Obsessed With: My Curated Sale on Joss & Main!

Exciting news to announce, friends! To celebrate the launch of my book, Your Home, Your Style, I've curated a selection of items on Joss & Main! Cute decor + great prices + my stamp of approval = How can you resist??

If you get Joss & Main’s emails or visit the site, you’ll see pics from my home in the cover image for the sale:

Click through and you'll find gobs of products I hand-picked from the home-decor destination that's been my work home for over six years.

Some of the products are the very items you see in the pics above, including my kitchen island pendants, rose-gold cabinet hardware, metal and glass coffee table, leather pouf, knotted rug, and navy-blue table lamp. 

Others are items that just sort of jive with my personal style. Here's a sampling, arranged a la my usual “Obsessed With” finds!

  1. Condon crystal sculpture, $44. 2. Dunand shelf, $108. 3. Fayme 3-light pendant, $280. 4. Arona blue/snow area rug, starting at $52. 5. Duck legs desk clock, $90. 6. Komar Marmoro wall mural, $120. All available in my exclusive curated sale on  Joss & Main .

1. Condon crystal sculpture, $44. 2. Dunand shelf, $108. 3. Fayme 3-light pendant, $280. 4. Arona blue/snow area rug, starting at $52. 5. Duck legs desk clock, $90. 6. Komar Marmoro wall mural, $120. All available in my exclusive curated sale on Joss & Main.

Added bonus: If you haven’t purchased a copy of my book, we’re also selling a custom dust-jacketed copy on Joss & Main for only $35 with free two-day shipping—no code needed! Head over and get yours ASAP!

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Donna

5 Renovation "Rules" I Broke... And Never Regretted

Earlier this week, Architectural Digest’s new sister site, Clever, ran a couple of my comments in a story about budgeting for a kitchen renovation. It got me thinking back to my own kitchen reno, which at this point is about three years old (and already starting to need a few touch-ups… thanks, kids) and some of the out-of-the-box decisions we made.

 A screenshot from  my book trailer , showing me in our never-this-quiet kitchen.

A screenshot from my book trailer, showing me in our never-this-quiet kitchen.

For the most part, our renovation was pretty “safe”—we didn’t take any crazy-big style swings, except in the attached powder room, and our only gratuitous, totally unnecessary splurge was spending too much on our custom range hood, a choice I’ll never regret. The putty color of our cabinetry was a departure from ubiquitous white or gray—it’s especially interesting when you see how it changes in different light—but it’s still pretty safe. We also selected traditional silhouettes and details for the cabinet doors, hardware, and lighting that would complement the 1860s architecture of our home rather than going eclectically modern. If we put the home on the market today, the style probably wouldn’t scare any open-house-goers away.  

But there are a few other moves we made that a lot of people might not have. Specifically:

1. Living at home—with kids—during the renovation.

I’ve posted about this before, but giving up your kitchen when you have toddlers is no joke. You can read about how we dealt with it here, but I’m not going to lie and say it was easy. Was it a good idea? You bet. Because if there’s anything worse than not having your kitchen with todders, it’s doing the same thing when you have relentlessly demanding school-age kids who insist on having MADE-TO-ORDER OMELETS ON A TUESDAY MORNING. They barely remember the process now.

2. Not opening up the floor plan.

It’s practically a required part of the script on HGTV these days: “We’re going to take down this waaaalllll, create some great flooowwww, just really connect this space with that one and create this amazing space for entertainingggggg….” Barf. Not once did we consider blowing out all the walls in our house to connect our kitchen, dining, and sitting rooms. Why? Because one of these days, there’s going to be a backlash against the Open Concept Avalanche of the Mid-to-Late Twenty-Teens, and frankly, I like it when old houses have a lot of small rooms. In my house, we make a mess when we cook, and I don’t want to look at that mess when we sit down with friends.

I also find that moving between rooms affects my mood in a good way. It’s casual bustle—think: simultaneous cooking, cleaning, snacking, catching up on plans—whenever we’re in the kitchen, but the dining table is generally where my family goes to focus on something, whether that’s a meal or a craft project. When we move to the front parlor, we’re usually relaxing, talking, watching funny clips on YouTube, or building a tower with Magna-Tiles. The downstairs family room is for sofa forts and movies. For me, making a home that works for modern life is about more than just knocking down walls.

3. Choosing countertops that will chip, scratch, and stain.

Got your attention with that headline, didn’t I? But really, deciding whether or not to put in marble countertops is is a tough call for many people, and it’s the subject of one of my most popular posts. The bottom line is, we wanted a kitchen that would develop patina and character over time. If the idea of countertops that’ll show wear and tear bothers you, keep on walking. But if you basically want to live inside a vintage French brasserie, buy the marble.

4. Not installing a backsplash (at least not right away).

You read that right. We didn’t do a backsplash. We were on a deadline, couldn’t decide what we wanted, and ended up leaving the walls bare. Eventually I put up some stick-on tiles to test out the look of a tiled wall (spoiler: it looked good enough to photograph for my book), but we STILL have to install the permanent tile that will cover the space between the counters, cabinets, and run across the whole back wall. But people still like our kitchen. We're all still alive. Everything is fine. 

5. Installing a really loud fan.

Since we didn’t previously have a powder room on our home’s first floor, we added the world’s tiniest loo just off our kitchen. The problem with putting a toilet within six feet of your kitchen island, however, is that sound travels, if you get my drift. So instead of taking our contractor’s recommendation and installing one of the new ultraquiet vent fans in the powder room, we purchased the noisiest fan we could find. “We actually want all the sones,” we told our somewhat befuddled electrician. And you know what? While the resulting auditory experience is a bit like peeing in the lavatory of a 747, everyone appreciates the LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU element of forced privacy we managed to create. It works.

What about you? Are there any “do’s” in kitchen renovations that you think are a “don’t”? Any other unconventional decisions you’ve made (or want to make)? Share in the comments below!

What’s a Home Without Books?

OK, it’s fair to say this post has an ulterior motive: To get you to buy my book. But in all honesty, I think I’d be pretty happy if it got you to buy ANY book for your home, because design books have just had that much of an impact on me, my space, and my life.

It’s true: As I infer in the introduction to Your Home, Your Style, design books, along with home-makeover shows and that class of home-focused magazines known to insiders as “shelter mags,” taught me almost everything I know about putting a space together. That, and actually getting my hands dirty doing it—over and over again, in my own homes and as a part of my job at Joss & Main.

Design books

But books of any kind bring interest and wisdom to the home and a feeling of warmth and life to any space. Any time I need a shot to feel “finished,” one of the first things I grab is a book, which is how so many of other people’s design publications ended up making cameos in my own.

Here’s are just some of the volumes you’ll spy in Your Home, Your Style:

Restoring a House In the City

Appears on: The cover and page 93
Deep is my love for this guide to renovating and restoring townhouses by Ingrid Abramovitch, a Brooklyn-based writer and editor who shares my affection for quirk- and history-filled urban dwellings. I was partway through my own townhouse renovation when I purchased her book, and you can be sure it had me rethinking all of my design choices as I flipped through page after page of incredible homes ranging in style from ultramodern to piece-of-the-past.

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Living With Pattern

Appears on: Pages 111 and 115
To peruse these pages is to see the world through a true creative’s eyes. Textile designer Rebecca Atwood takes us on a tour of spaces that are downright alluring in their ease and imperfection, pointing out all the ways pattern influences the look and feel of each room. Fabrics are only the beginning; she calls attention to every element in the home, from the arrangement of floorboards and tile to the weave of the rugs and paning on the windows. It’s utterly fascinating—and the organic dot pattern on the cover makes it look incredible on a coffee table, too.

Remodelista

Appears on: Page 175

Striking, typographic spine: Check. Clean, beautiful layouts: Check. Inspirational interiors that actually seem achievable: Check. It's no wonder this title appears on the bookshelves of chic people across the country. Remodelista blog founder Julie Carlson filled her pages with an edited mix of spaces that mix high-end and low, making "style at home" feel like a concept within everyone's reach. and the heavy, oversized book just feels good in your home and hand. 

Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home

Appears on: Pages 115 and 167
There is No. Book. On the Planet. That will ever compare to the original Domino: The Book of Decorating, written by original Domino mag editors Deborah Needleman and Sara Ruffin Costello. But lo, its followup, created by Domino successors Jessica Romm Perez and Shani Silver, comes pretty darn close. Like the now-iconic original, this tome delivers a TON of decorating know-how despite its compact size, and does so with Domino’s signature blend of whimsy and authority. Both Domino books are remarkable in that the covers themselves make the books covetable and recognizable—a clever move I took to heart when choosing the cover pattern for Your Home, Your Style.

Surf_Shack_book

Surf Shack: Laid-Back Living By the Water

Appears on: Page 20
Nina Freudenberger’s ocean-inspired book captures that amazing feeling of being away—that kind of magical “away” where the confluence of sun, salt, and sand seems to dust everyone and everything around you with contentment and peace. Unlike many books on beachside style, Surf Shack is 100% free of kitschy clam-shack decor; instead, Freudenberger spotlights environments that are mellow, sometimes minimalist, and that capture the cool, come-as-you-are attitude of life by the sea.  

Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves

Appears on: Page 115
Stylist and blogging queen Emily Henderson has admitted she dislikes the spine of her book, Styled—”too shiny gold—and therefore impossible to photograph,” she’s said of the design. But that didn’t stop us from popping it into a coffee-table vignette in Chapter Six, and I think it works. Styled is full fantastic advice for staging character-filled decorating “moments” around the house; I wish I’d read her tips on styling a mantel, for instance, before photographer Joyelle West and I shot Your Home, Your Style. We did fine, but if you want to take your Instagram skills to a whole other level, this is a must-read.

I could go on and on. A few design books that didn’t appear in YHYS’s final imagery, but that I adore for their down-to-earth approach to home and style:

And if you need a GORGEOUS showstopper on a console table or bookshelf, you must pick up:

What have I missed? Are there any design titles that changed your home and/or life?

Obsessed with: Lattice Caning

I’m taking a break from all things book-related today and indulging in an imaginary online shopping spree. On my wish list: Something—anything!—made with lattice-woven cane.

This material is nothing new, but definitely seeing a bit of a resurgence. (Just search for the Cesca chair, a midcentury design by Marcel Breuer, on Pinterest.) Here's a pair looking fine in fashion designer Erin Fetherston’s home in Hollywood, courtesy of Domino.

 Photo credit: Laure Joliet for  Domino

Photo credit: Laure Joliet for Domino

I recently spotted a Breuer-esque (or maybe it’s  original?) cane-back chair peeking out from behind my colleague Jackie Grandon’s dining table, and it’s so cute as a one-off mixed with other types of chairs.

 Photo credit:  Allison Sepanek

Photo credit: Allison Sepanek

I remember in detail the caned chairs that encircled my parents’ wood-veneer kitchen table in the `80s. My sisters and I would poke our little fingers through the hexagonal holes in the lattice for fun, occasionally causing the material to fray and always drawing the ire of our mother, who shooed us away with a quick swat whenever she caught us in the act.

But caned seating isn’t just for casual, midcentury-style seating. It can be ultra-traditional and formal, too, and cane lattice was frequently used on traditional European furnishings like French settees and Bergere chairs for hundreds of years. While midcentury designs usually feature it in blonder tones, antiques usually boast caned surfaces in deeper walnut and mahogany shades.

 Source: Restoration Hardware

Source: Restoration Hardware

Can you believe this armchair from the UK’s Graham and Greene? So pretty.

Caned_velvet_chair

Whatever your tastes, modern or trad, cane can bring such a gorgeous subtle texture and interest to your space. Here are some pieces featuring cane that I’ve loved lately.

  1. Milling Road cane side chair in Natural Walnut, $855,  Perigold . 2. Cedeno daybed, $480,  Joss & Main .  3. Aidan Gray Mary Katherine barrel chair, $1279,  Wayfair . 4. Tayabas cane side chair, $500,  CB2 . 5. Colonial cane bed, $2295,  Williams-Sonoma Home . 6. Thibaut Cyrus Cane wallpaper in Gold,  thibautdesign.com  for retailers.

1. Milling Road cane side chair in Natural Walnut, $855, Perigold. 2. Cedeno daybed, $480, Joss & Main.  3. Aidan Gray Mary Katherine barrel chair, $1279, Wayfair. 4. Tayabas cane side chair, $500, CB2. 5. Colonial cane bed, $2295, Williams-Sonoma Home. 6. Thibaut Cyrus Cane wallpaper in Gold, thibautdesign.com for retailers.

What are your thoughts? Would you rock this material in your house, or not touch it with a ten-foot cane?

It's Getting Personal... My book in the Boston Globe, the New York Times + more!

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Just... wow. This week has brought so much press and love my way, and my book Your Home, Your Style isn't even in stores yet.

It landed in the New York Times, in a roundup of design titles by Jeremy Allen:

"'Your Home, Your Style: How to Find Your Look & Create Rooms You Love' offers to help you discover your 'design disposition'... The book’s second half suggests ways to transform your home accordingly. It’s an easily digestible guide that may turn the pain points of renovation into creative epiphanies."

Today it's in a piece by Marni Katz in the  Boston Globe:

"Donna Garlough wants you to find the look you love...[H]er new book, 'Your Home Your Style: How to Find Your Look & Create Rooms You Love'... lays out all you need to transform your space into a place that reflects your personal style, even if you didn’t know you had any."

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And a piece I penned for MindBodyGreen not only ran, but was one of their most-read pieces that day. Here's a snippet:

"It occurred to me one day, as I pinned yet another DIY art project that I’d never actually complete, that this profusion of inspiration wasn’t getting me any closer to my dream home... The problem? Most of what was out there was one-size-fits-all: Use this type of bed in this type of space. Follow this formula for combining colors. Describe your look as X, Y, or Z.

Even how-to articles with options for high budgets versus low ones seemed to be asking the wrong question. I thought what if instead of asking what do you like, we asked what are you like?"

More than anything, what this tells me is that folks are legitimately interested in creating spaces that aren't just beautiful, but that feel like them. A roundup of spring design books, including Your Home, Your Style, that ran in Publisher’s Weekly this month suggests this is part of a much larger shift:

“Authenticity. This of-the-moment buzzword recurs throughout 2018 home and garden titles and in publishers’ descriptions of what their readers are seeking. How can readers achieve authenticity at home? By eschewing prescriptive how-to sand figuring out who they are, what they love, and how it translates into their style—and lifestyle.”

I’m thinking of diving into this topic a bit at upcoming book signings and discussions, but I’m curious: Does it seem to you like this shift is occurring? Are there other topics about home, and our relationship to it, that you’d rather have a conversation about instead? I’d love to hear your ideas, either in the comments section below or over on Instagram.  Tell me what you think!