I’ve had some really exciting and fun projects this year. Clients have kept me insanely busy, which has left me little time for anything else. This has resulted in my breaking the cardinal rule of blogging the past few months, which is the importance of consistent posts; thus, leading to my official induction into the “Blogger Hall of Shame”!! As I have mentioned in past posts, I don’t believe in posting unless I have something useful to say. These last few months of being knee deep in construction dust, hunting for the perfect chandelier, as well as researching the latest trends is the stuff that keeps me inspired, feeds my soul and allows me impart my knowledge on to you. Putting together inspiration boards for fictitious rooms doesn’t lend one the experience to convey the practical application, or the wisdom in designing, as well as how to avoid possible pitfalls.
Below, I will give you my best tips (as well as my #1 tip) on holiday styling. Let me first give you a brief background on my (accidental) career in holiday decorating. Decorating homes specifically for the holidays is a niche. A lot of people who just decorate for the holidays work in retail merchandising and do things like store windows or holiday displays. In my case, this is a niche I NEVER meant to get into!!! From September through January, I am usually swamped with clients calling in a panic needing to get their powder room, dining room and/or family room done before they host the holidays. During this time, I would usually put a few decorations on their mantle or create a beautiful, but simple centerpiece and be off on my way. Little by little my clients would add something to the list; for one client it was decorating her foyer, another it was decorating her tree, on and on, until one Christmas Eve I was at a client’s house setting her table (this included ironing her linens!!!….which is something in my everyday life that I hate to do). To my surprise, I always had a blast doing it and it was a really nice deviation from what I do the rest of the year. I also love to entertain, which allows me to look at my holiday decorating in a practical way. I know just how much decoration a table can handle while still being functional.
Below, I will deconstruct my tablescapes to help you execute decorating yours beautifully (and stress-free).
So, my #1 styling trick for holiday tablescaping is: USE SOMETHING UNEXPECTED as your centerpiece! There is NOTHING more interesting than using an item for something other than its intended purpose. Below, I used a window shutter as the base for my centerpiece. It is the perfect base for my modern farmhouse centerpiece. It looks really sophisticated with the muted gourds, greenery, burlap ribbon and candles. I also like to use a raw wood cheese boards (as seen in the 3rd and 4th images), cloches, cake stands etc…. as centerpieces. Below, I used a throw blanket as my table linen. I’ve used scarfs as runners as well. I happen to love showing my wood table at then ends, so not having the throw blanket covering the entire table was a bonus for me.
Another tip for successful tablescaping is to vary your linens. I have very few “rules” in design; however, I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER match my tablecloth and napkins. Is it wrong if you do? No. However, it is such a missed opportunity to inject style and visual interest to one’s table. If you are not confident with pattern mixing, choose one pattern and one solid, as I did in the first image. If are confident, try mixing in another pattern. In the second image, I added in a gray ticking stripe napkin. I love the depth that mixing patterns gives to a table.
In the pictures below, I was presenting to a local women’s organization on how to tablescape for the holidays. This is one of my favorite tablescapes because it is not fussy, yet still sophisticated. I used tons of mercury glass and my favorite pattern of the season, the black and white buffalo check (which I got from Pottery Barn). I LOVE a black and white table! It is so extremely versatile; if you look to the bottom right you can see all of the different colored napkins I brought to show these lovely ladies how many colors and patterns you can inject with this color scheme. Every color pairs well with this scheme.
Finally, 90% of the time I create a long linear centerpiece as opposed to a round centerpiece. Every guest should have something beautiful to look at. Sticking a vase in the center of the table only allows a beautiful view to the two guests sitting across from each other in front of the vase. When I’m done, I walk around to every seat at the table to ensure everyone, when seated, has something pretty to look at. Creating a long linear centerpiece also aligns with my philosophy of having a separate food table when hosting 6 or more guests.
When in doubt (or pressed for time), fresh flowers and candles are always my go-to. Group the flowers and candles in alternating groups down the center of the table for a simple, but elegant table. However, I highly recommend keeping a flower-less centerpiece in your closet for when you don’t have time to stop for fresh flowers and you are having last minute dinner guests.
I hope this post has inspired you to try something new for the holidays. Most of my resources are listed below.
On a final note, in order to reach those who do not use social media, I will be posting weekly a “Insta-post roll” to keep you in the loop of what trends I’m loving, my client before and afters and just general musings.
Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!
List of Resources:
Both throwblankets: Buffalo check, First one is not available but here is an alternative
Raw wood cheese board base (under tray in black and white tablescape)
Candle sticks, large, medium and small
solid gray napkins, ticking stripe napkins
2017 has been a whirlwind; the past two months alone, I have doubled my client roster!! I have been a busy bee with lots of really exciting design projects ranging from a kitchen showroom, media room, a few family rooms, tons of kids’ rooms, a couple of formal living rooms and so much more!! I can’t wait to share my finished projects with you.
One of my favorite things about being a designer is that (for obvious reasons) no two projects are alike. Interior Design is a study in psychology, sociology, economics and fine arts. Each project is different and stretches me in ways that always leaves me feeling like a better version of myself by the end of it. I enjoy getting to know each of my clients and hearing about their lives, as well as what role they would like me to play in the design of their home.
I always begin asking about how my clients want their space to feel. I have learned that asking clients this question, as opposed to how they want their space to look, allows me to lead the design process by instinct. Since clients often have trouble articulating how their space should look (hence, my role in the process), this is the best place to start. I strive to find unique ways to achieve the clients’ dream room. I love when a client says “I never would have chosen any of this, but this is EXACTLY how I wanted this room to look!”
With all of the diverse projects I’ve been working on, I thought I’d share a quick post on things that I am loving right now.
- White Painted Rooms
Gray has completely taken over the market the last few years. It is EVERYWHERE!! I love gray; it is a great neutral. However, it has been overused and is beginning to lose the characteristics that initially attracted us to it. In addition, when everything and everyone is using gray it begins to suck the life out of a space.
I have been really loving white-painted rooms. White rooms need not translate into boring spaces. Quite the contrary; a space with white walls can be very dramatic. Painting walls in white lets you control where the focal points are and orchestrate what elements you want to showcase and what elements you might want to hide. It is no secret that art galleries favor white paint to draw focus to each piece of art. It is the same for interiors. An heirloom piece is so much more impactful when showcased in a white room.
Bright white paint with blue undertones is perfect for a modern room; white paint with pink or yellow undertones is more suitable for a rustic interior; and white with gray undertones is perfect for a transitional space.
I love the clean and sophisticated backdrop that a white-painted room provides. However, white is a very fickle color. Hands down, it is the hardest paint color to pick because of all of the undertones. When done right, it feels fresh, calm and allows all of the right elements to shine. When done wrong, it feels cold, boring and sterile.
Below are rooms where white is done beautifully:
2. Antiqued Mirrors
Antiqued mirrors are the easiest way to add interest and patina to a room. This element immediately elevates any room or piece it adorns. Adding an antique finish is not cheap, but the visual payout is HUGE!!!
There are so many antique finishes to choose from; they can range from blue, black, brown and gold. Choose the finish that best conveys the look you are going for, or that shares the same color palette as the rest of the room.
I have backed bookcases, added to cabinets and used them in a myriad of decorative ways. I can not say enough about antique mirrors; I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this finish!!
This is the finish that I get the most initial push back on from clients, and the one they ALWAYS love once they take the leap. This is also a finish that looks horrid when done poorly. The key is in the material used, which usually coincides with the price. Thin, cloudy lucite looks cheap. Look for lucite that is thick (usually heavy) and crystal clear. The beauty of lucite is that it takes up no visual space; therefore, it is the perfect piece to put in small spaces or if you want to highlight a beautiful area rug or wallpaper. There is MAJOR impact in this transparent material!
4. Matte Black
I have been loving this material for months now (see my post here). There is something really rich about this color. I have always felt that every room needs some black. Black is a neutral. Whereas some neutrals move the eyes through a room, black serves to ground a space and stops the eyes “dead in their tracks”. There is something so incredibly chic about black; the matte finish adds a more current feel to this versatile color. I always compare black elements with black eyeliner. Like black eyeliner, black serves to outline spaces and creates a portal through which one’s focus is guided. This is the reason I love to paint the moldings for doorways and windows in black.
5. Overdyed Area Rugs
Like gray, geometric rugs have been overdone. I still use them when the space warrants it, but I am loving the depth that overdyed rugs lend to a room. I also love the juxtaposition and tension that an overdyed rug creates in a modern space. The saturation in the dye, as well as its absence, adds a really interesting layer in a room.
I hope this post has served to enlighten and inspire you to try some of the elements I’ve listed here. What makes design so fun, is for the most part, things are easy and inexpensive to change. If you don’t like the paint, then repaint; if you don’t like a piece, return it. Design should not be stressful.
Our home is a reflection of who we are or who we would like to become. It is within those walls that we dare to be all that we truly are. Have fun. Be bold. Stay curious.
I would love to hear what you think of some of these trends. Let me know which, if any, you have tried and loved.
The internet has completely changed the landscape of design on so many levels. Being able to hunt for the perfect piece from dozens of retailers in one sitting has allowed us to expand our reach, and thus our vision as both consumers and designers, tremendously. We are no longer limited by geography.
While at the Salon today, I was chatting up my stylist about the parallels of fashion, hair and home (see my posts here and here on this connection). She was lamenting about how she was ready to redo her home and how hard it is to find good quality furniture. I have this conversation (or some variation) on a weekly basis. To which, I usually ask: “when was the last time you bought a sofa?” The reply is always within the past 5-7 years. My point being, we are such a disposable society that we no longer keep or pass down heirloom furniture. We should not look for furniture that could survive a nuclear war, or that our kids will want 20 years from now. Most of us will go through 2-4 major style changes throughout our adult life; therefore, it is just fiscally prudent to save on furniture and decorative items for your home. The most successful and interesting design is ALWAYS done with a high/low mix.
In this powder room below, I used a wall paper that is insanely expensive, but the mirror is from PB Teen, and the agate art I actually made for about $60.
Below are the three stores designers can be found on a weekly basis:
- IKEA – If I had a dollar for every time someone turned up his or her nose at the thought of purchasing anything from IKEA, I would be a rich, happy girl lounging poolside with my bestie (my beverage butler 🙂 While I don’t advocate outfitting one’s entire home in IKEA, there are undeniably stylish pieces and décor staples that I go back to over and over again. I need to do an entire blog post on all of the IKEA hacks I’ve done that ALWAYS end in “I can’t believe that is from IKEA”. The key to successfully using IKEA furniture is the way in which it is assembled. Each piece has to be reinforced with screws, and the dowels (most pieces come with) must be glued in. This retailer is a great resource and should not be overlooked. Here are some of my favorite pieces from this retailer.
The modern classic Tulip table, need I say more?
Pedestal table, DWR Pedestal table
This rug is ICONIC; so much so, that other companies knock off this design, repeatedly!! It is also one of the most pinned rugs on pinterest!
$300 for an 8 x 12
IKEA Stockholm Rug
I have used the Besta Storage buffet (shown below) more times than I can count. I’ve painted this piece (gray, black and left it white), added beautiful hardware and voila!…a really nice piece for an entryway, dining room or family room!
Besta Storage, brass pull
I LOVE this rug for a kid’s room!!! Its color scheme is very versatile.
The other things I love to get at IKEA are towels, faux succulents and art.
towels, succulent, art
2. ZARA HOME – We all know and love Zara’s clothing store. I have two pairs of jeans I wear on repeat (seen here and here) both are from this retailer. This fashion powerhouse defies all that we think we know about fashion. This brand is known world wide and dictates almost every trend we see each season. However, most people don’t know that they have a home division as well. Zara Home has a very minimalist vibe that is big on style, but not on price. Below are some great staples from this retailer.
decorative coral, WS Home Coral
Love this starburst mirror! We have seen this classic shape done in metal many times, but this style done in a completely mirrored surface is a unique interpretation. The beveled “rays” add a high end detail. At this price, this mirror is a must have.
Some other great stapes: cabinet knobs, accent table, hotel bedding and stool.
Mother of Pearl knobs,Marble accent table, Hotel banded bedding, hammered stool
3. World Market – You are guaranteed to find something at World Market. It is extremely trend driven, so this is a great source if you want to update your home with on trend pieces. I love their selection of outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture can be very expensive, and even if it’s kept covered, it still looks worn and faded after a few years. World Market’s price point lets you get good looking furniture that you don’t have to feel bad about replacing in a few years. Below are some pieces that are a great find!
The French bistro chair is always a classic and can be used indoors or outdoors. Serena and Lily has cornered the market on this chair; however, this piece from WM looks likes a pretty good dupe to me.
World Market Bistro Chair, Serena and Lily Bistro Chair
Sectional sofa, Stool, Adirondack chair, Wicker chair
Interior Design is really about creating a space that captures the spirit of those who inhabit it, while respecting the identity of the space itself. I love the quote by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. If you adhere to this, you will never go wrong.
I would love to hear about your secret sources, or the stores that you know will always have what you need. Also, let me know what you want to read more about!
The MOST searched home trend right now is Hygge (pronounced Hoo-Ga). Hygge is more of a feeling than a word, and is completely in keeping with this year’s home design trend of creating a space that is an extension of who we are; thus, blurring the lines between one’s inside and outside presence.
The Danish term translates to building one’s own sanctuary. It is the act of taking pleasure in the people and things that surround us. This is an updated version of the Danish Modern trend with an emphasis on texture and warmth. With this new shift in personalized design, it is through one’s own “lens” that a serene, cozy atmosphere is achieved.
The major design principals of Hygge are:
- Monochromatic or tonal color schemes
- Clutter free surroundings
- A myriad of textures (the more the better; think leather, wood, wool and fur0
- Only meaningful and beautiful pieces should be displayed (things such as travel photos, paintings or memorabilia)
- Warm mood lighting using candles and lanterns scattered throughout the space
- My favorite principal is adding things with some patina such as an heirloom chest or other special piece
Below, are some rooms that beautifully illustrate Hygge:
When I am working with clients, I do my best to put his or her style through my “filter” to achieve the perfect space that still looks and feels like them. Accessories make or break this look; therefore, it is a budget-friendly design concept. As with any concept, the absolute WORST mistake is to take a theme/trend literally. Doing so, always leads to a space that lacks authenticity and personality.
One Kings Lane curated a beautiful Hygge collection. Below, I used pieces from their collection to creat a design board illustrating my interpretation of the Hygge trend. I like to use black in a lot of the rooms I design because it creates visual weight. It grounds the room, especially in a room that is primarily monochromatic. The eyes need some place to rest, and black allows this to happen. I LOVE this clover coffee table in matte black (which is another HUGE trend right now).
bench,Side table, coffee table, sofa, rug, cable pillow, diamond pillow,
I would love to hear your thoughts on this trend. Do you think this trend has longevity? Is this concept something you would favor in one room over another? Whether or not this specific look resonates with you, I hope you find your version of Hygge in your home!
The SINGLE biggest trend in 2017 is the END of LABELS!! Labels, in every sense, are OVER!!! This year (and for the foreseeable future), we will be freed from the confines of a traditional, transitional, modern or rustic label. One’s personal style will inform one’s approach to decorating. Only the things we love, things that speak to who WE are, and how WE live will be added to our home. Outfitting one’s home completely in Pottery Barn, or any other retailer, will be a thing of the past. This is making EVERY retailer VERY nervous. Some retailers have been spot on in embracing this trend and offering eclectic pieces that deviate from their brand (Restoration Hardware is genius at reinventing their brand every few years). While others are throwing a lot out hoping something will stick (West Elm, Ethan Allen and Mitchell Gold, to name a few). I predict that this trend will even spill over into fashion. Wearing head to toe LV, Gucci or Chanel will be decidedly uncool (seriously, just kidding about Chanel 😛
Design, like so many other industries, is cyclical. There are countless catalysts for it’s changing trends. If you are interested in reading more about this, I delve deeper into this topic in my blog post here. Every 8 to 10 years there is a paradigm shift in design; 2017 is one of those years. Design philosophy, methodology and fundamental principles on style and design are changing. Recently, there has been a lot of social, economic, political and generational tension brewing; it is no wonder we are seeing it spill over into home design. This is a topic that I’ve been ruminating on for months. I could feel the change. In the past, a client would show me a picture of how he or she wanted his or her home to look. Now, clients tell me the “feeling” they want their home to convey. One of my favorite designers, Kelly Hoppen, was quoted saying, “learn to look not just with your eyes, but with your heart. How else will you know how to design your home”.
In the past, my home had a transitional aesthetic; however, I have been slowly adding some organic elements, as well as more ornate pieces. I love the richness of pairing rustic with refined. It translates to a chic, comfortable and stylish vibe. I had been resisting the urge to mix these pieces because it didn’t “fit” seamlessly with the rest of my decor. However, when I looked with fresh eyes, I realized that my home lacked the depth I had been striving for. Now, I feel that as long as I add things that resonate with me, then it will “fit”.
What won’t fit, is adding things just because one likes a myriad of styles. This pitfall is an easy one to fall prey to. One must fiercely edit and show restraint; thus, curating a collection of things that truly belong and make sense in one’s home. For the past few years, a cleaner more minimalist style has been the trend. LESS will still be more in 2017. I don’t think we will EVER go back to the “let me cover/fill EVERY surface in my home” again.
Below, are some rooms that inspire me. It is in the mixing of both sleek and organic elements executed in an orderly, minimalist fashion that inform the choices I make for my home. I hope these images inspire you to find the things that celebrate your uniqueness and your story. You know you have been successful when friends and family walk into your home and say “Wow, there is no mistaking who lives here; this home is so, YOU!”
Image via Pinterest
image via Pinterest
Image via Pinterest
image via Daily Home Planner
Image via Elle Decor
Image via All About Interiors
Below is my most recent lust list:
Marble side table, Lucite table, Mirror
Orb table lamp, rug, woven chair
Happy Reading! Let me know if or how your style has evolved. I would also love to hear what trends you are seeing emerge, or any trends you are predicting.