Be Still My Heart: Tilton Fenwick’s Downtown Loft

I’m lucky enough to continue to write for the magazine I used to edit, CTC&G and its sister pub, NYC&G. Every once in awhile I get a project that absolutely speaks to me and March’s NYC&G feature on Tilton Fenwick’s awesome, exploding-with-color downtown loft is one of them. I first met the ladies behind Tilton Fenwick, Suysel and Anne, at DIFFA a few years ago where we became fast friends. I previously wrote about one of their projects on Curbed and have been following their work ever since. I seriously love these girls—both their work and personalities just exude charm and fun. Here’s the loft in all it’s glory:

The best part about this: This living space is TAME for Tilton Fenwick. The China Seas Abre de Matisse fabric on the sofa was the starting point and they added in layers of yellow and blue.

The library is where they really showed off what they do. Custom blue lacquered walls and Schumacher’s Zanzibar on the tufted sofa. It takes real color geniuses to mix this much pattern and color and make it one of the coziest spots in the space.

And of course, Suysel and Anne can’t go without wallpaper in most of the bedrooms and bathrooms.  I think they’ve only had one project where they didn’t use it. If you look closely at the headboard you’ll see the tufting is done in a brown linen, which tones down the traditional a little bit.

The client saw this Osborne & Little paper on the Tilton Fenwick blog and fell in love with it—and then hired TF for the project.

Luckiest little girl ever who gets to sleep in this bed cocooned in a Designer’s Guild fabric. You can’t see it, but the backside is the same fabric as the headboard.

Full story on NYC&G.

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San Francisco Nursery

Had the great pleasure of doing the nursery of one of my childhood best friends. Kate and I once kidnapped a pair of ceramic deer from a stranger’s lawn. (We aren’t delinquents, promise!) We were dressed as elves, mind you, and since this was around Christmas time, we put Santa hats and big red bows on the deer and returned them in the middle of the night with a note saying they had been visiting Santa’s workshop. (See? Not delinquents! Just a regular old happy, heart warming Christmas story.) Needless to say, we had fun working on this project together. The starting point for the nursery was one of my favorite fabrics, Lulu DK for Schumacher’s Ode to Matisse:


We really wanted to show off the huge pattern repeat of the Lulu fabric so decided on a BIG window shade:image

So adorable. We also made a couple of big floor pillows with the same fabric plus Windsor Smith for Kravet’s Regent Stripe that had all of Kate’s favorite colors (peacock blue, yellow and turquoise) and another Lulu DK goodie, Fireworks, which is also on the custom crib skirt.


Lulu DK for Schumacher Fireworks

I got to use one of my favorite colors, Benjamin Moore’s Little Dipper, for the walls:


 And Kate found these wonderful and colorful prints from Woop Studios.


Here’s the gorgeous Adeleh loving her room!


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In Search of the Perfect Paper

Every single inch of the new house was painted inside except this drab little hallway. It’s got a fancy glazed treatment, but there’s no light in here and the walls just look completely sad and depressed.


It needs a fun light fixture (in mind: my favorite Gabby pendant by Stray Dog Designs or the Parker Pendant from Currey & Co.) and definitely some paper. Here’s where I’m having an awful time making a decision. I want something that looks freehand—very Matisse or Sister Parish-with-a-kick like. Or do I? Maybe something more graphic or Moroccan. I can’t decide. Here’s what I love:


Aphro Chic’s Juju


Marimekko’s Bottna in green


China Seas can do no wrong and this is their Arbre de Matisse Reverse.  Seen here in Tory Burch’s breakfast room. 


Rampura from Schumacher. (This is actually a top contender.)image

Sanderson Matisse Leaf.

I also went nuts for this William Morris paper in the September issue of House Beautiful.


Lost two good hours of sleep researching Morris papers.


Pomegranate is gorgeous.


Persian pattern #396 from the archives.

But then I kind of get into that whole Moroccan thing.


Madeline Weinrib's Moroc also has that hand-drawn look I love.


Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s Marrakesh stopped me in the Donhgia NY showroom.


Then, of course, I’ve been dying to use these in a project, so maybe I should use it in the project I have complete free reign over?


Bob Collins Chinese Lattice.


Paper Mills Little Havana.


Schumarcher’s Chiang Mai Dragon in Aquamarine.

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West Village Before & After

It took moving to Athens for me to finally get around to shooting my projects. First up, one of my favorite makeovers, a one bedroom in the West Village. My client is Southern, so my enthusiasm for color and pattern did not freak her out, thank god. First the before:

West Village Before

West Village Before.

A little depressing. The end goal was to turn this into a super happy and bright space that had a dining area as well as a work space that could function as a bar for entertaining (client loves to throw parties). Here’s what she got:

New couch in a lime green quilted cotton plus her sad looking chair got a new look with a wild floral print slipcover. Custom pillows plus a neutral rug and bamboo blinds. A natural fiber trunk for much needed storage.

I put up a shelf that works as a desk and a bar when entertaining. Acrylic chairs tucked underneath don’t take up much visual space. The black and white print tones down the extreme brights a bit.

And here is the “dining room.”  I repainted and recovered client’s existing chairs and found the distressed white wash chest at Brooklyn Flea. So I had a major, major obsession with this Shirley Fintz lamp (I seriously thought about it everyday for a stretch) and my client was scared to death of it. It wasn’t until install that she was finally convinced it was perfect. Though I’m tempted to take it back from her for myself.

In the miniscule bedroom, an existing tallboy got a coat of navy paint plus some new rope coil hardware. A white duvet with a navy border from Serena & Lily and, because she is from the south, custom shams in Lily Pulitzer’s Heritage Floral.

Photos by the amazingly talented  Gigi Gatewod.

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I already wrote about this for Interior Design, but I am loving Eskayel’s new children’s line Kwoma: fabrics, wallpaper, and ready made poufs and storage bins with all of designer Shanan Campanaro’s signature dreaminess.

This is Head Hunter in dew and I love it as a neutral and can see it almost every environment. Adore.

Areca Palms

Coconut Chine. How sophisticated are these patterns for a nursery?

You can stick these in your living room as toy storage and they are so unoffensive and un-kiddy. I loved them so much, I also put them in my decor round up for Scooter magazine (out soon!).

Obsessing over the work of Charleston-based artist Jennifer Latimer. Most of her work is inspired by fashion/the runway, but not in a girly way, which is what I love about. Some of my favorites:


YSL in March


Banff Garden Poppies & Roses. Pinks, oranges and reds—one of my favorite color combinations.


In Bloom inspired by Gucci Pre-Spring 2013


Inspired by the jeweled tones of Fall Winter 2012 fashion. I love the gold with the cobalt.


Lip Kiss. Isn’t this just fabulous? I just scooped this up for a client’s bedroom.

And the Mod Floral series is my absolute favorite.

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Hello (Again) Chintz!

My pals over at Curbed asked me to predict design trends for 2013. I am a traditionalist at heart so chintz has always been it for me, but I’m pretty sure it will be huge (again) this year. (Thanks Mrs. Astor!) Oh, and so does the Wall Street Journal. Let’s go chintz!

I spied this at a dear friend’s wedding at the Hillsboro Club in Florida this past November. The perfect old-school club print.

Here it is on the walls and the windows in a room by Syrie Maugham. Wonderful.

First, this particular room is a NAP room by Charlotte Moss. Its sole purpose is FOR NAPPING. If you have a nap room, you really can’t use anything but chintz. Second, I need a nap room.

See how modern this chair looks in the old-fashioned chintz?

Billy Baldwin did Diana Vreeland’s living room in scarlet chintz.

Of course, the Greenbrier done by Carleton Varney is chintz having the most fun. 

This could be either Palm Beach or Southampton, but Maria Buatta’s (the Prince of Chintz) living room is divine.

My new favorite is Lily Pulitzer for Lee Jofa’s Heritage floral. A bright and modern take on floral. Using it in the bedroom in a West Village project to perk up the bed a little bit.

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Favorite Things...: Alexa Stevenson: Georgia native transplanted to Brooklyn, a decorator and shelter magazine writer shares her Favorite... ›


Alexa Stevenson is an interior decorator who moonlights as a writer and editor for various shelter sites and publications, including and Cottages & Gardens Publications. With seven years experience as a magazine editor and stylist, Alexa left editorial to become the visual and…

This was fun. Thanks, Lucy! (Ps. Lucy is the best at what she does.)

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West Village Project Sneak Peek

So excited about the transformation of this West Village apartment. A few things trickling in to finish it off, but here’s a peek. The living/dining room is about 16 feet by 10 and I  carved out a seating and dining area plus an “office.” I don’t think there’s a color I didn’t use in here. I adore this project!

Super preppy custom pillows: blue ticking pillows paired with a green floral with a yellow grosgrain box pleat trim.


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There is nothing better then seeing one of the spaces I’ve designed being lived in and loved. My client and I really wanted to create a master that was bright and sophisticated without taken itself too seriously and nothing so precious that anything would be ruined by “kids jumping on the bed.” Love this happy space.

There is nothing better then seeing one of the spaces I’ve designed being lived in and loved. My client and I really wanted to create a master that was bright and sophisticated without taken itself too seriously and nothing so precious that anything would be ruined by “kids jumping on the bed.” Love this happy space.

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