Good Bones… Great Staging

May 8, 2013



Got a call a few weeks ago from my talented friend, Jane. Jane is a real estate agent but also a design maven with an incredible eye and has  done her fair share of residential home staging. She had a new listing but decided to outsource the paint color selection and staging to professionals.




This house, built in 1937, had been lived in and loved. It had exceptional light, views and great bones. But it definitely needed a major interior facelift (and some exterior tweaking) before going on the market.










Grrr.. forgot to snap the “before” photos. Suffice to say that the palette was dated and involved pastel pink and blue. The pastels had worked with the previous owner’s furnishings and rugs but those wall colors had to go. In the living room, the elaborate moldings had been “picked out” in white– the effect– like icing on a wedding cake. We decided to temper the formalilty of the room by “painting out” the frame moldings and chair rail in the same color as the walls. I wanted the eye to be drawn up to the crown molding, so painted the ceiling a subtle color to highlight that and the height of the room.




The floors, a combination of original pine and oak, were refinished but left in their natural warm gold-orange tones. I used 5 different pale grays and off-whites on walls, ceilings and trim throughout the first floor to knock back the warmth of the floors and take advantage of the beautiful natural light.



Red House Staging did a fabulous job with clean contemporary furnishings and artwork… maintaining a neutral palette with lively pops of orange throughout the first floor.





The result is a subtle shift in light throughout the whole house. The shift creates just a bit of movement from the sight lines throughout  and makes the rooms flow seamlessly.




The stairway leading to the second floor was also layered in whites above and below the chair rail, stair risers were painted white and the handrail black.









The old pine floors give character to the new kitchen, wrapped in a warm white to match the cabinetry.




The walk-out basement got an uplift with a warm camel color–cozy and warm for watching TV in the evenings.





The master bedroom was painted in a pale green… dreamy and atmospheric with leafy views from all windows.





This was indeed, a transformation– with wall color highlighting the strengths of this classic Virginia home.  The result?  In one day….





I often talk about the paint colors I use on projects but have decided not to include them here. Why?  When using nuanced  “off-whites” it is essential to test– pale colors and whites look very different depending on the light source and flooring.  Attempting to replicate a look by simply using the same paint colors is often fraught with disappointment .  My advice?  The perfect white, especially when making a choice for interior or exterior trims,  can make or break a color scheme. Hire a professional and get it right the first time!








Color Riot (in the Kitchen) at Pier 94

March 22, 2013


Trade Day at the Architectural Digest Home Show 2013!   Took the 6 am train up to NYC yesterday, a bit annoyed with the weather (gray skies, flurries, etc.) but once off the street and inside the doors of the warehouse at Pier 94, my eyes needed a bit of adjustment– kind of like Dorothy landing in OZ when everything turns from black and white to technicolor~


via manhatin.blogspot


There were hits of vibrant color everywhere.  But, making a beeline to the “Marys and Mimosas” event sponsored by Modenus, eager to meet up with old design friends and fellow bloggers,  I passed through “kitchen land” — where I returned for a good part of the day.





The big surprise for me was color everywhere in the kitchen– especially in appliances.  This little orange beauty is from Bertazonni .





Smeg  has been “out there” in color world for years but there are a few new hues in the range.  Their  50s -style refrigerator could be the single playful color touch for a small space.





And there are the ranges from Blue Star —  check out the “color configurator” online.  It states that the ranges are available in 190 colors.  And I now have their color deck in my hands to prove it!  Actually they can match any RAL color out there.





And there is another retro frig– the  “Big Chill” .  This little beauty can also be ordered in one of over 200 custom colors.  The company  will open a division in France later this year to meet the demand  in Europe for vintage American appliances.








Head swimming with color?  Moving on,  there were even more colorful offerings from American Range.  The colors above are your choices for range KNOBS only!



American Range


And there is nothing that rivals the depth of color found in Pyro Lave, the glazed Volvic lava stone  for countertops.







Finally… you can rest your eyes.  The display of La Cornue ranges was on the stately side… in soft whites and black.





I had to include the tabletop offerings from Wud.  I loved the subtle hint of color on these martini glasses and plates, hand-crafted of black walnut and powder-coated aluminum.








It’s 2 am and time to wrap up this post, but I had to include another shout out to Modenus for hosting a lively and yummy gathering that is “Marys and Mimosas” as part of Blog Tour New York 2013.  I had a nice chat with Warren Bobrow,  who runs the blog “The Cocktail Whisperer”.  And he confided the secret behind his Bloody Marys– no wonder why this Maryland-raised girl loved them so!





A shake of a little elixer called “Chesapeake Bay Bitters” — which distills the taste of Old Bay Seasoning into a bottle!





I must end with this photo … for what is the AD Home Show without a bit of people watching?   From Italy, of course!





Color didn’t stop in the kitchen…  Architectural Digest Home Show 2013 (Part 2)  next time!  The show opens to the public today and runs through Sunday.  Worth the trip… but pack your gloves!



Color in Context

November 13, 2012



It’s a gray, rainy Tuesday outside my window– turning inward for some cheering up. Just a short little ode to “color in context“–  the interplay of color and pattern in these interiors is simply stunning. A few of my absolute favorites. Enjoy!



via houzz




via Ruth Burts Interiors




via anna spiro




via skirtedroundtable



via kristen buckingham

via schuyler samperton


via Rita Konig


via a well dressed home


via Katie Rosenfeld Design



Want more? Check out my curated Pinterest Board  “Pattern and Color”  for more examples of stunning interior color combinations.





A Paradigm Shift- Chicago’s Public Hotel

November 11, 2011




Travel … I always welcome change and a new perspective. Which is why I never default to the mundane and safe.  When heading to any big (or little) city,  I usually look for something a bit outside the box.  I’m always willing to take a chance and relish spending just one night in a space that  really inspires me.




I’ve done The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs….  though did not don the burlap Sherpa’s robe provided.





There are NYC’s “boutique” offerings.  Fun to ride the chartreuse escalator at The Hudson… just once.




Le Meridien Philadelphia was a visual treat.



via Remodelista


All of them just seem to be trying too hard.  So…  just came across images of Ian Scrager’s new “Public Hotel” in Chicago on Remodelista. The interiors really caught my eye.   A study in neutrals with infusions of color in small doses.  Trying…but understated.


via Remodelista


A vertical slice of brilliant yellow in back-lit shelving at the bar



via Remodelista


A splash of purple on white



via Remodelista


A horizontal plane of grass green in a sea of  textured neutrals





On Remodelista,  “Schrager describes his new venture as a “paradigm shift”; with a focus on value without sacrificing style.” Sounds (and looks) good to me.


What’s New? What’s Next?

September 23, 2011



Popped into #WNWN “What’s New What’s Next”  at the New York Design Center this week.


Christine Pittel and Newell Turner


Hearing Newell Turner and his staff of senior designers at House Beautiful,  Christine Pittel, Shax Riegler, Orli Ben-Dor and Sabine Rothman talk about nothing but color was a blast!

Direct quote from Newell Turner–  ” What sex is to Cosmo …. color is to House Beautiful.”  Gotta love that.  Yes… it is clear that HB is committed to color.  They devote 2 issues per year to it. In fall, they do a “forward-looking/color  forcasting” issue and in spring, a “deep-dive” into one color.  Remember the March PINK issue?






And then there was the lively Ben Moore showroom itself




And the beautiful people there (Missoni for Target?)


Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo


Was great fun (as always) doing the 3D meet of fellow SM friends.  Here is  lifestyle and design blogger Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo @abcddesigns with iPad at the ready.


A few other showrooms were awash with luscious color…take a look


Alexi and Richard Knight



The kitchen design firm of Korts & Knight had a “soft opening” of their “little work in progress”. The floors swept me off my feet….color bravado for sure.  They were a high gloss epoxy in a luscious custom mixed melon/coral color. White cabinetry and touches of gray completed the uber-glam palette ( along with Alexi’s yellow dress). That is new!





And then there was GRANGE.  Does anyone do color better?  Belle couleur !



Orange and dove gray ~ swoon.  This was my favorite.




Carson & Co.


My last (and extended) stop was at the showroom of  Smith& Watson and the trunk show of Carson & Co. It is known for its colorful collection of lamps and decoupage, but I was immediately drawn to the exquisitely detailed fabrics




Carson & Co.


Carson & Co.



Just a bit of …