Radiant Orchid, color for your life…


With every new season comes renewal and new beginnings…and with every new year comes Pantone’s announcement of the color of the year. If you haven’t heard the news by now, for 2014, it’s Radiant Orchid. “….Radiant Orchid….inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone executive director. Pantone has been considered the leading authority on color trend forecasting for over 40 years, so when they make their announcement, the design field listens.

Design is found in all things…nature, art, architecture, fashion…interior design.

c01dbf35f8fe816c7c799da4ea69f0d52e4ee90072b753205d00dcd566b3d67ePhotos courtesy Pinterest

What we love for our wardrobes or our homes comes by way of inspiration from all places, one just has to notice. The crossover of inspiration is becoming increasingly evident.

radiant orchid 2014 color of the year_ michaela noellePhoto Courtesy of Michaella Noelle Designs

But that’s not actually new…Veranda ran a piece on Claude Monet’s painting on exhibit at the Met. It was a portrait, but what became the sensation in 1866 was actually the silk taffeta dress on the model, more than the painting. TraditIonal Home Magazine’s editor recently reminded us that Coco Chanel once said “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live”.

One favorite source of fashion inspiration is Briarcliff’s March Boutique, owned and wonderfully curated by Lynn Puro. Always in step with the trends, March is a jewel box of ideas.


Fashion has always been on the forefront of what is in vogue, and so has become a great influence for the interior design world.  What is seen on the runways will be spotted in shelter magazines sooner or later. Since the birth of social media, sooner rather than later is becoming the norm. Radiant Orchid had been on the runways this year, so it’s no surprise that it’s already popping up in some amazing rooms.


Of course, if you really want to talk trends, what is most important these days is that one is in love with a color for the color’s sake, not to follow the crowd. However, it is fun to be in vogue and to see new ways to be inspired by, and work with, color.

Over the last couple of years our tastes have slowly been shifting away from neutrals, but of course, we still have a love affair with our grays, browns, navys and blacks which have been staples of our wardrobes and our home design.

Maybe more than shifting away from our neutrals we are really pairing brighter colors up with neutrals to have the best of both worlds.

Black and white paired together have always been dramatic, but become even more lively when orchid, or any purple from it’s color family, jumps in.

Some of you may believe bold is beautiful…and so why not jump right in and surround yourself with color?  After all, who wouldn’t want to be invited for tea at this table!

Color blocking.. add full blocks of saturated color in self contained areas for a clean bold look:
 A toned down version of radiant Orchid means mauve doesn’t need to be a dirty word:


Introduce a color through pattern:

Use a thread of a single color throughout the space to bridge different areas together with color.
With all the white snow outside of late, I’m beginning to think white and orchid can be the best of friends, especially for the warm weather that I know is surely to come.

Not sure about using this lively color? A few stems of flowers in soft pinks and purples can add  beauty to any room.

So why not infuse this color into your life…your fashion or your home. After all, who wouldn’t want something in their life that “emulates great joy, love and health and draws one in” according to “the authority”?!

Photos courtesy of Houzz, Pinterest and its contributors…

Cocktails anyone…?

It’s here! Once again the holiday season is upon us. Our homes will be filled with family and friends joyously celebrating all there is to be thankful for.


One of our favorites, Holiday Cranberry Mojitos, recipe courtesy of WearenotMartha.com. Follow our pinterest for more holiday ideas!

We all know that it is the people who really make the party enjoyable, but I have found that just taking a little extra time to set the stage goes a long way to make our guests feel special. Now is the perfect season for a cocktail or two to help keep our guests merry and bright, or at least full of cheer.
Now I’m no Megan Draper, nor do I claim to be quite as adept as any of the men or women of Mad Men when stocking a bar, but I do think I can spot a well designed bar cart when I see one.
I could probably be spotted sipping a cup of tea more often than champagne, yet bar carts have always held a special interest for me. They are the perfect place to set up a little vignette to set the mood for that special evening. What a delight to see a bar set up right in ones own space…welcoming your guests to help themselves to get the party started.
Sooo, we just couldn’t resist getting a few bar carts into our shop.
This one from Arteriors is just the right size when you dont have too much space.
We loved Worlds Away elegant silver cart for its glamorous appeal… we just adore its X shaped legs.
For a rustic wine cellar, we just got in this authentic wine table…. wonder what stories it could tell.
According to the mixologists at Food and Wine, the essential spirits to include for any cocktail list are gin, vodka, tequila, whiskey and rum …but I must say just a few pretty bottles go a long way for a visual treat.

I happen to love Hudson Whiskey, not only for the taste ( okay, I haven’t actually tasted it yet), but I love the bottle design. Since its bottled in New York, I consider it buying local.
Of course, you don’t have to have a bar cart to set up a welcome center. You can set up an area with a few bottles, a tray, glasses and you are on your way.

By just containing all your ingredients..or even just your glassware on a tray it distinguishes this area from others. Style. Contain. Group by size or color. Now you are ready to set the tone for a special evening.

Some Barware from our shop…

Not one to indulge? No worries…set up as a tea cart they are just as welcoming, especially during the chilly winter months. Add some deserts and your guests will never leave!
Anything this good looking should be out all year, ones bar cart isn’t just for the holidays.
This one could make the perfect side table. Versatility is the name of the game.
Hope you come in for a visit. We might just have a drink waiting for you..
Let the holidays begin!

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, decisions..so much thought goes into designing a room….IMG_0065

For this Westchester client the initial decisions were even harder because the room started out as a well designed space for the previous homeowner.The woodwork, wallpapered ceiling, hand painted red walls, and plaid window treatments were in very good condition, but a bit dated and not reflective of the tastes of our young, active family of four.

Much discussion went into what would be kept and what would change.  In the end we decided it needed to represent the new owners of the home and we have never looked back.

We started with the extensive woodwork, which was originally painted yellow.  Doreen O’Connor of Wildflowers faux wood grained the ceiling beams and fireplace in a rich brown so it looks like mahogany.  We then designed a stencil to mimic a motif found in one of the fabrics, which we used to paint the inside of each coffer of the ceiling.  This was no easy task considering the ceilings were 12′ high, but luckily Doreen and her assistant are not afraid of heights.

This mirror over the newly painted mantel was chosen for its size and drama.  The large scale of the urns sets off the mirror nicely while not calling too much attention to themselves.

A green marble fireplace surround, probably installed in the 80’s, was replaced with a soft grayish blue stone which we had used elsewhere in the house for continuity. This is reminiscent of the blue stone found throughout the property.

The sofas were chosen for their high backs, and though they ended up taking 9 months to arrive ( don’t ask) they were worth the looong wait. A pair of ottomans adds extra seating and pattern to the room, while also being a favorite perching place for the family cat.


This drapery fabric is a rich embroidered silk from the UK. Penny Howell, our drapery goddess, lined and interlined the delicate fabric which added volume to the panels for the extra tall windows. All the colors of the room were pulled from this fabric as it was our starting off point, along with being our splurge.

This cabinet brought a bit of playfulness to the room. Our family didn’t want a formal living room, so we thought this piece added a bit of playfulness to the room. photo2

At one end of the room we have a game table, which works well for entertaining, creating another area to sit and chat while having a place to rest food and drink. It also provides the family with a place to work on a puzzle or just sit with a cup of tea and the morning paper.

Staszek Kotowski, one of our favorite artists who happens to come from a long line of artists, painted this calming work of art. It’s size works well on the large wall.

(More pictures to follow)

What’s NEW, What’s NEXT 2013

 Happy Fifth Anniversary to the What’s New, What’s Next trade event at 200 Lex., (the oldest “to the trade” building in the US).


What an exciting night last Thursday was!  Music, food, feasts for the eyes in every showroom.  And to be among so many style and tastemakers!

Bunny Williams, Mario Buatta, Alexa Hampton and
Vicente Wolf (my all time fave!). The list of who’s who goes on and on!


So what did the tastemakers have to say?
They are continuing to be in love with color. We haven’t seen so much color since the 60’s,blog5
which is interesting as we are also enjoying mid-century modern pieces once again to go with all this color.

Colorful panel discussions by the tastemakers had varying opinions about which colors they (and we) would be surrounding ourselves with over the next few seasons….
bright bold colors with a historical reference like red and strong yellow.  Or would the soft whisper of a color like lavender be more popular?
The take away is – anything goes, just surround yourself with what you love.


It seems funny enough, that what’s new and what’s next is really a lot about what’s old and what was, maybe a new kind of old, with each of us putting our individual stamp on what we nostalgically  remember from the good old days.

Following a historical timeline, we seem to be shifting away a bit from the industrial age of machinery on to a more organic hand-crafted period.

As we seem to want less and less around us, what we do want has to be more gentle in a sophisticated kind of way.  We understand the beauty in the hand of craftsmanship coming through in a piece.blog10
With travels and our broader vision of the world around us, we continue to want to surround ourselves with pieces from far-reaching places in the world.blog11
Some amazing craftsmanship in Odegard..lanterns..sinks and tables cast in gold.blog9blog15

I ended my magical evening at Global Views….surrounded by beauty….

blog16decisions, decisions…will I be able to pick just a few? Our story will continue….

NY Now 2013

With summer comes much to look forward to; a mojito  (or two) by the pool, a hike in the cool woods, amazing sunsets. But for me, another highlight every August is the NY gift show, recently renamed NY Now. Of course, I’m only one of the over 35,000 designers, buyers or lifestyle editors roaming up and down the aisles of over 2800 exhibitors at the Javits Center, but that only adds to the excitement.

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Each show, I can’t wait to see what’s new from my favorite vendors, what’s trending color and style wise,  and even more importantly, to simply get inspired by all the displays that are so creatively put together by the design world.

This, I can only imagine, is to an interior designer, what Fashion Week must be to a fashion designer! One difference is that walking shoes, more than stylish shoes,

photo 2-2 are a must as you are literally walking for miles and miles while being completely absorbed in all there is to see in every aisle.

As you may know, Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2013 is Emerald Green, and while it had a very strong presence at the High Point Furniture Market as shown below, it was not as visible at the NY show.

What did have a noticeable presence at NY NOW were actual minerals…some emeralds for sure, but also many other gems and crystals to use as accessory and accent pieces.

As for other colors seen, I loved Indigo Blue displayed by Two’s Company.

Indigo Blue

and thought it interesting they included background info on the color…

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Julian Chichester and Mr Brown highlighted vintagey blue lamps, along with other blue accents, that worked surprisingly well amongst a colorful array of other interesting pieces.

And while speaking about color, blackboards were, or still are, popular..many with words of wisdom painted right on them.  That same matte chalkboard black was very visible for mirror frames, globes and backgrounds as wall displays, giving a  bit of a vintage vibe.

Getting back to emeralds and crystals, many other nature inspired themes abound. Roost has both sides of the organic theme covered in both the rock crystals and plant life, especially succulents.


Metals were also popular, and we just couldn’t help ourselves from ordering some beautiful copper pots and trays for the shop.

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Two’s Company had another twist on all things from nature, as I thought their black and white animal display was quite captivating, Of course animals are found in nature too.

while at another booth, I loved these hide ottomans and I was reminded once again just how much we like to bring the animal kingdom into our homes.


Of course, for the animal lover that prefers not to use an actual hide, French Market had these wonderful benches.


Bliss’s booth is always a heart stopper as not only do they have beautiful pieces but they always do such a nice job with their displays.


I love a display that tells a story and draws you in, as  Juliska’s  display made me wish I was invited to THEIR dinner table,

photo-12I know it would be magical.