Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bachelor Pad Chapter 3: Painting Predicament

I hate choosing paint colors. I think it's the hardest part of design. I've had a lot of people email for paint color recommendations and I always tell them that paint looks different in every space and in different light and at different times of the day. It's really a crap shoot and on my bachelor pad gamble I did ok but I wasn't perfect.

The painters started yesterday and I could already tell that Horizon (OC-53) from Benjamin Moore was going to be too light in the bedroom. Then today I stopped by and realized that perhaps Collingwood (OC-28) might also be a little too light but Middlebury Brown (HC-68) in the entry looked amazing. The bathroom in White Ice (OC-58) looked fine, as did the kitchen in White Dove (OC-17).

It was decided that we had to go darker in the bedroom so I spent most of my Saturday at the Janovic Plaza/Benjamin Moore Paint store where I am on a first name basis with my helpful salesperson Shawn. I picked out three colors that I had made up in quart sizes to try on the wall and Smoke (2122-40) was declared the winner. It works very well with the other colors so there will be a nice flow through out the space. Luckily, the painter said he would repaint the bedroom for a reasonable rate so it didn't turn out too bad in the end.

The moral of my story is that everyone makes mistakes with paint. It's not the end of the world but mistakes do cost money so it's sometimes best to try the sample pots or have quart sizes made up first. This probably also means that people will stop asking me for paint advice which might not actually be a bad thing!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Favorite Things: Summer in the City Edition

Memorial Day always heralds the beginning of summer in the city even if the calendar still says spring. My office has already begun summer hours and the rising temperatures are necessitating a change of wardrobe and accessories so I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite things that help me get through summer in the city.

First up are dresses. The one above is from Vera Wang Lavender Label but any dress will do as long as it keeps you cool and comfortable. Just throw it on and run out the door and then smile smugly at all the men wilting in their suits. Looking good is the best revenge!

One minute you're sweating outside and the next you are freezing to death in an arctic office. My favorite solution is the summer weight cashmere cardigan from J. Crew. Pick a color, any color. Chances are they have it and the best part is that they are thin enough to stash in your bag when you go back outside.

I'm like a Magpie when it comes to shiny shoes and I have a special weakness for gold. They look great with tanned feet and Jack Rogers makes one of my favorite pairs. I consider them a classic and I love the fact that you can wear them every summer and not worry about them ever being out of fashion. They're definitely on the preppy side but I think the gold makes them a little more St. Tropez than Nantucket.

If you're going to wear a dress, you better make sure your legs are up to par. Everyone always asks me how my legs look so tan and I always admit my secret is Estee Lauder Go Bronze Tinted Self Tanner for the Body. The tint makes it easy to apply and the color looks very natural. But some people swear by Neutrogena and other Clarins so by all means figure out what works for you but just make sure you rub in and wash your hands. There is nothing worse than seeing badly applied self tanner streaks and orange palms.

We've already had one hazy, hot and humid day this week and my hair would have looked much worse were it not for Phytodefrisant. I love it so much that I buy the large economy size otherwise I'd look like Monica in Hawaii! There is nothing chic about frizzy hair.

I've already mentioned my summer perfume, Mimosa by Calypso, before but the deliciousness of this clean scent bears repeating. When everyone else is smelling not so fresh, you'll be smelling like you just stepped out of the shower. It's worth keeping a travel size in your bag for when you have to sit next to some Sweaty McPherson on the subway. You've been warned!

The very best part of summer for me is reading a lite book in the park or on the beach all day! I have a friend going through a divorce right now and she can attest that it's no party but the book, The Divorce Party, is getting great reviews. It's set in Montauk so even if you're stuck on the subway reading it, you can dream about being at the beach.

And if all else fails, you can always call in sick and go lay out in Central Park. Just make sure you wear sunscreen so you don't get caught!

Call Me!

I'm in need of some personal calling cards at a reasonable price. I have MOO cards with my blog information on them which I love but I think I also need something a bit more chic and professional looking. I really like the letterpress cards from Brooklyn Social Cards but they are $250 for 250 cards which is a bit more than I want to pay at the moment. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pretty in Pink

You never know what is going to come up at work and today was no exception. I spent most of the day in meetings regarding the design for a client's new lap pool at her home in Maine which meant quickly researching lap pool dimensions and cold climate pools. Part of my research led me to Martha Stewart's website since she has a home in Maine called Skylands. That's where I found the following photos from her guest cottage with an interior painting entirely in pink. I usually don't like pink but it's a pale dreamy color that works well as a backdrop to some lovely grey wicker furniture. Enjoy!

Photos from

Monday, May 26, 2008

Inspiration Board

I have an invitation/inspiration board in my bedroom where I hang up invitations, post cards, and pretty pictures. I never really thought it could be a powerful tool until I read an interesting chapter in that book, The Secret. (I usually don't admit to reading any sort of self help books but my friend mentioned it and so I thought I would dig it out from under my bed where it was hiding and actually give it a shot. You know you have a copy hiding somewhere too.) So anyway, one of the suggestions in the book was to create a Vision Board, where you post "pictures of all the things you want, and pictures of how you want your life to be."

There was a very convincing story from a man who pulled his board out of storage five years later to find out he was living in the exact house he had posted. Creepy coincidence or divine intervention? Not really sure but I thought I might give it a try so I posted my dream Mercedes, some pretty shoes and my favorite house and garden. What do you think? I figure it can't hurt, but if it does work, I might have to take down the picture of Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol and pick a more age appropriate soul mate possibility.

Oh, speaking of soul mates, I do take offense at the Relationship chapter that essentially just preaches the Feng Shui principle that tells you to literally make room in your home for another person. There is definitely not room for two people in my apartment so I sure hope someone out there is making room for me! Otherwise, I may have to move!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bachelor Pad Chapter 2 - Before Photos

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am very particular about the photos I post on my blog. So, it pains me to see the "before" photos of my friend's bachelor pad posted before I have any "after" photos to share. But everyone has been asking for them so I thought I might as well go for it since I have updates to the project to tell you about.

Above is a view of the living room. It's not terrible but it's not great. The walls are a pale sage and the furniture is a mix of mid-century and country. I realized after talking to my friend's step-mother that anything decent in the apartment came from her including the C&B Italia sofa from 1973, the glass and chrome coffee table, and the window blinds. More on her and the fab furniture in a later post! My friend bought the rug and likes it so I'm incorporating it into the design. Of course, I had to get it cleaned and order a rug pad. I slid on the darned thing every time I crossed the room. At one point, I thought I was going to take a header into the coffee table. The walls in the living/office/dining area will be painted Benjamin Moore Collingwood, a pale taupe color.

The audio/visual wall is also due for an update and will be getting a snazzy new console to hide all the stereo/tv ephemera. The business meeting notes taped to the wall will be getting a very professional looking easel and will be relegated to the "office" area. The kitchen is behind the television wall and boy is it lovely.

You're lucky I didn't post the photo the showed the hideous florescent light fixture. The institutional yellow is bad enough but then there are those weird curved "wall splashes" (I don't know what else to call them) on each side wall that are killing me. My original plan was to paint the kitchen dark brown a la Ron Marvin, and install mercury glass back splashes but since it's a rental, I didn't want to tear those things off and create a bigger mess. So now the kitchen will be painted Benjamin Moore Dove Wing and I pray that it makes those things less noticeable. We're also taking off the "swinging door" which is completely useless since it runs into the stove which juts out too far. Gotta love it.

This is the view to the front door with the other kitchen door open and one of the two entry closet doors visible. There are a lot of doors in this place with not so nice trim so I am planning to just paint the entire entry including the trim and doors Benjamin Moore Middlebury Brown so they hopefully all blend in and disappear. I am also going to take page out of my friend Maison21's rule book and install a dimmer on the entry light. You can never underestimate the power of mood lighting.

This cheap monstrosity of a book case will be one piece of furniture that will not be staying. In it's place will be a large console table topped with a pair of lamps and a mirror to reflect the light from the wall of windows in the living room. I also would like to flank it with a pair of chairs but we'll have to see how far the budget takes us. I practically had to pry the credit card out of my friend's hand today in order to buy the paint so I don't think I'm going to be getting any more money for this job. Oh, did I mention I'm not even getting paid? We'll discuss that later. Moving on...

Are we in a fishing lodge or a New York apartment? Hard to tell huh? All of that is going, needless to say. It's too bad my friend doesn't have a country house. We could relocate everything to it and kill two birds with one stone. I might have to work with the dining table but the pale blue ladder back chairs will be replaced with something more modern. Not sure what yet. The unfortunate light will also be replaced.

As I mentioned earlier, the blinds are actually nice so they are staying. One less thing for me to worry about! Funny there is a bike in the dining room considering all the empty closet space. That and the fact that I can't actually see my friend riding it!

The bedroom isn't that bad actually. We're keeping the wood sleigh bed but replacing the mattress. I've also picked out two vintage bedside tables with drawers. It's hard to tell from this photo but there is a lot of floor space so I'd love to add a pair of chairs by the window and move the brass Cedric Hartman looking reading lamps next to them. I also found a great double dresser with leather handles from Ralph Lauren that I would love to add to the wall across from the foot of the bed but it's $7,000 price tag is a little steep for our budget.

I'm planing to paint the walls Benjamin Moore Horizon, a pale grey blue. The plastering has already begun and the painters are hopefully starting on Tuesday. My friend said his apartment looked like a flop house last night which made me laugh. I think he was a bit naive as to the amount of work that goes into even the smallest design project. But in the end, it will all be worth it. I just hope I get invited over to enjoy all my hard work!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

domino, derian, decoupage and drinks!

Domino magazine, John Derian and Bergdorf Goodman are three of my favorite things and tonight they all converged at the Domino hosted event at BG to launch John's new furniture line! The party was packed to the gills with stylish New Yorkers and designers so it was hard to take photos but I managed a few. I was also finally able to meet some of the fabulous ladies behind Domino magazine in person including editor-in-chief Deborah Needleman who could not have been nicer! The whole team is beyond amazing including PR Director, Amy Peck, who is always so sweet to invite me to events.
John's new line is based on some of his most cherished antiques and even though they are new, they have a wonderful vintage quality to them. But of course, I wouldn't expect anything less than perfection from the man of the hour.

The 7th floor of Bergdorf Goodman is a jewel box space filled with amazing home accessories including a huge display of John's decoupage trays and paperweights.

The display of Astier de Villate was so beautiful that I wanted to buy every piece!

I was having a great time at the party but had to head home early to finish my first story for Domino!!! I pitched some ideas to the editors a few months ago and they actually like one of them so I got to write it! I'm very excited and can't wait to see the finished product in the August issue. Until then, I will be pouring over the June/July issue that is full of the most amazing summer homes! I'm so ready for summer now! Thanks Domino!!!

Katie Lee Joel and her Nate Berkus designed home is on the cover and featured inside and I have to admit that I loved it...even if she did have to marry a man 32 years older than her to get it. Did I just say that out loud? Oh well, you know you were thinking it too!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lobel's Mid Century Modern Masterpiece

Lobel Modern is an amazing store in New York that "showcases furniture, lighting and art by important designers from the 1940's through the 1980's, including Edward Wormley, Tommi Parzinger, Harvey Probber, Vladimir Kagan, Paul Evans, and Karl Springer, among others." So it's no surprise that it's owner Evan Lobel's apartment is just as fabulous as his shop. Some of these photos have been seen before but they are worth seeing again since the apartment is so full of beautiful furniture and inspiring ideas. To read more, click HERE.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz"

Every time I leave The Other Room, a cute little bar on Perry Street, I pass by Cooper Classics Collection and drool at the classic cars inside. I finally remembered to Google them this weekend and found out that they have a lot of great classic cars for sale. I dream of driving out to The Hamptons in a cute little Mercedes convertible and Cooper has many to choose from including the very expensive 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE pictured above. Good thing I'm not a fan of the olive green color since it's 170,000!

This fabulous plum colored 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL above is a little more reasonably priced at $52,000 and would look very chic driving around Southampton.

The baby blue 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster is the most to die for convertible on the site but it's unfortunately a manual. I can barely drive an automatic so manual is definitely out of the question which is a shame since it looks like something Grace Kelly would drive around in with Cary Grant.

Of course, Ms. Kelly was driving her convertible on a sound stage which accounts for the perfect hair. I'm sure I would have to securely wrap a scarf around my head or risk ending up looking like Bridget Jones after her ride! Maybe, I should buy the scarf now since that I can afford and start saving up for the car or I could always start praying like Janis Joplin!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Jardins Extraordinaires

My blogger friend Decorno was lamenting the state of her backyard recently and it had me thinking about my favorite book for outdoor inspiration, Exceptional Gardens or Jardins Extraordinaires in French and Bijzondere Tuinen in Dutch. It's a fancy trilingual book produced in Belgium and full of drool worthy gardens some of which I've posted here. It's the perfect book to escape into on a cold and dreary day like today in New York. (Oh and by the way, thanks for ruining another Friday Mother Nature!)