Tag Archives: home decor

Primary Colors

I get into a color rut.  I wear black and white and in the paint aisle I gravitate towards the hundreds of shades of beige.  But, that doesn’t mean I don’t get awe-struck and perhaps a little green with envy with bold splashes of color.

At home it is certainly an affordable design choice to play with color on the walls as opposed to furniture.  And think about how much it could be to come home and be greeted by a big wall in fiery red, sunny yellow or classic blue.

Images from Pinterest

Kitsch in the Kitchen

Does everyone have a thing they get a little crazy about buying for their home?  My mom’s thing for a while was sheets, she loves to get new sheet sets; my grandma’s thing is definitely towels, same story.

I never thought I would have that same housewares need but while walking through Sur La Table recently I did find myself hankering for some kitchen organization.  And not just any kind, the kind that would give my kitchen some kitsch: some clever design, some bright colors, some “ooh” and “ahh” to go with the “yum”.

And that is how I came to find Joseph Joseph, a kitchen design company owned by two brothers out of England.

These are some of my favorites:

Joseph Joseph: Index Plus Chopping Board System (Amazon.com)

If you keep a Kosher home, which I don’t, but if you do, this is genius!  These cutting boards and their coordinating knives are labeled, much like an RSVP card: Chicken, Beef, Fish, Vegetable.

Joseph Joseph Preparation Bowl Set (Bloomingdales.com)

I have featured this set of bright nesting bowls before, but they are worth repeating.  If you’re always juggling bowls, this could solve that problem.

Joseph Joseph Carousel Utensil Set (Amazon.com)

The piece de resistance!  In a tower formation this carousel (of progress) keeps all of the necessary tools in a slim upright formation, that is easy to spin and find the needed tool.

Also amazing is that all of the utensils on the carousel, as well as the ones in this baking set are “elevated” so that the sauces, frostings, ick and eew don’t transfer from pot to utensil to counter top.  Genius!

Joseph Joseph Baking Set (Macys.com)

These fun little counter-top finds are available seemingly everywhere; take some time to shop around and find the best price.  But, feel sure that these tools will delight the home cook, baker, and home design lover.

Dream Home: Mediterranean Edition

Last time we talked real estate I shared with you, you’re welcome, the best big city loft.  The loft was fabulous, obviously.  But, my true favorite style of house is a cross between Spanish and Mediterranean.

This style is fairly common is South Florida and California.  It should not be confused with “Tuscan” and should not feature an abundance of gold, marble columns, etc.  It should never be confused for “inspired by Macaroni Grill” not should it have any resemblance to anyone’s home on the Real Housewives of New Jersey series.  It should be natural, open, airy, organic – and obviously, fabulous.

I haven’t found “the one” but how fabulous are these details?

Curved and Iron Windows via Design Sponge

Great Great Room via CocoCozy

Curved Entryways via Design Sponge

Backyard via Pinterest

What I love: There are a few consistent details that always call out to me on this style of homes.  I love the tiled roof, the natural stone floors, the pastel kissed stucco walls, the curved  entryways and windows, irons details, floral vines, I could go on forever.

The other benefit of this style of home is its ability to play nice with others.  Because it has a world-traveled aesthetic it perfectly cool with making friends with other new and old and far and near accessories.

Do you have a city home/apartment style?

*Also, it is my birthday this week, so expect for more “my favorite things” style posts than usual!

Early Autumn Warmth

After the start of August it is hard to ignore that fall is now closer to us than further away.  I welcome the change of seasons.  Just when you’ve had enough of the heat the earth grants you a change in scenery, and I am personally okay with that.

The autumn aesthetic is richer, spicier, more refined and seductive.

I thought about introducing the warmth and spirit of fall in a more exotic way, without acorns, and pinecones and pumpkins.  So, I looked East and found inspiration in the colors and patterns that are most common in India.

I designed for the living room, because while I think Summer is spent outside, it can be agreed that Fall is spent nestled by the fire and in the good company of family and friends.

The only major splurge in this collection is the sofa, but as you can see the impact really comes in the shape of accessories, details and color.  What I think I like most about this “Indian Summer” board is that it is full of texture, and it goes outside the norm for traditional color usage.

How much fun would it be to nestle in on a crisp fall day and be surrounded by these rich jewel tones?


Sources: Rug – World Market, Frame – Michael Aram at Bloomingdale’s, Basket – Crate and Barrel, Art – Horchow, Small Bowl – Michael Wainwright at Bloomingdale’s, Wood Bowl – Diane Von Furstenberg at Bloomingdale’s, Throw – West Elm, Candle Holders – Crate and Barrel, Sofa – Jayson Home & Garden, Pillows – West Elm

Something Blue for Home

Last weekend Mark and I wandered up and down 14th street, a street in DC with a great collection of high end, low end, salvaged and custom made furniture.

In and out of the stores we went and my eye continued to focus on one thing, blue. Blue sofas, blue rugs, blue velvet chairs.

In fashion and in home design I consider blue a neutral, just like black, brown, beige and gray. And this shade of blue was especially beautiful, it didn’t seem shy, muted or reserved, this was not your baby’s blue.

Blue door, Walnut Street Development

Blue can be fresh, bright and welcoming.


Navy Walls, ElementsofStyle.com

Blue when it veers towards navy is stately and strong.


Blue Cocoon, Dominomag.com

Blue in it’s darkest midnight shade has an air of sophistication and elegance.

Patriotic Blue, MarthaStewart.com

Blue can be bold, traditional and patriotic.


Blue Chairs, ApartmentTherapy.com

Blue can be feminine, playful or whimsical.


Do you decorate with blue? Would you go so bold as a blue door, or wall or floor? Or, is your style more understated and you’d test this color with furniture or decor?

Confessions of a Real Estalker

Some people meditate to help them fall asleep, I do not.

I Real Estalk.  I go into my favorite iPhone App, Redfin, and I search for houses.  I look at Malibu Mansions, Logan Circle Rowhouses, Beachfront bungalows, and my heart swoons.

I recently stumbled across images from an old issue of Veranda magazine.  They were photographs from Jennifer Lopez’s Long Island home.  Let me just say, OH MY GOD!

This home is basically why I love Jennifer’s style – it was classic, clean, glamourous to a tee and beyond sophisticated and timeless.

Here are my favorite pictures:

Patterned floors, gold accents, winding staircase - yes, please!

Two words: the stove. Thank you.

Breakfast table: Pink roses? Check. Cupcakes? Check.

Dark wood floors, nail head accents, sconces, bay windows, airy drapes. Classic beauty.

Guest room glamour: peaches, cream and gold.

What does your dream house look like?

Beverly Hills: Get the Look

I regaled you with the high glamor experience of the Beverly Hilton, but what if you want to live like you’re on vacation?

This is the guest room and bathroom at the Beverly Hilton.

The Beverly Hilton

The Beverly Hilton

Here is how to assemble the look at your own home, whether in California or Kalamazoo.

Get the Look…

Bedroom, From L-R: Camden Nailhead Headboard at Ballard Designs, Serena Bench at Ballard Designs, Hotel Collection Champagne Bedding at Macy’s, Hotel Collection Blanket at Macy’s, Crystal Ball Table Lamp at Neiman Marcus

Bathroom, From L-R: DKNY All Wrapped Up Robe at Net-A-Porter, “Elise” Dressing Mirror at Horchow, Sussex Tube Sconce at Pottery Barn, Hotel Spa Waffle Towels at Bed, Bath & Beyond, White Phaleonopsis at Gump’s, Winthrop Mirror at Bed, Bath &  Beyond

Luxe living, at home – c’est chic!

Setting the Stage

Normally I think of home decorating and collecting furniture as sort of a piecemeal process; you pick up great pieces when and where you can.  The process is organic as you sort of figure out what works in your space, and what doesn’t.

Or, you can do what I did this weekend and stage an entire house in a matter of hours, with the help of our good old friend, the Internet.  I had the chance to stage to coordinate the staging (furniture/accessories) of a newly remodeled DC row home.
This was a great exercise in design, but it’s also provided some great tips for anyone setting out to make their first home, especially those with a limited budget.  
In the bathroom: have fun!  The entire concept for both bathrooms came from the towels.  Towels (from World Market) are a really affordable way to add personality in a small space.  Then, because I am like this, I matched the wastebasket and soap to the towels – that is clearly not mandatory. 

Here’s a tip: in designing for staging and open houses, or for any high trafficked guest bathroom, skip the soft white floor rug.  I went with gray, it will be more durable underfoot.
In the living room I went with the bold choice of a light colored sofa.  In theory it is safe for a staging house, or a house without kids or pets (like ours, in real life!), but what you forget about is the times when the furniture needs to be moved by movers, and not with your tender loving care from house to house.  No worries, this sofa (also from World Market) is completely slip covered to allow for ease when changing styles, or hiding spills.

In the kitchen allow yourself to make a statement.  For me it was these cute little stacked coffee cups (World Market), that inspired the rest of the color palette and semi-retro aesthetic. 

I had a few challenges: make it affordable, make it fabulous, and make it livable. I am not an interior designer, but I learned a few tricks along the way, that were worth sharing.  

If you’re in home set-up mode here were my favorite places to search and shop: 
  • World Market,  great for accessories and unusual items, textiles, that sofa!
  • Pier 1, great for vases, candles, kitchen kitsch
  • Target, great for lamps, rugs, bedding, affordable accent furniture
  • JCPenney, great sales on large furniture, rugs, dining
  • Wal-Mart, great for lamps, affordable accent furniture, bedding
  • Crate & Barrel, great sales on dishes, table linens
  • Amazon, great for price checking
  • Overstock, great for price checking, rugs

At Home in the Wild

My favorite just for browsing website for home is Horchow; owned by Neiman Marcus it is luxe living from bathroom to backyard.  I’ll be the first to admit there are definitely some items that are over the top, but having an editorial eye will help.  It is like finding a needle in a haystack; in this case a very luxurious haystack.

As my affinity for animal inspired prints continued I am taking the inspiration home, to my home.  Here are some favorites:
Horchow Leopard Patterned Panels
Horchow Golden Leopard Rug
Horchow Zebra Bench
Horchow Sunflower Zebra Chair
I honestly love, love, love all of these pieces.
The unifying theme is that they are all animal inspired without being realistically animal print.  The leopard is soft gold, the panels are wood and mirrors, the chair is a vibrant, sunny yellow.
The inspiration is all there, but it’s been refined.  It is as if that nail head upholstered chair is sitting in a posh living room and saying to the mirrored armoire and fancy crystal vase, “you can take the girl out of the wild, but you can’t ever take the wild out of the girl”.

I will continue my prowl to find just right wild for our house.  I’ll let you know what I find…  What do you say, would you go wild at home?

New Vintage for an Old Home

This weekend we  went on a home filling “road trip”.  We drove out of DC to Leesburg, VA to visit the famed Old Lucketts Store, purveyors of the vintage and hip.  Settled on a large piece of land there is a main house that is open 7-days a week and on the first weekend of the month they host a Design House Event.  Both “homes” feature antique, salvaged, and made to look antique home furniture, decor, and accessories.  I am a sucker for the accessories and knick-knacks.

This weekend was a design house weekend and as I kept exclaiming to Mark I loved each room more than the one before it – which is to say, my love kept growing and growing.  
A few styles ran through out the house, there were some breezy, rooms with “by-the-sea” cottage inspired accessories and colors, some with brilliant colors and swaths of bright fabrics, and others still with a more sophisticated and romantic finish balanced with masculine, dark furniture.
Image from Lucketts Blog
Image from Lucketts Blog
Image from Lucketts Blog
It’s hard to explain how I could have loved  each room, as on the surface their styles were each so different.  However, their unifying theme was that they were all “just right” without being perfect.  Rarely did more than two pieces match, and often the accessories challenged and enhanced instead of just filling space, and most of all each room gave the feeling that there was a story behind each piece, and that is what I love.  There was no one-stop-shop feel of going to a catalog and ordering everything on the page and being done with the house. 

On this trip we picked up a nailhead leather chair, that perfectly fit the bill for what Mark wanted for the living room, and a possibly antique iron soap dish.  Pictures of the chair later, but since I am sure you are dying to see a soap dish, ta da!

Fancy Iron Soap Dish – personal photo
The design house also inspired us to find some vintage/old world oversized maps for our walls, and a coffee/occasional table to pair with our new chairs!  This is definitely a work in progress as I think any truly great home should be.