Everyone loves a good makeover. Whether it’s an interior or a landscape transformation, before & after pictures offer the instant gratification of good design without the inevitable troubles of home improvement. It takes many trades to realize a designer’s vision for a space, it takes time and patience to create a beautiful home. Before and after pictures cut trough all of that. Over the years, I have collected quite a few transformation stories and it’s time to share some of them with you. Who knows? Maybe they’ll inspire your next home improvement project!

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Happy Monday!

Congrats to the Philadelphia Eagles for last night’s victory. I am more of a soccer gal but after four years of living in the States, I picked up a thing or two about American sports. I still don’t know much about football and last night was my first Super Bowl ever so I can’t comment on the technicalities (not that I would even if I could), but I really love to see the underdogs win. At anything. Those situations make for the best of stories, don’t you think?

Anyway, for today’s post I thought of a comfortable room many of us have fancied for ages. It is a breakfast nook in Sag Harbor, NY, designed by Steven Gambrel in his signature Early American style that he so often resorts to in designing his country projects. Everything about this room speaks to my heart: the light, the blue-green-grays, the wrap-around water views and the incredible connection to the outdoors. Through architectural details like transoms and multi-paned windows, wide pine plank flooring, Dutch doors and vertical panelling, Gambrel evokes the spirit of an old American farmhouse, in a clean, modern way.

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Steven Gambrel 

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“Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style. “

Billy Baldwin

The first gentleman of American décor, Billy Baldwin is a legend in the interior design world. His work was inspired by French furniture maker Jean-Michel Frank and fellow American decorator Frances Elkins (she designed the now infamous loop chair for one of her clients and started a trend that endures to this day). Moving from his hometown of Baltimore to New York proved to be the best career decision possible. Within a couple of years, his clientele included most of New York’s social elite. Taste-makers like Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Nan Kempner, Babe Paley, Diana Vreeland and Bunny Mellon relied on Baldwin’s discerning, clean eye for décor.

His love of clear hues was inspired by French painter Henri Matisse and was a departure from “Victorian color prejudices”, as Baldwin often used to say. Another Matisse inspired touch was the design of a black-and-white fabric for one of his clients, matching a Matisse painting above the sofa (pictured bellow).

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Billy Baldwin

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If you’ve been keeping an eye on spring fashions, you might recognize one collection that is not only utterly feminine and pretty, but immediately transports to warmer days spent on exotic islands. The American fashion label Badgley Mishka released its Spring 2018 ready-to-wear collection and I love and want every piece of it! Inspired by the Italian island of Capri, the collection covers the needs of every girl spending a luxurious day on the island. Fun daytime dresses, bathing suits and cocktail wear to fabulous ball gowns, they’ve got you covered. The vibrant colors and floral prints were inspired by Capri’s landscape – abundant in fragrant gardenias, bougainvillea and fields of poppies… What a wonderful summer dream!

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I don’t know about you, but I adore my grandmother! The woman is a saint, a force of nature and she practically raised me.

My grandfather passed away the day before I was born and I never got the chance to meet him. Just like that, with no warning, my grandmother was a widow at 47. All alone, she somehow found the strength and the grace to start again. She created her own business, she built her dream home from the ground up, and still managed to be there for me and my mom, always. Every step of the way. Always kind, always funny. She never remarried.

I remember how I couldn’t wait for school to be over so I can spend the summer at her house. I think so much of what I love about interiors today was shaped by those early years we spent together. She specialized in the restoration of 18th and 19th century antiques and through her work, I got to see some of the most beautiful estates in our county (to this day, my heart skips a beat at the sight of a Biedermeier). Her work ethic, determination and good cheer through it all have been a blessing to our family and I have always strived to live up to her example.

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Sarah Richardson 

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