I’ve mentioned before how much I adore designing beach homes, due to their theatrical element of whimsy. However, theatrics and overdoing it dance a fine line. My personal preference is for rooms to look beachy in an indirect way – no lighthouses or “Beach” signs with arrows – but instead a finely choreographed selection of items, that individually could fit into a variety of aesthetics, but collectively make for an indulgent coastal retreat. Sig Bergamin has perfected this balance, with his brilliant use of tropical foliage (both indoors and out!), lacquered rattan and moderate use of blue and white stripes!
Shingle-sided cottages are one of my favorite styles of beach houses – I’d personally take their quirky characteristics and nonsensical ways over a palatial McMansion any day of the week! And this one located in the quaint, sleepy town of Sag Harbor has plenty of character to boast! I adore the neutral palette and well-lived-in aesthetic, paired with the traditional structure; resulting in an authentic and collected space that owner and interior designer, Michelle Smith, coins as “almost accidental looking”. Smith states: “Every room should have a touch of whimsey and a touch of weird, but you shouldn’t be able to pinpoint what those touches are.” – I couldn’t agree more!
What’s your favorite style beach houses?
The aspect I love most about decorating vacation homes is the theatrical element of whimsy you can implement. Since inhabitants don’t live there year-round, you can really go all out with a theme – nautical, Palm Beach chic, Aspen chalet, Moroccan riad, etc.
I was flipping through this month’s Vogue, and fell head-over-heels for this Dominican Republic home belonging to famed interior designer, Celerie Kemble, and her family. The property itself is actually a cluster of bungalows, each belonging to individual shareholders, centered around the communal clubhouse (featured in the 1st and 3rd photo). While the combination of intricate lattice work (called tragaluz), copper palms, seashell studded walls and Dominican tile may become a little tiresome for most people’s day-to-day; it makes for the ideal escape into vacation!
A boutique hotel is slotted for the property’s future – wonder if Kemble will have a hand in that as well?!
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I often find some people have a phobia of color when it comes to designing their home. Either they wear neutrals all the time and think they don’t like color, or adore color and simply can’t decide on what hues to include. And while an all neutral home can be beautiful, it’s not an easy balance to achieve – and in my opinion is often not suited for the majority of people.
Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty previously listed herself in the above mentioned category, until she called upon Lauren and Susan McGrath to design this gorgeous, quintessential New England home. What I love most about the abode is that the “investment pieces” were done in neutral shades, while color was added in small pops with accessories. In turn the heftier price-tag items will be around for the long-run – whereas pillows, the trim on the window treatments, books, the tablecloth in the entry and even the upholstery on the dining chairs can be easily swapped out for a different color palette!
Are you a fan of including color in your home?
One of my friends lives in a gorgeous, light-filled apartment in Hoboken. I’m helping her design the space and we’re starting off with the main living area – including the entry, living room and oversized alcove that we’ve termed “the den”. Although the design is not complete, I couldn’t resist sharing the initial design board!
I find defining the style of the space from the get go helps set the stage for the design and keeps everyone on track once purchasing begins. This way when you come across that amazing find in Homegoods, you can reference your “definition” to ensure it will vibe with the rest of the space.
floor lamp, sofa, pink pillow, black & white pillow, chair & ottoman, side table, coffee table, terrariums, rug, coffee table tray, box, media console, prada canvas, bar cart, decanters, tray for bar cart, glasses
Extra space is a rarity in apartment living, so we really wanted to capitalize on it! The daybed can be used for overnight guests, or the table and chairs can be pulled up for small dinner parties.
I’m really loving the mixture of textures and styles! What are your thoughts?
Apologies for going MIA the majority of this week! Late night and early AM meetings significantly cut into my blogging time, but it looks like they resulted in a few fun upcoming projects – which is always good!
I’ve been meaning to share Lauren Liess’ upstairs loft featured in the most recent issue of Domino for quite some time (apologies if you’ve already seen it 10 times over!). While I’m not sure you can exactly quantify a 15 ft. built-in bench as a “nook”, it certainly seems to have all of the qualifying characteristics – a beautifully choreographed mix of pillows, those fabulous brass wall sconces, a warm throw and plethora of books to choose from for a cozy hour (or 3!) of reading!
Here’s what the rest of the space looks like…
There’s a level of quaintness found in older architecture that’s impossible to duplicate in its modern counterpart. Sometimes it’s the history that passes through the hallways, other times it’s moldings or woodwork that’s impossible (or completely uneconomical) to mirror, but most often I find it’s the little elements of quirkiness that would unlikely be duplicated in new contraction.
Such is the case found in this 1875 train station Federico de Vera transformed into his country home, utterly whimsical with it’s slanted ceilings, narrow hallways and ticket office turned living room. Plus, I’d imagine most little boys once dreamed of living in a real train station!
Wayne Pate Live Branch Print // Wayne Pate Pillar Tree Print // Tommy Bahama Throw Pillow // Overstock Arc Lamp // Pottery Barn PB Basic Sofa // Serena & Lily Lowell Wingback Chair // Ballard Hayes Round Tufted Storage Ottoman // West Elm Organic Plisse Blanket // Pottery Barn Logan Modular Wall System // Lulu & Georgian Genevieve Gorder Mary Clare Rug // Container Store Acrylic Canisters // Pottery Barn Ibiza Teepee
I think a lot of people have a misconception that if they have kids (or a messy husband), they can’t have nice things. While I don’t have kids of my own just yet, I’ve worked with enough clients with kiddos (and have one messy husband), that I can attest to the fact that this notion is not true! It’s all about setting yourself up for success through selecting work-horse items that seamlessly fit into your lifestyle and abide by your aesthetic.
Here are just a few of my tried and true tips:
- When it comes to upholstery choose durable mediums (fabrics, rugs, wallpaper, etc.) in darker solid colors or smaller prints – they’re much more forgiving! Also, consider slipcovers for the sofa, which can be easily removed and laundered.
- Splurge on artwork, save on pillows. Let’s be real, if there are pillows on the sofa kids and husbands alike are going to lay on them. So spending a lot of money on something that could potentially be drooled on (hopefully only the kids do this!) just isn’t wise. Go cheap here and invest in artwork that can be hung/placed in areas where kids can’t reach.
- You may know how much I love upholstered ottomans in lieu of a coffee table for small-space living situations, and the same holds true for family-friendly living rooms. There are no sharp edges for little ones to clunk their head on, and I always select one with storage to accommodate toys that constantly seem to multiply.
- Putting all of you “nice things” into storage once your kids are on the move just isn’t an option in my opinion! Select a cabinet or built-ins that have a display area on top where little hands can’t reach, and storage on the bottom for the above mentioned toys. If you choose to go with a cabinet, make sure to have a contractor secure it to the wall!
- If you have the space, designate a little kids corner. Pick up a little table and chair set, kitchen or teepee that fits within the aesthetic of the space (this part is crucial!). Make sure to have plenty of chic storage – like these clear acrylic canisters. Tell the kids that while all of their toys can’t live in the living room, these few are ok. That way the adults can hang out and the kids have their own little space – instead of being “banished” to the playroom.
- Get your kids involved in the process. If you’re between two pillows for example, let them pick out which one they like best. Then make a big deal about it to family and friends in the future. It will make them feel involved in the creative process and increase their confidence for decision making!
As if Karlie Kloss’ perfect supermodel physique wasn’t enough to be envious over, she recently purchased this gorgeous West Village town house, designed by non other than Nate Berkus! As is the case with most of Mr. Berkus’ designs, the space is a perfect mix of impeccable antiques and modern shapes. I really adore the combination of glamourous mediums – brass, fur and silk – paired with more casual notes, like the jute rug and linen sofa.
Happy Friday to you all! Any fun plans for the weekend?
I came across this gorgeous Tribecca maisonette belonging to Sasha Bikoff (photographed by Nicole Cohen) on Albertina’s blog yesterday and fell completely in love! The feminine space is both modern and colorful, filled to the brim with an enviable array of antiques. And of course I adore the collection of art Biskoff has amassed – can you believe she’s only 25?!
Check out the full story here.