A Celebration of Martedì Grasso

I am in a celebratory mood!  I understand Mardi Gras is coming up.  I never thought to celebrate it before.  It's not part of my heritage, BUT the colors, the glitter, the beads, the fun!  And I do love 17th and 18th century Italian history!  What's not to love? 

The holiday goes back thousands of years.  There is some debate as to its true beginnings.  Perhaps it started sometime around when Christianity arrived in Rome.  Then it showed up about 1094 in Italy, and the Catholic form of celebrating spread quickly throughout the world.  We give credit to the French for taking it to another level.

While in Venice I only wanted to don one of the magnificent le masques and "make believe."  Purple, green and gold are the colors synonymous with Mardi Gras.  Each also happens to be great to use as the predominant color in an interior because they signify regality, power, faith and justice.

Brian McCarthy

William Eubanks

Mardi gras literally means Fat Tuesday.  It denotes the last day of debauchery before Lent in the Catholic religion.  When the tradition showed up in the French quarter of New Orleans it was celebrated with lavish balls which gave way almost 100 years later into street processions with floats and masked carnivals.  This is now serious business and is not all about giant heads and exposed breasts.   Counter intuitively, it's actually about slowing down, being with family, and enjoying the revelry.

Robert Passel

Celebration or no celebration, if we take a page out of Mardi Gras inspired decorating, we are sure to show our true colors in the way we live inside and out.

*Laissez les bons temps rouler!

* French for Let the Good Times Roll

all photos not marked:pinterest

What's Trending 2016

What's hot, what's happening in the coming year you ask?  Some on the list are new, some not so new to us, but may be yielding a wider swath as interest and acceptance peaks.

Sustainability is STILL coming on strong and is as "buzzy" a word as ever.  As we consciously consume, we are mindful of where things come from and where they are going.  We are creatively repurposing materials being as eco-friendly as possible with a small carbon footprint as the goal.

Peter Marino

Authenticity, as in:  Your home expresses your unique voice, expresses your soul, and is a sanctuary for you and your loved ones.  I love the neutrality of this space.  The Benjamin Moore and Sherwin
Williams colors of the year are soft whites for a reason.

But, this may better express you....   Making an appearance ~ bold color offset by those soft whites. Extra points if the room takes on a subtle '70's vibe with prints and pattern.

Carefully curated spaces ~ With an editor's eye, weed out what you don't need and fill your home with pieces that have impact and bring you joy.

Kelly Hoppen

Customization is one way to do that.  With the technological advances of the 3D printer we are well on our way to making almost anything.  We value the beauty of hand made, artisanal, one of a kind pieces as statement makers in our homes.


Mixed metallics ~ Stop feeling like everything has to match.  I assure you, it doesn't.  Isn't this way more interesting?

Encaustic Tile is seemingly popping up everywhere.  While marble and subway tile are always  classic choices, a bold move may be in order.  The strong geometric lines are carried through to other home decor details.

via My Domaine

Eclecticism in interiors ~ There has been a mad crush for mid century, but that has peaked.  I think the tables are turning towards Scandinavian lines, but in an interior that masters the mix of antique and modern, ethnic and eclectic, rustic and refined, high and low.  Personal style brought together reflecting a really individual look.

So it seems it's more about a mood.  Trends come, peek, then fall out of favor for another trend to come and take its place.  The overall attitude is, "Do what's right for you."  If not, as Heidi Klum says,  "One day you're in and the next you're out!"

Mountains as Metaphor

As I incorporate my coaching into my design practice and my design practice into my coaching, there will often be times when the blog takes a more mindful turn.  I am so interested in this term as it applies to our life.  Blogs are fluid.  They express each of our personal voices.  This is my journey, and it would be unauthentic if my blog did not express that.  I think this term "mindfulness" is a huge buzzword moving forward.  It's not a trend, but an awareness that we are seeing in everything from talking of bringing it into our school system to how it translates into every facet of our life, our home,  and the choices we make on a daily basis that are ours and ours alone.  How beautiful is the freedom of knowing that?

With that in mind, I want to tell you a little Christmas story ~

On the warm weather portion of my vacation, I was on a spinning bike, counting my blessings one minute, then soon after found myself in an unanticipated situation that knocked me off kilter.  Life threw me a curve ball (as it sometimes is bound to do) and I was rocked to my core.  Something  happened that really stunned and hurt me!  I picked myself up, dusted myself off and went on to plan B.  No sooner had I thought, "All right this isn't so bad," I was kicked when I was down.  With no warning, no notice, no concern for my well being, I was hurt again.  I found myself flailing around,  I lost my footing, I was feeling sorry for myself, and was angry at whomever.  Thinking that life was unfair,  I kept  going over and over  in my mind, "Why did this happen to me, and what am I meant to take away from this?"  Walking in the rain, thru my tears I shouted, "I choose LOVE!"  My thoughts created suffering.  The anger was to cumbersome.  Holding onto that felt like a worse alternative.  I have a choice and I choose love!  I do it for me!

On the 2nd leg of my wonderful winter vacation, I got to the mountains and I found peace.  I was studying the mountains and thought how much life is like the peaks and valleys of a mountain range as they were laid out before me.  It's as if we are always ascending or descending a mountain.  One minute we're up, the next we may take a tumble down.  We get up, brush ourselves off, and begin to scale again.

The path more often than not will not be straight.  There are always curves ahead.  Intersections are an everyday occurrence, but chose the path of least resistance and the struggle feels lighter.  Actually, struggle is not freedom and freedom is always the goal.

When one thing doesn't work, if we wait a minute or two, keep our eyes wide open, a new opportunity will present itself.  Be open, be flexible, be resilient.  Before you know it, you will look up and a sundog will remind you that everything is OK.

Choice is freedom and freedom is beauty ~  Live Beaut-i-FULLY!

I invite you to reach out if you are interested in exploring working with me.

A Renovated Barn Wood Beauty

While extremely spotty wifi is preventing me from posting the New Year's post I had in mind, enjoy this renovated barn wood beauty until I stop soaking up the sun while zushing down the slopes.

Miami starchitect Chad Oppenheim created a fairly modest 3,500 sq. foot home, considered modest by Aspen standards, for him and his family nestled in the Rockies.  He was just a kid from Jersey who fell in love with Aspen on a ski trip with his parents (just like me).  Unlike me, when it came time to build his dream home, he chose to renovate a 30 year old ski chalet rather than build anew. With 300 year old recycled barn wood, reclaimed materials, a copper roof, and locally quarried stone, Chad chose to take the sustainable path with a wabi-sabi aesthetic and with great respect for the home's surroundings.  La Muna, as it is called, refers to the Hopi word for stream.  La Muna is an intimate, cozy experience that Mr. Oppenheim refers to as "romantic minimalism".

The house is decorated in taupe, gray, brown, and white so as not to compete with the natural surroundings.  That is often not the case, as many designers are inspired by the colors they see out the window and bring them inside. This contradiction allows for a striking contrast, except in the winter, that is!

The Charlotte Sofas from Niba Home in Miami are slipcovered gray in the winter and white in the summer ~ love that!

Light is allowed in whenever possible and the house practically "disappears" into the mountainside.

The art is actually moss and the table is a 17th century antique from Christies.

Their master bedroom is fairly modest with the view taking center stage, as it should.  The view is everything!

Mr. Oppenheim believes that if the house vanishes, you can focus on what's really important ~ the natural beauty that surrounds it.  I can think of no other place that holds such natural beauty (for me and Mr. Oppenheim).

Chad's beautiful wife Ilona, the daughter of Clinique La Prairie founders, who grew up Swiss, publishes a beautiful lifestyle blog, Housewild.com or Savor the Mountains.   Along with her husband they extoll the virtues of living in nature, in beauty, eating healthy, and their adventures in the wild.  In addition to their newly launched website, they have a cookbook on the horizon and a series of pop up events to get out their message, "That nature can sustain us if we take the time to respect it."

photos: Robert Reck for NYT and via Pinterest