Sunday, December 20, 2009

design obsession: design blogs

despite grand hopes for a series of indulgently festive christmas "design obsessions," i am afraid my appendix had other plans :( i had emergency surgery in late november and have been m.i.a. ever since. christmas in the smith household is looking a lot different than i had planned...really, it's just the one poinsettia. so. sad.

however, i hope that i can still pass along a little christmas gift to you, my dear readers. i've had a lot of time to surf the web lately, so i thought i'd pass along some of my favorite sites! omg they will change your life, i'm sure of it. you'll find lots of christmas-y ideas right now, but you can count on fabulous design inspiration for the whole year.

...happy sophisticating...

oh, design*sponge. the ultimate design blog. from before & afters, to sneak peeks of the most phenomenal living spaces, to WILL be inspired. f.a.b.

style me pretty
i am an event planner by day, so you had to know there would be a few event blogs in the bunch. this is the consummate wedding blog. the best of the best are featured here. and since great design knows no boundaries, spend a little time on this site and i am sure you will find inspiration that spills into your home.

sf girl by bay
her description says it perfectly: "bohemian modern style from a san francisco girl." l.o.v.e. this site. even if you're not in to modern design, check it out. i find it to always be clean and fresh with a wide range of ideas that will be sure to translate into your home. and get this...her name is victoria smith. shut. up. i hope to follow in her design footsteps and live up to the name :)

okay, WOW. just discovered this blog last week and i cannot get enough. autumn is an interior design with a contractor husband. need i say more? TONS of photos of their own home improvement/design/fabulous projects. their taste is flawless and, really, every room is PERFECT. perfect! you'll a good way.

house beautiful
if you've ever been to my blog, you know i'm a big fan of house beautiful. it is probably my favorite magazine and the website is incredible. basically every home they have ever featured is beautifully archived. thinking of remodeling your bathroom and want ideas? just type in bathroom to the search and dive in to the splendor. cannot say enough wonderful things about hb.

grey likes weddings
you know you'll love this blog just by the title. it's so good. i feel like a lot of the weddings featured are more outside the box and pushing the envelope--always a good thing! TONS of creative ideas. you will love it.

green wedding shoes
definitely one of the hippest wedding blogs. again--tons of creative ideas for weddings, parties and decorating alike!

absolutely beautiful things
that pretty much sums it up. anna spiro, an interior designer from brisbane, australia and owner of a shop called "black and spiro," will definitely inspire you. her taste is flawless, her designs are always unique and interesting and no one uses color better. always fun and, of course, sophisticated.

spread the love!
what are your favorites? leave a comment and share your "go to" blogs or websites.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

design obsession: bathrooms

my husband and i live in a one bedroom apartment and we couldn't be happier. it's not huge, but most of the rooms are spacious enough that we are perfectly comfortable. the one exception? the bathroom. it's MICROSCOPIC--you can barely turn around in there! and the shower? let's just say the shower head is too low even for me, not to mention my 6'5" husband. i've tried my best to sophisticate it, but i must admit it makes me long for the day when i can truly create a serene, spa-like oasis. until then, a girl can dream! hope you enjoy a few of my favorites.

...happy sophisticating...

can't beat restoration hardware. these fixtures are too fabulous.

gorgeous. the deep navy walls and dark wood are beautifully masculine and make the beautiful white linens look even more crisp and fresh!
pottery barn.

cannot even handle this. you can't beat calacatta marble and a pedestal sink.
featured may 2007 in house beautiful.

clearly the tub freestanding tub is fabulous, but i love the choice of color palatte. it adds real warmth to the space. my favorite--the spa-like storage ladder.
featured march 2009 in house beautiful.

so rustic. so chic. even towels look sophisticated when they are neatly folded and stacked in fabulous baskets. i love the oxidized counter top and striped wood floors.
featured july 2009 in house beautiful.

omg. i just can't even handle this. so parisian and delightful. the pops of pink are just PERFECT.
i wonder if i could talk my husband into this one ;)
featured january 2009 in house beautiful.

so simple. so clean. so sophisticated. the all-white palette is just flawless.
featured january 2008 in house beautiful.

it's itty bitty, but wow! even a tiny bathroom can be made sophisticated with a nice sink console and this fabulous chandelier.
featured on design*sponge.

so simple. so phenomenal.
featured on design*sponge.

WOW. i love the way the custom window let's the light play beautifully on the floor. this bathroom perfectly blends different shades of white to create warmth and incredible texture. it just glows!
featured august 2008 in house beautiful.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

design obsession: christmas stockings

last year my husband and i were blessed enough to spend our very first christmas in paris. this year will mark our first "at home" christmas...which means our first chance to DECORATE! i'll be featuring lots of fun christmas decor ideas throughout the next month or so, but i wanted to start early with christmas stockings!

traditional red and green velvet are lovely, but why not use your christmas stockings as a chance to sophisticate your hearth with a twist on the traditional! i'm loving some of the more vintage, handmade versions i'm seeing lately. here are some fun options to inspire you.

...happy sophisticating...

eco-friendly felt. so simple and so chic.
they'll even take custom orders!
available at rikrak on etsy.

you love christmas stockings, you love cozy sweaters. best of both worlds. homey chic!
knit stocking from pottery barn.

another fun rustic chic option. itty bitty stockings made from vintage linen mangle cloth with red gingham trim. adorable! available at flowers and blooms on etsy.

paris chic at its finest! burlap with vintage toile. love the button!
available at my adobe cottage on etsy.

so fun! very dr. seuss :) love this green for the holidays! plus they can be personalized. so sophisticated.
ballard designs.

so simple. so lovely. handmade using all vintage fabric and hand crocheted lace. perfect for a shabby chic home!
available at tuuni on etsy.

more knit options from pottery barn. love the stripes!
they make me think of christmas pajamas!

joyeux noel! so french and probably my favorite. a fun, monochromatic twist on a christmas stocking. they are limited edition, so snatch them up fast!
ballard. as always.

and for our apartment dwellers...never fear! a delightful tabletop alternative.
there is no excuse! available at ballard.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

thanks to all who left comments on my blog this week! i put everyone's names into a hat (literally. a hat.) and we have a winner...

the fabulous and ever-sophisticated miss whitney sturdy.

whitney, you are hereby obligated to throw a fabulous soiree so that i can create some fun invites for you :)

as for the rest of you, dear readers, i'll have some more sophisticating for you this week!

...happy sophisticating...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

sneak peak + a freebie!

i have been busily working with my dear friend carrie paschall to plan an intimate 40th birthday celebration for her husband, danny. danny is an admirer of all things autumnal--the weather, the colors, the food, you name it. naturally this has inspired our theme for the party!

i will post a full event gallery of the party at a later time, but in the meantime i wanted to show you the invitations i designed. we took inspiration from one of danny's favorite artists, charlie harper. as you can see, i mounted a charlie harper print on a chocolate brown notecard.

i then printed the invitation copy on a piece of vellum and laid it over the print so all of the beautiful fall colors could show through. then i folded over the notecard at the top, punched a hole in each corner and threaded rustic twine through the holes to attach a twig to the top of the card. done! rustic sophistication and a "sign of things to come" for the guests at the party. what do you think?'s the fun part...
for the next week, if you leave a comment on this blog, i will enter you into a drawing to receive a custom invitation design! so if you have a birthday party or a holiday gathering coming up, i will design and assemble up to 25 very sophisticated invitations for free... you'll just pay for materials!
the drawing will take place next sunday, october 25 at 8:00 p.m.

hope you have a great week and, of course
...happy sophisticating...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

design obsession: one room, multiple seating areas

hello faithful readers...or should i call you dreamers, since you would have had to dream up posts on my blog lately? i have been m.i.a. my apologies. however i have an excuse! LOTS of events and fun projects that i'll be featuring ever-so-shortly.

in the meantime, consider this my ode to living spaces. in the last 20 years, we have seen the rise of the "great room." these often massive spaces are meant for living, dining, lounging, cooking...everything! all in one room! don't get me wrong, i love an open floor plan as much as the next girl--but really unless you have a weekly book club with, like, 90 people, you will rarely need one gigantic seating area.

my sophisticated suggestion? carve up the space. floating sofas with a sofa table behind them. area rugs. small game tables. my personal favorite? back-to-back sofas. matching, or not. either way they are an uber-chic way to create delightful seating groupings that are a bit more attainable and inviting.

take inspiration from these photos. just looking at them you can tell exactly how the designer intended the space to be used. you can just picture 3 or 4 ladies chatting in one area, a gentleman reading in the corner, an older sister playing a game with her younger siblings at the fabulous! these tips can help you acknowledge the large space, while maintaining a cozy atmosphere.

...happy sophisticating...

the front half of the "great room" in this incredible brooklyn townhouse is broken up into lovely areas--an oh-so-chic table and chairs for chess or afternoon tea or homework. this area is separated from the seating area in the front of the room by the beautiful fireplace. if you were standing at the front window facing the table and chairs, you would see our next photo.

this is in the same room as the previous photo! brilliant, no! i love how distinct these areas are, but how the luxe fabrics and lively colors tie the entire space together. i love the "separate togetherness" of the space.

i love the use of back-to-back sofas here. it's a chic way to give equal attention to the fabulous fireplace and the "indoor/outdoor" nature of the room. best of both worlds!
september 2008.

again with the back-to-back sofas. this time, separated by one sofa table. so brilliant!
june 2007.

an interesting twist--this room is especially versatile. it could be used as an expansive space, or could function as multiple seating areas. the sectional in the corner is a brilliant way to take advantage of space that could have gone wasted. the room is still open and spacious, but still contained.
june 2009.

love the breakdown of this space. the more formal seating area is separated by a floating sofa and modern sofa table. the area behind has a much more "loungy" feel. this furniture is low profile, so it maintains the airiness, but provides lots of options.
july 2009.

from this one angle, you can count 3 seating areas! the stools are a brilliant touch because they create three distinct seating areas but could be used in multiple directions and they allow the eye to float across the room without obstruction, adding to the loftiness of the room.
july 2009.

you can just imagine people in this room. comfortable. cozy. spacious. brilliant.
january 2008.

again with the back-to-back sofas! this time, the gigantic area adds further definition to BOTH seating groupings. a very nice touch!

in this grouping we have multiple back-to-back sofas that almost give the appearance of being single pieces of furniture. the muted color palatte combined with subtle florals add interest to the room without getting too busy.

all photos compliments of house beautiful.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

sophisticateur: nancy meyers

nancy, oh nancy. why are you so incredible? not only do you write & direct romantic comedies that make women across the world swoon, but you hire the most PHENOMENAL art directors & set designers to create environments that make us all want to move into your movie. every. home. is. perfect. PERFECT!!!!

there is nothing more i can say. the photos speak for themselves. lose yourself in them. and if you're looking for movies to really get lost in...anything by nancy meyers and you're golden. utterly delightful.
...happy sophisticating...

let's start with the original. the unbelievable san marino home featured in father of the bride. w.o.w.

gotta love a great picket fence.

the living room. so simple and yet so chic. the muted color palatte really makes it feel homey.

and, of course, the phenomenal baby nursery featured in father of the bride, part II.

the napa home featured in the parent trap. love the climbing ivy. truly stunning.

and the interior. rustic chic. fabulous! notice how the accessories match the scale of the room.

and the wrap-around patio. shut. up.

the unreal london townhouse. mayfair district, i can only assume.

and the fabulous interior. orange has never looked so good. paired with traditional, classic elements, you can get away with a more bold wall color. i love the warmth!

the utterly delightful english cottage...built JUST for the movie. literally.

and inside? fabulous. love the color palatte of muted china blue and orangey gold. it plays off of the warm tones in the stone fireplace.

the "tent" featured in graham's house. shabby chic at its finest.

and, of course, cameron diaz's hollywood home in the movie. such a classic room! notice the jute rug as an organic background for the crisp brown and white. fabulous.

the unbelievable kitchen. i love how the modern surfaces are paired with more traditional lanterns.

and another view of the kitchen. LOVE the settee in the kitchen, so interesing. LOVE the slipcovered dining chairs. LOVE the use of natural elements to bring life to the space.

and the unbelievable pool. there are no words, really.

and to close? the something's gotta give house. it. is. perfect.

my dream kitchen. clean and bright. modern and traditional. so good it hurts.

and the dining room. you KNOW the food just tastes better in there. i adore the built in hutch with plates in all shades of white. notice how they mixed the, warm brown, chocolate brown, creamy white. because they kept a simple color palate, they could mix without it feeling disheveled or unintentional.


i wonder what she'll have for us next, in her upcoming film "it's complicated," starring the incomparable meryl streep, alec baldwin and steve martin. it will be fabulous, i'm sure.
check out out the trailer!