Chair, There and Everywhere

So of course I always take pictures of chairs everywhere I go. Here are some recent finds:


The Huntington (see previous post) is an amazing but mostly a hands-off place to visit, so this welcoming chair put a smile on my face.


Spotted these at MOMA in New York city – each one is a showstopper.


Fabulous combo of shape and color at the Botanic Gardens in Houston, Texas.


Not your Grandma’s chair – loved this outside the box upholstery at the Lucketts Design House.


Gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright chairs spotted in the visible storage area at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Interesting to compare the two versions side by side.


If a coaster is more in your budget than an Eames chair, try these I spotted at the MOMA shop in New York.


A little closer to home, here’s a sneak peek of a reupholstery project I’ve been working on.

I’m not the only one who’s been noticing chairs in my travels. Readers have been sending me pictures!

Here’s a mouthwatering arrangement of chartreuse Knoll Womb chairs a reader spotted in Richmond, Virginia:


Another reader sent me a photo of this beautiful bench in Aspen, Colorado:

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Love it! Any more readers with chairs to share?


Looking for Ladder Lighting!

Remember this post? It turns out one of the photos I took and used in the post has been repinned on Pinterest over 17,000 times! Lots of those pinners have made their way here to my blog – welcome! So – if you are one of those pinners (thank you, by the way) and you’ve actually done a ladder lighting project inspired by this photo, I would love to hear about it. Click on my contact page. Thanks!


Sensational Stripes

Remember this post?


A local reader saw it and enlisted my help in using this idea in her home. Her front hall had a large wall that made the perfect canvas. One and a half stories tall, the wall is visible from her newly remodeled and midcentury inspired open concept kitchen/living/dining room. And it’s accented by this gorgeous light fixture.

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We carefully chose the colors, using only half as many as the wall at SMOCA, which is much larger. We went endlessly back and forth between the photos I had taken and the Benjamin Moore color samples to get the colors just right. Working out the size of each stripe was tricky, as the original’s stripes get progressively larger as you get closer to the floor. Getting the correct proportions while making it fix exactly in the space allotted was time consuming but well worth it! Add one very talented (and patient!) painter to the mix and you get this amazing final product:

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It is stunning – day or night!

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This post is written in honor of my late father, Michael. Next week is his birthday – he would have turned 70 on February 13. I wrote the text below last year as a submission to the Washington Post Magazine column called Mine, in which people tell the story of a treasured possession in 250 words or less. My submission was not chosen (yet!), so I thought I would share it with you today. Happy Birthday, Dad.


In May of 1998, on the eve of my college graduation, I stood with my father on the outdoor terrace of the beautiful Keswick Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia. He joked that he was sorry he didn’t have a grand estate like Keswick that I would inherit. I said, “That’s ok – all I really want to inherit from you is the Skegness poster.” Little did I know that a month later the poster would be mine after my father’s unexpected passing at the age of 53. I hand carried it back to the US from his London home after the funeral.

The poster had been around my whole life – my father had brought it with him from England when he arrived in America in the late 60’s to attend graduate school. He met my mother just days later, and she framed the poster in the happy yellow frame I had always known it in. It was a railway advertisement for getaways to Skegness, a chilly English beach resort town. As a child, I’d always loved the jolly man skipping down the beach in his scarf and boots. As an adult, I see the poster that has always been a part of our family through marriage, divorce, several international moves, and one serious house fire. Recently reframed, it now hangs in our living room. My children never had the chance to know their grandfather, but it makes me happy that a part of him is part of their everyday lives.

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Choosing a new frame, October 2013.

Let’s Go Shopping in Bali

Lucky us! My dear friend Katherine, owner of Zuna Yoga and part-time resident of Bali, is taking is on a decor shopping trip in Ubud, Bali!

Before we start, a few musings from Katherine on what we’ll be seeing:

‘Ubud is a hub of creative arts in Bali. It is brimming with carving, painting, jewelry, music, dance, theatre and more —so it’s surprising that the local language possesses no word for art. For the Balinese, this creativity has no meaning in itself. It is intended solely for pleasure of the gods, and its merit lies in the act of creation, rather than in the finished product. This also explains why so much of what is created, particularly the offerings for religious ceremonies, is simply destroyed directly after the event. 
 The Balinese are very religious and superstitious. Spirituality is everywhere, with trees, houses, temples, shrines being blessed by the people daily. The woven baskets (made of bamboo) are traditionally used to carry offerings to the temples. They are filled with flowers, fruit, incense, or symbolic coins. You’ll often see women dressed in ceremonial costume riding sidesaddle on the back of a motorcyle, with one of those baskets balanced on their laps. They also make fun decorative objects for storing more mundane items, like office supplies, charging cords and remote controls!
 Coconut wood is a common material, you can see the utensils and some of the painted trays (as well as the wooden inlay in the woven objects) are made from it. It has a lovely grainy, mottled texture and is polished to a smooth finish.
 Indonesian batik is quite famous. It’s a wax-resist dye technique, usually used on a heavy cotton fabric. The Balinese favor bright, rich colors and patterns. They wear batik tops and bottoms as part of their traditional garb – you see it everyday, everywhere. It’s also great for decorating – pillows, table runners, blankets.”
Katherine tells me there’s beautiful beaches in Bali, too. But with all this fun shopping to do, who has time for the beach?
Learn more about Katherine at


Last Minute

A quick post to wish you, dear reader, a happy holiday – whichever winter holiday you celebrate! As my gift to you, I give you a great last minute gift idea. I just ordered a gift for my littlest niece and nephew from Amazon, and it is being delivered on Sunday (!) so there is certainly still time to order. I’m sure you are very organized and have all your gifts ready, but just in case…

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Turkish towels! A fantastic replacement for the standard terrycloth towels you have always known. Turkish towels (not to be confused with Turkish cotton terry towels) are thin, soft, absorbent and beautiful. They are also wonderful to travel with, either on vacation or just to the pool. Our family takes an annual trip that involves us bringing all our own shower  towels and swim towels and bed linens with us. (I know that doesn’t actually sound like a fun trip, but despite all the laundry upon our return, we always have a great time.) However, fitting all the stuff we need (as well as the kids and the dogs) in the car is a bit of a struggle. When I discovered how little room Turkish towels take up, I was sold and bought 8 of them in short order. A stack of Turkish towels is maybe 20% of the size of a stack of terry towels. Plus they look so much prettier hanging all over the cabin. And they dry faster. And they can double as a sarong or a blanket or a tablecloth in a pinch. My pool bag is so much lighter and less bulky with these in it. They get softer with every wash. Each family member has their own color – white striped towels are for showers, colored stripes are for swimming. It’s a great system for us and would certainly make a great gift for the swimmer, beachgoer or showerer in your life.

Cacala Turkish Towels – from

Brass Is Back

I made a fun visit to the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams signature store in Tyson’s Galleria last week. There was tons of eye candy, and lots of brass, which is definitely back – and in a good way!

LOVED the beautiful contrast of shiny brass and fluffy Tibetan wool upholstery on this one.

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Seriously can’t stop thinking about it. This is possibly the best looking director’s chair ever.

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This one with the brass frame is also wonderful – part seating and part sculpture:

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These make a beautiful statement with the neutral fabric – eye catching but not overwhelming, glamorous but not over-the-top.

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You know that I’m all about the chairs, but there was brass elsewhere – wall art, dining tables, side tables. A little goes a long way, but I’m a fan of all of it. Gorgeous stuff.

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To see more: