My Big Fat Bedroom Makeover


Holy shit, you guys: I actually made over my bedroom instead of just blogging about it and then failing miserably to realize my ambitions! This is mostly due to the fact that this was a work project—one in a series of "editor makeovers." Mine went up on last week, and I 'grammed and 'fbooked about it then, but this is your chance to get all the juicy behind the scenes details—of which there are none. But let's pretend, shall we?

First things first: the bedroom "before." One wall was the most tragic shade of pink, there were no window treatments, the bed was a foul just wasn't pretty. I had the big dream to go really bold with color since my last bedroom was a white box. White worked there because I got such great light, but this space, despite having two windows, is a lot darker. The decorating M.O. had to be tweaked.

For awhile I'd been toying with the idea of a red bedroom, thinking specifically of designer Nick Olsen's old apartment, but the shade was uniformly dismissed by my colleagues. I was also really tempted to go gray after seeing the interior of Gris, an antiques shop in Hudson, NY, painted Benjamin Moore's Kendall Charcoal. Tempted...but not convinced. I ended up springing for Stiffkey Blue, a dark blue from Farrow & Ball with gray-green undertones. I think. From certain angles. Whatever, I like it. See for yourself, below.

You can read all of the nitty gritty over on Lonny, but the long and the short of it is: blue! Everywhere! And bedding and rug and art, oh my! The space ended up being a lot more worldly than my last room, and a good bit less "Brooklyn-y"—more in line with the inspirations I shared. I was able to work in a lot of my antiques and stuff I've picked up while traveling to create a few moments, not to mention lots of tiny plants in tiny ceramic dishes.

I worked with In Bed to dress my low-profile West Elm bed. The headboard is a piece of plywood upholstered in a vintage fabric and the indigo quilt is from Coming Soon; the throw pillows I bought at Hammer And Spear in LA. The whole package has a distinctly zen vibe, and I think I read somewhere that low furniture is more inviting than really tall furniture? All I know is that the height of everything is dictated by how wonky the walls are—none of them are flat and straight. Both of the walls in the photo above are angled in (note the dormer windows) so I can't easily hang art on them or, you know, anything else. In a perfect world I might have a tall floor lamp in that far corner, but in the meantime I put my tulip table there, covered in African mudcloth to blend in a little better with the bedding.

I bought new art for the lefthand side table to really define that area beneath the window. It's a Saul Lishinsky sketch I got at (say it with me now) the Brooklyn Flea, from dealer Brian Cousins, one half of the duo behind Hollander & Lexer. Cousins has the most incredible stall at the Flea, with a ton more sketches by Lishinsky and a drool-inducing assortment of curios and objets. In addition to the art I bought vintage boro fabric and an antique Indian tikka box. The staggered Chinese stools are antiques from Home Stories, a totally gorgeous shop in Brooklyn Heights.

For the window treatments I went really trad, opting for Rose Tarlow's Tatton Stripe in Paper Bag for a pair of roman shades. The light fixture is Tom Dixon, the flowers were done by Saffron and the art in the far corner is a portrait of Christ by self-taught Colombian painter Guillermo Vega, who'll get a dedicated post later this week.

I would show the desk area, but I feel like it's not really done yet. It's pretty much the same as it looks here. Speaking of which, that chair is going to be ready in a week or two and I'll have a post about that, which is kind of amazing. The other half of the room, where I dream of putting my mid-century console, is basically not done at all. In theory, it will look something like this:
But...we'll see. I have no more monies and, at the end of the day, am not sure how much more work I feel like putting into a rented room, especially when I've already made so many major changes to the space. In my last room, though I just installed drapery, it felt like the whole year flew by and I was taking stuff down right after it'd been put up. Le sigh.

I've been doing a lot of decor shopping online lately, natch, and I feel like there are a few details I've left out here...products I really like, etc., but I've rounded up some recent finds that I think are worth checking out, and there's always more where that came from on Pinterest.

The Agi & Sam School of Layering


So you may remember this look from last spring, but it accidentally got deleted for eternity when I switched blog platforms over the summer and so here it is again. This #OOTD was inspired by Agi & Sam's awesome AW14 collection, which was amazing and totally on my wavelength.

I attempted to recreate some of their layering magic with a vintage shirt, pants and a quilted skirt from Uniqlo and a long Comme des Garçons jacket. You can kind of sort of shop the look, below!

Playlist 008


Ok, so I'm trying something new this month—I put my whole playlist on Soundcloud. Do I sound old, saying that? Who's asking? Nevermind.

Of note: I'm obsessed with SZA right now (like, for the past day and a half) and am wondering why I'd never heard of her. She gives me LDR vibes by way of FKA Twigs channeling Jill Scott. If you're looking for something more upbeat than Aftermath, the song I included here, listen to Julia. Oh, Doja Cat is also amazing. I included Cannibal in this mix, but my actual favorite of hers right now is Throwed. (And if you're intrigued enough to click that link, then you definitely have to listen to Ice Cream Pu$$y, which my friend described as "ear crack," but which only exists as some jank clip on YouTube for some reason.) Otherwise it's just stuff I've got on repeat!

2 Ways with Tone-on-Tone


Apologies for last week's radio silence—I was sick! I was also encumbered by lots of feels re: Lena Dunhamgate and the Rose McGowan situation and told myself I'd write a long thinkpiece about body ownership and language and feminism, but then I fell asleep for four hours yesterday and lost the capacity for engaging the Internet in debate via embedded tweets. Such is life. Instead, I collaged some outfits!

I was inspired by this look to create two tone on tone, loafer-grounded outfits. The first is "pilgrim rocker" chic, which means high waisted, cropped pants with a baggy sack shirt topped off with a cropped leather jacket. I like the play of textures and shades of gray and generally looking like an anguished art teacher. The second look is a little more structured and mannish, but mannish in a Caroline de Maigret way, not like in a man way.

Top look: Jacket United Arrows | Pants 1205 | Shirt Acne | Shoes Marsell
Bottom look: Denim A.P.C. | Shirt Our Legacy | Frames Warby Parker | Coat Our Legacy | Scarf Christophe Lemaire | Loafers Lanvin

You can see more tone-on-tone inspiration on my Pinterest.

La Bottega Moderna


La Bottega Moderna is this artist's studio I stumbled upon in Florence. I think the guy in the photo above is Richard Prosperi, who paints under the name Simafra...? I don't know, I link to things for a reason people. I popped my head in thinking the space looked cool and he was nice enough to let me take a picture or two. His work is really great, a bit grotesque and haunting, like it's channeling Francis Bacon.

© Richard Prosperi
© Richard Prosperi

I realized that two of his pieces are actually in Cameron Diaz's Kelly Wearstler-designed apartment, in the living room and bedroom, as seen in Elle Decor. Small world, right? Photos (below) © William Abranowicz / Elle Decor.

Cameron Diaz Manhattan apartment | Elle Decor
Cameron Diaz Manhattan apartment | Elle Decor

Long story short: I am a jetsetting international tastemaker, obviously, and if you hang out with me you will be connected to the art in Cameron Diaz's apartment by six degrees of Kevin Bacon or whatever. Seriously though, I felt much more attuned to the significance of design and the decorative arts on this visit to Florence. Pretty much every other shop reupholsters or refinishes or at the very least sells antiques. It's so accessible in this way that seems really foreign, or, you know, telling of the fact that you're in Italy, home to like, all of the craft ever.

I found this short and sweet video tour of La Bottega Moderna, if you're interested. It's like you can live my journey...#LiveMyJourney #WishThisWasSponsored #SomeoneSendMeSomewhereNew #ThirstyJourney

I Need/Want a Mid-century Console


As I write this I am binge-reading Manhattan Nest. It's better than Netflix. It's completely addicting. And it's got me thinking...thinking about my room. My room is a far cry from a design project, let alone a renovation, but Daniel's words have me convinced that I need to make some changes around here. Right now that means nervously re-stacking piles of books atop piles of cardboard boxes I can't get rid of because I'm running a serious storage deficit. But I've found my (dream) solution: a mid-century console.

The idea came to me, as all ideas do, while I was masturbating browsing Pinterest. Thanks to home tours on Designsponge (above left, ph. © Kelly Ishikawa) and The Design Files (above right, ph. © Annette O'Brien) I have a plan: buy a console (pragmatic!) and hang some abstract art—the large-scale painting previously seen here—above it (pretty!). I already have a lamp to sit atop said console and a pair of dream bookends that might make an appearance.

Urban Outfitters has a reasonably priced mid-century-ish option (with fugly metal legs I'd have to replace...and, actually, maybe some knobs are in order) while West Elm stocks a fancier, prettier, priced-just-out-of-reach media console with lots of storage space. My favorite option (below right) is the most expensive, natch, and is located in California to boot.

I've scouted the Brooklyn Flea the past two weekends, but that's not enough time to yield any decisive leads. I know one guy there who has good, negotiable prices, but stock is inconsistent at best. Le sigh.

Look how happy this couple is with their midcentury console! Is that so much to ask for?

Ok, I have some more updates re: actual progress being made in the bedroom (painted walls! bedding!) but am going to save that for a later date. Until then...

Shopping the "Ladies' Section" Gives Me All the Feels


I have sweater dressing agita. It all started back in September: the weather was turning and I found myself coming off a closet-cleaning rampage that left me sans half a hefty bag of last year's layers. I started shopping around, flirtatiously weighing the pros and cons of this knit versus that knit. How was the ribbing on this hem? Those sleeves? Can I settle for a wool/acrylic blend? A marked yearning for a camel cashmere jumper took root, so I sought out the perfect one and found J.Crew's Collection Cashmere Boyfriend Sweater. I headed to the store's Soho (women's) boutique and asked where I might find it.

"Is it a women's sweater?"

Ok, I guess I can forgive that. Someone might not know the J.Crew boutiques in Soho are (unfortunately) segregated by sex. But if I've memorized the name of the item I'm looking for, don't we think I know where I am? Anyway, I confess to the sales associate that I am indeed hunting down a ladies' jumper and proceed to the back, where she thinks I might find it, though she can't say for sure. A huge sale is going on and piles of cashmere, merino wool and cotton-cashmere blends are littered across every table and bench in sight. I show the sweater to another associate (I've saved a picture of it on my phone), who declares it to be sold out. I rifle through more piles of dejected merchandise, feeling slightly insidious as I do so, as if violating the women around me by forcing my man shoulders into a half-zip mockneck that's less forgiving than anticipated.

Eventually I find my sweater, albeit in the wrong color, and the small fits nicely. I resign myself to scoping out the brand's Fifth Avenue location later in the week.

"Do you know her size?"

It's another sales associate, this time a man—presumably a gay man, one who is small, like me. I let him know that it's for me and suppress the urge to be like, "Really?" Maybe America is too PC after all. It doesn't matter—they don't have the camel. Now I'm on this nebulous quest with no end in sight, but that's beside the point. The moral of the story is (or is intended to be): dividing stores by sex is stupid, especially during sweater season, especially when it's a "boyfriend sweater."

Simon Doonan summed up my shopping life in one of his recent trend pieces for Slate: "I grabbed a ladies’ size large and inspected it for bust darts. There were none. Et voilà! Unisex!"

I just get really sick of having to remind people that I know my own body—my waist size, my chest size, what have you. I wish people would stop dividing things straight down the middle as if that's normal or realistic and I'm the one who's lost my way. My favorite sweater is the one I'm wearing in the picture, a ladies' large from the COS capsule collection at Opening Ceremony a season or two back. It fits wonderfully and is gorgeous and I die. And I look like such a dude in it, right? I'm practically a Gap ad—not that that matters or is what I'm going for, really I'm just lazy.

Anyway, that's my gripe. I'll let you know if I find any good sweaters. Let me know in the comments or via Twitter or what have you—do you have these same issues? Or does the cheese stand alone? (Mm, cheese.)

Snapshots From Florence


Florence has a special place in my heart, as cheesy as that sounds. It was the first city I visited in Italy and going back felt like something of a homecoming, which makes no sense really except that I hit up some familiar restaurants? I haven't had a sec to sit down and get thoughts and real words out of my brain, but I here are some pics!

Sunnei Spring/Summer '15


I first discovered Sunnei on Instagram, and remember being so surprised to realize they're based in Milan. I suppose I've just come to associate Italy with a very specific kind of man, and an accordingly specific kind of men's wear. Sunnei, the brainchild of designers Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina, feels much less structured, more youthful and irreverent—kind of like a boy's version of Jacquemus, though that might just be because of their analog SS15 campaign. I tried to set up a visit to their showroom while I was in Italy, but ended up in Florence instead of Milan. C'est la vie!

You can read more about the brand here.

Let's Talk About Sacks, Baby


I came across the new French brand L/Uniform in this month's Monocle and was immediately smitten. I mean, look at how cute the brand's creator, Jeanne Signoles, looks when she's holding one of the bags. Are you not sold? The line is only available online for now, and their site is only in French for now, but I have a feeling that'll change soon. I hope? (On that note, their site is absolutely gorgeous and amazing and worth checking out for the art direction alone.)

My favorite style is the Sac de Marin, available in four base colors and a range of trim options so you can mix and match (and monogram!). (Speaking of monograms, it should be noted here that Signoles married into the family that owns Goyard, so...there's that.)

Here's a taste of the aforementioned branding goodness, which isn't limited to L/Uniform's digital presence. Graphic designer Cléo Charuet created a pretty sweet identity suite (hardy har har) for the brand that makes me hope Ms. Signole has good reason to correspond almost exclusively by post.

Then there's KikaNY. The Brooklyn-based brand lacks the je ne sais quois of L/Uniform, but cute logos aren't everything, amiright? LOL who am I kidding, cute logos are the only thing. Regardless, I'm particularly fond of their Canvas Harvest Backpack in Rust. It's waxed, just like my Joshu + Vela bag, and it looks like it'll age really well. And can we talk about how I'm such a sucker for leather straps?

The bag retails online for $345, but if you're local I believe they sell them for less if you buy from their stall at the Brooklyn Flea.

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