Front Door Dilemma

Ok, it’s not the biggest dilemma, but just one I’d like to solve as I think it’ll add a whole lotta cheer to my house, which right now feels like a construction site covered in dust. I need something to pick me up when I pull into the driveway that helps me not miss the city so much.  We are going to be painting our shutters black but the front door I think should be a bold color (especially since it’ll be temporary as down the road we plan to replace it with a new one with side windows from top to bottom to let more light into our teeny tiny entry.) Oh, but what COLOR???

Here it is. Notice I have some issues with it currently (remove railings, find new lights). Forgot to note that I hate my screen door too. All in good time, my pets. All in good time.

I have long loved yellow doors. Especially on white houses with black shutters. So that was my first inclination.

BUT I also looooove chartruese-y green too!

And turquoise looks lovely with white and black and brass accents!!!

And then there is the basic, but beautiful black-  too boring but it is lovely.

Which one is YOUR favorite?  Either way I think I’m going to give the new Benjamin Moore Grand Entrance paint a try.  It says it mimicks the enameled look seen on all those gorgeous doors in Europe! I bet there are other applications this would be good for, like furniture!

All these images are reminding me I need topiaries too. And a BANANAS brass door knocker. Like this insanely awesome fox one from Ivy & Vine.  Or this elephant one from Etsy.

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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A Few Random Faves

Just wanted to put some of my current favorite things out there for you all.  I always love to hear about what people are loving at any given moment so why not add my own to that?

For years and years I used a crappy curling iron bought  at CVS on a whim and never thought twice about actually buying a new one. Until mine broke and I actually began looking into new ones that didn’t have the clip that I never use (I actually unscrewed the one off my Conair!)  Enter the Sultra Bombshell. About $100 more than my old one, this was quite a big price difference to swallow but MAN was it worth it. I love this thing, somehow it actually makes my hair feel healthier AND my curls last for DAYS.

I first heard about Chantecaille’s Future Skin Foundation through Kyle Knight during a trip to NYC together, but then was so kindly sent a jar by the folks at Neiman Marcus to try and it’s fabulous! So light and natural looking and hell, if Jennifer Aniston uses it, it’s good enough for me! They also sent along their Brilliant Gloss which is now a constant in my purse (I actually move it from purse to purse, so you know it’s good).  I was actually shopping with a client who pulled the exact one I had out of her purse and we both were blabbing about how great it is because it’s not sticky and actually moisturizes.

I told you this was random so I’m about to jump from foundation and gloss to chips. Yes, chips. To me pita chips and hummus is like crack. I can easily make a meal out of it and some wine, and often do when left alone.  But Andrew came home the other day with a bag of Food Should Taste Good Olive Chips and I am now a convert. I thought that since they are all natural and gluten free they would suck and the packaging was SO good I figured they must be overcompensating for said suckiness….but NO! SOOOOO freakin’ delish! New fave.

All my friends with pretty skin have sworn by using a Clarisonic.  I resisted for a long time until last month when I sucked it up and bought one to see what the hype is all about and I’m happy to report it’s all true. My skin has never felt cleaner and smoother and I’ve only been using it a few weeks.

I have a think about t-shirts and needing them to be the most perfect fit. Long, but not too long, fitted but not skin tight, lightweight but not see through. Enter the J.Crew Painters Tee . I am in LOVE with the fit of this long sleeve number and am going to order a bunch for fall layering. So perfect. (The stripe version rocks too)

Ia m all about brushed brass hardware and accents right now.  Simply obsessed. So when I saw this set of three mirrors on, of all places, Home Decorator’s Collection, I flipped. So fabulous and under $150 for all three??

I am totally focused on this navy Coach classics bucket bag for fall. My mom carried this very bag when I was growing up and I love that it’s back in this deep navy (which is the “new grey” which was the “new black”- try to keep up). Any Coach peeps out there who can help me find one? Pretty please? :)

Speaking of navy, if I could I would paint everything and it’s mother Farrow & Ball Hague Blue in a high gloss finish. I mean EVERYTHING. It is a truly gasp-inducing color in person, I can tell you that. I cannot get enough.

This look could not be more perfect. So classic, a little sexy and simple!!! This is how I want to look (Charlize’s genetics would help too).

A Moody Beach Retreat

Beach homes do not- I repeat DO NOT- have to be chockablock with aqua, blue, nautical stripes and shell prints.  For example, take this Victorian Cape May home designed by Gretchen Kubiak of Black & Poole. I am obsessed with not only it’s petite scale (anything tiny makes me clap with glee), but the use of dramatic paint colors, light fixtures and art. Such choices are so unexpected and gorgeous! LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Napa Blogging: Frog’s Leap

Yesterday we spent a lovely hour at Frog’s Leap winery– my favorite in Napa Valley.  Not only because I enjoy their wine but because the grounds and buildings are the stuff of Martha Stewart-like dreams but also because of their fierce sense of humor (and the amazing winery dog Abby).  The first time I visited this property years ago I went bezerk over the building- a LEED silver building using reclaimed wood, gorgeous muted (low VOC) paint colors and natural fabrics. If it didn’t cost a bajillion dollars to open a winery I would in a heartbeat after seeing this place.  It’s one of those experiences that makes you rethink your life and aesthetics.  Instead of a sleek modern kitchen, I am now coveting the one in this building with it’s chic country appeal. Instead of busy, shiny city life, organic farming now seems intriguing. (I go through these phases all the time with each now exciting experience….)

Take a peek and promise me you’ll go if you visit Napa!

The building (and my folks):


The main tasting area with a gorgeous huge table and glass doors that open onto an expansive porch (photo does NOT do it justice!)


The fab fab fab stair runner and kitchen I am DYING for. DYYYYYYIIIIINNNNGGG.

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The library and it’s delicious window treatments

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More yumminess.

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Abby (who I want to come back as when I die) and Drooly Cat. He drools. On nice furniture, I might add.

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Nice furniture, case in point.


The details.

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Even the rustic outbuildings are perfection (the paint color on that door??? Yes!)

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Organic wine vines


Organic garden


Ready to go “awwwww”? Abby’s “ball” is a green apple. How cute and country-perfect is that?


Stick a pitchfork in me, ’cause I’m done. Maybe this will become “Elements of Stylish Farming”? :)