If you follow me on Instagram, another vice of mine as tempting as vintage chintz, blue opaline glass and Chinoiserie everything, you’ll know I’ve been a lot better about posting there than here. Instagram’s great for those of us who want to a quick fix, but I have to admit: I miss this thing! And so just as suddenly as the window slipped shut, I’m cracking it open again.

 

A lot happened while I was gone. Jaithan and I are still in New York City but moved on from Pine Hill Farm, our weekend place in Connecticut where I kept my copper in the kitchen, built a prop house in the attic, gathered flowers in the garden and hosted friends on weekends. As much as I loved that quirky cape in the country, we simply outgrew it. Our search for another place to love has begun.

 

Every home I’ve had has been my laboratory—a space where I can experiment, kick around ideas, make ginormous mistakes and move on, knowing that I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. When I started the blog with Jaithan, I was working as the senior decorating editor of Martha Stewart Living, where every day I’d sit through meetings, perusing Pantone chips in 50 shades of greige. I was all about it at the time, cramming an antique pharmaceutical cabinet with enough whiteware to throw a buffet dinner for a hundred! It was a collection more akin to a butler’s panty on Park Avenue than to a walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen.

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That’s where I painted a secretary white, replaced the glass with mirror and styled it out with books and accessories in an all-neutral palette.

Even my flower arrangements were tonal.

After a stint on Bravo’s Top Design, Jaithan and I moved out of the city in favor of greener pastures upstate. In a 1760s farmhouse, we started decorating rooms , setting tables for the blog and producing freelance stories for magazines.

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Finally, I had a home laboratory with more square footage than a postage stamp! Here are a few shots of the interior from the very first issue of Lonny.

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Talk about mistakes—I still cringe every time I see the curtain panels I stapled around the beams in the living room two minutes before Michelle and Patrick got there! Most of the palette was pretty neutral, but within a year, when the magazine came back for Thanksgiving, there was color!

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Not a whole lot, but at least it was something. That’s also about the time I started my love affair with dip-dye, turning a mumsy set of monogrammed white napkins into a rhapsody in blue.

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Soon it would be one of my go-to hues in shades of turquoise, teal and peacock—even at the holidays!

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That’s the living room in our next home lab, a Victorian farmhouse in the northwest corner of Connecticut with a much more formal vibe. Country Living published the house in their holiday issue.

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The gelatin print above the bed in the guest room is by Slim Aarons, a gift from his daughter Mary that will always have a place in our home. Here it is again on a sliver of wall just off the bedroom in our current apartment in New York.

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It’s one of two home labs where we shot all the pictures for our our new book Modern Mix. As you can see, I’m loving a lot of color these days. And when it comes to mixing patterns, the more the better.

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In the living room, graphic textiles enliven a neutral sectional. I found the pair of teal mid-century chairs at a Salvation Army on the west side, while the coffee table is from IKEA, outfitted with brass corners that give it a high-end look on a budget. I wasn’t shy about mixing patterns at Pine Hill either.

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A little crazy, I know, but I loved that room! In the winter, it was always comfortable and cozy; in the summer, cool and fresh with a modern mix that told our story. And so the search for our next home laboratory goes on…

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