Sunday, September 25, 2011

Inside an Open House

Recently I toured the brand new Windsor Estates in Lynnfield. The open house was staged in warm neutrals and fresh furnishings, with dark woods and oil-rubbed bronze finishes for contrast. The color palette included one of my favorite paint colors, Benjamin Moore Lenox Tan (which is in my home office). Below are a few glimpses of the spaces that I saw ...

Kitchen with granite counter tops, white cabinets and stainless steel.

A sunny dining area bump out with linen covered chairs.

A master bedroom on the first floor.

A generous sized soaking tub and separate shower.

To see more of this property, visit my post on or stop by for a tour. Did I mention that Windsor Estates is a luxury 55+ gated community? I will have to wait awhile till I qualify, but it was nice to visit!

Windsor Estates
Salem Street, Lynnfield, MA

Open House
Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday
from 12pm to 3pm

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Simply Cool Stuff ...

While I am often interviewing others for design stories that I write for New England Finery Magazine or the Lynnfield Patch, this week, I was the one being interviewed by Maria Wheeler of the blog, Simply Cool Stuff. I met Maria when she was offering some of her vintage treasures for sale at New England Fine Living. Along with collecting and selling antiques (find her shop on etsy), Maria is also a talented landscape designer. She shares what she knows about both of these subjects (and so much more!) on her blog.

I recently featured Maria’s A, B, C’s of Antiques series in the summer issue of New England Finery, and then she turned around and interviewed me for letter I, “Interior Design Coach.

Visit her blog and you will discover a few things you may not have known about me : )

Saturday, September 17, 2011

5 under 40 Snapshots

Thursday, September 15th at The Galleria in Boston

Hosted by New England Home Magazine at the Galleria in Boston, the 5 under 40 event showcased carpets custom-designed by 5 of New England’s talented design stars (of the under 40 crowd ; ) Woven by Landry & Arcari, these unique textiles were a brilliant backdrop to a lively evening of industry socializing. Each carpet was auctioned off to the highest bidder with all proceeds donated to Barakat, Inc., a charity based in Cambridge, MA that promotes educational opportunities for women and children in central and south Asia. I took a few photos of the carpets, and a lot more pictures of the crowd ...

Carpet designed by Rachel Reider of Rachel Reider Interiors

Carpet by designer Debra Folz

Designed by Kelly Harris Smith of FilzFelt

With designer Rosanne Palazola of Focus on Design

With new friends of mine, Robin Davis and
Sharon Hunt of Designer Bath in Beverly

Rosanne with event sponsor Leslie Fine of Leslie Fine Interiors and
latest New England Finery cover photographer Michael J. Lee, who

with his dapper white-trimmed jacket ended up in a lot of candids!

Michael with Linda Merrill of Surroundings
and The Skirted Roundtable

Michael with New England Icons photographer Greg Premru

Michael with John Kelsey of Wilson Kelsey Design

In the middle: Joanne DiFrancesco of JD Communications
Left: Adam Graber, Vice President of Sales at GerrityStone

Chris Kelly, Fifth House PR with Sarah DiFrancesco, State Street

Julieann Covino of Jace Interiors on the left
with interior designer Katie Rosenfeld, and on
the right with Sage from Mally Skok Design

Thank you New England Home Magazine
for hosting another fun design event!

End note: Photographer Michael J. Lee will be getting on his bike to ride 100 miles next weekend to benefit the Big Brothers, Big Sisters foundation. Click here to read more about Michael’s ride and to support him in reaching his fund raising goal.
Good luck, Michael!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brimfield: in real life

sytlist/editor Stacy Kunstel, photographer Laura Moss,

After featuring the spring tweet-up at the Brimfield Antique Fair in the last issue of New England Finery, I knew I had to check it out for myself this time around. So I headed there last Friday, and with me, I brought a sneak peek of the newest Finery cover (which is scheduled to release late September/early October) and the talented photographer behind the shot, Michael J. Lee. Michael photographed this room by designer Frank D. Hodge at the Old York Decorator Show House with me this summer. There are a lot more great pics from the show that will be featured in the Autumn issue so stay tuned!

The first twitter friends we ran into were Stacy Kunstel of New England Home Magazine and Dunes and Duchess along with her friend, photographer Laura Moss. We were off to a great start! The weather was perfect - 70’s and sunny - and we were able to find more dry ground to cover than there had been all week at the show as it had rained non-stop for the first few days of the event. Thanks to the advice of some twitter peeps, I left my flip flops in the car and wore sneakers (I just could not bring myself to put on boots in early September!)

When we arrived at the #brimfield VIP tent, we were welcomed with a bright and cheerful space adorned with Company C fabrics on the ceiling and tables, fresh flowers arranged in
Benjamin Moore paint cans, plus a well-tended bar. Snacks and drinks were complimentary including a Gimlet-style signature cocktail which was very refreshing even at 1:00 in the afternoon : )

Twitter friends gathered to chat and tweet between shopping excursions. In this photo: designer Gloria Battista-Collins of GBC Style, social media expert marketer Leslie Carothers of The Kaleidoscope Partnership and Deidre Drewes, another social media talent, of Dragon Search Marketing. I loved how the tent “walls” were painted with samples of Benjamin Moore colors. A nice touch!

I finally got to meet
#brimfield tweet-up organizer/designer Gretchen Aubuchon and lifestyle designer Kelley L. Moore who were more than happy to pose for me on the luxurious linens displayed by event sponsor Pandora de Balthazar.

Custom monogramming by Pandora de Balthazar

Pandora de Balthazar also had a table with their naturally fragrant lavendar collection of products in the adjoining tent.

Kelsonthehouse (as he is known on twitter) carpenter-extraordinaire Brian Kelsey of Martha Stewart Radio, was there along with graphic designer/art director Stacey of the style blog Quintessence. Stacey recently redesigned the Pandora website so check it out – it is lovely!

photo credit: Stacey of Quintessence Blog

I was happy to meet Brian in person to thank him for providing me with his video clip and quote for the spring issue of New England Finery. He was also kind enough to encourage me via a home decorating chat on twitter that it was easy to change out a door knob (a small project that had been on my to-do-list for too long). My secret strategy to getting the job done was to get all the tools out, start the project and look just confused enough to convince my husband to take over and finish. In the end it got crossed off the list which is all that matters : )

photo credit: Michael J. Lee

Along with socializing, we did do some shopping. This is the great find that I wanted to bring home with me from Brimfield. How cool would this look in our barn? My boys would have loved it, but the price was a bit out of my range by oh, about $1,000 or so.

Instead I brought home this charming pair of wooden shoe forms. I have seen a lot of adult size ones, but this miniature pair reminded me of the little shoes my boys used to wear. They are a bit smaller than the shoes my youngest wears today ...

As I was walking around the grounds, I was collecting ideas for an upcoming design event that I am participating in, The Boston Antiques & Design Show & Sale. It will be held on the weekend of October 15th and 16th at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, MA (just off of I-93).

New England Finery Magazine will be hosting a 20 x 20 foot space to promote interior design that incorporates antiques. When the show producer, Marvin Getman, asked me to coordinate this project I was so honored! He loved the coverage that his last show, Elm Bank, got in our summer issue in a feature titled Looking for Antiques
so he asked me if New England Finery would like to be a part of his next event. Of course I said yes! I had just watched Million Dollar Decorators on Bravo and loved what LA designer Mary McDonald did with her space at the Los Angeles Antique show (see snapshots of it in this post by Kelley Moore) so I was completely inspired to design a space for this event that will celebrate antiques in a modern way.

So if you missed your chance to shop Brimfield this year, mark your calendar to attend this fabulous INDOOR antique shopping venue (no need to worry about rain, heat or cold and you can wear whatever shoes you’d like ; ) We will even have a special area set up in the New England Finery “room
to take photos of visitors with their favorite finds (similar to what they did at the Brimfield tweet up, which I thought was a great idea!) So please come to shop, and then stop by and show us your acquired treasures. You just may find yourself in an upcoming issue of the magazine!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lunch with Holly Becker of Decor8

In late August, I was invited to attend a book signing at Anthropologie in Boston featuring Holly Becker of the well-known design blog Decor8, where for the past 5+ years she has featured “fresh finds for hip spaces.

Holly, along with lifestyle writer Joanna Copestick, has taken the design philosophy of her highly followed blog and has turned it into a really fabulous book filled with
1,000 professional design ideas for every room in your home.

photo Debi Treloar; designer Sania Pell
Decorate is available at local Anthropologie
stores or through

Peppered throughout with inspiring quotes from talented designers, and image-rich with a wide range of decorative styles, Holly has created an extensive guide that encourages readers to uncover their own personal design aesthetic while providing tips and techniques to decorate with confidence.

Meeting Holly in person was such a treat! Even with her cross-continental fame (she lived in the Boston area for 20 years but now lives in Germany with her husband) she is very approachable and truly values connecting with others. There were lots of people in line who had taken her e-course on how to establish a meaningful and creative blog (Blogging Your Way) and many others who have followed her creative journey throughout the years. She was warm and gracious to all, even after signing books for over 2 hours!

Before sitting down to sign books, Holly shared decorating tips with a group of attendees who had signed up for her mood board presentation. I wasn’t able to make it to this part of the event, but a lot of other bloggers in attendance wrote about it (see list below).

After finishing up at Anthropologie, about 20 of us headed to the Back Bay Social Club which was just a short walk down Boylston Street. We filled two long tables and Holly encouraged each of us to stand up and introduce ourselves to the group and share a little bit about why we blog and what else we do to fulfill our artistic impulses. The room was filled with a creative buzz and there was lots to talk about!

While I did not get a chance to speak with everyone personally, I was really impressed with the accomplishments and goals of these women who had gathered to meet Holly. I was happy to spend some time getting to know Rochelle Greayer, a landscape designer turned editor, who is on the verge of launching Leaf Magazine. Just like when I started New England Finery Magazine, she was full of contagious enthusiasm! Being a gardener myself, I am looking forward to reading their first issue (due out in October) which I am sure will be beautiful and informative.

I sat next to a handful of Boston bloggers who I have met at other design events (at the Boston Design Center and again in NYC on the set of the Nate Berkus show). I was also introduced to other area bloggers that I have been following online. Here I am chatting about blog writing and life in general with Laura of Journey Chic. Laura’s blog focuses on sharing easy and affordable design style tips. During lunch she told me she used to be roommates with Boston blogger Erin Gates of Elements of Style.

Here are some more photos from our end of the table:

Artist Sarah Ahearn with lifestyle blogger/writer Katy Elliott.
Photo credit: Amisha Thakkar-Kashyap

This was my first time meeting the two Kates who blog:
DomestiKated Life and Katy Elliott

It’s always fun spending time with Boston bloggers!
Julieann (CreateGirl)

Thank you, Julieann, for getting us all together. It is always a pleasure to connect with and support other creatives!

Check out the blog posts below. Most of them share their personal thoughts on gathering to meet Holly Becker, along with providing insights on what it is like to travel a creative path. The first two posts are from Holly : ) Enjoy!




Sabbe Interior Design

Everything LEB

DomestiKated Life

Katy Elliott

Monica Lee Studios


Studio G

Sarah Ahearn Bellemare

Journey Chic

Gorgeous and Fun Things

Pretty Neat Design


The Desha Show

The Patterned Peacock

Graceful Whimsy

Ellen Crimi-Trent

D.S. Brennan Photography