Your Home, Your Style... and My Book!

It’s been 13 months since I announced my book on this blog, two years since I got the publishing deal, and almost three years since I first got the bug to write a book at all. It’s been both an exhilarating and excruciating process.

Exhilarating: Spending countless hours with interior and lifestyle photographer Joyelle West, who has become not only my go-to collaborator on beautiful imagery, but also a dear friend during this long process.

Also exhilarating: Working with friends, friends-of-friends, and colleagues to capture their spaces and make them shine in print. What’s unique about Your Home, Your Style is that none of the featured rooms was put together by a professional interior designer. For the photo shoots, I added a few choice props and plants and rearranged items a bit, but for the most part, it was about celebrating the homeowners’ individual styles and showing the fun they’ve had decorating. The accompanying text then breaks it all down into actionable tips and ideas that anyone can adopt. It was important to me to show that personal and “imperfect” can be utterly charming and welcoming, and it was unbelievably fun.

Excruciating: Having to keep everything under wraps for this long. But I’m happy to share an update... The book is now at the printer! Holy cow. And the cover design, which I agonized over, is finally here:

Photo credit: Joyelle West; cover design by Laura Palese

Photo credit: Joyelle West; cover design by Laura Palese

I’m in love. The pattern, which I found on a pillow on Joss & Main, will have a textured, faux-cloth finish and will wrap around the spine and across the back cover. It echoes the colors in my parlor (the room featured on the front cover, a space which I’ve already changed—ha). More important, it’s a pattern that I could see working on coffee tables of all styles, from traditional to rustic to shabby-girly to beachy.

Over the next few months, I’ll share some outtakes from the shoots and post updates on fun stuff like advance press, book launch events, giveaways, and more. In the meantime, you can head over to Amazon and pre-order a copy of Your Home, Your Style now.

Happy decorating! XX

Mock-Up to Makeover: How Four Celeb Spaces Came to Life

You know that phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none”? Lately that feels like my motto. I’ve been jumping between work, my upcoming book, and of course my family, and it seems like none of it is getting enough attention. The good thing is, everything I’ve been doing has been heaps of fun.

This summer and early fall, my plate was stacked particularly high with makeover projects. I was able to design a great living room and office for the author and personality Katherine Schwarzenegger (yes, Arnold and Maria’s daughter), a backyard space for Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell, and a bedroom and nursery for entrepreneur and TV star Whitney Port.

One challenging aspect of these projects is working with the homeowner from a distance and not being able to see the spaces in real life before I select the products. Fortunately, technology is there to help bridge the gaps: I get measurements of the space and often create 3D rendering of the rooms using software such as RoomSketcher, which is a stripped-down version of the advanced CAD software a lot of interior designers use. We also communicate via phone and email—so, so many emails!

But the biggest aid is my beloved room mock-ups, a concept I dedicate a lot of space to in my book, Your Home, Your Style. The benefits of a digital mock-up are twofold:

1. They help me visualize how products will look together in real life and see whether the space looks balanced.

2. They let my collaborators in on the design plan so they can flag anything that doesn't work and suggest changes.

Here’s a mock-up of the backyard entertaining setup I put together last year for Julianne Hough:

Julianne_Hough_outdoor_mockup

Here it is in final photos:

Photo credit: Justin Coit for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Justin Coit for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Justin Coit for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Justin Coit for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Justin Coit for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Justin Coit for Joss & Main

Katherine_Schwarzenegger_living_room_design

And here’s the space finished:

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for Joss & Main

I worked on actress Shay Mitchell’s outdoor space with my colleague Emily Arnow for AllModern:

Shay_Mitchell_outdoor_mockup

And the pics turned out great:

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for AllModern

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for AllModern

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for AllModern

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for AllModern

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for AllModern

Photo credit: Lu Tapp for AllModern

Whitney Port’s nursery project with Joss & Main was SO MUCH FUN. We tinkered a lot and came up with this:

Whitney_Port_nursery_design

It turned out even better in real life. We added wallpaper at the last minute:

Photo credit: Nicole Gerulat for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Nicole Gerulat for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Nicole Gerulat for Joss & Main

Photo credit: Nicole Gerulat for Joss & Main

Whitney_Port_Nursery_detail

Have you ever created a mockup like this? Do you have any other favorite ways to document and organize your decorating projects?

Moroccan Tile on a Budget

For those of you not following me on Instagram—and if you're not, please do!—this entry is inspired by a pic I recently posted from NYC's Javits Center, where I headed to scope out trends in home decor. Among the aisles of throws, pillows, baskets, lamps, and bowls, I spotted a booth full of what looked like encaustic tile—you know, those Moroccan-style patterned squares everyone on Pinterest seems to be putting in their entries, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. 

Moroccan_tile

The booth was overflowing with people, which makes sense given how popular Moroccan encaustic tile has become. Take, for example, this bathroom flooring at my hotel in Nashville recently, the Thompson:

Thompson_Nashville_bathroom_tile

My friend Jamie recently renovated her mud room, and she covered the floor with this black and white pattern:

IMG_1566.JPG
IMG_1565.JPG

A local designer I know, Shannon Tate, recently installed this gorgeous tile in a client's kitchen:

Design by Shannon Tate Interiors, photo by Joyelle West

But not everyone has the budget (or fear of commitment) that a tile install like his requires. Enter the alternatives. The samples I saw at NYNOW were actually vinyl "rugs" you could place over any hard surface to get the look of Moroccan tile on a non-permanent basis. Here are some more pics courtesy of the company, Adama Alma, which is based in Spain. Cool, right? 

Source: Adama Alma

Source: Adama Alma

Source: Adama Alma

Source: Adama Alma

Source: Adama Alma 

Source: Adama Alma 

Apartment Therapy has done a feature on other ways to give your space that punchy, patterned look for less. One of my favorite ideas they featured was stenciling a tile-like pattern on your flat surface, as shown on the stairs below. 

Source: Lonny via Apartment Therapy

What do you think? Are you brave enough to do the tile thing? Would you fake it? Do you even like the look? 

Judging Books by Their Covers

Over the last few months, I've spent much of my time outside of work on my book, now titled Your Home, Your Style, which is inching its way toward publication. (Official release date: April 2018). 

One thing my editor, publisher, and I have spent a lot of time working through is the cover design. Because this is a home decor book, it's extremely important to me that the cover is one that people will eagerly display in their spaces. It's not lost on me that the most successful and beloved design books of the last several years all have a striking visual presence and inevitably become part of their owners' decor. I want the book to sit out on people's coffee tables, consoles, and bookshelves, begging to be picked up and flipped through a few pages at a time.

If course, it wouldn't hurt if the book's design landed it in photos that bloggers and stylists share on Pinterest, such as this vignette showcasing designer/blogger Erin Gates's bestseller Elements of Style. I mean, how can you NOT want to take this whole look home?

Source: Swoon Worthy

Source: Swoon Worthy

Then there's this lovely vignette I spotted on the blog Waiting on Martha, featuring Carolyne Roehm's A Passion for Blue & White. I love the book, the flowers, the collected objects, everything.

I adore how books fit into this space by designer/blogger Paloma Contreras at the New Orleans Showhouse:

Here, designer and blogger Justina Blakeney shows how colorful books, including her own bestseller The New Bohemians, can be objects of layered beauty:

Source: The Jungalow

Source: The Jungalow

What if my cover was so good that it would just pop up in magazines or catalogs as a prop from time to time? OMGIWOULDDIE.

Source: William-Sonoma

Source: William-Sonoma

But creating a book that lots of people will want to display is not as simple as choosing a pretty color or picking a nice photo to put on the front. I also want my book's jacket to reflect the contents, and because the homes I feature inside don't share the same aesthetic, there's no one image that represents everything within. I also want the book to be able to fit into every style of home, from traditional townhouses to breezy beach houses, modern lofts, eclectic bungalows, and more.

It's a tall order, but we're making progress. My uber-talented book designer is Laura Palese, who has designed books for Gwyneth Paltrow, Chrissy Teigen, Laura Prepon, and more. She's a rockstar. We've landed on a tentative cover look, and while I won't be able to share images until September, one element that we're currently planning to incorporate is this embroidered linen pattern I first spotted on a pillow on Joss & Main:

Embroidered_linen_pillow

It wasn't easy finding a print or texture that could cohabitate with traditional, modern, coastal, bohemian, and other decor styles equally well, but I think this one's pretty versatile, don't you?. If you look closely, the fabric has a great linen weave, and I'm hoping we can recreate some of tactile effect with slight embossing. We'll see.  

What do you think? Do you have any coffee table books on display, and what made you choose them? Have you ever purchased a book based on looks alone, and where did you put it? Comment below...

Obsessed With: Black Fringe

March is a crummy month in New England. Forget "in like a lion, out like a lamb"—It's March 31 and we're all still huddled into our ice-encrusted houses like polar bears trying to keep warm. Forgive me for not running out to buy gauzy, flowy, Coachella-chic resort wear... I'm spending the weekend parked under a throw blanket with a bourbon-and-bitters IV drip. Home, right now, feels heavy. Stuffy. Stagnant. 

At the same time, I'm aching for any nod to summer style, especially at home. It's been so long since the holiday wreaths and lights came down, and I'm ready for something fresh (but not too fresh—we won't be embracing the al fresco lifestyle for a few more months yet).

Enter these picks. The perfect balance of dark and light, fresh and funky, items pairing black tassels and pompoms with sheer and natural materials feel like the perfect blend of breeziness and edge for this in-between season. I want everything.  

1. Aldous shower curtain, $50, Joss & Main. 2. Xinh clutch in Noir, $16, Xinh & Co. 3. 100-percent cotton Euro sham, $53 for a set of two, Wayfair. 4. Tassel throw blanket, $25, Target. 5. Kate Spade New York Tassel Stripe throw pillow, $129, Wayfair. 6. Creative Co-Op Collapsible two-piece basket set, $59, Wayfair. 

1. Aldous shower curtain, $50, Joss & Main. 2. Xinh clutch in Noir, $16, Xinh & Co. 3. 100-percent cotton Euro sham, $53 for a set of two, Wayfair. 4. Tassel throw blanket, $25, Target. 5. Kate Spade New York Tassel Stripe throw pillow, $129, Wayfair. 6. Creative Co-Op Collapsible two-piece basket set, $59, Wayfair

What are you craving for your home and wardrobe in these doldrum days? Leave a comment and let me know what you'd like to see more of!