Homepolish wrote about my Union Square project for their magazine. It’s a lovely read with pictures by Daniel Wang. You can see the piece HERE. I loved this project, which started with a big box of an empty space, and a small bathroom in strong need of a complete gut. I worked with my client… Read more »
When it comes to one’s decor style, people often know what they like, but don’t necessarily have the words to express it. The following are my interpretations of different styles to help you understand the basics. This is not a lesson in design, as I am no scholar. These are just some broad stroke labels to help… Read more »
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Good Table lamps are essential in creating a space. Lighting is everything. And not just for the obvious reasons (see: must give light). But, when a strong statement piece is needed to add character to a room, these are some of my favorite places to look. Allied Maker My dream-date lighting studio, Allied Maker, has… Read more »
Apartment Therapy did a story on the loft I worked on to create a home for a family in TriBeCa. They are calling it a “Before & After”, though it’s more of an “Empty & Full” kind of situation.
I am excited to be working with Homepolish. I have been blessed with some amazing clients. This project was so fun to do. We started out just working to update the living and dining space, but then added 3 bathrooms in need of gut renovations. You can read the story HERE. All photographs by Lindsay Brown. XO.
When you live and work in the same space, it can be daunting to keep the mess from flowing into the calm of what you want your home to be. The trick, I hate to say, is being tidy. The game is to have a few key items that let you keep the clutter to… Read more »
Elle Decor asked interior designers (including myself) about their favorite hue of red in the “20 Best Red Paint Colors According to Interior Designers“. I was honored to be among those giving our two cents. Xo
Houzz did a story called One Chair, Fifteen homes: The Versatile Wishbone Chair and featured our two chairs in the article, which was a lovely thing to wake up to this morning. I have to say, after readying THIS STORY in the New York Times questioning the lasting appeal of mid century design, I had been feeling… Read more »
Homepolish published a story on the apartment I just completed. It’s a total honor. I have blogged about the process of the gut renovation here, and as I’ve said before, this experience was truly amazing. I love the final result, and especially love the friendships that came out of meeting my clients, Terri and David. A… Read more »
For me, there are two ways to look at a kid’s room: One is to let your fantasy freak flag fly, and give a full blown wonderworld with a bed and nightlight. The second is to create the classic bones of a well appointed room with strong pops of bright, imaginative accessories that can be… Read more »
In my profession, getting the couch right is getting the client right. A couch needs to complement the family’s needs. A couch needs to be stylish. A couch needs to fit the budget. The three traits everyone needs to consider are COST, COMFORT and STYLE. And while all three of these needs are equally important, this… Read more »
I have talked about this before (originally as the Smarter Alec Five Easy Pieces), but think the concept bears repeating. These are my five go-to/never fail ways of completing a room. Whether I am doing a high-end design job, or simply helping someone with a quick makeover fix, these five basic design tips will add warmth… Read more »
Just a little shameless self promotion here. I still sometimes moonlight as a writer, and one of my favorite places to do so is with the sexy and stylish Un-Titled Project Magazine. In the latest issue (on specialty newsstands now), I interview the actress Sarah Paulson. We talk about her growing up in New York,… Read more »
I have been finding myself wanting to insert a little disco-glam into my design as of late. I still love my rich woods and clean lines, I’m just really vibing on chrome and plush velvets and strong colors and more modern materials, particularly plastics. Kartell, the Italian company who has been designing furniture and accessories with plastics… Read more »
Below are before and after shots of some of my work. 1. This loft was a thrill to work on. The space was empty and needed to be filled with furniture that would warm up the space for a young family with two little boys. I created two sitting areas, one for family and kid… Read more »
We’ve been working away on the living and entry space on my latest job and I have to say I’m very happy with how things have turned out. Mostly, I’m happy that my clients and their family seem so excited with their updated digs. That’s really the thrill here. Watching people enjoy the space that… Read more »
Shit happens. I am always sure to remind people of this before we start working together. Things get lost in the shuffle or broken in the box. Beloved Art and objects are getting moved around and stacked (and re-stacked) in backrooms and basements. Large equipment is being lugged in and out of rooms by gruff… Read more »
When I first sat down with my clients to talk about what they dreamed their home to be, they confessed to not knowing what they like, but knowing what they don’t like. So, we started with broad strokes: Favorite (and least favorite) colors. Favorite artists and music. Which movies or shows have a design style that they love?… Read more »
My clients have lived in their apartment for 30 years, first as renters, and then owners. With their two kids off at college, they were finally ready to give their home the upgrade it desperately needed. Often, I come in, evaluate the space, and update it with a new layout, some really good furniture, and maybe a fresh coat… Read more »
Welcome to my new obsession: The AU candle collection by Andrej Urem. When I first saw Mr. Urem selling his handmade beauties on the street in SoHo, I couldn’t stop staring. I had never seen anything quite like these sensual, architectural shapes. They are just so good. Usually, if I’m going to pay for a… Read more »
Here’s another Smarter Alec yearly how-to re-post: Glittery Pinecones. I pulled down the ones I made last year (which I wrapped individually in a little tissue paper, ps) and they look just wonderful, proving my point that, with care, these really do last forever. Enjoy! When it comes to decorating for the holidays, I am… Read more »
‘Tis the season! Here’s my now yearly re-post of a great DIY classic holiday decor: Pomanders. You can also watch me talking about making holiday decorations HERE. Pomanders are my kind of holiday decoration. They are easy to make, are classic and elegant, and they fill the room with the wonderful scents of the holiday… Read more »
I talk a lot about bringing the outdoors in, but sometimes I like to bring a little indoors out. Case in point: our glittery front door wreath. I made this beauty out of glitter branches that you can get at almost any craft store. It’s super easy. I bent the branches into arcs, and then… Read more »
Peanut Butter Balls 2 sticks butter 1 box powdered sugar 1 cup peanut butter 2 cups graham cracker crumbs. Mix together until dough is smooth. Roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Melt 16 oz bitter sweet chocolate. Dip the balls into the chocolate until fully coated and… Read more »
Picasso was nothing if not prolific. The man made a lot of art. Of course, what is most notable is that it is all so good. Case in point, his vast collection of sculptures, now on exhibit at MoMA thru February 7th. The MoMA has amassed quite the collection, and as you walk the exhibit, paper… Read more »
I love a good craft. I really believe that mixing something handmade into a room that has been beautifully designed only adds to the elegance of it all. Decoupage is one of those crafts that is quite easy to do, kind of hard to mess up, and can look very expensive and chic when you’re… Read more »
Finding room for the gallon-sized cans of paint after you’ve painted a room can be a hassle. But tossing unused paint is not an option, as you do have to hold onto some of it in case there are touch ups needed down the line. And worse, often the paint has not been stored properly, so when… Read more »
I have a few things from the online store Mighty Nest, which is an amazing one-stop-shop for healthy, organic and non-toxic products for your home. Obviously, the thing I like best is that not only is everything environmentally sound, the products are also high quality and chic as hell. I am somewhat obsessed with our… Read more »
Lots of people need a humidifier. But humidifiers are pretty ugly. This wood grain humidifier from Objecto is not. I love it. The little remote control that is done up like a “Mini Me” of the main unit makes this all worth the $170 price tag. I mean, this is some elegant necessity. There’s also a little… Read more »
I adore the textiles and rugs of Madeline Weinrib. Located on the sixth floor of ABC Home (with her cotton rugs across the street), these pieces are high-end stunners, particularly the wool and silk collection. Flipping through the piles of rugs (or more specifically, having two guys do the heavy arm work of flipping the rugs for… Read more »
The budget is such an important part of decorating, yet often it’s the one thing no one wants to discuss. People can fear giving an exact number, but that number will set you free. Thinking about a realistic budget at the beginning of a project lets you know what you are getting into, And it… Read more »
Suggesting that someone paint a room white is like telling someone going to the Oscars to wear a dress. It doens’t acknowledge the multitude of options. Anyone who has ever tried to buy white paint knows that it can be more than a little overwhelming. Here are a few thoughts on how to narrow the daunting task down.
A crammed, ill-arranged bookcase is often an overlooked issue for people trying to organize and declutter their space. They don’t see that turning their shelves into a catch-all instead of arranging the books to create a calming, ordered visual is the first thing to giving their whole space the calm they are seeking. There are a few different ways to… Read more »
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. About two years ago, I wrapped our living room pipe with twine. I had always loved the look (very Ralph Lauren meets industrial design) and was excited with the results. But then winter came, and we live in a building where you… Read more »
Without a doubt, Fall is my favorite time of year. It’s the time to start bringing the outside in. Apples and gourds and branches and pine cones. For me, these are all the decorating you need for the start of the holiday season. There’s really no way you can go wrong. No arranging, just dump… Read more »
After posting the other day about how to use posters as an art alternative, it got me thinking about other ways to get art up on the walls. The travesty isn’t owning good art, the travesty is blank walls kept bare. So, here it is: Five ways for everyone to be surrounded by beauty. 1…. Read more »
I had the honor of helping a new mother transform her small but well-appointed L-shaped studio into a happy home for her and her new baby girl. One issue to tackle was clearly space. Already set up to give the apartment a bedroom, living and small dining area, I had to figure out how to incorporate a… Read more »
It’s no secret that I adore the work of designer Philippe Nigro. His furniture feels both classic and new, funny and serious, exclusive and practical. The fact that he collaborates with luxury brand Hermès, and incorporates their lush materials into the pieces doesn’t hurt either. I just came upon these three pieces from his collection called “Les Curiosités”… Read more »
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Platner collection, Knoll has created a pretty stunning gold plate collection of the iconic pieces. I can be somewhat torn when it comes to gold and brass in furnishings, but I have to say these pieces are made for it. Really stunning. They really would up your glam… Read more »
When I look at tile, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I love all the options. I love how things go together. I love the shapes and color. So, welcome to one of my favorite “candy stores”: Clé.
I just completed a space in Brooklyn and I love the final results! This was a dream job: A large empty space with a great client who trusted me to take the lead and create a home for him that completely answered his needs. What resulted was a beautiful, clean-lined space with a strong leaning towards iconic collectible pieces,… Read more »
So, here’s the last episode from the first batch of Eyesore! With Rachel Dratch & Alec Holland. It was so cold out! I will say that this dilemma of nothing on the walls is a huge one with home design. People tend to be afraid to put things up for fear it will be “wrong”…. Read more »
Hey everyone! Here’s the next episode of Eyesore! With Rachel Dratch & Alec Holland. This time we help turn around an office, somewhat literally. Why have a desk facing a wall when you can be faced to look out a beautiful window all day? Go to People.com to watch, or just click the link below. Enjoy! XO…. Read more »
I don’t know what it is about these boiled wool “boulders” from Ronel Jordaan, but man, do I love them! Think beanbag chair, only firm. I had seen them recently at Clic Gallery and fell in love, so I was excited to meet the designer at the ICFF show yesterday. Ms. Jordaan had a huge boulder displayed (about 4 foot… Read more »
I went to the annual ICFF show at The Javits Center, and while it felt for the most part very similar to last year’s show, I did see a few things that I will be coveting and trying to get into people’s homes. Lighting always seems to steal the show for me, and this year, the… Read more »
Happy Monday. Here’s another episode of Eyesore! This time, the issue at hand is a great outdoor space that’s being used like a big junk drawer. Love how simple and yet major this makeover is. Go to People.com or just click below. Enjoy. Xo. EYESORE! EPISODE #3
Hey everyone! Here’s another episode of Eyesore! With the fabulous Rachel Dratch. This time we help a couple with oversized furniture that doesn’t fit their otherwise great space. Go to People.com or just click below. Enjoy. Xo. EYESORE! EPISODE #2
Here’s the first episode of Eyesore(!) where Rachel Dratch and I go around and help people fix their decor eyesores. Go to People.com or just click on the link below and enjoy! EYESORE! ON PEOPLE.COM
Look everyone! It’s a new episode of Gun! To! Head!, the game where I flip through a catalog and choose the one thing I’d pick, gun to head, before throwing said catalog into the landfill. This episode is brought to you by the wonderful Rejuvenation lighting and homewares Catalog. Click the “read more” button to watch… Read more »
Had a great time in North Carolina last weekend checking out the incredible and overwhelming High Point Market. We made the smart decision to just go without much agenda and take in as much as we could before going mad. I am sure I saw barely a tenth of what was there, but I saw… Read more »
I am excited how things are coming together in the apartment I am working on. The Mantis Wall Lamp just went up (I’ve written about it HERE), and so far, it is giving me the most joy. It was a luxurious purchase, for sure, but it makes such a strong statement, and viewed against the backdrop… Read more »
It was the fabulous Yayoi Kusama’s Birthday yesterday, so I thought I’d pull up this post I wrote after seeing her show at the Whitney. It was spectacular. She is spectacular. Happy Birthday, Ms. Kusama. Xo. (From July, 2012): I went to the Whitney yesterday and was blown away by the exhibition of artist Yayoi Kusama. A… Read more »
I would love to have Smarter Alec be more of a dialog around all things decor. I look forward to any and all comments. Like a post? Hate something I’ve written about? Want to ask a question? Comment away! Xo.
There’s really nothing bad to say about these mid century turn-legged planters from West Elm. I mean, they are obviously a design rip-off of the case study planters, and the funny part is, they are basically the same price. That said, I do think they’re pretty sweet. And there’s one in red, so there’s that…. Read more »
Sometimes it’s the little things that get me going. Case in point: These stunning metallic fringe placemats from Chilewich ($20). In person they look like spun metal, and the fact that they are translucent enough to allow whatever surface they’re on to shine through adds to their sexy mystique. Can a placemat be sexy? Yes…. Read more »
Talk about an artist rockstar! The lines at MoMA were a little long for Björk , so instead I saw Jean Dubuffet: Soul Of The Underground. I am so glad I did. His work, mostly from the 1040s to 60s, is so modern and so strong. It is shocking to me that some of the… Read more »
I’m working on some new projects that are keeping me from writing as much as I’d like to. In the meantime, I’ve been looking at beautiful things, helping people find beautiful things, and compiling lists of beautiful things to write about as soon as I am able. But, doing all of this looking, helping and… Read more »
I love the Ro chair and ottoman by Jaime Hayon for Republic of Fritz Hansen. I love how elegant the lines are. I love how it nods to its mid century precursors, like Wegner’s Papa Bear. I love how comfortable it is. I just love it. The company suggests using two different toned fabrics, which… Read more »
The 100 inch long Hunter couch from Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams was just perfect for my clients. Sleek and modern and totally comfortable. To add extra style, I purchased 17 yards of the most delicious (and expensive) fabric to customize the couch to perfection. This was going to be one killer showpiece. Then we… Read more »
I love a plug-in sconce that doesn’t need to be hardwired. I love a lamp that moves around to put light where you need it. I love a sexy fixture. The Mantis BS2 Wall lamp, designed in 1951 by Bernard Schottlander as an homage to his idol Alexander Calder, does all of the above. You… Read more »
File this under “genius on so many levels”. B&B Italia has created a kid’s version of the iconic Up Series “Ball And Chain” chair, called UPJ (the “J” is for Junior).
I am surprised with how into these seamless couches with flowing lines I am (sorry for the bad sentence structure, but I get excited). I am beyond obsessed with one in particular. It’s so much more $$ though. Can you tell which is which? Answer after the jump.
I have always loved glossy magazines. Be it shelter or fashion, there is nothing like flipping through the pages of a great magazine. And, as publishing houses are closing up shop all around, it’s nice to see a gorgeous hard copy hit the stand. Un-Titled Project is a sexy, uber-creative fashion quarterly that I just… Read more »
I love a happy accident, which is what happened yesterday as I randomly chose a new side street for my stroll home. It was getting dark, but the huge glowing window front of the new Homenature pulled me in like it was Oz. At first glance, the store, which opened on 18th street two weeks… Read more »
Look guys! It’s a new episode of Gun! To! Head! (video edition!), the game where I flip through a catalog and pick the one thing I’d buy (gun to head) before throwing said catalog into the landfill. Enjoy. Xo.
Ask almost any design fanatic and they’ll tell you that framed posters as art is for teenagers with rockstar crushes and Just Hang In There sentiments. But in lieu of not having actual art to put up, adults tend to just leave the walls bare. This kills me. There has to be a happy medium,… Read more »
I love an outdoor sculpture garden more than almost anything. Visiting Storm King is like a spiritual re-awaking for me. So, imagine my surprise when I was hanging with my bestie upstate and she told me about another walking wonder: The Fields Sculpture Park At Omi International Arts Center.
William Morris was a textile-designing genius. Well, he was a lot more than that, but lets focus on his beautiful wallpaper images (available here in NYC at Zoffany). These prints (dating back from the 1800s) are as chic and modern today as ever. I can’t even, with how much I love them. Click through to… Read more »
Well, I have many feelings about Jeff Koons, but I have to say that walking by his flowering “Split-Rocker” in Rockefeller Center the other night took my breath away. Koons is having a massive retrospective at the Whitney, their grand farewell before reopening in 2015 in their new digs downtown, and his huge flowering pony… Read more »
Hygge & West have some really lovely wallpapers, but it’s the removable wallpaper tiles that I am really interested in. I love the patterns and I like the idea that they come in squares instead of rolls… it just sounds more doable and user friendly. They range in price (from around $28-$33) and size (around… Read more »
As seen at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). If God is in the details, than Font Barcelona is the church for lighting accessories. The toggle switches and button dimmers of the company’s 5.1 collection are so chic and clean, yet give a look that suggests original and classic. The back plates come in a wide… Read more »
As seen at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). I like these little stools from Two Six, a design store based out of Portugal. The bases are manually crafted, and the rosette pad seat cushion is made from burel, which is a Portuguese fabric that is basically felted wool. PS. I love felted wool very much…. Read more »
As seen at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). I am so into these leather tiles from the Dutch company Alphenberg. Their leather is beautiful, comes in a variety of colors and textures, and can be used to tile a wall or a floor. Really, is there anything more glamorous? But also, the tiles are sustainable… Read more »
As seen at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). This is SO my kind of funny… so English in its humor (humour?) it kills me. From Studio Jon Male in Manchester, The iconic shape of animal hide done in the iconic patterns of an oriental rug ($1,500). Good, right? Xo.
As seen at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). Standing in the booth of English company Turnstyle Designs and seeing all of their hand-sewn leather knobs and handles is my version of a kid in a candy store. How I didn’t throw myself to the ground in a fit when I realized I’d never be able… Read more »
As seen at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). It’s no secret that I love a vinyl floor mat. I am mad for Chilewich. Well, there’s a new kid in town and its name is 2Tec2. Based out of Belgium, this matting is so great looking. Lots of patterns and colors, the best thing is that… Read more »
I know this has been making the rounds on the interwebs, but it sure is amazing. In 1692, Dutch artist A. Boogert (which sounds like a fake name you give your substitute teacher to hear her say “A booger”? over and over while taking attendance) wrote a book about mixing watercolors, which he then lays… Read more »
I really love this Vig Barstool from BoConcept ($199). Love the wood and love the lacquered white or black seat option. Super. Xo.
The Tripod Desk Lamp from OneFortyThree echoes Gretta Grossman’s iconic “grasshopper” floor lamp, which I think is just super. Each lamp is made to order, comes with a cloth cord and is available in a few color choices. Yes. Xo.
I was snooping around the MoMA shop the other day, killing time while I waited for the President’s motorcade to pass (which kept me captive on 53rd street for a half hour…) when I saw the Vertigo Pendant Lamp from Constance Guisset. It is really gasp-worthy.
Well, I have to say, I am really pleased with how the kitchen turned out. Although it is begging for a Saarinen table in the nook in front of that window, I think that the space is pretty good to go. And speaking of the window, again: That view! Replacing the old window with the… Read more »
It should be made clear that, while I am showing all the things I picked for this renovation, I had nothing to do with installing or building or tiling or wiring or painting a single thing. The contractor and his amazing team made everything look perfect and complete. Part of the trick for me was… Read more »
It should be made clear that, while I am showing all the things I picked for this renovation, I had nothing to do with installing or building or tiling or wiring or painting a single thing. The contractor and his amazing team made everything look perfect and complete. I have to say that I really… Read more »
I work in a business where everyone is afraid to say they are wrong. It has a lot to do with egos, but also there is often so much money involved that inevitable mistakes seem unacceptable. People pass around blame like they’re playing a game of Hot Potato. I get it, however, if the responsibility… Read more »
I have been wanting some sort of cushion for our Wishbone Chairs for a long time. The chairs, which are older than I am, are showing their age, especially in the woven seats (it has proven next to impossible to find someone who can restring with the original paper twine). Also, if I am honest… Read more »
A good trash can is one of those things that can be surprisingly expensive. But just how much is too much? Which is the super cheap one, the average-but-still-pricy one, and the one that must be lined with diamonds? Answer after the jump. Xo. 1. (L)The Perigot. around $500 and up. 2. (C) Simple… Read more »
Well, this is something new and exciting! It’s Smarter Alec’s very first guest post from Mari at Arcadian Home. Lot’s of great pics and ideas. Enjoy! Xo. Hi, everyone! It’s Mari here, from Arcadian Home blog, a great place to find home decor inspiration for everything from beautiful flush ceiling lights for the kitchen to… Read more »
The Serie UP 2000 pieces, designed by Gaetano Pesce for B & B Italia first appeared in 1969. This is the Up5 chair and ottoman, and if you ask me, it should only come in this stripe. I mean, this is ridiculous and amazing at the same time. From the designer: The ottoman ball is tethered… Read more »
I know I suffer from hyperbole, but I was given a belated holiday gift last night from my dear friend and it really is the coolest gift I’ve ever received: A Lumio Book Light. Every step of receiving the gift was like walking the rooms of Sleep No More.
I find a scented candle to be an integral part of home decor. Interior design should alight all of your senses, and for me, walking into a room that has a subtle and pleasing scent is like the (tuscan sage) icing on the cake. Now, smells can be subjective, but I find that staying away… Read more »
Elizabeth Lyons of Lyons Glass is a remarkable artist. She’s a sculptor and she also works in glass (she is founder and director of More Fire Glass Studio up in Rochester). She makes free-form glass flowers that adorn light fixtures, and other object d’art that are all sensual in form and lovely to the eye…. Read more »
Here’s a post I wrote for the fabulous LA store Modernica. It’s about the great Danish artist and designer Bjorn Wiinblad. His work filled my home growing up and is fully represented in my home now. He really plays a huge role in my design aesthetic. You can read the full post HERE. Xo.
Things get dropped, or knocked or bumped all the time. Sometimes they crack, or smash or break. When it’s something you love, it’s tragic. But, when it’s not easily repaired, I am NOT a fan of gluing it back together and then keeping what is essentially damaged goods just for the sake of sentimentality. I… Read more »
This has nothing to do with decor, but here’s a fun, if not sassy piece we wrote on artist Richie Culver for Un-Titled Project Magazine. The magazine is a big, sexy, sometimes NSFW glossy, so go out and buy it! This issue was all about sex, hence the rather risque questions. Enjoy!
I find myself talking a lot with people about clutter and honoring one’s history. People often keep inherited items from loved ones, simply because they feel too guilty to throw the items away. Worse yet, they are often shoved in the back of a closet or forgotten in a box in the basement.You don’t honor… Read more »
Every time I go to the Met, I get a little thrill before heading inside by looking up at the building directly across the street. The building at 1001 Fifth Avenue, built by famed architect Philip Johnson’s firm in the 70s, has an odd and often criticized facade that not only stretches beyond the building’s… Read more »
I Make an inspiration-or mood-board when I feel I’m in a design rut. There is something Zen about flipping thru magazines, and cutting out the images that catch your eye. There is also great satisfaction in then tossing the magazines to make room for the new ones. A mood board lets you hone your taste. It… Read more »
I first experienced Room Service when I lived in LA and would run off to Palm Springs for a little weekend fun. While the crazy pop style was a bit extreme for me at first, once in the land where Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack went to chill, the furniture took on new meaning. Glossy… Read more »