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…

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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?

INSPIRED BY: ZUBER PANORAMIC WALLPAPER

For some designers “making it” might mean a magazine cover, but personally, I have a bucket list of dream fabrics and wallpapers I’m dying to use. At the top of that list: Zuber wallpaper. When I’m finally able to use a Zuber wallpaper in a project you’ll know I’ve really arrived. 😉

Founded in 1797, the prestigious French manufacturer produces the most exquisite panoramic wallpapers all woodblocked by hand using blocks carved in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

The production of the wallpaper is a laborious process involving painting an undercoat, applying the woodblocks (one color at a time with a days rest in between!), and finally outlining the design by hand in gouache. It’s truly a work of art.

Zuber specializes in panoramic papers–scenes that carry across a room without repeat–and were traditionally meant to be installed above a dado (the lower third of the wall–below the chair-rail). My personal favorite is Decor Chinois–shown above with a rare pink ground.

If you’ve seen this month’s House Beautiful you’ll spot Decor Chinois in the home of Biscuit owner, Bailey McCarthy.

Decor Chinois again in the entry of a project designed by McGrath II.

The walls of New York’s historic Gracie Mansion (home to Mayor Bill de Blasio) decorated in Decor Chinois and juxtaposed with a room full of West Elm furniture–this was an interesting read on that choice.

Another favorite scene is Hindoustan, an exotic print with elephants and camels.

Lisa Fine decorated her mother’s Houston home with Hindoustan. The inlaid bench with its silk velvet ikat cushion pairs perfectly with the paper.

Another McGrath II  project (they seem to have hit the Zuber lottery!) featuring a beautiful Zuber paper and even more gorgeous Georgian architecture.

Perhaps the most famous installation of Zuber in America can be found in the Diplomatic Receiving Room of the White House. Jaqueline Kennedy saved the circa 19th century paper, Views of North America, from demolition and brought it to the White House in 1961. It’s still hanging today.

If I’ve left you coveting some Zuber of your own, I found a panel of Decor Chinois available here!

AN ONGOING AFFAIR

Did I entice you with my saucy title? I can assure you that nothing illicit is going on here–unless of course you count coveting another designer’s home–in which case my affairs are numerous.

This particular entanglement started when an ice storm provided the perfect opportunity to start making my way through a design curriculum of sorts that I’d created for myself. Second on my list: Bunny Williams’ An Affair With a House.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and hunker down, this is going to be a long one.

More than a decade old, An Affair With a House is a coffee table book that reads like a novel, chronicling the adventures of Bunny and her antiques dealer husband John Rosselli in restoring and decorating an 1840s Federal in Connecticut.

As the story goes, Bunny’s palms started sweating when she first drove up to the clapboard house. And can you blame her? The elliptical globe glazed window in the pediment is enough to send me over the edge, too.

Boxwoods line the path to the entrance–you get the sense that even Bunny’s rescue dogs recognize that they’ve lucked out. After devouring the book and searching for images to share with you, I was excited to find a more recent tour of the property and gardens (ohh just wait till you see the gardens) and thought it would be interesting to take a look at how some of the rooms have changed over the years.

But really, what’s more interesting to me (and instructive), is how much hasn’t changed. It may run counter to what’s in my best interest as someone whose livelihood is tied to people’s constant desire for change, but honestly, I want to advocate for timelessness and not trends. My hope is that rooms will be refreshed as time goes on, new treasures are found, but they won’t need to be overhauled in a year or two.

Bunny and John’s home, Manor House, is a testament to that sentiment. Throughout these photos–taken at least a decade apart–you can see many of the core pieces still holding court like the regency mirror above the mantle photographed above in An Affair With a House and more recently below.  

Bunny reportedly painted these walls herself mixing a custom tint inspired by the Villa San Michele in Italy.

The view from the library through to the dining room. Bunny suggests: “always build as many shelves as you can–eventually you’ll fill them.” Words I’m taking to heart as we plan our own library.

One change I did notice is that the missing Prince of Wales plume on the antique chair above appears to have been restored (or photoshopped 😉 ) below.

A round table from Bunny Williams home is another more recent addition.

With the exception of new wallpaper, the dining room remains largely unchanged. The tole fixture is beautifully off-set by the new neutral strié paper.

I love how Bunny used seagrass rugs throughout the house. It cuts the formality of all of the antiques.

The biggest transformation can be seen in the master bedroom which opens out to the beautiful lattice porch shown in the last photo.

The formidable wooden four poster was replaced with a more graceful bone bed and the walls and fabrics were enlivened in shades of pool blue.

This guest bathroom (perhaps with the exception of the tub and window treatment) still feels very current. In fact, I pulled a sample of that exact wallpaper a few weeks ago!

The porch with its haint blue ceiling and mish mash of wicker furniture may be one of my favorite spaces in the house.

Again, looking much the same today as it did years ago.

This view wouldn’t get old, would it.

After admiring the many gardens on the property, Bunny’s gardening book: On Garden Style has without question been added to my reading list. Especially considering the sad state of affairs the landscaping is in at our house.

I hope you enjoyed this ongoing affair. Wholehearted recommendations for adding An Affair With a House to your bookshelves!

P.S I didn’t even get into the Greek Revival house across the street Bunny owns and uses as a guest house. Greek Revival is my love language so that property alone will keep my pages dogeared!