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.  

the New York Gift Show

January 29, 2013

I got back late last night from the New York Gift Show. We’re talking acres and acres of home accessories, tabletop, jewelry & bags, and plenty of crazy randomness in between to keep it comical. There was much to see and I managed to see a lot ( enough ) in the one full day I was there. Buying for the store is like decorating for a dozen clients or more, all at once. You have to think about crafting a vision for merchandising when things arrive, buying “whats next” while buying what feels clients will be comfortable with and you have to cater those tastes to as many potential buyers as possible… After all selling your wares is the name of the game.


I expected to be buying hot bright colors for Spring/Summer, Dash & Albert rugs, indoor-outdoor ottomans, Sunbrella throws and the like but as you will see, my heart, my style and my gut all lead me back to rich and subtle tans, greys, aqua and navy. Always in my comfort zone and always in good taste.20130129-080618.jpg

We bought tables full of Chinese ceramics, blue and white pots, vases and bowls. Beautiful Tibetan rugs in pale heathered hues in (what else) tans greys and aquas. As well as deep colbalt table lamps, burnished brass decorotive mirrors and chandeliers made of hemp and beads of glass or stone… AMAZING!20130129-080627.jpg

So there are some of the Navy treasures, and here are some pretty aqua inspired finds I couldn’t live without…






Linen is one of the oldest woven fabrics in human history. Made of fibers from the flax plant, this material was once considered suitable only for royalty.  This is an expensive fabric to manufacture. Flax is a temperamental plant to grow, and the quality of the finished product depends largely on the quality of the plant itself. The flax fibers are found in the stalk, which is picked by hand to preserve the fibers’ integrity — another reason flax is expensive.  Separating the fibers is also a long and tedious process if performed correctly. Some flax is processed on cotton machines, but this results in a lower-quality finished fiber. Most fabric flax is grown today in Western Europe, and the finer quality linen comes from there, as well.  Linen is a strong and natural fabric suitable for everything from Window treatments, to bedding to upholstery to clothing.


I love linen because it’s the only fabric I feel you can invite to any party.  Linen does black tie, mix it with crystal, gold, Rocco details and silk and it fits right in.  It’s a quality fabric and makes a beautiful velvet and looks like a million embroidered.  Not the style your looking for? No problem, Lien plays well with Cotton (Denim, Duct, Twill, Poplin, you-name-it).  When Cotton is Linens Baby-Daddy the product is an easily cared for, all natural blend that….   Linen will mix with iron and glass, marble and polished chrome and brass and lucite it just depends on how you employ it.Linen makes a great sofa fabric high brow or low brow however I prefer it tightly upholstered.  It behaves better.  If you want slip-covers look for a blend or go cotton so it has complete and total washability, the reason for slip-covers if you ask me.   Linen drapes hang beautifully but don’t expect a crisp starched look.  Very quickly after hanging linen will find it comfort zone and relax into a soft edged vibe that begs you to relax and unwind.  Try linen drapes in a bedroom, beach house or any where you want a soft romantic aesthetic.

210191507578740460_xZxcOEnd_c(SIDE BAR: Drinking Game!  Every time I refer to my self (I, ME, MY) you take a DRINK, everytime I use the word love, you take a DRINK and every time I use the word aesthetic finish your drink… BOTTOMS UP!  Thats it’s.  Please if you decide to play, try to read after 5pm, in the comfort of your own home… and remember DRINK responsibly)


OK, back to Linen and it’s many virtues.  did you know… Good quality linen is soft and largely free of the “slubs” or small knots often associated with it. Slubs are only found in lesser quality fabric.  Linen is moth-resistant and repels dirt. It can absorb and lose water quickly, and it can also help “wick” perspiration away from the skin.  Modern garments made from linen are expensive because of the expensive manufacturing and weaving process. However, the fabric readily accepts dye, so it can be manufactured in many colors. The material is lightweight, which makes it suitable for spring and summer wear. It looks crisp, cool and neat, even on the warmest days. Most linen can also be washed in a home machine.

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





January 15, 2013

tumblr_mgcfqyCzbp1rbllmfo1_500I thought that would get your attention, but that’s not the type of chocolate we are discussing today.  Sorry.  Today I wanted to use my blog to share my hope that our family chooses to paint a small cabin in Lake Tahoe CA we have owned for decades a DARK DARK brown.  I found these images to help them envision our little house several shades darker than its current Pecan colored stain.2128_589276083847_6294_nWhen I was very young the house was pink.  I remember it had a frame work made of pipe over the front porch that my father would tie an awning to.  I loved that awning… it was pink and white(ish) stripes.  I’m pretty sure and it had a scalloped edge and that edge had long white(ish) fringe… 50’s chic!  Well at some point the cabin got re-sided and the exterior wood walls got a coat of stain and that was that.  I think it’s about time to give that little house a lift and a dash of style by going to the dark side.
521603_10100581378739147_1061830002_nIt’s sort of a classic combo in the Lake Tahoe area, a dark brown stain with a buttery trim color.  We wouldn’t be the crazy random stand out house on the block (although we might already be that for other reasons) if we went to this color.  I love the way it looks in the snow.TAHOEThese last few images are all from the Tahoe area… Green trim, white trim, butter trim… it’s a classic.

4320-Old-Mountain-1024x682 Front-Tahoe-Cedarshomewood-ski-resort-area

My Style

January 13, 2013

429866_10150493660947371_381753538_n 228198_1041252237320_2581_nBeing an interior designer is a funny thing.  You create environs for others to live in and during that process, you negotiate… you are the curator but the result must be something the client likes, you are striving for good design, taste, scale, aesthetic but ultimately the client will pay for it, own it and live with it.  There are handfuls of designers that execute their own style every time the decorate for a client.  This client is typically wealthy beyond your typical well-off client and emotionally removed from the project in some way ( It’s hard to care about a ski house in Aspen when your on Mustique with family and worried about your New York City apartment not being ready when you get back from vacation).  Those clients exist, they are great clients to have but most people spending tens (ok 100’s ) of thousands on the interiors of a home are invested, have an opinion and want a certain look.  You’re a lucky designer if they tell you they want “your look”.

537030_420269384655083_146440612037963_1928101_2139081493_nI get pretty charged when I fall for something, a sofa, piece of art, a certain print fabric, a rug… I fall hard and I hit an emotional brick wall when client don’t respond to said item the way I have.  I bounce back, I have to and I learn something about the client along the way, his/her likes or dislikes and I move on… But a tiny little piece of my creative soul dies – trust me it is minuscule and there is plenty of creative soul in me, I can afford to lose that weight!  But the project doesn’t stay on the route I saw it taking, even if we end up at the same place in the end, forks in the road are not certain when there is a client who approves ( or disapproves ) colors, furnishings or art &  accessories.  When it comes right down to it, my style is not such an easy target to hit.  I love a white-painted floor and exposed rafters, but it has to be appropriate to the structure and it’s location.  I’m partial to clean masculine lines and modern details, but currently I live in, and celebrate, a turn-of-the-century house so my “look” has become a tad traditional in recent years.  And, of course there is the small detail of budget.  I love what I have but if $ were no object, I’m sure things would look a tad different in my house.


Not just a pretty face… Neal Beckstedts interiors are as easy on the eyes as he is.  He describes his style as “modest luxury”.  The Manhattanite creates spaces that are modern yet warm, layered but clean and has worked with high profile clients like fashion star Derek Lam. A self-described “farm boy from Ohio,” Beckstedt says that his home state has had a major impact on his mind-set.  Neal worked with S. Russell Groves for almost a decade before opening his own studio in 2010. Authority, functionality, and a Scandinavian-style appreciation of how natural light enriches such honest, straightforward materials as nubby wool, polished wood, stainless steel, and velvety plaster are hallmarks of his work. No matter the location Beckstedt’s style always lends itself to interiors for  living rather than for simply admiring.   Get to know more of Neal on his website: nbeckstedtstudio.com