4/13/2015

HOSTESS IN A PINCH

Spring's in the air, and we're all thawing out from what's been for some, a very long winter. Everyone's stretching out of hibernation, getting out for some sunshine and fresh air. And with all the mingling and moseying, it's very possible that some of those people, hopefully ones you're already at least somewhat familiar with, could be stopping by for this or that. It might be a planned thing or it might not.

I know some people have a little anxiety about this. Maybe it's because you think your place is lame. Maybe it's because there's a pile of cheerios your toddler spilled three days ago still on your kitchen floor. Maybe it's because you just don't like your friends.

Ok, I hope that last one isn't true.

Whatever the reason, having people over doesn't have to be stressful and require hours, even days of planning, especially if it's just for a little hang out time.

Here are a few tried and true, easily stocked essentials for staying hostess-ready, even in a pinch:




I know most of these items seem pretty self-explanatory, but let's unpack this a bit:

Spruce up your entryway! This doesn't have to be labor intensive or expensive. If your doormat is three years old and looks like it's been through a stampede of wildebeests, get a new one.

Designer Fave: (6) Well Hello There West Elm

And if you don't have a wreath, or you still have up the one from Valentine's Day, it's gotta go. I love a simple boxwood wreath because they work in every season and are a bright, crisp way to greet your guests. Some are a little pricey, but they don't have to be. 

Designer Fave: (9) Boxwood Round Wreath West Elm, Boxwood Wreath DIY HGTV


Candles! Did you make tuna for lunch? Have a particularly smelly pet? Not to worry. Even if you didn't eat a stinky lunch or have a pet, having a soft fragrance in your home is inviting and an added design dimension that can often be overlooked. I always incorporate some kind of candle in my clients' homes because there's just something about a soft flame and consistent fragrance that enriches a space so much.
        
*Bonus Tip: Find a fragrance you like and use only that scent throughout your home. I like to have a candle in the entry way, the kitchen, the living area, and the sometimes the powder room. This may seem like a lot, but it helps to evenly and consistently disperse fragrance throughout the home and creating a pretty solid ambience. 

Designer Fave: (5) Fragrance No. 55 Candlefish (Notes of spearmint, soft floral + moss with a 20 hour burn time for 3.5 oz tin. Smells absolutely divine.)


Clean-Up! Floor getting a little nasty? If you're short on time (or energy), don't worry about busting out the big vacuum. A little hand-held puppy is your BFF. 

Designer Fave: (7) Black & Decker Dustbuster Amazon (The best $46.99 a mom, pet owner, or spill-prone person can spend.)


Green-Up! You don't have to have fresh flowers in the house at all times. But a little something to liven up your space is nice and you don't have to make an extra trip out to get it. Greenery is great because it's often a little more lush than a floral arrangement, which means it's got more volume and makes more of a statement. The best part is, you can usually just go cut a couple branches or sprigs of shrubbery and voila! You've instantly stepped up your game.

*Bonus Tip: Getting the right amount might take a little trial and error, but often less is more and you don't have to give arrangement much thought. Look at the leaves above (2, via Starfish Cottage). Just two. In a simple vase. And they're gorgeous. 


Provisions: There's no need to stress over this. While having something in the way of food + drink to offer guests is important, you don't have to serve a four-course meal. Unless of course, you've invited them over for dinner. But if I have a girlfriend who's stopping by while she's running errands or a playdate, having some little offering isn't hard:

Rule 1: Have coffee (and cream + sugar) on the ready. We all need it. We all want it. 

Rule 2: Always have a bottle of champagne in your fridge. This is some of the best life advice I can give. Have something to celebrate? Pop champagne! Bad news and need some cheer? Pop champagne! 10 am? Add whatever juice you have and pop champagne! Pre-dinner drinks? Add a floater and pop-champagne! 

I don't really have a favorite and spending a ton isn't necessary. Everyone loves the bubbly and plop in some of those frozen berries you meant to make smoothies with, and you're fancy already! 

*Bonus Tip: This may seem obvious, but at almost 30, I can still say that I somehow only have three champagne flutes. So I'm preaching to myself when I say, girl, get the right drinkware!

Designer Fave: (4) Edge Champagne Glass Crate & Barrel

Rule 3: Stock up on seasonal fruit that doesn't need a ton of prep. This is definitely easier in the warmer months. Everyone loves strawberries or blueberries and they're easy to put in a pretty dish, sprinkle some sugar, and snack on at any time. 

So how do  you feel? Confident? 

I hope so! Even if you don't feel like a natural hostess, you can definitely get by with way less effort than you think. In fact, you may find yourself actually wanting hosting way more little get-togethers soon! 


4/04/2015

THE EASY EASTER TABLE

Setting the Easter table is my absolutely favorite. Sure, other holidays are fun, but the beautiful blooms of this springtime holiday take the [bunny]cake for me. 

Fresh off vacation and a week full of catching up, I haven't had much time to really think about it this year, but I finally made my way out to the crazy grocery store today to grab some last minute goodies for our feast, including a few fab florals that couldn't have been easier to pop into vases for a simple, chic Easter table. 

Starting with just three seasonal blooms, I didn't really have any idea where I was going with things...


The lucky thing is, I have lots of little vases and chatzkies sitting around that work perfectly in a spring tablescape (aka a random copper bunny).


And let me just give a little encouragement if this kind of thing is usually intimidating for you. Sometimes the more simple you keep it, the better. You don't need million dollar ornate crystal from Tiffany's to pull off a beautiful table. You know where the majority of my milk glass comes from? Goodwill.

Yep. For like $1. People don't always know what they're throwing out, but luckily, you do! Milk glass a chic, simple staple for tablescapes at any season and works just as well for flowers as it does for votives or even metallic Christmas bulbs.

Same with mix-and match brass candlesticks. You know who does a great job with thrifted brass? House Beautiful Decorating Editor, Eddie Ross. It doesn't look like he keeps up with his blog anymore, but you should definitely follow him on Instagram (@eddieross) for the most chic thrifting inspiration.


I was kinda bummed that these little guys broke off from the rest of the bouquet so easily, but I think it worked out well to have them in this make-shift chinoiserie tea jar turned bud vase.

Especially because I needed something lower to give some height balance to the bun-bun.


My final thought on creating easy tablescapes is not overthinking your flower arrangements if you're using them.

Nothing is easier than trimming some stems and plopping one kind of flower in vase.


Sometimes letting them be a little floppy and take their own shape is really so much prettier than trying to make them all tight and manicured. You also get way more volume this way and end up spending way less money. You also stretch your volume and your buck when you opt for several smaller arrangements vs. one with every kind of flower in one vase.

And in conclusion, this is what the other side of my kitchen looks like:


Because authenticity is something I strive for.

Happy Easter, y'all!




4/01/2015

THAT TIME I KEPT UP WITH BLOGGING

It seems like a distant memory. The details are foggy, but I seem to recall a time when I posted on ye ol' blog once- maybe even twice- a week! Truth be told, I'm not really a very calculated blogger. I mostly just like talking. And it's a little ironic because my career as a designer really started right here on this blog. As I type that, I feel a slight tinge of guilt. Like a kid who left home for something they thought was better and forgot where they came from. 

But let's be honest. The bloggosphere is full of chatter regardless of what my little readership chart looks like on any given day. I say all this to say...well, I guess I'm not really sure. 

As always, there's a lot going on. And I wish I had time to write more, because I really do love talking shop. And like that awkward encounter you have with someone you haven't seen for a long time, and you have to take a couple minutes to find your rhythm again, here is a random recap of some of the things we've been up to for the last couple of weeks. 


For starters, there's this. As you can tell by the size of baby popcorn as Eva calls her/him, it's not exactly new news, but yes, we are indeed expected bebe number two. This is one of the bigger reasons I've let the blog fall by the wayside. For some reason, between work, a high-energy almost three-year-old and growing a baby that's hell bent on making me throw up several times a day sometimes, I just can't drag myself down to the studio to put together any thoughtful content.

Not to complain, though. I think I'm out of the yuckies (knock on wood) and we're super pumped!

And if it looks like that pic was taken in a hotel bathroom, it's because it was. We took a spur-of-the-moment vacay to Orlando + Disney last week and it was glorious.


The day before we left, we had so much fun styling these beautiful built-in's in a client's family room. 





I have loved this project so much and can't wait to share more! We're so close to being a 100% done...just tying up a few loose ends. There's a lot of goodness, so stay tuned!

Another big project we've been working on is this office space. It's the largest commercial project we've done, and it's been a fun, enlightening, rewarding process. If you were to drop by this office today, it would look more finished than this, but we're still waiting on a few key pieces (including the most amazing custom conference table) to come in. Again, stay tuned for an official and final reveal. :)

(Per usual, these are iPhone pics, so please excuse the graininess.)


I have gotten so much joy out of seeing this elegant conference room come together. My client, a serious boss lady herself, wanted something with a soft, feminine vibe that didn't feel like a typical, stuffy lawyers' conference room. I'd say we hit the target. Can't wait to get the conference table in. It's seriously bad. In the best way. 


And here's said boss lady's office. Definitely the most glam space we've done. I wish the picture wasn't so grainy, but all the natural light made it a little hard. Ain't nobody messin' with the chick in this office. 

Finally, because this is our awkward, let's-get-familiar-again post, here's a look at another project we're pulling together in the next few weeks. I don't always make mock-ups like this, but it was super easy in this case. 


It's not too hard to sketch a little arrangement like this by hand, but I love all of the color together and I feel like that gets kind of lost in pencil sketches for me, even if I am using color. I'm so happy with our client's affinity for soft, springy hues and pops of bohemian texture + bright color. 

This is coming together quickly and I'm so excited to see it come to life! 

I promise I'm going to make my very best effort to post at least once a week from here on out (or at least until the baby comes at the end of the summer). So my brain will be a little more cohesive next time. 

Later, lovelies! 





2/28/2015

YEAR OF THE SHEEP

If you ask the Chinese zodiac, 2015 is the year of the sheep. And I don't know about you, but I have a hard time thinking of something cuter than sheep.

I mean...

{Valais Backnose Sheep via}


Is that one in the middle grinning?

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Ok, so sheep are super cute, but what are we really talking about here? Well, for starters it is their year. But unlike some other Chinese zodiac animals (like the rat and arguably the rooster), they inspire super chic, super versatile decor that I just can't get enough of. 

First, let me start by saying all of my favorites are faux. I mean look at those little faces. Yes, you can find plenty of humanely sheered wool items, but for a sheepskin look, the most humane way to go  is faux. 

That being said, here are a few pointers for picking faux that doesn't look like a big fat no.  

Look for a long shag, like this Habitation Boheme pillow. 


In my experience with clients, I think a longer fiber can seem a little much to some people, but scroll up to the very top of this post real quick and take a look at those first crazy-cute beasts. The texture and length of this 100% vegan fur is spot on and completely captures the likeness. 

This is such a gorgeous way to add plush, interesting texture to a space and works with virtually any aesthetic. Don't believe me?? Keep reading...

Similarly, I love the feel of this Pottery Barn faux fur blanket. 


Great fiber length, nice color, and looks absolutely divine. 

What I'd caution most against is selecting a fiber that's too short and too uniformly cut. What you'll end up with in a valor-looking thing with a likeness to those fuzzy toilet seat covers at your grandma's house. 

This is especially true if you opt for a little bit of color. Now, I'd probably recommend against too saturated of a color, but a little soft color can be really pretty. 

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I wish this image was better quality, but I think you can see the softness in this Cloud Hunter Co. faux sheepskin. The texture is on point and the color is just a cloud of whimsy chic. 

Another great thing about going faux?? It's often cheaper! It's good for a our furry friends and our wallets. 

So now that I've convinced you, take a quick look at some of my favorite ways to style these beauties. 

Use as glam upholstery...

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Now consider this space by Anne-Claire Rohé. We have either weathered plank or maybe cement floors, a charming, slightly disheveled bookcase, and well-lived woven rug. A very different space, but a similar material used as a much more casual throw-blanket style chair cover. Total versatility.

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Finally, I love this use as a rug, but maybe not where you'd expect. Before coming across this picture, I wouldn't have ever thought of putting a sheepskin in a bathroom, but how stunning is this space by Wheaton Hushcha Design??

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So to recap:

-Go faux!
-Goes anywhere!

Cheers to the year of the sheep! 


2/13/2015

ALL THE ROMANCE

Woah. Tomorrow's Valentine's Day, y'all. Is it just me or has the month of February been completely sneaky?? 

So in honor of completely indulgent, elegant, old-world romance my sweet intern Lacey and I have compiled some of our very favorite romantic stunners. Consider it your Valentine's Day eye candy. 




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Of course bedrooms are the first thought when considering romantic interiors, so they can't be skipped over. I absolutely love the easy luxury of these spaces. But bedrooms don't have to be the only romantic part of a house. 



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Hello, gorgeous!! Bathrooms with all the romance!


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This space is a little more modern, but the patina mirrored wall and inky velvet chairs paired with gorgeous lighting and accents pack a definite romantic punch. I'm absolutely in love with this dining room. 

And this one too...


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Layers of neutral glam is always a recipe for romance. I can't get enough of this chandi and shelving. 



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Moody color, patina, good light. Add some candles and flowers. Take me to there. 

And last but not least, check out some of this totally swoon-worthy built-in romance. That's right, inherent romance oozing out of the walls (literally). 



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So there you have it. Romance can really be cultivated in any space, no matter what it's function. Sometimes a little goes a long way, and sometimes you just have to indulge. 

Happy Valentine's Day, friends! <queue eye-candy sugar crash>


1/22/2015

BRIGHT + BEAUTIFUL

I'm so ready for spring. And I know I'm the only one! This winter has just felt so long and gray. And while gray is one of my favorite colors, and I'm not averse to winter, I just need a little brightness in my life right now. I feel like my eyes will atrophy a bit if I don't set my sights on some color.

So....

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And I don't even have anything else to say!

Besides that I'm ready for sunshine. And the beach. And a beach house with all of these lovely things in it.

That is all.



1/17/2015

NOTED!

It's hard to beat a good notebook. One with perfect paper weight, a pretty cover and good binding. Do I sound like a total nerd? 

Probably yes. 

But I know I'm not alone. I have stacks of notebooks in my studio and at home. I've come to grips with the fact that I may have a bit of a problem. But a girl's gotta take notes, ya know? For projects, grocery lists, journaling. I mean really, I can think of any excuse to pick up a pretty notebook (and rarely do I actually fill one up before I'm on to the next).

So I've rounded up six (well, technically seven)  of my favorites that I plan to add to my excessive collection. 


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So whatever needs to be noted, make sure it's noted in style. It's always more fun to be productive when it's done in style. 

Write that down!