Renovation Update: Living Room Inspiration

As the temperature drops and I spend more time inside I am aching to nest and start decorating even though every last cent I have is earmarked for our amazing kitchen renovation which starts in the next month or two.  As I said before designing for myself is SO hard, but I’ve committed to making this home a study in neutrals as to keep it feeling light, calm and cozy.  I spent a good chunk of the week in LA speaking to women about designing their homes and repeatedly told them that the most important thing is to have patience and wait and save for ONLY things you absolutely love.  Of course picking up super affordable basics is a big part of design on a budget, but make sure that there are lots of pieces with character and patina layers with those items.  I need to take this advice MYSELF and wait for things like a lucite and brass coffee table like the one below. I also have been obsessed with the Mitchell Gold Major chair in leather with stain brass since it came out and so I think that might be something I start sacking away for.

sofa/ rug/ chair/ side table/ floor lamp/ tulip table/ coffee table/ art/ sconces

blanket/ pillow fabric/ candle/ shades/ tray

Proof that vintage pieces that you fall in love with don’t have to be pricey- this console was $75 at a estate sale YEARS ago and I still love it. I’ve painted the interior cubbies two colors so far and am about to change it again to a grassy green and find a finish carpenter to make wine racks on the inside to store a few bottles.  I’ve been stumped as to what to put in those little cubbies forever and finally have found a great purpose! This area will be great once drapes are up- I am LOVING my Ballard Designs/ Suzanne Kasler antlers I put up on either side too.

Benjamin Moore Forest Moss

And I can’t believe I’m doing this after I was like, a zillion percent sure this was going to be my sofa for the next 10 years but I am selling my navy velvet sofa. Our new home HAS to have a sectional with chaise or else Andrew and I might kill each other.  The dogs take up 75% of the sofa and so my 6’4″ husband and I are relegated to basically sitting on the arms crunched up and pissy. Email me [email protected] if you are interested. Pick up ONLY.

(fabric is darker than appears in this pic)

Prep Reunion

This past weekend was my 15th high school reunion. Besides being in near shock over the fact that time has flown at a terrifying clip, it was so nice to go back to one of my favorite places of my past.  You see, unlike most people I LOVED high school and HATED college.  And when I refer to high school, I mean the two years I spent as a boarding student at the famed Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT.  I began high school in my local public school as a painfully shy and very ill girl. After having to withdraw from school to reside in a hospital and work on getting healthy I did not want to go back into the situation I had left and so looked into enrolling in a private school.  After touring many I knew the very second I stepped onto the MPS campus that it was where I needed to be, and luckily it was an option for me. It was a scary prospect for my parents as I was fresh out of the hospital and not quite “cured”.  But the gamble they took by letting me go was the decision that not only saved me from my disease but also was the catalyst that made me who I am today.

(the MPS ring)

When I tell most people that I went to all girls school they look at me with an “awww, I’m sorry” face and I have to interject and tell them it was not only my choice but one of the best ones I ever made.  I was cared for, inspired, supported and enveloped by a community of teachers and girls with whom I will forever have a bond.  I learned to be brave, try new things, take care of myself and enjoy being my age and not feel rushed to grow up.  Unlike the school’s reputation of yesteryear as a “finishing school”, it was a place where we felt comfortable wearing sweats or pearls (sometimes both together) and being smart and working hard was cool. I’m scared that places like this are going extinct for women in this country. And coming back together this weekend, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have had that time, in that place , with those women and how it’s shaped me in such indelible ways.  And while we all have lead vastly different lives since leaving Farmington, the bonds we share made it the easiest thing in the world to share some laughs, a lot of wine and remember how far we’ve come.

The other thing that going back reminded me of is how much I love preppy style :) Farmington is such a classic New England town and the school itself is beyond stunning.  It made me want to buy a ton of cable sweaters and riding boots and hang a thousand framed paintings on my wall! Here’s a collection of images and items that bring me back to good ol’ Farmington!

Chatelles Paris slippers/ Jackie O (fellow alumnae)

I would sell an organ for some Leontine Linens monogrammed bedding.

Cambridge Cable Sweater/ Staffordshire dogs

Monogrammed stationery by Sugar Paper

I die for these flats/classic oil painting in a gilded frame

The Hovey Sister’s wallpaper via Anthro/ classic trench

Barbour jacket/ Tory Burch green (amazeballs) bag

Renovation Update: Moving In, Paint and Updates!

Well, last night was our first night in our new house… and even though we are still under construction it was nice.  The pups were so excited to play in the yard all evening while we toasted with some wine we got in Napa a few years ago.  For the first time I can kind of see how this is going to work, up until this point I was still having fits of “biggest. mistake. ever.” on and off every day.  But now that the bathroom is being finished and some walls are painted I can FEEL the space and really envision living here. We have SO much work to do over the next few years, but the end result is a picture I can see now (I just have to win the lottery- no sweat!)

Speaking of paint I was thrilled to partner with Benjamin Moore on the color scheme for our house.  Since the ceilings aren’t very high in here I wanted it to feel light and bright and knew I wanted to go GREY! I plan on getting all new pieces for the living room, very much inspired by this room from House Beautiful- whites, greys, black and some beige:

I tested a bunch of my favorite colorsEdgecomb Grey, Classic Grey, Grey Owl and Harbor Grey.  I thought that I would totally go with Edgecomb before testing because I use it so much and it is such a warm light grey/greige.  But when I put it on MY walls it looked way, way beige. Strike #1.  Classic Grey looked too blue. Owl Grey as well. And Harbor Grey too dark. After buying all the testers I was flabbergasted to find not one I liked. So I went out on a limb and tried one more I had never used before, Balboa Mist. And it came out pretty perfect! This color will be on our whole main level and hallways to keep the rooms flowing together.

(clockwise from top left :Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Grey, Grey Owl, Harbor Grey, Balboa Mist, Classic Grey.)

(In the hallway everything looked SO SO different- example, Edgecomb Grey is the top left swatch and Balboa is the bottom. Edgecomb looks straight up tan. This is why you MUST test colors on multiple walls and look at different times of day!)

Now, no judging because we JUST moved in but here is Balboa on the walls with half the trim painted Benjamin Moore White Dove. Picture with this rug from West Elm (which is in our bedroom right now) and grey sectional and some great black framed vintage chairs….

(clearly, have not primed or painted the new door casing)

(glass door and window are NOT white yet, mantle and moulding are)

I loved our old bedroom color, so I knew I wanted a darker grey in here, but not TOO dark. So I tested three dark greys- Stormy Monday which I loved, but was a shade too dark, Winter Gates which looked purple-ish and San Antonio Grey which was perfect.

(Top: Stormy Monday, Winter Gates Bottom: San Antonio Gray. P.S. How ghetto do our walls look post wallpaper?)

And here is how it came out- love it! Again, not the bedding, rug or lighting we are using, but you get the point.

For the guest room I really wanted light pink. Which is a really tough color because I don’t like it when it’s too sweet or too fleshy. I tested Hushed Hue and And both felt TOO pink.  So I went with Opal, without testing it, which is an off white pink I saw in Joanna Goddard’s bedroom.  I think it’s a smidge too light, but our molding needs to be painted brighter white and then maybe it’ll be nice.

(Top: Melted Ice Cream Bottom:Hushed Hue. They looked so much more pink in person, but maybe I was just being crazy. Not the first time. Or the last.)

Here’s the room done in Benjamin Moore Opal. I think it needs to be one shade darker. I think I will try a patch again of one of the above testers- I wanted to play off the pink in the vintage fabric pillow on the bed and it’s just a bit too light…

(was too tired form moving to even get our early 90’s vacuum cleaner out of the shot)

For the office, which is our smallest bedroom I wanted a moody navy. And I found it right away with Blue Note. Dark with a smidge of green to it it’ll be super dramatic and look great with brass accents.

(Top: Blue Note  Bottom: Mysterious- both look way darker in person)

The only other space I have to do is the bathroom, which I’ve decided shall be Benjamin Moore Space Black (super pigmented and dark) above the beadboard. Look how far it’s come! My vanity, floor and sink all look RIDICULOUS. Love.

Door swing was reversed and I cannot WAIT to paint and see the sconces in. Still deciding on a mirror, art and towel bars etc….

How about my GORGEOUS new marble top from Sygma Stone that was templated and installed so quickly! It’s so perfect, and I really love the American Standard Town Square faucet- it looks modern but classic too, which is exactly the look I’m going for.

Still to come- re-glazing the tub and tile in the shower because it’s nasty, but the tub itself is a nice cast iron job. I’ll be sure to show you the before and afters of that process in case any of you are in the same boat of needing a refresher instead of spending to re-do the whole thing, which is not always necessary!

The best part of all this so far though has been seeing how happy the dogs are playing in their very own yard complete with new fence! :)

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About Yesterday…

So I’ve hinted on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as to some new, exciting project I was chosen to work on while I can’t do a full reveal I can tell you it involves a partnership between the one and only Oprah and Ikea. I mean, could there be a better partnership for me? I don’t think so! I jetted into NYC last week for fittings and then went back yesterday for the shoot, part of the year long commitment to this project.

I’ve been photographed a lot in the last two years, but this was a WHOLE other level. This was a real, honest to goodness big time shoot- with full on hair and makeup people, set designers, stylists, like 10 photo and video pros and O Magazine staffers. To say I was overwhelmed would be the understatement of the year.

The studio was amazing, looking over Manhattan. As were the shoes. I bet you can guess which was were my favorite.

Two pieces I wore that were fantastic- this watercolor Rag & Bone skirt and these SICK velvet Rachel Zoe tuxedo trousers (which I got to keep since they were tailored to me! Yeeeee haaawww!)

While I tried my best to take it all in I was so friggin’ nervous.

I was much more this:

than this:

And when it came to filming video I pretty much forgot my name. Proof positive that I won’t be on a TV show aaaaaaaanytime soon. If you yell “action” I will 100% do this for the first 215 takes:

McKayla was NOT impressed:

Practice makes perfect, right? :)

Up next, a trip to California to do an appearance at the O! You conference in Los Angeles!So excited and honored to be working with these two amazing companies! More to come!


(#1 on my list still… a monkey)

Well, today I turn 33.

It sounds so much older than 32 for some reason.  Maybe it’s because I thought I’d be in a different place by this age. Pointedly, a mother. As I’ve written here before, the decision to go down that path has been one I’ve struggled with.  Some tell me to hurry up, while some tell me not to worry, I’m still young.  One person will tell me I’m missing out on a great experience, while after a cocktail or two another will plead to me to wait as long as I can, or not to do it at all. The advice that it thrown around concerning this subject is plentiful and powerful, and to someone like me it resonates and confuses to the point that it blocks out my own thoughts about the matter.

And to be honest, we have started down the path in an attempt to become parents. And it hasn’t happened for us.  And it’s both frustrating and not bothersome to me. Yet. With major renovations to our new home starting in 3 weeks, moving and more business than I know what to do with my stress level is through the roof. Which I’m sure is contributing to the lack of baby in my belly right now, because we are both perfectly healthy.  Something in me feels like when the time is right, it’ll happen. The universe somehow knows I am just way too overwhelmed to handle a pregnancy right now. I need to get into my house. I need to get some of it done first. I need to get some business straightened out. I need to get myself in a healthier place. I need to breathe for a bit before that can happen.  Doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying, but I’m trusting in the greater powers out there to determine when it’s time.  Doesn’t mean I don’t feel left out when every single post on my Facebook feed features a friend’s child, baby, second baby or swollen belly. Some days it kills me, and I feel like I’m so behind.  And others I thank goodness that I only have to deal with myself. The emotional swings regarding this matter are epically wide and dramatic.

So for now, as I turn 33 , it’s just me. And Andrew. And Bax and Ollie. And that’s okay. We have a silly, happy, busy little family and eventually it will grow.  Just not right this second. So this year I can celebrate my birthday with that extra glass of wine and perhaps next year, with any luck, it’ll be with a bottle of another kind.