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    10 Hallmarks of Maximalist Design

    More is more…and MORE is in…!! If the words Maximalist Design conjures up visions of over-the-top, stuffy rooms cluttered with tchotchkes and keepsakes gathered over the years, then you are in for a pleasant surprise. This is not your grandmother’s maximalism….!

    I have put together 10 easy tips on how to create a joyous oasis of maximalist luxury in your home, without it looking cluttered or busy. Maximalism is not so much a style as it is an escape from a world and culture that at times seems bleak and boring since it was born out of a reaction to the minimalist movement.

    A Maximalist space can be in any period, style, or trend. It can be applied to a small room, making it look like a luxurious little jewel box or a large room where it makes a statement. The basic elements of a maximalist home are pretty much the polar opposite of a minimalist interior. The minimalist preference for white walls and quiet color palettes are a no-no for maximalism. The bolder, brighter, and more color-splashed it is, the better.

    In the words of Jonathan Adler, “minimalism is a bummer. When you’re about to kick the bucket, you don’t want to look back and see an endless haze of beige.” I have worshipped at the altar of both. I have lived through my minimalist period and celebrated my unabashedly maximalist phase and reveled in the joy of each, at different phases of my life. Here are some quick tips on how to create a maximalist oasis. Let your soul spread its wings and have its own maximalist moment.

    COLORS – Take a look in your wardrobe for cues on what colors make you happy. Painting your walls the same color as your favourite skirt or summer jacket or pantsuit will make you feel empowered and confident working in this Home Office and walking through that stylish Indigo hued Art Deco style Hallway, every day. Against this rich backdrop, the white and occasional black of the furniture in the foreground is what makes the walls pop but yet does not overpower the room.

    LAYERS – This is a little tricky to pull off – but not if you follow the simple rule that I have followed a hundred times with clients and am sharing with you now. Select an item of clothing in a bold color from your closet. At the paint shop, match the color of the wardrobe item to a shade on the paint deck (or what’s closes to it) and note down the name. Now, on the same paint chip go to a shade that is 1 or 2 or 3 steps up or down from your original selection to start building your color scheme. Note down the names of each shade. These will be the colors for your wall paint and the dominant color for wallpaper, rug, sofa, and curtains but, remember not to stick to solids. For instance, layer a solid color sofa on a self-patterned rug and curtains in bold patterns against the backdrop of small-patterned wallpaper on one wall or two. This will give you a wonderfully layered look that is luxurious and comforting at the same time, like this Traditional style green-on-green Drawing Room, steeped in eye-catching opulence.

    DRAMA – Add red in measured doses and you can never go wrong. However, an entire bedroom with red-painted walls may not be the ultimate relaxing space. In the bedroom below, the bold red Art Deco style headboard against the dark blue walls are softened by a lavender lamp shade. Clever blending of all the different colors together stirs in excitement into the space without making one feel anxious or irritating. Bear in mind, lavender is red and blue mixed together but in inequal ratios. As I always say, it’s all in the details.

    BOLD CONTRASTS – To create this effect, pull colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel in a split-complementary or tetradic color scheme. The blue, watermelon, orange, green, pale yellow, and brown contrast with as well as complement each other well in the living room below. As do the patterns (stripes with large scale prints) and textures (plush with shiny finishes), to create a sophisticated, eclectic interior space that you will not easily tire of, no matter how long the stay-at-home lockdown lasts.

    LARGE SCALE – The oversized scale of the artwork, the floor to ceiling bookshelves and the plush overstuffed sofas against the floor to ceiling window coverings in the room below, joyfully plays up the maximalism in this Eclectic style home.

    PATTERN PLAY – The prints on the wallpaper, the fabric canopy, the bedspread complement each other and work well in this pattern-on-pattern blush themed English Country style bedroom below. By varying the scale of the prints on the furnishings, as well as by contrasting dark and light wood finishes, It feels calming and serene despite the use of multiple patterns.

    GLAMMED UP – Walls clad in luxe wallpaper and velvet-upholstered chairs with brushed nickel finish detail gathered around the burnished wood dining table with a rich, dark sheen topped with a stylish chandelier, ups the glam factor of this Modern style maximalist dining room below.

    BLACK IS A BEAUTIFUL BACKDROP – A rich glossy black finish instantly dresses up this jewel-like kitched with mirrored backsplash – like wearing a string of black pearls paired with a white silk blouse to a posh but fun gala.

    ANIMAL PRINTS IN SMALL DOSES – Animal prints are a great way to add pattern and instant glamour to a space – but in small doses, such as an ottoman, a pillow cushion or…. if you dare…an area rug.

    A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN IT’S PLACE – Maximalism is not about rooms packed wall to wall with furniture and accessories. Rather, it is about curated collections carefully edited with a keen eye and a disciplined approach. The Transitional style Family Room showcases the homeowners’ collected treasures from travels around the world separately on the built-in bookshelves and in an antique chinoiserie armoire so it still manages to look neat and orderly by following the rule of – a place for everything and everything in its place.

    Photo credits – Maximalist Interior photo courtesy Daunenspiel. Jonathan Adler flagship store NYC photo courtesy Jonathan Adler. COLORS – Electric Blue Home Office and Art Deco style Hallway photo courtesy 1st Dibs, design by Sasha Bikoff. LAYERS – Green-on-green layered Traditional style Drawing Room photo courtesy One Kings Lane. DRAMA – Hollywood Regency style Red headboard in bedroom photo courtesy Chairish. BOLD CONTRAST – Blue, orange, brown and pale yellow Mid-Century Living Room photo courtesy Architectural Digest. LARGE SCALE – Eclectic Living room with oversized artwork photo courtesy Architectural Digest. PATTERN PLAY – English Country Cottage style blush bedroom photo courtesy Country Life magazine. GLAMMED UP – Dining Room photo courtesy Ellie Koleen photography, Design by Erin Melkonian Designs, Light fixture courtesy Corbett Lighting. BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL – Bathroom photo courtesy The Tile Shop blog. ANIMAL PRINTS – Leopard Print rug in Mid-Century style bedroom photo courtesy Chairish. A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING – Transitional Style Family room photo courtesy Tori Black Homes Interior Design.

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    Summer’s Top 5 Color Trends in Fashion & Home

    According to Pantone, the color experts, the hot new colors this summer range from Grape Compote, a muted purple tint – to Flame Scarlet, which is perhaps the brightest, boldest shade of fiery red, just like the name sounds.

    In between these two extremes, is dovetailed, the easier to live with shades of Denim Blue, Coral Pink and White White, all of which have remained ever popular summer go-to shades for Fashion as well as Home Decor through the years.

    As you work these trending colors into your everyday outfits this summer, here’s a cheat sheet on how to mix and match like a Pantone expert creating color-schemes tying together walls floor, furniture and accessories for each room in your home using this year’s trendiest tints.

    PURPLE – This year’s purple is a yummy hue called Grape Compote which when cleverly paired, will look as dreamy on you, as it will in your home.

    The trick is here to pick the exact Pantone prescribed shade on the paint deck or color wheel and then go upwards and outwards when selecting the paint for the walls or upholstery fabric or curtains.

    WHITE – Easy breezy white is a perennial summer favorite of one all. What’s not to love about a summery white dress in soft gauzy cotton?

    To make a white on white room look easy-going and refreshing instead of bland and inconsequential, add a dash of texture and mix in a subtle pattern in a complementary hue or make a bold choice with contrasting black wood and metal finishes.

    CORAL PINK – When wearing pink be specific as to the exact shade – because all pinks are not created equal. Pink must always be worn in tandem with either a stronger color – for dramatic effect – or with a softer color for subtlety. Keep accessories to a minimum because less is more.

    Coral Pink is a beautifully soothing but tricky color to decorate with. It can end up looking too washed out and wimpy or too intense and fake looking. The trick is to let nature be the inspiration when choosing pink. Pick the variations of pink that are found in nature and you won’t go wrong.

    DENIM BLUE – Nothing says summer more than blue denim – be it dark stonewashed indigo- blue or a soft faded chambray blue.

    ….and nothing conveys summer decor better than baby blue walls and washed blue fabric upholstered furniture.

    SCARLET – It is the perfect choice for a statement-making summer dress. Alternately, pair a red-striped white top with a fun pair of red shoes. This is one of those times when you do not want to match the shoes with the bag.

    A bold red-walled room makes a unique statement. One that visitors and guests to your home will be hard put to forget and dying to re-create. The trick is if you’re going to go red, go bold and don’t drop the ball. Adding an equally bold contrasting color in the same tone will make it work. Another refreshing alternative is to bring in white to contrast with and play off the red in a fun, energizing combination which is at the same time very livable.

    Image credits: Purple Top courtesy Zara, White Dress courtesy Venus, White on white Living Room courtesy House Beautiful, Pink Pants courtesy Express, Coral Pink Bedroom courtesy Verandah, Blue Chambray Summer Dress courtesy Farfetch, Blue Bedroom courtesy Verandah, Red Dining Room with high gloss walls Courtesy Elle Decor,

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    How To Make Your Home Feel Like A Luxury Hotel

    Isolating at home in this time of Coronavirus has gotten some of us fighting cabin fever by now. Having said that, considering oneself to be among the lucky ones for not showing symptoms of anything worse than that, I decided to stay put for a bit longer and instead, make a list of the ways we can make the home feel like a luxury hotel – and make the forced isolation feel just a teeny bit, like a holiday in one of those exotic locations far far away, that is on our bucket-list.

    SOFT SHEETS – THESE DAYS MORNINGS ARE FOR LOUNGING IN BED as we remind ourselves of the well-known fact that worry has no outcome and the other well-known fact that we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed, replacing your bedsheets is the easiest, and most cost-effective way to upgrade your bed to a hotel bed. However, 800 thread count sheets – the kind you sleep on at the best luxury hotels, can be pricey! So catch a sale this summer and wake up with a smile in your home-hotel room, feeling like a million dollars.

    NOTE – while a higher thread count sheet stands for better quality, it’s the thread or fiber quality that matters most. A sheet of a better-quality fiber with a lower thread count will often feel softer and stand up to washing better than a sheet made from a lower-quality fiber with a higher thread count. Make sense?

    BLACK-OUT CURTAINS. It’s no fun if your bedroom windows are so bare that the very first rays of the sun hit you straight in the eye even as you are trying to decode that happy early morning dream as you wake up. If you wouldn’t pay for a hotel room that robs you of precious sleep, why put up with it at home? Am I right?

    OH SO FLUFFY TOWELS!! FOR A HEAD-TO-TOE PAMPERED FEELING. Shopping for towels is best done by feeling and touching but when that does not seem possible in the short run – let’s talk about something called a ‘gram count’. The density of a bath towel is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). This number varies between 300-900. A 300-400 gram towel is thinner and lighter and is quick-drying – so this is best suited for a gym towel or a kitchen towel. A 400-600 GSM is a medium weight towel – that works great as a beach towel or an everyday bath towel. A 600-900 GSM is dense and absorbent, making it score high on the “fluff” scale but it requires a bit more drying time. Be sure to pick one that strikes a good balance between thick and absorbent, yet light enough to be quick-drying.

    Egyptian and Turkish towels – Everyday towels are often made of standard cotton. Choose Turkish cotton if you prefer a thick, luxurious feel. They also become softer and fluffier with every wash. To keep your towels soft and fluffy, avoid using fabric softeners when washing. For a true Hotel look and feel, choose white towels, which look timeless and work with any style or color scheme. Stack your towels in an open-weave basket or tray for a spa-like bathroom experience.

    GOOD LIGHTING. Staring into that blue computer screen is murder on your eyes. Your home-hotel needs good task lighting (a) at your desk…

    …and (b) mood lighting for relaxing in the intimate areas of your home such as bedrooms. Keep in mind, for reading or working in bed the light source should be above and behind you for minimum eye strain.

    A STURDY AND COMFORTABLE DESK CHAIR. Working from home on a regular basis as we are forced to, for some time now, you deserve more than a makeshift chair at the kitchen table. On top of everything else you are dealing with, you don’t have to be cramping from sitting on an uncomfortable chair for 12 hours every day. Pick one that looks as good as it feels nice and say goodbye to being a clock-watcher waiting for quitting time, even for a day!

    PLAIN WHITE OR BLUE-AND-WHITE CHINA. When it comes to lifting your mood, the aroma of a wholesome home-cooked meal served on a set of pristine white platters, bowls, and plates soothes one’s soul like little else. What about you?

    While blue and white dishes remind one of a very nice (but unpretentious) hotel in Bloomsbury where both the food they serve as well as the plates they serve it in, are simply ……Yummy! Stay safe, all!!

    Resource Guide – Hotel Room With a View pic courtesy Brisbane Marriott Hotel, White Towels pic courtesy The Turkish Towel Collection, Colorful Towels pic courtesy Designer Living, Task Lighting pic courtesy New York Times, Bedroom Wall Sconces pic courtesy YLighting, Home Office pic courtesy Wall Street Journal, White Dinnerware pic courtesy Costco

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    7 Pathways to Serenity in Your Home

    How Not to Feel Isolated While Isolating

    Confined indoors – when we’ve run out of craft projects and board games, and baked those fudge brownies and finished that 1000 piece puzzle for the hundredth time this week – perhaps it is time to realize that staying busy does not always lead to staying calm.

    Rather than focus on the confinement, why not enjoy the placidity? I bring you 7 simple steps to creating a serene home where one feels centered yet stimulated instead of bored or anxious.

    If you live in a zen gray and white minimalist loft or any other kind of monochromatic or earth-toned dwelling – you’re half-way there already! if not, it is not too late to start creating a peaceful space with some clever and affordable Interior Design tricks.

    I do not suggest that you start a major makeover in the middle of everything. For heaven’s sake, no….!

    What I do say is that you can have a tranquil environment, using what you have at hand, by introducing a few chosen elements that are known to create a calm and serene home, no matter what your style. Think about it as comfort food for your home when the going gets tough!

    7 easy pathways to achieving that serene abode in which you will enjoy staying indoors:

    Move Furniture Away From the Walls. Furniture items – sofas, loveseats, chairs should not be butted against each other. Leave a breathing room of 2 ft around furniture items to allow people to move around easily.  Keep traffic pathways open. The rule of thumb is leaving a 3 ft space in front of doors and entryways. This is crucial not just for the aesthetics but for reasons of safety and to achieve full functionality of the space.  Design that does not function well is flawed design. 

    In the bedroom, beds must not be pushed against a wall. When you push a bed up against the wall, apart from the difficulty of trying to make the bed each morning – it prevents the circulation of the energy evenly around the room and that is known to cause disruptions in our sleep patterns.

    Install dimmers for soft lighting in the living room, dining room and bedroom. It introduces calming vibes. You can get a wide selection of easy-to-install dimmer switches at Home Depot and Lowes.

    Deck the Walls – Well, not that kind of decking. It’s too early in the year for that!  Instead, gather all your vacation pictures, or a collection of your kid’s artwork. Then enlarge them. Next, frame them in carved wood frames or simple metal frames, depending on the vibe – traditional and elegant or modern and sleek – you want to create. Hang them up on the walls in an area such as a hallway or staircase where you will pass by them every day. If you do not want to have them framed opt to mount them on hand-hewn wooden stretcher or shadowbox frames. Keep in mind they must have a common theme – vacations – or family milestones such as birthdays, graduations, weddings etc. They should all be either within the same color scheme or have similar frames.

    Follow these 12 steps for hanging pictures:

    You will need – contact paper, scissors, duct tape, picture wire, picture hooks, a hammer, a soft art pencil, a level or straight-edged ruler and an eraser – apart from the framed photos you plan to hang.

    1. Lay each photo face down on a sheet of contact paper or newsprint and trace around the frame outline with a pencil. 
    2. Now put aside the photo and with a pair of scissors, cut out the shape you traced with the pencil to make a paper mock-up of the photo.
    3. Next, arrange the photos on the floor to create a grouping, spacing them out as you would like to place them on the wall.
    4. When you are satisfied with your arrangement on the floor, Start taping the paper mock-ups corresponding to each one of the photos in the exact same position as you planned on the floor with duct tape or painter’s tape.
    5. Once you have put up mock-ups to represent each photo in your grouping, trace around the outline of the paper with an art pencil.
    6. Then peel off the mock-up from the wall. You can see the shape of the photo outlined in pencil on the wall.
    7. Measure the center point on the top border.
    8. Next, measure 2 or 6 or 8 inches down (depending on how large the framed photo is ) from that top center point and mark it with an X.
    9. This X is the spot where you hammer in the picture hook to hang the photo.
    10. Once you’ve hammered in the picture hook, take an eraser and erase the pencil outline.
    11. Next, hang the photo.
    12. Repeat for each photo – one at a time.

    This can be a group project for an afternoon, with a task assigned to each family member. The photos (of a vacation or a special occasion) will remind the family of happy times and things that matter  – and help restore good spirits to your brood, some of whom may be feeling a bit cooped up.

    Another simple way of showcasing family photos is to prop the framed photos on a floating wall shelf and change them from time to time.

    A Company called pictureframes.com (easy to remember) can ship your frames in 4 business days for certain stocked items. Simply go to their website and choose a frame and they do the rest.

    Toss a Few Oversized Pillows on the sofa and armchairs. Large-sized pillows make the room feel inviting and cozy and are great for snuggling up for an afternoon nap. Have pairs in colors and patterns that go together – in complementary colors and patterns. They do not have to match.  Here’s one of my favorite tricks – in the category of affordable design – that I often share with my clients. Buy a few sturdy washable covers for your pillow inserts and change them from time to time – to keep your space from looking and feeling monotonous.   

    Cover a Wall in Fabric – Introduce cozy softness to your space by covering one wall of your room in a lightweight remnant fabric in a soft earth tone. No more living with builder’s grade Swiss Coffee on your walls! The fabric must be unstitched – perhaps leftover from custom cotton drapes. You can also use an unused bed sheet or old curtains – make sure to cut out the hemmed portion at the bottom or un-hem it before starting. Try not to use patterns with precise straight lines as that will make it harder to achieve pattern-matching for the separate fabric lengths as you hang them up. Choose a simple solid or a subtle pattern like the Ikat wallpaper below.

    You will need – Tape measure, scissors, screwdriver, soft towel, paint roller with low-nap roller head, drop cloth or plastic sheet, liquid starch, thumbtacks, small hand-held squeegee or wallpaper tool, strait-edge ruler, utility knife, ladder, apart from the fabric lengths you will hang.

    Follow these 8 steps for creating a cozy fabric wall:  

    1. Measure the width of the wall you are going to cover. Most fabric is 45 or 54 inches wide (40” – 42” wide in the UK), so now you can calculate how many lengths you’ll need by measuring the height of the wall. It’s better to have a bit more fabric than you need, rather than not enough.
    2. Wash the fabric lengths. Handwashing is preferable as this will prevent the edges from fraying and the fabric becoming stretched and irregular which might result in your measurements being a little off.  Some people like to hand-wash them in the bathtub – I feel the handwash cycle on the washer is good. Dry them. Then snip off the fringed edges with a pair of small scissors to present a straight edge.
    3. While the fabric is being washed, Prepare the wall. Remove all electrical switch plates with a screwdriver. Some people like to wash the walls using a sponge and bucket. I prefer to wipe off the walls with aa soft towel to get rid of any dust and grime that might have collected over time.  If you wash the walls however, make sure they are fully dry before you begin hanging the fabric.
    4. Apply starch on the walls with a paint-roller. You can use liquid starch found at most supermarkets or at craft stores. Purex Sta-Flo liquid starch is sold at Walmart and Ralphs. This way you won’t damage the wall – especially important if you are renting and you can easily take down the fabric “wallpaper” when you move. Pour the starch on to a paint tray (if you have one lying around) or into a large plastic kitchen container. For best results use a roller head with a low nap. When working on this step, cover the floor with drop-cloths or a plastic sheet. It can get a tad messy. Do not slather starch over electricals.
    5. Hang the fabric. Get a ladder if it is a high-ceilinged room – which is always the case with me – whether I’m doing this at a client’s home or mine – since I am only 5ft 1 inch tall 🙂 This is the step that requires patience as it is a bit detailed. It may be a good idea to have a helper for this step. Have them hold down the top of the panel you are putting up as you smooth it down with a hand-held squeegee or wallpaper tool. Another option is to hold the panel in place with thumbtacks along the top edge to keep it straight. You can remove the tacks after everything is done and dry. Don’t worry if some of the fabric goes over the baseboard or fireplace ledge or window trim – as you will trim these later.
    6. Roll more starch on top of the fabric and let dry.
    7. When the starch is dry to the touch, trim the extra fabric around door and window trims and baseboard with a straight-edge and a sharp utility knife. Make sure your knife is really sharp. Go over again and again if you need to, but make sure not to pull or drag hard.   
    8. Re-install the switch plates.

    Sit back and enjoy the feeling of being cocooned in luxurious comfort – that soothes your senses and might help get you and the family through tough times.

    Hang Black and White Artwork on an anchor wall – either behind a sofa in the living room or above the bed in the master bedroom.  Choose between a single giant art installation….

    ….or a pair of small prints in a unifying theme. It will calm down the room and with it, the people in it.

    Add Soft Textured Throws – Get an extra-plush throw to curl into on family movie nights. The feeling is like the one you get with that first mouthful of your favorite comfort food. Select one in a soft fabric in a style that works with your room – a chunky cable-knit fisherman’s throw or a deep pile ombre faux fur throw.

    Let us gather the family together and show our loved ones we love them as we enjoy our serene home, celebrating this day and the things that make us happy.    

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    14 Fashion Must-Haves for 40 somethings

    Staying home this week – trying to remain busy, positive, calm and optimistic – decided to start working on my new Fashion blog. This is the first of a series titled Wallet-Friendly Fashions.

    There are a lot of places that offer great affordable choices for fashionistas in their 20 and even 30s. But when it comes to timeless affordable fashion trends for the woman in her 40s, the landscape gets a tad bleaker.

    If you’re a style-informed fashionista over 40 or 50, these are some must-haves to add to your closet as go-to items year-round (keeping fingers crossed that we will be stepping outside real soon).

    How many of these must-haves do you already have in your closet? FYI, from time to time, I may receive a small commission for items purchased.

    The Pencil Skirt

    This one is a personal fave in my closet.

    I wear my pencil skirts to work three to four times a week – as some of my Interior Design clients will tell you and my friends will attest to 🙂 It is a timeless and stylish women’s fashion staple. Check out the skirt on SALE at Boden USA (they have a 90-day return policy – but not on sale items).

    A pencil skirt is timeless, elegant and comfortable to work in – except when I’m on a Design project that needs me to climb up a ladder to measure floor-to-ceiling French Doors for custom window treatments.

    The Not-So-Tank Top

    I feel tank tops and 40 somethings don’t mix well. My version is a not-so-tank with a silk lining, which is still fashionable and fun to wear (and yet not quite as unforgiving as a fitted tank top with spaghetti straps) like the one below, in black silk embellished with a hint of lace, for evening wear…

    ….or for daytime, choose a well-cut tank with wide straps like the one from Anthropologie currently on SALE!!

    The A-Line Midi Dress

    A staple for whatever you might find on your to-do list on any given day – whether it be running errands by yourself, brunch with friends or out on a first date. Shop Modcloth for this Midi dress on SALE now….!!

    The Black Work (Or Play) Suit

    This is a wardrobe essential that you can throw in the suitcase to take on out of town trips for business or pleasure – to be mixed and matched with separates. Shop Frank & Oak‘s Transit Packable blazer and Grant Tapered pull-on Pants that wear well with travel over multiple days and nights.

    I bought my black pantsuit a long time ago at Talbots. It has stayed with me through one childbirth, a divorce and multiple moves and I dare say, has aged well!! I still swear by it. From time to time I have paired it with a black and white silk top for a classic look, worn the jacket with blue jeans and pink linen blouse for a casual weekend look and opted for a fun and flirty short skirt over a black top for a grown-up play date. Black pants make getting dressed for work a breeze as you only have to think about the top – be it a white pussy-bow blouse or abstract floral pattern peasant blouse or sleeveless geometric top.

    The Leopard Print – In Small Doses

    Note to self – leopard print is only good in small doses (I learned that from trial and error over the years) like a leopard print bag or stiletto sandals….

    …or a short animal print jacket (this one from Zaful is 56% off), that looks straight out of Mrs Maisel’s closet..!

    The Trench Coat

    A wardrobe staple of Parisian women inside and outside of the glossy pages of fashion magazines everywhere, this a must-have for anyone who speaks these three French words – “tout le monde”…! The Trench Coat is one fierce fashion choice that will instantly upgrade your closet to that of a 40-something global fashion icon before you can say “touché”…! Shop Banana Republic for a classic trench similar to the one below…

    …or go to La Redoute (they now ship to the US and accept returns for $5) for this statement-making vintage-looking brick-red number from that you can sweep up for a 50% OFF SALE !

    Mine is a cotton creation in a black and white houndstooth that is less fierce and more casual but still elegant at the same time. I left it with my niece, the 20 something fashionista. Oh well!

    Booties

    Another basic item that will nicely finish your wardrobe – in winter, fall or spring. Zappos has long been my go-to for affordable women’s shoes for booties that look like one pictured below.

    As well as DSW – because it fulfills my three requirements for women’s shoes – affordable, comfortable and fashionable.

    The Houndstooth

    The houndstooth is my staple for women’s clothing options that are bold yet sophisticated and every-day at the same time – creating an interesting texture, it is a must-have for the fashion-forward 40-50 something woman.

    Cropped Pants

    Stretched Capris or cropped Pants combine the comfort of leggings with the looks of work attire. It transitions from work to lunch to back at home.

    I feel like the moment when the humble stretched pants received the seal of approval to enter into the world of work attire, needs to be celebrated by hard-working women that want all-day comfort in an outfit that at the same time makes them look well put together.

    The Big Little Black Dress.

    Wear a different black dress every day. It was Designer Bobi Leonard who put that fun idea of a-black-for-every-day-of-the-week work dress code in my head. It works!

    I have worn a not so little (calf-length midi) black dress – to work with a mossy green bomber jacket over it, then thrown a washed gold cashmere shawl on top, switching to gold H&M sandals for an evening out.

    Accessorize with a multi-colored glam necklace – like the orange and brown bead necklace that I picked up on a trip to Goa, or the gun-metal choker my friend Meenu bought me in New Delhi. A chunky necklace is my go-to for accessorizing whether I’m getting dressed for work – or for a social event.

    Red Shoes

    A must must-have, whether you plan to “dance away the blues” or plan on heading out to work in, paired with a white button-down shirt and basic black leggings and/or capri pants. If you’re looking for a sexy pair of shoes to wear with your white wide-leg pants at work or for date nights – this is it. I have three pairs of reds. One pair of knee-high boots, a pair of booties and the third, a sexy, strappy number for going out – when I don’t have to be on my feet for long – each one really affordable!!

    I found the red boots at a store on Melrose Avenue that was going out of business – and had a 75% OFF sale. The booties I bought at Sheik Shoes and the strappy sandals that look like the one pictured above, came from a Nordstrom half-yearly sale!! Affordable fashion…yay!

    This one above is good for going casual in, all through the spring and summer months.

    The Not-So-Basic Black Bag

    A decent-sized everyday bag in black goes a long way to round up your wardrobe.

    I swear by my patent leather black bag, It is roomy enough for everything I need with me at work, like cellphone keys, etc., etc., as well as handy for when I’m out and about running errands.

    ….and I have a smaller cross-body style one with a long strap – once again in black patent leather – for partying.

    The Wide-Leg Pants

    Okay, enough with the black! It’s time to add some joy to your closet with a pair of semi-casual wide-leg pants either in blue denim for every day on the go or an eye-catching, brightly colored pair for the office or afternoon shopping or just for hanging out. I found these Mustard Yellow Banana Republic pants on SALE !!

    I love my wide-leg pants – in beige and tan – and plan on getting a pair in white to step out in, come summer – hope and payers and fingers crossed !!

    The White Button-Down Shirt

    This one works really hard to make you look fabulous both at work – tucked into a pair of wide-leg black and white striped pants or worn with an amply cut pencil skirt in a rich port color or over plaid gray skinny pants – and at play – paired with a casual pink and white box-pleated skirt or beige satin pleated spring skirt ….

    It also makes for a great date-night fashion option when worn over a pair of faux leather black leggings a pair of strappy red high heels and a chunky red necklace….!!

    Hope you enjoy experimenting with my sartorial suggestions….!!

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    How to Makeover a Man Cave in 5 easy steps

    Truth be told, when we decide to cohabit, we end up spending most of the rest of our lives in a shared space, but there are times when the need for a separate space to call our own, arises for men, women and all partners. 

    Now they don’t have to go far to get some personal space.  Give them a place to call their own.  A members-only clubhouse that feels like home that the husband, boyfriend, partner, significant other can escape to for some alone time, any time they need a break from that weekend to-do list and other stuff called “life”. 

    Be it a shared space in a garage or an entire basement floor or a corner of the home office or a spare bedroom, the man cave has become a trend that is here to stay. If planned and executed properly it can add to a home’s value. 

    First things first – Draw up a list of the features that you will want in your man chamber – in order of priority.

    • Functionality of the space – Plan what activities, other than watching TV (perhaps a no-brainer) will take place here. How often do you plan to entertain in your man cave? What will be the size of the group gathered here at any given time. Small weekend hangouts or large Superbowl parties? Take into consideration that guests will need access to drinks, snacks, proximity to a bathroom  etc.,
    • The basics – Plan a Color Scheme, Style and Scale. Get the basics right the first time around as mistakes can be costly!  Stick to one or two main colors in the same or a contrasting color family and add pops of color in the same tone and hue – in other words do

    not mix warm colors with cool tones or jewel tones with pastels.  A clash of warm and cool tones or an uncoordinated mix of styles and shapes will not allow the mind to calm down and chill out effectively.

    Interior colors that do not make you feel relaxed or a mish mash of irregularly sized furniture – such as a sofa that is too big for the coffee table or a rug that is too small, objects that don’t mix well – are all going to adversely affect your enjoyment of the space.

    • Floor Plan – Measure the room. Taking accurate measurements of the room is crucial in deciding how big a sofa will fit or how far away from the television your guests may be seated for a viewing experience that is not marred by eye strain. This step is crucial.

    If I had a dime for every time a client came to me AFTER buying the biggest, best piece of Sofa they could lay their eyes on at the fancy retail store only to discover that the Sofa does  not fit at all….. well, you get the picture. This step absolutely needs to happen before you jump in the car to go shopping for furniture and a big screen TV – and fall in love with that sectional couch that looks perfect in the showroom. Remember….head before heart!!

    • Furniture layout – After you get measurements of the room you must figure out things like where the sofa goes or where the telly will be installed and what kind of table to purchase for putting beverages, snacks and refreshments at arms length. It is essential to draw out a furniture layout however rudimentary – drawn on a napkin or created using a dedicated home design software.

    This allows you to see if you have a clear traffic pathway to enter and exit the room without bumping into furniture and if you and your guests have enough space to move around the room easily. The rule of thumb is – any furniture items should be at least 3 ft away from a doorway. Planning a layout is the design equivalent of measure twice cut once. No shortcuts!

    • The aesthetics – Style your space with your man in mind. When choosing the decor, don’t forget to have fun, but pare it down to a single dominant style, especially if it is a small room. If you love something you saw in a magazine or a film set, adapt it to your guy’s taste, improvise. Good taste is always in style, whether you’re going for a Mid Century Modern man’s den or a European loft style lair or an Industrial style retreat or a playfully whimsical Art Deco hide-out.
    https://www.bedfordandbroome.com

    The preceding four steps will collectively contribute to the aesthetics of a space, which in turn defines the comfort level, the way you feel – relaxed or anxious and stressed out – when you step in the room. When decorating a room – and a man cave is no exception – aesthetics affect our mood and emotional well-being, whether we care for them or not.

    Now that you’ve followed these five foolproof steps let your ideas take wings, have fun choosing the various design elements –  be it funky paint colors, bold black and white patterned wallpaper or quaint vintage posters in rustic wood frames. Make sure to choose upholstery and rugs that will add texture to create interest.  Pick out accessories and artwork that speak to his passions and hobbies.

    http://nextluxury.com

    You’re on your way to creating a really cool man cave – one that reminds us why we love men….!

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    SOME TIPS FOR MORE SPLASH THAN CASH

    Decorating your home, condo or flat does not have to cost an arm and a leg anymore. Here are a few ways to create a big splash with small cash.

    MOOD LIGHTING – if a client tells me they have a tight budget my go-to is to create a personalized look with carefully curated floor lamps and table lamps to provide mood lighting around the room. If you are undertaking a makeover of your home or just entertaining some friends for the evening, forget everything else – go straight for a couple of lamps placed around the room, with the light source at different heights, add candles and voila! Instant coziness combined with instant glam!

    Lighting will do a ton towards making an average room go from meh to magical in minutes. However, don’t go overboard. I say that myself, after once having wallpapered an entire powder room in a single afternoon and switching out the vanity lights for a more bespoke look right before company was coming. The results were amazing. My company seemed to agree 🙂

    PILLOWS AND A THROW – Pillows on a sofa instantly add a level of comfort and coziness to a room making it more special and inviting. Buy pillows in different shapes and in a variety of sizes medium to large either 20-inch or 22-inch. Mix but not match, patterns and colors.

    The trick is to buy pillow covers in a particular size and stuff them with pillow inserts that are slightly larger. For instance, a 20 inch cover on a 22 inch insert makes it look more plush and luxurious. And you don’t have to do the karate chop on your pillows. Just arrange them loosely on your sofa looking like……..well, pillows.

    Finish styling your sofa by adding a neatly folded Throw or Afghan. It’s like adding a scarf to your outfit! Try to match the style of the throw to the design of the sofa.

    RUG – Add a luxurious looking rug that won’t break the bank! As I’ve said before, the rug makes the room. It works like the gorgeous patterned jacket that you decided to throw over the boring top and pants as you headed out the door like a Parisian girl – and it earned you a ton of compliments at work!

    Buy a rug in a medium or high loop in the largest size that will easily fit in the room. You can layer it with a smaller, less dense hide rug or a flat-woven dhurrie for the ultimate luxe look. Layering always makes a room look luxurious. And as I’ve said before – wait for those sales! It pays out. When combining rugs, pay attention to create a contrast – in color and pattern. For instance, place a patterned or striped flat rug on a solid with a shag-like density OR lay a plush white fleece rug on a patterned Persian or Kilim.

    CUSTOM HARDWARE – Most spec homes come with generic kitchen and bathroom hardware. Switch them out for ones that work better with the style of your furniture and décor. If you are prepared to do a bit of research, you can find cabinet handles and drawer pulls in painted wood for a Country French look, ceramic for a boho-chic ambiance, brass for a transitional or nickel for a modern contemporary look and bakelite, lucite or glass for an Art Deco or Hollywood Regency vibe. This is yet another inexpensive way to add character and personalized feel to your home without making a dent in your wallet.

    Flea markets are a great source of cabinet hardware. My go-to place was Liz’s Hardware in Los Angeles with it’s Ali Baba’s treasure trove of door handles and cabinet hardware in all kinds of styles and finishes. Find your fave hunting ground for bespoke hardware in your own neighborhood.

    PAINT – Most spec homes, condos and rentals for that matter, come with generic white paint on the walls. Ask any designer and they will tell you that Paint is THE most inexpensive, quickest easiest way to give a distinctive look to a home. Collect pictures of your favorite rooms and pick the one that you think suits your personality best. Plan a trip to the paint store to pick up chips in that shade as well as the two other shades right next to the one you like. Tape the chips to the walls of your room and live with it for a couple of days.

    Measure the length and height of your walls with a tape measure to figure out how much paint you want to buy. If you have no idea how much paint you need, the person at the paint desk at the store is often a big help in calculating you how many gallons are needed for your room if you give him/her the size of your walls – minus the doors and windows.

    No more living with builder’s grade Swiss Coffee on your walls!

    WINDOW TREATMENTS – I often see my clients ignore the windows when planning for furniture for a room. That is a mistake. With the exception of plantation shutters – which is a drop-dead gorgeous look – most window treatments such as Roman shades, Roller shades and drapes are generally an inexpensive quick and easy fix and can take a room from soulless to sexy in minutes! Made-to-order drapery may be expensive but with a little planning, you can pull off a near-custom look with what is available out there these days.

    A number of online retailers offer curtains that look tailored with simple but elegant trims or stria in contemporary styles mounted on custom-look bronze nickel or bamboo rods. You can combine shades and drapes to a window in order to create layer upon layer of textures and patterns to make the space more interesting.

    When measuring for length or fullness, do not skimp. Decide on what kind of look you want – pinch pleated or butterfly pleats look classy and timeless. Grommet drapes are cool and casual but if not well planned it can end up looking like shower curtains rather than customized drapes. Hang the drapes on ceiling-mounted rods for a great look or wall mount the rods as high as possible, allowing for no more than 1 1/2-2 inches for the hardware. This adds height to the space – a trick to getting the “custom” look.

    CROWN MOLDING AND TRIM – always a favorite go-to for decorators when looking to add a custom-built touch to any room. Choose a patterned or plain molding, depending on the aesthetics of your space. Also keep in mind the wider the molding, the more formal the look.

    If you want to add some character to an old bungalow or cottage – don’t forget window and door trim. Install wide window and door trims in rich wood finish or paint them in a color to contrast with the walls add a finishing touch make the area look instantly classy and customized

    A FEATURE WALL – I live and die by feature walls. If you are going to do any single thing to decorate your home, flat or condo, do plan on doing a feature wall. It will instantly dress up the space, whether you paint a single wall a different – or darker – shade than the rest of the room or you wallpaper a single wall in feature wallpaper, do think about adding a feature wall to your decorated space.

    Vintage furniture stores and even box chain stores like Lowes and Home Depot can sometimes yield a really nice patterned wallpaper if you look a little harder. Paint and wallpaper stores sometimes sell remnants.

    The wallpaper you choose depends on what kind of atmosphere you want to create – it could be a subtle self-pattern or a funky print with serious Mid-Century vibes or a modern re-incarnation of a French Toile de Jouy! Make it a personal choice – it’s about you and it’s about having fun!

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