Monday, November 21, 2011

Transformation Sneak Peek

I'm so excited for a short week and for Thanksgiving! I'm headed out of the office on Wednesday to spend the holiday with my family in NC, and I'm a bridesmaid in one of my best friend's wedding this weekend. Celebrations abound!

To start off this fantastic week, I wanted to share with you a sneak peek of one of my projects. My clients relocated from Chicago and bought a row house that had been flipped by a developer. The developer did a pretty good job with his material selections, except for this ol' eye sore you see right when you step into the house:

My clients told me the fireplace was the developer's most proud accomplishment. I beg to differ, and so did my clients. It literally looked like he had applied bad bathroom tile from the 1980's from floor to ceiling. Seeing that this room would be a guest's first sight upon entering, we knew this room had to be priority. So for the past few months we've been transforming this space into this:

So we demo-ed the fireplace, put in a custom mantle with a beautiful stone surround, painted the room, added four chairs around this Oly coffee table, put up a gorgeous grasscloth wallpaper from Philip Jefferies (my favorite!) and added window treatments. My clients wanted a soothing, spa-like atmosphere so we chose a color palette of soothing grey-blues and taupes in a variety of textures to keep the room from looking one-dimensional. We are about 90% done as we still need a few things i.e. mirror, window treatments installed, console table, art and accessories. I hope to have this room professionally photographed in the next few months so you can see the room in its entirety. I literally just got back from checking on the wallpaper installation and shot this photo with my iPhone.

Seeing drastic transformations like this project is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Plus, my clients are the most delightful and fun couple to work with...I feel spoiled!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Friday!

Every Friday is a good day! So happy for the weekend. I plan to relax in front of the fire this week and maybe take a few strolls among the leaves with the Mister and Max. Ciao!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Perfectly Imperfect Home

"What is the goal? A house that is like the life that goes with it, a house that gives us beauty as we understand it- and beauty of a nobler kind that we may grow to understand."
- Elsie de Wolfe

I was excited to attend a book signing last night at Room and Board for Deborah Needleman's new book, The Perfectly Imperfect Home. Deborah, the former founder of the beloved Domino magazine and current editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal Magazine, was incredibly delightful. The wait to meet her and have her sign my book was long, but it was worth it when I realized what was taking so long. Deborah was taking the time to engage with each person, asking them questions about themselves and having fun. I was impressed. I've been to other book signings where I felt it was all about moving the line along. After conversing with the down-to-earth author, I couldn't wait to dig into her book.

First, the physical book is a work of art. The pages are filled with water color paintings of familiar rooms you've probably seen published in magazines. The talented illustrator, Virginia Johnson, has captured these rooms and vignettes in such a charming way that I want to rip the pages out and frame them all around my house!

(bedroom designed by Jacques Grange)

(Rita Konig's Living Room)

(an inspired vignette)

Deborah has also scattered throughout the book fabulous quotes by renowned designers such as Elsie de Wolfe, Albert Hadley, Dorothy Draper, Billy Baldwin, etc. All of these carefully collected quotes are reminders of what I consider the true, real rules of design - your home shouldn't look or feel like a museum. I love how Albert Hadley puts it, " Make your home as comfortable and attractive as possible and then get on with living."

I haven't finished reading the book, but I highly recommend purchasing it. Deborah has created not just a practical guide to a furnishing an perfectly, imperfect home, but an entertaining read on not taking our ourselves and our homes too seriously!

Monday, November 7, 2011

To Market, To Market....

It's taken me about a week and a half to catch up on work since I've returned from market. I usually go to the High Point Market in the spring as it occurs twice a year, but I decided to go this fall to see if there was a difference. I found some wonderful new items and vendors, but I felt the energy was a bit lower at market than typically in the spring. I'm sure the economy has something to do with it (you can blame the economy for most things these are having a bad hair day? Blame it on the economy:). However, I still came away feeling inspired and excited about incorporating some of these new furniture items into future projects.

I thought I'd just let the photos do most of the talking with just a few remarks from me:

The BeeLine Home showroom was probably my favorite discovery this market. The renowned designer of this furniture line, Bunny Williams, is a true artist. Every piece in her collection is unique and has a successful combination of sophistication paired with whimsy.

I love the base on this table. This would be perfect for a banquet/breakfast nook.

Love the scale and smart personality of this stools.

This small side table is a great balance of masculine and feminine. I'd take that rug too!

I have long been a fan of Bobo Intriguing Objects since they hit big on the market scene a few years ago. I always look forward to seeing what treasures have been discovered on their European expeditions.

I can easily picture a pair of these fabulous chandeliers outside on a loggia or sun room.

I was captivated by these chemist beakers turned into pendants and the way the natural light made them sing!

This carved Indian door would be amazing in a specific-project. I could see a pair of these mounted on rollers (similar to the barn doors we've seen all over the magazines) that would lead into a dining room. If you have a house that fits the bill, please call me!!!

If I could fill my entire house with art from Natural Curiosities, than I would have died and gone to heaven. The masterminds behind this company have mastered the concept of object d' art. Every year, I literally run to this showroom to see what creative new pieces they have found to portray as art. This year did not disappoint.

I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this pair of preserved moss panels. The texture and color just burst off the wall. I overhead one of the sales reps explaining it took years for them to figure out how to preserve the moss so that it didn't turn brown. How awesome would these be in an large, glassed-in sitting room? It elevates the idea of" bringing the outside in" to a whole other level!

Again, a diptych of an over scaled botanical. In this case, go big or go home, is the way to go. I want these for my dining room!

I kept hearing wonderful things about Duralee's furniture line, but I was not familiar with it. After taking a tour through their showroom, I cannot wait to use this line. Duralee has found a way to offer wonderful upholstery pieces that are quality-made at a reasonable price.

This ottoman isn't just a looker, but watch what it can do. Wait for it...

Bam! You've got a twin size bed ready for guests! This piece is perfect for small, city-living.

Wright Table Company is a family owned company that exudes the pure spirit of American-made furniture. Their designs are beautiful in their simplicity.

I fell in love with this gorgeous coffee table. Wait until you can see what it can do...

By lifting the table up and towards you, this coffee table turns into a dining table! Perfect for a bachelor pad. I love how they have made the weights below look industrial chic so it doesn't take away from the overall design, but rather it's part of it's beauty.

This company has found a way to create furniture and accessories that are glamorous but still feel accessible.

Love, love, love. Reminiscent of mid-century modern, this coffee table is not only functional but it's sculputural in its design.

These pendants are just flat out amazing. What a statement piece!

Herm├ęs orange was a huge color at market this year.
Love the fresh take on this classic chair.

Talk about furniture with personality, Oomph has created a line of fun, preppy furniture that can be customized in more colors than you can imagine!

"THE" Gossip Chair by Oomph. If you have a large, long living room, using a chair like this would be a great way to break up the room into two conversational spaces. I could also see this in a child's playroom in a little reading nook.

*All the furniture highlighted above is available only to the trade. If you are interested in any of these pieces, please contact me for pricing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Post Chat Published

If you missed my live chat last week with the Washington Post, you can check it out here or find it in today's Living Section. Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Well, hello there, November!

(via Pinterest)

"November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."

- Elizabeth Coatsworth

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kinfolk Magazine

I just got back from market, and I'm turning around to head out for the weekend! We are heading out to Wintergreen, VA with some friends for the weekend. We've rented a house with TWO fireplaces, and I'm looking forward to making some delicious meals, roasting s'mores and catching up with dear friends. They are calling for snow too, so we may take a snowy hike in the mountains! I will post about market once I get back next week and have my pictures uploaded.

I wanted to leave you with a fantastic online community and magazine that a dear friend passed my way. It's called Kinfolk Magazine, and it had me from the moment I clicked play on their opening video. This community of people are passionate about small gatherings around a table of food, a garden, tea time, etc. They desire to celebrate the beauty in simple gatherings and have successfully found a way to visually display this desire through their stunning website and magazine. The photographs and music are an aesthetic masterpiece. I literally want to jump into the screen and hang out with these people. Thankfully, I'll be doing a bit of this small gathering with my friends who appreciate simple gatherings. Enjoy!
(ps. the music is hauntingly beautiful too)

vol. 1 from tiger in a jar on Vimeo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Have a Stylish Weekend!

Hi Friends! I'm off to High Point, NC this morning for market. I'm excited to see what is new this fall and to discover some new vendors. I look forward to sharing photos and the new trends with you when I return late next week. I'm also looking forward to catching up with my dear friend, Anna Applegate, who is a designer in NC and meeting my dear friend Kelly's fiance for the first time! I love it when I can mix business and pleasure!

I leave you this weekend with a fantastic site I came across called The Glow. It documents stylish moms and their kids (you'll recognize some of the moms). I love how they did short interviews on the side that allows you a glimpse into their lives as moms and working women. It begs the question-do they have it all? I only hope to be as stylish as these moms when we have our five kids! Maybe I should just keep my expectations low, like at least have clean underwear on every day. TMI, sorry.

PS. Check out her amazing dining room "homework spot" - I love everything about it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Washington Post House Calls and Chat

Good morning, friends! Just a reminder if you'd like to join in on the live chat with me and Post writers, Terri Sapienza and Jura Koncius, grab a cup of coffee (or your second or third cup!) and click here at 11 am.

I'm also grateful for having the opportunity to provide a quick design solution in today's Post House Calls for a couple in their new home. You can check out the full article here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let's Chat!

Join me tomorrow (Thursday) from 11am -12pm as I join Washington Post staff writers, Terri Sapienza and Jura Koncius, to answer readers' questions about interior decorating and home improvements via a live chat. Thank you to the Post for asking me to be their guest!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dating + Design

Dorothy Draper said it best, "Decorating is Fun!" And it should be a fun process for both client and designer.

The key to a successful interior design project is finding the right match between a client and their designer (and vice versa). When meeting with a potential client, I often refer to finding an interior designer is similar to dating. It's important to find someone who "gets" you - where there is a natural chemistry and someone who is going to make the project fun! There are a lot of details, time and money that go into a project, however, I believe that the client should enjoy the process. A designer that makes you feel comfortable, allowing you to trust them is a pretty good indicator that there is a spark!

When meeting with new clients, I do my best to explain the full process of hiring an interior designer and how a room is completed from start to finish. Many of my clients have never worked with a designer before, and educating the client about how the industry works and how you, personally, run your design business is foundational to getting the relationship off on the right foot.

Of course, once you think you've "met the one," it still takes time getting to know each other and fully articulating the vision you have/or don't have for your project. As a designer, I always encourage my clients to flip through magazines and pull out pages that have jumped out at them. It may not be a complete room they've fallen in love with, but maybe it's a small element such as a mantle design or a specific chair. Interior designers, unfortunately, are not mind readers, so any feedback and information we can pull from the client helps us to efficiently and accurately design your space. In turn, my job is to listen intently and then relay back to my client what I heard them say to make sure we are on the same page. Trust me, I've had some bad hair cuts even after I've shown a picture to my hair dresser what I want, but then have walked out with a horrible cut knowing that they didn't hear a lick of what I said! Which then costs me more money to find someone else to fix it!

I recently came across a great article explaining the beauty of finding an interior designer you've fallen in love with. It can be a beautiful thing both figuratively and literally!

Friday, September 30, 2011

I Always Love a Good Makeover

I'm currently giving my website a total makeover which will include new project photos, and I can't wait to reveal it to you all! The talented Stacy Zarin-Goldberg has been running around with me shooting a few of my completed projects. Photo shoots are a lot of work, but totally worth it in the end. Here is a little sneek peek....

Monday, September 26, 2011

Birthday Week

I had a milestone birthday last week, and instead of freaking out how old I was turning, I embraced the inevitable and actually had a fantastic birthday. The Mister was so thoughtful and planned a celebration of week long events with various friends.

We started the week off with a surprise dinner with close friends at Seasonal Pantry. This little venue has to be one of the coolest spots in DC, and I felt like I was spending the evening at a hip dive in NYC. Daniel O'Brian and his partner, Ali Bagheri, established this little delicatessen gem. By day, the store is a market where you can swing by and pick up their latest canned and jarred concoctions such as seasonal soups, confit tomatoes, and oyster pot pie. Then on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, the market turns into an intimate dining spot with 12 seats. Daniel has the menus planned, so all you have to do is show up at 8 am sharp! to be served an amazing 3-4 course dinner with perfectly paired wine.

Daniel and Ali have done an amazing job with the space itself as it lends an old world feel. You feel as if you've been invited into some one's personal kitchen with the exposed brick walls, long farm table, and Daniel cooking away in the back corner to the tunes of his choice.

The Mister told me we were headed to a undisclosed dinner location - just the two of us. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in and was greeted by 10 close friends all seated around a beautiful farm table.

The rest of the week included dinner with an old friend from college, Zack, lunch at Cafe Bonaparte with dear friends and then dinner at The Tabbard Inn - one of my favorite restaurants in DC followed by drinks at the Hay Adams where I was surprised again by more friends.

So I guess you could say I ate my way through my birthday!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

50 Space Saving Tricks

This morning I've shared a few small-space tips with several other local designers in The Washington Post. Thanks to Post writer, Terri Sapienza, for including me.

It's true that small spaces can pack a punch! Check it out here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Fall Declaration....

(via J.Crew)

Just a short post-Labor Day declaration....You will see me wearing my white jeans after Labor Day. As I've been cleaning out my closet in preparation of unearthing my warmer frocks, I keep coming up with all these fall/winter outfits that include my white jeans. I personally think the whole "no white after Labor Day" rule is absurd as no color should be banned because of the seasons. I'm counting down the days until I can pull out my sweaters!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Is it Friday yet?

Monika and I have been running around this week getting stuff for a photo shoot I'm doing tomorrow for one of my projects. I keep writing lists of what I need over and over again, and I know I'm picking up more than I need - here is proof:

I am praying my car is neither broken into or worst, stolen, as I have a lot of loot in my trunk! All this running around will be worth it though when I finally get the finished photographs. Stay tuned this fall as I plan to launch a new website with my portfolio finally up and running!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm Back...well I've been back.

Sorry for the radio silence, friends. It's been a crazy two week since I've returned from vacation. I had an amazing, restful, and rejuvenating vacation and then reality smacked me square in the face as soon as I landed.

However, I'm back and looking forward to the fall season! I've already started dreaming about all the fall events I want to do i.e. apple-picking, wine tasting, s'mores in the fireplace, country drives...(I'm making my husband crazy). And I also started bookmarking a few things I need to add to my wardrobe, in which many of them come from J. Crew.

I've always been a fan of J. Crew and I'm also in the Jenna Lyons fan club. She is genius. Just when I thought my heart couldn't grow any bigger for all things J. Crew, I just discovered they have a behind the scenes blog. The photos posted on this blog may just give Pinterest a run for it's money. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane!

That is right, my friends! By the time you read this email, I will be on a flight heading south to Turks and Caicos for a much needed vacation! I'm meeting my 6 best friends/roommates from college down there for an extended weekend, and then the Mister is flying down to meet me on Monday to stay the week to celebrate an early (November) 5 year wedding anniversary. I feel like it's Christmas Eve I'm so giddy!

My girlfriends from college have gotten together once a year for a reunion of sorts, which usually takes place at someone's hometown and consists of lots of talking and eating (especially Rice Krispy Treats). However, this year we decided we wanted to do something a bit bigger and found an incredible deal on (if you haven't been to this site, you must check it out!).

I look forward to these reunions every year as we are scattered all over the country, and catching up usually consists of can occasional phone chat or email. It's just not the same as seeing them in person, and I am not much of a phone person. However, I cherish these relationships because although we are not in each other's day-to-day life, we always pick it up right where we left off when we see one another.

Hanging in Central Park during our NYC reunion in 2009

It's been fun to see how life as unraveled for us all since we all met as freshmen at UNC-Chapel Hill. I may have gone a bit overboard with photos here, but I had too much fun digging up past photos (pre-Facebook days) and reminiscing over all the experiences we've had together. *WARNING - please excuse me in these photos as these were my "Freshman 15" days! It's amazing how much weight you can lose just by graduating college!

We thought we were so cute dressing up in matching pink and doing a "photo shoot" at the Old Well our freshmen year.

We spent many of nights hanging out in our dorms eating Rice Krispy Treats talking about who knows what. That is ol' Greg back there who just got married. Love your chain belt, Heath! Haha.

Beach vacations are not new to us as we took two epic beach trips in college. Our freshmen year we rented an incredible house in Destin, Florida with a larger group of friends, and then our senior year went on an amazing sailing trip down in the Caribbean for a week. So, I guess T&C would be an appropriate choice for us!

Destin, Florida freshmen year - when life was so carefree!

I am SO thankful this picture is dark so you can't see all my jiggly bits from all those Rice Krispy Treats!

Sailing trip our senior year

A lot has happened since we've graduated, and we've experienced weddings togethers, babies, new loves, new jobs, new cities, and the list could go on.

Whitley's wedding to P-diddy Parke!

Heath's wedding!

So you can see how near and dear these women are to me! I'd better scoot and finish packing as my plane leaves at 7 am! I will share photos when I get back in a week and half.

*sorry for all the Rice Krispy Treat references - we seriously ate them a lot whenever we were together.