North of Chic

A Chic and Happy Mother’s Day!

My absolute favorite quote on Motherhood is by Elizabeth Stone.  She writes, “Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside of your body”.  It wasn’t until I became a Mother that I truly realized how both powerful and powerless I am.  The depths and range of emotions that one feels after becoming a Mother is immeasurable.  It heightens all senses to superpower levels.  We see, taste and feel things more than ever before.  We develop eyes in the back of our heads, for God’s sake!!

Although Motherhood doesn’t define us, it is undeniable that it becomes a part of ourselves that resides so deep that it can never cease to exist and which all acts of love flow from.  Mother’s Day is a day to honor and celebrate that part of ourselves, as well as the women in our lives that helped shape us as Mothers.

Here are a few great gifts for Mom to show her how much you love her and to add a little style to her life 🙂

Jo Malone Room Diffuser, Rosanna porcelain and gold mug, Kate Spade jewelry box

Kate Spade throw, Hampton Street vase, One In a Million necklace

Wishing all Moms a chic and Happy Mother’s Day!

XO

Laurie

 


Stocked & Styled!…..Bar Cart Essentials

Can we all agree that drinking is FUN?  I mean really, is there an activity that doesn’t become more enjoyable as soon as alcohol is added? The befittingly named ‘Happy Hour’ is just that, an hour of happiness and fun.  The resurgence of the chic bar cart got me to thinking about all of the reasons why we drink:  we drink to unwind, to socialize, and because we damn deserve it!

The bar cart dates back to the 1940’s.  After prohibition ended there was no longer a need to imbibe in secret.  During the next decade people often entertained at home.  They loved the convenience of this mobile bar; they could serve their guests, while still mingling. There is a definite function for this hostess on wheels. So, let us discuss its form;  shall we? To recap, here are a couple of my favorite bar carts:

Choosing a bar cart with wheels is essential;  this caddy must be mobile. There should be ample space to house all the essentials. There are quite a few things needed for a well stocked cart, therefore, ample surface space will save you time running back and forth getting fixings. The cart’s material should be sturdy and easily cleaned.  Copious bottles of liquid can be heavy and messy.  A cart made of metal or glass will be essential in keeping your bottles safe and your cart clean.

In my last post on things you can quickly add to your home to up the chic factor, the bar cart was my first recommendation. Therefore, I can’t advise you to purchase a chic cocktail caddy without helping you to style it.

Here are your bar cart essentials:

Emmie Decanter, Tory Burch Candle, Cornelia Bowl, Hexagon Bottle Opener, Newport Ice Bucket, Deco BarwareGeo Bottle Stoppers, Rosy Glow Flute, Hampton Street Rosebowl vase, Art Deco Barware, Monogrammed AcrylicServing Tray

Below, are a couple of cocktail recipes that are crowd pleasers and my personal favorites:

Now that you have your bar styled, let’s get it stocked.  Let’s start with the alcohol:

Here are some great mixers:

 

 This cocktail below is my go-to drink.  This is the one you will see me with most of the time:

No Hangover Vodka Club (I like to add two limes for extra flavor)

Tides Beach Club in Kennebunkport, Maine is one of my FAVORITE places.  I love everything about this quaint beachfront Victorian hotel (it was also decorated by one of my favorite designers, Jonathan Adler). Everything about this place is amazing!  It is low key, yet uber chic!  The lobby bar is fantastic people watching.  They also have the MOST amazing cocktails!

Tides Beach Club, Kennebunkport, ME

Tides Beach Club, Kennebunkport, ME

Tides Beach Club Lobby

Tides Beach Club Lobby

Below, is the recipe for one of my favorite of their cocktails:

I hope you have as much fun reading this post as I had writing it. Hopefully, stocking and styling your bar cart just got a little easier. Let me know what you think of the cocktails listed.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie

 


Happy Easter!…..Pastel Color Palettes

In the spirit of Easter, here are a few Easter inspired rooms.  Using pastel colors in one’s home fosters a sense of lightness and airiness.  These colors can make a room feel fresh and bright.

The rooms below make you feel as though you are getting a secret home tour of the very private and ever elusive Easter Bunny.

Image via In Color Balance

Image via In Color Balance

HGTV House Tour 2016 Media Room

HGTV House Tour 2016 Media Room

Image Via Young House Love

Image Via Young House Love

Pastel Pink Front Door - Image from Home Edit

Pastel Pink Front Door – Image from Home Edit

Image via House Beautiful

Image via House Beautiful

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Hope this post brought a little brightness to your day!  Wishing all of you a “Hoppy” Easter 🙂

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie

 


How To Have A CHIC Home Instantly…….ONLY 3 Items Needed!!

It is usually the small things in the right places that give one that extra touch of style and chicness.  It is the string of pearls, the diamond studs, the addition of truffle oil or champagne, that will take things from good to great. Every so often our home needs the same boost.

There are really only a handful of items that can immediately up the chic factor of any space.  When a small but impactful update is in order, these three items will be all you need!

A BAR CART

Veanne Bar Cart, Misha Bar Cart, Jacques Bar Cart, Vince Bar Cart, Gerard Bar Cart

Check out this chic outdoor bar cart

Horchow Tamsin Chinoiserie Bar Cart $795

Horchow Tamsin Chinoiserie Bar Cart $795

This bar cart is my favorite; it is stocked, styled and ready to go!

Image Via Elle Decor -Nicole Gibbons

Image Via Elle Decor -Nicole Gibbons

CHIC LIGHTING

People usually think to add unique lighting in the kitchen.  However, I feel that pendant lights and chandeliers make an even bigger impact in more unexpected areas like the living room or hallway. Here are a few that have major style.

 Roxbury Pendant, Crystal Drop Pendant, Lucia Semi Flush Mount, Olive Leaf Pendant

Image via Coastal Style

Image via Coastal Style

Don’t have an electrician on speed dial?  Here are some table lamps that will also do the trick.

Lamps I Love:

Madison Crystal Lamp, Ripley Geometric Lamp, Diamond Omega Table Lamp, Alexis Lamp, Loring Table Lamp

STATEMENT MIRRORS

I love the use of mirrors for so many reasons.  They are the design equivalent of Houdini.  They can give the illusion that a space is larger, ceilings are taller, rooms are brighter and make a space look as though there are more windows than there actually are.  Without a doubt, mirrors are a designer’s best and most used tool.

Petal Mirror, Frederick Wall Mirror, Evie Geo Mirror, Cassia Mirror, Studded Mirror

My favorite:

Quatrefoil Mirror $347

Quatrefoil Mirror $347

These mirrors below not only make a statement, they serve to balance out a wall with a single window!

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Napoleon Hill said “If you can not do great things, then do small things in a great way”.  I hope this post inspires you to the make small, impactful additions that will elevate and revitalize your home.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie


Green With Envy!

Green can be a precarious color to decorate with.  It is bold and demands attention.  However, it is one of the few bold colors that can actually serve as a neutral.  We associate this color with life, nature, growth and renewal.  It can also be associated with greed, jealousy and money.  Whether you have an affinity or an aversion to this color, there is always a place in any room to make this color work harmoniously.  With a myriad of variations, there is a shade of green for everyone.  Green plays well with navy, gray, brown, gold and black.

If green is a favorite color of yours, you can make this color the star by using it on larger pieces such as bedding or upholstery.  However, if you’d rather use more restraint when decorating with green, you can use it on your accent pieces such as pillows and throws.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, here is my post on all things green.  I hope this serves to inspires some new additions to your home.

 

Below, these rooms utilize this color successfully.  The first room shows this color used with a black and white palette. This palette is bold, graphic and masculine.

This dining room is a more refined use of green. This color is just used on the drapes and accent pillows.  It is paired with gray, cream and gold.  It is a more sophisticated and feminine use of green.

Image via Pinterest - Blogspot

Image via Pinterest – BlogSpot

I hope you enjoyed this post.  I leave you with this Irish blessing:

May your troubles be less

and your blessings be more

And nothing but happiness

come through your door

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie

 


Interesting Pillow Talk! A Chic Conversation About Styling Your Bed!

As I get older, I find that a lot of things in life serve as a microcosm of other things and events.  I find parallels in the most surprising situations. I have finally realized the richness and complexity of subtext.  I guess I have age to thank for this new found wisdom and perspective.  This must be the universe’s consolation prize for all the years of mundane and at times, unpleasant responsibilities of adulthood.

Making one’s bed is one of those tasks that serve as a microcosm of other more important events.  it is time to stop throwing the covers up in the morning and walking away.  This  video (seen here) is my favorite explanation from a Navy Seal of why making one’s bed in the morning is so important.  As Admiral McRaven so accurately states in his commencement speech, “if you can’t do the little things right, you will never be able to do the big things right”.   Making one’s bed (and design for that matter) is not just about placing pretty pillows in the right spot, or choosing the right patterns and colors, it is about taking as much pride in one’s home as in one’s appearance.  It is about doing the things we should and putting forth effort, even when no one is looking.  I spent many years suppressing my desire and urge to design.  It was a profession that was “too shallow” and not “cerebral enough”; however, I came to realize I was wrong.  I was too narrowly focused.  It is not about the “stuff” we surround ourselves with.  It is about the feelings this “stuff” evokes in us.  Think of the pride you felt when you finally swapped out the furniture you had from your college apartment. There are countless studies on how our surroundings effect our mood and relationships with those around us.  This has proven true countless times in the clients I have worked with over the years.

So, make your bed in the morning.  Take an extra 60 seconds and pull the blankets tight, arrange your pillow and take a moment to relish in your first accomplishment of the day.

Now, we have established the “why”, here is the “how” of arranging one’s pillows.

 

Pillow Layouts For Queen or King Beds

Pillow Layouts For Queen or King Beds

The key to successful pillow placement is in the graduation in the size of your pillows.  You can lay your sleeping pillows down flat and layer your decorative pillows in front of them; or, you can stand your sleeping pillows up and layer them behind your decorative pillows. For a simple look, keep your decorative pillows in the same color family, varying the tones you use.  It is important to vary the shape of your pillows as well.  Use both square and rectangular pillows.  You can add bolster pillows (cylinder shaped pillows) as you get more confident.

These two pictures below, illustrates this concept beautifully. I love how pattern is used in the same color family to give the beds a layered look.

Images via New York Spaces - Barclay Butera Bedding

Images via New York Spaces – Barclay Butera Bedding

Image via Home A Rama House Tour 2014

Image via Home A Rama House Tour 2014

 

In these two pictures, the bedding is kept simple and crisp with two accent pillows serving as the graphic pop to each bed.

Image via the Bee's Knees

Image via the Bee’s Knees

Image via HGTV

Image via HGTV

In the images above, I purposefully kept the arrangements simple with simple colors and patterns.  As you gain confidence in styling your bed, you can play with color, pattern and texture.  A good rule of thumb is the more pattern you have in your duvet or bedding, the more simple the pattern and colors in your pillows should be (and vice versa).

Let me know if this was helpful.  I will post again in the future to expand on this topic.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie


Sneaky ways to find Fab and Affordable Décor!

Designers have to be pretty resourceful when it comes to managing a client’s budget; therefore, we are always looking for the biggest design bang for our buck.  Below, are a few tips I use when trying to save money.

  1.  Shop Kid and Teen websites.  Kid’s decor is much more stylish and chic than it was even a decade ago.  These sites are a treasure trove (and often overlooked) place to look for stylish decor at a fraction of the price.  These sites are my go-to when a project’s budget is tight.  Below, are a few items that I am loving now:

PB TEEN

PB Teen Gypsy Nailhead Mirror $179

PB Teen Gypsy Nailhead Mirror $179

This is a fantastic price point for a mirror!

Here are some great furniture pieces from PB Teen:

Another website I love is RH Teen.  Restoration Hardware is notoriously pricey;  however, not everything on their site is a fortune.  Here are a few items that are a great deal.

2.  Buy Art online.  Art can undoubtedly elevate any room.  It can also elevate your credit card bill.  Most of us are not art aficionados, but that does not mean that we can not curate a gallery worthy art collection.  One way to keep costs down is to buy prints online. Minted.com is one of my favorite sites for art.  This site lets you browse by color, style or content; which as a designer, lets me find exactly what I’m looking for quickly.  Their prints are also reasonably priced, and give you a myriad of options for frames.  With blush being so on trend for Spring (see my post on this here), I am loving this print and this print.  Another one of my secrets is to buy prints from one retailer, and then buy frames from another retailer such as West Elm or Pottery Barn (I love this frame and this frame).  Another tip is to buy stretched canvas pieces which are typically less than framed art.  Art.com has great selections at great prices.  Below are some great prints from Minted.com.

3.  ETSY!!! Etsy is a global marketplace of online artisans and entrepreneurs.  With 1.6 million (yes, MILLION) sellers, you are sure to find anything you could ever want.  I have found hard to find fabrics, unique furniture and whimsical light fixtures.  Because there are so many sellers, prices are competitive.  I found this light fixture for a client who wanted a rustic chic vibe for her home.  For another more modern client, I chose these lucite handrails.  Both of these items were unique, hard to find and reasonably priced.  Etsy is a treasure trove of well priced and unique home decor.  The items below are some things I am loving right now from shops on Etsy:

Pillow cover in Kelly Wearstler fabric $55

Pillow cover in Kelly Wearstler fabric $55

Beautiful geometric vases from StudioArmadillo $74

Beautiful geometric vases from StudioArmadillo $74

Self adhesive vinyl wallpaper $36/sheet

Self adhesive vinyl wallpaper $36/sheet

There are so many great resources for saving money.  Albeit, it does take patience to find the perfect piece at a great price. However, one need not sacrifice style when minding one’s budget.  One of my most popular posts was the post I did on how to score designer pieces for less (read here).  This will surely be a topic to be revisited in a future post.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie

 


8 Design Words You are Probably Saying WRONG!!!

Design is a global medium of artistic expression; therefore, it is no wonder some of its terms can be a linguistic challenge.   There are more than a few words we have all mumbled through in hopes of sounding in the know.  It is also no surprise that most of these words derive from one the chicest countries in the world.  Below, are some commonly mispronounced design terms:

Sette – (French) pronounced SET-TEA.  Commonly mispronounced Set-tay  A long seat with back and arms that is made for more than one person.

BERGERE– (French) BUR-ZHAIR  The mispronunciations are too great to list.  An armchair with exposed wooden framing and upholstered back and seat.  Bergère chairs became popular in 17th century France among nobility.

Bergere Chair in a modern print - Image from One Kings Lane

Bergere Chair in a modern print – Image from One Kings Lane

ARMOIRE– (French) ARM-WAAR.  Commonly mispronounced Arm-Wah  A tall wardrobe or move-able cabinet that dates back as far as the 16th century. Today, armoires fulfill a variety of storage needs.

FAUX BOIS– (French) FOH-BWAH Imitation of wood or wood grain.  The literal translation is “fake wood”.

Faux Bois outdoor chair via Neiman Marcus

Faux Bois outdoor chair via Neiman Marcus

FOYER – (French) FOY-YAY.  Commonly mispronounced Foy-yer  The front entrance hall in a home or building.

My Foyer

My Foyer

IKAT– (Indonesian) EE-KAHT. Commonly mispronounced Eye-kat  A fabric in which the yarns have been tie-dyed before weaving.

NICHE – (French) NEESH.  Commonly mispronounced Nitch.  A recess in a wall, commonly used for displaying decorative objects.

Image via Decorpad

Image via Decorpad

CHAISE LOUNGE (French) SHEZ-LAWNG.  Commonly mispronounced Shayz-lounge.  An upholstered sofa in the shape of a chair that is long enough to support the outstretched legs. The literal translation is “long chair.”

 

Horchow Maddox Chaise Lounge

 

I hope to have helped save you from any raised eyebrows at your next party (because really, who does not talk about design at parties 🙂   Now, you can confidently converse on all things design related.

Let me know what design terms you find commonly mispronounced, or any words you may have questions about.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie


Spring 2016 Style Preview! The Fashion-Home Design Connection

Historically, home design follows fashion.  However, the converse is also true.  Fashion designers often proclaim that architecture and interiors serve as their inspiration, and I can personally attest to having found design inspiration from a beautiful or unique piece of clothing.  Below, I will illustrate the parallels that can be found in fashion and home design.  Here are some key trends for Spring 2016:

Blush tones for home

  1.  It is no surprise that soft pastel colors take the spotlight as Spring draws near.  One can argue that both fashion and home design take its cues from nature. Therefore, it is not surprising that as nature’s palette of colors expands and the trees and flowers begin to bloom that fashion and home decor follow suit.  Of all the pastel colors that have been highlighted for Spring 2016, Blush is the “IT” color.  Blush has long been a favorite color of mine.  This soft pink works on every skin tone.  Everyone looks healthier when wearing blush tones.  It is soft, chic and understated.  The same can be said when using blush in one’s home.  This color serves as a perfect complement to almost any color.
Image via Style Me Pretty - Design by Anne Hepfner

Image via Style Me Pretty – Design by Anne Hepfner

2.  Mixing Stripes and Floral

This is a classic mix.  This mix is fun,preppy and will always look chic.  There is no one who does this look better than Ralph Lauren.  Below, I love this wide stripe rug from Lulu and Georgia paired with a classic Louis dining chair in a modern floral from Ballard Design.

 

Floral and Stripe Dining Room - Image via BHG

Floral and Stripe Dining Room – Image via BHG

 

Texture is IN

3. In the image below, Christian Dior mixes a chunky knit sweater in pastel blue with white delicate, scalloped sheer shorts.  The pillow from Williams Sonoma Home beautifully mixes lush velvet with a leather croc banding.

Jonathan Adler is a master at mixing textures and prints. Below, he artfully mixes grasscloth wallpaper with mirrored furniture, which he then pairs with his soft Maxime lounge chair.

Jonathan Adler Delphine Bar $2995 and Maxime Lounge Chair $2250

Jonathan Adler Delphine Bar $2995 and Maxime Lounge Chair $2250

White HOT!!

4. Is there ever a Spring where white is not in?  This color signifies purity, innocence and new beginnings.  A fresh update this year on the runway is seeing all white looks for evening.  This trend lends itself seamlessly to home design, and unlike its fashion counterpart, an all white room is always stylish (see my post here on this topic).

Photo via Pinterest - My Domaine/Every Girl

Photo via Pinterest – My Domaine/Every Girl

Metallics

5. Adding metallics to your space is like adding jewelry to your outfit.  Jewelry adds the finishing touch to every outfit.  No one did jewelry like Elizabeth Taylor.  She was quoted as saying “Big Girls need big diamonds”.  She understood the importance of sparkle.  Metallics add life and dimension to a room.  EVERY room needs to have metals in them.

On the runway this Spring, silver held just a little more of the spotlight than the other metals.  However, every shade was represented.  In the room below, bronze and gold add depth and drama to this dining room. I love the gold dining table.

Image via Elle Decor

Image via Elle Decor

I hope you enjoyed this post.  The trends that I highlighted from Spring 2016 were among my favorites.  Let me know what trends you are loving for Spring.

Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie


RED And Pink For Valentines Day!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am featuring red and pink home decor.  Both are bold, high impact colors.  Therefore, know thyself; if you are fairly conservative, you might want to limit these colors to accent pillows, throws and accessories.  If you are a little more bold, go for upholstered pieces and area rugs. A tip for successfully using these colors is to pair them with a lot of white.  This will keep things looks fresh and crisp.

Almost every item I chose is currently on sale.  At the end of this post I listed coupon codes for some of the best sales.

Although red is a bold color, it can be paired with many other colors successfully.  It also plays well with both gray and beige.  Red looks great with a black and white color palette, and a red and white room always looks chic.

Pink is one of my favorite accent colors to use.  It is pretty, feminine and adds a great pop of color to any room.  Pink pairs well with black, white, gray and gold.  I love finding really classic elements done in pink.  The mirror above is a fresh interpretation of the classic french chateau mirror.

There are great sales to be found this week.  The following list are some coupon codes for some of the best sales:

Williams Sonoma Home: use code EXTRA for 20% off clearance items

Pottery Barn: use code FRIENDS for 20% off your ENTIRE purchase

Lulu and Georgia: 75% off sale items (all sale items are final sale)

Z Gallerie: 15% off purchase Use code PRES15 and for furniture use code PRESFURN15

The next couple of days will be great shopping days!  If you are looking to update any room, this is the time to do it!

Wishing you a day filled with Love and Happiness!  Thanks for reading!

XO Laurie