monday musings

You know those cliche quotes you read on pinterest but you really love. Well you should know, I'm a complete sucker for such cheesiness. Guilty as charged. Today I read one that said: "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire."  Isn't that a good one? Its not a particular break through thought but its one that kinda fired me up.... which is exactly what this Monday needs; especially this rainy monday. So whatever it is that makes you feel alive and sets your soul on fire, I hope you find renewed energy, belief, and focus for it this week.

Heres to chasing the things that set our souls on fire... (again with the cheesiness..sorry friends!) 

scroll to see some of my favorite images from the past few days- i can't get enough of mossy greens, light grays, camel tones, warm whites. it must be fall (finally!) 

brass hardware

brass is back.. 

For a recent project (hint hint previous post), we used brass hardware, and it was good (real good). After working in so many white kitchens with nickel hardware, the brass is a fresh change. I love the pop of brass against the white but it also looks good against blues and deep grays. And if we are being picky, you really ought to use unlaquered brass so that it ages with time. I'm a fan of anything that gets better with time (think- a leather sofa, an old rug, family heirlooms). Brass hardware is classic and sophisticated. And frankly, its just an exciting change but a change that has longevity... its been around for a long time and is isn't going anywhere soon!

project: Antiques and Garden Show [after]

we had a great time at the Antiques and Garden Show. the best part (other than designing the space) was getting to know new people and hanging with some of our old favorites. its always inspiring to me to be around creative people. i loved seeing what the other designers did with their booths. there were so many good ones! i hope y'all enjoy seeing the after pics! xo 

equestrian style

It seems all I can think about right now is the season. Fall simply enchants me. A season full of pumpkins, leaves, cool breezes, hot coffee, and scarves.. i'm a sucker. Who isn't? Even bad days seem good when its a beautiful fall day outside. While almost everything about fall make me smile, long horse rides might be my favorite part of the season. Few things compare to the freedom, joy, strength that comes from a good, long ride. Between long rides and taking in polo games, there are a lot of horses in my life during the fall. With all this on my mind, its hard not to include horses in my day job as well. Below are a few of my favorite equine items for every-day life. My favorite? the boots but the iron side table is a close second. Enjoy! 

project: Antiques and Garden Show

I'm so excited to share about the work we did for the upcoming Antiques and Garden Show in Birmingham. We worked with the talented & lovely Cantley and Company on a beautiful kitchen. Our inspiration for the space whether consciously or unconsciously was the beautiful season we are in the midst of- fall. And lucky for us the weather cooperated... finally feeling like FALL! As we choose paint colors, hardware, & furnishings, our minds kept going back to the beauty of our favorite season. Think burnt orange, deep greens, grays, heavy pottery, white pumpkins, belgian linen, iron, herbs, topiaries, checks, ... you get the idea. If a pumpkin spice latte is fall in a cup, our kitchen is fall in a room. BUT at the same time, it is a space that transitions to all seasons and across years-- it has classic/timelss: lines, color, hardware, layout. Good design doesn't fade away. Below is our inspiration board & progress shots, and stay tuned for a finished product post coming soon... like tomorrow

A special thanks to all the wonderful people who helped us create this space: first and foremost our partners in this Cantley & Company; as well as:  the very talented Grant Trick for the beautiful banquette, the lovely Paige Albright for rug choices, Schumacher fabrics, Classic Cloth, Leaf and Petal, Circa, and many other local sources for beautiful accessories. We are so thankful to work with so many wonderful people. 

kitchen inspiration: 

the beginning

Below is Cantley and Co.'s drawing for the space. You'll see the space is mostly made up of a long counter in front of a window and a large island. Also pictured are beautiful paint colors from Farrow and Ball. No one makes better colors. 

hardware: 

We chose hardware from Rocky Mountain. We love the heaviness and good lines of their products.

paint color:

While we love a white kitchen, we wanted to do something a little different for our space. We leaned towards colors that were a little darker, with notes of gray and blues and greens. I love the cozy effect of these colors. 

lighting:

We chose some of our favorite classics for the space.  

table

 

 

 

 

 

 

seating:

banquette:

This is one of my favorite parts of the project. Grant Trick and his team at Design Industry Workroom helped build a great custom banquette. Since we wanted the space to be a little more relaxed and casual feeling, we opted for a french mattress type tuft on the back. The end product is so handsome. 

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fabric:

white pottery & brass silverware 

chalk board:

because wehere do you write down your favorite recipe if not on your oversized chalkboard? french bistro style!  

rug:

The lovely Paige Albright helped us make all our rug dreams come true for the space. We chose a larger rug for in front of the island and then a beautiful runner to be back by the long counter. Pictured below is the rug for in front of the island. I love the burnt orange and how it ties back in with the pillows on the banquette. 

dog bed:

Maybe the best part of the project (or at least my favorite!) is the custom dog bed that Grant helped put together. This may or may not be coming home with me for eloise after the show. The best part? Hard to say. A tie between the Fortuny trim used to make a cording or the custom mohair dog bone. Needless to say, I'm in love with this part of the room. 

other accessories: 

Hope you've enjoyed seeing all that we've been working on! Cant wait for you to see the end project. Be sure to come out to see all the talent and beautiful product that will be showcased this weekend at the Gardens. We'll be there Thursday-Sunday; come say hi! 

design crush: lily bunn NYC apartment

I've been a fan of Lilly Bunn for a while but this latest project published on OKL has really taken my fan-ship to a whole new level. Her style is so effortlessly chic and fresh. I love how she uses color without it being too much or too serious. The photos below are from an apartment she designed for a family of 7! As one of five, I certainly understand how messy and chaotic a big family can be and so does Lilly. She designed the whole space to be very family friendly. I love that she designs spaces that are both beautiful and functional. Scroll to see more :) 

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The Gracie paper above (and the the left) just sends me through the roof. I love the subtle tones of the paper paired with the vibrant purple and chartreuse in the chairs. The bergiere chair fabric is a favorite Madeline Weinrib fabric. And those topiaries, don't even get me started. 

Above, you see how Lilly tied the colors in the house together by repeating the purple, greens, and yellows seen elsewhere in the house. 

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Y'all know i'm a big fan of lucite. The lucite console is so nice because it provides a big surface without making the end of the room too heavy. I also am a big fan of the moroccan style rug. Its a great look available at many different price points (depending on if you're getting the real authentic thing or a good, new version). 

Practical meetings beautiful ^^ A wise man once said: You can never have too many pin boards. And he was right. 

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Again with the pops!! White walls with bright red leather chairs, who would have thought? Its so good looking. 

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The master continues a lot of the same tones seen elsewhere in the house. The furnishings are pretty simple but then the cheetah rug takes it to a whole new level of funky. Cheetah also is a great rug to hide dirt/dust -- win/win. 

one kings lane_lily bunn east 10th street_NIGHTSTAND.jpeg

Below is one of my favorite powder rooms of all time. The paper is reminiscent of the Les Touches that I love. The brass touches add a little glamor to the mix. Could not love it more. 

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Hope y'all enjoyed a tour of this beautiful apartment as much as I did! Happy Monday friends 

 

xo

southern creatives: virginia cheek

tell us a little bit of your background. when did you realize that you wanted to be an interior designer? I was always drawing and crafting as a child. My mom recognized this early and encouraged me to take art classes growing up. I minored in Studio Art and Art History in college, but I didn’t realize I wanted to pursue interior design as a career until I moved to Atlanta for graduate school. 

What inspires you? So many things – the creative people I work with, the outdoors, bustling cities, historic architecture, different cultures, an empty sketchbook. 

Where do you feel most inspired?  When I travel.

How would you define your interior style?  My work is very client-focused, so I can typically adopt my client’s style and reinterpret everything into a cohesive design. There are some common threads, however. I always incorporate some natural materials and textures. I like a room to feel balanced … an equilibrium of hard and soft, dark and light.

Who do you admire in design?  Thomas O’Brien, Axel Vervoordt, Alabama natives like Bobby McAlpine and Bill Ingram for their clean lines and soothing palettes. I also love Suzanne Kasler (think Blackberry Farm). I recently discovered Charleston designer Angie Hranowsky - she has an amazing talent for mixing bold colors. I also admire Jane Hoke, a Birmingham-based designer who has worked with my mom for years. She can create the most beautiful traditional spaces that look fresh, not stuffy. I’ll stop myself here, but those are just a few of the residential designers I like – the list goes on. 

What are your goals for the future of your design business?  Right now, to continue working with good people who inspire me to grow creatively. For the future, I have thoughts about dabbling in products, maybe fabrics. But that’s a long way off. 

Advice for others who are pursuing a career in design?  Gather as much experience as possible. You’ll figure out the best path for yourself as you go along.

How do you balance your creative passions and the rest of life? That’s a constant battle, especially when working from home. I block out my workdays just as I would in a “normal” office environment. I typically answer emails in the morning and try to run errands before traffic gets bad during lunch. The afternoons can vary – I’m either having client meetings or calls, sourcing, or doing other design work. Bookkeeping and invoicing usually happen after normal business hours. 

Does the South have an influence on your design? Absolutely. I grew up in the South so it definitely influences my work. I would say a commitment to quality, which surprisingly is not valued everywhere, and an appreciation for antiques are the two biggest influences.

Describe your personal style. Personally, I like easy and comfortable (but let’s call it effortless and chic ;)  

Tea or coffee? Tea

Flats or heels?  I’m 5’2” so I have to go with heels, but only the shockingly comfortable ones.

Dogs or cats? Dogs

Breakfast or dinner? Breakfast

Favorite vacation spot.  Cashiers, North Carolina

What are you looking forward to this summer?  June and July are crazy busy with traveling for work and weddings. I’m looking forward to getting a lot done during the first half and relaxing a bit toward the end. 

 

To learn more about Virginia's design work, go here! 

fabric favorite: les touches

Today we're looking at one of my favorite fabrics. In fact, I'm guilty of trying to throw this fabric into way too many work-ups. Les Touches, a Brunschwig and Filles fabric, has been around since the 1960s.  The fabric was inspired by a collection of post–World War II photographs. Previously offered only as a fabric, it is now also available as a wallpaper, in nine colors including pink, green, brown, blue, and red as well as tan, Bordeaux, aqua, and black

What I love about this fabric is that its both classic (hello 60s) but also fresh. I love its graphic nature with the hint of animal. And lets be honest, how many things work as well or better today as it did in 1960? I generally try to throw it in as a pillow or on a chair, but i'm really liking how its used as a wallpaper in the image below.  Scroll on to see more ...

need some les touches in your own space (who doesnt?), email me! and want a deal? (even better!) you can get a 20x20 Les Touches pillow for $165! 

 

fall into white

Gone are the days where white is taboo after labor day. In fact I might like the pairing of white jeans and a big cashmere sweater better than any other pairing. Love white too? Below is some neutral inspiration.. enjoy and happy hump day!

bring outside in: topiaries

Y'all know i'm a nut for all things plants and flowers. I usually spend more time in the flower department at the grocery than the vegetable aisle (opps). In particular, I've always loved the look of a topiary. I love the mix of the natural with the tailored shape-- and it it just proclaims all things chic and French (hello Tulieres!). I recently bought a grouping of three topiaries for the kitchen, and it looks SO GOOD. They just make me smile and they feel like the right addition for the Fall. They also keep me on my toes because as much as I love flowers and plants... i'm not the best of the waterers. I've killed a few too many plants (not proud..). But these babies are getting my utmost attention and so far so good. See the beautiful use of topiaries below, and I promise you'll want some of your own. Enjoy! 


southern Creatives: dorothy shain

You know those wonderful people who you meet (whether in person or through email in this case) and you instantly feel like you've known them forever? Dorothy is one of those people. Her sweet and creative spirit come across loud and clear. I've loved connecting with her over shared passions and dreams. Her art is AMAZING. Enjoy learning about and seeing more of Dorothy's art below! 

 

Tell us a little bit of your background. when did you realize that you wanted to be an artist? I have been painting & creating for as long as I can remember. It was not until high school that I realized it was important to take the talents you were given seriously. I began pouring all of my energy into my artwork and not long after was given a fine arts scholarship to Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  It took several job / cube experiences post college to realize that my creativity did not thrive in a corporate world. It was when I moved to Charleston in 2014, that I realized Ineeded to take the plunge.

 

 

what are your favorite mediums to work with?I love working with gouache. It is such flexible medium. It can be used like an acrylic or as a watercolor. It goes a long way. I love Holbein Acryla Gouache . Their pigments are spot on . . . I am currently hooked on “Misty Blue.”

What inspires you? Other people. I get inspired when I meet someone who is doing something they love and is excited to tell me about it. My wheels always start spinning & I start dreaming of ways for possible collaboration.

Where do you feel most inspired? Outside. The beach, the marsh or the mountains. Something about the three make me breathe easier & the colors are always refreshing.

what are your goals for the future of your art? Oh lord. So many goals. I guess my first goal, not the most exiting one, is to have a formal budget and strategic plan created by the end of the summer. I think this is the basis of any successful business. My second goal is to intertwine my art with a cause. I have a background in human rights and am so passionate about so many issues. I would love to find a way to connect those passions.

do you have a favorite among your pieces? Currently, I am loving my hand dyed linens, especially the charcoal grey one. Dying is an art attached to every culture. These works really speak to my love of travel.

favorite vacation spot.  I just got back from Kiawah for a weekend and loved it!

what things are always packed in your carry-on bag? Snacks. I never have anything I should have on me but I always have something to munch on. I try to keep it healthy.

advice for others who are pursuing a career in art? Get organized. It is just important to spend time out of your studio creating budgets, goals, and plans as it is putting that paintbrush to the canvas. I am learning this lesson the hard way.

how do you balance your creative passions and raising a family/home life? Right now, everything seems so intertwined but I would say having a studio away from my house helps. It helps me separate my home life.

describe your personal style.  Oh lord. During the week I am always in work out clothes. I am constantly moving around, hauling things, spilling paint & taking yoga breaks that I decided real clothes are off limits during that time. Outside the studio, I would say my personal style is feminine and simple. 

 tea or coffee? flats or heels? dogs or cats? breakfast or dinner? Tea & Coffee. I need coffee to wake up & tea to breathe. Flats and heels. Heels if I am out on the town, flats when I am out and about. Dogs. Dogs. Dogs. I want 15.  I love a good long breakfast.

does being from the south have an influence on your artwork? Yes, yes & yes. For instance, I have been using a ton on indigo recently and one reason why is because it has such a connection to South Carolina history.

how do your family and/or friends play a roll in your art? Both my friends and family play such a crucial role in my art career. It is so nice to be able to run ideas by them, get their advice and let them bring their talents to the table too.

Thank you Dorothy! Learn more about her art (and shop!) here

designer crush: Darryl Carter

When i'm having a hard time moving forward on a project, I often quickly turn to one of Darryl Carter's two books. While my own style might not be quite as cool as his (understatement of the century), I am so drawn to the simplicity of his work. He uses very few patterns and really very little color. But his rooms never feel too sparse to me or too cold. Thats his magic! He makes a space feel inviting even without a lot of fuss or "warmth" through colors etc. Even though I might throw in a little more color or pattern than he does, I think its helpful to remember to "be a little more like darryl" (ha! we could make that a saying) and remove one or two of the more fussy things in your design. Its like the saying that you should take of 1 or 2 of the accessories you put on before you leave the house. We tend to make everything so complicated (in life and design, in fact) but really i think we are all drawn to simplicity. I think thats why my eye is so enamored with Carter's work. Also notice the architectural elements of his work, Carter knows the power of great line and he makes use of them throughout the room. The man can also chose some great neutral paint colors, and that is no easy task! I hope you enjoy scrolling through these images as much as I loved putting them together.  At the end of the post, i've rounded up some items that jus might be worthy of a Darryl Carter look. 

a look like Darryl's:  

                 items via OKL & Wisteria // email katherine@mhjinteriors.com for more info + pricing 

     

           items via OKL & Wisteria // email katherine@mhjinteriors.com for more info + pricing 

welcome September

september is here. 

with dreams of: light sweaters, brass, sneakers,pine floors, button down shirts, topiaries, gingham, zinc, navy blue, copper lanterns, farmhouse tables, white farmhouses, iron beds, mudrooms, booties, long walks, leaves, crisp air, blush pink, french market totes

dutch door

hi friends! First, the bad news- things have been busy, busy lately at work and i've been slacking on the blog. Now for the good news, today i'm talking about one of my favorite current projects-  "project: mudroom heaven." Call me crazy, but I believe that the mudroom is the most important room in the house. Growing up in a big family that was always on the go, I am all too aware of just how much stuff families carry around-- totes, coolers, leashes, jackets, etc. If you're anything like me, these things always get dropped right as you enter the door. It does not matter how close by the kitchen, closet, or bedroom is; i just can't seem to get all my things to their right place. Y'all know the feeling? There in lies the genius of the mudroom. It is a home for all those "through the door" items that need a home until you pick them back up for the next day. Mudrooms also benefit the rest of your house because it keeps your kitchen table, foyer chest, that random corner by the back door, etc. from being the collecting spot for all these things. And just because it holds the "through the door" things, does not mean it can't be stylish. In fact, mudrooms make storage stylish. I'm talking beautiful cabinets, deep shelves, peacock paver floors, a great bench, good lighting, a good sink (for flower arranging). I'm literally in mudroom heaven just listing these things. Since I am a big time fan and advocate of good mudrooms in all homes around the world (and don't fear mudrooms can come in all sizes and prices... we'll talk about that too) , I thought we'd spend the next few blog posts going through "project: mudroom heaven". I'll break down the arrangement, the pieces, the design, the materials used, etc. And since today is DAY 1. I thought we'd start from the outside in: the door. AND since it is project mudroom HEAVEN, it was only right to have a dream door: a great wide, wood dutch door with a great brass latch. 


la playa

I came across this beach house on another blog and I couldn't tear my eyes away from it. The whimsy and fun literally embodies everything that the beach should be: a true escape. The home is that of talented designer Celerie Kemble. Feast your eyes below! You will soon fall in love. 

all images via Architectural Heritage

where you can find me..

i've got the Monday blues, and the rain certainly isn't helping. Given these present circumstances, i think the only right thing to do (other than get ready for work and carry an umbrella or two!) is to escape to another place. Somewhere with sun and a breeze and an outdoor table covered in yummy eats. Thankfully, One King's Lane isn't far behind us on this idea and one of their current sales is all about beautiful Provence.  I think hidden in Provence are summer life lessons i could use right now: move slowly, enjoy the little things, smell lavender, surround yourself with beautiful flowers and produce, appreciate the outdoors, and eat pasta.. Tell me that those aren't good life lessons? I've gathered a few of my favorite items from the sale below. These seem like great things to stock up on before Summer's end for that last outdoor dinner. I can't get over the beautiful white and blue linen table runner or  those beautiful blue and white napkins. Click here to shop the whole collection. 

southern creatives: Carrie Pittman

 

I'm so excited to share about today's southern creative. Artist Carrie Pittman is one of the sweetest and most supportive people i've met in this field. She is so encouraging, and SO talented. Her artwork is taking the world by storm. You can find her pieces hanging in homes all over as well as in many prominent commercial locations and restaurants. You'll see from the pictures below, she interprets color and movement on the canvas beautifully. Read on to learn more about Carrie! 

 

tell us a little bit of your backgorund. when did you realize that you wanted to be an artist? I always wanted to be an artist as long as I could remember. I always loved to create and make things and give them to people, to make them happy. Someone told me at some point, that artists didnt make money so I kind of gave up on it and thought I had to do something else. I started painting about a year and a half ago out of free time and personal expression. I never intended for anyone to ever see my art or buy it

what are your favorite mediums to work with? acrylic, oil, watercolor, and I love experimenting with creating texture

where do you turn for inspiration? God first. Just like anything when you try to force something it usually doesnt work. I pray for inspiration, ask God to open my eyes around me and use my feelings to inspire my work. The more I let go, usually the “better” the result is. 

what are your goals for the future of your art? just to keep painting and hope that my work brings beauty inside and outside to others 

do you have a favorite among your pieces? i dont have a specific piece but my favorites are favorites because of HOW they were created. They were done over and over again, sometimes several layers, lots of frustration but determination to keep going until I was satisfied. When I think about challenging times in my life, I think about these pieces and the process and it reminds me to be patient…...beauty is coming!

advice for others who are pursuing a career in art? be yourself. dont get caught up in what others think, what will sell, what is popular. Be true to yourself and you will develop your own following

how do you balance your creative passions and raising a family/home life?i dont! im incredibly inconsisant but surround myself with patient, stable people ! ha! 

how do your family and/or friends play a roll in your art?my family and friends have been tremendously supportive. Its great to have people believe in you whether or not they “get” what you’re doing or not. Having people speak into your passion is one of the best feelings in the world

describe your personal style. free, abstract, spiritual, sporatic, bold, deep  

tea or coffee? flars or heels? dogs or cats? breakfast or dinner? lots of coffee, i hate flats unless they are flip flops, dogs over cats, dinner

favorite vacation spot. beach, islands

what things are always packed in your carry-on bag?  im extremely simple, i dont like anything unnecessary. Id have one debit card, one credit card, one natural lip gloss, a journal, pen, and my phone. At some point id look for a magazine

what are you looking forward to this summer? change of pace and the sun

gingham

hi friends- I'm sorry for the silence lately. I'll do better next week. Sometimes you just need to take some time to find your voice and inspiration again. But for today, I've got a real treat for you: gingham. Now you might scratch your head and think "this is your great idea after a week of no blog posts?" But hold your horses. Gingham is not just for Dorothy of Oz or your grandmothers skirted table. No sir'ee. Gingham is cool. (yep, i said it). And frankly, its not an original thought. Gingham is back all over the place. Look at JCREW, look at Alexander McQueen, and most importantly look at these beautiful interiors. In fact, I'm currently in a gingham crisis because the most perfect gingham fabric (that i desperately want to use to make drapery) is out of stock. I'm on the frantic search for a new option but i'm telling you the Rogers and Goffigon sheer gingham is the tip-top of my gingham list. So to deal with my gingham stress, lets all admire the beautiful ways gingham is used below. I like it best when gingham is a little bit country, a little bit cool, a little bit contemporary.  It can be sweetly used on a chair in a bedroom or it can be boldly applied to a foyer wall. its just a classic pattern that is hard to get tired of. Its not fussy. I like that. Alright, alright.. enough with my gingham gabbing .. scroll on!  xo 

designer crush: MRS studio

One of my favorite things about working in a creative field is that inspiration is such a daily conversation. When your  job is to see things in new and stylish ways, you are always keeping your eyes peeled for a new look, a new interpretation.. some cue that gets your juices flowing for the next space or the next canvas. It sounds cheesy and somewhat silly but in some ways, my job is to see the world around me and to really pay attention. (did i mention this is the most wonderful blessing? i love what i do).

One of my favorite places to draw inspiration is from other designer's home spaces.  No matter their style (whether its a look i identify with or not), I love seeing how designers live. When they have the freedom to create any space they want, what does it look like? One of my favorite designer spaces is that of Michelle Smith, a new york lawyer turned interior designer. I adore Michelle's taste (layered neutrals, flea market finds, interesting art, great lines). bonus- check out the blue shoe closet in her living room. Scroll below to see her chic NYC apartment. Learn more about Michelle here.