April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Home Inspiration: Lace

Lace is back, as evident from Kate Middleton's wedding dress. The trend has long been spotted in home products over the years and for very good reasons. From bedding to throw pillows, it's a fabric that can add just the right touch of elegance wherever you need it in your space. Get your taste of the royal life with these home pieces.

Kate Middleton's much-awaited wedding dress made of lace. Photo: People.com

Charisma "Kalia" Lace Sheets, Neiman Marcus, $135

       Primadonna Shower Curtain, Victorian Trading Co., $49.95

 Winnifred Antique Lace Pillow, Ralph Lauren, $175

April 26, 2011

Jewel from Eat.Drink.Shop.Love Talks Fashion and Design

I had the pleasure of meeting Jewel of Eat.Drink.Shop.Love at the Lavish conference last year and was so impressed by her blog, that I invited her to contribute a guest post on design. Enjoy, and be sure to pay a visit to her blog!


Hi there, it’s Jewel here from Eat.Drink.Shop.Love! For this post, I decided to blend my love of fashion and interiors, highlighting a few of my favorite colors--bright orange, mint and mustard yellow--as an inspiration. Check out my inspiration board below:

                                                         Photos: bloundesign.com, jcrew.com

I love the curtains in this room! The black-and-white chevron curtains blend well with the orange-striped wall. I could see my home office looking like this with black furniture throughout to play off the curtains.

                                                         Photos: Inspired and Charm, Elle.com

I fell in love with this skirt when I saw it. The mint color goes well with the leather belt and the peach top. This color palette would also work in a living room setting. The soft pastels in the room kept the look classic and traditional.

                                                        Photos: Asos.com, Apartment Therapy

Paisley and mustard yellow are two of my favorite things. When I saw this settee, I immediately fell in love. I could see this piece of furniture in a sitting room at my house. Like the settee, the crocodile handbag is a classic piece that will last forever.

I hope you enjoyed my post. Stop by my blog, Eat.Drink.Shop.Love, and say hello every once in a while.

April 17, 2011

Feng Shui Basics

Ann Bingley Gallops is an expert in feng shui, an ancient Chinese practice that revolves around embracing a life of positivity. And we all know how much our home environment impacts our overall well-being, so I invited Ann, the founder of Open Spaces Feng Shui in New York City, to share a few basic decorating pointers, relating to the principles of feng shui.

Decor Musings: What's the first thing people should consider when seeking to incorporate elements of feng shui into their homes?

Ann Bingley Gallops: The object of feng shui is to have good, healthy chi energy move around your space, nourishing every area of your home, which is also a metaphor for your life. This is why clearing clutter is so important. Clutter blocks chi energy, so get rid of whatever you don't love, use or need. Keep paper clutter under control as well. Prevent any junk mail from coming into your home. Organize your magazines and give them a real place. You can even designate time once a week to clip the articles you want for future reference and save them in a file.

DM: And what are some specific areas of the home that require special attention?

ABG: In feng shui, the three most important areas of your home are your entryway, kitchen and bedroom. The entryway is considered the mouth of chi. You should have a nice door, good lighting, and make sure your house number is visible from the street. It should have a feeling of openness.

The kitchen is the source of your health; it's where you cook to nourish your body. Therefore, the kitchen is also the source of your wealth because if you're not well, you're unable to make a living. Keep it spotless. Make sure the burners on your stove work and your counters are clear of everything except the items you use every single day. You should also be able to see what's happening behind you while you're cooking. So to keep in line with feng shui, a mirror or any other kind of reflective surface would be placed behind the stove for safety. Feng shui is about being secure in your environment as much as it is about decorating.

With your bedroom, it's viewed as the source of your spiritual and physical health, as well as your relationship. The bed is considered the most important piece of furniture in your house. You need to have a bed of good quality. It should be placed in what's called the command position, which allows you to see anyone entering your room. Also, mirrors are inappropriate for the bedroom because they have such hard energy.

DM: Can you share one last point people should always keep in mind about feng shui?

ABG: Think about the primary purpose of every room in your home at all times. So for instance, with the bedroom, you don't want exercise equipment, a TV, or a desk in the space. They have nothing to do with the primary purpose of being in your bedroom. This is essentially how clutter is created, too. The primary purpose of a room is confused.

Photo: Courtesy of Ann Bingley Gallops

April 16, 2011

Decorating Inspiration from Anthropologie

I can't say how many times I've written about the home products Anthropologie offers, but I had to share this image from a display at one of its Arizona locations. There are several decorating lessons at work in this one photo.

1. Don't be afraid of prints simply because it's boring to be any other way. Harsh, I know, but it's true, right? If you're not ready to take the plunge with a bold sofa like this, consider gauging your threshold for color by starting out with accessories or bedding.

2. Throw pillows do wonders for any sofa. They can be switched out from season to season and are available at a spectrum of price points. Mix and match colors and textures for a more interesting look. And, of course, they are just plain practical, as they help to elevate the coziness factor of any sofa.

3. Candles are everything. What's not to love about them? They make a house a home. I especially like them in bedrooms, living rooms and bathrooms, and I usually opt for those that are lightly scented.

4. Gold/brass elements = glam. You can incorporate this tone into anything from coffee tables to lamps to give your space a dose of luxury.

April 13, 2011

On My Shelf: Clutter Rehab

There's always a bit of room to improve your organizational skills and reading Laura Wittmann's Clutter Rehab was my own way of making this happen. Year after year, it seems like becoming more organized is at the top of my to-do list so it was a delight to read through Laura's practical tips. Some takeaways from the book:

Clean a little every day. It pays to break up your cleaning routine by taking just 10 minutes every evening to put things in order.

The "one in, one out" rule. Whenever you bring something new into your home, make it a habit to get rid of one item to help mantain some balance. It's probably one of the easiest ways to tame clutter.

Act fast with junk mail. We all receive tons of catalogs, solicitations and the like that we have no use for at all. Don't waste any time when it comes to tossing this type of mail. If there is something you must hang on to for any reason, file it promptly or even save the information on your computer.

Mask clutter with baskets. My favorite way to store things is with baskets, whether it's to hold magazines or small beauty essentials. It gives a sense of order and prevents items from being scattered around the home.

You can find more of Laura's tips at orgjunkie.com.

The New TRADhome Magazine

Be sure to check out TRADhome, the new collaboration between Lonny and Traditional Home. My favorite features are a roundup of 20 designers who are rethinking traditional decorating (pg. 124) and a piece on some of the common decorating rules designers choose to ignore (pg. 72).

April 6, 2011

Get Personal with Your Decorating: Monica Rich Kosann Interview

Last year, I did a roundup of decorating books that offered practical tips on making a space your own. Monica Rich Kosann's Living with What You Love was on that list, and her book's main idea of how to incorporate collectibles, photos and other personal treasures into a home really stuck with me. I recently had the chance to chat with Monica, who's a photographer as well as a jewelry and home accessory designer, to learn more about her outlook on decorating and the art of collecting.

Decor Musings: If a friend came to you, complaining about her home lacking personality, how would you advise her?
Monica Rich Kosann: I believe your home should show your personality or your family’s personality. It’s about telling your story, expressing the things you love and having them around you. For instance, I inherited a white mug from my great aunt that has the name “Agnes” on it. That was my middle name, which I dropped after getting married, but it had a special meaning for me. Instead of keeping the mug tucked away in my cupboard, I decided to put it out on display. I then began frequenting flea markets in search of white pottery and ended up building an entire collection around that one mug.

DM: What’s your overall philosophy on collecting?
MRK: I always say a collection starts when you have three pieces of the same theme. It’s the beginning of an experience. You don’t want to go out and buy 12 pieces that are similar all at once, because then it’s not a collection. The whole point of collecting is the fun, adventure and history that comes with it. It’s also not a matter of how much the items cost either.

DM: How do you avoid clutter when building collections and incorporating them into your home? 
MRK: You can’t have everything around you all the time. For example, I personally love collecting teapots, but I can’t have them out every day. When I have guests over, I use them as flower pots. Otherwise, they're kept in my pantry area.

So pick and choose what’s most important to you and figure out how it works with the décor in your home. If you have a very, very country home with shabby chic items, maybe an Art Deco glass collection might be inappropriate. 

DM: Where do you shop for collectibles and how do you navigate the markets you visit?
MRK: I love Portobello Road in London, Marché aux Puces in Paris, the flea market in Chelsea, Manhattan, and the annual antique shows in Brimfield, Massachusetts. I also like to visit the flea markets in Asia whenever I'm there. 

DM: What's your strategy for navigating flea markets? It can be overwhelming sometimes. 
MRK: The best way is to peruse it first to get an overall feel for the different vendors. Then when you walk around a second time, you'll remember that there are certain points you want to hit. Also, if you visit often enough, the vendors get to know you. You can learn so much from them and they really enjoy talking about what they have for sale.

DM: You also love the idea of displaying family photos in a home. What are your tips on getting it right?
MRK: I have photos of my family in almost every room in my house. My entire refrigerator is covered in family photos and people always love looking at them when they come over. In addition to showcasing them in the kitchen, I like creating a family wall, where you take old photos from the past—photos of aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents—and start incorporating them with those from your life. I call it a fine-art family wall. It becomes a conversation.

If you don’t have wall space, you can create vignettes, which I like to call intimate landscapes. Put photos in new or vintage frames and gather them. I like to put five to seven photos in small frames on a tray, or even lean framed photos on bookshelves.

DM: Why do you find decorating fulfilling?
MRK: Every home should have a story to tell—it’s an evolution, not a revolution. Don’t decorate your home and then be done with it. That’s no fun. I am constantly rearranging pictures, vignettes, always adding and subtracting. It's about the things that make your home personal and make your home yours.

All photos courtesy of Monica Rich Kosann

April 5, 2011

Brooklyn Flea Always Comes Through

There's no other flea market in Brooklyn that I frequent more than Brooklyn Flea. The Flea moved back outdoors to its Fort Greene space on Saturday and it was so worth the trip. I've purchased so many items from vendors here: various pieces of artwork, a Brooks Brothers belt that's reversible, necklaces, rings, brooches. You get the idea. This time around, I snagged two dresses (one's a lace number from the 50s), but since we talk all things decor here, check out what else caught my attention:

April 2, 2011

Quoted on ShelterPop

AOL's ShelterPop is one of my go-to websites for home decorating inspiration, and I just had the opportunity to share my favorite bedding and breakfast picks for its "Bed & Breakfast" column. Here's the post. Enjoy, and have a lovely, lovely weekend.

April 1, 2011

Swarovski's New Wallpaper Line

Every girl loves a bit of crystal, especially when it's from Swarovski. Now the brand is taking the design world by storm with its new wallpaper collection, Swarovski Elements, from Karen Beauchamp. There are nine different prints in the collection, spanning from paisley to stripes. Here's a video overview showcasing the line, and a taste below.