February 7, 2014


Lots of things inspire me.   Inspiration can come from anywhere, a stone wall, a piece of clothing, an old scrap of wood; and it can be applied in a textural, structural, spacial, or even in a literal way.  What I find most inspirational is art and nature.  The wharf image above is inspiring to me because not only do I dearly love the place, I love the image, and I love the colors.  I love the warmth of the pattern on the sand, the strength of the pier silhouetted in black. And, because I have stayed many nights in those fishing shacks on that pier spending countless hours with some of my dearest friends, it means something to me.   It doesn’t get more powerful than that. tumblr_ltoubkovOE1qjrfh6o1_500

To execute design based on an inspirational object or image I think it best to identify a color palette first and foremost.  This doesn’t have to be completely literal, you can take only the colors you find most pleasing; you can change the amount of each color within the palette to suit your taste or the space in question and obviously you can add to a palette.

I think the photo above with its rich browns, blacks and creamy warm walls captures the colors of the pier quite well.  Overall the value of light colors and dark colors is pretty spot on.   Not only the palette of the wharf is captured but a bit of the mood too.  Strength, a bit of chaos, masculine, with a worn and weathered vibe glazed over the whole thing.  This room is wharf like to me, I think it’s a good comparison.

tumblr_mu1fy19WVt1qcgzt2o1_1280Here’s the same palette, stripped back to something much more sleek a more livable version of the messy working space above.  This room gives a vintage undercurrent, it’s strong and masculine and has the boldness and the simplicity of the wharf image.   it is the photograph refined down the essential oils of the colors, materials and strong masculine mood.   Vintage, warm, woodsy, everything is just sharpened, clearer.  To me the collection on the sideboard gives me a bit of the chaos of the wharf supports, the polished concrete is a great stand-in for the sand.

What inspires you?  Have a favorite scarf? Use it.  In love with the rolling hills of the Pennsylvania landscape in spring? Use it.  Pick your colors based on what your comfortable with, go with your gut, but what you love.  Oh, and don’t be afraid of not making a statement, sometimes a whisper is more of statement and more powerful.



November 24, 2013

tumblr_mv30oagPVe1qzec1no1_500This becomes…

tumblr_mwinssbdin1r5fwoio1_1280this becomes…

tumblr_mwb2kqYOus1r5fwoio1_500 …this becomes…


Squint (or pull off your readers) and anything, any view can become inspiration for a color palette, texture, arrangement or order.  I look at a painting and see a living room, I look at a living (without my readers) and see a painting.  I’m fascinated by color, texture, form, arrangement and balance (or imbalance) or light and dark.  And as much as I love a white room, white floors and furniture, I react positivity to color too.  But, I know my comfort zone.

Finding the right palette to decorate with can be a challenge for some people.  Unsure of their comfort zone, or looking to branch out from a safe place, often people don’t know where to go.  My first and best advice is always:




and always:


If you already follow those principals and need color inspiration… go look at your closet, color and pattern? Then you know how to decorate to make yourself happy… All grey? Go with what you know.  My closet?  See above… Khaki, Navy, Camel and dashes of other neutrals.  Or, go to your favorite museum, yes get on a plane or train if you must, and seek out your favorite painting… BAM, theres your new living room.  It’s that easy… really it is.  Don’t stand there thinking up a thousand reasons why it won’t work, because it will.  How you translate the colors, textures, weight and forms will make it adaptable to any space in and climate, anywhere.  Stuck, call a decorator.  But do them a favor and show them a picture of your favorite painting once you’ve had them over.

Ok, Ok… I spend more time on Instagram and Pinterest these days than I do writing blog posts.  I’m sorry.  In an attempt to satisfy my hunger for interior eye-candy and to share here with you I am combining in today’s post.  3de6b01cd412d7f01284c99a2816caae c1a7c22b5350eed96d02660062fa727b

Here are just some of the images I pinned, or re-pinned today on Pinterest.  I’m searching to a commonality, a theme and what stands out to me is a conscious “undesigned” vibe, as if these rooms just happened (they didn’t, btw).  And, I think they all have a masculine vintage-modern vein to them… something old something new?

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I want to label these images, most have some mid-century element but the look ranges from mid-century, 70’s loft-style, minimal, and a whole lot more.  There is a spare yet eclectic aesthetic that I think I’m  responding to.  No pattern per-say, earth tones, it’s decorating made (to look) easy.  I for one have a hard time stopping, I like to just keep adding but I have to say I aspire to less is more.  Let me tell you that all these undecorated spaces were thoughtfully stylized, edited and controlled.  Theres a big payoff if you can just say no to prints, and all the other bells and whistles available to us all via the design market place.


Let the furniture say what you want the room to say.  Invest in quality sofas, chairs and case pieces… and by that I don’t mean expensive ( although expensive is often built well, and I wouldn’t say no to it).  Buy it because it’s right, buy it because you love it.

Color Today

November 13, 2013


Color today is not about the red room or the multicolored wallpaper of yesterday.  Todays color is bold, bright and fresh, but it is given room to breathe.  It’s surrounded by neutrality, it’s an accent not a wash of pigment.  Again, rules can and should be broken but this general rule of thumb is about whats current, how color is being used today.  Wanna get the look.  Strive for and all neutral room and buy the big pieces (or most of them in whites, tans, greys, and/or soft earth tones.


Embellish with 5 to 10% color in the form of a pillow, a lamp shade or ottoman, hell go crazy and get all three.  Add a lamp or two with color and you’re about done… Once life creeps in – books, guests, stuff, there will be more than enough color.  Thats it.  it sounds easy but restraint is more difficult than exuberance.

Second-Home Dreaming…

October 6, 2013


If I am ever lucky enough to have a second home near the ocean, I promise myself to not overdecorate it.
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 I swear I will do my best to keep the furnishings simple and clean, understated and comfortable.  I’ll keep the finishes low sheen and matte, the fabrics soft, light and easy. I won’t insist on trendy patterns, I won’t use strong trendy colors and I won’t make so perfect that it’s not easy to relax in.


I vow to keep interesting books on hand for guests and renters, and firewood near the fireplace to cut the chill on cold nights. I will honor the bones of the structure, and celebrate the quirky oddities.  I won’t remodel with the latest and greatest, I won’t insist on marble countertops and stainless steel appliances.    pure-and-simple-guest-bedroom-0213-xln

7190d0f3717549338442a4e207f1d25aI gladly bear the burden of a single basin in the only bathroom, 
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and…I’ll paint everything white (Simply White – Ben Moore).

Pretty in Pink

September 29, 2013

DTIpalepinkwallsclivetompsett_sknahem_sofa-960x646I don’t have a pink room in my house, or much pink at all to be honest and when I work with pink it tends to be more of a fuchsia not the soft tones in these images.  Truthfully, I don’t know why that is.  Pink is such a pretty color, it’s warm, soft and people of all skin tones look good surrounded it.  Of course there is the obvious, it is synonymous with feminine gender.  Guys don’t tend toward pink (a pocket square or dress shirt, sure… but not a master bedroom or living room).  The above image is pink perfection in my book.  The decor has an unstudied look, it’s not prissy or careful in its execution.  That alone allows the pink to just be a color and not a style, if that makes sense.  The mix-matched pillows (purples and orange) take the value of the pink to a “is it coral?” or “verging on violet” tipping point and layers the overall aesthetic with a loose easy vibe.


So, this fireplace shot is what i imagine or what i see in my mind when i think of decorating with pink.  Lots of white trim, white furniture and maybe a dark grey to cut the sweetness.  That fretwork display case is pretty isn’t it?  Anyway… I also like the hotter pink pillow on the sofa to further “punch up” the palette.  Both of the above rooms also tweak the expected formula by introducing (left) Scandinavian elements, traditional and contemporary elements or (right) mid-century, vintage modern and a subtle 70’s vibe all of which are unexpected styles to accompany pink walls.


And then there’s just plain pretty.  Who wouldn’t want to wake up in this room?  It really would feel like waking up on a cloud.  I wouldn’t choose to own this particular look (ok, maybe in a guest room) but if I booked a room for a long weekend and opened the door to my suite and saw this set up, I’d be a happy Glam-camper.

Afraid of pink? Try an accent wall or just the interior of a cabinet or bookcase.  Better yet mix it with stronger colors like Black, grey or chocolate-brown… all good companions.  I think I’ll try it at the beach.  white trim, bedding, maybe even white floors and a soft pale peony-pink wall… like sleeping inside a seashell.  I’m already there.

Rough & Tumble

September 15, 2013

I am loving this abandoned stable turned family dwelling in Cáceres, Spain designed by architecture firm ÁBATON. There is something very modern, mixed with the rustic stone and the traditional twist of the clay tile roof that sounds like a hot mess but looks like a dream come true.  I would love to design the interiors for a structure like this one for a client (or myself).  You know me, it’s all about the juxtaposition of light and dark, modern and rustic or hard and soft.  I love the idea of linen slip-covered sofas, floor pillows and a flokati rug in the living room of this house.  I would do my decorators best to keep the accessories to a minimum – I am a self-confessed packrat – and the colors should be those found in the stone that makes up the pool, walls and architecture.


I don’t really have a reason for wanting to show beds with this structure, but I do think these bedroom shots exemplify the vibe of the house.  Relaxed, tonal, clean.  Who wouldn’t want to tumble into one of these beds…

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If it was up to me I’d make the pattern, texture and visual interest the beauty of natural stone.  This would make an amazing shower surround for a bathroom.  Maybe open to the sky and a teak floor slatted to allow the water to be caught in a cistern and recycled into the landscape.  Add in some big gnarly olive trees and you have one rough yet beautiful modern mediterranean compound.  I’m ready, are you?



Grey is still trending and to be honest, I like it.  I am the self proclaimed king of beige but there’s no denying that grey feels young, current and fresh.  BUT,  I’m especially in love with it when combined with blue and white.  Look at how fresh this room looks, not your mothers blue and white scheme right?  the grey seems to urbanize it and make cooler, less fussy… however the room holds a traditional vibe that is timeless.

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Of course, many  accent colors would work with grey but I particularly like maintaining the cool color palette by using blues.  Slate, Aqua, Royal all work.  Many people chose yellow as the accent color to grey – I know I have – and it’s good, very good… But I love the depth of the blues and frankly because it’s less expected, newer.  I usually go on and on about each picture I use in a post, but today I’m going to leave it short and sweet, let the pictures ( all pretty ) do the talking AFTER I just say… LOVE the high gloss white V groove ceiling in the picture below.

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Hello Again

May 6, 2013

It’s been a while.  I’m sorry.

I’ve been distracted by, I’ll admit it, Instagram.  It’s so narcissistic and a bit voyeuresque… but for a kid with a little ADD, it’s great.  I still troll design sites, blogs, retailers, vendors, and manufacturers of blog worthy design.  I have a desktop full of images I had intended to say something about over the course of time I have been neglecting this blog.  So here is a deposit of chic white rooms, with black and natural wood tones dominating the aesthetic.

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tumblr_mggi3uuakE1rk7lm8o1_500 tumblr_mhd7khOLAY1r94dw8o1_500 malibu carbon beach house for sale open concept floor plan white living room great room shag rug floating shelves cococozy

I do love a clean and serene environment but damn if I don’t fill up every table top with birds nests, twigs, stones form trips to beautiful beaches and do-dads I pick up along the way.  These rooms for the most part have a un-designed design to them, intentionally “thrown together” creating an environment that is comfortable, feels organic, and is beautiful to experience.

 pf_1carinaolanderpf_11carinaolanderI should mention two things: There is not really anything new about black and white in design with the exception that it seems to go along with the quirky anti-design design and feels current and clean and edgy.  2. Black and White was the strongest trend to come out of High Point ( the furniture and lighting and home show in North Carolina).


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The rooms shown here are curated, found objects, collections… each item chosen for it’s color, texture, shape value and  visual weight.  A balanced room dosen’t feel like a museum, or shed for that matter.  Don’t over do the amount you decide to display or live with.  Less is typically more (unless however, the pieces used in the simpleset of vingettes must be of stellar quality beauty and form.  Put your best feet forward kids!


This “discovery” isn’t so new anymore and  has apparently been passed around from Facebook, to Apartment Therapy to soulpancake as well as most recently  I just saw it for the first time the other day so I thought I’d pass it on to you…hope you enjoy it as much as I did…


 A Parisian apartment left untouched for over 70 years was discovered in the quartier of Pigalle a few summers ago and I’ve been meaning to share the pictures with you. Time to unlock the vault …


The owner of this apartment, Mrs. De Florian left Paris just before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to return to the city again. Seven decades later she passed away at the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind, that this time capsule was finally unlocked.

The team that had the honor of opening what must have been a very stiff old lock for the first time in 70 years, likened the experience to ‘stumbling into the castle of sleeping beauty’. The smell of dust, the cobwebs, the silence, was overwhelming; a once in a lifetime experience.

There is a further twist to the story. In the apartment a painting of familiar style was discovered of a beautiful woman in pink. One of the inventory team members suspected this might be a very important piece of treasure. Along with the painting, they also found stacks of old love letters tied with colored ribbon.


With some expert historical opinion, the ribbon-bound love letters were quickly recognized as the calling card of none other than Giovanni Boldini, one of Paris’ most important painters of the Belle Époque. The painting was his. The beautiful woman pictured in the painting was Mrs. de Florian’s grand-mother, Marthe de Florian, a beautiful French actress and socialite of the Belle Époque. She was Boldini’s muse. And, despite him being a married man, she was also his lover. The art world went a bit nutty for the whole story and the painting was later sold for $3 million at auction.

What I find so intriguing about this story is not so much the discovered painting and the revelation of a love affair between a great Italian painter and the beautiful actress in an enchanting era, but more the story of Mrs. de Florian and why she stayed away from Paris for so long.

What kept her away even after the war? Was she running away from someone or something other than the Nazis? For all those decades, her rent on the elegant apartment in a flourishing city had been faithfully paid, but it was left to freeze in time. It all sounds like the perfect mystery…


A Well Dressed Room

April 11, 2013

photo copy 8A sofa, chair, table, rug and lamp really isn’t all that different from a jacket, shirt, tie, pants and shoes.  Designers are constantly referencing lighting as jewelry in the room, and that’s because it quite literally IS the jewelry of the room.  Small accents in metal, glass, stone, mirror, ceramic and the like serve a similar purpose to jewelry.  Sure they provide light but they also add a sparkle, a layer of something small and pretty. Paired with a large swath of fabric (sofa or sweater) the two create a beautiful relationship and complement one another.
photo copy 9Much like wearing a suit (pants, jacket, vest),  a room can be furnished with matching sofa chairs and ottoman.  The look is clean and polished, simple maybe… but done in leather, cashmere or linen the vibe can be tweaked to become something extraordinary.  Rooms can also be a lot like a pair of jeans and an old favorite sweater.  A slip-covered sofa in a hard-working twill and a cozy wool  blanket only needs a fireplace, a good view or a reading light and a book to make it complete.  photo copy 7Whats the point? When you’re furnishing a room, think about getting dressed. Start with how you want the room to look or feel – if you were getting dressed you’d be thinking about the weather, the occasion and of course whats clean – So you should start with whats right for this room, apartment, home. Decide on a palette or a vibe and maybe pick an inspiration piece to guide your decision-making – like a pair of shoes you just have to wear! Your room will need underwear, a good foundation aka. paint and flooring. You’ll need the basics… Rug, sofa or bed, tables or dressers, a chair perhaps (and if we were really getting dressed, a belt, watch, shoes and sox, jewelry, tie pocket square and maybe even a hat and coat!) this means lights, pillows, books, art and of course accessories. Each layer is important and will help give your space a finished quality. Attention to detail is key, you’d iron your shirt right?
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Caramel & Cream

March 12, 2013

tumblr_mhaeyk3hUY1rpvwj6o1_1280I should warn you… I’m dieting, hence the title  I’ll try and keep food references to a minimum.  What I did for today’s blog was just go through some unused pictures on my desktop looking for a common theme.  It’s no surprise that I’m a major fan of whites, off whites and creams all used together.  Well is seems I really like a dash of caramel mixed in with my whites.  tumblr_m8s0ro9DFD1qatvvoo1_500

Even though it is a “neutral” I like to use caramel as well as tan, camel, light brown, and other warm mid-tones as I would a color.  In a white room with tonal upholstery, those rich warm colors can be the accent or the “punctuation” in a space.  But there is more than just a strong color story here.  The furnishings are transitional to modern – in a mid-century meets 70’s bohemian mixed with Scandinavian leanings type thing.  The look is decidedly masculine, yet appropriate for either sex.  I love the simple and clean look of these spaces with the extra dash of exuberance in the layer of found/collected/layered accessories.

tumblr_mh1ixgDdkN1r19bzso1_500Art has a great way of really taking center stage in rooms like this.  If you think you’re going to try for this type of vibe I suggest you pay strong attention to the walls.  If you can’t afford statement pieces, found and collected groupings of interesting small pieces will work, but you can’t put multiple groupings on every available wall, so plan ahead!  I’m a sucker for a four-post bed, but in white in a white room with the warmth of the wood floor and doors, perfection!  The softness of the drapery header, the easy matelasse coverlets and the simple bedding are classic, simple and just perfect.  The hide rug really sums up the prefect color palette white and tan dash of black… the percentages of colors is right on.


You can knock it out of the park with this color palette in the kitchen too.  I’ve helped many clients create kitchen palettes with cabinets in both whites or creams mixed with a yummy pecan, fruitwood or other warm stained mix.  They are the perfect compliment and reinforce the “furniture” feeling in some kitchen design that is still so popular today.  The mix works with traditional, country, as well as shaker, contemporary and modern.  I love the open and random boxes used in this kitchen.  Found object meets function for a look that is easy, not too precious and fun to be in.  I WILL USE THIS IDEA in my beach house.
tumblr_mgud3xzByi1qh86vuo1_250 I’m mixing in this shot because I love the room and because It proves that this “look” can work with any style.  The glam of the gold mirror and sconces and the deeper tones of the wood pieces suit the white and camel upholstery and elevate the textures in the space to becoming the pattern.  A room with no pattern is not as easy to produce as it sounds.  Texture becomes very important… the crown moulding, the basket, the books, that great mirror! even the legs of the stool all become the details your eyes see.image-1.aspxand just because I love the feeling of these images…


They all seem to suit the idea or vibe of the spaces I’ve highlighted today.  


I think I’m a modern-kinda-guy but sometimes I find comfort in tradition.  The designers over at Ralph Lauren know how to put out the classics but give them a twist…  Like the collection for Visual Comfort.  These table lamps are a small sampling of the brass, glass, ceramic, nickel  and other great materials that are employed in the traditional yet up-dated collection.  These lights are easy to place, work into may different looks and have a high-end quality look to them.
RL15004PO-PI have a great client (who I have a small crush on) up in Newton, MA and this look will be perfect for her.  We are reusing some blue and white buffalo plaid silk drapes from her previous home and I’m thinking that these lamps will layer up the look nicely with a camel sofa and perhaps a pair of chairs in cream.  We have a small pair of occasional chairs to recover too, I think those would look great in a leopard but that might be too wild for her.  Stay tuned for up-dates on that project. RL3465ZB-SThis zebra lamp would look best in a room filled with cream-colored upholstery and dark wood floors.  I like the idea of making this lamp one of the only patterns in the room vs mixing it with color and pattern… That might just be a tad OTT (over the top) for yours truly.  Maybe the space could support a modern wickerish coffee table and a leather chair, but this with too much else is just too much.  Bottom line: careful how you use this light.RL13170BLU-LI prefer Navy and Chocolate as my dark tones in color palettes.  Navy mixes with so much, it looks good with almost every other color AND it plays well with other blues & blues are notorious for not  being easy to mix.  Soft wall colors or a white room would benefit from the visual strength of this solid blue lamp.  And, if you’re feeling more than a bit wild perhaps a leopard based lamp will feel right at home at your house.  

White on White on White

January 17, 2013

218283913159571427_5wEholVO_fWhite on white (on white) to me is like a little slice of heaven – and heaven looks a lot like a slice of cake to me.  I have a young couple I’m working with right now and we were discussing the direction for a pair of guest rooms in their summer-house, colors, etc. I suggested white and surprisingly they agreed.  Now I know that doesn’t sound like a milestone or a “stretch” by any means but when a person asks a decorator what color to paint, trust me they don’t expect to hear white (in this case Simply White by Ben Moore).  They want to hear about the latest and greatest, the trendy color, the color that going to make them look the thinnest or most tanned or the color that will work with EVERYTHING.  Frankly, you can not go wrong with white.  its timeless, classic, traditional, modern, neutral and given the day, hour and whether it’s cool, warm and everything in between.

doc_164_1_jpgI can not wait to fill these guest rooms with old dressers painted white and family beds white or maple or what have you.  Lay down a seagrass rug hang a few do-dads and a big mirror and call it a day.  Easy, chic, beachy – did I mention this project is on the water? – and a room that anyone would feel comfortable in.  You could ask your mother-in-law to use a space like this, let your teenaged niece crash with friend in it or treat your best friend for some landlocked state to escape to the ocean for a long weekend in a room like this:  Neutral is something everyone can love… including those who “live for color”.  Think about it what stands out in a room full of white? The person standing in it ( dripping in color and pattern )!


A bit of shiny never hurts a space this neutral…I think I will spec a few mercury glass bedside lamps for one of the two bedrooms.  And skip the seashell prints and cutesy  light house lamps… If your going to go coastal, use one big statement piece like this shell mirror.  Mixed with a few traditional pieces like a tiger maple bed or a chest on chest the whole thing comes together in a refined, luxe sort of way.seashell-mirror If you paint your space all white, yes… you eventually have to put something in it… I don’t care how pretty the mouldings are!tumblr_mes06rnycD1qd2v7fo1_500TomD_mantel_retouched-ARTICLE_0RH_AntlerSconce-white__93355_std planks White-v-Cream1-791x1024





December 22, 2012

Nantucket, AD, Victoria Hagan, Living Room 1 martha's vineyard, ahearnarchitecture 7 coastal
The Islands of Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard might be going into hibernation right about now but the projects with completion dates for mid to late spring are amping up bit time.  I will be heading to each island several times this winter to review construction and do a walk-through on lighting, floor plans, and paint selections on several projects.  There is a “look” on the islands.  Folks all seem to want their own personal take on interiors but there is a vernacular that seems to guide and inform many homeowners.  Because the building codes and rules about style, color, shingle etc are so rigid, perhaps many are used to following the “rules”…  But, I would describe the force as the “look” people want because it is the island loo.   People are drawn to the islands for the “look” and don’t necessarily need to recreate the mold when they are building their own dream home.


This would be closer to my version of the “look”.. updated an a bit more playful.  The animal patterns are fun and the boldness of the patterns wake-up the otherwise somber room.

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This one too!  Fresh and crisp, rustic with a bit of modern form and bold color… the island “look” only fresher.

mvpartyphotoAnd, just incase you’re wondering… yes, there is an island “look” when it comes to dressing.  Vera, Tory, Lilly… Oh My!  yes those three ladies seem to be dressing everyone on the islands.  There are a few Bohemians that prefer long skirts and long necklaces in earth tones, but for the most part, the code is bold, pink, patterned and really, really top drawer!


December 19, 2012

darin5I’m not much for faux finishes, but I have been known to use decorative paint in my work.  I’m typically trying to add architectural interest where there is none when I employ decorative paint, or to add color in a room where I don’t want the color to be the focal point and sometimes I’m “adding visually” to a room where I’m limited by budget and by that I mean I’d rather wallpaper a back wall of a bookcase but a shot of vivid color (paint) usually does the trick.


The other night new friends hosted a dinner party at their home and before I could even ring the doorbell I was smitten with the interesting paint treatment on the glass doors to their turn-of -the-century homes vestibule (regret not taking a picture).  Dark blue mullions were “built-up” with a decorative band of robins eggs blue painted directly onto the glass,  adding dimension and visual interest from inside as well as out.  Inside the first floor foyer, the drywall between the coffers on the ceiling was painted a milk chocolate-ish deep taupe-y color that gave the room a rich and masculine feeling… a wonderful detail, well executed, and an inexpensive way to create a beautiful space.


Which finally brings me to these images.  These clever boys have painted the ceilings of their double parlor with bands of gold that highlight the crown detail and again added richness and detail to a room with just paint. Impressed? um, yeah.. I was in love.  I immediately started thinking about where in my home I could use this pretty detail.  Now on the prowl for more paint details and without  asking I took a peek into the office off the front parlor… more banding only this time it ran up the corners of the room across the baseboard and under the ornate crown.  The effect was fresh and modern and added a spin on the traditional architecture, the modern furniture is largely white, glass and chrome the dark taupe bands really popped and helped the furniture fit into the space…I’m still jealous.


Last room, didn’t really have to go but during dinner I checked out the bathroom and discovered a bold bright yellow medicine cabinet and more taupe banding, these guys got it going on.  the bathroom detail reminded me of the other rooms tying it all together and unifying the rooms.  Clearly they have good taste, and they are clever and come to find out handy…they did it all the painting themselves.




tumblr_mdg5k6T9I01qie8fko1_1280MMMM… I love this image.  I look at it and I can imagine the rest of the house, how it’s furnished and how much I’d like to live in it.  The images that follow are not this structures interiors, but rather my interpretation of the colors, textures and feeling I’d finish this space with.  The warm wood ceilings of the first glass house would warm the exposed concrete shell and the heavy and thick walls make for a perfect juxtaposition with walls of glass.  Forrest or beach this structure wants to settle into its surroundings but split and grow from the earth like an outcropping of rocks.  tumblr_me560lQSGI1rkvxjgo1_500

I would keep things low and clean.  Straight lines and simple forms honor the clean architecture.  Over-scaled art will make an even stronger impact with its surroundings left spare.  No patterns to distract.  Earthy colors.  The lightness of legless side tables and vanities plays well with the heavy walls. 122-660x879 I love a wall of subway tile.. floor to ceiling, wall to wall… Simple but textural.   Frameless glass walls in the bathrooms is an obvious choice, but interior walls of glass with curtains to provide privacy when necessary would be very cool.   I like the occasional Bauhaus piece, I imagine a sunken living room with deep built-in sofas and a giant fireplace.  Leather and linen seem to be a good fit here. 
04 The porthole in the showers glass echos the architecture and a built-in teak shower pan is the perfect foil to create a warm spa-like vibe in a hard, grey and cold environment.  And who doesn’t love a Saarinen table?tumblr_mcfzmiz9YB1qbvgdqo1_500


Keep It Simple

November 16, 2012

More and more the masses are embracing the style of mixed vintages, mixed styles, mixed patterns.  Anthropology meets Tony Duquette meets thrift store meets your mothers good stuff, that’s the look in most of the nesting magazines.  I love the look and it really allows for abandon and free thinking (free thinking  = unplanned shopping) and a  “by what you love” mentality.  Streamlined and deeply edited is a harder look to pull off, there are not patterns to distract from awkward lines, colors really need to harmonize vs balance in strength and texture is king.

I feel the same way about kitchens.  Add a splashy back-splash and cabinets with bells and whistles, multi-colored drapes and ceramic chickens (ok no ceramic chickens, but cow heads are ok) and who’s looking at the color values, interesting textures, well executed design? No one.   Now mind you this is not a white kitchen post, some folks like color I can work with that.  Grey is a popular cabinet choice right now. Not yet mainstream, pickled, weathered and grey stains as well as opaque grey paints in every shade are being offered by more and more cabinet companies and custom wood workers and seeing an increase in cabinets finishes that are not white or a traditional stain.

Trust me as a decorator I know it is hard to stay on message and follow though on a single design concept, there a lot of beautiful things available in today’s home furnishing market.  I like a house to have flow, repetition in materials every now and then.  A strong color palette that varies from room to room but allows for modification in use and presentation and perhaps additional colors.  Let the people and the art shine and let the furniture take a back seat.


October 24, 2012

This blog post is going to be nothing but beautiful rooms.  This first one makes me especially happy.  It’s pretty and hip, current without being trendy and fresh and modern without being cold.  I am surprised by how much I like the bold sofa and pillows… the neutral chairs are a good foil to the strong color but I really like the palette and for this beige lover, that’s saying something.

An all time favorite, this room rocks for so many reasons… first, it’s giant!  Second I love symmetry… balanced but not quite a mirror image.  It’s all my favorite color… Beige.  And, AND… it’s got such a good balance of easy-funky and luxe-glam.  The lines of the furniture are classic and modern and live well together, the center table is the perfect foil for the two sitting rooms.   Love love love.

This space honors my love of all things Thomas O’Brien.  It’s dark, moody and masculine, vintage and modern; found and curated.  This is not his work, but it reflects his signature style and resonates with me.  It’s about the mix, old and new, light and dark and the play of texture.

Funny how collecting a few photographs can enlighten and educate.  This is the vibe I’m crushing on… light with hits of strong color, sharp clean lines mixed with organic textures, the play of shades, an easy mix of fancy and simple… and not a print or strong pattern in sight.  Whats your look?


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.



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