New England Home Connecticut, Summer 2012

I am so happy to have one of my projects featured in the most recent issue of New England Home Connecticut!

I am so happy to have one of my projects featured in the most recent issue of New England Home Connecticut!  This article focuses on a gorgeous new home in New Canaan, CT, built by The Kaali-Nagy Company.   The client’s beautiful and traditional home was truly deserving of a warm and sophisticated interior composed of carefully layered details.  I hope you have the opportunity to pick up the magazine to read about this project and get an up-close look at the many gorgeous photos!

An Evolving Garden

I’d always enjoyed container planting with annuals and really did not know what to expect with growing perennials.

Guest Post from Debbie Aidinis

There are two things that I love to do: cook and garden, even though I have no formal training in either of them.  But, I have always had a love of plants. About 10 years ago, when we were redoing the pavers around the pool, our contractor suggested planting perennial beds along one side of the pool.  I really did not know what to expect with using perennials.  I’d always enjoyed container planting with annuals, where I found a great satisfaction in creating the arrangements, but this was different. This was the start of something I had never experienced before.

I truly fell in love with those perennial gardens and continued to incorporate them into our landscaping.  I moved on to the front of the house, where I put in more gardens.  My gardens are truly a labor of love with many hours spent working in and enjoying them.

My gardens are forever evolving as I am always looking to see what I can move or replace for the following year. For me, gardening is still a learning experience.  There are plants for sun, partial sun, shade, dry, and wet conditions, just to name a few. I now do my research on the different variety of plants and have come to understand that there are plants that will not do well in certain areas even if you love them and want them in your garden. Sometimes you instinctively know the plant you just put in the ground does not belong there.  I’ve also learned to plant flowers according to their blooming schedule.  Some bloom early in the spring while others bloom into the fall.  Because I like to always have flowers in garden, I now arrange my plants so I have flowers throughout the growing season.  It’s not unusual for me to replace plants or move things around in the middle of summer if I see a part of the garden without flowers!

I’ve also learned through trial and error with specific plants.  For example, I love Lavender.   When I started my gardens I had a grouping of Lavender which came back for a few years and then just stopped.  For a while, I replaced  the Lavender every year.  Then, I finally realized that area was not the right location for Lavender.  My nearby Viburnum had grown a lot through the years and the area became shadier and, of course, wetter.  I eventually put in plants that were better adapted to that environment, such as Solomon Seal, Japanese Painted Ferns, and Hostas.

Around my pool, which gets hot sun, the landscaper originally planted a lot of very large Hostas.  Every year, by mid summer, the leaves would be burnt from too much sun exposure.  They have since been moved to another area where they are very happy and thriving with more shade.

The one plant I can never have enough of are Hydrangeas.  There are many beautiful varieties.  One in particular is called “Annabelle” and does not do well in full sun.  They, too, were moved to another location after a summer of constantly watering them to keep them from wilting away. This year I planted Hydrangea macrophylla “White Out” in container pots and will put them in my garden in the fall,  in a spot which has partial shade.

Another plant that I love is the Coneflower.  Unfortunately, so does the local ground hog!  Once I realized the ground hog was the culprit behind my chewed Coneflowers, I almost gave up on growing them.  Inexplicably, I found I can plant Coneflowers in one of my front gardens and the ground hog will not munch on them.  Why he avoids that particular spot I may never know!

The early morning when the sun comes up is my favorite time to be out in the garden.  There is a beauty to behold,  just looking at the flowers through the haze of sunlight and morning dew.  Of course, the garden at dusk would be a very close second, when the sun is setting and cooler breezes bring relief from a hot summer day.  If only I could find more space to plant another garden!


Snakeskin is a big texture I like to use in small doses.

Snakeskin is a big texture I love to use.  It’s not something to use in abundance, but in small doses snakeskin is very chic and trendy.  It definitely creates a look!  And with all this faux stuff available, snakeskin texture isn’t limited to belts and boots.  For accessories and accents, snakeskin gives a modern, edgy look.  You can find it in a variety of colors and patterns, but one thing all snakeskin has in common is a rich feel that people can’t help but want to touch.

Jimmy Choo Irena Shoe – My every day go to shoe!
Snakeskin sunglasses from Lanvin.


Python belt by Lara Bohinc.
Yves Saint Laurent snakeskin cuff.

The same approach to using snakeskin in fashion applies to interior design.  A little goes a log way and packs a big punch. Snakeskin isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great textile and medium to bring out a bit of daring — very graphic and sexy.

Boa vinyl wall covering from Osborne & Little
Snakeskin lamp by Robin Brooks NY
Two’s Company Ottoman
Living room with snake skin accents. Photo by Eric Roth.
Ashley Stark’s Entry – Vintage snakeskin bench.


Things I Can’t Live Without!

We all have our favorite day-to-day items, our go-to gadgets and accessories that help us stay organized, keep us on track, or simply make us feel good and lift our spirits as we get through the day. Here’s a list of things I simply can’t live without!

We all have our favorite day-to-day items, our go-to gadgets and accessories that help us stay organized, keep us on track, or simply make us feel good and lift our spirits as we get through each day.  Here’s a list of things I simply can’t live without!

1.  My Camera

I love my camera!  Photography is definitely an art form and I love photos.  I’m not a sentimental person at all, except for my family photographs.  If my house was on fire and my family was safe, I would run back inside to rescue my photo albums; they mean that much to me.

2.  My Watch

I wear my Cartier Roadster watch every day.  It’s a piece of feel-good jewelry for me.  I don’t need to wear any other accessory, but without this watch I’d feel naked.

3.  The Beach

Being at the beach, any beach, simply makes me happy.  We sometimes vacation at Cabo San Lucas, and the beaches there are so incredible.

4.  Lip Balm

I must use Kiehl’s Lib Balm twenty times a day.  I’m never without it.

5.  My Hermes NotebookI have two of these great Hermes notebooks that I use for work and, of course, in my favorite shade of orange!  I’m a bit old school; I still prefer to write things down instead of using my phone or a tablet.  I keep one notebook for my own notes and one for my calendar.  I use them every day!

6.  Helmut Lang

I wear Helmut Lang almost every day.  It’s functional but looks chic and stylish.

7.  Picasso Etchings

Picasso’s etchings are inspirational to me.  They helped me navigate my own development with sketching and drawing.

8.  Tom Ford – Black Orchid

My signature scent!

9.  Ochre Chandelier

Love this!  The Arctic Pear Chandelier by Ochre in any size, any color.

10.  Amalfi Coast and My Italian Heritage

My Italian heritage definitely defines a bit of who I am.  Being able to visit Italy as a child also exposed me to traditions that influence my family life.

11.  Jeans

Love these wide legged jeans – they remind me of the 70’s!

12.  High Heels

High heels are a signature of my everyday dress code.  I am crazy for shoes!  Contractors are used to creating planks and walkways for me to get around when I enter a construction site. I am not practical by far!

Color Obsession: Tangerine

I love the exciting hue of Tangerine.

I love the exciting hue of Tangerine.  It’s such an energetic and confident color, bold and certainly trendy.  Tangerine is my daughter’s favorite color and the primary color of my own business cards.  This color really resonates with me!

 1.  Room by Mary McDonald

2.  Hand painted Chinese scenic panel by Gracie Studio

3.  Tangerine gown by Carlos Miele

4.  Greek Key Bedding with Pagoda Headboard

5.  Tangerine silk clutch

6. Elie Tahari shoe

7. Leighelena Lizard Tangerine Wide Buckle Bracelet

8.  Quadrille Fabrics in Pagoda

9.  Interior by Lola Agaton


Fourth of July

We all grow up with our own Fourth of July traditions, but for me, the holiday meant a long celebration that never seemed to end.

We all grow up with our own Fourth of July traditions, but for me, the holiday meant a long celebration that never seemed to end.  My birthday falls right near July 4, so as a kid the two events were so intertwined in my mind, I always expected the fireworks to spell out my name in the sky!  That never happened, but spending the Fourth with my family still had to be one of the most special memories of summer.

Each Fourth of July, we’d take a boat trip to Port Jefferson for the weekend of the fireworks display.  We’d enjoy local festivals, shopping, restaurants, and, of course, the fireworks.  From the boat we could often see the fireworks from a few different towns.  Being out on the water at night, rocking with the waves while the sulfurous smell of exploded fireworks mingles with the salty air, is about as perfect a way to watch a fireworks show as I can imagine.  They may not have written my name in the sky, but that fireworks show was always the culmination of a fantastic family weekend.

Now that I have my own family, I still love to keep up with the traditions I knew as a kid.  Boating to Port Jefferson, enjoying a favorite restaurant like Pasta Pasta, and those spectacular fireworks out on the water.  I’m not one for going all out with the Fourth of July decorations around the house, but for a cookout or family party, a thoughtfully dressed table or collection of eclectic images goes a long way toward setting the patriotic mood.  Think of adding a Fourth of July flair to your picnic basket for the beach, your table at home, or even your clothing or accessories!

Sand Candles from Martha Stewart
Eclectic Fourth of July party elements.
Americana styling.
Accessories with a patriotic nod.
Red, white, and blue lantern.
A vintage American flag draped over a couch.
Patriot cupcake wrappers: Portable decor!

Whatever your traditions or plans, I wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Material Girls

One of my favorite interior design blogs truly has something for everyone.

One of my favorite interior design blogs truly has something for everyone.  Material Girls was founded by Emily Johnston Larkin of Dallas, Texas.  With a team of contributors from across the country, readers can focus on trends near and far with a healthy dose of pop culture thrown in for good measure.

Material Girls also features tips on the best places to shop as well as great deals specific to certain cities. Dallas, Houston, Chicago, LA, and New York are all beautifully represented by contributors from various backgrounds, experiences, and design styles.  In fact, Material Girls is like five fabulous blogs all rolled into one.  With press and mentions by literally dozens and dozens of magazines and websites such as House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Apartment Therapy, La Dolce Vita, and countless others, Material Girls has a long-standing and well-deserved reputation as a great source of design inspiration.  From textiles and furniture to hidden courtyards and stunning artwork, everything relevant to interior design from coast to coast has a place at Material Girls.


Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion, Norway

When I first came across photos of the Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion in Norway, the images took my breath away.

When I first came across photos of the Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion in Norway, the images took my breath away.  It is such a visually amazing place, just a rectangular box within this vast, gorgeous land.  The scene is almost too far-fetched to be believed, like nothing I’ve ever seen.

The pavilion is used by the Wild Reindeer Foundation, a charity which acts to protect Europe’s last wild reindeer herd.  Set against the backdrop of the Dovre Mountains in Norway, the Wild Reindeer Centre was designed by architectural firm Snohetta.  The exterior is constructed of a rectangular steel frame with one wall of glazed glass forming an observation point from which the entire sweeping landscape can be viewed.  The pavilion’s interior is dominated by an organic wood core built from pine beams by Norwegian ship builders.  Visitors reach the pavilion by way of a mile-long nature path.  Once they arrive, they can sit on the wooden form and be warmed by a hanging furnace.

When discussing the building’s formation, the architects state, “This unique natural, cultural and mythical landscape has formed the basis of the architectural idea. The building design is based on a rigid outer shell and an organic inner core. The south facing exterior wall and the interior create a protected and warm gathering place, while still preserving the visitor’s view of the spectacular panorama.”  I find it fascinating how the pavilion’s shape exudes a sense of permanence while the sweeping curves of the interior reflect the mountainous lines of the distant Dovre.  What an incredible place this must be to visit in person!

Cover image by Klass Van Ommerman.  Other images by Ketil Jacobsen and Diephotodesigner

Aviator Style

Lately I have been loving aviator-inspired style!

Lately I have been loving aviator-inspired style!  It’s such a classy blend of retro and modern, representing a chic period of American history when people were adventurous, optimistic, patriotic, and willing to take risks.  Amelia Earhart embodied all of these traits, smashing stereotypes and becoming a symbol to the world that the role and image of the American woman had changed forever.  Aviator style brings all of these various ideas to mind and, at the same time, looks fantastic.

AVIATOR FASHION, created by ffpava on Polyvore.
Aviator fashion -- beautiful!
Ray-Ban Aviator Large Sunglasses - Never leave home with out them.
Leather flat, Giuseppe Zanotti Design. Love the aviator-style details.

Aviator style doesn’t have to be limited to fashion; it can also inspire interior design.  Aged leather, sleek metallics, and details such as rivets create a look that is retro, chic, and memorable.

Blackhawk Coffee Table by Restoration Hardware
Phillip Jeffries Aviator Wall Covering
Aviator Chair by Restoration Hardware
Aviator Interior from Restoration Hardware
Aviator Chair by David Catta
Plane Over New York from Bobo Intriguing Objects



*cover images via Harper’s Bazaar

Restoration Hardware, Spring 2012

When I recently received Restoration Hardware’s hefty Spring 2012 catalog in the mail, the understated, monochromatic cover gave little hint of the incredible products displayed inside.

When I recently received Restoration Hardware‘s hefty Spring 2012 catalog in the mail, the understated, monochromatic cover gave little hint of the incredible products displayed inside.  I was completely blown away by so many of the pieces — right now, nothing else can compete.  They nailed it!  Restoration Hardware’s current lines have so much to offer to many clients on many levels.  I could easily see myself doing a whole house with these pieces!

I believe the Spring 2012 catalog signals the pinnacle of Restoration Hardware’s shift over the years from a focus on authentic period hardware to true furniture gallery offerings suited to a luxury lifestyle.  When Gary Friedman became CEO in 2001, Restoration Hardware was still being affected by multiple store closings and restructuring of the company.  They began to expand their offerings to include bathware, textiles, furniture, and lighting and gradually moved away from such items like toys, books, and gadgets.  The core of the company now seems dedicated to fine, historical design as well as updated classics, all with superior quality.  If this most recent catalog is any indication, Restoration Hardware has truly come into its own as a distinctive and responsive source for home decor.

The bath furniture is just genius.
Couturiers Chair - love the metal frame. Really charming!
Sputnik Filament - a great nod to the mid century!
Soho Tufted Chair - Think about grouping two near a fireplace.
I love the idea of the metal with the geometric pattern.
My all time favorite nail head ottoman. So reasonable!
Vintage factory bar cart - it looks like an antique!
Concrete dining table, in 2 sizes! I can't wait to install this in my next project.

Have you seen this Restoration Hardware catalog?  If so, what do you think and do you have a favorite piece or line?  I know I am really looking forward to incorporating a lot of these furnishings in my own projects!