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. 


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.}



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}


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! 


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. 


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. 


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. 

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? 


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. 


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


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.

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.


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}

Color Crush: Gold + Black Forever...

{ via }


Do you ever find yourself smitten with an image and suddenly drawn to everything that resonates with that original source? Such was the case with that marvelous bath scene at the top of the post. It compelled me to curate a small collection of images and goodies that referenced those crisp lines, ornate details and over-the-top modern styling. May your life be filled with the stunning opulence of gilded finishes and hints (or oodles, if you like!) of chic black. It's a timeless mix that will never, ever go out of style and will always elevate your look - whether you're setting the table, dressing for dinner or wrapping a simple gift. You absolutely cannot go wrong with a classic combo such as this. Stay chic, friends! 



Coveted Pieces: Glamorous Gold Étagères...

There's something so "adult" about owning an étagère, isn't there? It means you own things worthy of display. It means you've got swagger in your decorating style. It means you've got some wall space to dedicate to a beautiful piece of furniture. And so it begins... the endless cycle of styling and restyling your beautiful wares in an attempt to make it Pinterest-worthy. Let me assure you, you'll change your mind about the "right" arrangement again and again. Make peace with this process early on and give in to your urge to style and restyle.

More permanent, however are those shelves themselves. Great consideration should go into the selection of an étagère. I prefer them in tall pairs to create instant symmetry and presence. Gold is also a favorite finish, adding glamour to your room before a single book has arrived on the shelves. I've rounded up my current favorites for you to swoon over. 

Lucky you - each of these are so gorgeous you'll only need a dozen or so books and a few pretty decorative objects to style them up. Hope to see on you instagram soon showing off your styling prowess! 

Savvy shoppers... ready for my insider secret to great style at lower prices? Often, shopping at the division of a brand targeted towards the younger set yields big savings. Like shopping in the children's department for designer jeans, shopping at RH Baby & Child and PB Kids can turn up spectacular pieces at "wow" prices. Case in point... this gold etagere above was spied at PB Teen for just $599. The antique gold finish and Hollywood Regency styling make this a standout piece in any room - for any age. And never fear, it rises a grand 77" tall and bears no telltale signs of being ordered from a youth catalog. Simply resist the urge to load it with textbooks and term papers and it'll just be our little designer secret. ;)

Happy styling, everyone!  


Feeling Bookish: A Fresh Roundup of Amazing Style & Design Books...

Oh, books. How you delight me so. Instagram friends will have seen my many snaps of these beauties as I dive into them over coffee (guilty as charged). But you amazing blog readers might be missing out on the current hardcovers I'm enjoying these days.

Below, a roundup of some of my favorite recent book finds including a deep dive into the family history of the Gucci brand, a sublime visit into a Modern home basking in the California desert and a handful of other truly important interior design guaranteed to inspire you to focus on higher thoughts, aim for a more beautiful existence and expand your view on this magical life we all live. With that, here we go...


What happens when a classically-inclined architect and vivacious (and certainly not color-averse) interior designer marry and merge their business interests as well? This book explores their thinking process and reveals how two seemingly diametrically opposed approaches to design (and therefore living) can create absolutely beautiful work. Peter Pennoyer & Katie Ridder will wow you with their house in the country .GET THE BOOK


A glossy look at the brand's fashion through the years, this is not. In the Name of Gucci is an insightful story revealing the wild ups and downs of the family through the eyes of Aldo Gucci's daughter Patricia.

I found the story fascinating and at times shocking to read. A story of love, drama, betrayal, legal issues and - yes, fashion -  in a thoughtfully crafted memoir. GET THE BOOK


Now here's a book dripping in sexy spaces I can't get enough of. What is it with these French designers? There's clearly something in the Perrier infuses them with an unmatched talent for designing glamorous spaces worthy of his high-end clientele. I'll be featuring Catroux's work at length in an upcoming post, but for now know that this book is the first to celebrate the international designer's work. A must for the luxe-loving design enthusiast. GET THE BOOK


Craving that bright Palm Springs sunshine and the innovative architectural style native to the area? Me too. That's why Sunnylands was such a treat to read. Dubbed: Versailles for the Space Age, this estate does not disappoint if you're craving golf carts, and sun-drenched modern pools and an ecclectic mix of furnishings. This A. Quincy Jones property hosted politicians, movie stars & moguls making this retrospective a cool look back at famous faces all having a blast in under the California desert sun. GET THE BOOK


In this marvelously excessive book, Michelle Nussbaumer brings life to homes and hearts through her worldly & sophisticated creative viewpoint. Never one to create a "just shopped for" space, Michelle's projects celebrate the variety of art, design and cultural elements important to her clients.

Mixing eras, blurring continental divides and serving up her signature style, the designer inspires us to bring a taste of the world into our own homes as well. BUY THE BOOK


I've been to design school, and in all honestly this book offers more wisdom and practical insights than I learned in my years in a competitive interiors program. 100 top designers provide the benefit of their combined years of experience (and stunning project photos) to create what truly does read like a master class for designers at every level. This is one book jacket that will never get dusty as you'll be keeping it on the desk and referring to it time and time again. A must-have. BUY THE BOOK


Out & About: Suzanne Kasler Delights at Hickory Chair Dallas...

Absolutely loved seeing Suzanne Kasler again at the Hickory Chair showroom earlier this week. Here are some of the incredible pieces on I spied (and obviously wanted to take home). New to her collection this season the lovely Regency-inspired bed shown at the top right. I loved the dramatic headboard with beautiful upholstered inset. More to come, as an interview with the designer herself will follow. Until then... ciao bellas!



Tastemakers: Michelle Nussbaumer's Inimitable Style...

If you're going to adore a designer, it helps is she has outrageously stylish taste, a fabulous sense of humor and an enviable Instagram life. Michelle Nussbaumer is such a force, and to know her style is to be invited to peer through the creative lens of a well-traveled, life-embracing design dynamo.

More is more. Less is never more. Less is obviously less. Who wants less?
— Michelle Nussbaumer

I was first introduced to her via her Dallas outpost Ceylon et Cie (mentioned here) and developed a fast crush on her warmth and passion for all things colorful and richly storied. There is no designer thumbprint on her work, as every project is a unique work unto itself. Yet what does radiate through everything she creates is her authenticity. Michelle is living her own life according to her rules - and loving every moment of it. And I certainly want more of that in my life, don't you?

Fortunately, we have a few great resources to draw upon to infuse a bit of the designer's globetrotting joie de vivre into our lives. First up: her brand new book Wanderlust: Interiors That Bring the World Home. A richly hued tome certain to set your passion for life, travel and decor on fire. Over 300 pages of pure design inspiration reside between the hardcovers of this colorful book.

Your next step? Go. Go anywhere and everywhere. Open your eyes to the world around you and develop an awareness for those things that make you gasp, cause you to flush, make your eyes open wide and beg to be examined. Because you need more moments like that. You need more experiences like that. You need more LIFE in your life.

So let's get going. Journey far and wide, seeking out the aforementioned life-altering pieces to call your own. Perhaps it's a hand-painted plate from an off-the-beaten path boutique in Portugal, or a peculiar piece of art you spied at a London art show. Maybe for you the temptation is a piece of pottery from an artisan in South America, or a remnant of a woven Moroccan textile you found at flea market. See it, seize it, bring it home and build your collection of adventures and, yes, meaningful decor elements along the way. It's not about feathering your nest you see. It's about feathering your life. The artifacts and collector's items are simply the evidence of a life well-lived. Daily reminders of adventures past and reminders to keep going, to keep exploring.

Q: When decorating, what should you never skimp on?
A: Art
— Michelle Nussbaumer

A life richly lived is the true lesson here, and what better way to do than by exploring the world at large with eyes (and mind) wide open. Travel far, travel often and if something strikes your fancy and makes your heart skip a beat, you can be confident there's a place for it in your home - and in your life.

Stay tuned, friends. Book review of Wanderlust: Interiors That Bring the World Home is coming soon. Until then, enjoy the Feeling Bookish section for dozens of incredible reads to inspire you to live your best life.


Color Crush: Necessary Neutrals...

It's definitely a "between the seasons" moment right now. The southern heat makes fall seem like a distant fantasy, but one look at the calendar says September is right around the corner. Regardless of what those magazines tell me I'm just not prepared to inject autumn decor into my space when I'm still holding tight to my summer fun. In light of this, I'm craving neutrals and aged metallics everywhere I look. A linen pillow here, whitewashed planks there and a bit of gold (as per usual) to luxe it up a bit. Surely next month I'll feel differently, but for now, let's keep this summer vibe going a bit longer, okay? 


Feeling Bookish: Luxuriate in Martyn Lawrence Bullard's Latest Design Book...

Oh, Martyn. A designer who doesn't so anything - anything - halfway. His bold decorating style, his dapper mode of dress, his larger than life personality - these almost pale in comparison to how much he commits to his books.

My collection of the million dollar designer books is steadily growing, and with Martyn Lawrence Bullard: Design and Decoration I can truly appreciate how willing he is to open the cabinet of curiosities containing his many well-earned professional secrets to those of us willing to study them. Much of this confidence stems from the obvious fact that his signature style is inimitable. Given the same clients, budget, time and space we would simply not produce that eye-popping Bullard look. Thus in this volume he freely shares details on his conceptual process and insights that take his spaces beyond the invisible boundaries that most of us dance within.

I loved this book. I hope you'll add a copy of it to your library and consider giving it to a few design-loving friends. It's thoughtfully written with heartfelt passages and personal stories. The imagery is rich and genuinely inspiring - much like the designer himself. Martyn never disappoints!

Tastemakers: Capturing the "Lived In" Luxury of Benjamin Vandiver...

By now you've seen Benjamin Vandiver featured in every impressive design magazine and blog around. He's risen from "Nashville sensation" status to top designer faster than you can say Kings of Leon. Thanks to a few high profile clients and an uncanny ability to infuse any space with lived in appeal, Benjamin is at the beginning of a very long, very successful career trajectory. 

His trademark style is that he doesn't have one, although one would be quick to notice his deft use of black in almost any space as a grounding element. To me his projects reveal a sensual side and a love of carefully chosen, fine quality pieces. There's no "excess" and yet each room (and each room lived within the spaces) feels full and ample. There's a sexiness to his work that works in concert with his skillful restraint. To me this visual tension is palpable and highly coveted. It's no wonder he has a long line of successful projects and no doubt a full calendar ahead.  

Dreamy Spaces: Glorious White Kitchens (Yes, More!)...

photo credit:  ArchDigest  // designed by  Allan Greenberg and Elissa Cullman

photo credit: ArchDigest // designed by Allan Greenberg and Elissa Cullman

ArchDigest's kitchen & bath special feature issue is worth picking up, even if only for this singular image above. As a symmetry loving girl, the two-page spread featuring this stunning kitchen stopped me in my tracks. The ceiling detail, the custom cabinetry, the galley style room terminating in floor to ceiling french doors flanked by silk drapery panels. Wow, is there a lot to love here! If it were mine I'd clearly need chandeliers above the island. However the homeowners of this Federal-Style home were wise to select the pendant lighting above. It resonates with the home's character and makes you believe this stunning space is original to the property. Marvelous.

I've authored a post (or two, or three!) before on bright white kitchens and they've been runaway hits. My appetite for them is hardly sated, so I can only assume you're craving more luminous culinary environments as well. Thus, I deemed it necessary (yes, I said necessary!) to pen another (and perhaps a few more). Indulge me if you will! 

image credits:  1 / 2 / 3 / 4/ 5 / 6


Coveted Pieces: The Perfect Lucite Bar Cart...

I've talked about the quest (and rationale) for owning a bar cart. Today I'm sharing what I believe to be the best of the new entries into the market. Source? Anthropologie, a growing force in the world of amazing interior design goodness. Here's what I love about the Oscarine Bar Cart:

  • Hello, Lucite! Those legs are made from the dreamy clear material, not acrylic. There's genuine value here in terms of quality. 
  • It has a brass finish, which I adore for its warmth and luster. 
  • The shelves are made from glass - not the aforementioned Lucite - making them less prone to scratching. Combined, the two lend the piece its lighter-than-air vibe. 
  • Did I mention it has casters? Movable goodness. 

I am gaga over those clean lines on this piece. So many bar carts are fussy and over-designed. This one strikes me as extremely classic while also being wildly appealing. A tough act to follow.  My spin? I think this would make a stunning display for books and art supplies in my office. The transparency allows it to essentially float in what is a rather small footprint and still possess major style power. Form & function collide beautifully. 

Whatever your use for this brass + Lucite beauty (and I have quite a few suggestions), it is certain to be a stunning addition to your home.Thank you, Anthro! Grab yours here

In the Mood For: The Feminine Retreat...

(photo credits: Melanie Turner Interiors // Suzanne Kasler on AD // pinterest // Melanie Turner at ADS // Suzanne Kasler for Ballard)

When some hear "pink" they instinctively freeze up and assume I have a color with the boldness of the Barbie Dream House variety on the mind. While there's a time and a place for pops of bougainvillea bloom brightness, I do appreciate the subtlety of calmer rose quartz. Hot pink's more sophisticated Ivy League cousin, and baby pink's grown up sister. This is not your candy-coated hue. Bolstered by a dash of greige but loaded with quiet intensity, this is a color welcome in any home and every space. Especially the area of the home I've been craving: the feminine retreat. 

Whether it's your home office, your bedroom or a tiny closet to call your own, I love having a space I can infuse with a few elements of this perfect shade of pink. If you're blessed with the ability to refresh a room, here are a few of my glamorous suggestions...

Paint the town pink with a plush caret and stunning chinoiserie wallcoverings. Think: pretty but classic and sophisticated. Next, add a french-inspired chandelier with an aged patina to add gravitas to the room. Next step? Gleaming gold. Try a pair of etageres on a wall flanking an oversized sunburst mirror. Situate the desk in the middle, add a drool-worthy golden bamboo chair and admire your hard work. This space, is simply divine. Here are the elements I chose...