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I hope you had a lovely holiday weekend.

It’s still a little chilly here in Rome but I know better than to complain about it.  Our weather is almost tropical compared to some parts of the States.

Growing up in NY/NJ I looked forward to saying, “peace out” to winter and getting ready for spring.  While some of my chores were not fun, I enjoyed helping my parents prep our home.

Once I moved to Los Angeles I didn’t have to worry about such things.  There are seasons but the changes are subtle. Nothing drastic like mountains of snow and not a single sunny day in February.

One thing I appreciate about living in Rome is having “real” seasons again but without the bone chilling North East winters.

I’ve written before about how my mom did not play when it came to keeping a clean house.  Spring cleaning was like Oscars week for her.  I get it. She grew up in the Caribbean and never got used to the weather.  After a long brutal winter, it’s nice to open all the windows and let your home breathe.

I don’t like heights, so I would ask my dad if I could pass on cleaning the gutters. I loved working in the garden with him. What I didn’t love so much… changing the draperies. They were heavy and we had a LOT of windows when we lived in New York City and when we moved out to suburban New Jersey.  I couldn’t avoid ladders completely.   Once the drapes were down, they were off to the dry cleaners and my mom and I would put up pretty Spring/Summer curtains.

After a thorough cleaning, it’s on to the next step.

Along with swapping out heavy draperies and bed lines (goodbye thick duvets!), pillows are an easy way to bring some Spring into your home.  I’d rather make custom pillows but if you don’t have time to pick out fabric, stores like West Elm, Crate and Barrel, and IKEA have some fantastic and affordable choices.  Like this Ella Square from Crate and Barrel.

ella-square-20-pillow

If you go the custom route, below are my some of my favorites for Spring/Summer 2015:

Dedar’s Rataplan.  A very pretty and interesting take on stripes.  I’m seeing a glass (or two) of Franciacorta with this print.

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Peter Dunham’s Peterazzi in Pale Indigo.  This silvery blue says Spring and a nice chilled white wine from Agrigento, Sicily.

Peterazzi+Pale+Indigo

Kathryn M. Ireland’s Brianza from her Summer in France line. This would look great against a white linen sofa and with a glass of Rosé.

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For a more graphic design, Kelly Wearstler’s Groundworks line for Lee Jofa is gorgeous. I’m thinking a Martini for this one.

Nolita

Also from Lee Jofa, David Hicks’ La Fiorentina Red.   A Negroni cocktail (which was invented in Florence) would be perfect.

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Here is everything (and I mean everything) you need to know about Spring Cleaning from the one and only Martha Stewart.  It’s a good thing.

 

 

 

Meeting Peter Dunham was one of the highlights of Kathryn M. Ireland’s Design Workshop.  I have adored his textiles and design for ages and was excited to see his showroom. He was lovely.

I think it’s very interesting that he downsized.  When I lived in Los Angeles, most of my peers in entertainment were all about getting to the next level.  You had to have the right address, the right car, and even if your house was perfect, the minute you could afford to (or not) you would upgrade to a bigger, better, house.

In this month’s issue of HOUSE BEAUTIFUL, there is a great interview (and slideshow) with Peter.  He talks about why he moved from a house that was 3,500 square-feet to an apartment that is only 550 square-feet.

Living in a tiny space forces you to edit.  You cannot surround yourself with just “stuff.”

There is some fantastic design advice for small spaces in the article.  You can read it HERE and check out more photos of his charming home.

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Recently I re-read “Rose Cumming: Design Inspirations.”

This book, about one of the pioneers of a  “new” field called interior design, was a gift from my friend Erica for my birthday last year.

The following quote from Ms. Cumming jumped out at me:  “I feel that upon entering a house one should at once be made conscious of the dominate note pervading its scheme of decoration.”

I was just speaking with a friend regarding how sometimes hallways are neglected spaces.

I agree with Ms. Cumming.  A hallway shouldn’t be a dumping ground for keys, shoes, etc.

If you live in a small space you could create a hallway that’s functional and stylish.

Here are three fab hallways:

Designed by Darryl Carter.

Designed by Darryl Carter.

Photo: Veranda

How gorgeous is this staircase?  I love the contrast of the very dark wood with the white paint.

Rita Konig's Hallway Kitchen

Rita Konig’s Hallway Kitchen

Photo: The Kitchn

Designer Rita Konig’s kitchen is a perfect example of a hallway serving more than one purpose.

Designed by Kathryn M. Ireland

Designed by Kathryn M. Ireland

Photo: Remodelista

A hallway is a great space to showcase art.

The design and fashion blogosphere is buzzing this week about the debut of DOMAINE Magazine.

This online publication was created by the same women, Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr, behind another favorite, WHO, WHAT, WHERE.

Sara Ruffin Costello's, former creative director at DOMINO, living room.

Sara Ruffin Costello’s, former creative director at DOMINO, living room.

This site is fantastic.  There are articles about home décor, fashion, and yes, even recipes (bacon mac and cheese).

Plus, it’s interactive.  You can leave comments.  Love it.

I enjoyed the article about interior designers Jeffrey Alan Marks and Ross Cassidy.  I’ve never met Jeffrey but Ross is a sweetheart.  I’m not saying that just because he complimented my skirt in L.A. last year.  Ross was very kind to pose in his red pants so I could Tweet the photo to my friend, Erica, a noted Red Pants Pathologist.

Looking forward to checking out the rest of DOMAINE.

Buon Weekend!

 

 

A new Pope was elected this week.  We still don’t have a Prime Minister.  It’s kind of nuts but I digress.

The determined sun fought its way through today’s stubborn clouds and after a week of horrendous weather, we finally had a few hours of sunshine.  The angels sang.

Perhaps it’s a little early for Spring cleaning (the horrible weather is scheduled to return on Sunday afternoon) but I would like to get started on some projects this weekend.

Thoughts of Spring brought me to the photo below.

How lovely is this space designed by L.A. based, British born, Peter Dunham?

A Beverly Hills Family Room Designed by Peter Dunham

A Beverly Hills Family Room Designed by Peter Dunham

Photo: Architectural Digest

We had a chance to visit Peter’s showroom during Kathryn M. Ireland’s Design Bootcamp.  His showroom was filled with beautiful things and Peter was very charming.

I think those chairs need to be in my home.

Buon Weekend!

I’ve been a fan of these glasses for ages.   I saw them in Kathryn Ireland’s kitchen last year and thought to myself, “I need to buy some when I move to a bigger apartment.”

I had to find a new kettle.  I decided to go ahead and spend money on a solid one, as the cheap one I bought fell apart way too soon.  Off I went to C.U.C.I.N.A. 

I try my best to avoid this store as every single time I stop in to buy one specific item, I get sucked into picking up a few things.

It happened again.  I walked past the glasses section and somehow two glasses ended up in my basket.

La Rochere French Bee Tumbler.

La Rochere French Bee Tumbler.

It’s okay.  It makes me happy when I open up my kitchen cabinet and see these two little glasses.  Once I move, I’m getting a set.

In the States you can find them at Sur La Table.

As for the kettle, I bought a Le Creuset that was double the price of my old one.  However, this one is built to last and very pretty.

Last month I attended Kathryn M. Ireland’s Interior Design Bootcamp in Los Angeles.

That would be Kathryn the internationally known designer, NOT Kathy the former SI cover model.  One Hollywood exec said to me, “I thought you were talking about the model the entire time.  Alas, now our conversation has become less interesting to me.”  Too funny.  Gotta love Hollywood.

It would be hard to describe a packed four day schedule in one short blog post.  Overall, it was fantastic experience.  I was very impressed by Kathryn and her team, Jen, Rebecca, and Francesca.  I learned a lot and enjoyed meeting my fellow bootcampers.

There were only seven of us.  Six were in different stages of our careers. One bootcamper had a new house.  For her it was a good opportunity to see how a designer works.  Some bootcampers had degrees in Interior Design and their own showrooms, while others were self taught and just starting out.  It was a great mix.

If you watch the show MILLION DOLLAR DECORATORS or have read anything about Kathryn you know that along with being a talented textiles and interior designer, she’s a fantastic host.  We met some heavy hitters in the business and it says something about Kathryn that everyone she introduced us to was warm, and down-to-earth.

The workshop was organized (binders, books, baked goods!)  We received excellent nuts and bolts information and advice about the business of design.   There were guest speakers who talked about the state of the industry, branding, product development, publicity, and social media.

We also visited several high profile showrooms with Kathryn, like Lucca, Nathan Turner, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Peter Dunham, Christopher Farr, Jasper, Pat McGann, etc.

Martyn’s was our last showroom stop. He had drinks and quips for us.

There was down time too (and plenty of wine with meals). We went on a hike in Will Rogers State Park with sick views of the Pacific.  It wasn’t mandatory but a nice way to kick off a long day.  That day we visited  Kathryn’s print shop.  She opened it in Los Angeles instead of outsourcing the work.  The time it takes to hand print fabric is no joke and that’s why it’s expensive.

We worked on our mood/presentation boards for our projects with input from Kathryn and her team.  I wanted to pull my hair out as I tried to draw my floor plans by hand. Luckily for me, one of my fellow bootcampers was a kitchen and bath designer.  She talked me down off the ledge.

I can’t really say which highlight (there were many) of the workshop was my favorite.  I can say I returned to Rome feeling excited about the future and inspired.

For more information about future Bootcamps, check out Kathryn’s WEBSITE.

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