It’s been hopelessly dreary in Raleigh these past two days. It was perfect for a lazy Sunday spent curled up on the couch indulging in a Suits marathon (speculating about whether Rachel aka Meghan Markle might be the next addition to the royal family, naturally) but now it’s time to be productive and I’m ready for brighter days ahead.

To resist the urge to crawl back into bed with a good book (I’m in need of recs, btw), let’s jump start the week with a colorful home recently featured in Garden & Gun and designed by the wildly talented–and fellow North CarolinianBarrie Benson.

If, like me, you’re uninitiated into the world of stock-car racing, it may surprise you to learn that this stunning residence is home to NASCAR superstar, Jimmie Johnson and his model, turned gallery owner wife, Chandra. Not exactly, Talladega Nights, right?

The project proved to be the perfect collaboration between designer and client. Chandra’s collector’s eye paired with Barrie’s design knowledge and talent resulted in a completely original home studded with pieces from some of biggest names in midcentury design.

The dining room might be my favorite room in the home, and I find myself returning to this photo often for inspiration. Sorbet colored walls, silk drapes, and a stylized brass dogwood sconce add notes of levity to the more formal cognac leather chairs, dining table, and crystal chandelier.

The real standout, however, is the ceiling installation painted by Durham, North Carolina artist, Damien Stamer. It’d be hard for me to keep my eyes on my plate as a dinner guest!

Moving into the living room, a peach velvet sofa mixes with Gio Ponti wingbacks and a Serge Mouille light fixture. The carved stone mantle against the antiqued mirrored fireplace breast is also an inspiring moment.

Can’t we all agree (and hopefully convince our husbands) that a fantastic piece of art above the mantle is such a better choice than a flat screen? I’m curious if they might have a TV hidden in the wardrobe at left.

The bar is another bright spot in the home. The turquoise slab front drawers with their brushed brass pulls offset the traditional de Gournay hand painted paper perfectly. Personally, I find that mixing styles–traditional/modern, masculine/feminine–enhances my appreciation of the individual components. The contrast allows each to shine without blending in or falling flat.

Be sure to visit Chandra’s gallery, SOCO Gallery. I haven’t made it out to Charlotte yet, but a visit is definitely on my to-do list!


Earlier this week, I was on the hunt for the perfect vintage oushak rug for a client, and found so many amazing options during my search a weekend PSA felt entirely appropriate.

Vintage rugs have certainly been having a moment, but the color combinations in each of these are so unusual and really something special. Snap them up before I do and am forced to turn my living room into a souk!

shop here

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If you do buy one of these beauties I’d love to see a photo of where it ends up. Pro tip: the sizing of vintage rugs is always kind of wonky, so don’t be afraid to layer one over a larger natural fiber rug.


While I’m on a roll sharing updates (can’t stop, won’t stop), how about a before and after? A few weeks ago I went back to DC to photograph this kitchen, and though I should have probably waited to reveal on my refreshed website, patience is not one of my virtues.

This project is near and dear to my heart for a number of reasons, first, because the clients are really wonderful people who not only undertook the renovation of this Georgetown kitchen while living in NYC, but also remained cool as a cucumber when I learned we were relocating to Raleigh and trusted me to manage the project from afar. And, lest I forget, all while pregnant with their first child!

So, not only are they the epitome of patience and grace, they also had vision. Let me paint the picture. This kitchen is on the lower level of a historic Georgetown row house and was in need of some TLC.

The floor plan was choppy, broken into three rooms–a breakfast room, the kitchen, and dining room which leads out to a beautiful walk out garden–but, with a dropped ceiling and narrow passages between rooms it felt dark and dated.

Yesterday I railed against the over use of open floor plans, but if ever there was a space that benefitted from taking down some walls, this was it.

before: standing in the kitchen looking into the new breakfast room

 We removed the wall between the kitchen and breakfast room and on the opposite side of the kitchen moved a fireplace stack to allow for an enlarged opening between the kitchen and dining room. Instantly the light poured through and the space felt twice as large!

In the breakfast room we added a built-in banquette with under seat storage. I had the black and white ticking stripe on the upholstered cushions laminated with easy clean up in mind for my clients’ little one.

Giving a nod to the original herringbone brick, I selected a faux wood tile to avoid potential moisture issues hardwoods could have posed laid in the same pattern.

before: the breakfast room

Much more inviting than where we started, right?

In the kitchen, my client knew she wanted dark cabinetry and we landed on a black shaker style with un-lacquered brass hardware which ground the otherwise neutral space. The perimeter countertops are quartz, and the island countertop is walnut.

As in many city homes, space for laundry is a challenge, so we tucked these smaller units on the opposite side of the kitchen. The long run of countertop above offers ample space for folding.

One of my favorite elements in the kitchen are the blackened steel and walnut open shelves I designed and had fabricated by Brooklyn based, Coil & Drift.

 After we had done so much work to lighten and open up the space, I felt it was important not to weigh it down with heavy uppers. One shelf is five feet long and the second four feet so there’s still plenty of space for storage.

One last pretty shot of the banquette.  I can’t wait for my clients to be able to enjoy mornings here with their little one (they’re still NYC based and rent the home). 

Photos by Laura Metzler


Hey strangers! I’m digging myself out of a pile of fabric samples and construction sawdust to pop in and say hello. The frenetic pace of a full project load has been keeping me busy, but I’ve been missing this space and wishing for one more hour in the day and a little more creative bandwidth.

It’s been almost nine months since I shared my first #homespeacehome post about the changes we made immediately after buying our house, so now that we’re further along in the process I thought I’d give ya’ll an update.

Fig Leaf Upholstered Walls

When I first stumbled upon the listing for our house, one of the things that attracted me to it was the traditional floor plan, specifically its little entry which opens up to the living room, kitchen, and hall to the bedrooms that I knew would be the perfect opportunity to make a bold statement.

Funny enough, when we scheduled a walk through, the listing agent attempted to sell us on how easily the walls could be removed to create an open floor plan. Guys, is it just me, or are walls becoming an endangered species? This is a topic for another post, but personally, I’d like to see less open floor plans and will always advocate for the intimacy of individual rooms.

Anyway, our home was built in the 1950s and I knew I wanted to embrace the cheerful palette of that era. I’ve had a long term love affair with Peter Dunham’s Fig Leaf fabric and always knew I wanted to use it in my own home. Our home was also an opportunity to experiment with an old school technique I’d been dying to try–upholstered walls.

Yes, that’s right, this isn’t wallpaper, the walls are actually upholstered in fabric! I love the texture the fabric lends to the space and it definitely sets a playful tone for the rest of the house.

Pink Living Room

Moving through the entry, you enter into the living room. I found this little gem of a side chair at a local antique store and fell hard for its columned back. I recently had it recovered in a favorite Carolina Irving fabric. I just love how the columned chair plays against the framed albumen photograph of the Arch of Constantine and Colosseum (not shown) above.

The chair is flanked by a pair of sliding doors which lead out to our deck, but the living room actually doesn’t get a ton of natural light. To compensate, I choose the faintest seashell pink for the walls. Everyone always asks if Garrett balked about having a pink living room, but surprisingly he loves it. I plan to layer in some rich browns through antique furniture to offset the femininity, but it really is the most flattering shade, the walls just glow.

Navy Velvet Sectional

Our favorite room in the house is the library–which isn’t quite a library yet, because our bookshelves aren’t built–but this is our main hang out space. The walls and trim (and eventually bookshelves) are painted a calming blue green and I covered the floor in a wall to wall diamond patterned sisal. The lamps are actually a pair of vases that I had made into lamps.

Fun fact, when we moved into the house we brought our bed, the two pink caned chairs in the living room, one armchair, and one occasional chair in terms of larger furniture pieces. That’s it! I took the move as an opportunity to get rid of place holder pieces and made a promise to myself to not bring anything past the front door I didn’t truly love.

That paired with my own indecision means we lived without a sofa for 8 months. Crazy, I know, but I’m glad I stuck to my guns and have been intentional with each purchase. Needless to say, the custom sapphire blue velvet sectional above–it’s a sofa with chaise–has been game changer and big upgrade to my Netflix binge sessions.

The bookshelves are up next on my punch list. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know I’m a huge book nerd, and not having a home for my books has been driving me crazy! A pair of chairs, upholstered ottoman, and window treatments will eventually finish off this space.

Guest Bedroom

The guest room is another room that is this close to being finished and one of my favorite spaces mainly because of the art on the opposite wall which you can’t see in this photo. When we first moved in, we actually used the guest room instead of the master for a few months. Truthfully, I still haven’t wrapped my head around what to do in our master and still prefer the guest room. 😉

The nightstands and lamps are among the few pieces we brought with us from our old apartments. The tortoise glass lamps have been with us since our DC days–my luckiest Craigslist find possibly ever–and the nightstands are vintage pieces I had lacquered locally. I have a custom headboard being fabricated as we speak and after that it’s just a rug, window treatments, dresser and mirror!

I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek behind the scenes. It’s been fun to think about how far we’ve come in just under a year. I’m looking forward to tackling some of the larger renovations of our bathrooms & kitchen which will really make this home feel like our own!