Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Currently Coveting: White

Having to significantly pare down my closet to fit NYC apartment standards has made me really rethink my wardrobe and what pieces work well together.  While I've always loved to follow fashion and the latest trends, I try to keep my personal wardrobe full of basics that can be layered or mixed together in a variety of ways.   I have several black dresses ranging from casual to dressy that I wear regularly depending on the occasion.  This summer, I bought a white romper that's been one of my staples, so naturally I'm also wanting to purchase this Anthropologie lace version:


And there's nothing more classic than a white tee with jeans or a sexy white dress.










What's your favorite way to wear white?




Monday, August 3, 2015

NYC Week 1 In the Books

Happy Monday!  Today marks a full 9 days that I've been a Manhattan resident, and I think it's safe to say I'm in love. I've been pleasantly surprised by how welcoming and helpful NYC locals are when they learn I'm a newbie.  Since I only know a few people here, many of my friends and acquaintances in Houston and OKC have been reaching out to their friends in NY and connecting us.  I'm so thankful to Lauren, Patrick, Kimberly, and lots of other blogger + interior design pals who have answered many of my frantic questions and met me for a glass of wine to welcome me to the city.  Last week I talked about how I lucked out by finding a great apartment in the Upper East Side with an empty room (I moved in with two amazing girls who are, you guessed it, friends of friends) and shared a few of my bedroom essentials.  Well, this past week was spent planning my floor layout, painting the room, and getting my things organized and moved in while working during the day.  My parents were kind enough to come up for the week to help me get adjusted, so most of the credit for the work we got accomplished belongs to them.


{Step 1:  Blue tape to measure out my furniture and decide on placement}

{Step 2:  Fresh paint on the walls and trim to freshen up the space}

Step 3 is to get furniture situated and organized- so stay tuned for that!!  I have a shipment of a few casegoods and a lot of my artwork coming up from Houston, so it'll take awhile to get everything organized and put together.  Here's a few other pictures that I've captured along the way this past week...

{all the walking has opened my eyes to the visual inspiration at every turn- like these lacquered doors}

{this display at the diptyque store off Madison Avenue had me swooning}


{creative chaos at the office}


{Momofuku milk bar birthday truffle cake balls have changed. my. life.} 

{schlepping bag after bag of Container Store goodness from their summer sale for my tiny place}

{toasting to a successful week with the rents at dinner at Balthazar}

{my crew}


The main things that have stood out to me about life in NY is 1) it never stops moving and 2) it involves a hell of a lot of stair climbing.  Personally, I love walking out my door and seeing a vibrant city speeding along all around me.  It thrills me and makes me feel a part of something very big and exciting.  Work moves at 100 miles an hour so when I leave, I feel absolutely fried but also absolutely blissful.  There isn't a feeling in the world for working hard at something you love doing.  As I mentioned last week, my office is on the 6th floor, and the elevator in the building is being repaired for the next 2 months.  Combine that with my 4th floor walk-up apartment, and you can see why I'm expecting to have some killer legs soon.  I am traveling back to Houston this week to get some more of my things and tie up loose ends, and will be back in the city Saturday.  Then the following week it's off to Tulum with Lindsay and a few other friends.  August will be gone in a flash.  I hope you'll follow along as I nest here in my new city.

XOXO,

Sam


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Weekend Getaway: Tulum

Happy Hump Day! I hope your week is going well.  I am absolutely spent, but so happy and so grateful for the new job.  It's been an absolute blast so far, although both physically and mentally taxing. First of all, our office is on the 6th floor of a Madison Avenue building and for the next 2 months the elevator is being repaired.  That means I climb 6 flights of stairs every morning, at lunch, when we leave and return from client appointments, and so on.  I'm hoping the stair climbing leads to toned legs and cancels out the hearty NYC dinners I've been devouring (Buddakan Sunday night, The Lion Monday night, Balthazar Tuesday night) but I'm not too worried.  I thought I would've made it to Soul Cycle by now, but I'm giving myself one week to settle in. I'll have to kick it in to high gear next week, because August 13 a few friends and I are headed to Tulum for the weekend.  


Shop This Board:

From Top:  Tassel Bracelet $18/L Space Colorblock Bikini $58.90/Bardot Lace Dress $15/Old Navy Straw Tote $19/Steve Madden Neon Heels $79.95/Urban Outfitters Towel $49.50




I'm going to be so ready for some sunshine, mescal, and fish tacos.  We plan to venture away from our resort and try Hartwood one night.  Tulum non-virgins- any other ideas of things to try/do/see?  Do tell!



Monday, July 27, 2015

NYC Bedroom Essentials

Today's a big day for me!  I start my new job in NYC and as of yesterday I officially have a home here in the city.  I lucked out and found an Upper East Side apartment with a vacant master suite.  A sorority sister of mine connected me to a few of her closest girlfriends who were looking for a roommate to occupy their third room.   It only took me one day of perusing studio apartments to realize what a better offer I had living with 2 other New Yorkers- getting my own bathroom, having a separate living/dining area, and paying 2/3 the rent of what a studio would cost.  The current tenant is in the process of moving out, but I snapped a few "before pictures" of the room so you could follow along on it's transition:




It's tiny (or should we say "cozy?") compared to Texas standards, but pretty large for a NYC bedroom.  Also, the location can't be beat.  I'll be able to walk a few blocks to work, and the Lexington subway station is also only a couple minutes away.  The first order of business is giving life to the room with a soft gray wall color and a stark white for the trim and doors. Here are the Benjamin Moore colors I think I'll probably go with- they're tried and true favorites:


 Secondly, I'll need to downsize to a full bed.  As I've mentioned before, my eye's been on the Octavia bed from Serena & Lily.  Right now, I'm imagining pops of hot pink and yellow mixed in with the gray and white:


Shop NYC Bedroom Decor:

Slim Aarons, "Monte Mano" Photograph $499/Hicks Large Pendant in Polished Nickel $609/Icarius Table Lamp $199/Octavia Full Headboard $995/Magenta Throw Pillows $134/Zebra Print Hide Rug $599/Mid-Century Modern Bergman Bench $1,595/

Because I have 2 narrow windows in the room, I imagine adding Roman shades with cornice boxes framing the top, like I did in Cakewalk Style Shop's office:


Stay tuned as I share the process of moving in!  It should be an interesting couple of months. 

Happy Monday, and I hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stocking Up For NYC

As you know, this week I've been focusing on my move to NYC and contemplating my living quarters.  Well, the obvious next thing to consider on the list is my wardrobe.  To be honest, it isn't the idea of parring down to a tiny studio apartment that scares me the most, it's the New York winter.  I am a bonafide summer girl, and living in Houston for the past 5 years has made me nearly intolerable of the cold.  I remember going on apartment tours when I first moved to Houston, and a leasing agent telling me, "You won't even need a winter coat here!"  Well, it's time to suck it up as Carly would say.   The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale makes for the perfect time to stock up on northern winter essentials.  Here's what's on my "to-buy" list:






The Perfect Work Bag!



(A wedge heel will be much more forgiving when walking around the city!)


 


I'm sure I'll continue to stock up in the coming months.  Any must-haves on your winter list?!
 

Monday, July 20, 2015

NYC Studio Apartment Living

After announcing my NYC move yesterday, I promised I'd share the process of finding a living space  in the city and making it my own.  With seemingly endless apartment viewing appointments next week, I'm anxious to find a spot and get settled.  Since I'll be working in the Upper East Side, I've been primarily looking in that area.  Like most starry-eyed NYC transplants, I've realized 2 things- one, that my budget does not get me much in the way of  square footage, and two, I'll need to get creative with layout.  Luckily, many design-savvy residents have already figured out floorpan solutions and are providing inspiration for my own space. For instance, you have surely laid eyes on Elizabeth Bauer's oft-published pre-war Gramercy studio:


Featured in Lonny's June/July 2010 issue (and photographed by my talented friend, Patrick Cline), Bauer's colorful haven features a velvet sofa upholstered in Designer's Guild striped fabric and a bedroom surrounded in Rose Cumming's Zebrine wall covering.  A glass and brass screen gives a slight separation. 

Designer Alison Pringle of Baker Ballard is another inspiring soul who transformed her Toronto studio.  The wooden armoire anchors the space and fits in nicely as a contrast to the white and blue.



In 2014, House Beautiful published a Manhattan apartment designed by Lily Bunn for a 20-something young professional.  Although the space is not a studio, I was so inspired by the mix of high and low, like the Bungalow 5 coffee table and Jonathan Adler chippendale chairs:


Lucite pieces are great for small spaces because they seemingly disappear.  Lily chose a functional Kartell dining table with a mix of seating- the Chippendale chairs from the living room can be easily moved over for additional seating.




Designer Max Sinsteden's 525 square-foot studio apartment was another show stopper recently featured in the July/August issue of House Beautiful.  You may recall drooling over his college dorm room when it was published back in 2009, so it's no surprise that at the age of 27 Sinsteden has only stepped up his standard of living:


To divide his bed from the rest of the apartment, Max installed draperies that can be pulled shut, acting as a makeshift wall.  He installed a piece of art suspended from the ceiling in front of the draperies to further create a sense of separation. Genius!


Another great way to create a sense of separation between the bedroom and living area while still maintaining functionality is through the use of a bookshelf.  NYC resident Jacqueline Clair used a simple white Ikea shelf in her studio:


Dividing her books up by color and mixing in decor makes the shelf feel cohesive and beautiful, almost as if it is a work of art itself!


So NYC readers- Any advice for a NYC newbie?

Over the next few months I hope you'll follow along as I decorate my first NYC living space!



Moving to NYC


I am extremely excited to announce that as of next Sunday, I will be a New York City resident!  I recently got word that Amanda Nisbet Design has offered me a position to join their firm as their newest designer.  Working alongside one of my all-time favorite interior designers in the city that never sleeps feels like a dream come true.  And while I might have to tough it out in a tiny studio apartment for the foreseeable future, going to work won't be terrible when our office looks like this:

After 5 incredible years in Houston, I felt like it was time to make a change.  It's always been in the back of my mind that I'd love to go to NYC for a few years to experience the creative world there and hone my skill set as a designer in a fast-paced environment.  And now just felt like the right time for me to make that move.  I'm thrilled, but also a bit nervous.  Everyone seems to be preparing me for the worst (out of love, I'm sure)- "you know you will most likely have to send your laundry out, right?" "you know how expensive the cost of living is there, right?"  "you know this isn't Sex and the City, right?"  All very valid points, and I do know adjusting to life and culture in NYC will take time... but I'm so thrilled to get to know the city on a deeper level and give my new firm and career everything I've got.  Worst case scenario-  I realize the city isn't for me and I return to Houston with my tail tucked between my legs, only better for the experience.  I will say that everyone seemed to think I would hate Houston when I was preparing to move here from Oklahoma City.  "The traffic is terrible, and the humidity is even worse" were common remarks made by well-intentioned acquaintances and friends.  Maybe coming to Houston with such low expectations allowed me to truly fall in love with this city all on my own.  I hope you'll follow along (on instagram too!) as I learn how to pare down my decor from a 2,000 square foot townhouse to a 400 square foot studio apartment. I think first on the list is switching out my kind bed for a full or queen bed, and I have my eye on this one.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing some studio apartment inspiration.  Small does not have to mean lifeless or drab- you just have to get a little more creative. :)

XOXO,

Sam