The room you and Andrea did was absolutely amazing! The bunker looked like a million bucks, and I think anyone would be happy to be sequestered there! Congrats on a job well done…you have an incredible talent!



I have two questions I hope you might have time to answer. Your bunker room seemed perfectly edited…do you have a rule of thumb with respect to accessories, to know when is too much or too little? Also, where do you stand on the orchid debate: yay or nay?

Best of luck, I can’t wait to see your showstoppers in the weeks to come!


Hi Keri,

Thank you so much for your kind words! That bunker challenge was not easy, but fortunately, Andrea and I really worked well together.

When it comes to accessories, here are a few rules of thumb. 

1. Start with symmetry. It’s such an easy way of bringing order to a room. Whenever I’m shopping the flea market, I’m always looking for pairs of things. It just makes accessorizing so much easier (and more livable!) when there’s a sense of balance.

2. Odds are better than evens. If you’re doing a grouping with more than a pair, working with odd numbers of objects is always easier than even. They make for prettier, more balanced compositions.  

3. Vary the height. Choose furniture or objects that keep the eye moving just enough for a room (or table) to be interesting but not overwhelming. It’s also another great way of creating that all-important balance. In my apartment, I’m always arranging and rearranging the mantel, but one of my favorite looks is this grouping of pierced French porcelain baskets, all at varied heights, flanked by a pair of old crystal wall sconces from a hospital thrift shop in Connecticut. While these baskets are antique, Tiffany makes beautiful ones as well.


4. Play with scale. Pair tall wooden candlesticks with a low silver bowl. Or do all glass hurricanes in graduating sizes. Choosing one material too, then varying the objects themselves, is a great way of getting a look that’s clean and well-edited. For a decorating story I did at Martha, I propped this side table with a lamp and accessories in silver, but in all different sizes and shapes. 


5. Choose a color palette and stick to it. Whether you tend towards bold hues or muted grays, being consistent with color will help you edit your accessories. If you want one or two objects to really sing, try punching them up with color.

6. Glass is good. Not only does it reflect light, its transparency is perfect for layering objects. Recently, I made a fern terrarium using an old piece of pharmaceutical glass I found at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market. And for another story, I painted an old secretary a beautiful shade of yellow, lined the inside with watermelon faux bois wallpaper, then propped it out with coral in glass domes, stationary and stacks of books, all in a palette of pink, creamy white and pale yellow.         


7. And finally, don’t get too crazy with the coffee table. As much I love to display objects on mine, I always leave room for necessities, like my laptop. You want your home to be beautiful and full of everything you love, but at the same time, it should be comfortable too. And as long as we’re on the subject of coffee tables, here’s my take on orchids: While you’re always going to get your money’s worth, try to do something more surprising, like an unusual variety or way of planting them. Take this tiger orchid I did for Martha. On a minimal glass coffee table, I did a simple pile of books, together with a big, beautiful tiger orchid, planted in an antique lighting lens and layered with moss.