A VISIT TO SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM

The Wall Street Journal published a great article this weekend about Sir John Soane’s Museum in London which I was happy to stumble upon as I was reminded of some sneaky photos (can’t stop, won’t stop) that have remained unshared from our visit almost two years ago.

In a city with behemoths like the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert, Sir John Soane’s Museum is a more unassuming presence, but still delivers inspiration in a big way.

Comprised of three adjacent townhouses purchased and combined in the late 17th and early 18th centuries by one of England’s most venerable architects, Sir John Soane, the museum is chockablock–literally floor to ceiling–with Soane’s various collections.

At every turn you’re visually assaulted with corbels, capitals, friezes, funerary urns, bits of entablature, pieces of architrave, architectural models, drawings, and paintings, all meticulously arranged and hung to impart optimal effect.

There are over 40,000 objects total (you might say Sir John Soane was the original maximalist) acquired and assembled over a lifetime. If you’ve been to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, consider Sir John Soane’s Museum the British pre-curser.

Unlike Barnes (watch The Art of the Steal for the backstory here), Soane’s wishes that his home remain intact and open to the public free of charge (save for “wet or dirty weather”) were protected by an Act of Parliament.

It really is a fantastic gem that I hope to return to again one day and highly suggest visiting if you should find yourself in London.

BITS & PIECES

Ah, September 1st. It’s better than New Year’s in my book. A fresh start. New notebooks. A return to routine and productivity after the indulgent months of summer. So much promise!

I woke up this morning feeling rather gung-ho about the whole thing. Today would be the day I commit to writing in the 5 Minute Journal my sister gifted me for my birthday last year daily rather than haphazardly, followed by diligently opening my Headspace app instead of Instagram.

Naturally, I’d join in on the September Whole 30 in an attempt to undo the sins of the past three months and maybe with all of this newfound enthusiasm I’ll finally make it past week three of BBG.

We’ll see how I fare with those pursuits, I know the shine of a new month tends to wear off somewhat quickly as life gets in the way, but I’m savoring this feeling while I can. For now, I just wanted to stop in to say hi and share some beautiful bits & pieces from my desk: antique mall artwork and delicious fabrics.

Happy Labor Day weekend and I hope we can catch up soon.

COASTAL LIVING IDEA HOUSE | NEWPORT, RI (PART II)

I hope you enjoyed part one of my mini tour of the Coastal Living Idea House in Newport, Rhode Island! Today I’ll take you through the rest of the home, starting with my very favorite room.

Walking into this serene master bedroom felt like releasing a big exhale. The panoramic water views, enveloping Mark Sikes for Schumacher upholstered walls, and soothing color palette were heaven. I don’t know how anyone could ever get out of bed.

I spent a good amount of time admiring Mark’s window treatments. In this room, woven inside mount Roman shades were paired with drapes.

Pairing two florals like this isn’t for the faint of heart, but the smaller scale, more structured pattern of the drapery floral (can anyone ID? I’m drawing a blank!) complements the larger vining pattern on the walls rather than competes.

Setting up one nightstand to work double duty as a desk is a great trick.

One of my favorite dhurries from Mark’s collection for Merida Studio is layered over a larger Merida wool rug.

P.S these gold gladiator style lace ups I’m wearing above have been such a great addition to my summer shoe collection!

More upholstered walls and a fabulous abstract by Catherine Jones.

Brass frames and sconces throughout the home add warmth and contrast against the cool blues.

This grouping of botanicals balanced out the room’s high ceilings and framed the headboard nicely. If you love the look of the peacock wicker headboard, don’t miss theses amazing vintage options here!

I’m kicking myself again for not getting the manufacturer of this gorgeous spool leg and paper cord chair which looks to coordinate with the counter stools used in the kitchen.

Let’s continue upstairs to another of my favorite spaces. This room spilled out onto a roof deck and had the most perfect unobstructed views of the water. A wet bar and full bath make it such a multifunctional space.

This daybed is so chic. I keep trying to find a space for it in my own home to no avail.

Casually stacked artwork is the perfect way to dress up an otherwise uninteresting knee wall.

Even on pillows no detail was spared: brush fringe, tassels, and serged edges decorate some of my favorite Carolina Irving fabrics.

Skirted tables are always a classic addition to a space and have the added benefit of providing concealed storage.

One last drapery detail shot featuring a favorite China Seas fabric.

For those of you who aren’t able to visit the showhouse in person, I hope you enjoyed tagging along virtually. If you’re in New England I’d highly recommend a visit. Proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Club.

I truly believe Mark Sikes will go down as one of the legendary designers of our time, so it was such a treat to see his inspiring work in person and be able to admire all of the details I’ve come to appreciate up close.

COASTAL LIVING IDEA HOUSE | NEWPORT, RI (PART I)

When I read that this year’s Coastal Living Idea House was being held in Newport, Rhode Island and designed by Mark Sikes, I knew I had to make a visit while we were celebrating the 4th of July on the Cape.

If you’re not familiar with Mark’s work, I’d highly suggest you pick up a copy of his New York Times bestselling book: Beautiful which has quickly become a dogeared favorite in my own library. Best known for his timeless American style, a Newport beach house couldn’t have been a more perfect showcase for Mark’s signature blue and white palette.

After filling my camera roll with inspiration, I thought I’d take you on a tour as well. I’m told the home will be featured in the September issue of Coastal Living so we’ll have professional photos to look forward to in a few months. It goes without saying, but excuse the quality of my iPhone photos (desperately holding out for the iPhone 8 over here!)

The home was designed by A.Tessa Architecture and built by Horan Building Company, both of whom are Newport based. You can get a sense for layout via the floor plans here. If you fall in love after this tour, it can be yours for 3.2 million (unfurnished), but I would act fast, I toured on the second weekend the house was open and there had already been significant interest.

After walking through a Farrow & Ball striped entry, you’ll arrive in the open concept living room and kitchen. Light streams in through french doors in the living room which open to the front porch and back patio/pool area.

A symmetrical seating arrangement faces the fireplace and television. A perfectly styled coffee table was topped with one of my recent favorites: Lee Radziwell.

What I’ve always admired most about Mark’s work, apart from our shared love of textiles and blue and white, is is unerring attention to detail. His window treatments (above) are a perfect example – the header and leading edge are both piped in a contrast fabric and the baton is fabric wrapped. These are the things that take a project to the next level.

The entire home was peppered with beautiful abstracts by artists I’ve come to consider hallmarks of Mark’s designs: Kayce Hughes and Catherine Jones.

A custom pleated shade by Piggott Store atop the Farrow & Ball striped wallpaper.

In the breakfast room off of the kitchen, another pleated shade elevates the Circa Lighting chandelier (shop many of their pieces here).

I’m always a fan of a window seat and this one with its shiplap walls and array of blue and white pillows is no exception. Art by Serena & Lily.


The kitchen featured inset cabinetry – navy on the base cabinets/island and a crisp white on the uppers. Quartz countertops were used along the perimeter and a butcher block top on the central island which created a natural divide between the kitchen and living space. I only wish I had gotten the vendor on those fabulous counter chairs!

The Farrow & Ball striped wallpaper continued upstairs. The floor coverings throughout the home are Merida Studio – whom Mark has a collection of dhurrie rugs with.


This blue and white buffalo check room was one of my favorites. I love how Mark hung the arrangement of art above the desk to complement the roofline. In rooms with angular rooflines I always prefer to see the wall treatment (wallpaper or paint) continued onto the ceiling. It creates such a feeling of coziness.

Here’s another next level detail for you. The walls in this room (and in most bedrooms throughout the house) are actually upholstered – meaning that is fabric, not wallpaper – an old school technique I adopted (albeit on a much smaller scale) in my own entry.

What really impressed me about Mark’s upholstered rooms is how he’s used tape trim around all of the baseboards, window/door casings, etc. It’s such a tailored look and especially pops against the crisp white trim in this room.


The view to the buffalo check guest bedroom from a back hallway. More fabulous window treatments, art, lighting, and runners.

Even in bathrooms, Mark incorporates thoughtful details. Look how the striped border is echoed throughout the tile floor, walls (painted stripes, not tape trim in here), towels and window treatment.

A detail shot of the tile border on the floor. Big props to the installer for execution on this one!

Generally I’m not a tub person, but I think I could be swayed for this situation. 😉

I hope you enjoyed part one of the tour. I’ll be back tomorrow with part two which includes my absolute favorite room in the whole house!

BITS & PIECES

Oh, hey. It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? Here’s what I’ve been up to…

ENJOYING// Peony season. Need I say more? Actually, yes, I need to tell you the story of how I found myself at the American Peony Society’s annual convention, but I think that one deserves a post of its own if only for the photos.

READING// Most nights we eat outside on the porch, and reading until the fireflies come out has become my favorite evening wind down routine. I’ve been trying to narrow the gap in my 50 books in 52 weeks goal (I’m currently 4 behind) and some recent favorites have included: The Rules Do Not Apply (expanded from this New Yorker piece), Small Great Things (couldn’t put this one down) & Love Warrior (spoiler: this profile). Currently I’m reading Lolitawhich I’ve found to be repulsive (subject matter) but so elegantly written.

DESIGNING// The past few months have flown by as I’ve been prepping for two big installs happening this summer in Raleigh. I’ve been working on each of these projects for over a year (one for almost two!) so to say I’m thrilled to dust off the sawdust and begin to see the beautiful designs we dreamed up taking shape would be a massive understatement. Above is a peek at one of the master bathrooms. The sconces installed over the mirror are everything!

BUYING// Glass hurricanes. We were gifted a pair of Simon Pearce hurricanes for our wedding (adore them!) which have been perfect for extending our evenings outdoors. I think it would be so beautiful to line our deck with them (and so useful if I buy citronella pillar candles), but that would be a little more of an investment than I’m willing to make outdoors. These are the perfect dupe. I just ordered 4 of the large size to intersperse. P.S I also took a gamble on this kaftan and have high hopes!