Design Crush: Jill Johnson

I have always thought I was born on the wrong coast- a true beach bum at heart, I absolutely HATE winter/snow/cold/hideous layers of clothes/runny noses/frozen toes.  So I always thought I’d leave the frosty shores of New England and finally go “home” to California. Cut to me at 30, still living in Boston and still bitching about the cold, yet totally unable to leave.  A true New Englander, I complain a lot about the weather, yet I love this place endlessly for some reason.  Even after a long weekend in LA, I craved the aggressive driving and chip on the shoulder attitude we Bostonian do so well.  I figure I am where I’m meant to be…  and then I saw  the home of California gal Jill Johnson from Waterleaf Interiors in Coastal Living. She embodies that California girl I have always wanted to be perfectly. Adorable home in Manhattan Beach? Check. Thriving design business with best pal? Check. Home store? Check. Adorable hubby and kids all of whom probably surf and then go out for an organic vegan brunch? Check. Check. Check. Kill me now.

Let’s start with her own home- I love the beachy feel, light colors, open kitchen shelving and ample amounts of upholstered seating- specifically in the kitchen.

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Here are some other images from Jill’s portfolio:

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And here’s her adorable shop:

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Maybe I wouldn’t miss Boston all that much…

Reader Home: Single-Handedly Fabulous.

ColetteMay907 Colette and Madeline in their home

Chicago based reader Colette May contacted me with pictures of her self-designed town home last week and  I had to do a serious double take with the whole “self-designed” bit, since her space looks more professionally done than my own, and I claim to be a designer! Colette’s story is even more inspiring than her space though, so I wanted to share both with you today.

When not busy finding gems for her home, Colette is a partner at Kindle Communications and single mom to 8 year old daughter Madeliene. At 38 she decided to have a child on her own after continuously picking partners who already had children or didn’t want them. It was “the best decision she ever made”, she says, and I for one admire her gumption in taking on such a huge responsibility on her own!  A former model, Colette was tapped as one of Chicago’s best dressed women and has passed along her love for fashion to her daughter, who is already hoping to become a clothing designer. With only their new dog Oliver to add a little testosterone to the mix, Colette has created an utterly feminine space rich with textures that celebrates all things girly!  Recounting her days of playing with Barbies and designing their “dream homes”, she feels a bit like this is her real life “dream home”!

Colette bought the town home three years ago, and says it was quite bland initially.  After renovating the space previous to moving in, the first aesthetic choice she made was to paint all the window frames and railings black (which I LOVE).  Looking at these pictures it’s hard to imagine what would be lost if they were white!  She scours flea markets for vintage finds and mixes high and low throughout the space.  Wanting a new palette but still loving her existing furniture, she decided to reupholster everything instead of start over.  What’s so great about this space is that is entirely crafted out of neutrals, yet is not one bit boring.  Colette’s used so many wonderful textures on each surface that your eye is delighted to dance from one to the next finding interest in each variation.  Adding a knockout punch of black was a genius decision, and only reinforces my commitment to using copious amounts of black in my next home!  I absolutely adore her glamorous yet grown up space and feel pretty lucky to be the first to share it with the blog world!

Now, if anyone knows of a fabulous single man in Chicago who might be worthy…. :)

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A Dream Apartment

As soon as I saw the title of Paloma’s post yesterday, “Lucky Lady” on her Facebook feed I thought “it MUST be the Anna Kohler apartment”.  And I was correct! Over the weekend I was perusing my dad’s copy of Renovation Style while out in CT and when I saw this apartment I began shrieking out loud. I may or may not have used expletives (which clearly is of some debate for me to use here) and flipped through the story about 50 times thinking “what does this girl DO for a living???” Without further ado, I present you one of the coolest bachelorette pads I’ve seen in a long time:





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To get Anna’s look here are some items that might be of interest to you:

Louis XVI dining chairs from Ballard Designs and a white glass chandelier from

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Modern floral wallpaper from Design Your Wall:

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David Hicks fabric pillows from eBay and Kelly Wearstler pillows from Etsy

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Acrylic bar stools

Picture 5 With a couple coats of glossy white paint and new hardware, this eBay desk could be just like Anna’s.

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Country Livin’ in the Fall

So glad you guys all freaked about my boot purchase yesterday. I wore those babies all afternoon and unlike most new shoes, they did not hurt one bit. In fact, they felt like I had owned them for years! I am so beyond thrilled with my budget purchase!
As I was talking about them to my girlfriend last night I said “These boots make me want to be all country- and like, build outdoor fires, tend to farm animals and cook pumpkin based things!” Isn’t it funny how an item of clothing can inspire you to crave another life? Or a departure from your own just for a bit? As if perfectly aligned, I then clicked onto the Urban Grace blog and saw this posting about a farmhouse in the Catskills from the NY Times that would go PERFECTLY with my new boots. Because that’s the normal progression… to buy a house that goes with your Target boots.

Another part of my Target Boot Life- owning a country antique shop like the homeowner…

For an amazingly yummy dinner, make (while wearing the Target boots)  Giada’s butternut squash lasagna (I substituted fresh sage for basil and it made it that much better).  I made it once for Thanksgiving and it was INCREDIBLE.

Lifestyle Lust: Pasanella & Sons Vitners.

Last week I was perusing some of my bookmarked blogs and came upon this entry over at Orange Beautiful. She had gone to NYC and toured the wine boutique Pasanella and Son and I instantly fell in love. Not only because I love me some vino, but the design of the shop is beyond charming, right down to the cork business cards! Come to find out, it’s run by a couple, one half of which is the senior home editor at Martha Stewart Living. I am beyond enchanted by their life- living in an apartment above their shop in NYC (loving that kitchen with the ladder and open shelving). So I’ve created a new category inspired byt them called Lifestyle Lust. I always see stories liek this that make me admire someone’s whole lifestyle, not just their space of their clothes.

Perhaps you recall this amazing wine tasting dinner spread from Blueprint magazine? I remember lusting after this space AND the table setting!

A vintage car, right in the center of the shop- also loving the craft paper rolls on the wall for signage!

A display and a gorgeous wing chair shot by Orange Beautiful.

The genius cards…

Let’s not forget that they sell great wine! From a selections called “As Good As They Look“, which provides choices based on the bottles AND the taste (I buy lots of wine based on if the label and bottle is pretty) to great gift packages perfect for housewarmings and celebrations.
I personally love the “Hot Date” which includes a bottle of sparkling wine, two etched glasses, a candle and a poem!

These gift baskets elimate the scary shrink wrapped cheese and sausages you find in most gift baskets and instead uses a theme to create a memorable (and classy) gift- like the Ski Weekend, which includes a bottle of Armagnac, two pairs of cashmere socks and lip balm.

For a really luxurious wedding gift you can send the couple a wine and wookbook of the month subscription or they will box up five bottles of sparkling wine, one for each of the first five years of marriage, labeled with the couples names and date on which they should open it! J’adore!!!

Images via Blueprint, Food & Wine and Orange Beautiful.