Design Inspiration: Palm Springs

To anyone who knows me well, it’s no secret that I adore Palm Springs. From the beautiful butterfly roofline homes, the great shopping (seriously, the vintage furniture shopping is to die for), and the never-ending warm weather and sunshine, Palm Springs really has everything a gal could ever want. I’m actually planning a trip now (for the dead of Chicago winter).  But most of all, I just love how Palm Springs style is proud to be different, bold, and colorful – it is a little mod, a lot of bright and whole lot of spunk –  always a combination I can get behind!Palm-Springs-Summer-Thornton

Every time I travel to Palm Springs I get even more inspired by the colorful combinations, poolside style decor and tropic prints and patterns. Whether it’s a floral romper spotted on an ever-so-chic dressing visitor from LA or the perfect vintage pineapple vase, there’s always a quirky detail that makes me excited and inspires me to add it to a design project.  Below are a few funky ways to bring a bit of Palm Springs interior design into your home.

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 Get the Palm Springs Look:

1 Banana Leaf Pillow // 2. Bamboo Gold Silverware // 3. Sputnik Chandelier // 4. Bamboo Mirror // 5. Gold Pineapple // 6. Orange Velvet Pillow // 7. White Stool // 8. Pink Velvet Chair // 9. Jade Trays // 10. Mod Art

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And when you go, be sure to check out the Parker Hotel which is quintessential Palm Springs vintage style full of quirk and lacquer.  Also you have to check out Mister Parker’s Restaurant inside the Parker Hotel (I’d describe it as a psychedelic trip in the playboy mansion during the 60’s) .  And the lobby is cool too with the mid-century suspended fireplace.  To.Die.For.  A must-see if you’re in the area.

Palm Springs Parker Hotel

Design Inspiration: How To Style A Bar Cart

 I love adding a touch of romance and glamour to every space I design, and one of my favorite pieces to style is a vintage bar cart. Whether invoking a little Great Gatsby feel, or just creating a fresh moment for cute drinks, a well styled bar cart is a throwback to the simple yet sophisticated days past, and they add a touch of Old Hollywood glamour to any room.   And there are few bar carts that are more beautiful than the sexy brass & goatskin bar cart I used for a project in Atlanta. Their taste was more refined and classic so the styling matched to bring a chic touch to their home. Knowing that summer is coming to a close, I’m trying to get in my last few summer parties, so here are a few of my favorite pieces to style a bar cart for your summer get together:

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So, what’s the best way to style a bar cart for summer? Rule #1: There are no rules!

While some people like to use a muted color palette, I’m a big believer in a “more is more” philosophy when it comes to decorating anything – bar carts included. Rather than just choosing one or two accent colors, why not go a more bolder route with mixed brights, patterned glasses and a fun balance of vintage and modern pieces that are perfect for the season?

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For a summer bar cart,  I tend to gravitate towards vintage inspired glassware pieces, and many of my favorites  were found on my travels to flea markets around the world. I love the vintage colored glass that reminds me of Don Draper’s bar cart after a long day at the office, complete with 60’s funky patterns or bright colors. To really mix things up, I make sure to add a touch of glamour to give the bar cart a more overall refined look. This vintage inspired decanter and sleek gold accessories really bring the styling together, while accenting the space perfectly. One of my favorite secrets is to always add something fresh to complete the styling process,  whether it be fresh cut farmer’s market flowers or a colorful bowl of lemons, to keep the cart fresh and colorful.

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The best part about bar cart styling is that you’re always able to give it a new look with a few simple styling tricks. Decorate for the seasons, giving your cart a bright and floral makeover in the summer (like the examples above), or a more muted gold and white tone in the winter. I often find books, vases, or other home decor accents from around my own home and intermix them whenever possible to change up the style regularly.

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Now get out there and host a end-of-summer party, but be sure to style your bar cart first!

Beauty, Brains and Blogging: Jess of The Golden Girl Blog + The Everygirl

I’m excited to have the lovely Jess of The Golden Girl blog and The Everygirl on the blog today! She’s got an effortlessly chic style, impeccable taste and editorial eye, and I’m excited to share a little bit about her inspiring career path from advertising pro to full time blogger and freelance writer.  My personal favorite quote from her is “Leap and the net will appear”.  What a great motto.  This was so true in my life too.  Sometimes you have to take the risk before you know that everything will be all right.  Take a little peek into Jess’ world…

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Name: Jess

Occupation: Freelance writer & blogger

Current City: Chicago

Tell us a little bit about your career path so far and how you landed your current job as a freelance writer for various blogs, publications and The Evergirl? 

I never would’ve gotten to this point in my career as a writer without starting my blog in the first place! I was a Journalism major, but when I graduated I went into advertising, so I hadn’t actually written anything in a long time. I really wanted to work at a magazine or a website, or have a cool career in something digital related–like working at Twitter or Tumblr. I worked in Shopper Marketing at the time, so I knew I needed to do something else to expand my resume since I wasn’t using that part of my brain at work. I also wanted a creative outlet, because my career in advertising turned out to be more excel spreadsheets and client work than creative. 

My blog acted as my resume, and from there on, I was able to land my position at The Everygirl, because I think we both share similar aesthetics, style, and overall voice. From there, I kept working hard to establish my blog, and eventually started landing some regular sponsorships, and it’s grown from there! 

What do you love about working in your creative field? 

I think it’s so much flexibility. I think I would die if I had to go back to an office. I want to be able to work from wherever I choose (the whole office thing really stifled my brain in general). Plus, if it’s freezing, I want to be able to work from my bed in my fuzzy pajamas. Creativity is also a huge part of that flexibility. Yes I work a ton of hours, and admittedly, it’s for half of what I was making in advertising (where I was able to move up the ranks pretty quickly) but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

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What’s been your favorite part of working with a publication like the Everygirl, and your own blog, The Golden Girl Blog? 

With The Everygirl, it’s a chance to be exposed to female entrepreneurship at such a close level. I’m really lucky to be able to work closely with Alaina & Danielle, and call them my friends, as well as mentors! The experience I’ve gained working with them has been invaluable. And with my own blog, I mean–I’m my own boss! What’s not to love there? When a big part of your career is dependent upon just “you doing you,” it’s pretty awesome. 

What has been your biggest break? 

Definitely being named one of Refinery 29’s top up & coming Chicago bloggers! 

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What do you attribute your success to (any mottos/mantras that you love)?

That’s a tough one. I think everything at the end of the day ladders up to “leap, and the net will appear.” Even if the net doesn’t appear right away, you realize that you’re way more capable than you thought, and that you can land on your feet and dust yourself off!

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Where would you like to se yourself in 5 years?

Honestly, probably just an evolution of what I’m doing now! I don’t have a huge, overly specific goal. I just want to be making money doing what I love. (I’d love to be making more, obviously, but who doesn’t want more travel money?) 

What’s one tip of advice that you would share for anyone who aspires to be like you?

That nobody ever got anywhere by hesitating! 

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What’s your advice for people who are looking to get into the magazine, editorial, photography or publishing industry?

Start a blog! And make it good. A blog is like a resume on steroids. It’s the best first impression you could possibly make. (That is, if you do it right. If you do it wrong, it can easily be a horrible impression.) Second, network your butt off. And don’t do it obnoxiously. If you approach people with the sole angle of “what’s in it for you?” people will take notice. But if you strive to make solid, amazing friendships, where both of you benefit and help each other grow–that is truly one of the most powerful tools you could have. 

If you could collaborate with anyone on a project, who would it be and why?

Manny the Frenchie. He’s a local Chicago humanitarian French Bulldog who has the best Instagram ever. I mean, literally my dream in a nutshell. 

Are there any editors, writers, or photographers who’s work inspired you? 

That’s so hard to choose! I have so many talented friends and people I look up to, I can’t possibly pick a favorite, but the first ones that come to mind: my photographer friend Cassandra who I swear gets more and more talented by the minute, Jess Lively, who’s podcast I couldn’t live without, and Gretchen Rubin, who’s book “The Happiness Project” really put things into a new perspective to me. 

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Where do you find inspiration?

PINTEREST. It’s like internet crack. You can’t not be inspired after scrolling through your Pinterest feed! 

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A few of her favorite things:

1) Favorite Flower: Hydrangeas (because they’re the prettiest) and Daffodils (because they used to grow in the pasture on my family’s farm growing up.)
2) Drink of Choice: Coconut La Croix or a Sidecar.
3) Most Prized Possession: My leather jacket from Italy and my Grey Bunny that my Grannie gave me when I was little.
4) My personal hero is: Neal, my boyfriend, who singlehandedly has shaped my life in a way I would have never thought possible.
5) I’m reading: The girls from Ames
6) I’m watching: Bar Rescue marathons every Sunday
7) Last purchase or splurge: It’s about to be everything necessary to furnish a whole apartment from scratch (yikes!)
8) My Guilty pleasure: coconut flavored everything, french bulldog instagram accounts
9) Favorite vacation spot: Italy (dream), or Neal’s family’s lake house in Indiana.
10) Favorite quote: Leap and the net will appear
11) Most people don’t know that I was secretly born a hillbilly in a tiny town in Oregon.
12) I’m DEATHLY afraid of spiders
13) Favorite Store(s) for the Home: Joss & Main, Dot & Bo, Lulu & Georgia

Love Jess as much as we do? Make sure to check out her blog for more inspiration!

Colorful Canopy Bed Inspiration

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I adore all things romantic: From pretty patterned wall paper to claw foot tubs to impractically puddled drapes.

One of my impractical (but ever-so-romantic and beautiful) design favorites has been bright and bold canopy beds that add luxurious flair to any bedroom.  Done wrong and they can look tacky – a little too Las Vegas or Shah’s of Sunset – “faux fancy” you might say.  But done right, with some fresh twists, or in a space with modern touches, and it can be dramatic and still current.  Originally made as a piece of functional furniture to keep beds warm and reduce noise for the upper class and royalty, canopy beds have now become a statement piece in traditional and vintage inspired spaces. While it may not be a display of wealth as it used to be, there are a variety of of styles – from the modern metal version to ones made with gorgeous velvets and linens. Keeping up with my colorful decorating obsession, here are a few of my favorite canopy beds that I can’t stop thinking about. Is there anything more romantic than a canopy bed?

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1: Victorian flair: Two words: gold & cobalt blue. This dreamy combination is perfect for any princess, and I adore the mix of patterns and bold brights.

2. Royal red: Fit for a queen and a sexy too. The deep royal red and pink canopy curtains make this luscious room one of my favorites.

3. Crisp whites: Sometimes you have to return to the classics, and these soft dreamy whites make for a truly relaxing space.

4. Mellow yellow: Going with my favorite theme (brights!), this yellow little girl’s room is a chic alternative to softer pink hues.

5. Modern & elegant: I love the structured, gold frame as a highlight to the green and yellow accents.

6. The best of both worlds: Can’t decide between a more traditional or modern canopy bed? This yellow draped number is the best of both worlds, and looks elegant in front of a velvet backdrop (and luxe accents.)

Which of these canopy beds fir your style? I’m not sure about you, but

Interior Inspiration: Painted Clawfoot Tubs

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Who doesn’t love a luxurious bubble bath after a long day at work? I enjoy mine with a glass of pinot gris and cheese.

I’m a firm believer that bathrooms should be romantic & dramatic.  They’re a little escape, and they can make you feel special at two of the most important times of day – when you’re getting ready for the day, and when you’re winding down.  Rather than keeping bathrooms monochromatic and humdrum  – I mean how many all-white bathrooms can we look at, seriously?!  They’re nice but there are other options people!  Adding vintage accents and some color always make for a memorable statement. A clawfoot tub adds a great vintage accent to any home, and if you want to do something a little different, it can add a splash of color to your decor too! Take a peek at a few of these stunning bathrooms, and check out the real show stoppers – painted clawfoot tubs!

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Who wouldn’t want to take a bubble-filled bath in a gorgeous clawfoot tub?  Which clawfoot tub would you love to add to your dream bathroom?

Design Inspiration: Beautiful Floors

 

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Who doesn’t love a little eye candy, especially when it comes in the form of interior design inspiration?

Pinterest is one of my favorite places to find inspiration, and I’ve been obsessed with pinning wildly decorative floors. Whether it’s a gorgeous patterned Moroccan tile, an in-laid wooden stunner, or something just perfectly imperfect, a great floor pattern gets me in the mood (to decorate that is).  There’s something about a patterned floor – it’s gorgeous in its own right but paired with the perfect room and decor – it can take a space from ‘nice’ to amazing!

I  worked on a design project for a show house in the iconic Chicago Merchandise Mart. It was a modern interpretation of Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. I used exaggerated shapes to highlight the fantasy of this fairytale with a modern-day twist, including one of my favorite floor patterns – a black and white harlequin floor.

Take a peek at a few of my favorite floors I’ve been pinning on my Pinterest page:

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And my favorite floor of all? Although it’s hard to choose, it’s impossible to not adore a gorgeous Moroccan tile – just look at the picture below and try to resist booking a ticket right now!

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Color Love: Coral Pink and Kelly Green

I often gravitate towards quirky colors – something that’s just a bit askew of the usual.  Recently coral pinks have been a real favorite, and I love the idea of pairing it with kelly green – it’s become one of my favorite color combinations. I love how relaxing and balanced the color green is, combined with the bright, vibrant coral tones, which make for a chic statement in any home.

While working on an interior design for a single-family home in Lincoln Park, I used a fun mix of bold and bright colors throughout – especially in their playful nursery. The client was so fun and open to making everything in her home daring and bold, which is exactly what we did! I found this amazing green, floral wall paper and I knew it would be the perfect backdrop for a funky, but pretty bedroom escape for the client’s little girl. Mixed with pretty coral accents (like that amazing dresser from Palm Beach) pink accented furniture with playful polka dots and stripes, the bedroom was transformed into a dreamy space that any little girl would adore for years to come.

The final result of the design was a playful, colorful, but still luxurious space that left room for the family to grow into.  If you’re looking for even more colorful inspiration, check out a few of my boards on Pinterest that match the color story and design aesthetic of the nursery (top image below).  And make sure to pin it for yourself!

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How to Decorate with Banana Leaf Prints

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Now that summer’s in full swing, I’m all about prints when it comes to upcoming design projects and my own wardrobe. And nothing conveys the laid back vibe of summer as perfectly as a tropical banana palm leaf print!

You saw it pop up everywhere last summer - from iPhone cases to espadrilles – and this bold print is back and more chic than ever. The iconic print comes in two main patterns that have inspired the evolution of the print over the years. The first is the classic Martinique, with a variety of green tones and larger, full leaf print that was made popular when it was first installed in the Beverly Hills Hotel. The second famous pattern, the Brazilliance is also gorgeous option, with more monochromatic green hues and smaller floral accents that make it ideal for wallpaper, home accents and dresses alike.  Either way, you can’t go wrong with a palm leaf pattern fabric or wallpaper!

I know that I  will never tire of this tropical style in the home or my wardrobe, so I rounded up a few products and decor inspirations I adore to showcase my favorite ways to style this gorgeous print!

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From top to bottom:

Mixed prints inspiration // Wallpaper // Pillow // Tray 

Dress {similar} // Clutch // Shoes // Skirt

From living room decor to chic accessories, banana leaf prints always make for an iconic and memorable look. When styling it in your own home, always make sure to mix the print with other bright colors (hot pinks, corals and reds are a favorite combination of mine!) or other bold prints to keep the look bold and daring.

Happen to have any banana leaf prints in your home or closet? I’d love to hear about your favorites!

Chicago Flea Market This Weekend!

If you haven’t heard, our interior design firm keeps growing and we’re moving to a larger office in a few weeks.  Rather than hoarding all the great stuff that we’ve collected over the years, we’re having a flea market and moving sale on Friday & Saturday – June 26 & 27 at our office.  There will be tons of great deals to be had – some fabrics originally $300/yd for $10/yd.  This white chinoiserie credenza shown below.  Lamps. Artwork. Chandeliers. Accessories. Frames. Pillows. Chairs.  Art & coffee table books. Sconces. Ice buckets. High end and low end – you name it.  Truly too much to list it all.  But its all gotta go in 2 days!

Designer Flea Market and Moving Sale

Friday night will be more of a low-key party vibe.  Music, drinks, mingling, etc, though you can certainly shop and purchase things that night.  Saturday is down to business for the serious shoppers.  Hope to see you there!

 

Interior Inspirations: Creating a Beautiful Walk-In Closet

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What woman doesn’t dream of a chic walk-in closet filled to the brim with Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel?

Any stylish woman will tell you that one of her favorite parts of her home is her dressing room – filled with gorgeous dresses and beautiful designer bags. Not only is your closet a darling space for your favorite accessories, but it also can be one of the most beautiful and fashionable rooms in your home. I recently worked on the above dressing room for a client in Lincoln Park, and it quickly became one of my favorite rooms in the house. I love how sleek and traditional the all white custom built-in cabinetry looks paired with metal accents and soft violet colored walls. The custom dressing table added even more extra detailing to the space, and made for the perfect place to rest stylish coffee table books, fresh cut tulips, and my clients gorgeous jewelry collection. Who wouldn’t want to wake up every morning to that beautiful dressing room view? Not to mention her shoe collection? Swoon!

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Whether you have a tiny space, or a grandiose walk-in, here are a few of my favorite design tricks that will transform your closet into a room you’ll love.

Color code: My favorite rooms are those bursting with color, and similarly your closet should follow suit. Organize your closet by color to make the space even more elegant, and pieces easier to find.

Create custom cabinets: There’s nothing more appealing than an organized dressing room, so add custom cabinets to make everything easy to find. I love pairing more sophisticated white cabinetry with bright colored wallpapers, funky rugs and a gorgeous vintage chair to give the room a little edge.

Add bold wallpaper: Bold color, pretty patterns, what’s not to love? Like your clothes, your closet should be anything but boring, so give the space new life with a funky and glamorous wallpaper pattern.

Make your lights ultra glam: To make any space big or small luxurious, just add a vintage light fixture! I love a sparkly chandelier or funky brass sputnik fixture. They say ‘this room matters!’

What walk-in closet spaces are you inspired by? Don’t forget to swing by my Pinterest boards for even more design inspiration!

I Love Vintage: Maison Jansen

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I love all things Parisian:  The effortless chic style, inspiring culture, and the always-stunning interiors.

Whenever I visit Pairs, I’m inspired by the impeccable combination of modern, sophisticated luxury with the perfect mix of classic antiques and vintage pieces. One of my favorite Parisian based designers was Maison Jansen (house of Jansen), founded by Jean-Henri Jansen, who’s work was prominent around the globe in the late 1880’s. Known for his traditional pieces, with influences from his travels in Japan and Turkey, Jansen was best known for his interior design work, as well as the unique furniture his company, House of Jansen, custom-made. His most iconic pieces are primarily in the Louis XIV, Louis XVI, Directoire, and Empire styles, which he used in his interior design projects around the world.  What’s I find most impressive about Jansen was that he is considered to have founded the first global design company, with his work spanning continents from North America to the Middle East.  He did it with design and style that was so forward-thinking and counter-cultural.  Think of the late 1800s – it was victorian era but his pieces are streamlined and bring in hints of Asia with pagoda shapes and patterns, some whimsy with unique metal finishes and shapes, and modern lines as a point of contrast.  They must have really been different then when design was much more in-line with the period, but now they work so well into designs that weave new with vintage.  Plus, can you ever go wrong with black and gold gilding?  I suppose you can, but these furniture pieces are perfection.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces of Jansen’s work, including that gorgeously simple bar cart – perfect for serving cocktails at your next party!

 

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There are so many aspects of Jansen’s work that I admire – his attention to detail, the impeccable quality of his one-of-a-kind commissions, and his incredibly modern work that he created over a hundred years ago. Even today, there’s something  truly special and modern about his pieces – and I continue to draw inspiration from his work when working on projects for my own clients. Who wouldn’t want any of these gorgeous gilded pieces to grace their living room? I think we all need one (or two!) to add to our home decor.

Color Love: Neutral Hues In Interior Design

It’s no surprise that I’m a lover of colorfully chic spaces, but there are times…special projects where it calls for a mix of neutral colors. While bold rooms are easy to wow, sometimes the textures and subtleties of neutrals truly brings together a space. And believe me, neutrals can be anything but boring.  There’s an art in balancing soft textures and tones with more earthy woods and metals that bring together a perfect room.

When working on the interior design for a French Tudor style home, the client wanted more natural, earthy colors. Being inspired by the beauty of rich leathers, fresh cut wood, and organic textures – I pulled together neutral pieces that perfectly played off one another. There’s a sense of calm while walking into this living room, and the colors interplay to become a refreshing and relaxing space to read the morning paper, or to unwind after a long day. For this project we did a comprehensive remodel – replacing all the windows to install these gorgeous steel paned beauties.  They created a sense of play between indoors and outdoors – we brought in more natural elements from the outside world within the space to make it cohesive and seamless – adding chopped wood as a decor element, a stunning wooden coffee table, and fresh cut flowers to bring airiness to the space.

The final result? The space is fresh, airy, natural and still bold in it’s own beautiful way. Who wouldn’t want to sip their morning coffee on that inviting couch?  Check out some of the inspirations on my boards on Pinterest that match the color story and design aesthetic of this darling bedroom I designed (top image below). And don’t forget to pin it yourself!

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Style Inspiration: The Best Baby Gifts (fit for the Royal Baby)

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We all have those perfectly chic friends who are the best gift givers, but what baby gift can we give that friend who has everything?  When no typical baby gift will do, I always go for a luxe gift that will delight even the most stylish moms-to-be, from cashmere blankets to one of a kind baby moccasins. Here are a few of the best baby shower gifts – my personal favorites – that will always wow your pickiest of girlfriends, and be a gift they’ll cherish for years to come!

1.  I adore the look of a  classic, vintage inspired  stroller for a little one, and Pram Strollers have always been a favorite of mine. I had a navy one as a child – I wish my parents had saved it! If you’re looking for a memorable gift that will last for many babies to come, or a big gift that several friends can buy together, definitely consider a chic Pram stroller for the mother to be.

2. This beautiful sterling silver Tiffany Bow cup is a stunning baby keepsake that will stay in the family for generations to come. It’s perfect for your preppy classic style friends – if her engagement ring is from Tiffany’s, you know this will be a hit.  This fancy little cup would become a cherished heirloom for generations to come.

3.  As if a crisp white dress wasn’t summer enough, this gorgeous little white dress with shining gold embroidery makes this dress perfect for a summer baby. Paired with coordinating bloomers, it’s the perfect shower or “just because” gift for the new mother in your life.

4. One of my favorite baby gifts to give (and receive) was a Mother’s One Line A Day journal. It’s the perfect keepsake and way to remember special, little things from each day that you may forget otherwise (and those little things tend to always be my favorite.) I write in mine almost every day and love re-reading old entries from when my daughter was a baby (she’s now a toddler).

5. Dior is always a good idea, which means baby Dior is the perfect baby gift for your ultra posh friend. This beautiful muted tone jacket is wool and cashmere so it will be super warm and cozy during Chicago’s always changing seasons.

6. These little french booties are so adorable, and perfect for a little boy or girl. They’re made with the softest leather and no-slip flexible soles, making them the perfect shoe for any occasion.

7. This adorable Tiffany Bow Brush is another perfect heirloom piece to impress any mother to be. I love the iconic Tiffany bow detailing and the fact that you can get it monogrammed for an even more personal touch.

8. In celebration of the royal baby,  this adorable Dolce union jack blanket is the perfect chic gift to get and give. The blanket is incredibly soft and in a design fit for any little prince or princess (british or otherwise.)

Home Inspiration: Sofia Coppola’s NYC Apartment

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“My apartment is pretty calm and restrained. I like a clean white backdrop set off by masses and masses of pink peonies.” -Sofia Coppola

I couldn’t agree more with Sofia Coppola’s favorite flower choice, though I’m more of a more is more type gal for interior design.  But since I’ve always been an admirer of Sofia Coppola, when her NYC apartment came on the market I had to share the photos. Not only is she an inspiring entrepreneur (Sofia champagne, anyone?), she’s an incredible director (Marie Antoinette was visually stunning and had great musical contrast), but she’s also just got such a cool easy-going minimalist style that sets her apart from many of today’s young celebs. I love seeing a celebrity home that is laid-back…not trying so hard to be cool with trendy/tacky design cliches – this home just feels as casual & cool as Sofia.  Recently I designed a French Tudor style home for a client, and used a near monochromatic color palette, much like Sofia’s.  I would have loved to help her with this apartment – keeping it clean and simple but I think it could use just a bit more edginess in some of the furniture shapes and perhaps a few more vintage pieces.

Sofia’s apartment has a great color palette – it is muted color simplicity with the perfect mix of dusty blue, earthy and white tones. It feels like a relaxing retreat in the midst of the busy, bustling city. The uncluttered backdrop of her walls keep the main focus in the room on her unique pieces of art & photography, including pieces by Elizabeth Peyton, Helmut Newton (one of my personal favorites), William Klein and many more.

Take a peek from Sofia Coppola’s NYC Apartment listing below…

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So, now the question remains – when can we move in?

Style Icons: Grace Coddington

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The epitome of style and grace, Grace Coddington expertly fits her name to a T. She’s truly a one of a kind fashionista, from her signature flame-colored hair to her love of unconventional beauty.  But what I love most about her is her vision for creating a sense of mood and fantasy in the photoshoots she directs.  It’s like being transported into another world or another time but yet somehow it feels relevant to today.

While Grace has been a dynamic force in the fashion industry for quite some time (Vogue’s creative director for 27 years), she became a reluctant celebrity when the acclaimed 2009 documentary, The September Issue was released. I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes as Grace tirelessly works with famous photographers, designer and models to see her incredible creativity and stylish vision come to life. As a creative myself, it’s always fascinating watching others work their magic and turn the everyday into the extraordinary.  Don’t tell Anna Wintour, but I think Grace is the real visionary for Vogue.

Even as I look at images that are 10 years old they still feel fresh and interesting.  Her 2003 Alice in Wonderland shoot with the legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz comes to mind. Grace enlisted the help of a few of her favorite designers to model including Tom Ford as the White Rabbit, Marc Jacobs as the Caterpillar, John Galliano as the Red Queen and many more. The result was a bold editorial shoot that has captured my imagination for years – its got whimsy, a sense of fantasy, bold colors, and wild  patterns!  It served as a point of inspiration for my design at the dream home in the merchandise mart.

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If you’re looking to find out more of Grace’s world (believe me, you do!) check out her bestselling memoir, Grace: A Memoir, highlighting her early modeling career in England to her fashion career with Vogue. It’s such an interesting read, and you’ll love peeking behind the scenes to read about some of the Vogues most memorable shoots. Her fierce passion is inspiring.  Add it to your “must read” list for the summer!

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Oftentimes when I’m interviewed a question will be ‘who would you most want to collaborate with on a design’ – almost always my answer is Grace Coddington.  I’d love to partner with her to create a vision and then pair my interior design with her fashion & photography knowledge to create something with as much fiery red personality as her hair.

Room Inspiration: A Nursery Fit For Princess Charlotte

 

There’s something lovely about a delicate sweet little girl’s nursery. Soft pastels, fabric canopies, vintage inspired touches and a feminine chandelier make a room that’s both chic and sophisticated but somehow charmingly sweet. In celebration of the new princess Charlotte’s birth, here are a few luxurious baby nurseries that would be fit for a princess. nursery inspiration

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When designing in more muted palettes, adding layers of texture and pattern is critical to retain a sophisticated design.  These all look like they would be a relaxing and peaceful space for Kate and Princess Charlotte. I love old fashioned and vintage-inspired cribs either in white or bleached oak – they make a beautiful centerpiece in the room. Vintage wallpaper prints, touches of color, puddled curtains and canopies, and a few pops of soft colors (that turquoise velvet couch is just gorgeous, isn’t it?) give the space extra depth. And what nursery would be complete without a few quirky toys and stuffed animals.  Together, the pretty pink accents, charming touches and muted tones make for a room any little princes would adore.

I could easily see the princess Charlotte growing up in any of these beautiful nurseries – couldn’t you?

Style Icon: Iris Apfel

 

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Whenever I think of funky, bold style, Iris Apfel immediately comes to mind. At 94 years old, Iris is the embodiment of the “more is more” philosophy. What I love about her is that she’s not afraid to play with mixed-prints, bold colors and luxurious textures – whether she’s dressing herself or decorating her Manhattan apartment.

 

Iris breaks all the fashion “rules”: There’s no pattern, color, or trend that doesn’t go together! Whether she’s at the Met Gala or home on the weekend, Iris seems to always be dressed up and ready to put on a show, and that’s one of the many reasons I love her impeccable and quirky style. I love her unapologetic attitude on fashion too. She was famously quoted saying, “If you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else”, and I don’t think any other quote could capture her quirky style more perfectly.

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Not only is she a fashion muse and icon,  but also a designer in her own right having worked on White House restoration projects for 9 presidents in her lifetime. Which seems odd to me given that, her home is a bold and playful environment, far from the stiff designs of the white house, but her involvement there was in recreating historic textiles.  I adore the way she uses pieces and inspiration from around the world to create a homey but elegant space. The details of those Moroccan throw pillows, the poppy red English chair, and gorgeous Dutch paintings all work together to create a lively room with lots of personality.

Her love of vintage decor and mix of colors reminds me of a Lincoln Park single family home I worked on. Both spaces blend antique pieces with bright, bold colors all the while infusing inspiration from cross-continental travel.

Iris-Apel-Style-At-HomeI know, like Iris, that I will always be inspired by the intersection of the world of fashion and design – and I hope to be just as stylish as she is when I’m 94!  Is anyone else as obsessed with Iris Apfel as I am?

I Love Vintage: Karl Springer

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Karl Springer was one of the greatest furniture designers of the 20th century. He always found a way to perfectly blend elegance and quirk – never safe, always interesting.  So of course his pieces often become a centerpiece in my own designs.  Most known for his use of exotic materials – shagreen, goatskin, lacquer – his work pops, both in terms of color and shape in almost any room.

Originally born in Berlin, Springer came to New York to pursue his passion of becoming a bookbinder in 1957. His first job in the city was working at Lord & Taylor, and he began to use his bookbinding skills to create objects made out of leathers and skins. After years of practice and several jobs at high-end retailers, he became more experienced and branched off to create his own line of furniture pieces, light fixtures and Venetian-glass objects.  Eventually, his work spanned the globe, and he had active showrooms in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Munich and even Chicago. His attention to detail and unparalled craftsmanship made him well respected in the design community, and his work has always been coveted by designers and collectors.

As a lover of all things 70’s chic, I adore how Springer’s designs use a few of my favorite textures and materials: lucite, metals, goatskin parchment and gorgeous wood veneers.  I’ve snagged a few gorgeous Springer pieces that made the perfect accent for my clients.  You can’t help but be drawn to his pieces the moment you enter a room – they’re always eye-catching.

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Top image: 24k gold leaf Onassis chairs // 1.  Plum goatskin and steel rotating side table //  2.  Emerald green goatskin table // 3. Pouf ottoman  // 4. Gueridon table // 5. Faux tortoise mirror // 6. Goat skin Onassis chair

I’ve used Karl Springer’s inspiring pieces in the past, including this gorgeous goatskin coffee table for the Palmolive building interior design project. It helped take the design and give it a bit more edge since the architecture and many other pieces were more traditional.

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If you happen to snag a piece of Springer’s work, it’s sure to become one of your favorites. Which classic Springer piece would you love to add to your home?

Color Love: Bold Color in Interior Design

It’s no secret that I’m a lover of bold and quirky color combinations. I love the emotional connection and feeling color evokes when walking into a room, and creating wow-worthy color combinations that make an interior elegant, but never boring. I often find inspiration from the world around me – whether it be the colors of flowers I spy while walking through Chicago, or from my travel, or the world of fashion photography. Translating those colors into palettes for my clients is one of my favorite parts of the design process, and I love using inspirational images to come up with mood boards for my designs.

When working on the interior design for a single-family home in Lincoln Park, I loved using a mix of bright and bold colors in the family’s master bedroom.  This client was so much fun – she wanted everything to be daring and bold.  So that’s what we did…juxtaposing a gorgeous kelly green and white striped wall with velvet coral chairs and a glaucous powder blue chaise, giving the room plenty of pops of color while keeping the palette cohesive and fresh.

The result?  It’s playful, quirky, colorful, yet still luxurious.  I just simply don’t believe that luxury can only be attained in muted palettes – an interior can be chic & glamorous even with the bold use of color.  Check out some of the inspirations on my boards on Pinterest that match the color story and design aesthetic of this darling bedroom I designed (top image below).  And don’t forget to pin it yourself!

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Is it just me or does that coral clad flapper looks like she’s telling her puppy -“lets go home and recline on the chaise!”  And isn’t that color palette absolutely divine? I am obsessed with coral right now – it can range in hue but no matter the shade each seems to be the perfect mix of orange, pink and red.

What do you think – can luxury only be achieved in muted tones or do you believe in colorful glamour?

4 Coffee Table Books for Design Lovers

I’ve always had a penchant for beautiful, glossy coffee table books. Each page is full of colorful inspiration, and I often find myself flipping through a few of my favorites before diving into a new design project. It provides a glimpse into the world through the eyes of other creative thinkers whether they’re fashion designers, photographers, artists, or interior designers. Here are 4 of the books that are at the top of my list when it coms to inspiration.

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1) Tory Burch : In Color – Tory has always been a style icon of mine, and I am completely smitten with her use of color and bold, playful patterns. I recently picked up her newest design book and absolutely fell in love with her incredible behind-the-scenes photos of her life and adventures around the world. From her personal photos of life growing up in Pennsylvania, to the incredible trips that have transformed her style, this book is a must have for anyone who finds creativity in the world around them and loves a little boho-chic living and the occasional preppy pattern. As an avid traveler myself, I can relate to Tory’s love of adventure and obsession with living a colorful life.

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2) Romantic Irish Homes – Designer Robert O’Byrne is one of my all-time favorite interior designers, and I love this book featuring impeccable romantic, lived in homes. His gorgeous designs and photos depict well lived in spaces, with the perfect mix of color, texture, and rustic elegance. Every home in it has petina and character – they’re perfectly imperfect, you might say.  I love rooms filled with old, beautiful books, and Robert showcases a few libraries and living rooms worth lusting over. If you’re a fan of lived-in elegance, this book will be a new go-to.

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3) ABC DSC  – British designer David Collins is great at creating luxurious modern interiors. I love how they transform me to another time and place – for example – turning an everyday bar into a grandiose ballroom. A simple dining room becomes a glamorous Russian train-esque space – with rich woods and deep cobalt blue velvet details.

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4) Ann Getty Interior Style:  Ann Getty is a Go Big or Go Home designer, and I love that about her. Her over the top glamour combines great textures and materials to create inspiring public spaces. I love her “more is more” aesthetic.  It reminds me of this incredible project I worked on recently in Lincoln Park. I adore her fresh, bright and simplified color palettes that she adds to so many of her design projects, as well as her attention to detail.

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What are your favorite coffee table books to draw inspiration from?