The Getaway...

After a reluctant year off, Bryan, the girlies and I are hitting the road today as we resume our annual pilgrimage to Seaside .

That crochet tote action above is now bursting with reading material and sunscreen. For seven days our most pressing decision will likely be whether we should walk or ride our bikes to the beach. Gin and tonics, drip castles, and some general laziness await.

Rejuvenation, here we come. 


Flower Power

We're coming off a particularly crazy period at the studio with back-to-back interiors installs and two big events in a single weekend that had us gold leafing and taping and and constructing all manner of eye-popping awesomeness  until the wee hours...

I'm just now catching my catching my breath, which pretty much involves eating the rest of Millie's Easter basket candy (shhh) while cleaning up the approximately one zillion photos on my phone (I am nothing if not a multi-tasker friends).

In weeding through said photos, I noticed a distinct floral them surfacing. It seems amid the craziness, the past couple of weeks have also been rife with all manner of blooms (apparently even on my lunch). It's some serious gorgeous lush botanical action. Spring is here people -- in its full glory.

Good stuff for sure.


Art, Art Everywhere

Scenes from recent visits to the DMA and the Nasher (i.e. my happy places)

It's Art Fair week here in Dallas, with no shortage of exhibits and events and performances and tours and talks. Let's just say some serious cultural goodness goes down.

The week-o-art also has me thinking about how far our fair city has come in the 17(!!) years that I've lived here -- a thriving arts district, Klyde Warren Park, the DMA, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Contemporary, the Crow Collectionthe Meadows Museum, a slew of excellent galleries and art spaces (Barry Whistler, Talley Dunn, the Power Station, and Conduit, I'm talking to you). It's enough to take a girl from being a reluctant Dallasite to, well, a proud denizen.

Well played Dallas. Well played.



all photos by the supremely talented Melanie Acevedo

I love pretty things far too much to be any sort of respectable minimalist.

In fact, so great is my fondness for the pottery and the art and the foliage and the coffee table book and the marble object and the... (you get the idea), that, in my own home at least (oddly, we can work a minimalist space for a client with aplomb, though we don't encourage it, because what's the fun in that?), sparse surfaces seem like a pipe dream.

And, yet, these rooms above, with their artfully restrained mantles and tables and walls, are calling my name like nobody's business. Maybe it's the fact that things are a little nutty in my world of late -- a soupcon of uncertainty, some mad juggling, a dash of crazed -- that the idea of largely unadorned (and seemingly low maintenance -- I mean what is there to dust?) rooms is just highly appealing. Or maybe it's just damn pretty. Either way, I feel a Goodwill trip in my future.


Girl Crush: Clare Waight Keller

photo via Harpers Bazaar

photo via how to spend it

Whattya say we go into the weekend with a little "girl crush" action courtesy of the lovely, immensely talented and inspiring Clare Waight Keller?

Mom of three (twins, Amelia and Charlotte, 11, and Harrison, three) and creative director of beloved French fashion house Chloé, Clare is crush-worthy for her seemingly expert juggling powers alone (twins + a three-year old + a totally bad ass career...sigh). But what put her over the top for me was her work style and commitment to women. (See the following via the NYT.)

In the year since Ms. Waight Keller, formerly the designer of Pringle of Scotland, became the creative director at Chloé, many visitors have noted the remarkable calmness that radiates from her studio. That, and the fact that roughly 80 percent of the hundreds of employees at the company are women, which is a point of pride at a house that has projected an aura of femininity for 60 years.

I am so lucky to have an amazing, supportive, inspiring husband and father. The men in my life are beyond stellar. But I only have sisters; I only have daughters; I rely on my own mother and my tribe of soul sisters like I rely on air. I am a woman's woman through and through.

And, friends, as I get, ahem, older, I'm all about the calm. My 20s (and sadly a good chunk of my 30s) were tinged with a bit more intensity than I'd like to admit -- let's just say I had a hard time letting things go. So this current decade is about attempting to bring the calm (albeit a passionate calm, but a calm nonetheless).

Thanks Clare for the reminder.

Here's to all the calm (and not so calm) beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring, supportive, inspiring women in my life. You know who you are.




Victoria Beckham's genius push-pull moment -- i.e. those side cut outs taking this otherwise totally prim mid-calf black dress into sexy town. Well played Mrs. Beckham. Well played. 

Interior design studio and atelier Ferrer's impeccable, well, everything...

The perfect little stool at Serena & Lily (I checked this bad boy out at the Serena & Lily design store whilst on our San Francisco adventure, and it's even better in person.)

Some seriously beautiful (and theoretically useful) oil dispensing action from Garde. (I had to refrain from making a loving list entirely composed of items from Garde. It's just that good friends. Thanks Sam.)

Heath's Boiler Room series and Carla Fernández's beautiful hand-crafted pieces...

Ani Kasten's ceramic gorgeousness. Ceramic dreams. Full stop.


Another For The Bucket List -- Villa Lena

(images via home collectionsight unseenremodelista, and julie ansiau for elle decor)

No. 6 on my apparently expanding bucket list is a visit to artist residency and hotel Villa Lena.

I want to revel in designer/stylist/art directory/photographer Clarisse Demory's minimal, light-filled, perfectly-curated spaces. I want to partake in the workshops and lectures and then ponder amid the rolling hills and olive groves and vineyards (and other hallmarks of bucolic Tuscany). I want to float in the pool and then make stuff.

I want to go this week.

Villa Lena or bust.


Some Scenes From Round Top (Or That One Time I Embraced *Extremely* Practical Footwear)

I think it's safe to say, when it comes to shoes, I am decidedly a form over function girl...

I do installs in heels (albeit sturdy platforms), I cut down Christmas trees (well technically Bryan does the cutting) in sandals, I hike in wedge flip flops. Despite the seeming lack of practicality, for me, it's really a comfort thing (hang with me here). I'm not a fan of a closed toe -- too confining; and flats just feel, well, wrong. So I ignore the cajoling and occasional looks of abject horror and don the 3-inch platforms to hang the gallery wall. It's just my thing.

Except when there's acres of mud involved. Mud is an entirely different enterprise. And friends, this year's pilgrimage to the Round Top antiques fair with Sam and Sarah was mud-tastic (mud fest 2015, mod-o-rama). It was all Woodstock meets gilt-encrusted french mirrors and weathered mid-century leather sofas. Flip flops (as Sarah so emphatically pointed out in our frantic, pre-trip shoe-planning text marathon) were not going to cut it.

Ok, now here's the embarrassing confession. I own no close-toe practical shoes. None, zip, nada. I have those damn flip flops and a pair of Teva sandals (with a little wedge, natch), but nothing appropriate for tromping through deep, muddy puddles. Enter the 23rd hour, totally desperate, looking for something out of season, totally rushed shopping trip. (Never a good scene.)

I ended up purchasing that pair of Hunter boots in the first photo above literally minutes before we left town. I was hesitant at best -- they were pricey and flat (sadly the flat part bothered me more than the pricey part), but friends once I slipped on those bad boys and started navigating the flood waters of rural Texas my world was rocked.

Who knew that practical footwear could be so transformative. I was like an antiquing superhero, it was empowering, exhilarating even. I could literally walk through oozing mud holes to get to pretty light fixtures and feel like a massive badass in the process (and let's just say light fixture shopping rarely brings out the badass in a person).

It's official; I am a convert. At least for the Hunters... Tennis shoes, well, that's a whole other story.


Bucket Listing

I'd like to think that my recently acquired Taca Zhijie Sui photo, Offerings, somehow influenced Audrey's dreams of Chinese adventures (See how I justify my purchases? Impressive, yes?)

The girlies are currently at work at what can only be described as some serious bucket list action. Their lists are epic (as only lists belonging to two kiddos with their entire lives ahead of them could be...sigh) and have me at once impressed (see the great wall of China, go hiking in a rain forest) and mildly amused (be a nanny -- she's aiming high there that kid of mine).

They also have me inspired to make a little bucket list of my own. Here's what's made the cut so far:

1. Go to Japan
2. Live in California again
3. Take my dad to Alaska
4. Write a book
5. Design a hotel

What's on your bucket list?


The Future Perfect, Heath, and General Store (or More Inspiring, Crazy Lovely, Totally Badass Retail)

As promised, more San Francisco shopping goodness for your ogling pleasure in the form of The Future Perfect, General Store, and the Heath factory store in Sausalito.

I hit Heath every time I'm in the bay area (and somehow end up shipping home a box of coffee cups -- oy vey); It is, without a doubt, my happy place. And I'd long loved General Store from afar, so I was pretty determined to trek to the sunset (or have Caitlin schlep me and the girlies and sweet baby Jackson out to the sunset) to check it out in person. Total magic friends -- pottery, books, a groovy backyard area teaming with crazy plants and little rock arrangements.... Pretty much my total bliss. Throw in some Heath dishes and a few of those brass bits from The Future Perfect and I'd move right in.