Thursday, April 28, 2016

Design Crush: Eric Ross Interiors

Based in Franklin, Tennessee, Eric Ross Interiors embodies that traditional Southern style I simply adore. I have followed Eric for some time on Instagram, and after reading his charming Q&A with my friend Paige at The Pink Clutch, I was eager to see more of his work.

Eric has been decorating rooms all his life, but professionally for over 15 years. In 2009, he began his eponymous firm working with clients in Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and beyond. When asked how he describes his design style, Eric explains, “My personal design style is traditional, but my job isn’t to design what I like – It’s to listen to clients and help them discover what they love and respond to. I do believe that ALL good design is informed by the past.”

I couldn't agree more! Eric has also stated that he is single handedly trying to bring back florals and ruffles... Eric, consider me your partner in crime! Let's take a look at a few highlights from his portfolio...

As featured in Southern Style, Spring 2016

This sunroom, featured in Traditional Home, was designed for a client who shared a mutual adoration for the late Charles Faudree. 

2015 Junior League of High Point Showhouse

Isn't his work amazing?! To learn more about Eric Ross Interiors, please visit his website where you will want to watch this delightful video interview (click on ERI Master Series: About Eric Ross). You can read a Q&A with Eric at The Pink Clutch, and please follow him on Instagram and through his new blog... He always has the best posts.  Now let's bring on the florals and ruffles!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bowood Chintz - and The Glam Pad - in Vogue!

For several years, I have been writing about how chintz is back in bloom, and I could not have been more delighted when I saw The Glam Pad mentioned by Vogue for my recent feature and Instagram posts on Bowood by Colefax and Fowler!

As Vogue explains, iconic Bowood, created by designers Sybil Colefax and John Beresford Fowler, practically has a cult following. Colefax and Fowler have come to epitomize English country house design style, a style Fowler is credited with originating in the 1930s. Here is a look at a few of Vogue's favorite Colefax and Fowler­–inspired Instagrams...

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea / @theglampad

Photo: Courtesy of Andrea / @theglampad
Margaret Kirkland Design, image via Atlanta Homes Magazine 

Photo: Courtesy of Susanna Thomas Interiors / @susannathomasinteriors
I cannot wait to see this room finished!!! 

Photo: Courtesy of Vanya Wilkinson / vanya_wilkinson

Photo: Courtesy of Over the Moon / @otmblog

Photo: Courtesy of Marisa Marcantonio / @stylebeatblog

Photo: Courtesy of @sylloges

Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland / @aliceinherpalace

Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland / @aliceinherpalace

Photo: Courtesy of LB Originals / @lboriginals

To see the rest of Vogue's favorite Colefax and Fowler­–inspired Instagrams, click here. And for more elegant English style, I recently featured Alice Naylor-Leyland (included above) here and here. You can read my original post on Bowood chintz here. Thank you Vogue for including me! What are your thoughts on chintz, and are you happy to see it return? I am thrilled!! 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Lycette Designs Is Bringing Needlepoint to the Millennial Generation

Needlepoint is making a comeback! Over the last few years, companies such as Jonathan Adler, Tory Burch, and Furbish have released darling needlepoint pillows, and needlepoint smoking slippers, such as those from Stubbs & Wootton are all the rage. This spring, Gucci launched a collection of the prettiest needlepoint bags you ever did see! However, according to the National NeedleArts Association, the average age of a needlepointer is 61... This is a statistic 25-year-old Jessica Chaney, founder of Lycette Designs, is working to change. Born in New England and raised in South Florida, Jessica began to needlepoint at age 12. As a student at George Washington University, she worked part-time at a needlepoint shop where she met other young women curious about a pastime their grandmothers enjoyed, but unable to find canvases that sparked motivation. This inspired her to design hand painted needlepoint canvases that are colorful, cheeky, and fresh.

I met Jessica about a month ago via Instagram and fell in love with her whimsical Palm Beach style. She was in the process of launching Lycette Designs - a needlepoint design company dedicated to traditional pastimes with a modern, playful elegance - and I was intrigued to learn more. After confessing that I had never tried needlepoint, Jessica offered to teach me. I was a little intimidated, but after just one afternoon together, I am officially hooked! Various studies have suggested the repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like that associated with meditation and yoga. These meditative qualities can lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate. In today's 24/7 digital world, I find it is truly the most relaxing way to unwind and decompress... all while creating a lovely work of art.

"Lycette is the girl who finds humor in every situation, tries to be polished, yet always spills on herself, thinks flaws are endearing, and a smile is contagious. Lycette values homemade gifts over gift certificates, and snail mail over email." 
Jessica Chaney, founder of Lycette Designs 

With a history dating back to 1500 BC, needlepoint has enjoyed a following amongst royalty and First Ladies including Princess Grace, Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, the Duke of Windsor, and Marie Antoinette. Other notable needlepointers include fashion designer Jules Reid, author and design blogger Jennifer Boles, blogger and designer Jenny Schnabl Brewster, and pop singer Taylor Swift. Renowned interior designers and society ladies such as Elsie de Wolfe, Mario Buatta, C.Z. Guest, and Bunny Mellon famously incorporated needlepoint pillows with witty sayings into their classic, old-school interiors. They add a sense of irreverent whimsy and serve as conversation starters.

C.Z. Guest's collection of needlepoint pillows, recently purchased by Madcap Cottage.

Elsie de Wolfe was known for her “bon mots” and she had a penchant for proclaiming them upon needlepoint pillows... via Lynn Byrne

Determined to ensure this art form - which was passed down to Jessica from her great grandmother, Edyth Lycette, continued to her generation, Lycette Designs was born. "I developed the concept of Lycette by creating a company that reflected the values of my great grandmother, grandmother, and mother. Lycette is a combination of humor, grace, whimsy, intention, sass, and elegance," said Jessica. 

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A:  All sorts of places, Pinterest, classic interior design, and travel are probably the three main places that provide me with my subject matter; however, I also find inspiration in the humor that derives from difficult situations, and difficult people. The best stories, and sayings, come from cringe-worthy situations.

I was also inspired by designer Mario Buatta’s use of sassy needlepoint sayings in almost every room he decorated. Needlepoint accessories (pillows, stools, rugs) are a staple of classic interior decorating. I wanted to create canvases that would hopefully inspire others to use needlepoint in their own interior decoration.

via Lycette's Instagram 

"Not Tonight"... says Mario Buatta.

Mario Buatta, Kips Bay Showhouse – 2006
(On pillow: Missing: Fisherman – Husband and Dog.  Reward for Dog)

Q: How old were you when you first started to needlepoint? What is your favorite creation to date?

A:  I was 12 when I first began to needlepoint, and it was then that I stitched my favorite project. I competed in show jumping, and the chicest competitors sported needlepoint belts (think Georgina Bloomberg and Jessica Springstein). When their horse glided over the jump, their show jacket would elegantly lift to reveal a colorful needlepoint belt. I was enticed by the glamour of it! Of course, being a preteen and wanting to mimic these elegant women, I immediately bought a belt canvas with a flamingo design. I still have that belt! In fact, I secretly rejoice when I get the stomach flu, because afterwards I can JUST buckle my 13-year-old belt.

Jessica's custom needlepoint belts

Q: Are there any famous needlepointers (living or deceased) who you admire?

A:  There are so many, it’s hard to choose! Having managed a needlepoint shop, and now as a canvas designer, I find that needlepoint and strong women go hand-in-hand. My favorite needlepointer is Princess Grace of Monaco. For me, she is the epitome of demure elegance, classic beauty, and silent strength.

Princess Grace, via Lycette

Q: What are your goals for Lycette?

A:  I would love for Lycette to become synonymous with an elegant, cheeky lifestyle. Late night barefoot dinner parties, colorful silk scarves knotted around tan necks, champagne splashing onto an embroidered caftan, and needlepoint pillows that become ratty with love. I hope to bring back pastimes that require devotion of time and intention. Pastimes that show and symbolize love through the final product, whether it is a gracious thank you note, a needlepoint pillow, or a dinner menu reflecting your guests’ favorite foods.  More than anything, I want Lycette to encourage other women to start their own businesses embolden by their passions.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in taking up needlepoint for the first time?

A:  Patience, a sense of humor, and a glass of white wine (clear liquids won’t stain the canvas)! I would look for a larger mesh canvas (13 is preferable), and little to no shading. As a beginner it is important to remember that perfection is subjective, and mistakes create flaws that are quirky and enduring. Your first piece will not be your most beautifully stitched, but why would you want it to be? That leaves no room for improvement!

Q: Once a needlepoint project is complete, how do you go about turning it into a beautiful pillow, belt, bag, etc.? Any tips?

A:  Finishing needlepoint on one’s own is tough! I refuse to attempt it, as I am convinced I will end up with a twitch. However, one’s local needlepoint shop is available to finish all needlepoint projects! For leather goods, I recommend Hilltop Leather. They are fantastic! They create reasonably priced keyfobs, belts, and coasters in a plethora of colors.

via Lycette's Instagram 

via Bunny Mellon's estate

Needlepoint pillows available from Tory Burch, inspired by ones in her childhood home made by her parents. 

Q: What are your favorite hobbies outside of needlepointing?

A:  Although I am 25, most of my hobbies can be found in the pamphlet of a retirement home. I enjoy painting, horseback riding, croquet, tennis, and decorating. I love basking in the sun, whether it be on a chaise lounge, in the saltwater, or upon the saddle of a horse. However, my absolute favorite hobby is entertaining. I am most radiant when planning a menu, choosing linens, and organizing a vase of fresh flowers.

via Lycette's Instagram 

As you can see, Jessica is an absolute doll, and I am eternally grateful to her for introducing me to needlepoint. It is a delight to meet such a lovely young lady dedicated to maintaining "old fashioned" traditions. I can also attest that Jessica is an excellent cook and writes the most beautiful handwritten notes... in cursive, and on engraved paper. And she is in the process of renovating her first home - an adorable Palm Beach chic pink bungalow! I just love her! Thanks to Jessica, I am nearing completion on my first needlepoint creation, and next on the agenda is a custom belt for my husband and a pillow for my son's nursery.

Hand painted canvases from Lycette Designs are available for purchase through Bloomin' Stitches,, and your local needlepoint store. Jessica will reveal additional designs next week, so stay tuned! For daily inspiration, you will want to follow Lycette on Instagram and Pinterest. And you won't want to miss Jessica's blog, which truly showcases her sparkling humor and witty personality.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Classic and Elegant Southern Cottage

There are certain people you meet with whom you immediately connect, and such was the case with Marsha Mason. We were introduced through Instagram via Laurie Byrne (aka The Preppy Paper Girl), whose Instagram account is one of my daily reads.  Located in Columbus, Georgia, Marsha's home is traditional and formal, yet yet warm, cozy, and inviting all at once. Southern charm at its best! We share a love for collecting blue and white porcelain, antique staffordshire, sterling silver, and Herend. Marsha also has an impressive collection of fine art. After getting a sneak peek Marsha's "tiny cottage in the south" on Instagram, I was dying to see more and I was delighted when she agreed to a home tour and Q&A!

Before we begin our tour, congratulations to Blair, the winner of the fabulous Herend bunny giveaway! You will surely be inspired by Marsha's impressive collection! Thank you to everyone who entered the contest, and for more chances to win, please visit the Herend USA Facebook page... Each day this week on the Herend USA Facebook page will be a chance to win one of Herend’s brand new fishnet figurines just introduced last week at the New York Tabletop show.  The five pieces selected range in price from $175 to $350 and, of course, are all hand painted and have 24kt gold accents.  All you must do to enter is "like" and "share" the post to you own timeline, and the following day a winner will be selected at random.  Five days, five chances to win!  The first post and chance to enter will appear this afternoon (EST).

Now let's begin our tour... Images are courtesy of Marsha's daughter, Eliza Morrill Photography.

Q:  Please tell me about your design background.  Are you a professional decorator? And how did you develop your sense of style?

A:  I have absolutely no formal training in design, it simply turned out to be happy accident that I love decorating. I am drawn to color, pattern, and texture and I am definitely not a minimalist. I can certainly appreciate a calm, monochromatic room, but as hard as I try, I cannot live in one. I loved everything Charles Faudree did and I'm crazy for Timothy Corrigan.

Q: Please tell me more about your impressive art collection.

A:  Several portraits are family portraits. My former husband' s father was a great collector of art and we were fortunate to inherit some of his pieces. We in turn began our collection when our budget allowed and continued to collect for years. Some pieces are very fine and others are simply pieces that spoke to us. I remember once purchasing a piece thinking I needed to push my boundaries and buy something different. It's only a small piece but each time I walk by it I think "Big mistake!" My best advice is to buy only what you love.

Q:  We clearly share a passion for Herend and Staffordshire figurines and blue and white porcelain. Please tell me more about your collections, and what other treasures to you enjoy collecting?

A:  I collect Herend figures in blue, green, and pink. I have a friend who has collected for years and she literally has a house full of them. I so admired her collection that about 10 years ago my daughter started my collection for me and I've never looked back. I've also collected blue and white transferware and Staffordshire figures for about 30 years. I find that at this point I'm teetering on the edge of "Wow what a great collection!" and "Wow she's a hoarder!"

Q:  Where do you find inspiration? And who are your favorite decorators?

A:  I find inspiration just where I'm sure everyone else does... Instagram, Pintrest, these books that are being published that are full of gorgeously beautiful rooms, and constantly scouring antique shows and shops. I'm amazed at how many incredibly creative people there are out there. And every time I go into yet one more uniquely beautiful home it makes me think I want to throw everything out and start all over again!

Q:  The hand-painted murals in your home are divine. Please tell me more about them!

A:  A fabulous local artist, Jo Farris, painted the murals in the entry hall. When we bought the house it was an absolute dog. It was in terrible shape and was ugly beyond belief. It was Jo's idea to paint the Gothic windows to mimic the windows in the room, and then we filled them with birds. I never tire of this room!

Q: How did your beautiful silver collections begin?

A: I collect silver dresser jars, perfume bottles, brushes, mirrors, frames, trays etc. I really can't remember when I started but always loved the beauty of the workmanship of the chasing. I've had to slow the collecting to a trickle because there is no room left on the trays, and no room left for another tray. For some reason I have an affectation for putting everything in my home on a silver tray, feeling it makes it look that much more inviting.

Q: I love your bed linens! Who are they by?

A: The heart European shams are D. Porthault and the small squares are Ralph Lauren that I had monogrammed locally.

Q:  What is your favorite/most cherished item or collection in your home?

A:  Without a doubt, my most cherished item is my five grandchildren. I know it sounds hokey, but let me tell you as the Bible says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." There are a lot of pretty things in the world and you can always get more. But the babies in this picture are priceless.

Thank you, Marsha, for inviting us into you exquisite home! It truly belongs on the cover of Veranda or Traditional Home! If you are interested in learning more about Marsha's design company, Wildwood Design, please contact her through Instagram.

And congratulations again, Blair! Your bunny will be mailed this week.
Don't forget to visit the Herend USA Facebook page Monday - Friday this week for five more chances to win! 
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