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