My finds for summer decorating: thrills and steals.

It’s going to be 102 degrees in Phoenix today, which means that the only thing I want to do is lie on the couch, drinking watermelon agua fresca and looking at catalogs in which summer is pretty and you need a sweater at night. Happily, this behavior means that I’ve unearthed excellent summer finds for your house — both high and low.

THRILL: Clearly, my friends at Serena & Lily are trying to make me crawl to their offices in Sausalito on my knees. These striped chairs were made for my backyard. $1795 each. .

STEAL: Striped outdoor pouf from CB2, which I’ve put into my shopping cart about four times. I need them. No, I don’t. I need them. I REALLY don’t. $89.95.

STEAL: Get your stripes on with this entire frenchified collection. $895 for an outdoor sofa that looks imported from France and will last forever? Bargain, in my book. We’re installing this at a home on Coronado this week. I also think it would be great pulled up to a kitchen table. And the bar cart! Also from Serena & Lily, which is just killing it lately.

THRILL: Despite all of my preaching about a moratorium on chevron, which I cannot stand to see anymore, I just brought this beach tote home from Anthropologie, $78. “It’s not really chevron,” said my sister Heidi, in the store. She’s lying, but that was nice of her. I love it.

THRILL: This coral-esque chandelier was just introduced at High Point market. It’s all you’d need to make a room. Available through me at DeCesare Design Group. Let’s order two. One for me, one for you.

Arteriors Diallo Chandelier #2

STEAL: Lucite boy/girl bookends from The Novogratz at CB2, $49.95 each. Love those Novogratz.



STEAL: Giant drink dispenser with a bird on top, $29. And don’t miss the giant $20 mason jar version, both at Cost Plus World Market.

THRILL: In person, these crocks are so stylish and heavy, $39-$49 at Pottery Barn. My sisters and I approved.

Metric Ceramic Crocks

STEAL: These dip-dyed stools from Serena & Lily (told you, on FIRE) will also be making a cameo at the house on Coronado. And at my house. Just $58 and $68.

STEAL: Stitched outdoor pillows with  major style from West Elm – even better in person and in stock at the Scottsdale store. And they’re on sale — $24.

Outdoor Embroidered Stars Pillow

THRILL: Loving these sayings pillows that we have  at Design*Lab.  I am tempted to wrap up “You’re Right” and give it to myself, from Tyson, as a hint. He’s one of THOSE men. Love him, but I’ve never heard these words come from his mouth.

Here’s to the good life this summer, indeed.

P.S. Did you hear my news? I’ve joined the design team at DeCesare Design Group. Renovating? Decorating? Building a new house? Telephone moi or send me a note:  480-668-5490,

By |2013-05-13T07:07:18-07:00May 13th, 2013|Style|3 Comments

How to hang a gallery wall in 9 steps

In my mother’s lexicon, we call a gallery wall “The Smithsonian Institution.” The best gallery walls tell a story about the people they surround, like a museum of  lives.

They can seem tough, but I’ve found nine steps to making a wall pretty and personal.

This is the gallery in our upstairs loft, which my mom helped me assemble from things I’ve collected over the years. (The camera angle makes the silhouettes seem higher than everything else, but they’re even with the eagle on the mirror in the middle.)

Step One: Limit yourself to two or three colors of frames. Mine are white and black with silver accents.

Step Two: Choose a large centerpiece to anchor the wall, like this bullseye mirror I found in an antique store.

Step three: Choose things that are round or oddly shaped, especially things that have unusual texture, like aged metal or wicker or yellowing paper. This metal horse is a vintage piece from FOUND.

Step four: Add a few vintage keepsakes to make the assemblage look collected instead of bought, as well as adding in meaning. This hat was my Granna’s, from the ’40s.

Step Five: Dig around the garage for things that tell your story. At my sister Heidi’s house, we unearthed her husband’s deflated football and hung it on the wall, along with a favorite baby outfit.


Step six: Almost anything that means something to you looks good in a frame. I dressed up this old varsity letter, because my T was a jock.

I found this greeting card when Tyson and I were first dating, hoping he might be more.

Photo booth pictures? You bet. This was from the best Halloween Marni and I had in New York City a few years back. We danced on tables at the Standard Hotel.

Step eight: Lay out your treasures on the floor in front of your wall. Get the spacing between the pictures as even as you can. Balance round and small, light frames and dark, on each side of your arrangement. Start hanging them up.

Step seven: Hang something in an unusual way — not from the usual hook or nail. Try an oversized coat bracket, or one of those pretty Anthropologie hooks. I used a boat cleat and ship’s rope from ACE Hardware to hang my Granna’s old dating journal.

Step eight: Add something with major three-dimensional texture to break up the flat plane, like these paper antlers from West Elm.

Step nine: Make sure that it’s filled with things that mean something to you, like this drawing my editor did of my Grandpa,and old librettos from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. This is your chance to show off things that you love but don’t know what to do with.

Some contenders:

*Vintage family photos

*Maps of places you’ve lived

*The matchbox from your honeymoon hotel or favorite neighborhood restaurant

*A love note from your kid

*Your wedding invitation

*Your parents’ wedding invitation

*Framed jewelry inherited from a grandmother.

*Diplomas and awards

*Baby photos of everyone in the family — even you.

At the bottom of my wall, I added vintage letters that spell out “Proud,” which is how I feel about everything in that space — family, friends, experiences, and love.


By |2012-11-06T05:32:19-07:00November 6th, 2012|DIY + Projects|0 Comments

Tooth Fairy Doors D-I-Y

For Christmas, I gave some little people that I love homemade tooth fairy doors. The doors hang on the wall — above a nightstand, say, providing access to coin-bearing nymphs that visit in the night.

I love the gift of imagination.


The doors are meant for miniature dollhouses, and all you have to do is order the supplies, paint the pieces and glue on brass door accessories.

I might be making a few more — for my mother, and myself.

We believe in magic.

By |2012-01-12T20:16:56-07:00January 12th, 2012|DIY + Projects|5 Comments

Hostess Cart Makeover: D-I-Y

My girlfriends and I were in a tiny town in Georgia: Blackshear, in fact. My friend Angela was hungry. And so she popped into a sandwich shop and we both came out with furniture. In the South, they sell antiques at sandwich shops. I bought this old hostess cart for $40 and a lovely Southern belle shipped it home to me (thanks, Sandra!),

And then I gave it a makeover. Black paint. Black and white striped wallpaper. (And my mother, who is the wallpaper queen.)

Isn’t it grand? (Photo by the glorious Jill Richards.)


By |2012-01-11T12:35:50-07:00January 11th, 2012|DIY + Projects|2 Comments

Nursery Decor, Britain style

My sister’s baby is named Britain. He’s a munch, and a squeak, and will someone please explain why nonsense is the best way to explain how babies make us feel? I helped my sister get the nursery ready, and we decided to make his (considerable) wardrobe the star.

He inherited almost all of it from his big brother Rome, who was the best-dressed baby in the history of time (and who has also shared his clothes with Taylor, and Landon, and now Britain). So the investment has been appreciated, you see.

We used clothes as decor all over.

Kapri sewed blue over the pink trim on Scarlett’s curtains. (Hey, she has a new room, and it’s a doozy.)

A baby named Britain had to have a Union Jack pillow. We made this from vintage baby clothes.

I love baby clothes with things tucked in the pocket. It’s so adult.

And finally, here he is, modeling cable knit ensemble #14: Britain Brant, named for his daddy.

It is helpful that his eyes match his room.

By |2012-01-11T12:31:15-07:00January 11th, 2012|Style|1 Comment

My Greek Key Dresser Makeover

There are three phases of Doing it Yourself. This is the story of those phases and me and a certain IKEA dresser that began life like this:

And needed to look a little more like a mashup of these.



(If you want to embark, I obeyed Bri’s awesome tutorial. Hers is the turquoise and gold number above, and I would have been on the ledge without her virtual instructions.)

So, let’s begin.

Doing It Yourself Phase One, also known as project hours 1-3: “D-I-Y’s are awesome! Home Depot is awesome! Glue is awesome! Look, Ty, I can totally saw wood myself!”

Phase Two, or project hours 4-6: D-I-WHINE. “I don’t want to go to Home Depot, or ACE Hardware, or Target one more time. Wood glue is a pain. Pleeeeease Ty will you saw these 54 pieces for me?”

Yeah. That’s how many wood pieces I needed to measure, cut at a 45 degree angle and then glue together, to make these greek keys. FIFTY FOUR. It is good that I didn’t figure that out until just now.

Phase Three, also known as project hours 7-15: D-I-WHY did I think this was a good idea again? At this point, I was scraping dry seeped-out wood glue off the fronts of my Greek Keys with a razor blade, then sanding all six of them at every joint. Then painting, and glossing, and cursing because I ran out of paint, super glue and patience. In the end I called my mother. She helped me decide how to place these babies on the dresser.

My dresser — the MALM from Ikea — has sunken spaces in between the drawer fronts so I had to modify the Greek Keys to work with that. They couldn’t be vertical. But . . . .

. . . and please know that this is a really bad picture . . .

. . . the next morning, when I woke up and saw this pretty dresser-turned-buffet in my dining room, I was so pleased with my D-I-Y that I started dreaming of what to do next.

Maybe, I thought, I should reupholster the dining room chairs myself.

For sure, I thought, I’m going to faux-marble those lamps.

Also: OMG! I should totally paint my armoire.

So that’s the fourth phase of D-I-Y that I forgot to mention: Success. It ensures that you will subject yourself to the previous three phases of torture once again. And so the cycle continues . . . and soon, maybe I’ll show you a better picture of the dresser/buffet and how it looks in the room. But first, I have lamps to paint and chairs to reupholster and oh, I gotta do something about the sea of rocks that lives outside the dining room walls. They are all windows, and I need a green lawn.

Dad? Come over?

***** Also, I should mention that the awesome Kittinger Greek Key dresser below  is $5,900 on 1st Dibs. Mine cost $155. The supplies were about $80. (Wood, four tubes super glue, two cans black spray paint, polyurethane gloss, wood glue, clamps, and a saw and mitre box.)  I found the IKEA dresser for $75 on Craigslist — a  new trick of mine. It’s called: If you buy IKEA furniture on Craigslist, someone else has already put it together.


By |2011-05-19T07:48:15-07:00May 19th, 2011|DIY + Projects|3 Comments

Gray and white nursery for Landon, my nephew

My sister Heidi had a baby boy, Taylor, and then 18 months later (surprise!), there was Landon, and my mother told Heidi to just let go. Two little boys, tiny and beautiful, promised a life of wild things, yes, but also unbridled joy.

Landon likes to cuddle, and Heidi is happy. This is his nursery, which Heidi and I gave ourselves one day and $100 to pull together. She’d already borrowed a crib, sewed the drapes herself, bought a changing table on Craig’s List, invested in crib bedding and some trees she wanted on the wall.

Trees, I thought? Wild things? We have ourselves a little theme.

In the house where Heidi and I grew up, there was a room called the morgue filled with taxidermied deer heads, snakeskins, even a buffalo. My father hunts. This reminds us of him, if he went to Z Gallerie and got his heads posh-i-fied. Quotes from “Where the Wild Things Are” fill frames we found in one of Heidi’s closet, and a lamp from the garage sale pile got a new shade.

Heidi’s vinyl trees (inspired by my friend Christina’s baby room) and the tiny Taybug, whom I adore.

We accented with baby clothes, which is a favorite trick of mine. They’re the cutest thing I can tell about having a baby (besides said child), so why not?

The owl is a Christmas ornament. Hoot.

(Weird camera angle or crooked frames? Not sure, but this is where the wild things live.)

Thanks, Heid, for letting me share.

By |2011-01-15T20:12:56-07:00January 15th, 2011|Style|1 Comment


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