Hedging Your Bet: Versatile bedding that travels

In the summertime I basically live out of a suitcase.  Granted, it’s a very pretty suitcase with it’s silky, poppy bow tie interior, a la a Kate Spade and Steamline collaboration, but it’s still a suitcase that sits in the doorway of my second bedroom awaiting its next destination.  For me, it’s no problem.  My life in sawdust has me living out of suitcases even when it’s not summer.  I am acclimated to the versatility that is required to make oneself at home, whether it’s your home or not.

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Hedgehogs Portable Mattresses . $375.

I wish I could say that I adapt to my varied sleeping conditions with as much nonchalance as I do the traveling part of my existence, but never having been a great sleeper, I like my bed, its pillows, my sheets, the blankets, and all the other accoutrements that lend themselves to a restful sleep, or at the very least give you something beautiful to look at as you lie awake.


Lyford Seersucker Throwbed . green

Cue French obsession.  I have long admired the French’s interesting custom of placing what appears to be a version of a featherbed, on top of the fitted sheet, and calling it done.  Very practical when making the bed in the morning, but not quite enough for me.  Since I love a coverlet, with all it’s smooth sleekness, I want that, and a top sheet so I can stick my toe in the corner when it wants to shake all the energy that’s still hopping around inside of me – out.  There is something so relaxed and elegant all at the same time about this floating cozy cloud that sits atop all the other bedding that I fell hard for.


Metallic Throwbed in Mt Blanc

Low and behold, didn’t I just spy these beauties in one of my favorite South End stores – Willey Boston.  Now they are not French – they are produced here in the US – LA specifically, and I love the fact that Beatta Henrichs Lieb started making them out of her garage – Hedgehouse was born….and later having her very good friend and ex-MTV Executive join the company to support its growth.  Though they don’t say it, I have a sneaking suspicion that they are in fact influenced by this French custom.


Toulouse Throbbed in Red.

The concept of a portable mattress that you can take anywhere, and lay your head down in comfort and style is brilliant.  I don’t just want one, I want a half dozen.  They will be perfect in The Manse.  Jo-Jo will make me buy them myself, but it’ll be worth it.  Sometimes knowing what your heart desires is more than half the battle.

Sleep tight this Sunday night.


Recommended Screen Time

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Overlays.com . Anchor Novelty Panel

I’m all about the details.  Don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to have a big picture vision, but like any good golfer, if all you’ve got is a monster drive off the tee, you’ll be losing to the likes of me.  Everyone that golfs knows that the short game is where you shave strokes, where you annihilate your opponent.  It’s the same with design – for those of you that think I”m being overly dramatic, if you want to stand out – you simply have to do it in the details.

Left:  Applied to a valance gives it texture and interest.  Right:  Applied to a simple wood dresser, and painted in a solid color offers subtle texture.

Now you can spend money getting those details right, or you can get clever.  The fact is, the less money you spend, and the more clever you are, the greater the wow factor.  It’s the almighty leveler of design.  Artistry and ingenuity will always turn an eye.


Sold in long lengths in excess of 90″ – 2″ wide, these are perfect for creating interest at baseboard level, along the moldings at the ceiling, or as a simple detail on a piece of furniture.

As I headed to the Cape to continue developing options for The Manse, I had my Galbraith & Paul – Lotus Fabric in toe.  I know, I purchased it about a million years ago now.  I’ve been in a state of recovery after having paid a mind boggling amount of money  (for me) to the Federal Government in Capital Gains tax that took the wind out of my sails.  I just stopped moving forward, and I never stop moving forward.  I have a deep fear of sinking to the bottom of the ocean like a stone, so trading water as fast as I can is a past time.


Glam it up with a bit of gold.

Fear not, the fabric was a toe back in the water.  I popped into Helen Baker Interiors, 94 Main Street, West Harwich to ask for her help in fabricating the curtains, and enlisting her services for The Manse.  I have ideas, but so does Helen and she is great fun to work with.

Get ready to get creative.  Choose your pattern or custom design your own.  $150. base fee will get you started.

As we were catching up, introducing one another to new favorite finds, like a game of … have you heard of this…. I shared LuxHoldups.com and a few fabric designers she hadn’t worked with previously and she shared with me Myoverlays.com  – HELLO – this site is awesome.

The classics will never fail you… go Greek.

I absolutely adore geometric patterns and fretwork.  This site offers laser-cut applicable wood patterns to transform your simplest “read inexpensive” pieces into something really special.  Template, glue, paint, and prepare to be noticed.  I’m not a huge, DIY’er, but I think I could tackle this type of project.  Just considering the color combinations would pass the time.  I love that these templates can be applied to wood, glass, mirror or drywall, and come in various sizes, and custom options.


Transform any old piece of furniture or add to existing built-ins – this age old pattern brings a touch of class

I won’t name the high-end furniture maker’s, whom I adore, and maintain allegiance, but with these beauties, you could create your own corner of cool for …. dare I say ….. thousands less.  One last pitch for a product with which I am not associated in anyway – they have templates specifically designed for the modification of IKEA furniture.  Case closed.


Earning Your Stripes

I’m always pleasantly surprised by the number of people that I talk to that have flipped a home, or are considering it.  While I haven’t run across anyone that does it quite like I do, I suspect if I keep at it long enough, and talk to enough people, I will.  There’s a camaraderie in knowing that others have been through the war.  Have suffered through the frustrations of construction, and want to share their stories of failure and triumph.  It’s comforting to learn that you aren’t the only one to have made a mistake, and to learn about resources or avenues that you hadn’t considered before, from those that have done it.

Left:  Serena and Lily . Striped Fabrice.  Right:  Serena and Lily . Striped Oxford Sheets

We’re all just trying to earn our stripes.  Not to prove something to the world necessarily, but to ourselves.  It’s possible to work hard and win.  That’s one of the most gratifying things one can do.

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Ballard Design . Striped Sectional Bench

I’ll earn those stripes when I am through with this project of mine, and with every property that I complete along the way, I plan to brand it in some small or large way with them.  They are fresh, they are quintessentially french, they are nautical, and opinionated, and all the things I love about the places that have made me .. me.

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Modernista.com – painted striped stair

I am reminded of their ability to be time and trendy all at the same time.  Fall fashion is going to go bold with stripes, with tailored designs and stiff cotton shirts – be prepared to be wowed by the simple detailing that turns a work shirt into a work of art.  Since fashion and interiors follow similar trends, in color and pattern, be prepared to see the heavy use of stripes between the glossy pages of your favorite magazines.

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Finding a way to strike a pose….Modernista.com

For me, the feeling that stripes illicit will always be in style.  While I am never going to feel like I’ve arrive, I’ll happily keep adding stripes to my sleeve as I make my way through life.  Mine as well do it in style.

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Madeline Weinrib Striped Carpet

Loving Lucas: There’s a new kid on the block

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The Lucas . 136 Shawmut Avenue . Boston – Luxury – Architectural Rendering

I have been staring longingly down Shawmut Avenue for nearly a year now, wondering who that new kid on the block was.  My path crosses his on my way to work each morning, and I can’t help but be struck by the shear sexiness of his exterior.  It’s magnetic, I’m mesmerized by the solidity of its foundation and the sleekness of its glass expansion, which rises up above the treetops, creating a green leafy carpet – for those in the Penthouse units – to gaze down upon.

Interior Renderings:  Clean lines – great views.

Located at 136 Shawmut Avenue in Boston’s South End, the name The Lucas is fitting as the property, which was constructed in 1874 – originally designed by Patrick Keely – was a Catholic Church, the Old Holy Trinity German Catholic Church to be specific, and Saint Lucas is the patron saint of artists, students, physicians, and….butchers.  Butchers aside, the South End, with its proximity to Tufts Medical, and Boston City Hospital, to NU, Tufts Dental, Suffolk University, Fisher College, and to a rich design community and the artists that populate the SOWA  (South of Washington Street) Market – Luke landed just where he is perhaps most needed.  Certainly, I appreciate the its presence.

Left:  Old Rectory  Right:  Original Church

This 33 unit luxury condo complex which is being developed by New Boston Ventures, A South End Residential Developer responsible for other SE properties including; Zero Worcester Square, The Royal – also located on Shawmut Ave., and 38 Upton in the Eight Streets District where I reside.  Designed by Finegold Alexander, and built by Metric, it includes 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms, ranging from $1.1M – $4M.  Now that only tells a small part of the story.  According to Ellen Anzelone of Finegold Alexander, 60% of the units were sold reconstruction, and the remainder after the construction began.  In other words – you’ll have to wait to get in there until someone moves on -this life or afterlife, they won’t go easily. Word is they have some pretty high-profile tenants.  I’d stalk it if I were you.


Room with a view.

I love old churches with their beautiful windows, their spires and detailing designed to pay homage to a higher power, but if truth be told, they don’t lend themselves terribly well to a formulaic apartment layout which demands economy of configuration to make the numbers work.  That’s not to say people wouldn’t buy it, but in Lucas’ case – it’s perfectly proportioned.  These numbers seem to work.  New Boston Ventures purchased the church from the Archdiocese for $7M – good deal.  They invested roughly $47M in its design and construction, and a blended rate of the units per square foot nets out at roughly $1836. a foot.  Somewhere north of $90M profit doesn’t seem to bad.


Window to the past.

Parking for 16 cars means only the most expensive units will have spots included with their sale.  The building has a gym, common courtyard, and library.  It’s also a short one block walk to Whole Foods.  All the modern amenities inside one of the most heavenly building envelops the South End has seen in decades.  Amen to that.

Engineered wood floors, custom cabinets, marble, and extra large subway tile with pale gray grout.  Just a hint of style without going too far.

If you’re feeling absolutely beside yourself that yet again you missed out on a great mate, don’t lose heart….I hear one of them is going to flip immediately.  Let the games begin.

Bedroom Magic


World Market . Rattan Twin Headboard.  $124.99

The kind that comes from a hot day in the sun, good food, plenty of exercise, crisp cool sheet, and a gentle breeze coming in through the window.  Sleep is often elusive to me.  I live through fits of insomnia chased by adrenalin rushes, and sheer exhaustion.  The rare and special gift that is an uninterrupted nights sleep – is magic.  For those of you, I could sleep anywhere people…just stop reading now.  Move along.  Nothing for you to see here in this post.

Left:  Serena and Lily:  Linden Sheet Set . Palm Green $258. Right:  Serena and Lily . Metallic Pick Switch Quilt $198. (twin)

I just of course – plenty for you to see here, even if I am jealous of your ability to lay your head down at will, close your eyes, turn off your brain, and fade into the nether region between night and day.  You are blessed.


Christopher Farr . Carnival Green – Imagine Custom bedskirts in this cute print.

All this talk of sleep arose from my desire to select the color palette and decor for the bedrooms in the manse.  Since I am primarily there on the weekends, I want the colors to be a bit more vibrant than my year round surroundings.  I love Kelly Green and feel that it’s a nice mix between nautical and nature that works well for Cape Cod.

C S Palm

Schumacher . Zebra Palm

My picks range from the high-end to the low for the first of the four bedrooms.  From World Market to Schumacher, I was shooting for a cheery space to escape to, read my book and fall asleep to the sound of crickets.

Bungalow: a bazillion brilliant hints for home


Bungalow . 1291 Main Street . Chatham . MA

I write about this little gem of a home furnishings, staging, and consignment store, located at 1291 Main Street, Chatham, MA – every year.  Why?  It’s like a brand new store each time I visit it.  They keep it fresh, and the pieces moving with their brilliantly complimentary services.  Need to stage your home for sale?  Need to sell it?  Need to de-clutter before you do all that – this is just the place to help you find your way to the next best thing.

Custom Made Chandelier:  Driftwood – Nauset Beach $6500.

These ladies have a great eye.  Not only are they purveyors of beautiful art, but they have a knack for selecting just the right Robshaw pillow, Brahms Mount herringbone throw, baby blue sheep skin rugs – and at only $50. each – at a good price, with one of a kind items like a driftwood chandelier – sourced from Nauset Beach no less.


Oil on Canvas . Artist:  Joyce $4500.

What they do with an old sideboard, painted with rope details around the drawers, and a tag sale chest of drawers, cover the top with an inexpensive sisal rug, and tack brass nail heads to the perimeter, making it hip all over again.

It’s this last bit of cleverness for which I am particularly fond.  That’s what separates an artist from a brilliant copycat.  They see things differently, and its so surprisingly simple, I often wonder why I didn’t think of it first.


Finally, they have a real talent for staging.  The space is segregated into tiny home vigneetes, placing uncommon objects that somehow set the scene perfectly.  This is the perfect place to get inspiration for your next design refresh.  You can even adhere to my one in, one out policy by consigning with them!


Happy Shopping.

Coastal Cane Brings the Cool

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Bungalow5 . Bay Arm Chair . Zinc Door $976.

Have images of dark wood, and stodgy interiors when you think about cane in any iteration.  Banish the dodgy, and slide into the cool washed out, contemporary, and fresh takes that cane has to offer.  From seating to sideboards, canes breezy take on the traditional is all it took to turn this Cape Cod girls head.  For those of you that have been following the saga of the Manse, you know I am preparing to furnish this place the moment the construction is done, and I want to do it right.  Sometimes the things that have been around for the longest, survive because they adapt.  Cane could just be one of those things.

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CB2 . Tayabas Cane Side Chair . $499.

Derived from the the Rattan Plant, and indigenous to Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia, this vine grows in the rain forest.  It’s thorny bark attaches to trees and leaves as it seeks the sun – so appropriate – growing between 100 and 300 feet. It’s incredibly flexible, and stripped from the bark, in long lengths it makes for a wonderfully strong material that can be woven into intricate patterns.  Perfect for hot climates as the screen lets the cool breeze whistle through its openings, keeping you cool.


Horne . Air Sideboard. $1150.

Brought to prominence in the height of the Victorian Era – if that doesn’t sound a little old school to you, it should, it dates back much farther than that.  Tibetan Warriors, Peruvian Princesses, and though I can’t validate it, I would bet that the Romans and the Greeks played a role in its prominence.  They always do…..  Cane has stood the test of time.

Left:  1stDibs . Desk Chair by Pierre Jeanneret Punjab University $4800.  Right:  Serena & Lily . Cayman Pendant $498.

This latest pairing with contemporary frames, and white washed finishes is coastal perfection.  It’s so hip, I’m inclined to consider it for the city.  Here are my picks.

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Serena & Lily . Harbour Cane Bed . $1598.


Happy Summer.

Splish Splash it’s Time for an Outdoor Bath


Nature – it will never fail you.

Or shower as the case may be.  For those of you that hail from non-costal parts, you are missing out on one of life’s true pleasures – showering under the deep blue sky, with trees overhead and the birds chirping happily – is heaven.  When I take my ten minute walk back from the beach, I am typically covered in sweat, sunscreen, salt, and sand.  If suddenly you find yourself wrinkling up your nose at this – hear me out.  This is the most perfect and deliciously sublime state one could be in, right before you turn that faucet and the water cascades down upon your head ridding you of all remnants of your afternoons activities and ensuring your bedsheets won’t look like part of the beach has found its way between them.  You must be dirty in order to fully appreciate the clean.

No beach today – the weather can’t seem to make up its mind about what it wants to be.  No worries – we need to reassemble the old outdoor shower in its new location, in the back of the Surf Shack.  Now building an outdoor shower isn’t super challenging – particularly if you have your Father, or someone that know how to build it, do it for you. Which is really what I do best – manual labor.  For those that want to give it a go on their own, there are a number of simple ways in which to approach it.


The assembly team hard at work.

First locate a good spot for it.  What constitutes a good spot?  It needs to be near a water source so the simple piping can be run from the interior to the exterior of the house.  You want it to be out of the way and erected at a height that prohibits accidental sitings from taking place.  A little privacy please.  Al fresco doesn’t mean free for all.

Well loved and still in working condition.

Second you need to determine the level of customization.  You can make it really simple on yourself and use pre-fabricated fencing to assemble the walls, forgoing any seats or shelving on the interior.  The fewer your requirements the quicker you can be in an outdoor shower.  You’ll need 4 x 4 posts to support your walls, which should either be set in concrete or crushed stone which fills and surrounds the 12 – 14″ holes you’ve dug to hold your posts.  Add a couple of hinges and a simple lock and voila – you have your piece of paradise.

Iced Tea, Tennis and Tag Sales

There’s something about summer that awakens an urge to clean out the garage, de-clutter, and make room for kids returning from college or summer guests.  As a habitual thrower awayer, I do not need a special time of year to engage in this activity.  I find immense pleasure in ridding myself of things – I suppose it’s a condition that sits entirely on the opposite side of the spectrum to a hoarder.  Of course it should be said that I typically replace the items I get rid of with something new.

Charles Eames was one cool cat – look for his stamp on the underside of the chair for authenticity if you find it at a yard sale, snap it up!  Similar available on Viyet.

I love a treasure hunt, and am not terribly disappointed when I come up empty handed.  I console myself with the knowledge that if I did indeed find an Eames Chair, or a fabulous mid-century modern sideboard I would need to give up something in order to make room for my purchase.  Having said that, don’t think for one hot second I would leave either behind, I wouldn’t think you knew me at all if you thought that I would even entertain such an outrageous idea.

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Eloise was Rather messy . I am not.

I am no Eloise of the famed Park Plaza Hotel.  I don’t think lampshades make good hats, and broken or chipped china cup does not make a good planter – in my opinion.  Eloise and I will just have to agree to disagree on this point.

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Knoll by Warren Platner Coffee Table.  Viyet $800. 

Mixing new and old pieces makes a home that much more interesting.  I surf sites like Chairish – which, by the way you can find my MOM Sputnik Chandelier posted for sale, and Viyet, and trust me when I tell you they have crush worthy consignment pieces, but they can be pricey.  For the committed bargain hunter, many of the pieces can be found at a yard or estate sale.  One must simply be prepared to dig through a lot of clutter to find it.

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Chairish – $3500.

If clutter isn’t on your agenda this weekend.  These are my Viyet and Chairish holiday weekend picks. 

Left:  Outdoor High Back Chair . $540.  Right Top:  Eero Saarinen for Knoll Tulip Table, $1699. Right Bottom:  Faux Bamboo Side Table $350.  all on Chairish.

Bad Ass Bathrooms on a budget?

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Simple . Clean . Elegant.

It’s been a while since I renovated a bathroom.  No. 1 to be exact.  The last of my three major renovations to the Charlestown apartment, I wasn’t exactly intent on converting my 39SF in a fiscally responsible manner.  I had been living for three years with ACT tiles that were stained and broken, bad can lights, grasscloth wall covering that was peeling at every seam.  The 6 x 6 tiles were cracked in places, and the grout had a permanent dinge to it.  I wanted a spa bath – really I wanted a walk-in closet that led to my bain de salon, where I could escape and ring the butler for my martini, but my little space simply would not expand to accommodate my imagination.  boo hoo.

subway orientation

Changing the traditional orientation can add pizazz to the tried and true.  

Now I will say it’s exceedingly difficult to renovate on a budget if you don’t know what your budget is.  I don’t care much for the fuzziness of this approach.  How can I pull from one bucket to create wow moments throughout if I don’t know where the buckets are?  What are the non-negotiables, what am I working with here?  This is my recommendation to you all.  Have an overall budget from which to work.  Decide where you want to make an impact, and concede elsewhere to using lower cost materials, and finishes.  You can always paint, and paint can have amazingly transformational qualities.

So my first round recommendations are:

  • Subway tile in the shower
  • Shiplap on one full wall
  • Simple 1 x 1 ceramic tile in white on the floor
  • Navy blue painted vanity
  • White cesar stone vanity top
  • Chrome fixtures (Kohler or Grohe)
  • HD Mirrored Medicine Cabinet
  • Possini Euro Design Emmitt 23 1/2 wide vanity fixture
  • Turkish Oushak Runner
  • Ship Painting
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Em Henderson Design . Fish scale tiles – so perfect for Cape Cod.

2nd Bath Recommendation:

  • White fish scale tile in shower (small)
  • Large white fish scale tile on floor
  • Vanity wall to 18″ above sink – navy penny tile
  • Roburn Medicine Cabinet
  • Chrome Fixtures
  • Decorators White – Benjamin Moore

fish scale

These two options, I don’t believe are terribly expensive, but expense is relative.  Of all the rooms in the house, I feel strongly that the bathrooms and the kitchen should show a little personality in the design.


Classic Penny still packs a punch.

Here’s to hoping we can reach financial consensus…deep breath.  I may need a bubble bath to “noodle over” additional options, as my work partner in crime says when we reach a creative impasse.

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Rossini Euro . Lampsplus.com

Suggestions welcome.