Going going!

10 Nov 2015

I have been dying to post about everything that's been going on over here lately...  And now I'm trying to figure out where to begin.

{The beautiful-yet-slightly-creepy bowling alley in the basement at Greystone.  It's featured in There Will be Blood}  

So here we go...  A couple of weeks ago, right after High Point Market, David and I took a trip to L.A. with Gisele (almost 6 months at the time) to install our spaces for Maison de Luxe 2015, a designer showcase at Greystone Mansion.  It was a three-day whirlwind of a trip. 

 

 

 Gisele seemed to enjoy the plane:  

  

I designed the Maison de Luxe spaces in the few weeks just after Gisele was born this past May, when nights were fairly sleepless and finding a moment to work was rare, and so I was definitely a bit more nervous than usual about things working out for the install.  I'd never been to Greystone, either, and so for mood & vibe, I went off of photos and things I'd read about the house.  

 

{My concept for the Stair Tower Sitting Room.  I'm so thankful to the companies who loaned us pieces for the showhouse: Farrow & Ball (paint)/ Urban Electric Co. (sconces)/   Lee Industries(chairs & outdoor sectional)/ Emporium Home (cow/zebra painted ottoman)/ Woven Accents (vintage rug)/ Dennis & Lean (boiserie)/ Antique Drapery Rod Co. and also to Made Goods who loaned us the outdoor dining table & chairs and garden balls and Frontgate who loaned us pillows, and outdoor candles & lanterns.}

{My concept for the terrace off the stair tower} 

I was also a bit self-conscious about bringing my baby with me to something like Maison de Luxe but everyone could not have been sweeter to us and her.

{our little install buddy}

  

Day 1 of our install consisted of all of our furnishings (and books for the bookshelves!) being delivered.  Here's what the spaces looked like when we arrived:

{The Stair Tower Sitting Room: The walls had been painted Farrow & Ball's "Pitch Black" and the lighting had been installed.} 


{The Terrace: We'd had the ground repainted to cover an intricate floor design from a previous showhouse} 

  

We hired a team member, Jennifer Alden, to help us coordinate on the West Coast and she was a-mazing.  We'd been working with her for months leading up to the install, and so meeting her in person was so much fun!! I pretty much held the baby the whole time and gave input as needed, while David & Jen made it happen.  Curtains went up and we generally arranged everything.  We left with it looking pretty good, but really, without the art & all of the accessories, it was still a shell of a room:

 

That night, I had dinner with a few of the other designers in the showhouse- organized by my beautiful friend Amy Meier- and we had so much fun!!  Lots of laughs and I definitely met some kindred spirits. :)

{Ashley, Amy's assistant, Chloe Warner, Amy Meier, Andrew Brown and me!  Brian Paquette had just left! Love these people!!}    

Day 2 of our install meant time to go shopping!!  With a baby.  

My original art work selection had fallen through, so I had some major walls to fill.  Like many of my spaces, greenery was a key element of the design, so we started off at Rolling Greens and went plant crazy so we could get that out of the way before going after the art, which would be harder.  We picked up ferns, moss, olive trees, topiaries and succulents to fill in both the indoor and outdoor spaces.  


Jen Alden, pictured above, has such an amazing eye and it was so much fun to collaborate together on the styling!!  She is crazy talented. Jen went back to the mansion to start on the styling, while David, Gisele, and I drove around town looking for art.   I CANNOT. GET. OVER. how good the design is out there!!  There are so many interiors stores!!  Each one seemed to have its own unique point of view and I fell in love with so much that we saw.  But we had a very large wall to fill and I needed it to be perfect.  I finally found the piece around 2 or 3:00, a reproduction boiserie, at Dennis & Lean.  

 

I was truly awestruck by Dennis & Lean, and its sister showroom, Formations, pictured above.  They were incredible and really wonderful to loan the piece on such short notice. We rushed back to Greystone, where Jen had been styling away the bookshelves, and hung the boiserie, which was just what the space needed:  


We headed back to our hotel, did room service in our sweats (YESSSSSS) and watched movies.  We were up and out early the next AM for our flight home.  

We'd missed the boys like crazy.  Part of missing them so much came from knowing we'd be traveling so much more in the upcoming weeks.  The day after we got home, the plumbing in our house- still being renovated- began to deteriorate around us.  Louie stuffed an entire package's worth of wipes down the toilet while we were gone, which backed up our entire system and caused a leak and other really fun issues that only a plumber could fix.  The day after that, as we were ready to leave to do something fun with the kids, a random toilet backed up and leaked down through the light housing holes in the kitchen on our new cabinets...  :(  It was amazingly horrible.  

Sunday night came way too quickly and we flew to Birmingham (by way of Chicago- really?!!) Monday morning and got there late Monday afternoon for an upcoming project.  


{The newly opened Grand Bohemian Hotel in Mountain Brook, Alabama} 

We visited with one of my favorite architects, Jeffrey Dungan, and his sweet girlfriend Lindsey, and got to see some of his amazing work.  It was, not surprisingly, seriously breathtaking.  I CANNOT wait to go back to Birmingham.  It's the first place I've ever really visited and left thinking, "I want to live there."  Dave and I both fell in love with it.  


So much of the local stone has been quarried and used all over the area and I couldn't get enough of it!!  (Don't worry, I'm not moving... yet!! ;) ;)

 

We ate with Jeff & Lindsey at the delicious (and gorgeous!) Galley and Garden, (above) designed by Jeff, and Gisele got the tour of the whole place from the head chef, including inside the kitchen:


We had the most amazing time there & I can't wait to go back!! 

Time flew as usual and we made it to the airport just in time (thanks to Jeff!!) for our flight.  Off to Chicago to switch planes and turn back around for DC. Again, getting home to the boys was like heaven.  I just miss them so much.

We met with a couple of wonderful clients- both new and existing- as the week went on, and on Thursday, I was really honored and touched by the beautiful book party that my friends & clients at Varnish Lane Nail Salon- Carrie & Lauren Dunne- hosted:

 


 


{photos by Joy Asico} 

I've mentioned it before, but they are truly some of the kindest, most thoughtful people ever.  I got to meet & mingle with readers and it was so much fun! David & Gisele joined us for a bit at the end... or rather, Gisele, showed up and said it was time to eat.

 

Halloween weekend was full of - much-needed- family time.


We left the next week (last week) for L.A. again, and this time we got to stay a bit longer and to celebrate.  We arrived just in time for the Luxe Designer dinner thrown by Luxe editor-in-chief Pamela Jaccarino (pic below), whom I adore.  What struck me about this designer showhouse is that every single designer I met was truly nice and I left feeling so honored to be a part of such a special group of people.  I had such a blast. 


The next morning and afternoon, we photographed our space with the lovely Amy Bartlam, and I can't wait to see the pics!!  After the shoot, David & I (along with Gisele) had some time to explore Greystone a bit on our own and to talk to the park rangers who work there every day and also other designers about their experiences there.  Once I heard my first "ghost story" about Greystone, I had to learn more so I spoke with more people, and everyone seemed to have something.  We heard some CRAZY stories.  



{Photos of Greystone way back when}

 

Without getting into it on here, let's just say that Greystone truly seems haunted.  The murder-suicide seems to have only been the beginning with more tragedy taking place there throughout the years.  I had read that things were dandy after that, but according to people we talked with, that wasn't the case. We got to hear recordings taken at night in the house that captured what sounded like doors slamming and/ or gunshots in the middle of the night.  


Lots of people reported mentioned feeling things in certain areas of the house...  I definitely got the chills at certain points but I'm not sure if that isn't more because what I'd heard, rather than what I was feeling.  In general, I really fell for the house and got good vibes.  The house itself has such a presence, for sure, that it's almost like another person in the room with you.  Or in the garden with you or wherever it is you might be.  I'm not sure that's making sense but it's almost as if when you're there, you just don't really ever quite feel alone.  The rangers do not like to be in the house alone at night, that's for sure.  I've always been fascinated by ghost stories and being in a real-life haunted mansion was surreal.


{wandering...the grand entry} 

The Maison de Luxe Gala Thursday night was packed.  I think something like over 800 guests showed up but unfortunately, there was a major traffic jam and not everyone made it in.  (450 or so I think??)  It was really amazing to see Greystone full of people, with music and chatting & laughing throughout.  Everyone looked amazing.  

{My good friend, designer Paloma Contreras of La Dolce Vita, was in town! Here we are in the sitting room} 

There was a moment at the beginning of the night when the house was still mostly empty and I was walking up the stairs to get to my rooms, with music wafting in from outside... I felt like the whole thing was straight out of a movie or the past.  There's this incredible timelessness about Greystone that an event like the gala just seems to underscore.

{Had so much fun with these two! Mark Sikes & Paloma Contreras.  Paloma is a close friend and it was so great getting to know Mark, one of her best friends.  Both are incredibly sweet & talented.}  

The next day, it was back to the mansion to shoot for an episode of NBC's Open House LA (yay!) and we got a bit more time to explore the mansion ourselves before heading back to our Hotel to finally chill.  

 

I've been wanting to stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel since Phyllis Nefler took Troop Beverly Hills there in 1989. We loved it!  


{pink+ green everywhere} 


{The Polo Lounge} 

Gisele enjoyed it too...

 

Saturday was the opening day of Maison de Luxe and though it felt like the end to me, it was really only the beginning of the showhouse.  I got to meet so many nice people.  (My feet straight up gave up on me that day.  They were SO DONE with heels.)  Saying goodbye to the rangers (Especially Ranger Steve!) and the Luxe team was bittersweet for sure.  I walked away realizing I'd probably never get to work in a house and an event with such a fascinating history ever again. I know I'll be back to Greystone, but will I ever get to explore it unhindered like that again?


The best part of Maison de Luxe for me, was getting to see good friends and making new ones.  (I honestly was having too much fun to remember to take very many photos, but I'm bummed I didn't get photos of everyone to share.) It's rare that I get to spend so much time- work, dinners & parties- with friends in the industry.  Traveling for a project is so different because you don't go home at night and you really have time to bond with everyone.  I feel like I've made some lifelong friends and cannot get over -not only how talented everyone I met is- but also how fun and funny and sweet they all are.  It's really been an unforgettable experience if you can't tell from all of the warm fuzzies I'm spewing ;)  When I can share more about how the final spaces turned out, I will.  The Luxe Winter issue will feature Greystone and all of the amazing spaces the designers created.. 

We made it home Sunday night, snuggled the boys, and spent most of yesterday getting reacquainted with projects and working on the layout for the marble slabs in our kitchen (wooohooo!!) and hanging with the kids when they got home from school.  I wish I could just stop time right now to be with them.  I miss them so much it's crazy.  I'm loving everything we are doing but I'm ready for things to slow down a bit.  When we hit Christmas, we have a true break, and I plan on unplugging for a couple of weeks and slowing down.  Right now, I'm doing okay, but each day is a blur from morning until night, and then more of a blur as Gisele wakes up for multiple feedings.  The days are so full that I kind of forget that the house is completely under construction right now.  I've had only ONE real day in the past two months of living here where we did not need to be somewhere and had the time to try to get organized.  It was so much fun!!!  Seriously, the laundry, the toy clean up, the closet organizing.... loved it.  Our day ended in a wrestling match that resulted in my three boys now thinking I am "stronger than Daddy." (apparently he takes it easy on them?!! ;) :)

{the living room is still blue but not for long!!}

On the homefront, the kitchen is getting there!!

{Our new lights from Barn Light Electric arrived and I love them!! There are 30 of them in the kitchen/family room.  Barn Light gave them to us & I'm seriously thankful. I'm trying out different bulb options this week.}   

 The cabinets are being painted today, along with the walls and trim in various rooms of the house, and the countertops are being installed on THURSDAY!!!  I CANNOT WAIT!!!!

Here's a view of the family room on the other side of the kitchen: 


{Being painted tomorrow!!}

 

 I'm SO READY to be cooking & eating better.  We take out most meals- when we're home- from Sweet Greens, which I actually really like.  I've been ordering the same salad for over a month now.  My mom & grandmother have dropped off soups randomly, which is the best.  Our refrigerator and other appliances should be installed soon and I'm hoping to be in business in the kitchen next week!!  I CANNOT WAIT TO MAKE SOME SOUP!!!!!!

{I selected two slabs of honed White Cararra Gioi... they just barely fit and I had to make some modifications to my design to use them} 

I looooove our painted floors.  


(We used Farrow & Ball's "Off White" Floor Paint)  They've been hard to keep clean with all of the construction so I can't wait for all of the literal dust to settle so I can really wash them and see what living on them will really be like.  Absolutely, we'll be cleaning the floors more than we used to, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing now that I'm seeing how much dirt we actually bring in.  (We now have grass growing in the back yard-see below- instead of dirt so that's helped! )


{We added terraced vegetable garden beds into the hill flanking the existing steps in our back yard} 

I'm looking so forward to having time to work at the house this weekend!!  We're going to paint the boys' bedrooms if we can and hopefully hang some art and get it feeling more like home around here.  I've planned out our living room built-ins and I'm hoping to share the plans along with the kitchen plans with you as soon as I can time-wise.   

On another note, my One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale was extended through November 13th (woohoo!) and there are a few things left including pillows, a few showroom pieces of upholstery, and a couple of one-of-a-kinds. Here's a little preview: 

{A pair of my "Queen Anne's Lace" pillows} 

 

{In love with this plaster bust on wood stand and it's probably coming home with me if it doesn't sell...  I need more shelves at home!!} 

 

{A moody vintage abstract piece} 

 

{An almost-new Danish modern inspired chair}

And, finally, on the book front- things have been going really well!  Thank you so much to all of you who have written, and who have purchased books for you or friends & family.  I really appreciate the support and in no way would have been able to do this book without you.  It's been so fun meeting some of you!!  Here is a current rundown of where I'll be & when for book signings & parties where I hope to meet some of you!!

Thursday, Nov 12th (12-2) IFDA Event for Designers @ Westwood Country Club in Vienna, VA

Tuesday, Nov 17th (5:30) NAT'L PRESS CLUB BOOK FAIR & AUTHORS NIGHT. DC Buy tickets here

Thursday, Nov 18th (6:30) BALLARD DESIGNS BOOK PARTY Atlanta, GA 

Saturday, December 5th (12-2) BALLARD DESIGNS BOOK PARTY King of Prussia, PA 

 

  *With Plans for Birmingham & New Orleans and a few others in the New Year**

I'll be posting RSVP info soon!! 


If you're interested in purchasing the book, you can go to the book page on my site or go here.  

 

So - if you're still reading- that's about it for now!  I started this post this morning and now it's after ten at night (I took a break to see a client this afternoon) but just felt like I had to share all of this because I didn't want to forget any of it and it's been a really special time.  (And this blog is like my (very public) journal.) These past couple of weeks have been amazing and eye-opening.  They've made me realize that I'd definitely like to travel more for projects to experience the flavor of other places, and we're taking some steps towards making that possible. (!! So let me know if you have a great project you think I should be traveling for!! :)  I'll be back to share details on my kitchen plans as soon as I can!!    


-