Thursday, March 31, 2016

The View Through My Lens: 28

Last night my roommates and I were sitting around our living room and I was telling them one of those "this could only happen in New York" type stories.  I love this city not only for the culture and diversity but also for all the peculiarities that come along with living here.  It has been such an amazing 8 months so far and I realize with my lifestyle here I'm not getting to pause as much as I'd like to share on the blog.   One day I feel certain I'll write down and share all the strange & interesting things that have happened along the way, but for now, photos will have to suffice.

 {Enjoying tuna tartare, mozarella salad, and a glass of cab sauv at Cognac}

I feel like I'm continuously having "the best meal of my life" in this city.  I've been making notes in my phone of my favorite spots and the best dishes at each place, and will definitely do a "NYC Guide" later this year.  Besides spending lots of time consuming rich food and cocktails, most of my other free time is spent exploring museums, seeing shows, trying to workout as much as possible to balance out said meals, and working on decorating my apartment.  I've fallen in love with my neighborhood (Upper East Side) because of it's proximity to Central Park, the relative quietness, and the fab museums nearby, like the Frick Collection:

 {The gardens outside the museum}

{After-work cocktails at the cutest West Village spot that Lauren & Mackenzie introduced me to- Palma}

{if you follow my instagram, you know I have become infatuated with New York doors.  This lacquered beauty is no exception}

{tufted sofa spotted at the upholsterer}

{pretty corner of our office}

{survived my first NY snowstorm in January with an iced coffee in hand}

Follow along (if you'd like!) here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Take Me Away: Henry Howard Hotel

I officially have another reason to put Nola back on my "must-travel-to-this-year" list besides visiting Perch. A hip boutique hotel opened in the Garden District this past February, and I've heard nothing but rave reviews.  Henry Howard Hotel is located inside a historic 1860s mansion originally built by architect Henry Howard for the 2 daughters of steamship owner Edward Conery.   The hotel features the original 12' ceilings, Corinthian columns, and red pine floors.  Each of the 18 rooms has been uniquely designed by Lauren Mabry of Hunter Mabry Design and incorporate antique instruments like a brass saxophone and trumpet with vintage Persian rugs and open, airy canopy beds.  

Henry Howard was a well-known New Orleans designer and architect in the 19th century who had a penchant for Roman arches and a fine sense of proportion in interior spaces.   Although born and trained in Ireland, Henry moved to Nola in 1837 and did most of his work between 1844 and 1884. He built several homes as well as commercial buildings in the Garden District, all with carefully thought out floor plans that allow for plenty of sunlight.    Of the many structures he created, 90 urban and 14 rural buildings remain intact today.

Lauren Mabry honored Henry's work by keeping the building's original footprint, ceilings, and crown moldings.  The original column capitals from the exterior of the house have been repurposed as coffee table bases and can be seen throughout the property. 

Lauren wanted to preserve the history of the building while adding in a bit of modern flair, and admits that adding in contemporary details might have been the best part of the process.  Paintings from local New Orleans artist Hayley Gaberlavage line the walls and the iron beds have been constructed by Doorman Designs. 

I'm dying to get back to New Orleans to check out the Henry Howard and to stop in on all my favorite Magazine Street antique/decor stores:

Has anyone checked out this hotel yet? The feel of it reminds me of my favorite Austin boutique hotel, the Saint Cecilia. If you haven't visited Hotel Saint Cecilia, it's a must when you're in Austin, even just to take a quick pic in front of their neon "Soul" sign by the pool:

To be honest, I've had a few false starts with Nola. I'm ready to give the city one more try and experience the creole magic.  

What do you think of the Henry Howard? Rooms start at $189/night.

Monday, March 28, 2016

How to Decorate a 1st Apartment

Whether you're starting from scratch or attempting to combine hand-me-down furniture with new items, decorating a first apartment can seem daunting. Even though I had lived in a few apartments post college in Houston and had been through the process of designing a townhome after that, starting over with a tiny space in New York was a challenge.  In addition, most first apartment decorating budgets are meager.  So how do you go about creating a permanent, "homey" feel in a temporary space?   First, I believe investing in pieces with good bones is key.  A classic sofa, side chair, or headboard can transition from space to space and feel new again with fresh fabric.  Keep trendy buys to a minimum and bring in bold color through throw pillows, accessories, and smaller upholstered items.  Only buy art you really, really love.  I hate to see people spend money on art that doesn't speak to them or go with their space-  whether the piece cost $20 on Etsy or is from a reputable gallery. And take your time putting everything together- start with the big pieces and add in the side tables, lighting, rugs, and decor from there.  Here are a few of my personal picks for 1st apartments/homes that are relatively affordable:

Shop This Board (From Top, Left to Right):

1.) Overdyed Wool Rug $799/2.) Belgian Linen Flat Roman Shade $Price Varies/3.) Upholstered Chair with Casters $1,300/4.) St. Germain Brass and Glass Side Table $799/5.) Wayland Gregory Tray $34/6.) LAFCO Candle $60/7.) Tufted Modern Sofa $1,499/8.) Blake Raffia Coffee Table $699/9.) Blush Swivel Chair $799/10.) Fibreworks Sisal Rug with Black Banding $693/11.) Polished Nickel Pendant Light $595/12.) Acrylic Counter Stool $75/13.) Lavender Silk Throw Pillow $45/14.) Tallman Upholstered Bed $499/15.) Brasserie Dining Chair $119/16.) Abstract Painting $300/

Peak of Tres Chic Favorite Online Sources:


Chic Furnishings:

Chic Lighting:

Budget Options:

Unique & Vintage Designer Pieces:

Finally, don't try to get your apartment finished in a matter of weeks.  You'll feel overwhelmed, will likely make impulse decisions on items that you will later regret, and be stressed over the money spent on items you don't love.  I always recommend to friends and clients to allow yourself to live in a space and get to know it before buying too much of your furniture. And please reach out to me by email if you need help with your space, your floor plan layout, or simply want to purchase something from a trade-only source. My email is listed under the "contact" tab.



Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday's Worthy Links

Happy Easter Weekend/Good Friday!  I'm back home with my family in Oklahoma this weekend to celebrate my nephew's first Easter and to see this cutie, too!  It feels good to be home and enjoying a day off.  I hope you have a great holiday weekend, and here are a few fun links from around the web...

-Can these three words reset an anxious mind?  

-This quiz claims to be able to guess your age and income, based solely on the apps on your phone.  (I was impressed the algorithim guessed my age and gender correctly, but overestimated my income by just a bit).

-Next on my reading list- When Breath Becomes Air.

-I've always loved Caitlin Wilson's design work, but this girl's room (also pictured above) is the stuff my tween dreams were made of. 

-I ordered this swim cover-up and am slightly obsessed- the tassels are so fun!  Now I'm counting down the days til pool season.  

-31 strict beauty standards flight attendants must abide by.  Example- "When leaning forward, restrained hair should remain neat and off the face. A single ponytail may be secured behind the ears and centered on the back of the head. The ponytail should be no higher than the tops of the ears and no longer than the tops of the shoulders." —JetBlue

-David Letterman- what happened, man?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

4 Designer Pieces for Less

When it comes to furnishing a home, I tend to agree with Miles Redd- "Buy the best and you'll only cry once."  I believe wholeheartedly in investing in quality pieces that you really love and that will stand the test of time.  However, I also know that quality and a reasonable price tag isn't impossible to find- and I am here to prove it!  Today I rounded up less expensive alternatives to 4 high-end designer favorites.  

First up- the infamous Stark antelope carpet:

{Only Things I Love}

This beautiful cut pile carpet is a timeless look that works in a multitude of settings, from an Upper East Side apartment to a Texas ranch house.  However, at upwards of $2k per 8' x 10' rug, it costs a pretty penny.  Ballard Designs recently produced a similar antelope rug and runner that is nearly 1/4 of the cost- and just as gorgeous!

1.) Ballard Designs Antelope Hand Tufted Rug $179

Over the past couple of years, Serge Mouille's 3-arm ceiling lamp, standing lamp, and two-arm wall sconces have been all the rage.  Originally released in 1958 by French industrial designer Serge Mouille, the noteworthy shape and quirky angular arms are a mid-century staple. The shades themselves were inspired by the female form.

{Jenna Lyons}

The original ceiling light retails for $7k, but France & Son offers a handsome alternative at a much more attainable price-

2.) Serge Mouille-Style 3-Arm Ceiling Light $459

Scalamandre's Leopardo silk velvet is a dream and often used to cover x-benches and ottomans:

However, the price for this one is over $700/yard of fabric.  Yikes!!  I stumbled upon this look-alike leopard bench while perusing OKL yesterday, though.  It looks just as luxe as the real thing to me.

3.) One Kings Lane Perry Pillow-Top Ottoman $699

Plexi-craft is the queen of all lucite/acrylic furniture, and has the hefty price tag to prove it,  but the look is so gorgeous!  My boss used their desk in her old office, which has now become my desk!:

The Plexi-craft coffee table is another designer favorite, which can also be spotted in Claiborne Swanson Frank's living room:

Here are 2 great, inexpensive alternatives!

4.) Ballard Designs Felicity Acrylic Coffee Table $749

Wisteria Disappearing Coffee Table $799

I love a good bargain and am always hunting for the best possible purchase when it comes to designer faves.  Have you all found any good buys lately?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Photographer Crush: Lesley Unruh

All interior designers know the key to a successful portfolio is a skilled photographer.   While a room may be breathtaking in person, how do you capture that beauty in a picture and allow the viewer to feel the essence of a space?  An exceptional photographer, that's how!  I discovered Lesley Unruh after stalking several of the house tours she photographed for One Kings Lane.  Based in Brooklyn, Leslie has a robust portfolio including still life, interiors, studio artwork, nature, and creatives in their spaces.  She was the staff photographer and producer for the beloved domino magazine from 2004-2009, and has photographed for Lonny, Martha Stewart Living, Luxe Magazine, and Surface Magazine, among others.  As a Lilly Bunn fanatic, my favorite house tour she has photographed was Lilly's apartment for OKL:

{Interior by Lilly Bunn}

How fab is the Marilyn Minter photograph above Lilly's living room desk?

Alison Cayne's West Village 5-story townhome was also photographed by Unruh.  Alison is the founder of Haven's Kitchen, a cooking school, event space, and cafe near Union Square in Manhattan.  What surprised me most about her gorgeous home is that she did each floor all by herself- and every inch is perfection:

{Alison relaxing in her airy living room}

I love her bedroom vanity, featuring her favorite perfumes, photographs of friends, and even a 3D artwork by her daughter:

Thom Filicia's 1917 lake house had me swooning with the rustic wood panels running the width of the living room ceiling:

And only Lesley could capture the luscious jewel tones of Alex Papachristidis's Manhattan high-rise. I love the energy of this image of Alex and his partner Scott Nelson, with their pup Teddy in the mix:

{Interior by Alex Papachristidis}

{Interior by Alex Papachristidis}

{Interior by Alex Papachristidis}

While I swoon over Lesley's interior photography, her still life and landscape photography is stunning as well.

Leslie's photographs vividly capture the mood of a space as well as the minute details that make it special.  I highly recommend scrolling through her portfolio-  it's pure bliss!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Chick Haven

Are you all familiar with Chairish?  It's my new favorite source for vintage and gently-used designer furniture and decor.    Started by a husband and wife, Chairish originated when the couple moved homes and wanted to sell some of their beloved furniture pieces.   Although the items were gorgeous and high-quality, they weren't going to work in their new space, and it seemed like a waste to just donate or get rid of them.  After asking friends for suggestions, they realized that there was a strong need for a quality furniture marketplace to buy and sell beautiful, unique items.  Looking through the site is like treasure-hunting, and I find I'm constantly pinning items for work projects and for my personal apartment.   Today  I pulled together a female-friendly look that would make the perfect space for unwinding and sipping margaritas with your lady friends: 

Shop This Board:

Barbie and Ken "Morning Stroll" Photograph $30/Mid-Century Italian Velvet Armchairs $3,800/Yin and Yang Brass Side Tables $895/Pink Retro Swivel Counter Stools $650/Haziza Rock Bar Lucite Crystal Table $1,300/Set of 6 Lime Mid-Century Glasses $125/Mrs. Lilien's Cocktail Swatchbook $15/Patron $97/Round Brass Bar Cart $1,049/

What chick haven would be complete without a Barbie and Ken photograph by the talented David Parise or a copy of Mrs. Lilien's dessert cocktail swatch book?  

Happy charishing.

Please note Chairish did not compensate me in any way for this post- all opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Etsy Finds Volume 2

Etsy is akin to falling down a rabbit hole.  You can search for hours and never find exactly what you're looking for, yet other times you can discover unique, one-of-a-kind treasures.  Over the 11 years since Etsy went live, I've done my fair share of hunting down the perfect vintage furniture piece, the perfect throw pillow, and the perfect birthday gift for a friend often on the site.  And through that time, I've discovered a few tried-and-true shops that are curated to perfection- and I want to share them with you!  

Shop This Board:
Southern Linens Applique Monogram Shams $108/Crystal Wrap Bracelet $80/Flower Art Print on Canvas $110/Leopard Pillow Cover $30/Mascara Pouch $15/Lola Donahue Fashion Illustration $92.37

Southern Linens is an inexpensive alternative to the drool-worthy Leontine Linens, and even has a few appliqué embroidery options. 

Lux Design features delicate jewels with pretty gemstones that I like to layer together.

Like William Studio has affordable abstract art that comes printed on canvas.  Just frame it and you're ready to go!

Lola Donahue creates beautiful artwork and illustrations that I buy repeatedly for clients and my own home.

A Few More of My All-Time Favorite Etsy Shops:
Retro Daisy Girl (vintage, midcentury furniture at affordable prices)
Jasper Kane Designs (another great vintage furniture source)
Liven Up Design (custom furniture built to your specifications)
Harris Marks Home (Susie built my headboard for me!)
Merchant Handcrafts (cheeky needlepoints)
Leigh Viner (vintage photographs and illustrations)

Did I miss any good ones?  What are your favorites?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Color Crush: Lilac

I've never been a lilac person (or a pastel person in general) but with the changing of seasons I'm being drawn to color, color, and more color.  It's highly likely I'm grasping on to any hue in arms reach because I am so sick of wearing black.  All winter long I've worn blacks, grays, and browns with little hint of color mainly because I'm not used to dressing for frigid winters yet.  I stayed in the 5-6 same sweaters and pants throughout the season.  So, I've declared a personal moratorium on buying any type of clothing in black. Instead, I'm craving bright, happy hues like tangerine, sea foam, bright pinks, and now lilac:

To me, this soft purple is the perfect color to welcome spring.  It feels refreshing and crisp, without overpowering an outfit (or an interior)!

I love that designer Tara Finfold along with her client chose to paint this bathroom cabinetry a happy lilac.  Paired with brass hardware and mirrors, the color pops and livens the space up.
Shop Lilac Picks:

Ikat Dinner Napkins $8/Cabana Stripe Beach Towel $29/Molly Ring $34/Moda Operandi Gingham Top $750/Leyla Small Tote $65/Carra Pump $134.95/Portrait in Purple by V. Janopoulos $245/

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