Stacking the Deck

Thank you for your sweet comments yesterday. I’ll slowly get back into the swing of things but as you suggested, am taking some time off here and there this week to relax a little bit (and plan a short getaway later in the month somewhere close but warm- suggestions welcome).

In the meantime, I was flipping through Architectural Digest while on the couch yesterday and fell pretty hard for the open, airy, sunny California home of Patrick and Jillian Dempsey.  The modern Frank Gehry house is so out of my New England colonial comfort zone, but I could SO see myself living there. Maybe it’s just the winter blues talking, as I’ve never desired to leave the northeast seriously, but man that open, sunny space sure is tempting.


This is Jillian’s art studio. I mean…. amazing, right?


The back yard has a large garden and Airstream trailer “getaway”.


But my favorite aspect of the house is the architecturally stacked wood in recessed areas of the living room walls. I adore the texture, color and graphic pattern it adds but in a very natural way.


Here are some more spaces that have used this element on a large and small scale:












Have a closed off non-working fireplace and love this look?  I found a great tutorial from Pepper Design Blog on how to make a faux stacked wood screen.  I had a client do this and it looks AMAZING.




  1. Go to Miami and stay at the Standard Hotel. It’s a spa…you are encouraged to walk around in your bathrobe all day and it is a quick walk to SB without actually being in SB. Much quieter and no children allowed (but DOGS WELCOME!).

  2. One day at a time….you’ve had a lot on your plate so take time for you! I might suggest a yoga destination where you can warm up and find some peace.
    Hope whatever is causing you pain is behind you soon.

  3. P.S. My sister and I went to Canyon Ranch in Miami Beach. It was pretty affordable (at least compared to the Lenox standards), easy to get to, and the pool/beach/spa/exercise and wellness classes were amazing. Great food too!

  4. I hope you’re doing okay. Take it easy and rest up. Put yourself first.

    I like the look of the stacked wood too….BUT living just outside of downtown Seattle that stacked wood is a wonderful invitation to spider living. Seriously, if you seen a wolf spider you would never consider that design feature LOL

  5. It sounds like you need some Caneel Bay

    Direct flights from Boston during winter! Stay on Scott Beach :)

    Email me if you have questions (not affiliated, but I’ve been there several times and it is amazing). If a villa rental is more your speed I can help with that too. We all need our rest! Get better.

  6. I’m with Erin. How do they control the spider population in those stacks? I’d love to recreate some of those images but don’t want the uninvited guests.

  7. I love the look of stacked wood in living rooms. Their home is incredible. Have you ever been to Palm Springs? My husband and I went last year and I fell in love. The beautiful, open, warm spaces were absolutely incredible. These pictures remind me of that trip. I highly recommend going out there (especially in the spring) if you get a chance!

  8. So many of your inspiration photos remind me of what I am trying to transition my home towards. Its so nice to have a little reminder ofthe possibilities. I would like to suggest the whole 30A area on the gulf coast in Florida. Rosemary Beach is amazing but Grayton Beach is beyond fab!!! Good luck with your travels and enjoy.

  9. I’m with Chris – check out Caneel Bay.
    Cambridge Beaches in Bermuda is wonderful too. I went there on my honeymoon years ago and it has been totally redone.
    Block Island is always wonderful – but need to wait til April/May.
    Also great and laid back for later in the spring is The Sanderling in the Outer Banks.
    Be well.

  10. So sad to hear about your recent troubles, Erin! My copy of AD arrived this week but I haven’t had a chance to sit down with it yet – I’m looking forward to doing so now. If you need another warm(ish) weather getaway, we just returned from the most lovely stay at Zero George in Charleston, SC. We flew directly in from Boston and enjoyed every second of our trip. The weather last week was between 50-70 degrees, so a lot warmer than what we’re experiencing in New England right now. Rest up and take care!

  11. We LOVE that look! The stacked wood gives the room such a warm, cozy feeling… bringing nature straight inside…beautiful! My husband threw out a good question though, is the wood treated? How do they keep the bugs out?

    We love Elements of Style!

    Kelli & Kristen at

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