Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

When the Laughter Stops.

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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I, like most of you, was completely shocked not only by the news that Robin Williams had not only died, but that he did so by his own hand.  I’ve never cried over a celebrity passing before, but for some reason this was different.  I grew up on his movies, from Hook to Dead Poet’s, Mrs. Doubtfire to Good Will Hunting.  And there was something paternal in his persona that seemed warm, caring and loving. Yesterday morning I was reading tributes and watching clips and couldn’t stop crying. It’s unbelievably sad for his family, his children in particular, and sadder yet that someone so loved by so many felt that depressed. That alone. That hopeless.

If anything can be taken away from this loss it’s that mental illness is real, unrelenting and incredibly hard to manage.  Even those with access to the best care struggle to find ways to cope and those with the biggest, happiest, most perfect personalities may be dealing with demons inside.  I know nothing about Robin Williams’ personal life, but I know he had success,  kids who loved him and an adoring public. He could see the best doctors and seek help at rehabilitation centers. But even with all that he could not find the light, the reason to wake up and keep fighting.  Perhaps the medications that helped him also dampened the manic persona that made him so famous.  Maybe he was trying to find the right dose, the right pill, the right therapist, the right confidante. I don’t know, but what I do know, as someone who has struggled with depression, is that the scariest feeling in the world is hopelessness.  For some, a brief moment of it- akin to touching a hot stove- is enough to cause them to pull back and get help.  For others, they can’t pull themselves away from that darkness and stay in pain and dispair on a daily basis. It’s horrible to think that Robin Williams felt this way, it makes my heart hurt. And it makes me mad to hear people calling his decision to die selfish and cowardly. He was ill, and we should not blame those who struggle with with mental illness for their affliction, just as we would never blame someone for getting cancer.  He did not make this choice with sound mind and body, he made it in desperation. To free himself of his pain and those he loved of the burden of watching him suffer.

If anyone reading this is, or ever has, felt any form of depression know that you are not alone. Not even close. There are people who can help all around you. Ask for help, call a hotline, see your doctor. There is no shame in seeking treatment for mental distress and illness. I only hope that from all this sadness comes some awareness regarding this difficult, brutal, hard to understand disease.

Rest in peace, Robin.

Modern Rustic Inspiration

Monday, July 28th, 2014

I am lucky enough to have clients that hire me multiple times for multiple homes- recently one of my most fun, bold and cool clients decided to build a modern second home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and asked me to help with the decor!  This is SO much fun for me because it’s so outside the realm of what I work on most days (suburban full time homes or urban condos).  There is SO much inspiration to pull from for a place like this, nestled amongst some of the most spectacular scenery in the country!  Here are some images and items I’ve pulled to help get us started in dreaming up the look of this modern mountain retreat- and proof that “rustic” doesn’t have to mean “country”-

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My New Pattern from Jill Rosenwald

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

When Jill and I chatted about adding another pattern to my collection with her we couldn’t help but bring up the obvious: leopard, my favorite “color”.  Now, it took some time to get Jill on the leopard train as she was NOT a fan- but now I think she sees the aesthetic value in a little animal print!  Here are the pieces we did in leopard, and scroll down to see a very special addition to our line!

Everything is hand made in Jill’s studio in Boston. The accent colors are up to you- so if you prefer green to orange you totally can do that! Also, I love the mix of this pattern with my Bateau pattern too!

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The monogrammed mug and Jilly cup- perfect for pens, makeup brushes, change…. you name it!

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Perfect.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

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A couple months ago I was asked to be a guest on Jess Lively’s podcast series chatting about the subject of perfectionism, a subject I know about all too well. As long as I can remember I’ve been a worrier, a control-freak and desirous of a flawless existence. Even when it comes down to the small stuff. I spent a good 45 minutes in the middle of the night last night wondering if I picked the right finish on my doorknobs.  I can remember a Sunday many years ago when I invited my parents up from brunch in Beacon Hill and when the restaurant and meal turned out to be awful I burst into tears at the table because I was so disappointed in myself for choosing it.  It also takes me like six hours to order a drink or meal when out to eat for fear I’ll regret my decision and should have gotten that other thing.  I rarely leave the house without making sure I’m totally put together, lose my shit when things don’t operate on schedule ( I am 100% Elaine Benes stuck on the train) and still am able to chastise myself for not getting into an Ivy League school.  If worrying and over-thinking were a sport, I’d be the  Michael Phelps of it.

Yet I’m not a Monica Gellar kind of perfectionist in that my herbs all need to be alphabetized and windows streak-free, in fact when it comes to keeping the house clean I can be a downright slob (except when company is coming over- then KA-BOOM- I turn into the kind of person who doesn’t let their husband sit down on the sofa for fear he’ll mess up my perfect pillow arrangement).   I almost never know where that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday went, my desk is just a place to pile everything that crosses my field of vision and my wash sometimes sits in the washing machine for two days before I remember to put it in the dryer (after washing it again, of course).  I’m this hybrid of ferocious regimen and disorganization. I should be stuck in a test tube and studied.

And yet my brand perfectionism does have it’s upsides. I would never be at the professional level I am today without it.  It makes me an incredibly hard worker, a great designer and employee and the kind of person who sets goals and reaches them (on their due date too!)  If I’m not 5 minutes early, I’m late, and my publisher certainly adored the fact that every deadline for my book was met to a T. I may have been a heap of sobbing mess on the floor in the middle of the night, but damn it, I meet my deadlines. And when it comes to life, I have a perfect plan laid out too. And this is where it begins to unravel a little.

I think we all have a “life plan” in our heads (maybe some of you on paper) that we hope to adhere to- a wedding by this age, a home by another, a promotion here and a baby there.  I met a lot of my dates on schedule- I was married by 26,  started my own company by 28 and bought my first real house at 32 (but actually beat my schedule by buying my first property at 25).  But along the way my schedule got full and the next big goal- a baby-  got pushed back because we weren’t ready (i.e. perfect enough) for that step. I needed to completely focus on my book, Andrew needed a better job, we needed more money in the bank and a second full bathroom in our house.

And guess what? I did it.  I checked every damn thing of my list and aligned everything perfectly, and as you know, now I am struggling hugely to get pregnant.  As I stocked my fridge yesterday with injections and syringes of medication for our first IVF cycle  I was hit in the gut by these feeling that I’ve screwed it all up. That I waited for perfection, and in doing so waited too long.  I prioritized all the wrong things and now at 34- almost 35- there is this one BIG, honking box left unchecked that really should have not been pushed aside while I was busy checking all these other superficial boxes off.

But I also know in my heart that I didn’t feel ready three years ago, or even two years ago.  Sure, we were “trying” but I wasn’t into it 100%, I was doing it because I felt I had to to keep up with my peers.  And now that I am ready and struggling, my Instagram and Facebook feed full of everyone else’s babies, third babies, sonograms and bump shots are like violent kicks to gut and daily reminders that I’m flawed.  Social media is like heroin for perfectionists- we get a big high off of the pins, instagrams and status updates of new amazing recipes, throw pillows, gorgeous beach sunsets and fishtail braids followed by deep, dark lows because we start comparing our outtakes to everyone else’s highlight reels. Perfection is what these sites run on, it’s their operating capital.

And I know that if WHEN I become a mom there will be an even bigger perfectionism struggle ahead in parenting.  I can see that one from a mile away. And just as it’s been in my life so far, my strive to be the best will be a benefit as much as a hindrance.  In the meantime I need to find a way to cope with it.  I will never NOT be a perfectionist, it’s in my DNA and not something I feel the need to crush, but I do want to be a more balanced version of myself. One that allows mistakes, delays and veers off the path- because I know that’s what kids do to your plans. And that is exactly what I need in my life. To take the focus off me, and onto something greater. Fingers crossed I can make that happen.

** And let me take this opportunity to apologize ahead of time if the hormones make me a crazy mess and my posts in the next couple weeks consist of nothing more than a video of a baby goat jumping on a trampoline and a bunch of nouns pounded out on the keyboard.

 

 

A Little Book Sneak Peek!

Monday, July 14th, 2014

It feels like it’s been forever in the making, but my book is officially printing as we speak!  It still has a little longer until it hits bookstore shelves on October 7th, but I’m so excited to get to share a little sneak peek of a favorite shot and the AMAZING back cover!

I was blessed to find a book designer/packager who not only is incredibly talented but also someone who had been reading my blog way before this deal became a reality.  Jennifer K. Beal Davis KNEW my voice and my taste and so knew exactly what I wanted this book to look like.  It was not only painless, but easy and enjoyable, which is NOT always the case when it comes to designing your book (so I’ve heard).  You’ve seen the front cover, but today I get to show you the back!   We decided to use the fantastic F. Schumacher Pyne Hollyhock Print (which is a fabric I used in my own home) paired with the striped spine and gold foil accents (not mustard yellow, that “T”, the first line and the border will be BLINGED OUT gold, baby.)

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Oh yeah, and about those quotes. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I cannot believe that all these design, writing and lifestyle idols of mine liked the book enough to say such amazing things in print. It continues to bowl me over, so thanks a ZILLION Jonathan Adler, Emily Henderson, J. Courtney Sullivan, India Hicks and Holly Becker!  When I feel doubt sneak in (as is normal with a project of this magnitude) I go back to these and tell myself I did well. :)

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image by Michael J. Lee

And finally, I’m getting to share one of my personal favorites from inside the book today!  This is a home in Boston that we started working on over four years ago (and we are still working with the client as her house grows and changes!) They are the nicest people and a complete JOY to work with.  This is the formal living room, right off the formal dining, and a spot for the adults to entertain and relax in apart from the larger family room.

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image by Michael J. Lee

We wanted to make it feel special, cozy and a blend of traditional and modern design. Custom drapes, a chocolate grasscloth ceiling,  statement fixture, custom chairs and hints of green helped accomplish this.  You’ll see a lot more of this house in the book- their study, family room, formal dining, casual dining, entry, master bedroom and child’s room.  I love that every house I work on looks SO different and unique, just like the families that inhabit them!  Pre-order the book HERE pretty please!

Stay tuned for book tour dates too, coming soon! Can’t wait to meet you guys in person!