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!

2016 GAME CHANGERS

Last year I rounded up a list of the products and apps that made my life better in 2015. I got some great feedback from that post so I thought I’d do the same for my 2016 favorites.

Below are 10 of the products and apps that have been game changers for me over the past year.

STYLE/BEAUTY

Vintner’s Daughter: I’m a huge skeptic. Perhaps it’s our #sponsored, c/o culture, but the more glowing press a product receives, the more I find myself questioning whether the hype might be attributed to a healthy marketing budget rather than actual results. After reading review after review of Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum I finally bit the bullet and ordered a bottle in July. I’ll shoot straight with you, it’s expensive, but it’s my holy grail product and one I could get downright evangelical about. I notice calmer, more hydrated, glow-ier skin immediately after applying. I made the mistake of experimenting with a more budget friendly serum after going through my first bottle and my skin absolutely rebelled! Never again. I recognize Vintner’s may be cost prohibitive, so I still stand by my 2015 pick as an alternative.

NeuLash: Another product that seemed too good to be true but is actually legit. Swipe this serum along your lash line before bed each night and you’ll soon have thicker, longer lashes. For my fellow light eyed ladies, no terrifying eye color changing side effects! Now I just need to find a better mascara (and under-eye cream–hello 30!) Please send any and all recommendations. My dark circles thank you.

Eberjey Pajamas: For awhile this year I was seriously struggling with insomnia. I can’t claim that these PJs helped me catch more z’s, but I have come to learn the importance of establishing a nighttime routine to help you wind down. Part of mine is slipping into a pair of PJs. I feel so much more “together” in a pair of PJs as opposed to an old pair of yoga pants. It’s the little things, right? These are without question the softest and most luxurious feeling in my rotation. Bonus points for not having to iron them!

Natori Feather Bras: It seems a touch personal to be sharing lingerie recommendations but let’s just consider this a bonding moment. These are the comfiest for every day wear.

WORK

Boomerang: If you use Gmail, this plug-in is a godsend. It allows you to schedule emails to be sent at a later date and set reminders to follow up if you haven’t heard a response. I primarily use Boomerang for its scheduling function. I often draft emails Sunday night or in the evening during the work week–times when it wouldn’t be appropriate to actually hit send–and schedule them to be sent first thing the next day. It’s such a great feeling to to to bed knowing that something is already checked off your list for the week or day ahead.

Harvest: Accurate time tracking is so important in my line of work. A colleague introduced me to Harvest and it’s been such a game changer. Between the desktop platform and iPhone app I’m able to efficiently and accurately track my time for both client projects and administrative tasks. This year I’m hoping to dive deeper into the reporting functions. Knowing exactly how you’re spending your time is so valuable!

MileBug: If you need to track your mileage for your job this is another app that has been a life saver. Set up and save frequent trips (i.e Office->Design Center) and at the end of the year easily export all the data into an Excel spreadsheet your accountant will thank you for.

TRAVEL

Scott’s Cheap Flights: Guys, I have told everyone I know about this email newsletter which sends daily alerts on flight deals. If you have the travel bug it’s downright dangerous! We’re headed to Paris at the end of the month thanks to an insane deal that came through this Summer. Most of the flights are from major cities (i.e DCA or Dulles rather than RDU) but the savings are worth the extra flight or drive you might need to make.

Mophie Powerstation: I think Garrett actually bought this in advance of our 2015 Africa trip, so technically it should have been on last year’s list, but we’ve continued to get so much use out of the Mophie. Instagram with abandon and never be a slave to a power outlet again!

Cuyana Travel Case Set: I always have what we jokingly refer to as an “Armageddon bag” in my purse. It’s got a little bit of everything in it from Tide to Go to a tape measure. I recently upgraded to this chic travel case set–the small one is my new Armageddon bag and the larger one will be for makeup or toiletries. I love the gold foil monogram and was so impressed with the quality of leather.

So there you have it, my 2016 game changers. I hope you found something among them that will be useful to you as well.

Check out last year’s list here and I’d love to hear about your game changers in the comments!

CHEERS TO 2017

Fig leaf on fig leaf in our entry

2016 has been getting the short end of the stick (with good reason on the global and national sceneif you haven’t seen this scary movie parody it’s pretty hilarous!) but personally and professionally it was an overwhelmingly positive year that’s left me feeling very grateful.

In early 2016 I hit the ground running and ultimately tripled my client load with projects in Annapolis, DC, Durham, Cape Cod, New York, Raleigh and Virginia. Lots of beautiful things to photograph in 2017 and maybe time to consider expanding the team with an intern. This sweet nursery was a favorite I did manage to get photographed in 2016. I’m hoping for more nurseries in 2017, they really are my favorite. If you’re preggo, let’s chat. 😉

Admittedly, juggling my own work travel and adjusting to Garrett’s new work schedule with more travel and longer trips was one of the biggest challenges of 2016. Thankfully we did manage to fit in some personal trips (or join each other on work trips) and visited Dallas, Cape Cod, Charleston, Charlottesville, LA, Tulum, and Vermont.

Even though it felt like we spent most of 2016 living out of a suitcase, we did officially put down roots in Raleigh and bought our first home. I shared some progress (and then dropped the ball on updates) but you can see bits & pieces on Insta. Locally, I was also excited to have the opportunity to design a chair to support a local charity.

As we usher in 2017, I’m focusing on intentions rather than resolutions and my intention this year is to be fearless.

So, let’s do this 2017!

INSPIRED BY: TORY BURCH PRE-FALL 2017

A few weeks ago Moda Operandi (my favorite site to visit when I’m feeling fast and loose with my budget) had a fabulous Tory Burch Pre-Fall 2017 trunkshow. Unfortunately (because I’m a bad blogger and this post has been sitting in my drafts), the trunkshow has since ended, but I still think it’s worth sharing because I find it extra inspiring.

Italian furniture designer, Gabriella Crespi, was reportedly the muse for the collection, but I can’t help but be reminded of Carolina Irving’s Manhattan apartment. Going down the design rabbit hole even further, the flower on the dress and kaftan in the first and third photos is a dead ringer for Schumacher’s Ottoman Flower wallpaper.

Though the collection is intended for Fall of next year, the jewel tones and metallics feel especially festive and relevant this holiday season. Wouldn’t you agree?

DE GOURNAY DAYDREAMS

De Gournay shared this beautiful vignette on Instagram last week and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind ever since. Their stunning hand painted papers truly are works of art and these custom lamp shades are next level genius.

I need to do some more investigating as to how I can make these a reality in my life. Until we are in our forever home, lamp shades are surely more advisable than including “wallpaper will not convey” in a real estate contract…