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!

IN THE FAST LANE

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!

10 GORGEOUS VINTAGE RUGS

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

shop here

shop here

shop here

shop here

shop here

shop here

shop here

shop here

shop here

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.

BEFORE & AFTER: A GEORGETOWN KITCHEN

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