Happy New Year! . : . : .

Is it just me or does magic waft through the air on New Years Eve? The late night sparkle, champagne toasts, and a new beginning.

Before I head to the kitchen to prepare appetizers for the night’s festivities, I wanted to set the scene… a little eye candy for you all!

Have a wonderful evening & a happy new year!

(thank you minted.com, Alice and Olivia, Anthropologie, HGTV, groovymartini.com, mightygoods.com for the photos)


Opposites that Attract- neons & neutrals.

If you’re coming down from the x-mas high, weighted down by buttery cookies, in need a little color pick-me-up- this one’s for you!

Headed down the runway during fashion week this Fall, were many versions of the NEON & NEUTRAL combo. Here’s a taste-

(Chanel, Diane von Furstenburg, GoRunway.com)

Oh-la-la, such a bright little pop.

It’s amazing how correlated runway fashion and decor trends are. This I learned quickly through watching/listening to companies such as Pantone, Benjamin Moore, and Sherwin Williams present their annual color forecasts.

Here is Pantone’s Fall 2010 Fashion Color Report (many well known designers chose Oyster Gray as their color of the year)-

And here are the color picks included in this year’s Sherwin-Williams’ ColorMix 2011 presentation-

Can you see the similarities?

It is not a shy array of color. If you’re one who can only live with the neon, ultra-brights in small doses (like me), temper them with a neutral backdrop. You get the effect without a major commitment. Let’s take a peak at some examples…

And if you’re a little more brave…

Whether you’re interested in the trends, opposed to the trends, love the look, hate the look- I think most of us would agree- the touch of vibrant color in these rooms adds warmth, vitality, and utter HAPPINESS.

I’m feeling it, how about you?

(thank you mammasarollingstone.com, Apartment Therapy, Elle Decor, House to Home UK, design-milk.com, iransdesign.com, and Aprtment Therapy for the photos.)

Our Version of Christmas.

It’s almost Christmas Eve and we will be the hosts- so the house is undergoing some serious sprucing. The glow from ample white light strings and candles may be seen from the end of the block.

I do enjoy the process, particularly that it forces one to declutter, hang artwork that hmmm, might have been sitting in the closet for a while?, just attend to the little things that are often pushed off… Suddenly you see your home in a new light (at least for 15 minutes, until the little guy blows through like a tornado).

Tomorrow the cooking begins… Sauteed green beans with orange and white wine vinegar, sweet potatoes topped with roasted pecans, and spinach artichoke dip on toasted baguettes. The rest will be brought by relatives- cheers to that!

Here’s a peak inside…

(my very official home office)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Pretty paper, pretty ribbons.

And now that we’ve got the song stuck in our heads, ha…

I would like to take a moment to say Happy Holidays to all the readers who keep me churning out posts- it’s become a labor of love. And what better way, than to share a few of the holiday-inspired cards, wrappings, and impressive paper creations I’ve been admiring (framed cards, etc… look great on the walls!)…

custom holiday cards, elumdesigns.com

amazing objects, uponafold.com

snow & graham place cards, luxepaperie.com

egg press gift wrap, luxepaperie.com

And this year’s client card (too good to pass up)…
holiday greeting card, seltzergoods.com

A few of these beautiful things + snowflakes falling + one of these in hand…

= good living.

As the card reads: Wishing you a bright and colorful season!

Do you color exteriors?

Well, yes I do (with pleasure). Exteriors feel like a completely different entity than the interiors and I love that.

They have their own process which usually begins with the use of Photoshop. I color your photos, experiment with shades and combinations, settle on a few directions, and send them your way!

This begins a good conversation leading to rigorous paint sampling- until we settle on the perfect colors. It’s really important to study the paint on the house’s surface, at different points in the day to avoid strange undertones. Have you ever seen a house that turns pink in the evening? Whew, must be very careful…

So I guess you could say the pressure is on! But with careful consideration, we can come up with a great plan. It is amazing what a paint job can do for the facade.

Here’s a sneak peak at an exterior in the works-

(client’s note) “Three years ago, we moved into a 1950’s orangey-gold, brick house with harvest gold aluminum siding. At first glance, the exterior of the home made me cringe. It was the interior that sold us on the house. This Spring, we will tear down and rebuild the front and side porches as well as paint the siding. I am open to options.”


I chuckled when she mentioned the cringe- we must come to the rescue. The fact that she’s open to options already puts a smile on my face.

Here is one of the directions I came up with- after all, brick is paintable. A few design elements, such as new address numbers and a wreath helps the home feel updated.

We will see what the client thinks!

If you need some assistance sprucing up your exterior, contact me anytime.

Brass Light BUSTERS- hang on to your fixtures…

The hall of fame… or shame…

CALLING ALL OWNERS of the Hollywood light bulb fixture- I will be over in 15 minutes to replace (with all do respect)!

On a recent client visit, we were discussing the color plan for a recently purchased home. As we made our way through the house, I was reminded of just how often I see this certain collection of brass, builder grade fixtures in nice suburban homes. The bulbs are partially exposed and seemingly harsher than the sun- ouch, hurts the ole’ eyeballs!

This soon to be homeowner, the real estate agent and I had a good laugh regarding the urgency in replacing these lights. They just KILL the ambiance.

I understand, you live with something for a while, it becomes invisible… The task of choosing fixtures and hanging them seems daunting… But I’m willing to beg you to give it a shot? PLEASE?

There are lighting resources a plenty, many very affordable. I like a healthy variety- a few hanging pendants (with dimmers), recessed lighting, table and floor lamps, sconces… This way you can keep things ultra bright when you need the light, and soft in the evening when you’re aiming for warm radiance.

Have you ever been to a party that was TOO BRIGHT and lost it’s charm? My case is closed…

Here are a few ideas-

p.s. Even Ikea has some great options!

Happy start to your week readers.

(thank you Design Within Reach (tripod floor lamp), Veranda, West Elm (fluted-glass table lamp), Restoration Hardware (nolan single sconce) & (wine barrel chandelier), and Ikea for the photos)

Is Your Fireplace Hot or Cold?

Referring to the overall look and feel, I’m afraid my own fireplace is only lukewarm (boooo)! Oh I’ve hauled home mirrors, artwork, picture frames, candles- you name it, and have yet to settle on a mantel arrangement that really wows in a clean, contemporary way. A perpetual work in progress, does this sound familiar?

When we moved into our home, the first thing I did was paint the mantel white. It was originally an orangey oak, screaming the 90’s gone wrong. The paint did wonders, so at least I got that part right, whew… I’m willing to bet there are many others tormented by their fireplace. It is an important focal point, so the pressure’s on, right?

Well the good news is there are many, many ways to spruce it up. You can paint the mantel, paint the brick, add a more substantial mantel, tile over the surface, you name it… Then we move on to decorating above. I think the key is acheiving pefect BALANCE. Just enough stuff, the right things in the right colors, textures, and scale. Trial and error my friends- see you at Home Goods, Pier One, Crate and Barrel, World Market, ha ha.

Here are some examples that seem to be getting it just right…

Do you have any fireplace tips or success stories of your own? We would love to hear them!

(thank you Decor Pad, Ed Furman, Candice Olson, Nate Berkus, Decor Pad, and The Bella Life for the photos)

Sunshine + Happiness.

At least from my perspective, the 2 have always gone hand in hand. Unfortunate as it may be for a WI member of the gray skies club, I’ll spare you the complaints. Let’s get to the good stuff!

I am fortunate to have just returned from a wonderful vacation in Florida. On this trip, there were 3 firsts…

1. We met this cutie for the first time! Awwwe, she’s got the best curly hair.

2. We met my parents’ beach house for the first time. (you want to know where the design obsession originated?)

3. My son experienced his first real, extended vacation and we all survived. We even found his name on a building :).

And while busy soaking in the heavenly sunlight, I was out prowling around, camera in hand- sneaking shots of beautiful spaces with a little tropical flare…

What a gem of a stay at this Marriott. Brand new, modern design, really nice rooms, thumbs-up! Very cool lobby, luscious color…

Oh-la-la, this facade in the downtown area caught my eye. Love that little pop of coral on the windows!

I took a peak at Gloria Estefan’s newest resort, Costa d’Este. It has that zen, spa feel with a little Latin groove mixed in. When gently illuminated at night, it becomes magic. The pool and bar area overlook the ocean and you can hear the waves rolling- it’s BEAUTIFUL.

Last but not least, the beach house. In it’s own right, a temple to the Florida my family has always longed for! The place is so darn cute- an impressive display of my mother’s best design work. When you enter, you never want to leave… Don’t they call that good feng shui?

So there’s your December diversion, doesn’t travel do wonders?