Sometimes picking the right white paint color is tough because white isn’t just white. The options are seemingly endless: optical white, off-white, linen, snow white, and the list goes on and on….which is why paint suppliers like Benjamin Moore provide a specific paint deck of white and off-white colors for those of us in the trade. It is one of the tools I use most when helping my clients choose the right shade for their project. Below I’ve shown a few of my favorite whites to ¬†point you in the right direction but don’t just choose one based on the way it looks online. The best way to test a paint color is to get a small sample and paint it in multiple places around the room. Then live with your new polka dot walls for a day or two. This allows you to see the shade(s) in the changing light throughout the day and in artificial light whether it be incandescent or LED.

Paint Colors from Left to Right:

First Row: Benjamin Moore – Simply White, Benjamin Moore – White Dove, Farrow & Ball – Wevet

Second Row: Benjamin Moore – Navajo White, Benjamin Moore – Lily White, Benjamin Moore – Chantilly Lace

As some of you know, my family and I have recently moved into a new home which is not only exciting as we have more space for the kiddos to run around but it is also incredibly inspiring for me. Because I didn’t have much time to think about the design of our home prior to moving in, we are living with the previous owner’s color choices, fixtures and lighting. Everything is certainly livable…no key lime shag carpeting or Laura Ashley wallpaper to be ripped out but things are certainly not my taste. And now that we have been settled for about a month, my creative juices are simmering and I’m beginning to envision how each space will look on it’s own as well as flow together. This is one of the parts of the design process that I love the most….finding inspiration and curating ideas to create a space that is unique.

 

One of the components I’ve been researching is painted millwork. Many people think of millwork as a traditional feature of a home but there are amazing ways to modernize it. You can paint the walls one color and the millwork another. But what colors should you use? Should you choose all white millwork and a contrast color wall? Or how do you feel about the cleanliness and serenity of just all white everything? OR you can paint the millwork but choose to wallpaper above the chair rail. This leads to more decisions…should the millwork be something bold and modern like a pomegranate red with a matching patterned paper? Or classic and traditional like a soft powdery blue and neutral textured paper? The one thing I’m finding as I do my research is that I’m loving strong colors AND wallpaper is back in a big way. See the images below for what’s inspiring me…..

Picture Credits: Atlanta Homes, Charles Spada Interiors from Dering Hall, Lindsey Coral Harper Interior Design from Dering Hall, Elle Decor, Patrick J. Burke from Architectural Digest, Kathy Marshall Design from Dering Hall, Pinterest, Pinterest, House & Home

Father’s Day is a well-deserved holiday in our home. From mowing the lawn with my son in tow on his bubble mower to getting in the pool for swim lessons with our daughter, my husband is a hands-on Dad. He deserves the superhero-themed Father’s Day card and the family trip to a local baseball game followed by a BBQ. But this year, with a move on the horizon and more space to fill with furniture, I thought maybe he’d appreciate some furnishings that cater to his wants and needs but don’t need to be relegated to a “man-cave”. Here I’ll share my curated list of great Father’s Day essentials that don’t include another tie or BBQ set.

 

First Row (from L to R):

Headboard: If your mornings start anything like ours, it’s with both kids in our bed reading books or having unannounced tickle fights. Why not create a bespoke clean-lined yet beautiful headboard like this one? Number of panels, color, lighting, everything is customizable. And your husband can get out of the right side of his tailor-made bed every morning.

Recliner: This is not your average recliner. The trade-only version uses only the touch of a button to lean back to the perfect pitch instead of going from upright to completely flat. I tested this at High Point Market this spring and was completely sold. It’s very comfortable yet modern looking.

Lounger: For the man who does not want a recliner but still feel loungy. I recently purchased this chaise lounge for a client’s office. Instead of working on his laptop in bed every night, he wanted a place other than his desk to lay back and go through emails. This is the perfect solution. It is contemporary and has great sculptural metal legs.

Second Row (From L to R):

Leather Sofa: What man doesn’t want a leather sofa to fall asleep on while watching the game, match, tournament, etc? This piece is cleaned-lined, modern looking and cozy. A couple of throw pillows and the perfect nap spot is born.

Bar Cabinet: This amazing bar cabinet has enough space to hold all of his favorite bottles of whiskey, rum, vodka (pick his poison) and cocktail accoutrements. The wood finish, metal leg finish and even size are customizable so that it’s beautiful exterior will compliment the rest of your decor and disguise the party when not in use.

Pool Float: While not the fanciest option for pool loungers, this modular inflatable set can be used in any configuration and has a cooler option. Fill the middle with ice, toss in a few frosty beverages and you have yourself a floating island. Perfect for a relaxing float in the pool.

And below, last but not least…. the Throne. Not to be crass but I could not put a Father’s Day list together without adding the Kohler Numi toilet. As one of the most expensive “thrones” on the market, it would be the creme de la creme of gifts for that special guy (especially because as this may be the only room in the home that he has any privacy, I’m sure he wants to really enjoy it). I’ve seen this in action at the Kitchen and Bath show and it lives up to it’s price tag. It can pretty much do everything except drive the kids to baseball practice.

For today’s blog post, my intention was to showcase some of my favorite floral wallpapers in honor of the start of spring but I just can’t get into that mindset as I sit here with yet another Nor’Easter swirling outside my windows. So…I’ll save those for another week. Instead, I’m returning to my trip to Parma but this time, in much more detail.

The doors of Parma captivated me. I didn’t realize it at first but as I started my self tour of the city, I realized I had taken multiple pictures of these ancient architectural forms. Arched doorways, iron strap hinges, rivets (like those in the door pictured above) and more grabbed my eye. Any local probably thought I was a little cuckoo for walking up to almost every door and running my fingers over the aged wood. But when you are surrounded by this kind of beauty everyday, I’m sure it is easy to pass by. For me, that was not the case.

Another amazing door and a close-up of it’s door knocker.

From the ancient doors of the Baptistery surrounded by pink verona marble to burgundy velvet draped doors leading into the Cathedral, each one has so much character and history that they were hard to pass by. I could’ve spent a full day looking at just these monuments of history. Yes…doors are made to serve a very practical purpose but they can also be handcrafted pieces of art made by the hands of skilled artisans.

Since it’s the week of leprechauns and gold coins, I thought I’d share some of my favorite green and gold interior image from Pinterest.

  1. A chinoiserie-inspired kid’s room.
  2. Schumacher’s Nanjing wallpaper in Jade.
  3. A Palmer Weiss designed key lime master bedroom.
  4. Spotted walls in a bath.
  5. Chartreuse chic in a Alessandra Branca designed master bedroom.
  6. Sicis mosaic tile.
  7. A pineapple printed wallpaper in a McBrien Interiors designed powder room. Photo by Scot Zimmerman Photography
  8. Evergreen ceiling fan.
  9. A greek key and geometric wallpaper.
  10. Tory Burch’s office in Manhattan.
  11. The most amazing terrace.

All images courtesy of Pinterest unless otherwise stated.

It’s Valentine’s week and I always get caught up in the exuberant romanticism of Cupid’s holiday. What could be better than a day focused on spending time with the ones you love celebrating with delectable food, bubbly champagne and decadent dark chocolate covered strawberries? Typically I gravitate to all things pink…from baby girl pale pink roses and sparkling rose in crystal glasses to deep fuchsia fuzzy cashmere sweaters worn with black pants for a date night out. Red is not a color I tend to use often in my work nor have I had many clients specifically request it; however, I wanted this year to be different. I spent some time perusing some of my favorite inspiration images with ruby accents and found beauty in this bold hue. Here are a few of my favorites incorporating daring color in large splashes and small flashes.

Red chinoiserie bamboo chairs add a pop of color to otherwise neutral rooms. Left Image: Interior Design by Alessandra Branca (one of my color heroes!). Right Image: Pinterest.

A study in contrasts. Some expect that a piece of red furniture in a bright room especially one as large as a sofa will dominate what the eye sees and be too overwhelming. However, the living room on the left designed by Mark D. Sikes still feels light and bright even with the bold crimson sofa. This is also true with the library designed by Mona Ross Berman on the right. The black high gloss painted bookcases tone down the dominant red upholstery and soften the room. Notice how they both use animal print pillows to accessorize? So chic!

I’m always inspired by the work of these three. From left to right: Carolyne Roehm, Sarah Richardson and Alexa Hampton.

What a gorgeous nook! Waking up here with a cup of tea would certainly kickstart my day. Image from House Beautiful.

And lastly, if painting a bedroom crimson or wallpapering a powder room with cardinal colored chinoiserie panels seems too bold, you can easily incorporate the saturated color in a small scale by framing a small piece of Scalamandre’s classic Zebra wallpaper and hanging it like artwork or styling a cherry painted chest with traditional blue and white ginger jars or even black small accessories.

Images from left to right: Pinterest

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!

 

 

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