The Details :: Moldings & Millwork

It was one of those weeks…I broke my iPhone, our cleaning lady shattered my favorite mirror (that was part of a wall grouping perfected over the years), Mr. B. and the Fashionista baked cookies (I’m trying to get in a pair of jeans from last year, and count the cookies as a very bad thing), and George Clooney got married (even if you don’t think you care lets face it you do). Luckily it’s Monday, and I like to think I’m starting off with a clean slate. So let’s go back to last week, I had a company ask to photograph one room in our home, using some of their products (which are drop dead & fabulous) causing a chain reaction of panic. Because, it’s not finished yet. The room functions as everything except it’s intended purpose which is a guest room. So yesterday I sat on the bed (okay laid on it and took a nap), and contemplated what I could do to make it just a little better. For one thing, I dislike white crown molding, but we have it throughout the house. It’s a safe choice, but in a year of living dangerously, I want something with more impact. When I was working with clients, I had a lot of fun with mouldings. Sometimes I had them painted the same color as the walls (even if they were Indigo Blue and I still dream about that particular room), once had them painted with a Chevron pattern for a young girls room, and on another occasion had the mouldings gilded to match one of the predominant colors in the wallpaper. So then I wondered, what to do with the stark white molding in the guest room? Who came up with the rule that moldings always had to be white? Because in my design book, they don’t. Well I still haven’t decided what to do as dawn breaks on Monday, but while I was sitting on the deck at Casa B. yesterday watching geese land on Greens Pond, I looked at all the possibilities on my iPad Mini (what’s a new iPhone without a coordinating iPad?). In fact, I was shamed into the purchase when the salesperson loudly announced that I had one of the first ones ever made, and made a snarky comment about whether or not it was internet compatible. So I bought a new one, and I’ll say it’s pretty cute with a sassy pink and coral cover.

While I was surfing the net with my new Mini, I didn’t quite find what I was looking for, but I did find enough proof to show Mr. B. that people (other than me) actually paint their crown mouldings a different color, and that it wasn’t another of my schemes to pull him away from the TV and football. Yes, unless a large section of the population does it, he won’t budge. I am sadly lacking in the DIY department, including painting anything, so I am sadly at his mercy. I thought I would share some pictures that I thought were great examples on how to make your crown mouldings just a little more interesting..






Paint it all with the same hue of paint, and change it up with different sheen’s, it makes for a bold choice.


 Designer/ Phoebe Howard

I am positively obsessed with black mouldings, and Atlanta’s own Phoebe Howard does it so well.


Designer/ Kelly Werstler

Contrasting patterns all made cohesive by using similar colour tones. Of course, black crown mouldings…


An eclectic interior benefits from contrasting mouldings…



I love blue, can you tell? The crown moulding in this boy’s uses a contrasting blue crown moulding to actuate the colour palette.



This hallway is defined by black lines, and the black crown moulding gives the illusion of  lower ceilings serving to make this space a little less austere.

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Source: Luxe Magazine

A little grey, a little glam…


 Designer/ Vicki Gladle Bolick

From a dining room I did for a former client…the wallpaper is from, and is called Celestial Dragon. The mouldings were handpainted a gilt finish.  The client was all about high drama…

As always,


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Painted Floors :: The Sixth Wall

I’m totally obsessed with painted floors. In fact, I have hundreds of photos sitting in a file of floors that have been painted, lacquered and polished. Almost every day I look down at what’s under my feet, and feel inspired. If I could, I would re-do the floors at Casa B. or the very least paint them in a high gloss paint. But, unfortunately, would have to go through the Architectural Review Board in our home that consists of Mr. B. and the pint-sized “Fashionista.” So it probably won’t happen in this house. But, I have Plan B., which is putting painted floor tile on the wall in the Powder Room. Or better yet, buy a second home where I would have “carte blanche” over design decisions (more likely). There are fabulous examples of painted flooring in homes across the globe, some I have had the honour of stepping on (which was difficult because I felt as if I was stepping on a large canvas of one-of-a-kind art). In theory, that is exactly what they were designed to be artwork for your floors. Ceilings are considered the “fifth wall” so it stands to reason that floors should be our “sixth wall.” While I love a fabulous rug underfoot, I also appreciate other options. Some of my favorites have been in Show-homes and some examples, I just filed away after seeing them in one of my beloved shelter magazines or online. My dream interior would include something geometric and eye-catching, layered with a high drama gloss finish…

My obsession first began when I saw a foyer designed by Joel Woodard (a great friend of Celerie Kemble)…and it was simply put-stunning. Although, I’ve never met Joel in person, he and I exchanged e-mails a few years ago about an interior that he designed, and he was ever so gracious with sharing information. He “had me at hello.” There are several things that go far in this industry its talent and charm. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he is quite possibly “a design crush.” Soon he will be featured in a series aptly titled “My Designer Crushes.” Some I’ll be meeting in person, and some sadly will be interviewed by phone and e-mail. So stay tuned. The painted floor he designed was featured in one of Celerie’s books and remains one of my favorites.

If you don’t want to paint your floors, there is another option. Mirth Studios (totally free plug) has painted floor tiles that are positively breath-taking, in an “I’m totally going to rip out my floors and worry about the impact on my marriage later kind-of-way.” They are that spectacular. P.S. I had someone ask me last week if most of my posts are sponsored, and they are not. We do a few, but the majority of the time I’m simply sharing great things, my goal is to inspire others to create beautiful spaces. So why not share the “drop dead in your tracks” product from Mirth Studios? In fact, one of the pictures below is proof…

Next week, starting Monday we will be publishing blog five days a check back often for more design inspiration…




 Photo from Rusty Hinges in Halifax.

Yes, this is a painted floor, and it’s spectacular.


Via Boston Magazine

Even with the absence of a design, this color is perfection.



My latest obsession-painted floor tile. These are from Mirth Studio (



I love the geometric pattern which adds a lot of visual impact to this small space.


RL Goins

I fantasize about this room…


Vicki Gladle Bolick/

From a must stop shop in NYC, Haus Interior (www.hausinterior). I couldn’t get past the painted floor…


Designer/ Joel Woodard-Photo/ Peter Margonelli

This geometric pattern was the brainchild of the uber talented-Joel Woodard for the Kips Bay Showhouse.



This space has it all, style, amazing cabinetry AND painted floors…


Photographer/ Solvi dos Santos

If only I could paint the floors in my daughters room…


Designer/ Mary McDonald

If you doubted the impact that painted floors can have…all you need to do is look at the design by Mary McDonald.

Have a fabulous weekend, and until Monday…



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Tropi-cool :: The Palm Tree

I dislike faux foliage (immensely). I grew up in an era where my mother decorated with plastic flowers that would rival those found on the grave sites of some of my (deceased) relatives. A recurring nightmare that my home is overflowing with floral fakery, thankfully it’s just a dream. Although, due to modern technology and the creative genius of floral designers, we now have the opportunity to add some very realistic foliage to interiors. I’ve been in show-homes where I’ve actually had to touch the plant to see if it was living and breathing. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of pulling a leaf off a live fig tree thinking that it was less than real, only to be surprised when it was, I was left standing with the incriminating evidence in my hand (with the horrified staff looking on). If you are a designer and reading this, I know some of you are having flashbacks to a time when you might have done exactly the same thing. The moral of the story is don’t pull on a tree leaf, in a home, when someone is watching.

Even though, there the design world is flooded with fabulous fakes give me a live Kentia Palm any day of the week. While Figs seem to be the plant du jour of the day, give me the whispy, airiness of a palm. When I was a designer, I gravitated toward Kentia’s, Chinese Fan Palm or the Pygmy Date Palm. In fact a Palm was often my parting gift to my clients (the nice ones), even if I knew the plant in question would have a swift demise due a potential lack of a “green thumb.” Why Palm’s over Figs? I love the lacy effect, the way that light plays through the fronds, like a botanical hand, spread out in the light. They are exotic and quietly sculptural, lending a certain elegance to a quiet corner or flanking just about anything from a fireplace to a sofa.

What was the reason behind this post? I had a reader who asked me what my favorite indoor plant was to add drama, and the Palm hands-down is the answer. The Fig fits perfectly in farmhouse or more rustic interiors with its dense organic shape, but the Palm just breathes life into a space with its exotic silhouette. Have I tried a palm or two? Absolutely. But, sadly my thumb is not green, and with an eight-year-old who feels it necessary to water the plants every day, I do not see an indoor palm in my near future. Maybe when “The Fashionista” morphs into a teenager and her obsession with “watering” things evaporates.

Of course, if you want inspiration what proves my point more than pictures.





What says tropi-cool more than Indochine decor…



Even a contemporary interior benefits from the sculptural quality of a palm…



Tropical chic in the sitting-room, this interior was done by the king of color-Carleton Varney.

Robert Passal, NYC

Designer/ Robert Passal

If you weren’t sure that plants could become a focal point, you only have to look at this stunning interior for proof…



The power of four, now this is how you do the tropics. Interior design by Nicollete Horn who also studied under Design Icon- Charlotte Moss.


Builder/ Period Homes, Inc.

This is from a Show-house although I couldn’t tell you which one. This distinctly 19th Century English interior has the right amount of tropi-flair.



Every space could benefit from a disco ball and a Palm Tree…



Old world comfort meets mid-century modern…



Even if you don’t want to commit to an entire plant, a few fronds in a vase add a little tropi-chic…


 via Vicki Gladle Bolick/

One of the very first design jobs I had out of design school years ago, they were my favorite clients (and dear friends). I walked through this door for over two years as we gutted a dining room, re-did a basement, living room and spruced up a power-room. This was my last day on the job, and although we didn’t do much in the foyer other than the wallpaper, it was a bittersweet day so I snapped a picture of my parting gift, yes it was a Palm that I left by the front door…

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Until next time,



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