Tuesday, September 27, 2011


You all were so enthusiastic about the first Look for Less that I put together, I decided to do another. This one is based on this elegant, serene office from Williams Sonoma Home:

Williams Sonoma home is probably the first place I'd choose if you told me that I had to decorate my entire space from one store. Their designs strike the perfect balance between antique and modern, and when you see their pieces in person you can feel the quality and attention to detail. And that's probably why everything is so atrociously expensive. I think this look for less retains a lot of that high-end feeling - except I've cut the price tag by up to 90%! Since this image is from a few years ago, some of the pieces have been discontinued - but with some internet sleuthing I found almost all the original prices for comparison. The real deal is on the left; the better deal is on the right!

sisal rug at Overstock and Smithsonian Archive wool rug at Shades of Light
Bed, Bath and Beyond desk
Ballard wing chair (fabric: Linen Hemp; finish: Cognac)
replica of Mies van der Rohe's Brno chair (in Camel)
Land of Nod basket
jewelry box by ExcaliburWoodWorks on Etsy
John Lewis clock
pillow by PillowMood on Etsy
Lamps Plus lamp (white shade available when you design your own)
photographs one and two by CatsMeowArt and CattieCoyleDesigns on Etsy
zebra pillow by studioei8ht on Etsy

As one commenter astutely noted on my last Look for Less, these take freaking forever to put together. And the most frustrating part is when I find the perfect lookalike for a specific piece, only to find that it's been discontinued or... in this case, is only available in the UK:

perfect, right?! Harley Desk, £359 = $560

Other times, I'll find exact lookalikes but decide against them in favor of a cheaper close second. If you want the exact same desk lamp, you can get it for $105 less here (it's made by Sonneman), and if you really like the barrel shape of the rattan garden seat, Waterworks has one for $175. Plus, even though the zebra floor cushion has been discontinued at WSH, you can get the exact same one for the exact same price at Sears


Oh, and if you really want your own piece of repro ancient Greek pottery to house your paper clips and rubber bands, this one might do nicely. I highly doubt that the piece in the photo is something that WSH ever sold; it's probably a stylist's addition. The shape of that one is called a kylix, and although the one I found has a different form, the runners motif is the same. 

Although that piece is a small accessory in the room, I felt obligated to include it because (I think) it has such a big visual impact. And that's one of the primary lessons of this "look for less" exercise: no matter the cost or quality of the pieces you buy in stores, it's the personal, unique additions that make your space reflect who you are. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I'm not sure if that's the right name for this trend (V stripes? Half-a-chevron?), but whatever it's called I'm liking it. Featuring a pattern that's bolder and more unique than your basic zig-zag, these pieces are standouts in perfect fall colors. 

1 >> Juicy Couture Fredo shoes, $250
2 >> vintage Vera scarf, $12
3 >> Oslo pillow at Bed Bath and Beyond, $26.99
4 >> Blu Bijou Orange Chevron Drop Earrings, $43
5 >> Marc by Marc Jacobs clutch, $280
6 >> Alice and Olivia Vida Metallic dress, $220

I'm particularly in love with the scarf, shoes and clutch. (Of course I like the two most expensive pieces. ugh.) Are you coveting any of these as much as I am? 

P.S. I'm working on a new Look for Less based on a room from one of my all-time favorite too-expensive stores. Get excited for some cheap prettiness!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Last week, Stacy commented on a post requesting some Craigslist finds in Baltimore. I'll admit it, smaller cities sometimes have slim pickings, and not all of the cool pieces I found fit into these three schemes. In any case, here are a few rooms very different styles put together from pieces found on Baltimore's Craigslist within the past few days. This time I've also included some fabrics that I imagine adding to the room for the finishing touches. 

cowhide rug
fretwork fabric
faux ostrich fabric

First, a sophisticated parlor with traditional but updated pieces. Flame stich has apparently jumped on the zig-zag bandwagon and is back in style, and I'm loving it on this little sofa. I love roman-style stools, and I'm imagining taking out the glass on these side tables and replacing it with upholstered cushions, perhaps in the black faux-ostrich shown. 


This is a pretty extreme turnaround from the style of the first room – this is a slightly retro, slightly eclectic take on mid-century modern style. The two chrome side tables would be placed in front of the couch, and I've re-imagined an outdated (and dirt cheap) settee in a colorful fabric by Thom Filicia for Kravet.

nesting tables
fabric, fabric, pillow

I've never designed a kid's room or nursery before so I had fun with this little trial run.  I love the combination of orange and aqua, particularly with lots of clean white. Every piece in this combination is pretty adorable, but the chippendale-like pattern of the shelf is particularly great, particularly with the modern pop of the nesting tables. 

Which is your favorite? Any requests for the next installment Craigslist Decorating?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


...or possibly not so little, actually. I've decided to revive the Etsy store of which, once upon a time, I was proprietor. It's stocked with a little bit of vintage everything, from beautiful antiquarian books to spiffed-up thrift store finds. My apartment is stuffed to the brim and I'm forbidden to buy more things, so rather than trying to make room for my favorite finds (or leave them behind - anything but that!), I'm offering them up to you. In addition to vintage housewares and décor, I'll also be selling ephemera, vintage stamps, and rare books chosen for their particularly beautiful bindings. 

Here's what's in store right now...

Vintage Lucite / Acrylic Box with Divider - Glamorous, Hollywood Regency
lucite box, $25

Two Vintage Gilt Bamboo Frames - Hollywood Regency style - marbled paper included
gold faux-bamboo frames with marbled paper, $25

Set of 4 Vintage Cylindrical Glass Apothecary Jars
set of four apothecary jars, $30

Small Chinoiserie Willow Pattern Blue and White Ginger Jar
petite chinoiserie willow pattern ginger jar, $20

I have to say, I have always been firmly on the side of utter disgust when I see books used for purely decorative purposes. This little trend that went around the stores a while ago (Pottery Barn, Ballard, Restoration Hardware, etc.) makes me cringe, and this just makes me sad. Why do designers create beautiful built-in walls of shelving for clients who don't have any books and will never touch or look at the "purely decorative" books their designers bought to artfully fill them with? And, having worked in not one but three different libraries over the years, the disturbing trend of displaying books spines inward almost makes me gag. Please tell me that nobody does this in real homes:

In short, destroying or shamefully hiding books to make a room look "styled better" is not okay in my book [see what I did there? ha.] Buying books for their covers, however, is something I can kind of get behind. Just like antique furniture and ephemera, rare and antiquarian books are valuable for many reasons, not least of which is their aesthetic value - the "they just don't make 'em like that anymore" factor. Though starting a collection of books with their covers torn off might get you some dirty looks from book-lovers and design enthusiasts alike, a collection of beautifully illustrated bindings is pretty legit. And if that's not a good enough argument, a lot of these sound like pretty interesting reads...

Set of 3 Vintage Rare Books with Beautiful Illustrated Bindings, 1870s - 1880s
set of three rare books, $50

Set of 3 Vintage Rare Books with Beautiful Illustrated Bindings, 1890s - 1930s
set of three rare books, $40

Set of 3 Vintage Rare Books with Beautiful Illustrated Bindings, 1870s - 1900s
set of three rare books, $50

Vintage postage stamps have become quite a trend in wedding and party design lately, and I can't argue - who wants [a] when you could have [b] or [c]? ...

So here you are: a huge selection of vintage stamps, sold in packets of 44¢ or in custom lots for weddings and parties. And if you are looking for something to match your color scheme, style or theme, well - I've got it. What you see listed is just a teeny, tiny portion of what's available...

One Set of Vintage Postage Stamps - Purple / Pink / Fuscia / Magenta - mail one letter
vintage postage stamps, magenta

One Set of Vintage Postage Stamps - Black & White / Greyscale - mail one letter
vintage postage stamps, black and white

One Set of Vintage Postage Stamps - Red White & Blue / Patriotic - mail one letter
vintage postage stamps, red white and blue

One Set of Vintage Postage Stamps - Flora / Flowers / Trees - mail one letter
vintage postage stamps, flora

One Set of Vintage Postage Stamps - Green - mail one letter
vintage postage stamps, green

One Set of Vintage Postage Stamps - Purple / Violet - mail one letter
vintage postage stamps, purple

One Set of Vintage Postage Stamps - Blue / Indigo / Teal / Navy / Cyan - mail one letter
vintage postage stamps, blue

Go check it out

And if you're wondering why I have a near-unlimited supply of vintage stamps, well, that's a story for another day...

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Of a little something I'm working on:

More to come later in the week! Plus a new Craigslist Decorating is in the works, too...

Friday, September 9, 2011


Welcome to everyone visiting from 6th Street Design School today! I'm honored to be featured on Kirsten's fantastic blog as part of her Feature Friday series. If you haven't already discovered 6th Street Design School, go pay a visit! Here's a little sampling of the loveliness you'll find there...

6th Street Design School



Thanks again, Kirsten!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments on my last post! It sounds as though my existing regimen of posting about whatever I'm currently obsessed with is just fine with you all. Although I'm sad to say that posts about my personal decorating projects will be few and far between now that our apartment is just about stuffed to the brim (and the fiancé has helped with about as many DIY projects as he can handle), I would love to do more Craigslist and look-for-less features, since we both love them. Let me know in the comments which city's Craigslist you'd like me to explore next!

In the meantime, what I'm obsessed with right now is fall fashion. Fall is far and away my favorite season, and as soon as August hits I start getting fed up with sticky summer and longing for cooler air, changing colors and plenty of plaid, wool, flannel, jackets and boots. Although I still love my lace-up heels and wedge ankle boots, I've been fixated with this fall's take on flat, cozy tuxedo slippers (did I mention that fall also seems to turn me into a total prep?). Referred to alternately as 'tuxedo slippers,' 'smoking slippers,' or included under the more vague heading of 'loafers,' these preppy shoes have come a long way since these gents donned them:

via here and here

Not only have they become an acceptable form of daytime outerwear, they're also not just for men anymore.

I've put together a rather exhaustive roundup of this season's offerings, from vintage to Urban Outfitters to Alexander Wang. Starting with the masters: Stubbs and Wootton. They make bespoke slippers with an enormous assortment of fabrics, colors, and embroidery options. While you can certainly go the traditional route and order a pair of black velvet slippers with a gold monogram, they also offer some more unconventional options. 

all via stubbsandwootton.com


If, like me, you cringe at the thought of spending several hundred dollars on a pair of flats, here are some more realistic potential purchases.  In everything from snakeskin to tapestry to sequins, studs and spikes, here are some modern interpretations of the classic style:

columns, left to right:
column 1: Donald J. Pliner, $175 || Nicole, $85 || River Island, $55 || ASOS, $64 || ASOS, $119 || J. Crew, $275 || Etsy, $16 || J. Crew, $228 || Etsy, $18
column 2: Steve Madden, $130 || next three, Steve Madden, $80-$120 || Steve Madden, $130 || Donald J. Pliner, $175 || Urban Outfitters, $39 || Urban Outfitters, $34
column 3: Sam Edelman, $150 || Matiko, $80 || Etsy, $20 || Jeffrey Campbell, $100 || Ebay, $40 || Zara, $70 || Jimmy Choo, $495 || Matt Bernson, $154 || Alloy, $35

Among my favorite details are Topshop's brightly colored tassels and Cynthia Rowley's yellow trim – and the versions by a few designers who got even more creative with the trend and introduced heels to the mix. Alexander Wang's patent loafers seem to be already ubiquitous, featured in all of this season's fashion magazines and scattered across the blogosphere. Lucky for us, I found some tassels, monograms, and Wang knock-offs at reasonable price points...

clockwise from upper left:
Stubbs and Wootton on Ebay, $111
Topshop, $100
Topshop, $100
Etsy, $23
Ann Taylor, $137
Cynthia Rowley for HSN, $129
Etsy, $34
Alexander Wang, $650
Ralph Lauren, $650

And if you're not satisfied with any of those options, the British company Shipton and Heneage offers COM slippers. That's right, you can have any fabric you can get your hands on made into a pair of shoes. What fabric would you choose?