Tag Archives: WorkinProgress

How funky are these chairs?


I am a big fan of Kelly Wearstlers commercial work, yet the Viceroy in Anguilla took me by surprise.

A few years ago I met clients for a drink at the bar.  At first, when I walked in, the décor seemed so “uncaribbean” to me.

Then I walked around.  It IS very Caribbean.  Wearstler’s use of natural materials, her color palette, and the subtle nod to more tradition Caribbean design makes the Viceroy one my favorite hotel spaces.

This hotel is huge and could easily feel very corporate (thinking of a certain hotel on the Dutch side of St. Maarten that ruined one of the best beaches on the island).

Instead it’s unique and jaw dropping gorgeous.

Not a bad place to meet for drinks, especially with a locals’ discount.

I have more meetings this weekend about my Caribbean project.

Feeling very inspired

Buon weekend!



Last year I wrote about the vacation home in Tuscany I’m working on with architect Domenico Minchili.

Our clients had some photos taken and below are a few of them.

First, a before shot of the living room.



The room is so much lighter.  The new “old” floors make a huge difference as does the paint color.  I was consumed for days regarding which shade of Farrow & Ball white was the best white for the  walls.  We decided to use Skimming Stone.

The chairs were custom made by Tondini & Radicchi. So were all the draperies in the house.


One of the bedrooms mid-renovation.




A bathroom before.




Wider shot of the living room.  The sofas, coffee table, and sconces are custom.

The studio.

This room receives little natural light.  Many people assume that a small dark room must be painted a very light color in order to make it look bigger.  Not true.  It seems counter-intuitive but going darker gives a small room more depth.

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One of my Italian friends called this décor, “Relaxed Chic.”   Another friend said it was “Casual Luxury.”  Both work for me.

Every bedroom, and its bathroom is unique, yet the entire home is cohesive.

The paint is from Farrow & Ball.

Most of the new furniture was custom made.  We also sourced pieces from Flamant, Barthel, and small shops in Rome and Tuscany.

Our fabric sources were, Dedar, Ralph Lauren Home, Kathryn M. Ireland, and Pierre Frey.

If you would like to know the specific colors or more information about the fabric or furniture, please feel free to ask me in the comments section.

This property is available for vacation rental.  It’s in the heart of the Chianti region surrounded by vineyards.  The views are stupendous.

For more information (and some exterior photos), please visit the luxury rental  Abercrombie & Kent website.

Photos by: Mario Flores

I do not like having my photo taken.  Correction, I’m game when I’m in a group shot.

It’s not just because the camera adds ten to fifteen pounds.  It’s because I feel like a big dork standing there while the photographer snaps.

Thanks to social media, I had to get over my discomfort.  That said, I still get salty when unflattering photos are tagged on Facebook.  What the what?  Does the tagger need new glasses?  Good friends don’t let folks tag bad photos.

Gina wanted to take a few head shots during our terrace photo shoot.  I was sweaty and wiped out. So even though Gina is a talented photographer I thought, “no good can come of this.”

She convinced me to at least try a few.   I did and this is what happened:

terrace_062I  did a brief interview with Gina and she has posted more photos from the shoot on her blog.

To see more of Gina’s gorgeous work, please visit her website here.

My client travels frequently overseas for work but, like most of the native Romans I know, he enjoys hosting aperitivi and dinner parties when he’s in town.

He saw the work I did for another client and asked me to take a look at his terrace.

We wanted to make the space flow better, redo the landscaping, and buy new furniture to add to some of the pieces he already owned.

I think it’s important for the outdoor areas and indoor areas to be cohesive.  I kept my client’s interior spaces in mind as I looked for furniture.  My landscaper and I had a long conversation regarding which plants would work best for the terrace.

I wrote about photographer Gina Gomez (aka Warm Pears) on my former blog three years ago.  Earlier this year, we discussed collaborating on something.

The terrace was that perfect something.

Below are a few pictures from the shoot.


Furniture: UNOPIU’

Lantern: Flamant

Centerpiece: Bloemen Florist – Via Terenzio, 37 (zona Prati), Rome, +39 06 6892901

Great news here at AGD.

The house in Tuscany is almost done and I’ve signed two new clients.

For one project, I’m helping my client redo his terrace.

The other project also includes working on a terrace and collaborating with my client to furnish her new apartment.

Both apartments are in Trastevere.

One thing I love about this type of work is that each project is unique.  My other Rome project is understated glamour.

The apartment I’m working on in Trastevere is contemporary with a very streamlined palette, white, black, gray, and some pops of red.   A few pieces came with the apartment and most of the additional furniture will be custom-made.

My client would like a home that is minimal, light, and yet cozy.   Minimal decors can be cold so I’m all about texture and natural materials.

I have an inspiration board for the apartment on PInterest.

For the terrace project, we are going to redo the plants, buy new furniture, and make the space flow better.  My client entertains often and it’s important that his guests feel comfortable.

My landscaper is amazing and I cannot wait to see how the terrace will look once the plants grow in a little.

I real enjoy working with my clients.  I know this something not every decorator can say!

What a week.

Just when you think Italian politics couldn’t be more confusing or bizarre, they are.   I have no idea what is going to happen now.  Maybe we’ll have new elections.

The Pope said good-bye yesterday.  The city is packed with tourists who came to see him for the last time.  Cardinals are flying in for the conclave and there are journalists in town from all over the world.

Work-wise, things were hectic. I’m not sure how it’s Friday already.

Yesterday, Domenico and I drove up to Tuscany to visit the job site and to meet with our client who flew in from Germany.  Normally, we would stay overnight but we decided to make it a day trip and left Rome at 6:30 a.m.

It was a very long day.   At one point my brain said, “BASTA!” and refused to cooperate.  It was around the time I was asking the contractor questions in Italian and then translating his answers into English.

On the drive back home, all I could think about was taking a long shower, getting in my PJs, and then watching Law and Order SVU reruns on Fox Crime (I have a thing for Detective Stabler).

I wish I had a shower like this:

A shower at MonteverdiUnfortunately, I do not.

The shower in the photo was designed by Ilaria Miani for Monteverdi.   Monteverdi is a group of rental villas and a hotel in the small village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro in Tuscany.

Stunning.  I hope to check it out sometime later this year.

In the meantime, Stabler and I will be relaxing this weekend.

Buon Weekend!

People ask me all the time what is the difference between a mood board, an inspiration board, or a presentation board.

The terms are used interchangeably, but a presentation board is the one that you would show to a client.

A mood/inspiration board might be used only in house as you brainstorm design ideas.  The presentation board shows the client the actual materials/furniture you plan to buy for the space.

I prefer to do these boards the old-fashioned way (I like to touch and feel everything) but with clients who live overseas or travel a lot, a digital board is the way to go.

I finally bit the bullet and bought Photoshop.  Of course I was on a killer deadline for a project and had to turn around my boards pretty quickly.

Did I mention that I had never used Photoshop before?  It was straight up drama trying to get these boards done.  Fortunately, I have talented friends like Nicolee Drake who are also patient teachers.

Mood boards are very popular with interior designers, fashion designers, and graphic artists.

I love what interior designer Nathan Turner says about the Picasso inspiration in the short clip below.  It’s for Pottery Barn and Nathan breaks down the process in a way that’s fun and accessible.

If you’re in L.A. check out his store on Melrose. It’s filled with beautiful things.

I hope you have an inspiring weekend.

I was recently hired by the very talented architect Domenico Minchilli to work on the interiors for a home in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy.

Words cannot adequately express how excited I am about this project.

Chianti, Tuscany

Chianti, Tuscany

We have a mid/late Spring deadline.

One of the bathrooms post demolition.

One of the bathrooms post demolition.

Early on, I started to pull images for an inspiration board on Pinterest. Some of the images came from books in my library, photos from my travels, or from my favorite websites. Originally, I had over sixty-five images. It was a great visual tool and helped me see the big picture. I kept that version of the board private so I could show Domenico what I was thinking.

Once I had a clearer idea of what the client wanted/needed for their home, I put together a mood board in Photoshop for each room. There has to be a separate post about Photoshop… DRAMA.

Fabric for sofas and chairs.

Fabric for sofas and chairs.

I had written a much longer post but deleted it. It was way too sappy.

However, I will say I’m thrilled to be working with such an incredible group of people and that 2013 is off to a great start.

Last week I was hired to decorate an apartment in Rome.

This is my first project in Italy.  I’m excited but also a little terrified.  Now I must speak and work in Italian.  While many vendors speak English, there are quite a few people I’m working with on this apartment, like the contractor, who do not.

I need get over my fear of communicating in Italian and just do it.

The décor is going to be understated Hollywood Regency based on our consultation and the pieces my client already owns.  I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it just means that some of the over the top elements of the style will be toned down.  Sometimes, one can have too many mirrored surfaces!

The bones of this large apartment are absolutely stunning, as is the terrace. The layout is more formal than the other projects I’m working on.

I tend to use strong colors as accents, not on the walls, so some of the rooms will push me out of my comfort zone which is a good thing. After all, it’s not my apartment, it’s the client’s.  I want my client to have a home that they love and that reflects their personality.

Due the nature of my client’s work, I won’t be able to publish photos of their apartment.

However, I have started an inspiration board, which is HERE.

“Soon Come.”

This Caribbean expression is very similar to the Italian word, domani.   Technically,  domani means tomorrow, but in Italy it could mean months or years from now.  The concept of time is very different.

Soon come is the same thing.

“When is your tio (uncle) visiting from the States?”

“Soon come.”

When I was a child, I assumed this meant that the gentleman would be on the next flight.  No, he may arrive tomorrow, or December 2013.


Yesterday, I met with my clients and their builder.  The house is moving along.

“When will the exterior be finished?”

“Soon come”.

It’s not easy to build on a tiny island thanks to the elements (hurricane season is no joke), sourcing of materials, and high labor costs.

Depending on a variety of factors out of my client’s hands, the house could be done in eight months or ???.

We’ll see.   Soon come.


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