My Dad tells stories of his childhood spent in Brooklyn’s famous Coney Island Amusement Park. He speaks of vendors selling the “fancy sandwiches” on weekends for $0.40 each, the rides, and of his special memories. It’s a part of him, and it’s a part of American culture!

He had just been telling me one of his tales the other day as I was reading Interior Design Magazine. They had done a feature on the Coney Island branch of the Brooklyn Public Library which was hit very badly during Hurricane Sandy. The architecture firm Beatty Harvey Coco who specializes in libraries led the redesign and renovation of the 6,000 sq/ft space.

It seems fitting that I share it with you. It is a sleek, clean design, with some warm and fuzzy elements to prevent the space from seeming too sterile. You’ll never believe this was also considered a tight budget project!

What I love most is the use of vintage photos on the walls throughout the spaces. I’m a sucker for massive wall coverings like this, so I melted like a pat of butter when I saw these images. I’d like to share a quote from the article, “An aerial view of mid-century sunbathers on beach, next to the boardwalk, became wall covering for the entry. ‘People walking in stop to digest and relate to the image,’ Kirschenbaum (interior architect) says. ‘It’s very emotional.’ Nostalgic archival images of Coney Island amusement park rides-the Cyclone roller coaster, the Wonder Wheel, the Parachute Jump-grace other walls. Or you can just step outside to see the real thing.”

I would love to do some images like this in a client’s basement, bathroom, or pool house. How fun would that be? Or, the Novagratz design duo has famously used photos of their kiddos in their own homes and the homes of clients.


The Library After the Hurricane

Under Construction

Paving the way for a new library!


Dedication plaque at library entry

Young Adult at Coney Island Library

PVC wall in young adult section with huge wall covering of nearby parachute jump ride

Boardwalk Planks

Boardwalk planks damaged by the hurricane hand from the ceiling of the main corridor

Reading Area

The reading area features LED lighting that can be individually controlled

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I see a lot of fabric day after day. Boy, do I love fabric. The women at my fabric store laugh at me how I dream to use this fabric or that when I have the right house or client for it. I keep swatches of favorites, so i don’t forget, or I catalog them on Pinterest. I feel them, and look at them, and then look at them again. Don’t even get me started on wallpaper! I usually purchase fabric for clients from a supplier of designer fabrics that are available to the trade. It allows me to shop many different lines and styles in one place, and then pass those samples on to my clients to preview prior to using them in projects.

However, not everyone has that luxury. If you’re shopping on your own for fabric, go to your local fabric store like Calico Corners or even Joann. You might have to weed through, but you will find some great prints, and sales. Joann offers coupons every week, and one of them is usually 40% off non-sale cuts of fabric. Can’t beat that. I bought a $50/yard Annie Selke for my living room drapes for about $20/yard! When you need ten yards of fabric for massive 12′ windows, it pays to have a coupon!

Also try two of my favorite online retailers like Tonic Living and They both have extensive collections of fabric (and samples) to select from, easy to navigate web sites, and the ability to save favorites for later. Tonic Living can also be commissioned to do all the work for you at a pretty reasonable price!

Here are some of my favorite fabrics from Schumacher (there is one Robert Allen fabric which can be found here).

Fave Fabrics

Here are some of my favorite Tonic Living fabrics…all can be found at

Tonic Living fabric

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Want to dress up a drab desktop? Add a bit of gold or black or pink. It always does the trick. These desk accessories and decor will dress-up any space, and infuse chicness into the your hands via a sleek ipad or ipod cover.

Chic Desk Accessories

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |3a | 5 (similar) | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

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One day on the way home from the beach, my hubs and I discussed the idea of a kid nail or hair spa. There are so few in the Baltimore area, and we thought we were brill for coming up with the idea. Then, reality set-in of course. The logistics of a space, hiring technicians, equipment, etc. My space would be super sleek, cool, and hip, so no expense could be spared. My bank account disagreed with the idea, and like so many of our car ride biz ideas (wine tasting/app bar, french fry stand, tarp to drape over accidents so people don’t clog traffic looking at it–that was a weaker one), this one fizzled away. Woe.

I do appreciate when people do go for it, and do it right. Enter La Laquerie, a kid party nail salon on wheels! Susan Aflak tricked out an old Airstream and made it a girl’s (or boy’s) dream come true! The story was featured in Lonny, and can be found here. Here are a few teaser photos for ya to drool over.

La Laquerie Airstream

La Lacquerie Nail Polish

La Lacquerie Lemonade

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I love funny cards. My mom has a pretty good sense of humor, so I ordered a few cards for her this year. One is a beautiful gold letterpressed card, and the other is a mommy dearest card. I usually mail one, and give her one with her gift. Since my mom is impossible to buy for, and I have no ideas, I decided to just get the cards out of the way, and hope the rest just falls into place! It doesn’t help that my mom and my birthdays both fall around mother’s day every year. She is May 13th, and I am May 14th. I love celebrating together, but it becomes stressful when it’s all on top of each other like that (for both of us). I perused Etsy today for some other fun/funny cards, and here is my top list. Since I am super lazy, I just took a screen shot of all the cards I loved with the shop name in the caption instead of linking to each one. I know, you love your links. Well, I took a horribly draining spin class very, very early this morning, so I get to cheat today and I can save my brain power for another day. Almost all of these are just humorous but I think I threw in one sweet, flowery cards for all you goodie two shoes kids.
You can also click on the image below to see it larger.

Best of Etsy Mother's Day Cards

All cards can be found at their respective shops on

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If you’re ever in a pinch and need a go-to flower arrangement, go to the hydrangea! It always looks good, and every color and variation is fabulous. I think I’ve always been a little caught up in this pom of a flower but lately, as I lament what the cold and snowy winter did to our yard, I seek solace in the knowledge that one day my home will be flanked with hydrangea bushes.

Our last home/rowhouse had a very small yard, so we flagstoned almost the whole thing, and used it primarily for outdoor seating in the summer. We had a small row of landscaping space on the right and left, and we chose to plant four large hydrangeas on the right. Boy, was this a good decision! They came back every year as furiously as the year before, and filled the whole space without those awkward first years after planting holes you often get. I planted pennies and turned them different colors every year, and the results were marvelous.

When we moved to our new home, which has just over 4.5 acres, the job of landscaping became overwhelming. The previous owners were into it, and definitely planted, but not as many varieties as I would prefer myself. There are also several annuals like azaleas and daffodils that only bloom for a week or so. I know these two are the quintessential east coat staples, but they’re just not me. I prefer almost all green landscaping in neat, symmetrical patterns. I love the thoughtfulness and monochromatic palette of English gardens, and would really love to implement some of that here. That’s where hydrangea again comes in. There’s just nothing like seeing rows and rows of hydrangea lining a walk, a deck, or a home’s front entrance. It’s so simple and yet impactful at the same time.
We need a three-year plan to get ‘er done, some dough, and a helping hand! And beer.

I would like to start the plan in the back yard. We have a deck, which we re-stained last year to squeeze a few more years out of it. Here’s how it looks now (sorry, pics were taken in October as you might have deduced). It’s a dark stain, so everything looks good next to it now! That makes things easy. Note the massive rhododendron in the background of this table shot!

Our Deck Eating Area

Our Deck Seating Area

The previous owners paved a stony walk to wind around the deck with stone fountains and cupid-like creatures. Again, not my thing. The walk is flanked by thick, prickly ground cover, and the highest, craziest rhododendron you’ve ever seen. They’re at least eight or nine feet tall. Bah. I know, the flowers are beautiful when they bloom for those two weeks in summer. Ours are red, which does make them even more striking. However, the bushes themselves (for most of the year) are kinda ugly, and I had a real hate/hate relationship with the one at our old house, and I just don’t want to make nice with the ones that are here. I’d love to rip the walk and everything else that surrounds the deck, and re-plant with all hydrangea. Either all white, or all blue. Take a look at these stunner photos of all hydrangea landscaping and tell me you’re not in love?

Bridgehampton Home

Hydrangea Flanked Walk

White Hydrangea Walk

Hydrangea Entry

Hydrangea Mix

English Garden with Hydrangea

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I’m a huge fan of the blog and designs of I’m also a fan of graphic prints and bold color. Well, Mirth Studio has teamed up with COCOCOZY to create wood 12 X 12″ wood floor tiles! I’m in love. Aren’t they gorge? I would love these in my girls’ bathroom or our mudroom! Especially since rugs get so dirty in my mudroom. This would be a great alternative to a rug without losing the graphic impact it gives to a room.

COCOCOZY wood floor tiles

I would also love to try them on the wall in a nursery or playroom!
You can read the blog post over here on the whole deal, but here are some of the important deets.

Available in 12” x 12” square tiles made of ½” thick engineered hardwood
Pre-finished with 10 coats of abrasion-resistant, crystal-clear UV-hardened 100% resin urethane
Can be installed over most subflooring—concrete or wood
10-year commercial and 25-year residential on tile surface, lifetime structural warranty
Can be lightly sanded and refinished multiple times just like conventional engineered wood floor products.
You can easily replace a single tile or small section, unlike traditional wood flooring, which must be ripped out and re-installed with sanding and staining when damaged. (the most important thing to me!)
Tiles come 18 per box
Can be used on walls

COCOCOZY wood floor tiles 2

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Well, it’s Spring Break here in Baltimore County, MD. We usually plan our snowboarding trip for this week but since the break is so late, we opted not to go out west this year. Instead, we pieced together a string of mini stops across the week.

Our first stop was Ocean City, MD where my mom-in-law lives. We love going down before the crowds of summer arrive, and just before everything is open. The weather was wonderful, a refreshing warmth blew in (and just as quickly blew out), and we were able to spend some much needed time outside with the girls. Everything about OC feels authentic and nostalgic. So much of its charm is steeped in the boardwalk rides, the iconic buildings that still look the way they did 50 years ago, and of course the beach itself. We hit the “boards” (as they say here in MD) each and every time we go down, and the girls enjoy it just as much each visit. We spent $40 in the arcade to get $5.00 worth of prizes, ventured guesses when the ferris wheel would open, slurped down some Kohr Brothers soft serve, and hit the very vintage carnival rides that reside inside the halls of the boardwalk. I included some pictures of the incredible, yet slightly creepy rides the girls ride, and that my husband rode more than 35 years ago. Even then, I think those rides were about 40-50 years old. Eep.

E bunny ears

The Ride Down to OC

OC Trimpers


Jen funny mirror

My Loooong Legs, Fat Top

OC ride e and ly

The Girls on the Tea Cups

The second day of our trip started at the TC Diner in West OC. Mickey Mouse pancakes, plenty of half and half for my freak daughter to guzzle, and permission to bring your Starbucks drink in. Oh, and homemade oatmeal for Mama. Ding.
The hubs forgot ALL of his underoos, so we had to go to Wal-Mart in a pinch to acquire some. We ended up with plastic pink adirondacks, which the girls sat in inside of the carts inside of Wal-Mart. There were lots of inside ofs in that situation. I also cruised the kids dept. and surprisingly found some cool stuff for the girls. One denim skirt that I would definitely wear myself def. hit the cart.

Then, we hit the Crocs store to get pool shoes for the girls, and they ended up with backpacks with lots of those rubber charms. E acquired a hip hop Doc McStuffins hat in Lids where we went to get my nephew a Nets hat. Both of them loaded up at Five Below while we were shopping for swim goggles. Do you see where these trips get us? Luckily, the hubs and I scored some serious loot at the J.Crew Factory store where we picked up two pairs of men’s pants, two shirts, a belt, two women’s shirts, a sweatshirt, skirt, and necklace for $220. Heh? I made three passes in the store to ensure I didn’t miss anything. We then got suckered into mini gold, go karts, and the park! We secretly love both, so I can’t really complain.

E drinking cream

Breakfast Staple: Half and Half

Ly's Head

Wal-Mart Checkout Monster

J. Crew Stuff

J. Crew Loot

We managed to swing lunch at one of our favorite local places called Hooked on 80th St. The girls like it mostly because they have paper tablecloths, and amazing fries. The chicken fingers are also delish, and made from real things. We love the clams and mussels, and this time, I had tuna tacos and there were super yum.

After our full trip in OC, we took the Lewes Ferry to Cape May, where we journeyed to Atlantic City to meet my sister and her fam, and my parents for a night. We stayed at the Revel there, and while our overall experience was a tad awful, the rooms are nice, and they have an indoor pool. The girls love, love, loved the ferry, and I have to say it was pretty cool for us too. I haven’t taken the ferry in years. The whole place is tricked out. Super nice building with cafe, gifts that don’t stink, a playground, mini golf and lovely employees. I get sea sick very easily, and I am very close to hating all boats. I prayed that the boat wouldn’t rock, and I all but insisted we stay outside despite dropping temps, and Ly begging to play Go Fish inside. I went with it, and my weird pressure point sweat band seemed to work, even though I felt like crying at least twice when they sped up and I could see the boat pitching on top of the waves.

We arrived safely in Cape May, and headed to Revel. The place is huge. It took hours to get the room, so we stashed our hundreds of bags in my parent’s room. We headed to the pool where I’m pretty sure every single child on spring break went to take a swim that day. It was mobbed, and cold, and the kids all loved it. What we do for the love of children. There were some super cool vignettes in the hotel, and some really neat objects. And…some of my sister’s products from her store were in the hot pink built-ins in the lobby! Such a proud moment. Here are some highlights.

Indian River Bridge

Indian River Bridge

Lewes Ferry Deck

Lewes Ferry Deck

Lewes Ferry Inside

Inside of the Ferry

Lewes Ferry Top Deck

Lewes Ferry Top Deck



Revel Lamp

Revel Siting Area with Massive Lamp

Revel Library

Library Vignette at the Revel

E in chair

E in chair

Revel Installation

Revel Installation

Revel Chairs

Revel Chairs

Revel Shelves

Products from Zinc Home and Garden!

Ly and Noah

Ly and Noah Checking Weather

We were hoping to walk on the AC piers and boardwalk but the weather was just awful. Wind and rain was an understatement for what it looked like the second day. The first day, we had a view of the ocean, the second, white cloud. The trip home was treacherous, and we were all happy to stop at the polish market in the middle of no where for some kilbasa, head cheese, and sesame treats. We also made a stop into the world’s grossest bathroom where E was talking into the hole in the floor to see if anyone would answer. Enough said. We wrapped up with a trip to see my beautiful nieces today. Six hours of bliss with those wee babies who are so very loved by my own beautiful girls. Sometimes, these kinds of trips make you appreciate your kids, how good they can be, and how lucky we are.

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Well, she’s done is again! Christiane Lemieux, the mastermind behind DwellStudio, and new Executive Creative Director at Wayfair (who recently acquired DwellStudio) helps bring Birch Lane into our lives and homes! As an avid home shopper (mostly for others), I hunt, even scour for good deals for my clients, while trying to find retailers who consistently offer good quality.

Enter Birch Lane. Reasonably priced, on trend but not trendy pieces for every home from traditional to transitional. Masters of neutral chic, they offer furniture for almost every room, rugs, lighting, and accessories. Oh, and guess what? Nothing is over $2,000! As they say on Super Why, “hip hip hurray!”

Here are a few of my favorite pieces, and how I could see them working in a room!

Birch Lane Bedroom

Birch Lane Living Room

Birch Lane Kitchen

All pieces from Birch Lane, except light fixture in Bedroom feature from Candelabra Lighting & Home Decor.

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I never met a high gloss wall I didn’t like. That is, if it’s done right. The lacquered wall/high gloss painted wall trend has been pretty hot for a while, but it’s a) not for the faint of heart b) not for every home/style c) not to be done willy nilly. I tend to think if you are going to tackle this in your own home you should try it on a ceiling first, or even in a small powder room. The impact is there, without you having to do the grueling process on a large surface area that could possibly not turn out the way you intended. The rooms we all love in mags, blogs, on Houzz are meticulously executed by professionals with beautifully curated objects, art, and furniture. Do we all have that luxury? Probably not. So, as I said, this is not a project to go into lightly.

You’ll have to commit. I like the look of a lacquered white ceiling, with say, bold navy, charcoal, or dark brown walls. I feel that bold deep colors or bright colors work best for a high gloss wall. In a powder room, a nice, pharmacy sink console and brass fixtures would be just lovely with a high gloss wall.

High gloss can be amazing on wood or cabinetry as well. What a statement! I would love to use it in a small kitchen on the cabs, or in an intimate library.

What do you think about it? Would you go for it?

Navy Blue Liv Room


Lime Green Entry


Black Den


Magenta Library


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