True devotees of Christmas know that the season officially begins on Black Friday (or Thanksgiving evening, if you're naughty)—not December 1. Let the decorating begin! I'm ringing in the season with a series on chinoiserie Christmas decorations, featuring over the next few days decor (trees, wreaths, garlands) and where to shop. Chinoiserie (shin-waz-er-ee) means Chinese-inspired or influenced, although it's often used as a general term for anything with an Asian sensibility.

Bronson Van Wyck decorated this sumptuous library in Manhattan for Christmas, as captured by Architectural Digest. The tree skirt is made of Chinese wedding silk.
The mantel, layered in cedar and custom-made red fans, is a stunning centerpiece for the room.
The beautiful red theme is carried into the hall. How many poinsettia bushes did it take to create these fantastic garlands?! 



This year Apartment Therapy returned with their "Small Cool Contest" for smaller apartment spaces. I placed in the top 10 a few years ago, and thought it would be fun to enter again, with my new apartment this time—albeit with little preparation, especially since I didn't learn about the contest until a day or two before! I didn't win, but it was fun to participate. Here's my latest home:

I love the floor to ceiling windows here, and it's quite high, so I chose to bring the sky in with Benjamin Moore's Breath of Fresh Air, and the rest of the space is Benjamin Moore's Decorator's White. Sky and clouds! It has a wonderful effect in the daytime. The glass-legged desk and brass pulls are both from Amazon, and along with the Starck ghost chair, my workspace doesn't obstruct those views. An IKEA shelf and cabinet inserts with matching brass pulls create helpful book and art storage. The lavender poof was acquired on a trip to Morocco.

I love this china cabinet, filled with travel mementos and vintage platters. The dining chairs are Ballard Designs; the Saarinen-like table is IKEA.

A trusty eBay credenza, vintage store lamps, and family pieces round out the living space.

I was only able to paint the one accent wall, so the bedroom stayed bright white—vintage bamboo screens and a valence soften the effect a little. Almost all the furniture is from antique shops. The orange and white patterned fabric is by Vern Yip, and the throw is a Marrakesh find. A collection of brass pagodas found in Beijing rest on the desk (which doesn't fit the space, but I'm unwilling to part with it!).

A bit of black and white glam dresses up the bath, which includes towels by Nate Berkus and vintage boxes.

Thanks for coming on the tour!



Several years ago, I met my friend Meg Hoburg of Meg Hoburg Design, and the first time I visited her home on Capitol Hill, I knew (before we'd even compared notes on counties, colleges, or the SEC) that she was a fellow Southerner. Her home just radiated with old-fashioned hospitality and warmth—the very furnishings seemed to say, "stay a while." Others agreed—her home was featured in The Washington Post earlier this year, and recently on Apartment Therapy. Below are a few highlights of her home tour, but be sure to click through to WaPo or AT for the full effect. Aside from cramming storage into every inch of this Capitol Hill row house, she's squeezed in plenty of charm, too!


Design House days have come and gone, and I only managed to make it by on closing weekend—but this year was worth the cost of admission. A few highlights:

This Family Room, by Susan Nelson and Todd Martz of Home on Cameron, was a splash of sunshine, calmed down by the liberal use of blues throughout. Large doses of white space on the moldings, built-in, and even the curtain hems, keep the party from getting too wild. Here's the official image, and a few iPhone shots of mine follow. I always love a good Bunny Williams lamp.
 A wall mural covered the hallway entry to a guest room, decorated by Caryn Cramer
Blue was an accidental theme of the showhouse, with this library by Kelly Proxmire making the biggest blue hue statement—the dominate fabric is La Portugaise by Brunschwig and Fils. Her D.C. Design House rooms are always showstoppers.
 So much beautiful blue! The "built-in" on the left is actually trompe-l'oeil.
The Lady's Sitting Room by Marika Meyer featured a wall of framed Hermes scarves.
 Love that sky blue taping on the couch cushions!
more on the dc design house here / all the good photos are by angie seckinger



The cool simplicity of interior designer CeCe Barfield Thompson's Gramercy Park home leaps off the screen. It seems so attainably simple, doesn't it? Balancing all those textures and layers requires a refined eye, but it doesn't feel decorated–and that's the magic, of course.
Deep plum carries the cool tones into the dining area.
The apartment's one bathroom is a silvery gem.



My heart did a little flip-flop when I saw this newly renovated kitchen space by The Pink Pagoda.

I have a terrible thing for green and blue these days - leaf and sky, tree and stream, it's a color combination that soothes. I went chartreuse in the living room earlier this year, and worried that bold, bold shock of green would knock me down every time I walked through the door. So the serenity of it surprised me - when the afternoon light comes sifting through the windows, it feels a bit like you're in a forest. I couldn't be happier. 

My home:

It's a palette getting its due in fashion. The Tory Burch fall collection included just. smashing. blue and white fabrics, with plenty of green plants sprinkled through the shoots - not all that different from her home in Southhampton, featured in Architectural Digest.

And of course, it's a fresh as it is classic. Here, a detail from Gabriel Metsu's Woman Reading a Letter (currently on view at the National Gallery, in the exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting).

Be sure to click over to The Pink Pagoda to see more of her fabulous kitchen reveal.



While I haven't posted in a span of time I consider a slight pause, and the calendar considers months, I wanted to share a few Christmas photos in my new-ish place. The decor is very much a work in progress (note the one forlorn, coverless bolster) and sadly lacking in paint, but things are coming along, including the installation of a 104 inch valance over the sliding doors. And, I was able to graduate from a tabletop tree to a full six feet of faux-fir glory!

The chinoiserie ornament collection has grown from a few odd bits into enough to cover an entire tree–new additions this year include blue and white vases from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and blue and white tassels from there as well, picked up at the China: Through the Looking Glass exhibit. 

The tree topper is a fan; the red lantern ornaments I found in a street market in Shanghai. They're actually meant to stick on the windshield of a car; I just switched out the suction cups for ornament hooks. It was... interesting, trying to get them back in the suitcase in one piece.

A little painted crane ornament. One year Macy's had probably 10 or 15 different really unique chinoiserie ornaments–very unexpected, and I was thrilled to find them. 

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Merry Christmas from Sanity Fair!



Did you engage in Lilly Pulitzer for Target mania? I didn't plan on it, but after going through the lookbook, I thought a lot of the items were darling. Yes, I already had Lilly-but who doesn't want more? So, following a crazed middle of the night tug-of-war on my laptop, in which I managed to tear prized garments from the hands of other (invisible) online shoppers (and they snatched a few from me), I tossed the lot into my digital red Target cart, and pressed "order." And it all arrived in the mail today! As expected, what you get with a collaboration project with Target is better design than quality, but all-in-all, I still feel like I got more style than I paid for.

 Below are most of the items I picked up. As with any post-Lilly shopping trip, I'm tempted to put them on all on at once, and walk down the street looking like someone who had a psychotic episode in a neon pant store.

This bag is my favorite (also pictured above). Strangely, it's listed as a child's tote. The adult version had less attractive faux leather handles, while the child's has rope handles. It's a nice size, and I love the pattern.

Do I have anywhere appropriate to wear these? No. Will that stop me? Also no.

 These are a bit loose on, but still comfy.
 Who doesn't need orange giraffes in their life?
 What about you? Did you engage in the Lilly madness?



Last year, I moved from my studio apartment into a HUGE new place600 square feet! With far too many odds and ends that I couldn't bear to part with, I decided to forgo anything like a bedroom set, and instead find a way to make everything I already had and loved work togetherwith a few new additions. So welcome to "The Orangery."

It's really orange, red, amber, apricot... anything in that spectrum. That said, the colors still came out off in my photosthe valance isn't quite that red, nor the bedding so tan. The two-panel screen that formed my old headboard was too small to reuse for the same purpose, and so it now decorates a corner; a new Starck Louis ghost chair provides convenient seating, without taking up much visual space. 

My old desk has moved to the bedroom, graced with a former living room lamp. The gilt bamboo magazine rack is new. When not piled with books, the Chinese garden stool becomes a seat for the desk/vanity, fitting neatly in the small space.

 The gray Greek key pillow is new, from Targetwhat a find!
The pillows are a Windsor Smith fabric.
The headboard is actually two matching screens, with a sunburst hung in-betweenI liked the drama!

The gold Foos are new, as is the little butterfly, an acquisition from the Philadelphia Flower Show (it perished of natural causes, according to the seller).

I love little boxes, and these two brass and black finds are particular favorites.

A favorite drawing in the "reading corner." The leopard pillow used to live on the couch. The folded screen has gone from a bright orange in the previous photo to an umber greige. Blame the iPhone.

The brackets are a treasured vintage shop discovery. Home Goods supplied the matching vases.

A very narrow corner gets a little dressing up with gilded frames, formerly over my living room desk. The pagoda is newone of those things you find, get wildly excited over, buy, bring home, and thinkwhat do I do with THIS? Currently, "what" is this corner. I have no regrets. 

I like gray with orangehere, it softens the orange, and picks up the soft shadows in the print on the duvet and shams from West Elm. Luckily, the carpet was already grey, and I had the walls painted this Benjamin Moore shade before moving in. It has a cozy, cocoon effectbrightened up by gilt and orange.

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That's all, folks! The living room and dining area are still in desperate need of attention, but I thought I'd at least share a peek into the one mostly finished space, since I've gotten so many kind inquiries into how decorating post-move is going. Hope you enjoyed the tour!


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