Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pretty in Polka Dots

Ever since I spotted (catch that?) this dress in Oscar de la Renta's resort collection I've been craving a generous helping of glittery dots.  Enter Martha Stewart Fine Glitter and Aleene's (incredible) Tacky Dots.  I picked up a box of inexpensive white ornaments from Michael's, added a few tacky dots, sprinkled a little glitter and ta-da!! I'm officially satisfied!  Have you decorated your Christmas tree yet?

(Images taken by Kristin Kerr)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This'll Open Your Eyes...

Oh just bopping in to share yet another amazing piece I found in my father's box of memorabilia. My grandfather gave my dad this card on his 13th Birthday...kind of inappropriate yet awesome at the same time, don't you think? I need to find a way to frame this so you can see both the front and inside of the card. I'm hoping the lovely people at Artist Frame Service will have the answer!

Gifts | A Framed Letter

It's that time of year again, folks. Holiday season or as I like to call it "the gift-getting crunch between Thanksgiving and Christmas."  I don't know about you but if there is one thing that stresses me out it's finding the perfect gifts for my loved ones.  Every year I inevitably end up waiting until the last minute for a few purchases then end up making hasty decisions.  But not this year!  Nope.  This girl has got her act together and has already purchased a handful of gifts.  And these aren't you average run of the mill mall gifts, they're thoughtful and legit.  My goal this year is to try to personalize each and every gift I buy.  First on the list, dadder (translation: my dad).  Lucky for you, he only reads this blog when I email him the link so I get to share his Christmas with all of you. 

When my grandmother passed away earlier this year she left me a box full of my father's childhood memorabilia. Sorting through the piles of Birthday cards, report cards, and letters from boarding school and Vietnam has really helped me understand how my dad came to be the man he is today.  Take the framed letter pictured above, for example.  It was written by my father's nursery school teacher in June 1950.  The first line reads, "Towne is a good looking youngster with a sturdy, well-proportioned body."  Seriously?  That sentence alone makes the piece frame worthy.  That and the fact that I'm pretty sure my dad has never seen this letter.  I can't wait to see the look on his face when he opens it!

So back to the point of this post.  I encourage you, dear readers, to think outside the box this holiday season.  Something as simple as a framed letter or card will make a great addition to an art collection and will serve as a constant reminder of family.  After all, that is what the holidays are about, right?

(images 1 a letter from Estée Lauder to her grandaughter, Aerin / 2-4 letters found throughout Kate + Andy Spade's home / 5 my father's Christmas gift) 

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Weekend in Pictures

I spruced up the apartment with beautiful peonies in preparation for my boyfriend's visit
I wanted the apartment to feel warm and inviting because it was his first time home since he moved to DC last month
isn't he a hunk?
we decorated our Christmas tree
went to see Francine Turk's BADASS exhibit at Gallery KH and it was, well, badass (I'm so sad I missed the opening party...Thanks for the invite, Francine!)
had lunch with my family at RL
and went "shopping" in my grandparent's living room

It was an amazing weekend!  How was yours?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Elements of Aerin

Animal prints, velvets and vintage china...there's no denying that Aerin Lauder is a lady after my own heart. I've posted about my love of her Wainscott, East Hampton family house before but after seeing these images on I couldn't help but revisit the topic. The home, which once belonged to Aerin's grandmother Estée, has been seen in Elle Decor and House & Garden but as with any home it seems to have changed and evolved with time. Many of the elements have remained the same but furniture has been rearrange, bedding has been replaced and walls have been repainted giving the home a whole new look.  The living room which was once a lovely orange color is now a rich charcoal grey. And who can forget the sofa? Oh what I would do to own that leopard number (upholstered in Cambridge Guepard by Georges Le Manach) -- leopard and green velvet are one of my favorite combinations!  While decorating my house I'm sure I will continue to refer back to these photos for inspiration because the house is elegant, inviting and as chic as ever!

(Images claiborne swanson frank for

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

My posts have been few and far between this week because I've been having too much fun hanging out with my family and boyfriend to even think about opening my computer! But before I take off to celebrate with my family in the suburbs I thought I would check in and thank you my dear readers, design lovers, and commenters. Thank you for following along as I share my adventures, ideas and passion with you each week. Your encouraging comments have made writing Simply Smitten a whole lot of fun! Happy Happy Thanksgiving! 

 (Image via Eddie Ross)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I'm in love with the show-stopping embroidery and hand knotted detailing in Oscar de la Renta's fabric, Abyssinia, for Lee Jofa. The texture, the colors, the ethnic pattern, and the 3D effect of the embroidery are to die for.  The moment I saw this fabric I knew I had to use it somewhere.  So when a client recently asked me to design a sort of bohemian room around her gorgeous painting (pictured above) and Anthropologie's yellow chesterfield sofa I knew this was my chance.  It really almost seems like they were made for each other, don't you think?  The colors in the embroidery and the painting play off each other quite well - muted reds and golds with hints of blue and green.  Plus I love that the embroidery is made from rayon so it has a little bit of (tasteful) shine.  I think a large bolster pillow in this fabric is just what the leather sofa needs - it'll instantly add texture and a handcrafted element to the space.

(Images via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Weekend!

This was a long week so I’m looking forward to the weekend. The pictures above are of designer Abigail Ahern's London flat. Looks like the perfect fall escape, don't you think? I love the dark walls painted in Farrow & Ball's Down Pipe and the layers of pillows on the chesterfield sofa. It's officially freezing in Chicago and I'd give just about anything to cozy up next to this fire. I hope you have a good weekend!

(Images via The Selby)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hang your Hermès

The home of Japanese interior designer Yasumichi Morita as captured by The Selby has me dying to frame one of my Hermès scarves. All but one of my half dozen or so scarves have been gifted to me over the years by my super stylish and generous aunt.  I love each and every piece in my collection but I think the vivid colors in my Passementerie scarf really complement that color palette of my current decor.  The only problem?  I would love to continue to wear this beautiful work of art – does anyone know how I could frame it in a way that is not so permanent?

(Images via The Selby)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Home | Dining Room Update

Good things come to those who wait. This is often the case when you're in your twenties and have a tight budget. You may remember that I posted about purchasing a new Saarinen Tulip table for my dining room. That was back in June, it's now November. That means my table has been chairless for the past 5 months. God time really flies by. Anyway, I always tell myself that beautiful things take time to come to fruition, so instead of running out and buying cheap chairs that I didn't really want, I waited. And as luck would have it, I scored my dream chairs for a fraction of their original price!

This is the second year in a row that I've made a major purchase at the Jayson Home & Garden warehouse sale. Last year I purchased my dream sofa (here), this year, 4 Vintage Louis XVI Chairs.  I'm absolutely, head-over-heels in love with them.  The wonderful striped wood finish, linen upholstery and vintage suzani backs work perfectly with my current decor.  Now, all I need is some nice china!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Smitten | Darryl Carter

I just returned from a lovely weekend in Washington DC so it only feels right that today's post be dedicated to the city's best designer, Darryl Carter. I think the images above speak for themselves but I can't help but point out the interesting mix of modern and very traditional pieces – he’s a genius at juxtaposing the rough with the refined. Carter's work is definitely American but also seems to have a Swedish feel to it with his use of white walls, Belgian linen and painted furniture. Darryl's design aesthetic centers around the "art of the edit" and edit he does creating warm, inviting interiors that are sure to stand the test of time.

Want the look?  Darryl has teamed with Benjamin Moore to create a paint deck that is filled with his favorite go-to neutrals, he's also designed a stunning lighting collection with Urban Electric Company.  And since I'm getting good a real estate can really get the look if you buy this Carter-designed home that's for sale in McLean, Virginia.