Out & About: Tablescaping at Frontgate With Denise McGaha

Franki Durbin Denise McGaha

If ever a designer lived and breathed her design confidence, it’s Denise McGaha. I’ve long been impressed with her bold interiors and personal style. And while I’ve spent a bit of time with her at various High Point or Dallas showrooms, October provided my first opportunity to see her give a demostration or speak at an event. The ever-popular Frontgate location near my home hosted an evening with Denise showing us how to tablescape like a boss and deck the halls with confidence this season.

Denise McGaha

I can speak for all of us in attendance when I tell you it was well worth the time on a busy weeknight to hear her wise tidbits and decorating strategies. More importantly, she sparked in all of us a renewed sense of confidence and empowerment as we prepared our homes for guests - or even decorated merely for ourselves.

Clearly, the Frontgate team felt the same. Denise now only transformed one table for the event - but four complete table vignettes plus the rear of the store featuring a massive hearth. Suffice it to say she was a hit!

If you’ve ever been to one of these showrooms it’s a wonderland of the prettiest home furnishings & accessories you can imagine. So in the hands of a master designer, the gold place settings, beaded runners & oak tables took on a new life.

But, back to the event…

As Denise toured us around the various scenes, she encouraged us to forget about fussy “rules” or stodgy guidelines for entertaining. Fresh eucalyptus stems in a water pitcher? Of course. Ornaments as place markers? Absolutely. A garden stool as a center piece? You bet. In addition to marvelous visual inspiration, Denise empowered every one of us to decorate with confidence and not worry about what was considered traditional. If you love it, it probably works.

In addition to marvelous visual inspiration, Denise empowered every one of us to decorate with confidence and not worry about what was considered traditional. If you love it, it probably works.

Her ONE rule (if you will): if and when you do use a tablecloth, please ensure it still covers the table once you add the leaf to your dining table. A “too short” tablecloth was her one “no” of the evening. Otherwise, she encouraged us to play, experiment and boldly innovate to create whimsical ways of decorating for entertaining.

Her first table was all about Christmas. Reds, silver, a mix of place settings and - of course - greenery. Right off the bat, she encouraged us to mix reds (yes, even of they were two shades off!) and have fun with differing dishes as well. Stack them, mix them, enjoy them. I love how she used sterling silver vessels for flowers, as sort of a cheeky nod to tradition.

Her next two transformation areas were less about the holidays, and more about infusing your tables - and your home - with classic pieces utilized in unexpected ways. Tall patio lanterns served as centerpieces stacked on a garden stool seemed perfectly chic the way Denise styled them. The lush magnolia branches (a southern favorite!) added a rich, luxurious feel to the scene. On yet another table she used chinoiserie canisters and hurricane candleholders to set the stage for entertaining.

My favorite, however, was her final tablescaping flourish: The GOLD & orange table! Who knew the humble “cutie” could be reimagined as a posh holiday table accent? From clear lucite obelisks (drool-worthy) to luxe gold beaded quatrefoil placemats, this scene had my name written all over it. I love how she played with height for maximum impact and set gold decorative trees on dessert pedestals for even more drama. This was a rulebreaker’s table if there ever was one. And I loved it. Look at those magnolia leaves cradling the spilled fruits? Honestly, girl. You’ve got game!

Who is Denise McGaha?

If you’re not familiar with her interior design work, prepare to be amazed. Here are just a few photos from one of my favorite projects. When I tell you she is a master of design, I am not kidding. I could go on ad nauseum about the architectural & design details in these photos, but her portfolio speaks for itself. Her work has been widely celebrated in the press, with every publication from Traditional Home to Modern Luxury taking notice of her masterful approach to design & living. Visit denisemcgaha.com for more and be sure to follow her on Instagram for daily inspiration.

Photography by the talented Stephen Karlisch.

Denise McGaha

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Tastemakers: An Interview with Interior Designer Lonni Paul...

Can I just say I love Lonni? Popularly recognized for her appearance on Design Star and her nursery furniture & bedding line PetitNest, this Los Angeles designer is one I always look to when I need a dose of West Coast inspiration. Perhaps inspired by the laid-back California lifestyle and all that sunshine, this LA designer manages to effortlessly balance glamour and a "come on in and take your shoes off" air of relaxation in their work. I admire that skill greatly. 

When Lonni's smiling face appeared on Giuliana & Bill it was a welcome surprise. As the celebrity couple's designer, we saw her navigate the needs of these two very different personalities and the usual (and occasionally opposing) husband and wife desires in terms of interior design. The results (and broad client smiles) speak for themselves. 

The beautiful images seen here show her ability to balance the needs of a young family with those of a professional couple that loves to entertain. It's chic, it's pretty and yet it graciously lends itself to that laid-back vibe we all crave. Mom to twins herself, Lonni is a natural at serving up that special blend of glam-meets-casual. The result is a warm and inviting suburban pad with a generous helping of up downtown high-rise elegance. 

Design fans will note that the feature in Traditional Home appeared last fall. but I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Lonni, so it seemed apropos to showcase her work for the celebrity duo again. 

I am excited to share my interview with Lonni below. Suffice it to say this talented designer is just as lovely as her work. Read on to gain insight on how you can channel that West Coast cool into your interiors, relate to her love of wallpaper and learn how a good blowout can make a busy modern girl's life easier (and decidedly more fabulous)... 


Between Design Star and Giuliana & Bill, television has played a very positive role in expanding your fan (and hopefully client) base. You are such a natural in front of the camera. Since you’re based in LA, is being on air a natural extension of your brand building strategy - or were these happy professional surprises?
The shows I’ve worked on were really not part of a strategy.  In fact, I was very reluctant to audition for Design Star but was called several times and asked to send in a tape.  I finally did and as difficult as that experience was I’m glad I did it. 

For Giuliana & Bill, someone involved in the show’s production saw a house I had designed and recommended me.  Their show has definitely expanded my client base.  It’s amazing how many people watch the show!  It’s also been such a great experience. 

The Rancics are definitely the same people on and off camera and it’s been such a pleasure getting to know them and their families.  We have become close friends over the last few years. They are very supportive of me and truly want me to succeed.   

CHANNEL YOUR INNER CELEBRITY CLIENT

Club House Chair // Orchid Vessel // Bungalow Side Chairs // Safavieh Handknotted Wool Rug // Etched Mercury Glass Vessels // Venetian Mirror

PetitNest: It has always been very difficult to source great nursery furniture. Your line is modern, cool and yet somehow classic. As your twins grow are you looking to expand into beds and “young child” furniture? 
Thanks so much!  My twins, Jett and Sophie both have PetitNest dressers in their rooms.  Jett has the Odile, and Sophie has the Sophie of course!  I designed a bed for Sophie’s room as part of a young child's line for PetitNest.  I haven’t put them into production yet but it’s in the works!

How else do you see that line evolving over the coming years? 
I’d love to design a line of PetitNest accessories and a party line too!  

Tell me about LA style. Your work has such an effortlessly chic vibe to it. Nothing is forced and yet everything is fabulous. How would you describe your approach to interior style? How does the laid back California lifestyle reflect itself in your work? 
Wow!  Thank you so much for that!  That’s what I strive for so I’m happy you see it that way.   I think LA has such a relaxed atmosphere because the weather allows us to be involved in an indoor/outdoor lifestyle!  My approach to design is to sit down with my clients and really have a conversation about how they live. 

What do they do when they wake up?  How do they spend their weekends & evenings?  How do they entertain?  Do they have kids, dogs, parents that visit often or live with them?  So I take the clients lifestyle and put together an interior that works for the lifestyle. 

I love so many different styles of design. I like modern design but I also like classic.  So my designs usually lean toward classic with an updated feel.  It’s funny, I was just in Chicago at a dinner and someone asked me “what is your style”?  I said 'it’s whatever the client will love for years long after I’m out of there'. 

A contractor at the dinner said “oh no, she figures out the style and before she’s done she convinces you it was all your idea!!”  I thought that was very funny but maybe true.  It’s important to not only give your client a home they will love and feel comfortable in but to educate them along the way with ideas to make it even better than they were expecting.  Everybody needs somebody to help them push outside of their comfort zone a little!

Let’s talk balance: We all know work/life balance doesn’t really exist. How do your lovely twins influence your work? Are they quick to offer input on your designs or do you compartmentalize those portions of your life? 
You’re so right! It really doesn’t exist.  No matter how hard I try it’s such a hard line to walk.  I don’t always do the best job at it.  I travel a lot so when I’m home I definitely try to have alone time with each of them individually and together too. 

I chose to work from home (I have two separate offices there) so that I would be there when they come in after school before their activities start and then when they get home in the early evening.  It isn’t a perfect situation though. 

At the end of the day I can be on the phone with a client and hear someone bounding up the stairs yelling “MOM”!  I used to worry it came off as unprofessional but I’ve never had a client have a problem with it.  Anyone who’s a parent gets it!  And those that don’t are also understanding when I let them know my reasons for working from home.  

Recharging: The west coast offers so much visual inspiration. What are some of your favorite spots to catch the sunset or get out in nature to unwind? 
The ocean has always had such a calming affect on me, as I’m sure it does to most people.  I love to go down to Santa Monica or Malibu and watch the sunset from the beach.  I also love to try different restaurants with friends.  I love the food and the ambience!   I have a client from England who comes over several times a year and I think we spend more time eating than working!  

Beauty: You manage to stay so gorgeous while chasing twins and rocking it out for celebrity clients. Are there any beauty tricks or special products you’d love to share? 
Oh wow!!  You’re so kind to say that!  You haven’t seen me at the end of the day or when I drag myself out of bed! ha! I can’t stand to spend time on my hair or in front of the mirror.  I can put my face on in 5 minutes flat. I’m really lucky that I have thick hair so it doesn’t show easily that it’s dirty. 

I love DryBar.  It would take me twice as long to do it myself and it lasts over a week!  (unless I go to the gym—so I use it as an excuse—I can’t go to the gym and ruin my blow dry!)  My beauty regime is really simple. 

I use Clarins tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, Clinique blush, Clinique eyeshadow and Revlon mascara.  Oh, and Chanel lip gloss.  I do the same when I’m shooting but I just darken everything and add lip pencil, eyeliner and powder. I don’t wear powder in the day because I hate that dry feeling.  I have a lot of allergies so I’m very limited in things I can use.  I wash my face with Borage cleansing gel and moisturize with Borage sensitive skin lotion from Whole Foods!  

SHOP LONNI'S BEAUTY FAVES

Clarins UV Plus with Tint // Clinique Blush // Chanel Glossimer Trio // Drybar Morning After Kit // Buttercup Blowout Kit

Let’s talk shopping! LA is known for amazing boutiques and legendary flea markets. What insider sourcing favorites would you say are a “don’t miss” for a designer visiting Los Angeles for a week? 
I love finding going down to the La Cienega Design Quarter on La Brea.  There’s some great shops there.  I love the Pacific Design Center to shop for fabrics and wallcoverings.  Beverly Blvd near Robertson is great for a more modern vibe and design inspiration.  

Your design for Giuliana & Bill’s Brentwood home was every bit chic, but definitely family friendly. That’s no easy feat. As a mom yourself, you must love designing for families. What are some of your favorite design strategies when creating a home for adults and children? 
I do love designing for families.  When I first started PetitNest I made all my gliders in fabrics that were normally used outdoors.  People thought it was such a good idea!  I thought it was common sense.  The glider in my twins’ room was heinous after a couple of years so that’s where it started for me.  I think an investment in a piece of furniture should last longer than that.  There are a lot more indoor/outdoor fabric choices now and more designers are using them indoors.  I just think about practicality. 

Depending on the home I like to have a casual family room that never feels off limits and then use the living room as more of an adult space but still doesn’t feel like it shouldn’t be used.  What’s the point of a room you can’t live in?!  In the family room I love a deep sofa so the family can spend time together watching movies. 

I also like to use a fabric ottoman because it’s much better for kids that are running around but I always add a big tray in the center for snacks!  When space permits I always put a small sofa in a nursery along with the glider so the dad and/or siblings have a place to sit when mom is feeding the baby. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE wallpaper.  I really explain that small hands with chocolate or a sharpie is a death sentence for grass cloth but when people are fine with it, I use it in the living room and master.  If kids are older it’s great everywhere.  Many now come with a wipeable sealant on them!

You’ve really mastered “calm sophistication” in your work, yet you are not afraid to throw in some fun patterns and bold color. It is truly an art! What are your secrets for mixing patterns while still maintaining your signature sense of luxe zen in a space? 
I think it’s important to go neutral with your big investment pieces like sofas, but I love to bring in color and pattern on pillows, walls, accessories and even a chair.  It’s easy to change the look of a room with new pillows.  I always change my rooms up for fall and summer and then at Christmas it’s a whole new thing too!  

And finally… What’s next for Lonni Paul Design?
Right now I’m working with a production company on a new show. I’m also working on Giuliana and Bill’s new Chicago home and I’ve fallen in love with the city and the people.   I’m planning to open an office there next.  I work all over the US so it’s a good location for an east coast office.  I’m designing an adult line of furniture, a lighting line and fabrics!  I always keep myself open to new ideas and opportunities.  I feel fortunate to be doing something I love, so I’m really grateful everyday!


Don't you just love her? So refreshingly candid and so at ease doling out sage design advice. Hopefully we'll be seeing much more of Lonni and her work in print and broadcast. Her natural warmth and expertise comes through in everything she does. I'm sure her clients (celebs and otherwise) truly enjoy the process and find they've made a friend during the design process as well as a sensational living space. 

Thank you for reading! For more of Lonni's insights and inspirational design, find her on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. Until next time... live stylishly! 

{images via Traditional Home

Loving: The Enduring Allure of Palm Beach Chic...

Blame it on CZ Guest and those yummy Slim Aarons books that litter the tables of Mecox Gardens, but the shocking heat of August in Texas makes my mind wander to other sunny destinations. Namely, costal retreats. When I think of well-heeled socialites enjoying summer by the pool, I go to the thin strip of land that draws society types like bees to pollen: Palm Beach.  

We associate such a specific design aesthetic and sophisticated lifestyle to this area. Pink walls, Greek key fretwork, palm fronds, bamboo accents, cabana stripes, pretty floral chintz here, pops of pink there and heavy hand with white and gold. It's all in the mix and it's fabulous. IChinoiserie chic is all about happy colors and lovely design elements.

Country club lifestyle aside, it is impossible to deny the allure of white beaches, palm trees and fresh seafood caught moments before your sunset meal. If you're thinking of going, don't pass up your opportunity to stay at The Breakers, a classic in its own right.

In case you haven't noticed, ticket prices have been dropping (thank you, Jesus!) and flights to Florida are actually reasonable (despite all Buzzfeed is doing to deter you from heading to the state's white sandy shores). I love a good end of summer/early fall escape, and a jaunt to white sandy shores is just a quick flight away.

Another option if hotels are too 2013 for you? A sweet rental with Airbnb (this place is totally gorgeous) or if you're a really baller check out these Luxury Retreats on Palm Island. Swanky!. After all, renting a private pad gets you closer to that posh lifestyle Slim Aarons famously celebrated. 

What to wear? If you're not in a breezy coverup enjoying the view of crashing waves, it's all about those happy Lilly Pulitzer prints and sandals. Palm Beach chic for the home and for the closet is a style that makes us believe - if only for a moment - that we are part of that elusive lifestyle we've come to know and love. Thank goodness we can visit and sit in our own cabana and bask in the same sunshine. 

What about you? Do these long days make you dream of other sunny places? Where are you eager to go before cool weather returns? Are you a Palm Beach lover or is the quieter vibe of 30A (think: Rosemary Beach & Watercolor) more your vacation style? I love them both for various reasons. If you can't get away, enjoy these fabulous pieces below inspired by Palm Beach chic:

INSPIRED BY PALM BEACH CHIC





Tastemakers: The Softness of Saladino...

My first meaningful exposure to professional interior design was the result of discovering the work of John Saladino. This legend has a way of infusing a space with his signature softness without leaving any telltale designer fingerprints. The heady mix of classic yet streamlined upholstery in touchable textures amidst vast open spaces occupied by whitewashed solid surfaces is intoxicating. Even in still photos I can almost feel the breeze blowing and smell the Belgian linen in his spaces.

Hallmarks of his work: lots of linen, few if any patterns, classic silhouettes, unfussy styles, skirted chairs and sofas and an undeniably serene quality to houses he has designed. I love his barely there signature style which allows the architecture and a few exquisite pieces to shine. Nothing is forced. Nothing is overdone. Nothing is complex.  

A few images above are from project he recently completed for clients in Palm Springs as featured in Veranda. Seeing him use vivid pink fabric is such a surprise to me, but a welcome one. 

Artist that he is, John possesses the ability to use even this punchy color judiciously in an effort to allow the expansive views to be the focal point of the room. Which isn't to say that the interiors are anything less than spectacular. His pretty combo of neutrals, lilac and butter yellow act like a soothing balm to the soul. Can you imagine coming home to such a peaceful pad? Dreamy.  

Looking to channel John's effortless luxe look? While no one can rock his signature cool look quite like John, you can look at the broader strokes of his brush work to pick up some of his laid back luxury goodness. Here are the pieces I suggest to infuse your home with his softly welcoming style. 

Regency-Style Bench // Safaveih Vegetable Vines Rug // Matilda Skirted Sofa with Dressmaker Details // Mango Wood Pedestal Table

For a better look at John's work overall, don't miss his sophisticated portfolio. Designer friends: John offers his 10 best tips for making new construction feel aged and familiar. 

Shop the Look: Fabulous Floral Bedroom Walls...

Children's rooms are havens for young, unbridled imaginations. Chalkboard walls, storybook murals, decorative appliqués - they are all possibilities in rooms for tots. Those elements aside, I'm loving the idea of floral walls for achieving a feeling of creativity run wild. The resulting look is every bit as freeform and fun, but much more pretty and poised. Wild, overgrown, fabulous flora adorning the vertical planes of a room have the power to turn a simple white rectangle into a wonderland for a young mind. 

How do you balance cray-cray paper on the walls to achieve a sweet and sophisticated look? One word: restraint. A calming rug, floor to ceiling panels in a solid shade found from the wallpaper, bedding that balances the look, By keeping other textiles mild you can let the fun accessories for children play center stage. Silly accents, a cool chair, a funky lamp and a chic chandelier all come together to create a room that encourages childhood fantasy and daydreaming.  

Below I've put together a few of my favorite elements for a little girl's room that is sweet without being saccharine. The truth is, while this is written from the perspective of young design, these feminine pieces are perfect no matter your age (or gender, for that matter). These elements are the epitome of timeless chic. Below you'll discover my favorite Schumacher floral wallpaper as well as a few great Serena & Lily pieces. Tip: they have a sweet 20% off friends & family savings event happening all weekend. Use code LIKEFAMILY to save now through Tuesday. Hooray!

Now... on to this chic look:

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Interviews: William T. Baker on Designing Exceptional Residences for Exceptional Clients...

William T. Baker

We've all had the experience of driving into a community and encountering a stunning house that takes our breath away. The type of residence that makes us pause to quietly wonder.. Who precisely lives there? What type of fabulous fetes do they host - and for whom? What do they do for a living? And (if you're even one bit like me) what fabulous fashion investments are safely stored in the master closet? Oh, if walls (and Chanel bags) could talk!

We know these magnificent homes. Fellow Dallas friends can agree these are the noteworthy addresses embossed on invites for significant holiday parties, charity events or designer show houses. Once you've stepped inside one, life can never - ever - be the same. 

While we may daydream about the fabulous lives of the inhabitants (and one day intend to be one ourselves), I happen to know someone who designs such estates. The esteemed William T. Baker. This award-winning residential designer will be familiar to many of you in the interior design industry. He's been featured in glossy publications such Veranda, Arch Digest, Elle Decor, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and many others. I've written about his work here numerous times (see here & here) and have always admired his impeccable style. His homes are often decorated by such noted talents as Suzanne Kasler & Melanie Turner - two of my favorite interior designers.

Let's step inside the the mind of the man responsible for designing the private homes of influential citizens, successful corporate titans and successful entrepreneurs all over the globe. In celebration of his latest book, Great American Homes Volume III, I've take a moment to interview the talented Mr. Baker to learn more about the creation of these dreamy residences and what evolution he's noticing in the market.

Here's what he had to say...

Tell us what excites you most about the release of Great American Homes Volume III.
Having the opportunity to design families' dream homes is such a privilege! I am excited to share some of these incredible homes with the public.  These homes represent the finest in both comfortable living as well as residential architecture that will stand the test of time.  The reader will find that the book is illustrated with the floor plan for each home as well as the landscape plan. Together with the interior photographs , a reader can form a good impression of the total project. A careful study of the plans will reveal the continuing evolution of the American house plan.   

What project within the book do you feel will surprise readers & fans the most?
One of the hallmarks of my firm's work is that we are adept at designing homes in a number of vernacular styles. While some firms have a single trademark look, we pride ourselves in being able to "speak" many architectural languages. The readers will find a wide variety of homes from grand estates to more simple shake style homes.

Why is that? What makes that residence stand out from the others? A departure in style? An unusual location?
One of the reasons people love to follow my work is that there is an careful handling of the architectural scale and proportions. The details are thoughtfully considered and executed.  Our houses definitely set high standard for their communities and become cherished architectural treasures in the years ahead.   

Our expectations of “home” evolve over time. What changes are you seeing lately in terms of features your clients are requesting in their homes?
The trend toward more casual living is continuing to the point that we are seeing the formal dining room evolving into a more open room located toward the rear of the house rather than being located on the front as is traditionally the case. We are also seeing the wine function moving upstairs from he basement so that it is now a feature wall in the butler's pantry or even the dining room itself. Master closets continue to expand and the in the master bath we are receiving see requests for his and her toilet compartments or even his and her baths.

For busy professionals, we often hear of the need for a separate exit from the master suite so the person with an early schedule can exit without disturbing their sleeping partner.  We are also seeing an amazing number of requests for indoor sport courts. These require 20' ceilings and are usually located below ground so they are major structures.
 
Your ability to personalize your projects to accommodate the unique collections or preferences of your clients has always impressed me. From statement-making leaded glass windows to antique French paneled walls, I love seeing spaces with treasured art pieces infused into the architecture of the home. Is there an aspect of a project featured in Great American Homes III that stands out for your creative collaboration efforts with the owners? Tell us about that project. 
The cover house certainly comes to mind as that was a wonderful collaboration between myself and the owner. The inspiration was a house in France that the owner knew and thus began a journey to create a limestone clad house with overtones from the original. The floor plan was designed around a major acquisition of a stained glass window for the paneled library. The axis of the central hallway allows the window to be seen from the owner's chair in the dining room. Furthermore, the great room is double height and we broke up the volume with banding and paneling that gives the room scale. 

These large rooms often feel cavernous but with the architecture of the paneled walls, this room feels comfortable whether its two or two hundred people using it. Lastly, we wanted the family room off the kitchen to have dramatic architecture so we designed it with a coffer barrel ceiling.  It took the trim carpenters weeks to build it out! But as the reader will see, the effect is wonderful. 
     

And finally, what can we expect next from William T. Baker & Associates?
Most people think of me as a designer of grand estates. But I have designed a number of resort homes at various coastal resorts, lakes, and mountain retreats. I think it would be fun to create a book featuring some of these amazing homes from around the country. 


 William T. Baker

William T. Baker

JOIN WILLIAM T. BAKER FOR A BOOK SIGNING IN NEW YORK....

In Manhattan? Meet Mr. Baker this Wednesday (November 29, 2017) from 6 to 8 pm at Rizzoli Bookstore on Broadway where he'll be signing copies of Great American Homes Volume III and participating in a panel discussion with Suzanne Kasler and Alec Michaelides for further exploration of the spectacular residences in this book and the families who call them home.

Shop the Look: The Safari Chic Dressing Room...

Let's talk about dream closets, shall we? Personally, I'm loving the idea of a full-on leopard rug to set the stage for a sexy dressing area. I also think the space should be feminized quite a bit - even if you share it with your spouse. The thinking here is that while you might be too timid to rock the spotted look elsewhere in your home, the master closet is a private retreat all your own to do with as you wish. 

My choice? This amazing Suzanne Kasler wool rug. It's sleek, modern and a more timeless way to add exotic flourish to any space - especially a closet. This stunning version is hand-woven and crafted to stand the test of time. Bonus? It could be moved to any room of the home if you love mixing up your look once in a while. 

Next...  stools. These amazing brass & ivory Aretha Benches from Bernhardt are form and function perfected. Hello, glamour! A pair of these (if space allows) would make your closet the destination for all those late night chat sessions. They are bold, modern and downright gorgeous! And yes... the perfect spot upon which to rest as you select your outfit for the day. 

Now, try not to feign mock surprise when I tell you a chandelier is what you need to complete the look. Save your acting skills and rush over to grab this stunning vintage-inspired chandy in Italian tole style. The Astrid Chandelier is my absolute favorite choice for this look. It is a spectacular in classic gold and glistening crystals and will pair strikingly with the benches above. With its brilliant sparkling light overhead, your wardrobe will suddenly look far more fabulous and radiant. And you, my dear, will glow with a radiance never before seen. 

The last element is an obvious one: Finish it off with a glam Floor Mirror. While there are many I adore, this one pulls double duty as a sly jewelry cabinet. Not only will your necklaces be easy to access, they'll be hidden from view and completely organized. I love the beaded bevel detail on the frame and the grand scale. Extra points for making your perhaps petite closet now appear twice as grand. 

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Less of a leopard fan and more in tune with Rachel Zoe's zebra striped sensation? I feel you sister. Let's pull a look together for you that's worthy of a star stylist's wardrobe. First... that rug. 

There are two schools of thought here. You are either a fan of the zebra pattern as a whole and are fond of a classic rectangular rug that bears the iconic bands in a sophisticated pattern. If so this 100% wool World Market rug is a fabulous value. Or...

Or... you're in search of a convincing rug that on some level looks as though you're sporting a genuine zebra hide. This high-end cowhide is hand painted with zebra stripes ensuring no two are alike. The unique shape and hair-on-hide texture gives it instant character and adds warmth to your dressing area. Available in natural (above) or bold black and white. The bolder option is more along the line's of Rachel Zoe's version featured in the images above. 

As a counterpoint to the wild zebra stripes, I'm loving this vintage-inspired chandelier, In the style of Italian tole, this beautiful light fixture will feminize the area and lend enchanting glamour. All good qualities for a chandy to deliver! 

My favorite addition? The pretty little perch. How can you possibly resist this little French cutie? I love its petite size and swiveling sear. Cabriole legs, linen fabric and the nailhead trim seal the deal - this is a chic dressing area must-have. 

My favorite part? The mirror! This Rococo style mirror via Anthropologie is simply a showstopper. Looking as though it was discovered in an undisturbed Paris apartment, this beauty will give your dressing area the elegance of Versailles and the romance of a hidden French cafe. You. Are. Welcome. :) 


So... which kind of wild child are you? Are you a spotted princess or a stripe loving wild child? Somewhere in between? The options vary, but the theme remains the same. Amp up the glamour and exotic flair of your dressing area and make getting ready (and getting undressed) a delightful treat. You deserve a fabulous rug, a chic seat to rest upon and a sparkling chandelier above. What more could a girl want?

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Celebrity Living: Raving About Radziwill's Redecorated NYC Retreat...

Carole Radziwill Living Room via Architectural Digest
Carole Radziwill at home via Architectural Digest

Carole Radziwill's style has always intrigued me. From her pedigreed sofa (given to her by Lee Radziwill, mother-in-law, tastemaker and sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) to her sleek fashion choices, she has been low-key upstaging all of us for years. Now that AD has stepped into her newly redone SoHo duplex and shared their findings via a glamorous magazine spread, it's safe to say the secret is out. Radzi is flat out fabulous and has firmly stepped into her role as style icon.

Carole: "I’m the girl who is going to go home, shut her door, and be in solitude, surrounded by beautiful things"

Me: "Same, honey. Same."

What I love about this space is how decadently feminine it is. Touchable velvets, pale blues, Mongolian wool accents, dusty pink tufted headboard, silk panel drapes from floor to marvelously high (silver-leafed) ceiling. Carole is not kidding around here. The designer we can credit for this amazing space is John Bossard, whom she met at a party in Aspen (have to love those fortuitous celebrity run-ins, right?). Having studied her space before, I am smitten by the glorious transformation he achieved. She always had a stylish apartment, but now it seems more voluminous, more luminous and the type of elegant private retreat you'd be hard pressed to ever want to leave.

Naturally, I'm completely obsessed with the "jewel box" effect John achieved and so happy Carole let him have the freedom to fully express his fantastic creative vision. Confession: Before this piece in AD I'd never heard of John, but the space speaks for itself. His work is easily on par with Melanie Turner (whom I adore!) and his use of color & texture make me think of Suzanne Kasler. I am completely in love with the "grown up" femininity of the design. And for a self-described homebody like Carole, this must be pure heaven to call home.

WANT TO TOUR HER CLOSET? STEP INSIDE...

{Note the funny mention of the design matching her cat, Baby. Love!}

LOVE THIS VIBE? SHOP THE RADZI INSPIRED GLAMOUR

What do you love about the space?  Comment below! xoxo

Crushing On: Dallas Shaw Serves Up Boho Chic Style in Nashville

A few months ago illustrator extraordinaire Dallas Shaw announced a 2017 initiative to feature artisan home goods in a Nashville space. A longtime fan of her work and her style, I jumped at the chance to have a few pieces from my collection featured in this fun project. If you pop over to her blog today you'll see the Claire pillow & Dauphine Stool featured in her luminous Tennessee aerie. Her beautifully lit space looks like the ideal space to unwind & it's so fun to see the pieces styled with her sexy boho-chic vibe. Much love to Dallas & her team for including my work in the project! xoxo!

{pix property of DallasShaw.com + Dallas Shaw Instagram}

SHOP THE POST

Dreamy Spaces: Tranquility Along The Beach...

I've been a fan of Ohara Davies-Gaetano for a while now. As it turns out, she shares time between Crorona del Mar, San Fran and (my home) Dallas. This project features the ceiling detail that initially brought my attention to Ohara's work. 

Her signature style in a heady mix of whitewashed glamour and classic refinement - and I cannot get enough of it! This young designer has mastered a finished look that is aged, layered and well-traveled without veering too deeply into the overly-patina'd arena. Growing up in a family of artist certainly aided her in the process of honing her appreciation for beautiful things. 

For it, it's her lushly layered spaces, generous use of natural materials and careful selection of materials that I appreciate. There's a nice balance of aged finishes with modern details. It's a tug of war between layered designs and tightly edited spaces. I love this specific project, and it beautifully reflects the beachy scenes just beyond the windows. There's a dreamy quality to it while still feeling quite livable and inviting. 

SHOP THE TRANQUIL LOOK




Dreamy Spaces: Parisian Luxe in the Hollywood Hills...

This was one of those moments when I discovered the home that belongs to the master closet seen above. I've pinned and repinned that closet many times over the years, each time making a private promise to myself to achieve such closet perfection in my life. Yesterday I discovered the rest of the home on Luxe magazines's site.

Designed by Smith Firestone Associates, this incredible Hollywood Hills home captures the elegance and glamour of a refined Paris estate white embracing California's easy, breezy vibe. The living room may lean toward the formal end of the spectrum with its shimmering velvet fabrics and lustrous metallic finishes, but the rest of the home is pure relaxed elegance. It will come as no surprise to you regular readers that I love it! 

And that dreamy closet is the brainchild of none other that the esteemed Lisa Adams of LA Closet Design - another all-star in my book. {All photographs via Luxe & SFA.}

GET THE LOOK: RELAXED LUXE PARISIAN DINING  

 
 
 
 

Dreamy Spaces: A Relaxed French Château in Sunny Southern California...

My real estate dream come true! A stunning French château that requires little more than a move to sunny California to occupy. It's the best of France (think: creamy limestone and marvelous architectural details) and the best of West Coast style (relaxed linen seating, a subdued color palette and blurred lines between indoors and out) that makes this a dream home for me. I love everything about it from the intimate gardens to the grand facade. Positively dreamy! It's spying new construction like this that inspires me and encourages me to keep my eyes on the prize. Anything is possible. {photographs above by MATTHEW MILLMAN for Veranda}

CHANNEL THE CALIFORNIA CHATEAU LOOK AT HOME 


French Linen Bergere // Vintage Gilt Sconces // Potted Lavender // Linen Bench Seat Sofa // Footed Silver Bowl // Potted Orchid // Wing Sculpture // Seagrass Rug // White Textured Dinnerware // Nested Woven Baskets // Oval Back Linen Chair // Textured Velvet Pillow // Lion Head Wall Fountain // Brass Chandelier // Whitewashed Hanging Lantern // Round Marble Lidded Box // Gilt Mirror

The key to marrying the styles is to let the architecture and structure of the home shine with elegance, but keep the upholstery and the decor relaxed, unfussy and livable. Add decadent glamour on the walls via gilt mirrors, elegant sconces and stunning boiserie. Allow the textiles to bring in an organic vibe. Choose linen, seagrass and woven baskets to infuse the space with the natural and inviting spirit of Southern California living. Dare to add a bit of this vibe to your home with inspiration from the pieces above. And most of all, keep it light, bright and airy because a dank, dark château isn't on anyone's wish list! 

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Dreamy Spaces: A Study in Fabulous French Lavender...

Leave it to Nathan Turner to convince me that lavender is completely and truly chic. Purples of all varieties are often done in a way that is too overdone. Yet at the hand of a master, even rich velvet banquette cushions done in this royal color with bold chocolate piping look completely inviting and tasteful.

For these clients, the space is the wife's study in what is an already stunning Bel Air home. Every room featured in the story is exceptional, but this one particular room demonstrates a decidedly more feminine and less restrained result.

Those walls, the Lucite and brass desk (good Lord, I need that) the incredible chandelier. There's a romance here, but there's a very high level of sophistication on display and not a hint of  "little girl sweet" that one might think of when the color lavender comes to mind. Nor is it garish and overthought. It's simply fabulous. 

I'm so inspired by the images it is making me seriously consider painting a room in this exact color. As I consider that, I rounded up what it would take to somewhat achieve the very glam Hollywood Regency look seen above. 

SERVE UP FABULOSITY IN FRENCH LAVENDER

John-Richard Diaphanous Chandelier // Serena & Lily "Wisteria" Paint // Jonathan Adler Lucite + Acrylic Console // Purple Floral Silk Pillow // Lavender Linen Pillow // Linen Side Chair

Loving the ideas above but wanting less commitment and less investment? Here are a few easy pieces to help you ad a touch of the glamorous look to your life. Pretty accessories & accents you're sure to love. 

MORE LAVENDER & REGENCY LOVE


But this all prompts me to pause and ask you - what have you seen lately that truly caused you pause and deep soul-stirring inspiration? I'd love to hear all about it. 

Get the Look: The Glamorous Feminine Vanity & Desk...

shop the look: the glamorous feminine vanity & desk...

The inspiring image of the Barbara Barry desk and Z-chair above isn't new, but it bears repeating if recreating this vision of a private paradise can be replicated. With a few key pieces (namely that iconic desk and chair) you can perch yourself upon the mod molded lucite and gaze out the window or at your own lovely visage and daydream. Or (as in most of our cases) work at your laptop. I dare say that whether you work, apply blush or pen thank you notes at this feminine station the task will be far more pleasant.

I've given you a range of options for recreating this amazing look at home. For me, it's a look that is timeless and will always make you smile. We all deserve to carve out room in our homes to make a small little "nest" for ourselves. This could be in an office, a nook in a hallway, a master closet, a spare bedroom or even as a behind a floating sofa solution. Regardless, carve out a space for YOU and relish in it. You deserve it. 

Now... go be girly, glam and gorgeous. It is your birthright. 

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Shop the Look: Effortlessly Feminine Interiors...

One link on pinterest led to another and another and ultimately I chased the rabbit down the hole to Bijou & Boheme's home tour on Style Me Pretty. I've loved Christine Dovey's look since I very first set eyes on her site, but seeing her home in detail was a delicious treat. This home has been featured here and there on other sites, but any kitchen with an Empire style crystal chandelier over the island and gold fixtures at the sink deserves to be showered with an excess of public praise. 

Christine's family-friendly home is dripping with style and radiates feminine chic in the most relaxed fashion. Soft textures, golden accents and undeniably romantic elements are presented in a very approachable manner. Fortunately, you too can take a bit of Bijou home via a few well selected accents. Here are my favorite selections for achieving her livable chic vibe:  

Closet Crush: A Fashion Lover's Over-the-Top Opulent Dressing Room...

A space worthy of Georgina Chapman if there ever was one! This spacious dressing room is that of an unnamed (but presumably not unknown) California resident with spectacular taste and an equally spectacular budget. Designer Philip Nimmo leveraged his skills to deliver old Hollywood glamour in this beautiful custom project. Gilded French furniture, a mesmerizing ’60s-vintage Murano chandelier and that elegant hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper make the serene walk-in a sight to behold. Can I just say I'm in closet love? 

GET THE HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR LOOK

Dreamy Spaces: Soft Modern Living, Bathed in Light...

Dreamy spaces, all the handiwork of New York designer and lifestyle brand creator Tamara Magel. I love her sexy blend of natural materials, sleek silhouettes and textures. Clearly gifted in the art of style, her projects (and products) all possess that rare blend of aspirational-yet-livable chic. Her photos are absolutely beautiful and can I get an amen on that closet photo? Major applause necessary for the happy homeowner and talented designer. 

CHANNEL THE SOFT MODERN VIBE




Holiday Giveaway: Win a Copy of French Chic Living + An Authentic French Lavender Sachet

*** THIS LOVELY GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ENTERED! CONGRATULATIONS TO WINNER TAMMIE BURTON! ***

Earlier this year I enjoyed Florence de Dampierre's thoughtfully written book Living French Chic. Rather than aspirational (and vague) "live like a French girl" style tidbits, Florence shares practical and specific tips on everything from favorite recipes to what essentials to have in your linen closet. A modern day guide to how to "adult" in the spirit of the French countryside that translates just as well to those of you living in an ultramodern hi-rise. 

For the holidays, renowned publishing house Rizzoli and I have partnered to give away a copy of Florence's wonderful book to one lucky reader. In addition to Living French Chic, the winner will also receive a gift from her new line of French home accents at HSN, a cotton pillow sachet made from dried French lavender flowers.

This isn't one of those books you'll flip through once and tuck away on a shelf (although there's nothing wrong with those cherished books!). This is one of those marvelous gems that becomes a handy reference for many things. From how to choose antiques to mastering the art of brunch, this is a hardbound reference guide I can see myself giving as a gift to friends, aunts, relatives and others for many years. It is timeless, dripping with instantly usable knowledge and - I have to say it - pretty! The photos of furnishings, gardens, table settings and idyllic scenes mixed with storytelling and key info in digestible format is refreshing. Open to any page and you'll benefit from her upbringing and decidedly French point of view. Less is more. Quality matters over quantity. Beauty matters. These are all key takeaways from Living French Chic.

So, are you ready to add a bit of French flair to the end of 2016 and ring in the new year with a fresh start, a guidebook for everyday elegance and the aroma of the French countryside in your home? I believe you are. Fill out the form below by December 21, 2016 at midnight CST to be entered to win!

Feeling Bookish: Kelly Hoppen Authors the Definitive Interior Design Companion...

Interior design books written by top talents within the field are interesting. Some are authored with educating and sharing among fellow designers in mind, others are intended to be consumed by fans, amateurs and enthusiasts as inspirational tools. The best of the bunch are squarely targeted at both audiences, serving up crisp, clear, perfectly illuminated photographs of award-winning interiors and (here's the key) digestible content that teaches anyone (pro or not) how to even begin to achieve such a marvelous result.

Kelly Hoppen is among the class of designer that unites all of us as lifelong learners in the quest for better design skills. Her advice and expertise is delivered in a way that places her along side us in the universal challenge of "what exactly do I do with this space" and "how can I work around the quirks of my floor plan?" And I love her for it. There's no haughty schooling happening here. This top design talent is at the drafting table with us solving design dilemmas and working through decorating challenges.

And let's talk about her work... it is absolutely exquisite. Commercial, residential, retail or yacht - you name it, she serves up absolutely flawless designs for her worldwide clientele. Working from a largely neutral base, the interiors are at once lush, full, inviting and somehow quiet, soothing and understated. It's a line we all attempt straddle, but this London designer has nailed the sumptuous vibe. It is a keen reminder that all of us have much to learn. Her monochromatic spaces are stunningly sexy and dramatic but completely calming. Ivory cocoons begging to envelope you. When someone with this much talent offers a how-to guide, you pay attention. Especially when you have been invited behind the veil of "professional design" to be taught key foundational guidelines for basing all future design decisions. That's the essence of The Art of Interior Design.

The iconic ‘Kelly Hoppen look’ combines clean, precise lines of the East with opulent textures from the West, harmoniously layered on top of neutral tones producing elegant, dramatic & immaculate interior that is world renowned. Asserting your personality on to this, Kelly guarantees interior that is impeccably tasteful & bespoke every time.
— KELLY HOPPEN INTERIORS

This isn't Kelly Hoppen's first rodeo (peruse her portfolio for proof), nor is it her first book. Fans know she's penned quite a few books on the subject of interior design, but this particular volume is a master class that offers an opportunity to raise your level of knowledge of design principles to the level of a much more seasoned expert. It doesn't hurt that the projects she has chosen to share in the pages (328 pages, to be exact) are downright gorgeous. Spanning the globe, brace yourselves to now have your design standards raised considerably. This, dear readers, is what top talent can create. And perhaps now we can as well.

Designers: prepare to be inspired to design even more remarkable spaces for clients. More well-appointed interiors. More detailed vignette. More thoughtful spaces. Design fans? This beautiful book will not disappoint in style, substance or Instagram appeal. Home design enthusiasts & those in the throes of a top-to-bottom renovation? You've found your project companion to guide you through what can often be an intimidating process of difficult selections. 

Kelly, you've wowed us again. Congratulations on another "must have" book for all of us.

THIS & OTHER FABULOUS KELLY HOPPEN BOOKS

Celebrity Living: Stately Post-White House Living for the Obamas...

It's not Pennsylvania Avenue, but the Obamas will be moving to a stunning home next February. Built in 1928, the 8,200 square foot Washington D.C. home boasts nine bedrooms and lavish details. That kitchen and back yard are enough to make me fall in love. But just look at those leaded windows and expansive, light-filled rooms are enough to make me want to move there myself. {via}