LATELY I’VE BEEN…

Three weeks post-Paris and I think it’s about time I got a blog post up, don’t you? Hitting publish after a hiatus always seems so daunting so let’s tear the band-aid off with a mish mash of all the things I keep saying to myself “I really need to blog about that…”

READING:

After burning out on business books around New Years (could I be more cliché?) I’ve been craving lighter, less motivational reads. I’ve been so disappointed by best sellers recently (Sweetbitter, Girls, Truly Madly Guilty, Beautiful Ruins…Anyone else with me?) I wanted to share a few easy reads that I haven’t seen recommended nearly enough.

  •  The Thousandth Floorthink Gossip Girl meets Star Trek (except no aliens and set in New York, so basically just in the future.)
  • The Hopefulsif you’ve ever lived in DC you’ll get a kick out of this one. Jennifer Close captured some of the more eye roll inducing aspects of the Washington political scene and all of its characters perfectly!
  • The After Party & The Swans of Fifth Avenue–I unintentionally went on a 1950s marathon and read these back to back (followed up by Valley of the Dolls, what a streak!) Big hair, big jewels, big drama.

BUYING:

If I learned anything from my first Spring/Summer in North Carolina last year, it’s that I desperately need to upgrade my warm weather wardrobe. I’ve been picking up a piece here and there so hopefully I’m a bit better prepared. A few favorites:

DESIGNING:

I’ve been so busy with client work I haven’t had much creative bandwidth to focus on our home, but after a few 75 degree days I’m turning my attention to our patio where I know we’ll be spending much of the Spring. I snagged a vintage Russell Woodard spun fiberglass settee and chair last fall, but if I hadn’t, I’d be all over this outdoor furniture collection – so good!

Next up on the to-do list is reupholstering the seat cushions and picking up a pair of garden stools. Not quite design related, but I’m considering getting Garrett a grill for his upcoming 30th–is the Big Green Egg as great as everyone says? Would love your thoughts as I’m admittedly out of my depth on this one. 😉

MCGRATH II IN MANHATTAN

I wanted to leave you with something beautiful before I jet off on Sunday and this McGrath II project shared by Architectural Digest certainly fits the bill.

I’ve posted about the mother daughter design duo before–and may even be venturing close to fan girl territory–but there are certain designers that inspire me to be better (writing that all I can think of is this scene): Tom Scheerer, Markham Roberts, Ashley Whittaker, Mark Sikes, etc. and McGrath II is solidly among that group.

What I admire most about their work is the attention to detail. Those details–note the strapping on the chairs and box banded pillows above–are what take a project to the next level, making it completely unique. The details (in my opinion) are why you hire an interior designer.

Chatting with some of my designer friends, we’ve been lamenting the increasing homogeneity of interior design, but McGrath II’s projects always feel fresh and unbeholden to trends. Incorporating antiques and modern art gives each of their projects so much life.

Let’s all agree to push back against the pull of instant gratification and wait to find those perfect pieces. The end result is so worth it.

 The gut-renovated kitchen is a masterful mix of traditional and modern. Inset shaker door fronts pair with more contemporary slab style drawers with sleek pulls.

This space may be my favorite moment in the entire apartment. I love how McGrath II was able to create a sense of coziness in the shotgun style living space by bookending it with seating areas. The silk grasscloth wall and matching silk grasscloth lampshades are next level–again, it’s the details, people!

I love the contrast of the mint Farrow & Ball wallpaper with the chocolate toile Quadrille arm chairs in the master bedroom. A clean lined bench adds a touch of modernity to an otherwise traditional space and subtly echoes the apartment’s steel windows.

The master bath was inspired by bathrooms the clients had admired in European hotels. The custom millwork on the vanity mirror is yet another thoughtful detail that elevates the space.

I’m such a fan of sophisticated children’s rooms and this one is no exception. Lavender and cranberry pulled from the custom Roman shade in a Raoul fabric is an unexpected color combination. The ultimate baller move? A soft pink Christopher Spitzmiller lamp on the shared nightstand. Start ’em young!

Visit Architectural Digest to read more about the project and I hope you have a wonderful week! If you’d like to follow my Parisian adventures, I’ll be oversharing on Insta.

PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA

There’s no better Monday motivation than a trip around the corner, is there? This week I’ll be plowing through my to-do list with an especially bright light at the end of the tunnel–the City of Lights! We’re headed to Paris on Sunday and I could not be more excited.

We’ve rented a super cute apartment in the Marais and I’m looking forward to a cozy week of museum hopping, les puces shopping, and indulging in as many croissants and baguettes as possible (double workouts this week have been scheduled!)

Hopefully my college French isn’t too rusty.

Taschen’s Paris

Packing for a winter trip abroad has been a bit of a challenge. I gave this suitcase a baptism by fire (11 flights in 3 weeks!) during our South African honeymoon two years ago and have been a devotee ever since; but for this trip, I’m challenging myself to pack a carry-on only. I’ve been intrigued by the built-in USB chargers that luggage start up, Away, incorporates into their carry-ons and decided to give them a try. Their 100 day free trial definitely makes it less of a gamble. I’ll also pack my go-to expandable tote to accommodate any must have purchases. 😉

The famously chic Parisian street style has been a little intimidating as I plan my packing choices, but I’m keeping it classic with neutral basics that will be easy to mix and match (all about saving space in that carry on!) Jamie has sung the praises of these faux leather leggings which will be perfect for the flight paired with an oversized sweater. I went back for seconds at this sale and picked up this sweater and ogled all of the cashmere

Speaking of cashmere, this was too good a deal not to give a try–cashmere for under $100 whaat?! I also picked up a cute beanie and pair of gloves to keep me warm. Lastly, I’ve been obsessed with everything PLAY by Comme des Garcons and used all our anticipated walking as an excuse to pick up a pair of these kicks. Mom, I await your teasing.

Like the Type-A traveler that I am, I spent the weekend finalizing a custom Google Map with all of the museums, restaurants, and shops we’re hoping to hit. Neither of us have been to Paris since our teenage years so I’m looking forward to exploring beyond the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, etc.

As always, I would love your recommendations!

OLIVE YOU

Pantone may have declared Greenery the color of the year, but lately I’ve found myself gravitating towards a moodier hue: olive. It started as I’ve been hunting for an olive green sweater to pair with a fab two tone faux fur stole (no longer available, but seen here) I was gifted for Christmas.

The sweater hunt has been unsuccessful (this and this were contenders but still not quite right), but my affection for olive hasn’t waned. In fact, it’s expanded to interiors. Whether you’re a minimalist, or unabashed advocate for color, olive is exceedingly versatile.

I love the warmth the velvet bolster provides to an otherwise crisp and cool living room designed by Betsy Brown. Red and green normally screams seasons greetings, but a chic London Fashion week ensemble and library designed by Charlotte Lucas prove the combination can be anything but.

Now if I could just find that perfect sweater…

1/2/3/4

DESIGN FINDS

storage cabinet

platform bed

settee

chair

There’s nothing I love more than a great design find from an unexpected source (and sharing it with you, of course!) My latest finds are pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

I came across the above collection at Urban Outfitters (!) and am downright obsessed. I’m considering that fabulous little settee for our breakfast nook. With a reupholstered seat cushion and a pair of pillows it will be the perfect placeholder until I have the banquette built when we renovate the kitchen next year.

If I didn’t already have a set of vintage Hans Wegner chairs I was planning to pair with it, a set of these would be perfect around an oblong tulip table, don’t you think?