This Empress needs some bed clothes

This is not like Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but these last few days have left me longing for my bed and the security that hiding under the covers provides. Why is that so comforting? Is it the smell of freshly laundered sheets, the coziness of being tucked in between those hospital corners that make us feel swaddled, held, assured that something has “got” us.

How could you ever not be happy in that polka dotted bed?

Right now I don’t want any tips on how to iron my sheets to pass the time or make the perfect bed. I just want to get into it and find that when I wake in the morning I’m moaning about the earliness of the hour before showering, dressing, putting on make-up, and driving into the office for a frantic day of activity and night of entertaining client’s. You know – a “normal” day.

In light of our current reality I think my bedroom could use a little more adornment. I want a whole lot more cozy, and big billowy bundles of comfort. I’ve scoured the internet and sorted through loads and loads of images of beds that made me smile, that gave me pause to wonder how the heck they did that thing with the canopy, and ask myself if I would ever want to leave said bed if my room looked like one of these.

Miles Redd Bed Beauty

All a much healthier conversation to have with myself while typing on the computer at a desk rather than lying in bed eating ice cream. Not judging you or doing any ice cream shaming here – you do whatever it takes to get through this and not land in jail or lord forbid, in a hospital.

The English Autocracy never get old

Look at all that molding. Look at the stunning color of the room – totally unashamed to be pink. Look at the color of the maid’s dress – I’m swooning.

To quote Lena Dunham: “My passion was for moldings. Any of them! All of them!” that’s one of the many reasons I love Jane Austin’s books turned movies. It’s a Robin Leach – Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, several centuries before robin was born. He was English, though that’s something. The places in which Jane chose to set her many novels, were fabulous mansions in the English countryside – estates really – with all the costumes and pop and circumstance that go along with being “money’d.”

It’s the whole thing. The hat with it’s trellis design, white feather and yellow flower, the pink, tuliped cut-out, buttoned cap sleeve, the Aegean Blue and crisp white of the back wall. Hello.

Well amen to the fortunes that found them donning frocks with details the likes of which are rarely found outside a Dior couture dress makers salon, and the adornments bestowed upon their palace interiors…breathtaking. I’m in molding heaven.

From her coral drop earrings to that double lace edged color and her gingham dress – well this is an outfit that we could design a room around – don’t you think?

The latest release of Emma, directed by Autumn de Wilde is a visual playground for the detail oriented. I had to keep stopping the film just to stare longingly at the cap sleeve of a dress, the tufted silk, floral cushion of the handsome cab, the pastel palette of prettily appointed room after room. I was swooning, and I love the dept of the storytelling so much, pausing was difficult to do, but necessary.

If I were a blogger that turned an outfit into a room, I’d do it with this movie. It’s got enough content for even the most visually challenged to work with. Oh how I long for that costume designer to drop a trunk off at my home. I’ll make those centuries old outfits work today, and it won’t kill me.

One King’s Lane Rattan Lamp

I wonder if the exclusive club Annabelle’s in Mayfair stole a trick or two from Emma or if it’s just in their English blood? No matter, for now I will have to content myself with watching the movie again. Neither Annabelle’s or the English Autocracy have any plans of granting me access. So disrespectful.

Something Beautiful: Jenna Lyons

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Jenna Lyons

Creative Director and President of J. Crew, until Monday, when I heard the sad news of her departure.  If you don’t know already, this woman is seriously cool.  Design is in her genes, whether she wears them (jeans that is) to the Met Ball, the who’s who of whoing in American Hip People of the Moment, or she’s donning a jacket that any American teenage kid would wear to school, with stilettos, and a high-fashion silk print pencil skirt.   She can pull it off.

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Lyons . Sleek Elegance

Like great interior design, there is a fascination with well juxtaposed materials in fashion.  Fluffy fur, paired with a utility jean, sequins with khakis, suiting with a pajama top.  Yes, it’s surely true this look will not work for everyone, and I don’t want it to.  She’s special. She’s amazing.  She’s the reason I still spend more money at J. Crew (shoes excluded) than on any other brand combined.

I feel like the air has been let out of my balloon.

I admit that I didn’t come to know who she was before her Park Slope Brooklyn Apartment was featured in Domino Magazine.  Will you hold that against me?  Not too long ago, she came to Boston and spoke at the Copley Place Store.  I was fascinated by her upbringing, her self-consciousness, her belief that she wasn’t pretty.  She’s so incredibly relatable, real, warm, and when I had my picture taken with her, she made me feel fun…special.

Jenna Lyons Park Slope Home.  Black . White and Yellow Graphic Beauty.

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I find it interesting that not all people that are fashionistas, are good at interior design, and not all interior designers are terribly fashionable.  Interesting because I draw inspiration from fashion for my interiors projects all the time, and I adore fashion.  I would’t say I am a huge risk taker, but wearing 5″ heels on a construction site is riskier than any Safety Officer wants you to be – what do they know about fashion anyway?  I love my industry, but I simply could not be in it, if it didn’t allow me, to be me, as far as fashion is concerned.

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Juxtaposing materials and textures.

“It only takes one colorful item to make a great day beautiful – or a bland outfit sunny.”  Jenna Lyons

J. Crew followers may not have been able to express themselves in quite the same way as Lyons – I suspect she wouldn’t want them to, but at the same time, to go back to a plain old t-shirt, khaki pant, and tennis shoe – the brand of old, seems too dull for words.

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Look at that floor!

“As far as I’m concerned…leopard is a neutral.”  Jenna Lyons

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I’m hoping that the Leopard that is so often present in her style, expresses itself in her comeback.  If her “Crew” couldn’t get on board the J., she’ll find another vessel and trust me when I tell you, I’ll be her winch man.

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“When something hasn’t been as beautiful as it can be, the reason is always bigger than the thing.”  Jenna Lyons.

Whatever the reason for the departure, it won’t be bigger than her ability to overcome it.  Certain of that!

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Enough Said…..

Ballard Comes to Boston

Well sort of, to Natick, MA which is much closer than Florida or Georgia.  Now has a new Northeast location at the Natick Mall . 1245 Worcester Street . Natick . MA.  I have loved the store through its catalog for many years.  I have purchased countless items for my properties, and gleaned much design inspiration, but catalog shopping is a little like staring in through the window after the store has closed for the evening.  The thrill for a tactile gal like myself is muted a bit.  I want to touch, feel, sit in, and understand the massing of the pieces.  One of the biggest mistakes we – should “I” have made, is the purchase of pieces that don’t fit the scale of a space.  Scale, massing, proportion.  It’s essential to getting the feel of a place right.  Not being a numbers person, I rely more on my eye, which tells me most accurately if something will fill the space in just the right way.

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Ballard Design Entry.  Note the panels which are popular with makers from Schumacher (to the trade) to Bungalow 5, and which a DIY’er would make using wallpaper. Tiger Pillow made popular by Salamander.  The modern version of a Louis XIII, XIV, XV, XVI desk, and the lamps referring a bamboo stem.  All comes together beautifully.

My eye is good, but its super human powers are impaired by the pages of a magazine like some force field.  So, you can imagine how many things I have returned when I discovered that they were far too large for my little homes.  Perhaps what you can’t imagine is my delight when I learned that they had plans to open locally, and they followed through on them.  You should be delighted too, and I am going to tell you why.

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Miles Redd is an amazing designer – I first learned of him through..you guessed it, Domino Magazine.  Known for his fearless use of color, high gloss, and statement spaces – he shows you how to achieve the same using Ballard.

Much of my design education came from Domino Magazine.  I talk about it often, as the pre-crash version of the magazine was groundbreaking.  They dared to defy the phrase “to the trade”, and tell you just where, and how you could get those coveted items that made up the glam and bohemian, the hippy chic, and upper east, of the famous and up and coming set of …. largely NYC folk.  The density of creativity on that little island is astounding, and Domino helped it to overflow to all of us beyond its shores.

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Ballard’s Bedroom . understated elegance. A little rustic, a little refined, the bedding and curtains soften and create high contrast with the wood headboard, and texturized nature of the sisal rug.

Domino eliminated the frustration one feels when they learn that either they cannot gain access to the item of their dreams without a designer on call, or read that it was a one of a kind item found on a Diplomatic Tour to Cuba ten years ago.  They eliminated by doing the research for you. Right there, on that same page, not in 5 pt. font in some resource index at the back of the mag, and had likely lost hope or interest or both by the time you arrived at that section.  Where you could get a similar item, the phone number, and gasp….the price!  No call for pricing, which is just a euphemism for, you can’t afford it.  They told you, you could in fact obtain the thing, or some semblance thereof, which would help you achieve the overall look.  What else could I do?  I feel in love.

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The Ballard Closet . look out California.

Now back to Ballard.  Ballard was always featured in Domino Magazine.  From the uber rich, to the just landed my first big break, and every type of featured individual or couple in-between, pieces from Ballard appeared carefully placed among their curated collection. It’s brilliant really, and very affordable.  Simple, clean design that works.  Suzanne Kasler an award-winning interior designer has a signature collection for Ballard.  She is a beautiful American designer, with a European flare that fits perfectly with the overall aesthetic of the Ballard Collection.  Whether you choose to shop at one of their stores, or through their catalog, your home collection should proudly feature a piece or two from Ballard.  Happy shopping.

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Kasler .  need I say more?

Carpet Diem: The Rug Company comes to Boston

Imagine my surprise and delight when I learned last week, as I wondered down Newbury Street – Boston’s petite version of Madison Avenue, that The Rug Company found its way to my little neck of the woods.  I first learned of The Rug Company fsharp-2om Domino Magazine, over 8 years ago.  I can remember sitting in my tiny Charlestown apartment, slowly turning the glossy pages, letting the beauty of it all wash over me, in no rush to arrive at the end, knowing that it would be a long month before my next installment landed on my doorstep.  That magazine made me a believer.  Oh I still dream.  I’ve had my eye on that Moses Ice for all those long years.  Trust me when I tell you, it will be mine some day.

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I have visited it in the Soho Showroom in NYC so many times my pour sister Mary Beth simply rolls her eyes and gives in to my demand to see it in person, again.  I’m a very tactile gal.  I must touch it, and all it’s silk and wool loveliness, or I will not feel that deep sense of connection.  Sound strange?  It’s totally normal to me.

The Moses Ice is a pale gray, which as you know dear reader, is my big love.  However, property number 4 is all about creams and washed out watercolors.  No worries, The Rug Company has you covered.  You can pick from a dizzying selection of hues to create your own color way.  Brilliant.  They will even offer you options in ALL wool – understand that an all wool carpet is less expensive than a wool and silk combo – that does not mean it is INexpensive.  At least it is not for me.  Still, the thought of having my very own version of Suzanne Sharp’s design, has me swooning like a lovesick teenager.

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Pop on in and introduce yourself to Andrew Neave the Showroom Director and Stacey Marino.  They are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable, and are sure to help you find your own Red Carpet moment for your home.

The Rug Company . 129 Newbury Street . Boston . MA  www.therugcompany.com