Me + ​Real Simple = OMG


I’m mayyyyyybe going out on a limb here, but if you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you’ve heard of the magazine Real Simple. I remember when it launched in 2000—I was a magazine intern at the time, and I thought, “Holy crap. A magazine that’s all about how to make things easier, not just fancier/better/prettier/[insert comparative adjective here]. Why has nobody done this before?”

Real Simple pretty much invented the home hack. I’ve been a reader from the beginning, even contributing a tip or two to the magazine now and then. My 2016 makeover of a Bachelor couple's space was featured on their website, too. 

So it’s extra-exciting to share some news this month: I’ve been tapped to style the kitchen of the Real Simple Idea Home, a project that’s going to be revealed in full in their October issue! A teaser appears in the July edition:

What's the Real Simple Idea Home? In short, it’s a real-life residence that’s going to be full of “aha” moments, from smart decorating ideas to budget-stretching solutions. Each space is being furnished and decorated by a different brand or designer. Being Real Simple, there’ll naturally be tons of storage tips as well, courtesy of the organizing team at Neat Method. There is an INCREDIBLE roster of design talent on board for the project, which I won’t share yet... Just know that I’m floored to be in the mix!

Right now I’m still tinkering with the design. Given my job at Joss & Main, I’ll be filling the space with lots of budget-friendly kitchen items and decorative touches from the website.

You’ll have to wait until late September for the full reveal, but for now, click here to read a teaser from the issue now on stands: "5 Pro-Approved Ways to Make a Small Kitchen Look Bigger."  The kitchen pictured in the article is my own, photographed by Joyelle West for my book (link to purchase here). And pick up a hard copy before it’s gone! 

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!



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.


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.


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: 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?

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


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."


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!

Her Home, Her Style: A Growing Family's Farmhouse

Friends! For this third installment of "Bad-Ass Ladies with Great Style and Decorating Bravado," allow me to introduce you to Emily, aka a the creative mind behind MStarr Design in the Boston area. Emily is another one of the lovely ladies who allowed me and Joyelle West to shoot her space for my upcoming book Your Home, Your Style.

As a longtime event stylist who has masterminded some pretty impressive celebrations, Emily is a seasoned pro with invitations, table settings and more than knows her way around a flower market. Over time, though, her curatorial eye led her to experiment more and more with home decor.

One look at Emily's space shows her innate talent, and these days, she's growing a following among other homeowners who connect with her elevated yet approachable take on style at home. She shares her home with her husband and an almost-two year old, plus a dog, so you can be sure her style accommodates a hectic family routine. 

Read on to hear what style at home means to her. And if you haven't pre-ordered your copy of YHYS, do it here

Do you have a decorating philosophy? What is it? 
Make your own rules. Yes, I know there are some tried-and-true design tips, but if you like the way seemingly unrelated items look and can find a way to display them together, do it! Do you love that vintage rug that is an odd, small size? Layer it over a simple, larger rug! There are always ways to make the things you love work.

Tell me about your current home. What do you like most about it? 
We've been in our home for almost 4 years, and it's been around for almost 200! It's a farmhouse from the 1830's and full of charm. The house has been well taken care of over the years, but there are still plenty of quirks (think low doorknobs, low ceilings, and nearly vertical, narrow stairs). Even though it was an addition to the home at some point, I love our kitchen. It's bright and airy and its open shelving provides endless styling opportunities.

Joyelle and I had so much fun shooting your space for Your Home, Your Style. What surprised you most about having your home photographed?
Joyelle has actually photographed the house four different times for different blogs and publications, so she's well-versed in its quirks! But I'm always impressed with how she's able to capture its best angles despite the low ceilings, odd-shaped rooms, and awkward positions of the doors.

What were the biggest challenges in furnishing and decorating your spaces?
Let's be honest... I'm never done with anything! The stylist in me is constantly making changes, and the mama in me is constantly working on efficiency and practicality. Other than the kitchen, all of the rooms in our home are relatively small. Many are small and an odd shape, so that's been challenging. The bedroom has been the toughest room to furnish and decorate, hence why we've done the least to it! 

Anything you’d do differently if you were to start over today?
I'd redo the floors before we moved in. Much of the hardwood is the original flooring, which I do like, but I'd prefer a lighter, less orange-toned color. And ideally, I'd want a wide-plank, lighter wood! Someday...

When you’re shopping, what colors, materials, and types of items can you never resist?
I'm drawn to basically any shade of blue, and these days, a dusty moss or sage green, too. Black accents are my jam. I also love blankets and pillows with various textures, and any type of functional or decorative vase/vessel/pitcher. 

What’s one purchase you’ve never regretted? 
An actual kitchen island.  

What was your most recent home-decor project or purchase?
I'm just about done converting my home office/studio, which had really turned into a glorified storage closet, into a combo playroom/office! Between clearing out the old stuff, reorganizing, deciding what to keep/donate/sell/throw out, and then finding new pieces that fit the space both physically and aesthetically, it's been the biggest and longest project we've tackled to date. I've loved the process, though!

Anything you want to add or change next? 
Our bedroom. A new sofa. A new fan or light fixture in the living room. I could go on!

What’s your go-to source for design inspiration? 
It's still probably instagram. The vastness of inspiration and talented folks on Instagram get my brain going. I'm currently into following hashtags as well as people... #MyDomaine and #simplystyleyourspace are good ones to follow!