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How to say goodbye to paint regrets.


Hire a color consultant.

One of the questions I get asked most frequently by clients and friends is, ‘What color??’. I would like to say picking a paint color is easy, but it’s not. I think the best way to approach it is with an open mind and the best color tools you can get your hands on. Using premium paint not only gives you the best quality paint for your money, but exquisitely crafted color as well.

I was recently consulted by a NYC knowledge broker who was looking to gain insight on how I, as a designer and a consumer, select, specify and use paint. It made me realize how seriously I take the task and how much it means to me to really choose the best color for a given space. Color can make or break the design, but maybe not in the way you think. You can use paint to create a mood, make a statement, be the backdrop, and tell your personal story. The trick is in how to do all of these things at the same time without looking like you just got off the crazy train.

There are so many things to consider when picking a color:

  • What is the natural daylight like?
  • What is the source of night lighting?
  • How do you use the space?
  • How do you want to ‘feel’ when you are in the space?
  • What does the floor look like?
  • What pieces of furniture are in the room?
  • What’s in the adjacent room?
  • What colors do you love?

Notice the last question? So many people put this at the top of their list and that is the first step towards disaster. I remember the phase when color consultants and designers were saying they looked in client’s closets in order to pick interior paint colors. Yikes. Just, yikes. Unless you are Ralph Lauren or Joe Dahan, I don’t want to see your closet. Some questions are in there for feel-good, and then of course the bottom line questions that push me in the right direction. I prefer to pick colors in prime, natural daylight. I have been known to turn off lights and also love me a room walk-by where I will have color cards hanging on the wall to see what color pulls me in. Color is complex–especially the paints that are created with solid pigments. The color and depth is unmatchable and moody. It’s actually delicious to look at.

Some people paint samples on the wall and live with it for a day to see it from sunrise to sunset. I have never done that, but for a DIY, I would suggest that is the best way to see the color in your room. Paint a sample on the wall and wait it out before committing. Keep in mind, once the entire room is the same color it will appear different than it does on the patch as it will be reflecting itself and not the current wall color. (Hint: Don’t paint a square or circle, but rather a fanned out patch to avoid any lines. You can also use a superfine grit to sand down the patch to be certain it doesn’t show through on your final coat.)

I like to think I don’t fall prey to the trends, but in reality I am sure there are hints of influence in my designs. I love classic- black and crisp white, navy blue and gray. I have had a green black living room and my current guest room is a dusky blue black that looks like the night sky. While it’s not for everyone, it works for me. As a designer and color consultant, that is also what I strive to do for all of my clients–find what works for them and makes them happy. Even if I have to sway them a little.

But, for real. Hire a color consultant.

xo, e


image via PB

The Beloved Bar Cart

Why do I drink Champagne for breakfast? Doesn’t everyone? -Noel Coward

I had lunch with a client last week and had the most amazing beignets. They were served with a lavender cream sauce and were literally to die for. I have woken up everyday craving them since, along with a glass of champagne.  A cocktail is generally only an acceptable way to start your day if you are out for brunch, so I’m not advocating for weekday morning drinking. Unless you are on vacation (wink wink).

Imbibing is one of people’s absolute favorite pastimes. Kicking up your feet and enjoying a couch side cocktail is an easy, convenient way to unwind after a long day. Not to mention you can be in your jammies and catch up on your DVR at the same time. So, I vote YES for bar a cart.

Here are a few basics (and my personal favorites) to keep on hand for cocktail hour at the ready:

You will of course have to keep your bubbly and whites in the cooler. Can you guess what I will be doing this Saturday morning?


xo, e

image via Pottery Barn

The Perfect Cheese Plate


I don’t recall a party or impromptu get-together that I didn’t throw together a quick cheese plate of some sort. It’s the perfect amount of food for people to nosh on while enjoying their glass of wine or cocktail before dinner is served. It’s so simple to create a beautiful, textured, layered miniature gourmet spread.

Get creative when choosing your display pieces- here a cake stand serves as the centerpiece and a small cutting board keeps the knives at the ready and serves as an additional layer to your display. A cute cocktail napkin can coordinate with the flowers on the table.

Cheese Plate ideas:

  • Camembert
  • Aged cheddar
  • California figs
  • Local honey
  • Trader Joe’s Pane Guttiau crackers
  • Nuts

Here’s one of my favorite, easy to make nut recipes.


xo, e

Sugar Scrub With Lavender Essential Oil

When my sister was getting married, I was desperate to find a small gift her bridal shower guests could bring home that hopefully wouldn’t end up in the garbage. In all of my desperation, I asked myself, ‘what would I use?’. The answer was something that didn’t have calories, wasn’t baby blue, and wasn’t wrapped in tulle (no offense, it just wasn’t the style of the shower). I also really wanted to make it myself. Voila, in walks sugar scrub in her fancy little natural pants and steals the show. I can’t think of too many things sweeter than lavender and sugar.


Lavender & Sugar Scrub

Simply mix two parts sugar, one part oil and several drops of essential oil. Pack in your little jars and cover with a small piece of linen and tie with hemp.

Happy scrubbing!

xo, e

Creating a Masculine-Chic Interior

20 Masculine Interiors - masculine interiors

What is ‘masculine chic’? I suppose it’s open for interpretation just as everything else in the world of possibilities in which we live. One of the reasons I love being a designer is because I can decide what defines my style and what speaks to me in a given space. I can mix and match and blend and layer until I have things just the way I want them.

When I think of ‘masculine’ interiors, I think of leather, wood, functionality and warmth. Real materials with real function. A vintage steamer trunk or giant wicker basket packed full of pillows and a down blanket for napping, a wooden bowl that holds remotes for effortless t.v. watching. ‘Chic’, on the other hand, represents almost everything that masculine is not. Touches of sparkle, fluff and softness. The feminine curve and blooms on an orchid, a scented candle and a velvet throw; the exposed glass bulbs dimly lit in a chandelier. The two unexpectedly marry on the floor with a soft and buttery cowhide rug.

This may be one of the easiest aesthetics to bring to life into your own space. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Thrift stores, vintage shops and craigslist are all overflowing with good, solid pieces of furniture. From solid wood bed frames, chests, trunks, tables, chairs and more. These pieces can easily be given a rough coat of paint if needed in a dark and moody color. Smaller pieces can become colorful accents.
  2. Keep linens, pillows, curtains in the same color family. Think basics, but buy the best quality you can afford. (One Kings Lane has the most gorgeous linen sheets on sale.) Creamy off-whites, pure white, soft grays and midnight blue are effortlessly masculine and chic at the same time. Think linen, wool, pure cotton and silk.
  3. Take a second look at the furniture you have inherited from your parents or neighbors. A vintage sideboard in it’s original condition becomes the focal point in the dining room when topped with a collection of crystal glasses on a vintage silver tray paired with your grandparent’s black and white wedding photos. Replace the knobs for a super chic touch by adding these from anthropologie.

My favorite room will always be one that looks collected and layered. Keep some elements rough and natural, but add in touches of softness and glam to achieve your own ‘masculine chic’ home.

xo, e

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