A Few Of My Favorite Things
As a designer, I've found that I really gravitate to the same pieces over and over. When I first started out I really questioned if this was "normal," but over time I learned that even though there are limitless product options out there, some are just better than others and just like when thinking of your wardrobe, there are staple pieces that most everyone should own. These are the ones that I lovingly refer to as the workhorses. I will admit, there are some clients who look concerned when I mention, "I've used this before, and loved it," wondering if, in fact, their design is going to look cookie cutter, but after looking through some of my portfolio images I can easily assure them that every house is unique, as is every design.
I thought it would be fun to illustrate that point here. Below I've linked to my absolute favorite pieces that I use time and time again, and I've shown many of them in different projects so you can see just how adaptable they really are. Nothing here is super groundbreaking from a design angle, but that's kind of the point. These are the pieces that look amazing in almost any decor and the ones that are sure to stand the test of time, decade after decade. Xx (Note: to be taken to product page, click the link in the title).
West Elm Modern Desk and Helvecta Leather Chair
I cannot say enough good things about this desk and this chair. As you can see, I've used each in numerous projects and I have both in my own home as well. I love how roomy the desk is, but also how clean the lines are. In the image above I've switched out the knobs on the desk to give it an upscale look. I always tell clients, don't be afraid to change the hardware on an existing item as it's often an easy and inexpensive way to personalize a piece of furniture.
As for the chair, this is one that I hope West Elm never discontinues. It's so perfect for home offices, and I've used it many times in bedrooms that I've designed for boys. The leather is practically indestructible and the leather tones really warm up any space. The best part is that it's as comfortable as it is stylish!
Serena and Lily Round Cotton and Jute Rug
Hands down, this rug is my absolute favorite to use in any project. It's durable, it's neutral, it's a great price, and it really works in most rooms as it instantly brings in an organic feel to a space. The round shape is perfect for small rooms making it my go-to for kid's bedrooms. I've used this rug in entries, bedrooms, kid's rooms and under round dining tables. In each project it looks so unique and is always one of the most loved pieces by my clients.
Crate and Barrel Monarch Shitake Dining Table
I first used this table in my Waban Project (shown above) and since then I've used it in two more. For the price, I don't think there is a better dining table out there. Anyone who sees it, compliments it, and it really looks like a high end custom piece. What I love about this table is that it comes in two sizes and two finishes (I've used both) but the best part is that it's real wood, not laminate. I could seriously go on about this table all day, but it's one that you have to see for yourself to believe. My favorite features are the legs, and the seam down the middle, but it's those little "bow ties" down the center that seem to steal the show!
Jonathan Adler Carcas Two-Light Sconce
Funny enough, this light was already chosen for this bathroom prior to my involvement, but without question it's the one I would have recommended. I have used this sconce so many times, as it's often been my favorite for places like hallways, dining rooms, over fireplace mantles, and in bathrooms. It's such a simple fixture, but the shape of the shades and the marble base really makes it look next level in any room that you use it. It's neutral enough that it goes with any decor and has enough style that it's one you won't soon tire of.
Restoration Hardware Playbook Sheet Set and Target Globe Task Lamp
I love that both of these rooms have the same sheets and the same lights, and yet they are so different! As you can see this is kind of my go-to "look" for boys' rooms and that's just because it's one that suits pre-school aged boys just as much as it does teenagers. I absolutely love those playbook sheets because from a distance they look just like any old pattern, but up close you can really see the design. Kids seem to love them and adults do too. For me, that's all I need in a sheet set. As for the lights, they cannont be beat. Coming in around $50 dollars, they add just the right amount of warmth with the brass and the fun gumball shape brings in the perfect amount of whimsey. They are sturdy, they reflect light beautifully and they are an incredible price. There isn't much more you can ask for in a table lamp.
Restoration Hardware Linen Drapery Panels
Before I got into design I had absolutely no idea how expensive custom drapery was. Even a few years in I still get sticker shock. Hands down, there is no other stock drapery panels that embodies more of a custom look than Restoration Hardware's Belgium Linen Panels. My favorite to use are the Basketweave and I've used the panels in fog, navy and white so many times I've lost count. These panels are still pricy but at the end of the day they are thousands less than any custom drapery thats out there.
Rove Concepts Tulip Table
Man oh man, my love of the tulip table runs deep. This "knock off" is one that I use often and I truly have used it in all the shapes, sizes and colors it comes in. The slim base, the neutral top... there are very few spaces where this doesn't "work." These tables only seat eight comfortably, so usually not the right choice if you have a huge dining room to fill, but for the rest of us it's a safe bet that always looks beautiful.
Land of Nod Table Lamps
My first stop when I'm designing a kid's room is always Land of Nod. I immediately go to their lamps section and I am rarely disappointed. They have such an array of options, and the stock is regularly updated with new products. They are a great price point for a room that needs a beautiful lamp, but nothing too precious. As you can see I've used them here in two girls' rooms and in each the lamp really became the star of the entire room.
Potterybarn Kids Roman Shades
As I mentioned above, custom drapery is pricy, and roman shades are no exception. While I will often as a client to splurge on something custom in a master bedroom, I rarely can justify them in kids' rooms. I can't tell you how many times I have used PBK's blackout romans, and in each room they have been absolutely perfect. If you have odd shaped windows, these may not work for you, but for anyone else these are often the perfect finishing touch in a room and it's one that won't break the bank.
Land of Nod Elipse Bed-frame
After considering about a dozen bed options for my boys, four years ago I settled on these beds from Land of Nod and man, I'm so happy I did. They are sturdy enough for two wild little boys, and elegant enough for a guest room. I've used these in so many kids' and guest rooms over the years, both in the twin and full version and so far every client has loved them just as much as I do.
West Elm Floating Shelves
From a design perspective, I'm not quite sure what I would do without West Elm's floating shelves. I've used them in my boys' room above in white and in multiple rooms in wood. They are perfect for any room that you need storage and don't have the floor space to support it. They also double as artwork and are the perfect way to display objects in a kids room.
Aerin Lauder Jacqueline Flush Mount
Man, there are so many ugly flush mounts out there, including the developer's favorite, the nipple. They can really drag down the decor in any room and not only do they give off poor lighting, they also can take away from the personality in a room, no matter what is going on below. The Jacqueline flush mount does the exact opposite. It adds drama, glamour, and so much light. The highlight is the beautiful shadow that it casts on the ceiling, it will seriously take your breath away! I've used this in the clear glass, and in the white, and always in brass. I've put this fixture in bedrooms, entryways, and in dining rooms. No matter how many times I use it, I never tire of it and this is one that I am sure to be suggesting for a long time to come! Free the nipple (light!)