Bye bye 2012! Hello 2013

I love the color palette in the room on the left and the creative wall treatment in the room on the right - we will definitely see more incredible selections of wall treatments in 2013

With pleasure I say good bye and good riddance to the doom and gloom of 2012. It was not my favorite year - too much tragedy occurred around the world, and I had few personal triumphs. The world did not end, but for too many, life will never be the same.

However, in the world of interior design, I can say it was a fabulous year! Creating a space reflective of the person (whatever their style may be) who inhabits it has become the goal, rather than patterning design after some fleeting trend. I love the infinite possibilities that exist in current design, and I am amazed by the selection of products that are available now.

Of course there are some trends that I would like to see gone along with 2012. Neon colors - too harsh. Sequins covering entire outfits - they are much better used sparingly. The word "chic" to describe everything! Vary your vocabulary people, please!

But some timeless and important styles emerged (or re-emerged) in 2012, and I hope they stay strong throughout 2013. I love the return of gold and the use of all metallics, birds, chinoiserie, organic elements, reclaimed wood, recycled glass...that we are seeing used in some of the best designs.

Even functional rooms got glamorous!

My favorite bedroom design from 2012

Pewter with red accents - a color combo for 2013

To a fabulous 2013. Hope it is full of hope, inspiration, and beauty!

Reclaimed & Recycled

Beautiful living room with reclaimed wood floors

I'm not really the "outdoorsy" type - I don't spend my free time camping or kayaking (though both sound fun!), but you could call me a bit of a "tree-hugger." In fact, I spent a lot of my childhood sitting in the maple tree in our front yard. I have a sincere respect for the beauty found in nature, and I believe in protecting our environment and using recycled and reclaimed materials whenever possible. 

This past spring, my husband, Daniel, planted our first garden (and grew it organically), and I was so proud when he built planters recycled from wood that he had used on a renovation project, instead of purchasing new pots. He also made a great storage box with a hinged lid to conceal the hose. It took extra time, but he saved money and saved perfectly good wood from being thrown in the dump. 

When renovating attic space into what is now his office, Daniel spent hours refurbishing an old barn door, using non-toxic strippers. Now, the sliding closet door adds a great amount of character to the space. 

Going "green" is not a good idea purely for the sake of being gentle on our natural world, it is also a great way to enrich and add texture to a room's decor.  Below are some fabulous pieces from one of my favorite sites,, which have been given a second chance.

Recycled glass vases
Vintage fir armoire 

I absolutely love the shape of the headboard on their Gustavian bed.

Nature's Beauty...On the Inside

There is something about fall that awakens in me a deeper appreciation for nature than during the other seasons. Perhaps that is because winter is coming soon, and we don't have much time left to comfortably spend with it. Or, maybe it's the captivating colors and seasonal traditions like apple picking and pumpkin carving. Whatever the reason, I enjoy being surrounded by the earthiness of autumn and like to bring some inside with me. 

I have always had an obsession with organic elements - wood and stone, things that grow and are green - especially when brought indoors and paired with less than rustic elements. Furniture, accessories, lighting...they are all more interesting when fashioned after elements in nature. When you look through a  magazine, you will find that each photo of a home or room have something in common - something organic that draws you into the room - a vase of flowers, a bowl of fruit, or a great wooden table. Below are amazing examples of organic-inspired designs that I find go a bit farther.
Ironies Tallinn Buffet

Adriana Shumaris Organic Teak Bench

Aqua Lighting Creation

In this living room, it is the organic elements that make it a welcoming space.

Orange Crush

One of my favorite things about fall is seeing ORANGE everywhere - from fun accessories to falling leaves and fat pumpkins. The fabulous hue goes amazingly well with soft, rich, and bold colors, and orange is such an invigorating and exciting color that you can't wear it and stay in a bad mood!

Melanie Elston designed this kid-friendly room using orange with
other bold colors like raspberry and plum.
Personally, I love the combination that Traditional Home magazine featured in this month's issue: Hermes orange paired with Tiffany blue, similar to this room design (below) by Tobi Fairley, so fresh!

And orange isn't just for fall...I would strut this Carolina Herrera dress
(from the 2013 Spring Collection) in any season!

Friday's Frugal Finds: Organic Touches

Prada Leather and Wood Sandal
$356 at Saks
Nicole Lee Python Bag
$69.99 at Target

Glass Menagerie Twig Tray Table
$249 on

Whether complimenting your outfit or accenting your living room, products with organic nuances add great textural interest. Finding good deals on them is just sublime!

What I saw in the Mirror Mirror

This past week I enjoyed watching 2 movies with my children. One was fabulous and inspiring; the other was, well, not a great movie. But, I loved watching both of them...for different reasons. 

The first was the Oscar-winning film by Martin Scorsese, Hugo. It had everything a movie should have: great cinematography, great acting, a great message, humor, mystery, etc. 

I highly recommend it!

The second film is a reinterpretation of the classic Snow White story, Mirror Mirror. Mostly, I wanted to see the movie because Julia Roberts stars as the evil queen, and I just love her. 

And though I did enjoy watching the actress playing mean, I was underwhelmed by the movie as a whole. However, what I LOVED about the movie are it's costumes and scenery. For me, watching a movie isn't just a passive, entertaining experience (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I can't help but to see past the story and wonder at the artistic elements of the film. I find myself admiring architectural details, the colors, the clothing - the way the atmosphere of the movie has been designed

I delighted in the costumes, colors, and textures showcased in this film. From the white birch trees and peacock feathers to the amazing dresses, the movie is a design dream come true!

The End

Not your grandmother's pearls

"The pearl is the queen of gems and the gem of queens." - Author Unknown 

Custom cake by Sweetcakes, LLC

Actress Katherine Heigl

Holly Hunt Showroom

Wedded Bliss necklace by Arhaus
Room designed by Stan Topol

Ivanka Trump's glam apartment featured in Elle Decor

Timeless and classic. I view pearls as the most sophisticated of jewels. Whether resting around a beautiful actress's neck, acting as the feature detail on a wedding cake, or creating inspiration for a room design, pearls add luminosity and a feeling of luxury. By using the colors and the silky, reflective quality of pearls, the designers of the rooms above have created refined texture and shimmer throughout the spaces, which I find simply exquisite.

A little Red, lots of White, and Blue too

It's July! And in the USA, the beginning of the month is met with stars and stripes and explosions of our patriotic colors. While Americans celebrate independence and freedom and watch our hometown parades, we also pay homage to 3 essential colors which can be seen on everything from cupcakes, clothes, faces, floats, politicians, pinwheels, sofas, and the now famous, SOLO Cup

Together, red, white, and blue ignite visions of summer - pools and grills - and the flag and all it stands for. But used separately in design, these colors create their own dynamic. 

RED - I love red! But when designing a space, I like to use it like sugar in my coffee - just enough to enhance the flavor. Red is a fabulous color because it makes everything around it more beautiful and interesting. A red accent piece does for a room what the perfect shade of red lipstick does for a woman.

My Favorite Red Paint: Benjamin Moore's Flamenco

My Favorite color combo with red: Pale pink and bright orange

WHITE - the more the better! Nothing creates a cleaner, fresher look than a good coat of glossy white paint. It is the best backdrop for bringing out any color. 

Variations of white illuminate this room, designed by Jan Showers, giving more oomph to the rich chocolate used on the chairs.

BLUE - Classic, clean, comfortable blue. No other color is as accepted or as accessible. Navy is neutral, so it goes with everything! From your favorite Jimmy Choos to a fabulous vintage desk, you just can't go wrong with navy.

And these days, nothing says forever like a sparkling Sapphire! 

Then, when you combine red, white, and blue in one room like Robert Couturier did in the space below....fireworks!

Happy 4th!

Bring on the shine and shimmer!

Few spaces emit the opulence of Versailles. I took this picture in 2008 while on a trip to Paris and London with my husband. I remember feeling completely enchanted by this hall.   The gold, the light, the reflection of the mirrors - all made me want to put on a voluminous ball gown and dance! Of course, the 100 plus other visitors there inhibited my fantasy just a bit. 

The ornate decor of Versailles is quite overwhelming, but I do love to see the recent return to old world glamour, influenced by modern functionality, in the design world. 

These chairs by Jan Showers are an exquisite example.

Personally, I am always drawn to a space with a spectacular chandelier. Nothing says "look at me" like a great lighting fixture. And, nothing brightens a room or brings it more depth like a large mirror. So, I say, "Go bold and decorate with gold!" Just make sure to balance your shimmer with a grounding, organic element like fabulous reclaimed wood floors.

Esoclectic Obsessions: The Beginning

Since I was about 12 years old, I've been obsessed with fabulous interiors. A trip with my mother to see the Vanderbilt's summer home in Newport, Rhode Island, The Breakers, (above) was all it took to get me addicted. My love for historic homes and elaborate interiors, enhanced by my love for classic literature, inspired many trips to the public library's architecture section. Architecture. Art. Furniture. History. Literature. Texture. These passions have led me on my path to interior design. 

Funny how your life's path intertwines with your passions, even when you don't set out to follow them. My passion for literature led me to attend The University of Tampa and obtain a BA in English Literature and then, to become a high school English teacher. Along that path, I met my husband, whom I call my modern-day-Renaissance-man because of his love for writing, wood-working, renovation, theater, music, and art, which all seem to contradict with his success in the IT world (but yes, he also loves sci-fi!). His love of writing led us to the Boston area, where he earned an MFA from Emerson College. Transplanting our family from Florida to New England destined us for another romance: our five bedroom, 1900 Colonial Revival home in Gloucester, which was in desperate need of re-birth and good design. Of course, after 5 years, we are still renovating!

And, the home renovation process brought me back to look through those books on architecture and design again...

Meanwhile, teaching English and doing hours of homework, while managing an elderly house, a tantrum-throwing toddler and a precocious pre-schooler was feeling like a suicide cocktail. So, I abandoned the teaching profession for part-time office work at a non-profit and went back to school, taking classes in interior design.

Now, mid 2012, I launch Esoclectic Interior and Event Design, and my passions have become my business!