Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Merging two personal styles to create a cohesive look can be a real challenge for many couples.  Many couples struggle with how to incorporate both of their design styles in one living space.  The most common questions I receive are:
What makes a design style masculine or feminine? How does one keep the space from looking too masculine or too feminine?  How does one create a balanced look in a shared space?

Here are the 7 steps I share with couples to help them navigate designing a space that they both will love.

1. Identify Masculine and Feminine Design Traits

The first step in striking the right feminine/masculine balance in your space is identifying what traditional  "masculine" and "feminine" design aesthetics are

Masculine Design Characteristics

•Sleek, straight lined furniture
•Solids, stripes, and plaid fabric choices
•Steel, concrete, dark wood, and leather finishes
• Earthy color tones (gray, brown, black)
• Oversized art

Feminine Design Characteristics
• Pastel or bright color tones
• Floral fabric patterns (floral, damask)
• Soft textiles (satin, silk, velvet)
•Furniture and decor tend to be more ornate

2. Find A Style You Both Like

Although you both may like different design styles, try to pinpoint what similarities exist with the design styles you like.  What styles do you have in common?  Look online and at magazine photos to help pinpoint design styles and home decor that you both agree on.  Perhaps you both like the color blue, Asian decor or bright color or pattern on walls.  Fore example, if you both like blue, start looking at wall colors or accent pieces in that hue. Once you've identified a decor style you both like, use that as a launch pad for your design scheme. 

3. Embrace The Style That You Love But Know When & How To Edit

As you start to decorate your space, you may find that the space is leaning too much toward one style (i.e. masculine or feminine decor).   If this happens, just  take a step back and think about what you can be edited to balance the design scheme out.

For example, if the space starts feeling too masculine, perhaps swap out some of the more traditionally masculine pieces such as dark colors or hard lined furniture for more traditionally feminine pieces like florals, silks, or furniture with curved lines.

Here, a  rather masculine looking leather chaise is front and center against the delicate scroll patterned wall paper which serves as a backdrop for the thick framed masculine tomorrow. 


4. Mix Textures

Use a mix of textures when choosing the fabrics for your shared space.  To appeal to both a feminine and masculine aesthetic, try using luxurious textures like velvet and silk paired with more natural fabrics like linen and wood.

5. Update a Traditional Masculine Look with Feminine Flair 

Add feminine touches to masculine items.   This sofa has a masculine silhouette but is upholstered in a very feminine lavender velvet.

6. Use Art and Wall Coverings To Help Balance Out the Look

This Moroccan patterned wallpaper with its neutral color scheme and curved lines is the perfect mix of masculine and feminine. The metal accent chair and lamp are the masculine touches in the space.

In the bedroom below, although the headboard and color scheme seem masculine, the use of the oversized black and white fashion print balances out the space and brings the  feminine design aesthetic front and center. 

7. Incorporate Contrasting Furnishings and Accents

Juxtapose masculine furnishings with more feminine ones. Subtle colors, delicate accents, and other small details like fresh flowers can really help soften a masculine space.  While details like raw woods, stripes, dark colors give a feminine space a more masculine design aesthetic.  

For instance,  here the look of the very masculine wood plank wall is softened by the floor length drapes, patterned pillow, fresh flowers and subtle hued throw.

In the room below, small details like the bouquet of fresh flowers and gold accents in the fixtures and even the gold knobs on the masculine looking nightstand help to create a harmonious balance in this bedroom.

The spaces below are great examples of the beauty and balance that is created when contrasting elements are used in design.  Florals, vintage crystal and ornate frames work well against the masculine pinstripe background.

Designing a space that two people love is a delicate balancing act.  Need help merging styles? Contact me here.

Monday, February 2, 2015


*All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. No compensation was provided for this post. *

I recently discovered an amazing online design resource! Chairish, an exclusive, curator approved, online marketplace for vintage and used furniture has a wealth of unique home accents sure to make any design lover's heart skip a beat. I was asked to share my taste for color in Chairish's White to Bright Styleboard Challenge.  The challenge was to take a space from white to bright by creating a styleboard around one of Chairish's vintage rugs. Of course, I gladly accepted the challenge!

Although I can certainly appreciate a neutral design scheme, I love bold color! However, I understand that it can be hard to step away from basic neutrals when choosing a color palette for a room.

Going bold is a big decision but it doesn't have to be scary or difficult. It's really not as hard as one may think and can actually be quite fun!

With all of the cold dreary winter weather we've been having here on the east coast,  I thought it would be fun to create a space that evokes a feeling of a warmer climates and brighter surroundings. My styleboard welcomes spring with a chic and fun breakfast nook.  I took my room from white to bright by using rich color and luxe texture and chic detail.  Check out Chairish's fabulous collection of rugs here. You won't be disappointed! I chose to use Chairish's naturally distressed, handmade Grass Green Abrash Turkish Rug as the starting point for my styleboard.

Design Details:

The vintage turkish rug grounds the space and mimics the look of a freshly cut lawn with its over-dyed green hue.  Perfect for spring! The classic tulip style marble topped table provides a sophisticated chic contrast to all the color used in the space.  I used the framed floral art to pull in more colors and compliment the garden feel that the turkish rug provides. The stunningly unique chain draped chandelier makes such a statement and would be a great conversation piece. I also included a few accessories to add charm. The etageres, although neutral in color, feature an amazing intricate design that makes them absolute showstoppers.  The exotic stool adds a glam factor with its upholstered zebra fabric and gilded base. The antique Chinese vase adds more great color and a hint of global flair.

What I Used:

I also used several other Chairish antique and vintage pieces to pull together the stylish look.  Here's a full list of the furnishings and accessories featured in the styleboard.

Saarinen Tulip Style Marble Table

Gray Etagere

Antique Gilded Wooden Zebra Ottoman

Antique Chinese Vase

Floral Art

Sapphire Blue Dining Chair

Chain Chandelier

Fuchsia Curtain Panel

Ready to add a unique touch to your home decor?  Head over to Chairish for a look at their amazing collection of antiques and vintage home decor finds!