Natural inspiration 

Last weekend, we wandered to the playground after breakfast. The weather was perfect. A 10 of a day. We stopped to admire the signs of spring along the way.

At the playground, as we swung on the swings, I looked up to the sky and was stunned by the colors.

Is it chartreuse? Or lime green?

It is perfect inspiration for design – I want to incorporate this color inside and out.

Since then ive noticed it wherever I go. 

As wallpaper:

Galbraith and Paul, lotus wallpaper in fennel

As trim:


Houzz.


Wrapping:
My own, paper from Home goods.




Landscape:

Limelight hydrangea.

Napkins:

Block print napkins.


Almost exactly one year ago I lusted over some little lime green shoes for my littlest lady. It is the perfect color for a little spring refresh.

You say Tomato

Life ebbs and flows doesn’t it?
 
The proverbial roller coaster.
 
Question, are we supposed to enjoy the grueling climb upwards? Or is it the terriying free fall downwards that we’re meant to embrace? 

Or maybe that free fall isn’t so terrifying – maybe it’s exhilarating, energizing, exciting! Or that grueling climb – perhaps it’s actually the best part given the endless possibility, the thrill of anticipation, an achievable goal to work towards. 

See what we just did there? Same scenario, different perspectives.

 

There is a lot going on in life right now – and my default is to call it stressful. But is it? I loved this article on managing stress from Harvard Business Review, arguing that often times stress is caused not by other people or external events, but by your own reactions to them. 

“Pressure is not stress. But the former is converted to the latter when you add one ingredient: rumination, the tendency to keep rethinking past or future events, while attaching negative emotion to those thoughts.”

So how do you change your perspective? Break this stress inducing habit and stop dwelling? 

One thing this article suggests is to learn how to control your attention. Specifically- Redirect your attention to areas where you can take useful action (as opposed to obsessing over things you have no control over).

My first attempt (scribbled on a notepad during a meeting – my mind kept wandering to everything going on in life).

 I can’t control what happens with our house sale. I can control the mindset with which I approach the upcoming schedule of stuff over the next 4 months – with excitement! And I can control how much effort I put into my work – I feel less stress when I put in more effort. Sounds so simple, put in more effort!

 

Try it. It helps.
And with that…happy weekend!

What Sarah’s wearing…

She’s an attorney, a mom of two, and a friend of mine, who always looks pulled together. When I told her so, she scoffed – but guys I’m serious.

We’ve recently bonded over motherhood, major house renovations, and most recently a love of clothes (and the amazing brand MM Lafleur, have you discovered it yet? If not, you’re welcome).

Let’s hear what Sarah has to say..and a sneak peek of her closet…


On Clair Underwood, and MM LaFleur: 

These days, the most put together I feel is in MM LaFleur. I am obsessed with Claire Underwood’s style (House of Cards) and their clothes remind me of her, but are ridiculously comfortable, which is great, because my goal is pretty much to find clothes that feel like PJs without looking like them.

A favorite dress, for winter or summer:

This Aditi dress is a favorite and I cannot wait to wear it in the summer because the neckline is amazing and you can’t really appreciate it in a cardigan. Since it’s winter, I wear opaque tights with it and great waterproof booties. For now, I also wear a cardigan with it and a favorite is from Nic and Zoe – you can wear this cardigan open or as a wrap. It also comes in thick, sweater material or light, linen.


On pulled together comfort:

If I have court or client meetings, I’d go with a jardigan instead; totally passes as a suit coat, but, again, way more comfortable.

On Sarah’s wish list:

As spring hits, I’m dying for this combination – the Mona dress in Cherrywood, with the Crossover belt. I feel like it’s soft/feminine because of the cherrywood color of the dress, but the belt is a little edgy.

Thanks Sarah…you’ve introduced me to MM Lafleur (for which my credit card loves you and my bank account hates you), and you’ve given me the nudge I need to order that Nic an Zoe cardigan that I’ve been eyeing for some time!

Shop Sarah’s closet:


1. Jardigan/2. Belt/3. Mona Dress/4.  Nic and Zoe Cardigan  /5. Aditi Dress/6. Boot

Tackling the “to do’s”

We are finally getting around to crossing off the items from our to-do list. First up, the dining room. 

Here is a reminder of how it looked, and what we had planned to do:

– rug: bring in oriental from family room (pictured below).
– install curtain rods (and pick curtains).
– replace chandelier (go for fresh/younger/funky vibe)

Here are the choices we made:

And ta-da! The finished product, (set for our Christmas dinner):

In reality, it felt much less like a “ta-da” and more like a marathon – who knew it was so hard to pick curtains? And curtain rods? 

So let’s go back to the beginning…I started out with the two inspiration shots below.

(Photo credit: @changoandco )



(Photo credit @amberinteriors)

I wanted somewhat traditional, but with a little funk. Is that a technical design style? Traditional funk? 

It also had to be approachable and comfortable. Not too formal or stuffy.
We already had the table and chairs, and the rug was a family heirloom that we moved in from another room. So the key items we needed were:

– chandelier

– curtains and hardware

– side table for storage/serving

For the chandelier I wanted a bit of a statement piece, a more modern counterpoint to balance out the decidedly traditional rug, table and chairs. A little funk. A little whimsy. Here is the roundup of the contenders:


In the end, we loved the sputnik look, and were comfortable with Restoration Hardware quality, so we went with their Sputnik Elliptical Filament – and I’m in love. It really brings warmth to the room with the gorgeous filament bulbs.

Here it is right after install:

I also wanted to use the side table/storage console to bring in some modern, clean lines. It also needed to be very functional, with lots of storage for linens, candles, placemats and silver.

We decided to go with a bureau, because we wanted lots of drawers, as opposed to shelves. I’ve long admired the furniture at room and board, and settled on the Berkeley Dresser – with clean lines, beautiful walnut wood, and satin nickel pulls to echo the nickel metal in the chandelier and curtain hardware.


Here it is in our space, partly set up for thanksgiving dinner:

And another picture, including the chandelier:

For the curtain hardware I knew I wanted a simple design without any end filial. We priced out Restoration Hardware and compared it Pottery Barn, and the price difference was minimal – so we went with  the Endcap and Rod set from RH, where everything was in stock and ready to be shipped. 

At first, I thought I wanted a bit of subtle pattern in the curtains – and so we tried a pair of Linen Ikat beauties from west elm. 
Here they are mid install:

 

And up close- peakaboo!

I really did love them, but they weren’t perfect for this space.

Next, we tried an all white pair, that had a little bit of chevron texture:


Again, they were beautiful, they draped so well and had a lovely subtle pattern/texture. But they were too light for our room.

We ultimately fell in love with the Belgian Flax Linen curtains from West Elm. I absolutely love how they turned out:

So that’s the story of our journey from this:

To this!