Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Here is just a sneak peak at some of the decorating and cooking and baking I did for my mini New Year's Eve party. I've had an immense amount of fun getting ready for this party so I hope everyone has a good time.

I have a sneaking suspicion that 2010 is going to be a great year. Just a hunch. Have an amazing New Year's Eve everybody! Be safe, be good to yourself, and drink lots of Champagne!

Alicia B.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Honest Scrap-tastic Award

About a million years ago one of my fave bloggers, Claire from High Gloss Blue nominated me for the Honest Scrap Award and I've taken my sweet time accepting it. It's New Years Eve so I figure I'd better get to it before the year is done. Thanks Claire! Basically for this award as you all probably know, I have to reveal ten things about myself and nominate seven other people for this award. Here goes! #1) I HATE revealing things about myself on my blog. I tend to say little tidbits but nothing major so maybe that's why I took so long making this list.


#2) I'm insanely fair skinned by if I could lie on the beach all day with a book (and a cocktail), I would do it in an instant. Don't worry, I'll still be wearing SPF 45. Really.

A postcard from Malta

#3) On that note, I've wanted to go to Malta (and lie on the beach) since I was a senior in college and I learned about Caravaggio and how be painted and became one of the Knights of Malta.

A dress made of Skittle wrappers! WOW...

#4)I'm a candy-a-holic. I know candy is bad/will give you cavities but I would rather eat skittles than chips or any other snack. And unlike most candy-a-holics, I don't care for chocolate.


#5) This one is SUPER juicy about me. Wait for it...I hate valences. I think they are worthless and ridiculous looking. If you don't like the ugly window moldings, install new ones and if you want to block the sun, go for broke and actually get shades/curtains. Those sad frilly valences are worthless.
This is a beach in La Jolla. Gawgeous.

#6) This one is also juicy. As you may know I'm a relatively uptight East Coaster but upon some somewhat recent trips to California I'd LOVE to end up there. I always thought I'd love to end up in Connecticut (and I still could), but after spending some time in San Diego, I fell in love.

#7) I love preppiness. I love to dress in pink and green and I love preppy interiors too. This one by John Loecke is so perfect! The pinks the greens and the sunny yellows are perfection to me.
#8) I'm a collector. When I was little, I used to collect rocks. I had a mini collection by the side of the road and I even had a Rock Tumbler that was set up in the garage. Please don't stop reading this! Yes, it's true. Anyway, now I collect fun things like fabric, frames, demitasse cups, as my mom says, "old junk from antiques stores", minks, and antique books and buttons! You never know when you're going to need these things!

#9) I have a massive crush on Jim Carrey. I've always liked him because he makes me laugh in his movies (Liar Liar). And even when he is in serious movies (Truman Show), he's an amazing actor and SO CUTE. Don't judge me, I stand by my opinion.

Who looks so pretty in fur? Martha.

#10) Ah, the last one! A dear friend of mine reminded me of this a few weeks ago. When I was in 7th grade I got a "layered" haircut and a few boys made fun of it and called me Martha Stewart. I ended up crying but now if that happened I'd be more than flattered. Martha is an amazing role model and such an inspiration. Thanks so much Claire for getting me to reveal embarrassing things about myself! Though I am in love with interior design, I do have many sides to me as you have just learned. Although as this blog is centered around interior design, it is much of what I think about. I hope you all learned a lot today and forget about the whole "rock collection" thing. Yikes.

I'm tagging the following people. And if you've already done it don't worry, I think I'm the last person who hasn't done this yet.

Penny Rounds
Eclectic Interior Design
Developing Designs
Shoebox Decor

Alicia B.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Green for Winter

As I was working out in my head what colors I could use for my New Year's Eve party (which has taken a turn in a more relaxed direction), I was thinking what would be holiday but not Christmas? My colors were silvers, whites, and greens. I think the sparkle of the silver with the green color would be just festive enough but not scream Christmas at the same time. I've also been seeing light greens nearly everywhere against whites, gilt woods, and silvers.

This interior by Nate Berkus may be in my top 20 favorites and not just because of the patriotic moment in the back. The tiny pops of green among the neutrals is very subtle but makes the room fresher.

I saw this chest in the Wisteria catalogue today and was instantly enamored. It's so simple but it has so much texture.

This is a little vignette from a Lynn Morgan interior. Even using a plant is a great way to add green to a room. Like I said above, I'm super drawn to the metal tones with green.

This is really bringing the outdoors in in this Eddie Ross interior! The ferns are so sweet and natural with the brass lamp.

In this rustic and mostly white/creme interior, the green from the plants softens it. I love that layered display on the mantle. From Country Living.

This is a perfect neutral holiday scene. Even if it's not Winter these colors look warm and fresh. Bierly Drake.

An interior using Anne Selke fabrics has more light fresh mossy greens with a faux bamboo upholstered ottoman. I adore her fabrics; they're so fresh and whimsical.

These interiors are certainly inspiring for my little NYE get together. I'm thinking of using some of my same trees that I have for Christmas but remove the red elements and replace them with green. Perhaps the green theme is a good one for New Years as well; turning over a new leaf for a new year, that sort of thing. I'll let you know how it goes when I get back to New York and things get a little less abstract.

Alicia B.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

French Chic: A must read.

Among many amazing and super generous gifts I received for Christmas, I was given French Chic by Florence de Dampierre a talented designer who hales from Paris France but now lives in Litchfield, CT. This book reminds me why I love traditional design so much. In the book she talks about different ways to make your home warm and inviting. One thing that stuck out for me was when she said, "Good design is about individuality, comfort and whimsy." I can definitely get on board with that when comfort and whimsy involve beautiful antiques and cheetah print carpets in the front hall! Take a look at some of her home.

This is her home in Litchfield. Not only is it stunning architecturally but, to point out the obvious, she has a light lime green door! I love it!

In this restored home, there is not one amazing thing to each room but everything is beautiful to look at. The floor for one is absolutely stunning and you can see a zebra rug poking into view in the foreground. I love the carving in the coffee table and the fact that the two side tables do not match.

Here is a little bit of the famed cheetah rug (which is real!?) with a cute dog on it! How could you not feel welcomed here?

I have always loved toile and I even have a pink toile duvet in CT, so it's quite obvious that I love this. The grey/brown toile is so calming though in this light bedroom.

All the images are from 1st Dibs and Amazon, btw. Florence lives in this home with her husband and three children so she can't be designing homes that don't really get lived in. It is formal and traditional, sure, but she still maintains the element of the country, too. It's a nice balance and you can certainly see her "whimsy" in the design too. I SUPER recommend this book as a must have. Florence also has a blog! Who doesn't?! It's HERE--hasn't been updated since September but I'll still subscribe because she posts about her book signings which I'd of course love to attend.

Alicia B.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I am now at home with most of my beloved family (we are just missing my sister and BIL. Tear.) and we are nearly ready to celebrate Christmas! Christmas and Thanksgiving are two of my favorite holidays because it's a great chance to gather with family and feel grateful and happy about all that you have, even if all that you have is family. Didn't expect something as sentimental to come out of this hardcore Connecticut girl? Christmas does this to me.

These are little shots of a gingerbread Christmas village at Eli Zabar's on the Upper East Side. Check out the most amazing Holiday windows in NYC HERE on 1st Dibs!

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is reading the old Christmas stories. In our family that means The Sweet Smells of Christmas( a scratch and sniff book that we've had for about 30 years), The Night Before Christmas (obvi), The Polar Express (I can still hear the bell at Christmas), and Apple Tree Christmas (an absolute classic that not many people know about). Then we all have to go to bed at about 9:30 and as 26 and 21 year olds, we wait for Santa! Do you still carry on traditions like these? Anyway, have a very Merry Christmas, be good to each other and yourselves, enjoy giving and receiving, being with family--and if you're not celebrating Christmas, hopefully you're with family too, so have fun going to the movies!

Alicia B.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Michael D'Souza's London Loft Renovation

I'm not sure if anybody caught this incredible spread in the NY Times, but I'm absolutely blown away! Michael D'Souza, the owner of Mufti, an interiors store in London, bought this old Dutch textile house and fixer-upper in London and completely transformed it into one of the most beautiful homes I've laid eyes on in a while. Take a look and see what I mean.

In almost every part of this house, the beams were exposed (originally they were not), which makes the house seem lighter and much more interesting. Suitcases that were purchased at flea markets are up in the triangular nook. I really need to get some old suitcases...

This is a custom built tub/shower with travertine marble all around and custom designed geometric shampoo and soap areas.

Apparently there was only a ladder connecting the two floors so D'Souza had to add a staircase! He bought that telescope at a thrift store for only $75! What a find.

As if he needed to add more visual interest to this room, he put a saddle up on the beams! I adore this little reading areal; it looks perfect.

A lampshade made from porcupine quills? I'll take two of them! (only $325 from Africa)

This room is littered with antiques including a Mexican chest off to the left. Again, the beams are now exposed and I think that was the best decision he has ever made.

Isn't this kitchen glorious? It looks enormous...what is off to the right?? The table was custom built with wine storage and I believe Michael D'Souza installed the oven himself when he got fed up with the construction workers! HA.

There is that lampshade again, except on a floor lamp.

This is my favorite part. The bedspread atop of the bed is Michael D'Souza's grandmother's antique gold embroidered sari. Swoon!

I know I've said this before but as someone who can't live without a ton of color, I'm surprised that I love this house so much. It could be the the amazing antiques (It definitely is) that mostly come from his shop Mufti in London. I'd love to hop on over there to check out the goods! I was curious what Mufti meant so I looked it up. It is either a Muslim scholar or a type of civilian dress. What did you all think? I wish I could see more! HERE is his website for the store which has fabulous gifts and furniture and his interior design portfolio.

Alicia B.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Faves

Fun doily tin decoration for all the cookies I'll be making (eating) this Christmas season!

It is the last Friday before Christmas and the second to last day of Hanukkah! I have nearly all of my Christmas gifts purchased and the last of it I will do this weekend when I finally have time. I have finished my class for the semester so that stress is behind me and I did pretty well so I'm quite happy about that. Here are the Friday Faves!

This year my family used a photograph that I took for our Christmas card! If you like it and want to buy one, I'm offering 20% off until next Monday. Time is limited and deals are GOOD. for more!

While I am a huge fan of antique or vintage ornaments, these little crocheted ones are so sweet! Its very cold today in NYC and these are making me feel warm already. From Etsy shop, Amy Gaines.

I love this warm interior by Miles Redd and the different mixes of patterns. I love how he put the Asian art work in the little mirror niche on either side of the fireplace.

Now I have to get cracking on my gifts. I have lots of ideas and I'm finding it so hard to narrow it down. I just love to GIVE (I also love to shop)! I might be going to a carol-sing this weekend with the beau, might play some squash, might get some more Christmas decorating done, and might have some egg nog! Egg nog anyone?

Alicia B.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Need a little Oomph? Here you go!

By now, most of us have been lucky enough to be familiar with Oomph, the fun furniture and accessory line run by three best friends, and if not, well here is your chance. It's a semi new line of furniture, including cocktail tables, coffee tables, gorgeous pillows and lounge chairs. What is different about these pieces is that they add a vibrant pop to your room. I was instantly drawn to this line because of the zippy colors; and we all know I'm a sucker for bright colors. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview the women, architect Louise Brooks, Amy Rice, and Patty Hoppel, who own this company and learned quite a lot!

What inspired the line Oomph?

The three of us were sitting on a beach, discussing how we would love to do something creative together. We came up with the concept of one-stop-shopping for totally revitalizing an otherwise lackluster room for a reasonable amount of money, but of the highest quality and the most current design and colors. However, a few too many rum drinks in the sun may also have had something to do with it.

Why the name Oomph?

Who couldn’t use a little more oomph?

This is just one of many fantastic pillows at Oomph.

Do you plan on expanding Oomph's line?

Yes! More oomph is always better. We have a new line of pillows for the spring (all coordinated with our 16 table colors!) and a couple new table designs both of which will debut at the New York International Gift Fair in January 2010 (booth # 41009,42010 for anyone that would like to come by!) We always remain true to our design aesthetics while working closely with clients, retailers, and design trends to create new, enticing products for oomph. There is much more to come from oomph!

What is your favorite thing in your line?

We all love the coffee tables - they are so beautifully made and have so much personality – I wish I could find a place for one in every color in my house. And if I had to pick one favorite, it would be the Southport, which was inspired by my grandmother’s garden gate. {The Southport Table is above.}

The 'Tini Table with zig zag Quadrille fabric inset on the top! I'm in love!

What seems to be the most popular item for customers?

The `tini tables (named for our favorite drink!) are by far the most popular. It seems there is a spot for one in every room from the most formal living rooms to tub-side in a bathroom!

What suggestions would you have for someone starting their own line?

Be prepared to give up your life for a while! It’s fun, exhausting and very satisfying. Stay true to your own design concepts – do not let others persuade you from designing what and how you want. And know it’s impossible to do everything yourself.

What are your predictions for new design trends in the next year or so?

Oomph thinks color is making a comeback after years of the beige room. Get ready – a splash of oomph is all that room needs to make it au courant.

Thank you to the ladies of Oomph (and Whitney!) for answering my questions, and with such inspiring answers! I know I'll definitely be at the New York International Gift fair this year to see more of the preppy creativity! These three ladies are so enlivening and so full of energy, you can't help but fall in love with their product. Another plus is that all their products are made in the USA! Which do you think is your favorite? Check out their website for more information (they also have a blog and you can friend them on Facebook) and to see more of their line HERE. What could be better than furniture inspired after a few rum drinks on the beach? I'd say, nothing.

Alicia B.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Popping Red Bedrooms

Barclay Butera's paisley fabric he designed for Kravet.

As I've mentioned about a million times I'm working on a very modern corporate residence for school and I'm nearly finished--my presentation is tomorrow! I must say, I'm pretty pleased with my work. The rooms are full of round features, circular beds, Kyle Bunting fur rugs (LOVE), and insanely modern fabrics. I need a break though. I need to go back to, as my teacher calls it, my safety zone. I am feeling so festive now a week and a half before Christmas. I keep seeing red everywhere and it's making me feel tres cozy. Here are some cozy and festive bedrooms that can be warm all year round.
Via Verdagris Vie. I'm in love with these oversized red striped pillows! If you need to add some red or something festive a throw pillow is the perfect thing because you can easily change the covers whence the season changes. Yeah, WHENCE.

Velvet is so hot right now, and really makes this headboard look soft and luxurious. I've always loved this bedroom from House Beautiful by Stephen Shubel.

How country fabulous is this bedroom by Kathleen Rivers? I love the faded red window pane plaid bed skirt. I'd die to have a fur throw on my bed. I love real fur but if you want the top faux fur throw, go for Bunny Williams's "Miss Naughty Bunny Throw" from her BeeLine Home collection. It looks so cozy!

This is such a simple room and I'd like to take that tiny television and hurl it out the window but the red doors for some reason make me stop. Almost made my heart stop, if you know what I mean. By Coco Raynes from Veranda.

This is a deeeeeep rich red. I am in awe over the wall paper--isn't it gorgeous? I love how the little tole lampshade subtly emerges from the darkness of the wall. By Casey Design Planning.
And who can resist fresh crisp red and white bedding? The is the kind of bed that only Santa can deliver (I know, I went too far there). From Pottery Barn.

I think that even just a pop of red is sufficient to make you stop in your design tracks. I know I have a fear of red, but I'm coming around. It doesn't have to be super aggressive, it can be fun, festive, and sumptuous. Or it can be tartan!

ALSO: Stay tuned tomorrow for an extra special interview with the owners one of my favorite new stores! SO EXCITING!

Alicia B.