Soft Modern Family Room

Last week we completed a fun family room in downtown Alpharetta. 

The couple started with the large charcoal sectional that they had found at Havertys. The look of this piece is similar to Crate and Barrel or Room and Board, and it is ultra comfortable. The homeowners are drawn to the soft modern style of West Elm, and loved the Ikat Blur rug in chartreuse, ivory and gray. This is a color I have never worked with before, but I had a lot of fun with the combo! Thank you, sweet clients, for the inspiration!

Here is the BEFORE...a blank slate:

Because pillows always get me excited, I often start a project there.  Everyone has their own source of inspiration, and this is one of mine.

Here we have the mix of pillows: (left to right) custom linen chevron, patchwork hide from Marshall's, custom chartreuse linen, chevron hide from Marshall's, Mongolian fur from West Elm, custom Ikat. (Custom pillows can be ordered through me. Please email me at for inquiries.)

The finished room:

The draperies are custom (always a good idea). The cocktail table is from RH, and all of the other accessories are from Home Goods, Marshall's, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Ballard Designs.

 We installed a gallery wall of travel photos and special family mementos, and there is lots of room to add to the collection.

The art, below, is from Home Goods. They have the same one at Z Gallerie for three times the price!

The bone inlay mirror is from Ballard's Backroom...

Thank you to my fearless assistant, Joanne, for all of her help on this project, and every day!  I could not do it without her!
And, a special thanks to two fabulous clients and their sweetie pie, Wills, for being such a good boy that day:)

Have a great week!

Coastal Condo Makeover

Before and After's are always fun to see. I recently finished the renovation of a rental property in Miramar Beach, Florida, in the Sandestin resort. The condo was built in 1982, and still had most of the original colors and features including pickled pink stains, beveled mirror walls, and dated, mismatched furniture.


The mirrored wall, below, was replaced with whitewashed 1x6 planks for an updated coastal vibe.



I decided to keep the palate mostly neutral, to keep it clean and focus on the gorgeous view. Even on a foggy, cold day, the Gulf of Mexico is breathtaking.

 A neutral palate can get boring if it's not balanced with lots of texture:
The kitchen and dining area had a pseudo-Italian look going.
We whitewashed the stucco walls, removed the bar corbels, and painted the cabinets Worldly Gray by Sherwin Williams to lighten the look. The massive orb chandelier, modern seating, driftwood table, silver finishes and new lighting keep it fun, casual and sophisticated.


Kitchen cabinets BEFORE

This job was done on a TIGHT budget. In order to fit in all of the painting, construction and new furnishings, I shopped at Target, Home Goods, Tuesday Morning, Wayfair, Ikea, World Market, Overstock, and outlet stores. The only custom items were the pillows, below. Custom pillows always take it to another level, in my opinion:)

The chandelier, below, was found many month ago at the Pottery Barn outlet. It was the piece that set the tone for the whole project. The hammered vases from Target were drilled to hang on the wall. Right now, the palmettos are fresh, but they will dry to a cool pale blue/green color.

The cocktail table from World Market holds bedding for the sleeper sofa. This condo sleeps 8.

The master bedroom and bunk room needed a lot of attention, and it was not in the homeowners plans to renovate these rooms at this time. I convinced them to let me do small updates to blend the spaces. HERE IS THE BEDROOM BEFORE:


Bunk room BEFORE:

And AFTER...sorry, no good photos of this hard-to-shoot room. It turned out pretty cute in shades of blue and white:

 Here are two more photos to give you an idea of layout:

If you would like info on renting this condo on the beach, please click HERE

Thanks for taking a look!

Italian Style...The Work of Architetto Paolo Giachi

Ciao Amici-

Alas, Spring has brought new inspiration, finished projects to share, and some untapped things to talk about...

I recently found an old friend of mine on Linkedin, and was happy to see where his career  has led him in the 15 years since we last saw each other.

Paolo Giachi is a native Florentine architect living in Milan who specializes in the design and architecture of luxury retail stores around the world. (photo: Martina Giachi)

His designs are everything you would imagine a high-end European boutique to be: chic, modern, clean, innovative and enticing. Here are some of the images of his work that struck a chord...
His lighting is always spot on...pun intended.

Gorgeous studded sheet brass display table. I also love the racks hanging from the ceiling.

 Minimalist lighting, mini French mattresses, cerused concrete and fur... blending hard and soft.

In Italy, most stores are in the historical centers of town where the buildings are protected by legal codes to preserve cultural and architectural integrity. What might be viewed as a hinderance and bureaucratic annoyance by some, is actually what preserves antique architecture. Hence, Italian architects are masters of blending the old with the new, as seen above and below.

I follow Paolo on Instagram, and am amazed at how he spins the globe on a weekly basis; one day in Miami, the next in Kiev, then that even possible? One peek at his website, and you will see that his success is not only due to hard work, but exceptional artistic vision. In addition to commercial architecture and design, Paolo also has several impressive residential projects in his portfolio...

In Italy, an architecture degree also encompasses a degree in design. In fact, most homeowners will hire one "architetto" to design not only the architecture, but also the interior. Living in Italy, I sometimes found this to be a mistake, since architects focused so much on the lines of the structure that the interiors often lacked warmth, charm and personality in the furnishings. This is not the case with Paolo's work. He manages to maintain the integrity of the building by blending historical elements with modern function and style, but he also infuses them with vintage pieces, creative color choices, original art and luxurious custom window treatments: all lending an air of home...CASA.

A gorgeous image: here we have it all in a Pietrasanta residence...a perfect fusion of old and new in a luscious mix of dove grey (looks lavender in this light!), marigold and ombre cerise...all grounded by whitewashed floors and ceilings.

The gold is brought back into the master bedroom in this mid-century armoire.

 Cool grey and white is rendered warm and homey with the vintage wood cabinet, table and chairs. 

The essentials are kicked up a notch: an asymmetrical vessel sink, great lighting,  a travertine vanity, which I am guessing came from a local quarry, and the mirror. J'adore.

In another Pietrasanta residence, just a stone's throw from the Tuscan coastline, Paolo kept the flow with green and red...a very unexpected color combination outside of Christmas time, but it totally works here.

 I can almost smell the lavender and jasmine now... betting you can smell the sea from this terrace as well.

This is my favorite image of all. The new chevron wood floor. The vintage chair. The patina on original plaster walls, left untouched. The French door. Bravo.

 I recently read a quote somewhere in the design world about the benefits of clashing colors, and unfortunately I have a terrible memory, so I cannot recite it. There is so much that is truly awesome about this image, but what strikes me every time I see it is the apple green cord cover against the emerald green walls. Sometimes the tiniest details make the biggest difference. This image would not be the same with black scrunchie, would it? Again, contrasts of antique and modern, dark and light, hard and soft edges, textures. Those vintage chairs look like they came from a beachside cafe' or "bagno". The global elements of the capiz pendant and antique red rug rock. Punto e basta.

 Basic, essential, industrial kitchen...all you need at the beach.

I should know the provenance of the rug, but don't. Anyway, it's just. plain. fabulous.

 Textured linen walls, a pair of simple pendants, quality bedding. Less is more.

Burgundy wall with gallery shelf for family portraits. Texture.

 I am a sucker for distressed doors and great hardware. No secret.

The fact that the sinks overhang the shelf might have sent me into a panic as a designer. This was intentional, I bet. I like it.

The exterior is unassuming, and I am guessing that this farmhouse is divided into multiple flats. Who would know that inside lies a little gem?

In Radda in Chianti, where Paolo gave me one of my first design jobs almost 20 years ago, old workshops and olive oil "frantoi" have been converted into chic vacation rentals.

And AFTER...

People come to Chianti from all over the world for it's unparalleled view. Smart move to create this glass wall of sliders. 

 Love the shower heads. And the drapes.

Old and new. Cute pic. Awesome rug.

Saving the best for last...
 Paolo designed this mountain residence in the exclusive ski resort of St. Moritz. Bleached woods, voluminous linen draperies, neutral furnishings...all with a very Restoration Hardware vibe... create the perfect ambiance for a luxurious, yet laid back ski retreat. Personal touches in the art and rugs as well as barn wood clad walls in the bathroom add texture and uniqueness. Enjoy.

For more info on Paolo, please visit his website, and take a look at the attached video called "Joining Giachi", where he documents his life and work.

Grazie Paolo, per avermi consentito questa presentazione.

Un abbraccio virtuale,