This space – if you ask me – could use a tiny organic touch… just a bit sterile for me.  love the floors!

Edgartown Continued

August 6, 2012

House after house after house, each more charming than the next.  There is such a look when it comes to homes in Edgartown.  Much like Nantucket there are historic restrictions regarding paint and other details historic homes can and can’t have but it’s the consistecy of the look that grabs you.  “Edgartown Style” is clean and sharp and well taken care of … and I love it!  This is Edgartown…

Here’s some history…

The Edgartown Harbor Village Historic District covers an area of about 150 acres and contains approximately 500 buildings, exhibiting a mix of commercial, residential and industrial land uses. The vast majority of the district’s buildings are wood-frame houses of the 19th and early 20th centuries designed by local builders and carpenters, as well as shipbuilders and whaling captains. Only five masonry buildings exist in the district, all of which are constructed of red brick. Architectural styles that are well-represented include vernacular timber-frame houses and cottages, the Federal style and the Greek Revival style. Less common, but equally significant are examples of later styles such as the Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Arts and Crafts. The district possesses significant historic associations with the early settlement of Martha’s Vineyard visible in the Captain D. Fisher House (circa 1704) on North Water Street, the Coffin-Dunham House on South Water Street and the Thomas Cooke House (circa 1765) on Cooke Street.

Edgartown was the island’s center for whaling activities, reaching its height between 1820 and 1865. Between 1835 and 1845 alone, 110 whaling captains built homes and lived in Edgartown. Other maritime-related industries, including fishing, salt manufacturing and candle making also strengthened the local economy during this period. The largest single maritime-related enterprise which grew up around whaling was the production of whale oil and candles by Dr. Daniel Fisher & Company. This company became Edgartown’s largest industry in 1850 and the success is evident in the elaborate Greek Revival dwelling built for Dr. Daniel Fisher on Main Street. The affluence and influence of the area’s ship captains is apparent in the extensive number of captains’ houses, public buildings and churches that also were built during this period.

At the time the whaling industry was in the last stages of decline, Martha’s vineyard’s popularity as a summer resort was beginning in earnest. The first “summer cottages” appeared in Edgartown Village in the early 1880s, although the largest number and most lavish examples were built between 1895 and 1920. Edgartown and all of Martha’s Vineyard gained widespread recognition as a resort community between the late 1920s and the early 1940s, when bungalow cottages and Colonial Revival style buildings began to appear as infill among the earlier buildings in the district. The Edgartown Village Historic District remains a popular resort area today.

Each image is a different house, but if could combine them all my dream house would look like this… 

I realize the size of the structure might not allow for everything, but come on it’s a dream blog…

White paint, beams, board ceiling, white floors, vintage, modern? Check, check, check, check, check, check!

Make my picnic table 12 feet long so i can have double the guests!

Some shaker meets modern moments inside would be cool, the sparseness…

…and of course a clean simple pool out back.  That’s all I need.

The ONLY thing about this house that doesn’t “work” for me is that it’s in Australia.  Wow, what a beautiful setting, house and  interiors…
I first saw this listing on fellow blogger Justine Taylor’s site  birch&lily and I am totally smitten. Here’s the link to all the great images of this pretty country house  and the description provided by the real estate agent…

The house is called Glen Athan and it is in Berry, AU ( Kangaroo Valley – how cute is that? )

Regarded as one of the South Coast’s most stylish and authentic country properties, Glen Athan is a private 105-acre retreat with a recently completed and stunning family farmhouse, a world-class resort-style swimming pool and the most spectacular of views encompassing 180-degrees of the quiet and unspoilt Wattamolla Valley.

Blending the best of Australian heritage design and contemporary luxuries, the home features rustic wide-board flooring; timber-lined walls and ceilings; South Australian slate hearths; craftsman-built windows, doors and cabinetry; recycled timbers; and 150-year-old convict-hewn sandstone.

With four superbly-sized double bedrooms and three enormous bathrooms – all with underfloor heating – the home is perfect for families or entertaining large groups at weekends and holidays.

There is a grand central living area with open fire; a stylish bespoke kitchen featuring marble bench-tops and double butler’s sink; an impressive walk-in pantry; a scullery; and a convenient tiled laundry and mud-room.

Off the generous entrance foyer is an inviting library with custom joinery and fireplace. The master bedroom also benefits from its own open fire, en-suite bathroom and room-sized private robe. Additionally, there is a large open study area; separate and quiet home-office; as well as a walk-in linen room; ample ancillary storage; and built-in robes for all bedrooms.

On the over-sized sandstone entertaining terrace there is a large barbecue and shower area adjacent to the breath-taking wet-edge pool; which is conveniently gas-heated to extend swimming times throughout the year and late into the summer evenings. To the rear of the property is a private and protected flagstone courtyard and rose terrace with a slate-roofed bread and pizza oven and a convenient and fully-irrigated kitchen herb garden. The wide wrap-around verandahs provide yet another venue for outdoor dining.

Both discreet and highly private, Glen Athan is elevated from the world below and blessed with cooling summer breezes and ever-changing views of the escarpment and valley to be enjoyed from every room in the house.

Lance Wovens

May 28, 2012

“The idea behind Lance was the merging of two cultures,” said Stefano Bruni, an Italian native who started the furniture and accessories company with his American fiancée, Anne Arnold, earlier this year. “Americans have powerful symbols that Italians love, like a flannel shirt, a Hudson Bay blanket, a pair of jeans. These are age-old American traditions that inspired our line.”

The line of woven leather pillows, benches, rugs and tote bags, which fans of Bottega Veneta will undoubtedly covet, was introduced in August at the New York International Gift Fair.  One looks like woven denim, another has the colorful stripes of a Hudson Bay blanket, yet another is a plaid one might see on a flannel shirt. The complete line is on the company’s Web site, A selection of solid woven calfskin 21-inch-square pillows $595 each and woven calfskin plaids $725 each.   are at Kristin Paton Home – a friends chic new home store in the heart of Cambridge – hoping to bring them to the Tri-Town area for my customers, we will see.  In the meantime, if you’re not in New England Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf’s also carry the line.

Leave it to Jeffrey Bilhuber to create the dream house of all summer houses.  He has always been an inspiration to me, his designs are typically layered perfectly to give depth and interest without overwhelming a space or room.  He does color well but excels in soft tonal rooms that celebrate form and shape.  This magical little house ladies and gentlemen is my dream house.  I keep looking at the photos looking for something that needs a tweak or fix to really make it as I would want it, and the only thing I can come up with is maybe roman shades vs the pinch pleat curtains he chose for the windows… but I get why he did them.  It’s so old school, so East Coast.
 The bedrooms exposed framing and board walls are the perfect color, crisp whites mix with classic stained dressers – necessary storage, high style –  and the simple bedding keeps the room from looking over decorated.  Love the bench, love the garden stool, love the bed.
 I love the dark chocolate-brown walls of this living room…  perfect to put a big color in a small room.  White painted floors help the room not feel to dark and light upholstery and natural accents all create the perfect balance of light, medium and dark.  In this room the curtains – love the banded bottom – really work for me, the long narrow shape help celebrate one of the rooms strength, its height.
 OK, OK… one more tiny complaint. This room goes a bit Golden Girls for me, I’m not a fan of peach and tufted sofa and slipper chairs both look a bit “tight”.  I’d like a room that feels a bit more loose and easy… too fussy for me, but it’s still a very pretty room.  Walls, windows, accessories, flooring, lights… LOVE.

I love just about everything in this image.  The old staircase painted out white mixed with a modern hall table is chic and fresh… A classic, updated.  I love the pops of orange, “the” color of the moment because it’s so cheery and adds energy to the space AND most of all I love the painted stair runner.  So, so, cool that is narrow, and i love the tipped detail in that much darker grey.  This treatment reminds me of a racing stripe, sleek and cool.

Danika over at Gorgeous Shiny Things did this floor! amazing right?  I love the mix of geometric, there is a depth to the stencils and the wood that makes this floor rich look.  It’s not sweet like your typical stenciled floor.  Job well done, gimmie some of that!

late this morning – it was a morning spent with the trainer – so that’s all for today folks.  Have a great day!

Glam-tasticly Tonal

April 17, 2012

Now this is my kind of room.  I so love this glam-tastic livingroom, and not just for its tonality and minimal use of color but because it exudes glamour!  The beachy Capiz shell chandelier looks great and sets a mood along with the giant clam shell but frankly you could buy the light at Cost Plus for 69.99.  And that’s not a bad thing – in fact I might pick up two – but for me it’s the scale of the room, the enormous carpet both sitting areas share, the formal layout of the room and of course the color story really cranks up the chic factor.   

This might be the Kitchen living room (or KLR as a client calls it) or the TV room for the same house.  On message with keeping things light, virtually free of pattern, and colors range from cream to tan, to oatmeal to toffee to chocolate, only a bit more toned down, casual, easy…  When can I move in?

Mens Summer Fashion

April 16, 2012

Old school is the new New School.   Madras, plaid, chambray, seersucker… it all coming at us in the next few weeks, next thing you know you’ll be pulling out your flip flops and looking for your white jeans.  Me?  I’m going to rock an oxford cloth suit at a party this coming weekend in RI to celebrate a friends birthday.  Can’t wait to see the beautifully redone Ocean House Hotel (of course pictures to come!).  Love an excuse to buy a few new items of clothing and I love knowing I’m packing a new outfit or two.  If you’re in the market for a suit, they are still wearing them snug, lapels are not too wide and jackets are still just a wee bit shorter than you might think it oughta be.  This one is by JCrew.

I expect that I’ll be able to break up the suit and wear the pants with a blue blazer for work, and mix the slacks with khaki pants or blue cotton trousers or jeans for that matter.  A suit is just a good investment, no matter how you wear it – unless of course you grow out of it or if styles change to drasticlly.  Me?  I like a short jacket that fits snug and a 3 button is better for my body type, so I usually go 3 button, but not always.  you can always button the middle button if you want a 2 button look… and you know what they say about buttons on an man’s jacket, don’t you?




Guido Mocafico’s Magnificent Rectangular Serpents

As a person who collects art, respects the creativity of artists and a designer who appreciates beautiful works that can really make or break a home, the work of Guido Mocafico hits a home run with me.  Not only would I own one of these pieces – I love the black mysterious background he has chosen, further enhancing the already sinister mood of the images – I would hope to use one or several in a space for a client.  They are bold and graphic, the colors are amazing and like any good piece of art I could look at them over and over and over.  Something else I like is the unexpected rectangle, these animals typically so organic and coiled shown compartmentalized and color blocked, a unique juxtaposition.   Guido Mocaficos Magnificent Rectangular Serpents snakes photography

Guido Mocaficos Magnificent Rectangular Serpents snakes photography

Guido Mocaficos Magnificent Rectangular Serpents snakes photography

Guido Mocaficos Magnificent Rectangular Serpents snakes photography

Pinched from the pages of the Colossal Art & Design blog…

Generally when you encounter a photograph of a snake it’s coiled up in a circle, a clump, or perhaps dangling from a limb, twisted into a naturally organic shape. Y’know, it’s snakelike. Photographer Guido Mocafico has taken a decidedly different approach with his Serpens series (Part 1Part 2), choosing instead to place the snakes into rectangular boxes, snapping each photo from above at a precisely balanced moment, turning chaotic figures into something distinctly geometric. From Mocafico’s selection of different species to their gorgeous coloration and almost zen-like positioning, I’ve never seen anything like these. For more serpentine photography don’t miss the work of Mark Laita who travels everywhere to photograph the world’s deadliest snakes. (via supersonic electronic)

Painted floors and a white four poster bed = perfection.  Unadorned and left plain this beautiful room is tranquil and serene thanks in large part to its simple furnishings and tonal palette.  The horizontal board walls and ceiling add just enough visual interest and texture.  No window treatments, fussy bedding or busy upholstery to draw the eye, just a sophisticated and fresh look perfect to restore ones outlook and a pretty place to wake up.

love…  and should mention: Photography by Don Freeman for House Beautiful found on Birch & Lily.

and if you can’t imagine the kitchen that goes along with this look, here is what it may look like…

The PERFECT House…

March 15, 2012

…isn’t so perfect.  It is actually so imperfect that one need not worry about what hand towels look right with the back-splash, the counter tops are not stripped bare with the exception of the trophy toaster – although it’s still there – in fact the only extravagance is the Aga stove… and it’s perfect.  This really is the look and feel I find comfort in.  Easy euro-chic styling in a white kitchen with open shelves.  Sometimes being really honest with yourself (or your decorator) can really pay off, by picking things that you find comfort with or just plain love vs what you’ve been told you should have.     

For me, I react to this warm neutral palette, and I don’t miss patterns or strong colors at all.  In fact I find these rooms restful and relaxing because they are so neutral, but I think they are far from boring.  there are plenty of textures, variations on shade and tone in the existing colors and wonderful forms in the furniture, architecture and accessories.  Follow your heart, not the trends and you’ll always love the space you call home.  Have a happy Thursday everyone!

My favorite home store in New York is (wait for it)…  Nest at 172 9th Street.  They carry Ryan Studio, Dransfield and Ross Oly, Bungalow 5 and many other great vendors.  But the shop is more than a bunch of great vendors, it’s edited down to the esential oil of the puryever, the shop has a clear identity.  I could shop with my eyes closed and walk out of there so happy, its really all that good!  These candlesticks were on their wall last time I was in, they are vintage and only now that I’m home from New York, I’m wishing I had bought them.  Next timer you are in NYC, check them out.

For Sale – Deja vous!

February 14, 2012

A reader (thx SB) brought to my attention what had become of a house in Los Angeles that I had blogged about back in July here’s the link:

I can’t say I’m surprised, it really was a diamond in the rough.  But WOW.  Looks like they did it right and took special care to preserve the building’s history and style.  I personally love the Spanish influence, thick walls, tile floors, beamed ceilings and this house has that in spades plus the distinct narrow and tall great-room at the front of the house.

Now this is a room I would like to decorate.  No offence, but it doesn’t look like the furnishings were really all that thought out.  The rug is small, the chairs are mis-matched and the floor plan is really not celebrating the volume of the room.  I’d lighten it all up too with furniture covered in creams, tans and taupes.I like the kitchen, and I think I’m relieved that they didn’t build in a kitchen that looks like it belongs in a Spanish castle.  The color is interesting, the wall of subway tile is a good vintage nod and I love that they left a wall without upper cabinets.  But can I get a shelf? another window? something on that blank wall…

Click on the link below to see more pictures and information on the sale.  list price: $1,995,000.00

Not Quite White

January 28, 2012

but I love it… How could you not love this masterpiece?!  Want to hire them to design my dream home, think they would take a job in Provincetown, MA?  This project looks flawless to me, just perfect… and who doesn’t love a subzero in the pantry?

Who’s responsible for this beautiful kitchen and pantry?  Schwartz and architecture in San Francisco.  Click here: to the rest of this beautiful home and other amazing projects they have worked on.  Amazingly cool, refreshing and not the same ol, same ol.

ooops, turns out these are two different kitchens… look there’s more great kitchen to love…

Schwartz and Architecture
860 Rhode Island St
San Francisco, CA 94107tel
415 550.0430fax

A little more from Nina Campbell…

Blown away by this beautiful paper!  Glowing horizontal stripes of the grandest scale with a delicate strié make this wall covering by Nina Campbell for Osborne & Little a must have for the chic and glamorous set.  This paper is named Cremona after a town in the Po Valley in Lombardy, Northern Italy.  I’d love it in an alcove behind a bed, or a small bar or powder room  would be the perfect place for this special paper.  The only problem: Choosing my favorite color-way.


Vintage 200 Series

January 22, 2012

I won’t drone on about what I want, love, love, love, blah blah blah and all that.  Let me just say these cars are the epitome of class, they are as beautiful today as they were the day they rolled off the production line and no one does it quite like Mercedes.  Can I get an Amen?!?

Dream House

January 12, 2012

Maybe I’ve been on the East Coast to long, and maybe I’ve just been on the East Coast long enough – Enough to know they don’t get much sweeter than this little gem. Love the old stone curbing and the white-painted fence. A good start! With a formal hedge providing some privacy to the front of the house. The gate would keep the dogs in and let visitors know right where the entrance is to the old clapboard house’s yard. I love the multi-paned, double hung windows and the dormer windows too. The house is just big enough to entertain in I think and you could squeeze in the occasional guest,just long enough, but no more… and that’s a good thing.

This is the look for my room, bright light and tonal. Pretty drapes on simple iron rods, doors that open onto a lush private patio and pile on the down comforters! Sea grass on top of wide plank wood floorswould feel and look good and I’d keep the art black and white to maintain a quiet vibe in the space. The trim and walls being painted the same color reduces the amount of visual commotion.

And while I may need a few more places for friends to sit I liked to over-all aesthetic of this back yard hideout. A good place for an after dinner _________ (fill in your vice of choice), I like the overall palette remaining consistent with the furnishings found inside the house. Now if this were the pool cabana, that would be even sweeter.


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