Last week I had the great pleasure of visiting the Downton Abbey exhibition in New York. I have been a fan of the show since first hearing the opening theme song and the beautiful Jacobean home we now know to be Highclere Castle filled the screen. And while the show is no longer in production, getting to  witness the craftsmanship of the costume and set designers made me “feel the feels” all over again. Below are just a few of my images of the interior sets and a few antique pieces I’ve curated from 1stDibs that emulate the spirit of Downton Abbey.


Downstairs Kitchen

The stove and ovens….complete with real steam!

A close up of the copper bakeware. What a functional yet attractive way to display your favorite bundt pans!

Distressed cabinetry laid with the practical yet beautiful crockery on display.

Antique Farmhouse Table – Perfect for prep work or gathering a family for Sunday breakfast.

Farmhouse Dresser – A handsome piece to display your creamware or blue and white serving pieces.



Carson’s Office

The exquisitely crafted costumes of Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes on display in Mr. Carson’s office. An amazing partner’s desk was used on set for many of the scenes depicting life below stairs.

Edwardian Mahogany Partners Desk – Beautiful in a man’s library.


Upstairs Dining Room

If only I had a room large enough to seat this many people, I’d pull out all my silver and china and host a dinner party every night with a table set like this.

Set of Hepplewhite Style Dining Chairs – The shield back is classic and would never go out of style.


Lady Mary’s Bedroom

A bedroom fit for a lady…A luxurious bed, the warmth of a fireplace and an exquisite antique vanity.

Parquetry Empire Style Bed


Louis XVI Style Vanity


There are so many rooms we didn’t get to see at this exhibition and even a larger number of iconic pieces from the show that weren’t displayed. While I wasn’t disappointed by what I was able to see here, it left me yearning for more. I guess I’ll just have to plan a trip to Highclere in the future!






It’s January and everyone waits excitedly for the fashion and home trend forecasts for 2018. But nothing tops the unveiling of Pantone’s Color of the Year. It influences everything from the runways to home decor and becomes the cornerstone of design trends for the next twelve months. This year, Pantone has chosen ULTRAVIOLET as its “2018 Color of the Year”.

“A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.” (image and excerpt from

Purple has long been associated with royalty, luxury, spirituality and creativity making it a stylish choice for designing interiors. Going forward, we’ll see even more shades of purple from lavender to amethyst become prominent in the interior design world. Below are a few ways to incorporate everyone’s new favorite color into the home.


One of the easier and less expensive ways to add the COTY to your home is by using a great paint color to spruce up an old piece of furniture, an accent wall or even a whole room.

A striking front door. Photo: Pinterest.

A feminine library designed by Nathan Turner. Photo: Elle Decor.



If you are feeling bold, wallpaper is a fantastic way to express your personality. To start small, use a graphic wallpaper in a small powder room.

 Photo: This Old House.

Photo: Luxe Magazine

Using a hand painted lavender chinoiserie paper like the one shown in the dining room designed by Mary McGee (shown below) makes a sophisticated statement.

Photo: House Beautiful



Sourcing the right piece of art is vital to the design of a space. The piece should resonate with you on an emotional level as well as compliment the decor of the space in which it is going to live. Below are a couple of pieces that incorporate the COTY and I’d love to display on my walls at home.

“Escaping Light” by Julia Contacessi

“Islands Off The Main Land” by Jane Schmidt at Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT



There is nothing more luxurious than a velvet upholstered chair or sofa in a deep purple shade. It’s daring and so opulent….

A beautiful mix of a 16th Century home that has had all of the original details restored combined with modern furnishings in rich textures and deep shades. Photo from

A modern interior with a clean-lined aubergine sofa. Photo from

New French style living room with sumptuous velvet upholstered daybed. Photo from Architectural Digest.



If the above inspiration seems too daunting to incorporate into your own home, adding a few simple accessories to your decor will freshen up your space and allow you to enjoy this amazingly versatile color.

“Joy” Purple Neon Sign by Mary Jo McGonale at Sorelle Gallery, New Canaan, CT

Amethyst Tealight from ZGallerie

Christopher Spitzmiller Aurora Table Lamps in Wisteria


And lastly, you can never go wrong with fresh hydrangeas. Photo from Pinterest.








As an interior designer, it is extremely important to be up to date with the latest design trends for all things home whether it’s the newly named Color of the Year or the latest home automation innovations. Last week, I was able to attend the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Orlando and was granted VIP access to tour some of the top exhibitor’s booths with the Editor of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, DJ Carey. What an amazing experience for a KBIS newbie like me! Take a look below to see a few of the pieces that inspired me during the tour.


 Love the Murano glass faucet handles in the Venezia collection.

The Fukasawa collection was inspired by the oversized volume knobs on stereo equipment from the 80’s.


 This collection reminds me of Japanese shoji screens. Beautiful, clean & simple.

 Just a small sample of the color options available.



“Bubble Girl”

Beautiful rock crystals knobs in the Lombardia collection.

An example of the Perrin & Rowe “English Gold” Finish which is plated with 14K gold. So luxurious!!

Black Stainless Steel finish in one of their classic sinks.



Just before the show, the Northeast experienced a deep freeze phenomenon called a “Bomb Cyclone”, during which I personally had a frozen pipe issue. With this so prominent in my mind, the product that stood out the most to me was the Grohe Sense Guard. See the video below…



The options are endless.

The “Black Gloss” finish reflects like a mirror.

Walls, countertop, sink and flooring are all created using Florim’s product. Beautiful!!



The most amazing new “Ombre” finish combines metals to transition from light to dark. Two fabrications are available: Vibrant Rose Gold to Vibrant Polished Nickel & Vibrant Titanium to Vibrant Rose Gold. While there were lots of new finishes debuted at the show, this was the most unique. 

Stunning alabaster walls from Ann Sacks lit from behind.

One of my favorite installations using all Kohler family products.

Another installation using all Kohler family products.










We recently purchased a second home in Utah and were lucky to have met Tori through local recommendations. She had previously worked on some other units in the same building that we really liked, and she had a great reputation for having nice designs, being easy to work with, and doing a good job. Having gone through our remodel, I can say that it is all true. Tori was great to work with; she was extremely responsive and always got back to us right away with our questions or concerns. She came up with some great ideas including some structural changes that really opened the place up. She is well organized, and her color boards were very helpful in decision-making and giving us a complete vision of each room. On top of it all, she is very mindful of the budget. She came up with some unique finishes and furnishings that really make the place. I love the way our condo turned out. I would recommend Tori highly!
-Joe & Mary Gira

Tori is a wonderful designer and my husband and I couldn’t have been happier with her professionalism, talent, and creativity. In planning and executing a full design project for our dining room, she did an excellent job finding common ground between my style and my husband’s (not always easy!), working with the existing space, and making the room pop but also flow nicely with the surrounding rooms. And perhaps her greatest value was in helping us narrow down a broad selection of options on furniture and design elements, always respecting our price range. We look forward to working with Tori on future projects and recommend her very highly.
-Michael & Elisabeth Rapport

McBrien Interiors listened to our requests to recreate this home with our favorite features from Mexico, including lighting, photographs, and beach themes while adding fun, unexpected colors to include mountain elements as well. Her attention to plush details reflects our desire for a glamorous mountain retreat with the flare of the beach, to emulate our newest project in Cabo San Lucas. Tori executed the accessory design elements flawlessly, while staying within budget and our expected completion time frame, and tied the entire residence together with a funky bunk room and chalkboard walls.
-Neil Johnson

McBrien Interiors took our project from concept to completion while staying on budget and working with an expedited time frame. Tori listened to our inspirations and our required color palettes, including Park City’s silver mining history and the year-round beautiful blue skies. With these two main elements, along with adding various materials, textures, and lighting, she created the perfect mix of a traditional and modern mountain home. Additionally, the children’s room features an unexpected hand painted blue and gray chevron striped accent wall, adding a whimsical touch for everyone to enjoy!
-Liza Salowey

Montage Residences Deer Valley Announces Designer Residence Collection


Following the continued sales success of designer-furnished residences, Montage Residences Deer Valley announces the Designer Residence Collection, featuring high-end custom interiors by renowned local and national designers. Barclay Butera, Beth Ann Shepherd of Dressed Design, Inc. and Tori McBrien of McBrien Interiors, were called upon to design the Collection’s newest offerings, which are available for purchase and offer prospective residents an exclusive opportunity to own a stylish, turnkey luxury residence at Montage Deer Valley.

Read the full release HERE

or download the Robb Report Home & Style PDF HERE