Designers Who Inspire

Ilse Crawford/IKEA 

There are many designers I admire.  Originally, I was going to blog about my top ten favorites, however, that seemed a bit long.  So after giving it a lot of thought, I decided to narrow it to my top three:

#1. Ilse Crawford

Ilse Crawford is known for an emotional approach to design which engages all the senses.  Her interiors always have a collected look of well loved objects.  She believes “Interior Design is a tool to enhance our humanity, and acts as a frame for life”.   Crawford embraces good design for all people; she has designed for IKEA as well as high end hotels.

Ilse Crawford/Copenhagen

#2.  Victoria Hagen

Victoria Hagen is able to create interiors that are classic with a modern sensibility.  I first started following her (the old fashioned way, through print) in the early 90s when I was a design student. Hagen was featured in a design magazine for designing a Nantucket summer home. A simple and inviting interior, I have been a fan ever since.  Hagen believes “Design is about using your imagination to create special environments to live in and enjoy”.  A fairly basic Idea that gets to the true goal of good design.

Victoria Hagen

Victoria Hagen 

#3.  Billy Baldwin

Billy Baldwin (not the actor) is known for streamlined modernism mixed with classic design.  His famous quote (which I use often) “Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is out of style”.  Baldwin designed the  “Slipper Chair” in 1930.  Were would civilization be without the armless slipper chair?

Billy Baldwin/Slipper Chairs


Billy Baldwin

What I love most about all of these interiors is their timeless quality.   Any of these photos could have been taken yesterday or many years ago. Each of thes designers have published many books.  Treat yourself and pick up one or all!


The Good Stuff

Ok, so you know your style, (you are Minimalist or Maximalist) this is half the work. Next, how to decide what to add? First start with your emotional response. Your initial feeling, the gut check reaction; the “I will know it when I see it” feeling. This is where interior design and psychology come together so beautifully.  Whether it’s a chair, or a painting, if it makes you feel happy, go for it!  The objects you interact with every day should be pleasing; not only visually, but from a tactical perspective as well.

Always be aware of these everyday interactions.  How does the softness of a throw blanket feel?  What about the weight of the silverware your using?  Why not surround yourself with everyday items that celebrate the everyday common rituals!  A great coffee cup,  soft napkins,  a spring flower in the perfect ceramic vase.  You get the idea.  Nothing dramatic but these types of everyday interactions are important.  These little decisions can add to small everyday pleasures.

So when it’s  time to make purchases, keep in mind functional aspects of course, but don’t rush; make sure your purchases are appealing to your senses as well.  Go for the “good stuff” and enjoy!



You Say Minimalism, …I Say Maximalism…?

Ok, truth be told, I appreciate both.  Last year, I read and blogged about The More of Less, a great book by Joshua Becker about the joys of Minimalism.  It really inspired me! Recently I watched a great documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, which I highly recommend!  It runs just a little over an hour, you can find it on Netflix.  As a result of this documentary, I am editing yet again; it must be a Spring thing!

However, anyone who knows me would probably not think “Minimalist”.  I always tell my friends minimalism means different things to different people.  Some people might think 6 pairs of shoes is excessive, some may think 6 is the bare minimum.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Yet, Maximalism in design is on the rise!  Interiors are definitely becoming more layered and colorful.  Maximalism’s motto is “more is more”.  I am ok with this idea, but just remember there is a big difference between maximalism and clutter!  Be careful!  A successful Maximalist room is well planned, with special attention to mixing patterns , colors, and styles.
Here are some of my favorite minimalist and maximalist rooms:


Manual 17



How would you describe your decorating, more minimalist or maximalist?  I would love to know!


Did you miss “1865 City House” last week?

I was not able to post last week and I hope some of you noticed! “1865 City House” blog just celebrated a 2 year anniversary! It’s a wonderful creative outlet for me and I always enjoy hearing your comments! As a result of changing the format a couple times I have lost some of my favorite followers and posts. The likes of “Black is My Happy Color” and “Does this Sofa Make Me look Fat” are lost forever! I hope my followers are not lost as well. If you like the blog, please hit the “Follow” button and receive it in your inbox. If you already follow, please share it with a friend. Thank you!  Have a great day!

Designed for Success

I have always been fascinated with the connection between interior design and it’s affect on how’ve we feel and act. There are many reasons for these feelings and none of them are by accident. Volumes have been written about the psychological affects of color on behavior, and countless studies on how well-designed spaces affect productivity and cognitive thinking. Yet many people think they have to wait until they are successful to plan a great work space or office. The opposite, however, is true. It is a fact; our surroundings affect the way we feel and perform.

So what makes a great work space?

1. Good lighting, natural is best, with overhead and task options.
2. A functional desk, bigger is better.
3. Lots of storage and display space.
4. At least one window, a beautiful view is ideal.
5. Supportive seating.
6. Ample storage.
7. Absence of clutter.
8. Room for guests.
9. Artwork that inspires.
10. Plants and flowers that bring the outdoors in.

Natural Light

Plenty of Storage

Room for Guests
Whether your work space is a home office or a public space, paying attention to the details that are unique to who you are and who you aspire to be are essential. I have a good friend who’s mantra is “Dress well to test well”. I apply this concept to design as well. “Design well to perform well”. The last thing you want is a mismatched and cluttered space in any room you spend time in, especially not in a space where you need to be focused and creative. Have a design plan and create a space you feel great in. Work will be a pleasure and your success will follow.

Movies without Sound

The Intern

Have you ever watched a movie with the sound off just to appreciate and study the set design? Welcome to my world! I often do this when the set design of the movie is outstanding; outstanding being a space I could see myself living in happily.

One of my absolute favorite set designers (as well as being a film director, producer, and screenwriter), is Nancy Meyers. I have been a fan for years without even realizing all of the movie sets I loved were designed by the same person.

Her lastest work, and my latest Interiors crush, is The Intern:






Some of her other work:

Something’s Got to Give

It’s Complicated

The Holiday

img_3330 img_3332 img_3333

I think the photos say it all. Please, do your self a favor and watch one, or all of these films. Enjoy the story and enjoy all those beautiful spaces!

Thats So 2016!

We are now happily welcoming Spring! A time of renewal, and also the perfect time for updating our homes!  A common concern when redecorating is what’s “in” for 2017, and what’s “out” (so 2016!).  So here’s the inside scoop:

So Hot!

Brass.  Not the shinny stuff from the 80s but the good old stuff with some weight and patina:


Brass is where it’s at!

Jewel Tones.  More Russian Tea Room and less Scandinavian Cafeteria:



Mixed cabinets and materials in kitchens. Kitchens have never been more eclectic!


Mix it Up!

Graphic tiles.  Why do subway. When you can create a dramatic statement!



Statement light fixtures. These are the jewelry for your rooms, have fun!


Make a Statement!

What’s So 2016:

Ombré, it was fun while it lasted:



Cowhide, I never understood this.



Rosy Metallics, they just don’t mix the way the other metals do:



Excessive Mid Century Modern, moderation in all things.



Chevron.   So overdone!



Naturally we all want to be current, but always remember:


So true!

First Impressions

Often the first impression of a space can be deceiving.  Rooms with lots of vertical height and natural light appear bigger.  There is a big difference between actual square footage and visual square footage. Some very large rooms can seem quite small because of dark color selections, large scale furniture, busy patterns, and clutter.

On the other hand, small rooms can appear to be much larger with the use of a light color pallet, smaller scaled furniture, minimal  pattern, and the absence of clutter.

If you are looking to make a small room appear larger here are a few tips:

1. Take advantage of natural light. Use sheer or translucent window treatments:


Hunter Douglas

2.  Mirrors will reflect light and large scale mirrors will visually double your space:


3.  Whenever possible use all of the vertical space available.  Hang window treatments close to the ceiling, use tall bookcases and armoires.


Height = Feeling of Space

4.  Keep sofas and chairs from appearing bulky with open and/or raised legs:


Exposed Furniture Legs

5.  Glass tables visually take up less space:

img_3308Glass Tables

6.  Keep color pallet neutral as unified colors expand a space.



7.  Layer lighting to expand lighting possibilities and define spaces:


8.  Use round dining tables rather than square or rectangular as corners take up space:


Round Tables

9.  Keep collections to a minimum – stay away from small accessories as they can look cluttered:


Accessories should be larger than a grapefruit!


10.  Zero clutter:


Keep it Simple

Welcome to living large in a small space 🙂

Drawing a big, blank wall?

I love a blank wall! So full of potential! Here are some interesting ideas for how to fill a big blank wall:

Oversized Artwork and Mirrors:


A Gallery Wall:


Floating Shelves:


Statement Wallpaper:


A Large Clock:


Lastly, and my absolute favorite, create a wine wall:



Yours, Mine, and Ours

So you are moving in together, how wonderful!  However, it can be challenging agreeing on what stays and what goes.  Design style for a couple can be a tricky endeavor.  One of my favorite scenes from “When Harry met Salley” revolves around the wagon wheel coffee table:

I especially love this quote:

“Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste”. – Marie

So, it’s not going to be easy.  You know this, but I am here to help!  Here is my fail proof guide to combining two households:

First, pack and purge – essential for any move.


Inventory what’s left.  Compare inventory lists as some duplicates don’t make sense – how many food processors, mixers, and blenders does one home need? (The answer is one)

Take measurements of your space and make a floor plan. You can do it old school and use graph paper (one 1/4″ square equals one foot). Or use one of the many room planning sites on line.


Now the hard part, compromise. What if you both love your sofa and your bed and there is only room for one. Two very important must haves. First, I recommend  the one that fits the space best. If all things are equal I would go with the higher quality pieces and then work around them.

Now comes the fun part, mix it up and be fair, one personality should not dominate. Think like with like; Brass photo frames together, collections grouped by color, etc.



Next make an “ours” list and prioritize the purchases that you will make together, this is the most fun, as it will reflect your tastes as a couple.

Lastly, pull it together with a great new color scheme. That pink chair might look very edgy with orange walls!


Above all, please don’t keep or buy a wagon wheel coffe table … ever!