Old in Vogue

Je deteste the home that looks like it arrived off the truck via the front window of West Elm.   No offense West Elm – I love you and own many pieces from your fine store, but please just demand I turn in my paint swatches if I sink so low on the imagination scale that I can’t even mix and match.  The thought gives me the decorator hives.  That looks like a coral or rouge color bouclé – very unattractive.


Marianne Evennou . So very perfect in that French way.  Cool Retro furnishings and toys, tied together with a fresh coat of red paint.  Ca Marche.

I revere those that can imagine an entirely different use for some piece of furniture, broken piece of pottery, by-gone appliance, TV Case, or trunk. Instead of proclaiming it junk, they bring the funk – making you ask yourself – Why didn’t I think of that?  So simple, so brilliant.   They are the trendsetters.  The design visionaries.  The believers that aren’t afraid to make believe.  As far as I am concerned, all that dreaming results in some pretty wondrous things.


I love the nautical charts as wall covering…but it’s been done.  Still – done nicely here.  

I’ve been thinking so hard about what I could do that would be A. new, B. inexpensive, C. cool and clever of course.  Because you can do some things that are different all right, and you can do some things that are cheap.  You may even be able to string the first two together, but you are not close to being a design trendsetter unless you are also cool and clever.


An Artful Ladder.

So I’ve been scouring magazines, and books, blog posts, and open houses to see what I could see, that made me see things in a new way – if you know what I mean.  I don’t want to just be a copy cat – though I content that I never mind when somebody copies me.  I’m pretty good at closet design, but I want to come out of the closet and see if my talents can stand elsewhere.  Only time – and The Manse will tell.  I don’t think my efforts will earn me a letter grade, and I am certain there will be no extra credit that will tip me into the honorable mention category.  It’s going to be pass or fail, and I suspect the failure rate for a bunch of junk that you try to make look cool is pretty hight.


HGTV Gets creative with a desk turned nightstand.

I’m banking on some high gloss paint, and some beautiful rosewood shelving to turn an old ice chest into a linen closet outside the main bath.  I did’t take the heavy doors with their substantial door latches.  I thought I might hang pretty curtains in their place instead.  If it’s a “fail”, I won’t have invested too much into the piece, and it is just the right size for the nook it needs to snuggle into.

rope stool


So – Paint and new cushions which soften the patina of age, are going to play a big role in the pieces that populate this space.  Here’s to hoping it’s cool.

Pedicure: paint a little happy under toe

The Manse just had beautiful Hickory hardwood installed in the downstairs, and the hallway of the upstairs.  The hardwood that is original to the home in the two upstairs bedrooms it was determined, would remain.  Having never been refinished, they are substantial enough to withstand a serious sanding, and could then be refinished, but I think that after a good buffing, and the right shade of paint, they will look pretty spectacular.


Hoxton Hotel . Paris

I am a fan of painting floors.  I’ve painted on new hardwood that I just had installed, and on floors that have seen better days.  There is something that feels coastal about a painted floor – though distressed and casual is not the look I am going for in this instance.  I’ll ask for the finish to be high gloss.  This small upstairs bedroom, with it’s twin beds, deserves to have a little drama.


Benjamin Moore . Bridal Rose

The walls are going to be painted in Benjamin Moore’s Bridal Rose – a color that I am fond of, and which made an appearance in No. 2 in my bedroom.  It’s so subtle most people don’t see that it’s pink.  It’s sophisticated, not girly and that suits me too.

Hoxton 5

A little worn, but they’ll be good as new.

I want to pair it with a hue that resembles this seating area in The Hoxton Hotel in Paris. It’s dark and a bit muddy or moody and that appeals.  If you happen to know the name and maker, please do tell.  I plan to email the hotel and inquire.  There will be no moldings in the house, so I will plan to paint the floor, the base and the interior doors in the hue.


A slick and sophisticated look.

Think preppy, but all grown up.  Fingers crossed I get the approval I am looking for.  I’ve been told I can do a single room – anyway I want.  I am hoping that wasn’t followed by a …. as long as I love it too.  I think in the end, it will meet the approval of the Owner.

Happy Sunday.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Painting with bold hues

Dark 1 . Domino

Little King . Brooklyn . NY – Photograph by @cainite_via Instagram

I’m a rule follower.  I always have been.  I like the structure of a rule.  I feel that following them has kept me out of a good deal of trouble over the course of my life.  I’ve liked them, I’ve hated them (while still begrudgingly holding true to the line), and apathetic to them too.  So why is it then that this “so called rule” bugs me so much?

Waltham Living

No. 3 Waltham Street . Benjamin Moore’s Deep Royal

Article ,after article, I read about the cardinal sin of painting a small space in a dark hue. “Don’t even think about it” some warn.  “Turn you eye toward the barely there pigments” others instruct.  To that I simply proclaim – “What the “f#!x?

Left:  Keepsmilinghome.blogspot  Right:  No. 2 in Benjamin Moore’s Peacock Feathers and Cole and Sons Wallpaper

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “This rule should be broken”.  It should be broken frequently, and with a bold disregard to the prevailing authority.  Sometimes rules simply must be cast aside as ridiculous and archaic.  I’m not saying it to be a rebel, I’m simply disagreeing with the premise entirely.  I’ve lived my life in small spaces.  I’ve colored them dark, and light, and cozy.  We humans like a cozy spot to call home, and wrapping yourself in the warmth of a rich, deep, hue really is all the to-do.  Am I expected to live my life in white because I live small?  I think not.

dark 3


As we turn back, and enter the dark days of winter, I encourage you to embrace colors that have a little personality.  Start slow if you must.  The interior of a closet, a powder room, a small mud room or laundry room.  Test it out if you don’t trust me yet – I won’t be offended, but be prepared to begin an affair with your bad side….and I mean that in the best possible way…of course you know that.

Let’s Get Seated: finding the “right” chair

As I look around my tiny little apartment I wonder to myself how it’s possible I could need more seating options?  After all, I’m sitting on a stool as I write this.  It’s true, it was originally intended for my outdoor deck, but I have used it as a side table in winter, and now as a perfectly good perch from which to convey my thoughts to the world.


Bungalow5 . Taboret . in its new incarnation.


From this vantage point I can see 2 Louis Ghost and 2 Victoria Chairs – the iconic design by Stark for Kartell, at my dining table.  I have used those for so many purposes to date, it seems a bit crazy that I ever entertained the idea of retiring them from service.  They are light weight, easy to move, incredibly strong – supporting over 300 lbs. for all their airy, light appearance – they are lifers in my world.


Oly Studio . Neta Benches front and center . Louis ghost and Victoria’s all around.

I’ve previously mentioned that I have a teensy stool obsession.  I don’t think I’m ready to seek counseling, but if I cave and get one or two more, I might need to admit myself.  I see two Bungalow5 Taboret Stools in the living room.  I have owned these since No. 1.  They were black when I first purchased them, but I had them repainted, in a pale peachy blush – the color in fact is ….. wait for it …. Benjamin Moore’s Salmon Berry.  How shocked you must be that I’ve referenced a Ben Moore color.  He will forever be like a new boyfriend to me, and I simply can’t resist exalting his dreamy qualities to you all.  He’s beyond.


Benjamin Moore . Salmon Berry

Lest you think I am done, I can also see two Oly Studio Neta Benches.  Their Zebra Raw Hide upholstery is hard to miss.  These were also purchased for No. 1 at a time when I could barely rub two nickels together to make a dime.  They cost a fortune, even by my standards today.  One of them had a most unfortunate accident, which resulted in its leg being severed. I spent a good deal of time in search of a furniture doctor that could repair the damage, adding even more cost to these little stools.  Saber legs (the name given to their curved shape) are very delicate.  Just in case you were wondering.  Every time someone sits on them, I wince a little, and hope it holds.  We’ve been through to much together to part ways.

2 Harvard Pl 1

No. 1 . The Oomph Chair front and Center.

There is the Oomph Slipper Chair, which was in No. 1 and then found a new home in the Surf Shack, but which I have borrowed until I can make the decision, which is what has brought us here today.  That was a bit exhausting, and I didn’t even mention all the other stools that have found their way to other homes over the years.  When they get adopted, I can assure you, I have done my due diligence.  They won’t be used as a stepping stool in some drafty garage.


Souflee you’ll have to wait for another day.

So here’s what I am considering.  It’s no secret that I want the Kelly Wearstler, Pouf Chair, with it’s gold metal legs that defy gravity, but I am not getting it.  It’s simply too expensive.  Sorry Kelly.  Instead, I have been contemplating swivel chairs.  There is something so enticing about being in motion, and being hypnotized into relaxation, all at the same time.  It’s just the trick I need in order to let go.  It’s two swivels and an acrylic from which we must choose.  How did I land on an acrylic in the mix you ask?  First, it’s beautiful.  Second, the versatility of acrylic in small spaces is undeniable, and therefore should always be part of the conversation.  You don’t have to choose it, but don’t exclude it.

No. 1:

Bernhardt Interiors:  Hastings Swivel Chair . $1420. Overall: 30″ w x 34-1/2″ d x 35″ h


Bernhardt. boxy but crisply tailored.

No. 2:

Ballard Design:  Larkin Swivel Glider . starting at $899.  Overall: 33 1/2″H X 29 1/2″W X 36″D

Ballard Larkin

Ballard . pretty lines . a little messy.

No. 3:

Worlds Away:  Duke BG Acrylic Klismos Chair . $1437.50 Overall: 21.5″W X 31″H X 19.5″D


Worlds Away . Duke . undeniable versatility.

Please weigh in – don’t make me decide on my own!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mom’s out there.

La . La . Laduree: ain’t we livin’ the dream


Geometry . Beautiful

Every once and again I come across a restaurant or a retail store that I want to move right into.  I think to myself, who needs a kitchen (in the case of a clothing store), or who needs a closet?  Well, I absolutely need a closet, but I could pull in beautiful lucite racks made by the caring and talented hands of the Brooklyn Gals at Lux Holdups.  Those would work.  Those would most definitely work.  There’s a timelessness to lucite that makes the installation glide seamlessly into any era. Masculine or feminine – ca march – it works.

I first visited Laduree in Paris on the Rue Royale when I was just 19 years old.  Now they have locations is fab cities everywhere.  Their pale green bags and boxes, accented with gold, won me over before the first French Macaroon, in all its pastel, delicate elegance melted on my tongue.  They are like rose petals in every hue, and my love of color has me mesmerized by the silver dollar sized delights.  It doesn’t stop there though. The stores design is perfection, as my friend Samantha House would say.  Pastel perfection with a geometric twist.  I love screens, and diamonds, and circles, and squares.  It provides a viewfinder to something beyond.  Draws your attention to a scene, or color or space, that you might otherwise not notice.



Green and gold, black and white …it’s all stunning.

Laduree is a garden party, it is a fairy tale, it is a fantasy.  Life can be well…exhausting.  Laduree, and spaces like it, are replenishing.  Your shoulders drop, your lungs fill with oxygen, your synapses start firing.  I tingle, just a little bit, and not in a way that I think I am having a stroke, and need to google WedMD to see if I am dying.  In the good way, like I am a child again, and possibility, creativity, and imagination reign free – in a place before the adults told you otherwise.  That’s Laduree.  It’s Alice in Wonderland without the creepy animal heads at the tea party.

Ladurée Celebrates Its New Beverly Hills Boutique With Jimmy Choo

Peachy Pink Perfection and Lattice Delight.

The ice cream parlor green, peachy pink, the black and white diamond floors, and daisy accented walls, the layers of lattice, and pastel pallet of paints is precisely what I long to reference when I design No. 5.  Finding a millwork specialist that is willing to do something out of the ordinary – and not charge me an arm and a leg, will be the challenge. I’ll find them.  This week, after being turned down three times by Electrical Contractors too busy to help, I pulled a guy off the street to do the work.  I literally saw them out the window, dragged them into my unit, and begged them to finish the job that my contractor  could not finish himself.  Thank you Giroux Electrical Contractors.  girouxelectric.com.  You were my Knight in shining armor.

Getting close friends.  Really close to finished now.  No. 5 doesn’t seem so far away.  Happy Saturday.

You know how to whistle don’t you?  Just put your lips together and blow.  Whistle worthy desserts.

Money Can’t Buy Me Love: Finding a way

Money…what a disdainful word.  I sometimes love it, sometimes hate it, and often live in fear I won’t have enough of it.  This is all normal.  Everyone must make choices, decisions, look longingly at an item, or a destination that must wait for another time.  This longing is a good thing.  It forces you to ask why you want something (in my case it’s typically because it’s beautifully designed),  and it keeps me up at night, devising ways in which I might obtain said object, or falling into a fitful sleep where I dream I own it. That about sums up my obsessiveness in a nutshell.


Amir Khamneipur’s . Gold Table

Unrequited love got me thinking about this.  A few months back I read House Beautiful’s edition about small spaces.  They featured an interior designer’s home in Manhattan.  Just 700SF.  Amir Khamneipur’s home is exactly the home I would craft if I had that kind of money.  It’s so clever, it’s a grey goddess of color beauty, and it’s accented by mirrors, and metallics.  I am a big fan of all.  It features a gold dining table with a powder coated base in off white.  It’s heaven, and I have been like a lovesick teenager doodling images of it on the pages of my notebooks, expressing my adoration at every turn, and finding a way to bring it up, casually in conversation.  Ugh, a fool for love.


www.thechroniclesofhome.com – Jen’s DIY Grasscloth coffee table.

This table is in fact, one of Mr. Khamneipur’s own designs.  You can buy it.  This tiny little bit of a table, just 2 feet wide by 44 inches long, runs at a cool $7900.  Well that price made my love go stone cold.  The table is too small for even my little dining nook.  If I am completely honest I had a moment of total insanity when I contemplated getting two to fill the space.  Please!  It clearly was not meant to be.  Fate has a plan for me, and it’s not Amir’s table.

Left:  Grasscloth Wallpaper . Wallpaper Direct  Right:  Benjamin Moore’s Peach Cloud

I got to thinking about customizing a piece that will appropriately fit the space.  I do want that gold top, but the logistics and timing, not to mention the cost, had me considering another option altogether.  What about grasscloth?  How hard could it be to do make one on your own?  Surely, there must be someone out there that does just this thing.  Well in fact there is.  I found a gal who has a blog called The Chronicles of Home.  Jen even lives locally.  Now she is a DIY’er, and I am not.  I like to say – “You Can Do it….I can help”!  Jen made her own custom grasscloth covered coffee table.  Quite lovely.  She riffed on a World’s Away Design, covering the base in grasscloth as well.  Me, I plan to have my Dad construct the table, and my wall covering expert paper it.  Once it’s papered I plan to run two fat gold metallic stripes down the center with a peach stripe crisply inserted between the two before I varnish the whole thing.  I may paint the legs gold too instead of covering them in the grass cloth.

Left:  Ralph Lauren’s Metallic Gold Paint Right:  Farrow and Ball’s Lotus Wallpaper.

Love should be willing to meet you at least half way, don’t you think?  Happy Home Adventures.



Mad Dash on Moving Day

Never enough time in a day, and often too much time to make decisions that would better be made in a few minutes.  I say this having no evidence whatsoever that my agonizing and indecision, my procrastination, and hemming, have resulted in any better a decision making process than those made on a spur of the moment.  Those spontaneous decisions don’t carry the weight of uncertainty, or result in costly scheduling delays.  How could they.  You simply make them.  What a novel concept.

Well it looks like I am at that point, like it or not where I will be making many a decision which are the result of months of delays, and which I could pretend to myself were made in an organic and spontaneous fashion.  If for no other reason than to make myself feel better.  This late Sunday, the decisions are exhausting.


decisions . decisions.

I will leave the comfort of my sister’s home, and head to my new home.  I will paint the freshly painted walls with a host of new sample colors and when I awake in the wee hours of the morning, I will make a bleary eyed decision on the new living room wall color.  I simply cannot live with Alpine White, which screams yellow to me.  To name it white seems like false advertising.  Come on Ben Moore.  I thought you were on my side.

Left:  Benjamin Moore’s Calm – Right:  Benjamin Moore Vintage Taupe

I’ll shuffle down the hallway to see if I can locate a box marked bedroom, and dress my beloved bed.  We’ve only been separated a short while this time, but I miss it nonetheless. If I can’t locate it, or muster the energy to dig it out, or climb to the top of the stack and bring it down, I’ll just crawl on top of that unmade bed and close my eyes.


Benjamin Moore . Cloudy Gray

Tomorrow is another day.

Hope you close out January strong.