Expanding Your Mind: Learning From Spaces That Aren’t Necessarily “You”

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Before I was married, I was an intern at a well known design firm in Boston.  And while many lessons (good and bad) were learned during this year-long experience in my career, one of the most important I took away from it was how to grow as a designer by appreciating and studying styles that aren’t necessarily “you”.  The designer I worked for was very modern, and I had grown up under the tutelage of my designer father who loves and works in a wholly traditional “New England” style.  It’s all I ever knew, and so I adapted it as “my” style as well.  So working under someone whose style was the compete opposite was challenging as selecting goods in this aesthetic did not come naturally to me.  But it was the best way ever to expand what I knew and figure out what I, as an individual, liked.  I found that I could really appreciate aspects of modern design, even if it wasn’t something I would do in my own home.  Now,  as a grown up (sort of) designer, my style is a complete blend of these two looks.   So I like to study the work of those who are perhaps bolder, or more demure, than what I typically like.   It’s a great way to push yourself and explore what  perhaps scares you or gets you a little excited.   I also work with clients all the time who don’t want “my” look, they want “their” look, so I have to keep myself abreast of all kinds of design styles.

Case in point, designer Patrick Mele.  I LOVE his spaces, but they are more bold and colorful than I would do in my own home.  But there is so much to be admired about his work. This room is probably closest to my own style, but even so, I am noting the bold, wide cuff roman shades as a great idea, as well as the blend of emerald green and super pale blue.  Just because as space as a whole doesn;t speak to you– find the elements that DO and consider how you could work them into your own space.


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It’s All In the Details…

I cam across this incredible Parisian real estate/ renovation and design site A+B Kasha and fell MADLY, MADLY in love with everything I saw. Of course, as with most things, the French just do it better. And that goes for architecture too. Don’t get me wrong, a love a good, old New England Greek Revival- but the details found in the old apartment buildings in Paris are hard to beat. And I adore seeing a development company like this really celebrating all the gorgeous historical millwork, hardware and small accents that really make these spaces works of art. And seeing them empty and pristine like this just shows how much potential is there for decorating!

Get ready to SQUEAL.

Look at all that detailed crown and millwork. And the FLOOR! And windows. And the LIGHT! The light in Paris is just special.

Rug Sizing & Layering 101

One of the things that drives me the most insane as a designer are ill sized rugs.  And it’s a mistake seen SO often- even on favorite HGTV shows (not naming names- but there have been  large spaces “designed” with what looks like bathmats!)  So I wanted to do a thorough post about how to properly size a rug to your space by room.

Living Room

Wrong (even in AD!): This rug is way too small for this seating area.  None of the furniture touches it except for the coffee table. We in the “biz” call this The Dreaded Rug Island.  Everything looks like it’s alienating each other. Does the rug have cooties? Come on furniture, can’t we all be friends?


Right:  Emily Henderson, of course, knows how to size a rug in the room below.  This one runs under all the furniture but you can also scale it down a little bit and have just the front two legs of each major piece of furniture on it too.  This anchors the room and makes everything look cohesive instead of floating in space.


Here’s a little graphic I created showing both options.

living room

The What, When and Why of Window Treatments

A lot of you asked about a post on window treatments.  There are a ton of options for every home- but I’ll share a bit about our most used types and why we use them!

First of all, we try to convince all our clients to use custom made drapery for the most part.  It’s an expensive proposition, but one that pays off in a big way as nothing makes a room look more polished and finished than custom tailored window treatments.  We work with an amazing workroom we love and trust but you can find one in your area through sources like Angie’s List and by asking friends who have had their homes done.


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Dramatic but classic drapes with greek key trim- photo: Michael Partenio

Drapes add a nice amount of softness to a room and work wonderfully any space that has windows with no radiators underneath and space on the both sides of the trim for the hardware to properly extend and the drapes to fall mostly in front of the walls and trim and only a bit in front of the windows (to preserve the most sunlight coming into the room).  On a simple single window about 42″ wide we extend the rods about 8″ or so past the window trim.  And as a reminder, it looks best to install the rods close to the ceiling, about and inch or two below the crown moulding.

Custom rods are wonderful as they have no seams for extension and stay straight and strong and are available in a massive variety of materials.  However, there are many sources for nice store bought hardware too- we use Restoration Hardware and West Elm a lot.  Buy a size that needs the LEAST amount of extension- as rods bow at the seam when extended out far.  So for example, on my windows that need a 55″ rod, I bought the ones that are 44″-108″ so that I don’t have to extend them too far out.


my favorite style of pleat


You asked and here it is- an update on Lindsey’s reno! Enjoy! -EG

Hi guys! I’m excited to finally update you on our kitchen progress (if you missed the first post you can check it out here). Back in October we designed and ordered our Deerfield assembled cabinets through Cabinets.com. The expected production time was 4-5 weeks, plus another 2 weeks in transit, and everything arrived right on time. I was a little nervous that all of the cabinets wouldn’t make it here from Florida in one piece (unfortunately damages and delays are all too common in our industry) but thankfully everything went great. Here’s a peek at our dining room after we were left with 30+ boxes worth of cabinets and trim.

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