Seeing Beyond the Looking Glass

Window Sink 1Good morning Lacquered Lifers! Hope everyone had a good weekend, and I hope everyone enjoyed last week’s interview with Bunny Williams. If not, you can check it out here. Today I thought I would share one of my favorite designs that I recommend to clients all the time, and one that I will most certainly be using at New Street … the bathroom pedestal sink in front of a window.  Understanding that this is an option in bathroom design can be very handy, especially when renovating an historic home where spaces are never ideal. Window Sink 2I think often when people are designing a bathroom they avoid putting a sink in front of a window because they worry about the location of a mirror. However, as you can see from these photos – there are several ways to solve that problem. In the first photo, at Christopher Spitzmiller’s Clove Brook Farm, Spitzmiller mounted a small mirror to the frame of the window. This allows the guest to experience the beautiful view and be able to apply makeup. In the photo above, the mirror has been mounted in front of the window, without completely blocking the window, so one still gets all the benefits of the natural light. IMG_6684In this photo I took at an 18th century house here in Charleston, you can see that this homeowner took their paneled plantation shutter and placed mirrors in the inset panels. What I love about this is that you can have the mirror when you need it, and then you can open the shutters and look out into the garden when you don’t. 
Window SinkFinally, in this Caribbean bathroom, these windows aren’t even paned, they’re louvered, so the simple mirrors are mounted directly to the casing of the louvered shutters, which allows the louvers to still operate despite the mirror mounting.

So next time you’re renovating a bathroom, don’t look past the window as an opportunity for sink placement … and frankly, I much prefer a sink in front of a window than a toilet, don’t you?

photos via Architectural Digest, Veranda, Lacquered Life, and Elle Decor. 

Bunny Williams Drops In

“Southern Hospitality” is a phrase that is familiar to you whether you are from the south, live in the south, or love visiting the south. The welcoming nature of the southern hostess has for hundreds of years been an  elemental part of Southern culture, and I was lucky enough to speak with famed decorator and Virginia native Bunny Williams on the subject. As the designer for the 2015 Southern Living Idea House, Ms. Williams knows how to put together a welcoming space, and she and I talked about what “southern hospitality” actually means, and how to be ready when people decide to drop in unannounced. Hint: it includes a really well stocked bar. For more on my interview with Bunny, you can stop by The Daily South hereIMG_9686This chat with Ms. Williams couldn’t be more timely. For the first time, I have been experiencing, with some frequency, the southern tradition of dropping in. Mr. B and I just moved from Church Street to New Street – a whole six blocks – and new neighbors and friends have been dropping by with bottles of wine, flowers, and food. And let’s be honest, everybody wants a peek at the new digs. With some help from Bunny, I am now completely prepared for all the people who have been dropping by of late. Her tips, which include Virginia peanuts, cheese sticks/straws, and a well stocked bar have all been put into effect here at New Street … so come on by! IMG_9685cocktail napkins//julep cups//cutting board//rattan tray//glassware//fun straws

Below are a few more questions from my conversation with Bunny. To catch the rest of my interview, head on over to The Daily South.

1. When you set up your bar, what alcohol do you always want to include? What alcohol do you never want to run out of? 

Stock your bar with bourbon, gin, rum, scotch, vermouth, and vodka. Try to find mini bottles of sodas and tonic.

2. Do you have a drink of choice or favorite cocktail? And what cocktails do you see as distinctly southern? 

I’m partial to Jack Daniels on the rocks. Other distinctly southern cocktails are milk punch mint juleps and the perfect glass of sweet tea.

3. You mentioned an easy hors d’oeuvres made with green olives and cheese (sounds delicious). What are some of your other favorite hors d’oeuvres? 

Those are a favorite of mine, and so easy to prepare. Other great passed hors d’oeuvres include shrimp cocktail, small biscuits with ham, crackers with a little bit of pepper jelly and cream cheese, cheese straws (made in advance and kept in the refrigerator), and cans of the best Virginia roasted, salted peanuts.IMG_9884

4. As a hostess, do you expect people to bring something when they come over? If so, what do you see as a great hostess gift? 

A hostess gift is always a good idea – but don’t overthink it. The best gifts are the most practical, like a box of candles, white linen napkins, cut flowers, or a box of homemade cookies.

5. How should a southern hostess graciously deal with guests or drop-ins who have overstayed their welcome? 

A southern hostess is always prepared for drop-ins. When you’re baking lasagna, make two and store the extra in the freezer. And always have a box of Duncan Hines brownie mix that you can quickly prepare. However, be honest with your guests and politely let them know when they should leave.

6. As a southerner who has spent most of her life living in the north, what are the things you miss most about the southern way of life? 

I love the vibrancy of New York City, but miss the manners in the south. In the south, everyone seems more polite. Everyone is a bit more personal with each other.

Thank you Bunny!

Someone’s In the Kitchen with Martha

Skylands 4Good Morning Lacquered lifers! Just an inspiration shot from me today, Martha Stewart’s kitchen at Skylands. Located in Maine, this home was completed for the Edsel Ford family in 1925, and the family occupied the house until 1980. When Martha purchased the home in 1997, it came complete with furniture, linens, and china. And look at all that china! And the sinks. And the walls. And the floors. For someone who appreciates historic architecture like Martha Stewart does, this home is something special … it’s her favorite.

For more photos and the full article about Martha’s Skylands Estate, visit

A New Beginning, at The End

Montauk 6

Good Morning Lacquered Lifers. The End. No not “The End” of this post, but rather a post about The End. Montauk, Long Island that is. Designed by the famed NYC-based interiors firm Roman & Williams, this house is very special – and yet didn’t start out that way. Built in the 1950s, with an unimpressive 1980s addition, the duo was able to completely change the look and feel of the house without doing a huge renovation. The simple addition of wood windows and doors, and removal of drywall has reinvigorated what was an otherwise dull house. The result? A house that wholeheartedly reflects the bohemian “surf’s up” attitude that made Montauk the destination that it is today. Well done Roman & Williams. No big surprise coming from the design duo behind NYC hotspots The Dutch, Lafayette, and the Highline Hotel. The End. Montauk 5Montauk 4Montauk 3Montauk 2Montauk 1
Photos via Roman & Williams 

Let’s Get Back into Bed

ZH9Good Morning Lacquered Lifers! Happy Monday. In honor of Monday morning and my desire to just get back into bed, I thought I would share one of my new obsessions … the bedding from Zara Home. I have always been a huge fan of an all white bed. There is just something about crisp, clean, white sheets that screams the epitome of cozy to me. Lately, after a gift of a beautiful set of antique sheets from my mother, I have been intrigued by the look of heirloom white sheets. Maybe embroidered, maybe crocheted, maybe lace, maybe eyelet … but always all white. So it was much to my delight when I stumbled upon the sheets at Zara Home and found a plethora of beautiful embroidered white sheets. Wish I had a few more bedrooms … ZH8 ZH7 ZH6 ZH4 ZH3Images via Zara Home