Pastel Palette

How I miss my white Easter poncho.  I do not however miss wearing my winter coat over the poncho.  Ah, New England.  It’s foiled so many of my fashion plans over the years.  One must be resilient – chin up and find a way to tip toe through the snow in your Mary Jane’s.  Aside from my innate love of fashion, it was the pastels after a long winter of dense darks that captured my imagination. Easter Eggs in all their pretty pale hues mark for me Springtime, new beginnings, and the promise of warmer weather to come.


I was thrown a bit by the fashion and interiors trend toward pale pigments.  After all, didn’t I just go and paint my living room navy blue. Yes I did.  Who can keep up?  It’s like I’m wearing bell bottoms when skinny jeans are in.  How déclassé! At least my bedroom is in fashion.  It’s wearing Lavender Ice by Ben Moore this season, and he’s always in style.

BP Living 1

Blue Print . Dallas Texas

Perhaps its the political climate that’s forced the powers that be, to resort to tones that connote innocence.  Palest pinks seem to lead the pack.  From wall color to furnishings it’s popping up everywhere.  While I did consider calling Ed Tasney my Painter up and having him come back with a few buckets of Bridal Rose (also Ben Moore), I’ve decided to ride this wave out.  If like me, money IS an object, you probably have a carefully crafted PR statement that goes something like this:  “I believe in investing in classic pieces that will stand the test of time, and accent my wardrobe and living room with accessories that are on trend, but can be easily (read – cost effectively) replaced. ”

souffle chair

Kelly Wearstler . Souffle Chair

I’m going to have to either re-write my public statement or become filthy rich.  Since I flip houses and replace furnishings all the time, I’m going to need to have my finger squarely on the pulse of the trend.  Darn it all, I better go find Ed’s number.

Happy Easter all of you pink nosed bunnies out there.




Velvet-teen: the real deal with the material

I’m awash with adjectives over this material….whose name is in fact used to describe the same.  That sensual texture, the soft, silkiness that begs to be touched, particularly by a tactile wired gal like myself.  It’s a compulsion, my fingers crawl forward, dying to know, what will it feel like?  The slightest contact transports me.  It’s hypnotic, it’s meditative, it’s calming, like taking deep slow breaths.  It’s no surprise that it reminds me of one of my very favorite childhood stories, and why I find it sneaking it’s way like Easter Eggs tucked away in the grass, into my home.  Some touches are quite obvious to the eager hunter, and others won’t be discovered without careful and systematic observation.

velveteen rabbit

Illustration by William Nicholson

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.  “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you’re made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you when a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real.”

“Does it hurt?”  asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.

“When you are real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.

“You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose joints and very shabby.

“But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams

There’s a lot of wisdom in those words, and a lot of comfort in a bunny with velveteen ears.  Ironic that Rabbit became real but velveteen is actually imitation velvet.  Still it feels so nice to the touch, does it really matter?  In the world of interiors, I embrace mixing the “mock-off”  my term for knock-off with the genuine article.  If you love it, it’s REAL.

So how did velvet come to be?  Egypt claims the glory for this status statement.  Egyptians new all about opulence.  As far back as 2000BC velvet could be found in a slightly different form than that of it’s popular fabrication today.  Linen fabrics with looped pile created this luxurious wonder.


Restoration Hardware Modern . In Practice

Current fabrication techniques up the ante on luxury by mixing silk and metals to create the lustrous depth, and reflective qualities that are one of the many intriguing qualities of this fabric.  Draped, folded, hung, it takes on different hues, its finish represents as matte or sheen.  It’s as complex and as interesting as we humans.

Keep it REAL…and be Kind.  Happy Easter Weekend.



Resort Wear: Tropical design

Feeling fine about bringing the beach into the city.  One way to do it is in a thematic restaurant.  Cuban fare should be accessorized with Banana leaves and palm fronds.  It should have low lighting, ceiling fans, and a Casablanca-esque vibe.  An oasis off the city street with island cocktails offering a tidal wave of rum and a tsunami of tropical juices to sweeten your experience.  Pick a neighborhood in NYC and you can be transported to the country of your choosing – no passport required.

Your home may feel like a restaurant with you serving up one meal after another for your family, but the decor shouldn’t look like a movie set.  So how to tastefully bring the tropics into a city apartment, and avoid looking like you borrowed The Golden Girls Interior Decorator?  Accents and suggestions.  That’s a statement.  Now the how too.  I adore the original banana leaf Martinique Wallpaper from the famous Beverly Hills Hotel,

Martinique Wallpaper

Martinique Wallcovering

but I wouldn’t recommend using it in the city unless it was tucked into a tiny powder room – ensuring moderate use of the motif is critical, in my opinion, to its successful incorporation into the urban environment.

Paint colors add sophistication and offer an appropriate backdrop for your south of the equator accessories.  Anything splashed in gold leaf will feel more Hollywood Glamour and less island living.  Mirrors, lighting, decorative dishware, and wall hangings will assist in delivering the effect without taking you overboard.

Ben moore pink

Benjamin Moore . In the Pink








I love New England and its four seasons. Though I’d like to take up with the powers that be, Spring.  I feel unquestionably that I am being shortchanged.  I’m fond of quoting Lucy from Peanuts – “I only want my fair share.  I only want what’s coming to me”.  Here I must be careful, because I may not like what’s coming to me at all.  But I digress.  Were it not for the long, dark winter months, followed by some pretty nasty Spring weather, I suspect I wouldn’t have such a longing for the warm breezes, hazy sunshine, and lazy cheerful countenance of islanders.  Bringing a touch of the tropics into my city dwelling  reminds me that beyond the paved streets, just on the other side of the highway…mother nature awaits.

A Little Deck will Do You

Preparing for Spring in New England takes a little perseverance, a bit of planning, and sometimes a take or two.  The weather is persnickety to say the least.  The trick is appreciating a 60 or 70 degree day here or there in February and March, and bracing for snow the next.  crocus in snowApril flowers sometimes need snowsuits, unless you are a crocus in which case … you go, you prefect little ice princesses.  Nothing gets you down.


I’ve got no good answer for this predictably unpredictable weather.  Waiting until the 4th of July arrives to adore my divinely diminutive deck is simply out of the question.  So forge ahead I will, with shovel close at hand.  One must be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best.

Lights are a must to set your deck or yard a twinkling.  No need to worry if you don’t have the ware with all to hard wire them, a single outlet will do for string lights, and like costume jewelry will dazzle all the same.  If you feel like Ben Franklin before he discovered electricity – totally in the dark – many great battery operated strands exist.  Layer them on darling.  Like diamonds, you can never have enough sparkle.  And on that note, don’t neglect your tea lights, and decorative candles, they’re part of the orchestra too.

Finding great outdoor furniture, whose cost is in keeping with its relative use, cue New England, is a near impossibility.  I must sadly leave mine out in the cold all winter, so its got to be tough.  Wicker won’t due, Teak will warp and wear.  A heavy grade synthetic is really a necessity.  Brace yourself, like snow on April 1st, it’s no joke that you’ll probably pay more for your outdoor sofa than your indoor one.  Buck up Buttercup, I tell myself, no one made you live here – you chose it.  Pay up.  I find Restoration Hardware makes many beautiful lines but their manufacturing ability isn’t in keeping with the 21st century.  They epitomize long lead – order now and you may receive your furniture in time for Halloween.  A rotten trick indeed.

Side tables, outdoor coffee tables, ottomans, and decorative planters, hurricane lanterns, and general all weather object d’arts – I simply must recommend Home Goods.  They do it all so well, they are such fantastically prolific knock-off artists, why pay top dollar, when you can serve off of something that looks top shelf?

outdoor furniture

Decked Out

I hear saving money is returning to fashion.  I think this notification was sent to me by telegram….now that I have it there is absolutely no excuse.  Keep me in line .. won’t you?





Designer Profile: Suzanne Kasler


Suzanne Kasler

Inspiration is a thing of wonder.  In quiet moments it can pounce, or ebb in like the tide as an idea takes form.  It can manifest itself in the deep indigo and periwinkle hues of the tail feathers of a Blue Jay, or in a ballerina’s pale pink tutu.  In the knowledge that colors have feelings, sounds can be translated into scenes, and numbers have meaning.  For those with a reverence for religion and spirituality the concept of divine inspiration is familiar.  Knowing something that you couldn’t know.  Arriving at the answer as if from a dream.  I love the idea of divine inspiration and welcome the universe to bring it to me, I am happy to give credit where credit is do.

Suzanne Kasler . Chez Suzanne . Atlanta

Chez Kasler . Note her signature white walls

And I must give credit to Suzanne Kasler for inspiring me.  An Interior Designer (by education), she has also collaborated with Lee Jofa to create beautiful trims, with Hickory Chair on a furniture line, with Visual Comfort on lighting, Ballard Design for accessories, as well as, forays into fine art and rugs.  Oh, and she is also the author of two beautiful books on interiors:  Timeless Interiors and Inspired Interiors.

Suzanne Kasler Inspired Interiors

European Sensibility . Cover of Inspired Interiors . Rizzoli

I appreciate that she doesn’t want to be put into some limiting design category.  She contends that her style encompasses the contemporary and traditional, high and low, sophisticated and casual.  That its sympathies lie with Europe (whoever would blame her for this?) and focus on architectural elements (you’ve got to have good bones, and if you don’t you must create them).

Kasler Living Room

Kasper Living Room . luminous loveliness

She believes in white.  She layers it on in all its varying shades and …. voila it looks lovely.  I find this provides a moment of introspection for me because I am drawn to her spaces – which never feel boring, but I almost always paint my own.  I love color.  Kasler makes her white spaces sing with the introduction of color in accessories – and by contrast introducing incredible vibrancy that might go unnoticed against a bolder backdrop.

A room should be collected not decorated.

ballard Kasler

Ballard Design . Kasler’s Style made affordable!

Now to be clear, I could not hire Suzanne to design my spaces, but I can profit from her brilliant style all the same.  I pour over her books studying the particular ways in which she brings life to a room.  Make note of her philosophy that there should be one object in every room that is special to you, and to search for inspiration in every little thing you encounter from the darts on a stunningly structured evening gown, to the branches of a cherry blossom tree, inspiration abounds.




Hello Sailor: Show your stripes

Long before Sailors sported stripes, they had a dark and devious past.  Perhaps it can be attributed to the inability to draw a line in the sand, and set those stripes firmly on one side or the other.  stripesIt’s not really black or white after all, and in the good old days they liked to keep things just that.  The ambiguity of it all resulted in them getting kicked to the dark side – perhaps strictly as a precaution, but there they sat none-the-less, for centuries.  Lunatics, Lepers, Prostitutes, Criminals, and sometimes Entertainers were forced to wear stripes – showing the world who they really were –  outcasts.

I suppose, Sailors figured they would take their chances, being considered the likes of any of the above, if it meant it would save their lives.  Worry about the consequences of their attire after they’ve survived near drowning.  red and white umbrelasAfter all, stripes have magical powers.  They can allow you to blend into a crowd or stand out in a rough sea.  They can trick the eye and delight the mind.  They can, of course have symbolic significance, as we are well aware from our beloved stars and stripes.

Napoleon ensured that the Breton Striped Naval Sweaters had 21 stripes to mark his victories.  It is hard to know if we should credit the combined French and British Navies for the stripes nautical association, or Coco Channel for bringing it into fashion in 1917.  Either way, I am grateful, and certain that they both “earned their stripes”  in their own right.

Was it this daring that changed the tide for stripes?  Hard to know for sure, but today they have a sunnier connotation.  On awnings they welcome you into a home or store, lined up vertically or horizontally they surprise and delight.  A quiet room becomes the life of the party, an entry a memorable moment, a beach umbrella a pinwheel of positivity.  So if you’re intent on “changing your stripes”, change them for the better.

Ever Present

What day is it?  “It’s today.” squeaked Piglet  My favorite day, said Pooh  A.A. Milne

pooh and p

As I look around my apartment I am forced to admit that it looks more like a warehouse than an abode meant for living.  A Feng Shui Philosopher – come interiors specialist would find themselves in a total twist over this unsettling setting.  I have to admit, that I too feel a bit bent out of shape over its unfinished state.  Then I remember that Winnie – who I absolutely adore – was loved too, by fluff loads of Eastern Philosophers.  You know, the uncarved block thing, and all.  Pooh knew how to be happy, to live simply, to be in the moment.

I want all of those things.  So, as I slog through the varied stages of moving things in, and moving things out.  Selling, refining, designing, denying, and admittedly sometimes crying, I try to immerse myself in the beauty of the chaos.  That’s the essence of life, its messiness.  And this day, is no doubt messy, but there is no reason, according to Pooh, to have it be anything less than a favorite one.

A beautiful mess…

There will after all, be a day, when the curtains are hung, the chairs carefully selected, a dining table laid out in all its grandeur awaiting guests for an evening of wining and dining….then where will I be?  Well, I hope I won’t be remembering fondly the struggles that led to this condo’s completion, or focusing intently on the next project, but rather, soaking it in.


Today’s Perfect Moment


You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.  Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land.  There is no other land; there is no life but this.  Henry David Thoreau

On that note, let this just be Sunday…you know what I mean.

Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend

Unless of course you are gifted the deed to a townhouse, then you have a new best friend.  Real Estate trumps diamonds unless it’s The Hope, but why separate the two.  Diamonds hail back to ancient civilizations, and within their beautiful geometry, mystical magical meaning lies.  Formed from two triangles – one upright, and the second inverted, it is the male and female, the sun and the moon, in its coupling it symbolizes creation, transformation, enlightenment.  Powerful stuff no?

diamond rug

The lozenge can be found in architectural relics as far back as Egyptian times, and century after century, the emotional power of this shape is said to have hypnotic, visceral, and subconscious meaning.  On an elemental level, we are drawn to it.  I know I am.

I’m a fan of geometry in the spaces I design.  It tells a story better than I could on my own.  It shows us something important, sometimes compels us to DO something important.  Diamonds are pleasing to the eye.  There is an elegance to their lineation.  That’s what I call Divine Design.  The Gods knew what they were doing when the created this symbol that would represent creation.

I appreciate these meanings, and incorporate the shapes with intention.  Now that you know their hidden meaning, will they become your best friend?