How to Marry a Millionaire

How to Marry a Millionaire

Peter Dunham

Peter Dunham

Peter Dunham

How to Marry a Millionaire ChairsOld movies are one of my favorite sources of inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Nancy Meyers film as much as the next interiors addict, but there’s something about the films from the 50s-60s that always seems to get my creative wheels spinning.

This weekend I revisited one of my favorites, How to Marry a Millionaire, a 1953 classic staring Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Betty Grable. The three friends and models set themselves up in a swanky NYC apartment while they hunt for millionaires to marry.

Trapping husbands proves to be a bit more difficult than they hoped so they end up needing to sell most of the grand furniture in the apartment for cash leaving only the bare essentials–which brings me to the point of this post–the chairs you see peeking out in the top two photos.

One of my absolute favorite designers, Peter Dunham, re-created the rush and oak chair originally attributed to designer T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings to sell in his chic California shop, Hollywood at Home.

The modern lines and texture provided by the hand-woven rush make for a surprisingly transitional chair that’s been a fixture on my ‘someday list’ for years. Given the fact that they still look as chic today as they did in 1953 I’m not too worried if it takes me awhile to snag a set.

P.S any favorite old movies I should add to my Netflix queue? I’m impatiently waiting for A Philadelphia Story to arrive next!



Mount Vernon by Candlelight

Mount Vernon by Candlelight

Mount Vernon by Candlelight

Several years ago I bought a Living Social deal for tickets to Mount Vernon in an effort to check off a DC attraction from my list. Growing up in Massachusetts, my experience with historical preservation sites was limited to elementary school field trips to Plimouth Plantation which is a decidedly different experience. Early colonists definitely weren’t enjoying the comforts that the Washingtons enjoyed at Mount Vernon.

I remember leaving that first tour shocked and inspired by the vivid interiors (you can read the post I wrote after that initial visit here) and easily envisioned them translating into homes today. I’d actually be curious to know if Miles Redd has taken inspiration from the estate for some of his work. Could we call George Washington (who was highly involved in the estate’s design) the original Miles Redd? It might have the same cache as President in some design circles…

All kidding aside, I was thrilled to receive an invitation to take a candlelight tour of Mount Vernon this past weekend. The holidays are the only time you’re able to tour Mount Vernon after dark and I’m sure you can tell from the photos above what a unique and beautiful experience it is.

If your a design dork like myself, you’ll love getting a closer peek at the interiors, and if you have little ones they’ll love meeting the camel (yes, a live camel) and listening to the carolers. This weekend, December 21 and 22, are the last two nights to take a tour and I’ve got two tickets to giveaway to a local reader!

The Details: Win two tickets valid for admission to any one Mount Vernon by Candlelight tour on December 21, 2013 or December 22, 2013. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable and valid only for one redemption. The event occurs rain or shine and no outside food or beverages are allowed on the estate.

To Enter: follow the steps in the Rafflecopter widget below (if you’re reading in a feed or via email you’ll need to click over to enter) and I’ll be contacting the winner Thursday, December 19.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photos courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association


The Pursuit of Style

The combination of a stomach bug and internet outage took me out of commission at the end of last week and start of the weekend but it was actually a welcome opportunity (and probably much needed reminder) to slooow down.

We’re barreling at break neck speed into the holidays and even though my to-do list seems to be getting longer by the minute it was kind of nice (aside from the feeling terrible part) to have an excuse to lay low for the weekend.

I caught up on reading, got re-inspired by the costumes and sets of some favorite old movies and pulled together some inspiration for a fun project you’ll be seeing more of soon! I’m loving the combination of deep turquoise and geranium red. Isn’t it fantastic in the dining room by Markham Roberts above?

On Sunday we took a candlelight tour of Mount Vernon and I fell in love with the bold colors and architectural details of the estate all over again–more on that later this week.

Anyone else still have holiday shopping to do? Eek time to get back to that to-do list!

Photo by Lindsay Souza for The Pursuit of Style


The Pursuit of Style

The Pursuit of Style

I loved your feedback on last week’s project peek and thought I’d share one more that I snapped over Thanksgiving. This built-in bookcase/media center I designed for my family’s living room was recently completed and I’m thrilled with how it turned out. So many shelves to fill with beautiful things! Can’t wait to start hunting.

Design is as much about problem solving as it is aesthetics, and the room this bookshelf lives in presented a challenge. With two walls opening to other rooms (mudroom and kitchen) a large bay window on the third wall, and a floor to ceiling brick fireplace centered on the fourth wall, it was less than ideal for watching tv–which is what my parents like to use the room for.

Making the floorplan even more funky was the fact that the brick fireplace bumped out about 2.5′ from the wall on the left side but was flush to the wall on the right. The asymmetry has always driven me crazy. I was fixating on it over the summer and started drawing floorplans and elevations (because that’s how fun I am to be around on vacation).

I realized the room would be so much more functional and balanced if we closed off the space to the left of the fireplace with a built-in bookcase which could also house a flatscreen tv. I’m a big fan of painted bookshelf backs and selected Benjamin Moore’s Yarmouth Blue for these.

Next up: curtains–that gorgeous AERIN fabric above is the top contender–and re-upholstering a wingback chair in a sassy Quadrille print. I’ll keep ya posted.