I don't do a lot of home goods shopping at Target these days-being of the Tony Duquette camp when it comes to color (clear, bold colors every time) has kept me away. Virtually every shade they sell comes pre-aged in too-many-mixed-wash-cycles grey: mustard rather than sunshine yellow, brick red rather than lacquer, faded blue rather than blue sky. But today's Target shopping trip was pure delight-so many great finds! Apparently, they're eager for spring, too:

There's a nice Madeline Weinrib look to those pillows-and check out the pink and bamboo tray. I'm also a fan of the coral lamps in the background.

Great storage option-it comes in pale blue, too.

Check out these great tables! Just make sure you get the one with even side panels. :)

These bamboo mirrored trays are fabulous! I almost bought one... almost, because despite my constant drumbeat about how great trays are for keeping spaces organized, you can also have TOO MANY TRAYS. Which is what I have. And I may have just bought another last week...

Chinese garden stools at the Target! Love the lattice pattern. They're a good deal at $69. 

Matching vases and coasters are a smaller dose of Palm Beach vibe.

These "wicker bottom" trays were lovely in person, and the lattice mirror isn't bad either. 


A Fan-tastic Christmas

It's a touch early for Christmas decor, but I was smitten with this "fan"tastic display in the December issue of Architectural Digest–so eye-catching, and so easy to do!

Bronson van Wyck draped the mantel of the above chinoiserie-paneled library in a Manhattan Duplex with custom-made fans, but you can tuck some of these fans from Pearl River into fresh greenery. A longevity fan, below, with gold lettering would catch the Christmas candlelight beautifully.
 For a really elegant scheme, black and gold would be stunning and modern.
 Or, a flash of metallic would compliment the twinkle lights. 

Finally, here's van Wyck's chinoise-inspired Christmas tree, layered in lanterns, tassels, and lots of lucky red. The skirt is made from Chinese wedding silk.
/Images: Rooms, Architectural Digest/ Fans, Pearl River/

When in Charlottesville...

As summer came to a close, I headed down to Charlottesville for a quick weekend trip—and to Caspari, of course! I had a terrible time ripping myself away from this store, and didn't until I had stocked up on some of my Juliska pattern (which includes ginger jars!), books, hostess items, and a pile of other treasures. 

Juliska Country Estate in blue and white ginger jars.

Caspari is chock-a-block with chinoiserie—this Dorothy Draper-style cabinet flanked by Gracie-esque panels is a prime example.

 Just in time for Fall, Caspari has plenty of orange. 

A particular favorite of mine was this floral die-cut placemat.

Green lattice and animal print make for a lovely spring setting.

A few of the wrapping papers on hand—pagoda, monkeys, and the same pinwheel pattern as the placemats!

There were many small pieces of furniture for purchase, including garden stools.

 I loved this display, especially seeing my rather traditional Country Estate pattern paired with an almost electric turquoise blue—very different, and very fun.

Other Charlottesville recommendations? Stay at the Boar's Heads Inn, shop for clothes at the Vintage Vixen, check out the antiques at Oyster House,  and enjoy the marvelous brunch at West Main or the fantastic Mexican food at Continental Divide!



This apartment by Alison Pringle, featured in House & Home magazine, is such a beautiful balance of color, pattern, and space. And, all in 400 square feet! Check out this little box of big ideas.

I can never say no to a blue and white plate wall, and this apartment is loaded with chinoiserie charm.

Alison, who has her own design firm, Baker Ballard Interiors, tackled this small space as a special challenge, and since she loves pattern, she kept it from being too outsized by going with a simple color scheme, and using the same ikat throughout the space to unify the different "zones."

More gorgeous ikat, and those x benches! If you look closely at the cabinet, you'll see Alison's TV, chicly tucked inside. Don't miss the bracketed foos on either side of the cabinet.

The desk doubles as a dining table when needed.

Alison was lucky to find a studio with so much light and a wonderful balcony--with a very Park Avenue flair! 
//All images, House & Home Magazine//



I've been looking for a unique set of salt and pepper shakers for my dining room, so imagine how delighted I was to find these at Pier One, for $15.

In fact, there was blue and white all around the store-these canisters were charming, and priced from $20 to $40. Check out the rest of the line below-if you're thinking of setting up a chinoiserie kitchen, you'll find most everything needed!



Sanity Fair has moved! And my new shift in real estate came with a balcony. Given that summer is here, and a small space is far less daunting than the pile of boxes operating in my apartment as mobile furniture, I tackled the balcony as my first decorating project.

The chair is from Pier One, and I just love it. It's mahogany, and the quality was surprisingly high for  a Pier One piece. The chippendale back is charming, as are the details on the legs. The pillows and rug are from Home Goods, and the Chinese garden stool used to be a living room side table (let's hear it for indoor/outdoor!).

A detail of the chair.

The matching pots are by Tahari Home.

I pulled out some bamboo branches and florist wire from Christmas, and created a trellis. The little jasmine plant will hopefully grow up it, and in the meantime, it helps camouflage an adjoining balcony. 

There's still space for a second chair, pulled out from the living room, to have a friend over and enjoy a cup of coffee and a sunset. 

Finally, Smithsonian Magazine has a fascinating piece on the origin of the balcony, which began as a Medieval device of war for pouring cauldrons of hot oil on enemies, an activity now generally frowned upon by building management and home owners' associations.


Sanity Fair has moved! The web address is the same, but the physical address is not. While I'll miss my little studio apartment, I'm thrilled--THRILLED--to experience the first world joys that accompany a non-historic home on the Hill--special touches like dishwashers. Washer/dryers. Bedrooms. Bathrooms larger than a coat closet.

But all the same, it's hard to say goodbye. I've found so much joy between these four very small walls, and a great deal of decorating pleasure. For three years, this was my own little experiment station for color and pattern, and it was grand fun.

One last before and after...

After. All moved out.

New things to come!


It was thrilling this week to see The Washington Post's Home & Design section feature Capitol Hill, usually associated with the halls of power, and not the halls of family houses. WaPo reporter Jura Koncious teased out some of the best places to find great home goods in "Destination Design: Capitol Hill" (and kindly noted a few of my own favorites). Click through to read her highlights of shops in and around Eastern Market and the adjoining weekend flea, and start making your listthis is the time to dream about where you'll go and what you'll buy when spring finally breaks through!

Aside from shopping, Capitol Hill has some incredible interior design. This stunningly revamped row house was designed by architect Frederick Taylor, and makes exquisite use of the often cramped spaces of the Hill's narrow homes. It was particularly clever to cede lawn space for an addition, then add further outdoor space on the second story and roof (hat tip to blog Notting Hill for first highlighting this great place).

House Beautiful featured this very atypical, sassy Hill house designed by Barry Dixon. Once again, re-thinking the standard, narrow structure of the row house requires a creative touch.

I adore this remake of another Capitol Hill home featured in Traditional Home. Mary Douglas Drysdale pulled together a bright, playful style I'll call "Federal Fun"columns, convex mirrors, formal colonial furnitureall set against a relentlessly cheerful color palate.

/Images/magazines and firms as cited above/
To read more about shopping one of my favorite Hill spots, the flea at Eastern Market, click HERE


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