bookcase style

chic-bookcaseI’ve been doing a lot of bookcase styling at work recently, so I figured I may as well talk about it on the blog as well. Sometimes a client has tons of great accessories, books, and pretty frames and it all comes together organically and easily, but other times it can be kind of frustrating and feel like it’s just not working out right. Whenever that happens I find that it helps to snap a photo of the shelf so that you have a different way of looking at it – for some reason it makes it easier to see where there’s something missing or if you need a little more white space in a certain area. I also like to look on Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration; two designers who are particularly skilled in creating the perfect ‘shelfie’ are Emily Henderson and Amber Lewis.

Once I’m back on track and know what I want the shelves to look like (whether that’s cluttered and collected looking or super minimal and clean, or somewhere in between, which is my personal favorite) I like to look around the client’s house for little objets and mementos so that the shelves are personal to them and don’t just look like a designer was brought in to put everything together (even though there was).

Oftentimes you do need to shop around and find fun accessories and items to add the finishing touch and create the perfect arrangement, and a few of my favorite places to source these items are High Street Market, One Kings Lane and Etsy. Pottery Barn and West Elm also usually have great frames and decorative pieces, though I like to use these minimally and mix in vintage and personal items so that rooms don’t look too generic.

Scroll on for some of my favorite inspiration images, below, and let me know if you have any shelf styling questions!

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the strand

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Joie Jemima boot (on major sale) / Gap trench coat / The Row t shirt / Rag & Bone jeans / Aritzia scarf / Maison Scotch hat

The weather has finally cooled down here enough to wear a light jacket during the day and a heavier one at night, which is very exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I love nice weather and living by the beach but sometimes you just need a change, you know? I actually think I almost like the beach more when it’s not super hot – I love bundling up and sitting on the sand with a cozy blanket at sunset, or taking Penny for a nice long walk without worrying about her overheating or me getting a sunburn. I have a feeling I’ll change my tune if it stays grey and rainy for very long, but for now that’s how I feel 🙂

I’ve had this Gap trench coat for years, and I have to say it’s probably one of my favorite purchases since it gets quite a bit of wear and is such a classic. I think if I lived somewhere where it really did rain a ton like Vancouver or London I would consider ‘investing’ in a timeless Burberry trench, but I have to say that this one looks pretty good after all these years and is (just about) as chic. I’m off to take Penny for a little walk along the strand where these pictures were taken before heading to work – we’re just about finished with a big project and it’s exciting to see everything finally coming together.

Have a good day!

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Lentil Soup Recipe

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If you feel like you need a bit of a detox after Thanksgiving weekend, then this lentil soup recipe is probably just what you need. I followed this Barefoot Contessa recipe exactly, though I cut it in half since hers makes ten servings which seemed like a little much for just Justin and me – though to be honest I ate a lot of it before Justin even got home from work so I probably should have just made the entire batch and had some for leftovers. Next time.

This super hearty and flavorful lentil soup recipe is chock full of healthy veggies and is very high in fiber, and calls for some interesting seasonings like cumin and red wine vinegar, which I wouldn’t have thought of on my own but add a really delicious depth of flavor to the soup. The recipe comes out perfect as is, but if you want to kick it up a notch top each bowl with a little olive oil and parmesan cheese as Ina suggests. Also, a nice piece of crusty bread would be delicious with it, though the oil, cheese and bread starts to defeat the purpose of a healthy dinner a bit doesn’t it? Either way, make this next time you want something super nutritious but still filling and tasty.

Find the recipe here.

mark d sikes

mark-d-sikesI’m a big Mark D Sikes fan, and after having just spent a couple of hours poring over his latest book, I’ve become even more obsessed with his work. Mark is an LA based designer with a seriously chic aesthetic; whether he’s doing full blown print, pattern and color like this NYC apartment or keeping a room neutral and calming, the results are equally beautiful.

He has done so many gorgeous homes that it is hard to play favorites, but I think that if I had to, I would choose his own home which was featured in House Beautiful a few years ago. The bones of the house are pretty great to begin with but Mark’s design of the home is so thoughtful, from the custom wrought iron banister they installed upstairs to the upholstered family room walls (in my favorite fabric, Samarkand) to the multitude of built in bookshelves. I also appreciate how everything is styled in his house; you can tell that he’s a ‘more is more’ kind of person when it comes to accessories and collected items, but everything has its place and looks like it was meant to be there. I want to move right in, or at least spend some time relaxing in that backyard with a good book.

Scroll on for more pictures, I bet you’ll love the house as much as I do…

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Book Club: 32 Yolks

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I’m just about finished reading 32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something new to read. I know that I probably can’t completely judge the book until I’m through it, but I’m confident that the last few pages will be as interesting as the ones I’ve already read. 32 Yolks is Eric Ripert’s story of how his unhappy childhood in a small town in France helped shape and guide him into becoming the three Michelin starred chef that he is today.

The book shows in detail how much hard work and determination it takes to become a great chef, from the grueling 18 hour days in a hot, cramped kitchen with a screaming French chef to the hundreds of hours of practice to get just one knife skill perfected. I can’t imagine being able to handle the pressure and abuse (emotional and physical – things were crazy in kitchens back then!) but it goes to show you how much passion Ripert has for cooking that it was worth it to deal with some pretty horrible situations. If you like food and biographies, pick this one up 🙂

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