Designing the Life: A Blog by Uma Stewart and Friends

Style Guide: Summer Work Wear

summer work wardrobeThe trend in summer work wear this year could not be easier. It’s all about minimalism. Shorts, cropped pants, and skirts of all styles get dressed up when rendered in navy or black. Lightweight button-down shirts are worn on their own, sleeves rolled up. They will, of course transition beautifully to fall and winter as layers. I always prefer a band collar to a pointed one because I think they look better with statement necklaces. What do you prefer?

If you already have these staples, update the look with new accessories: cat-eye sunglasses, rocker chic jewelry, and slouchy black handbags are new for now and will still be the rage for fall. Shop the look below!

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Renovation Mini-Guide: Four Kitchen Faucets

four kitchen faucets

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It’s summer, which for me and my team always means renovation season. In the past one year we have worked on 7 different kitchen renovations and most of them were summer projects. This month we thought we’d offer a few mini-guides for renovation style, starting with the kitchen faucet. The question of the kitchen faucet is always a serious one. Here’s what we have our eyes on right now.

brass faucet

The brass faucet has built up some serious street cred over the last year or two, where gold finishes have made a major comeback in every area of interiors. Really we think they look luxe and fabulous in any space, but are particularly fond of how they brighten up cool color palettes. This one here is from Delta. We have been loving this company for their perfect Champagne Gold finish and accessible price points.

black faucetI am currently enamored with black kitchen faucets. They look so lovely with wood tones and in rustic inspired spaces, where they really stand out and add elegance to other-wise rough-hewn looks. The matte black finish from Newport Brass is beautiful. It is different from hand-rubbed bronze, which has more polish and brown undertone to them, so be sure to look for real black finishes.

white kitchen faucet

White faucets can go in many spaces, but this faucet in particular works for an eclectic kitchen. The style is antique and contemporary feeling all at once. The white finish reminds me of porcelain hot and cld indicators on retro faucets. But with the white applied to the entire faucet, it will pop against a dark wall too. This single-hole faucet is also from Newport Brass, which specializes in quality faucets in custom finishes.

chrome faucetA chrome faucet is always classic and the finish of choice for most people. I advocate mixing it up for a designer look, but in some cases chrome is a must. Sleek modern kitchens will always have their place, and a shiny faucet with stellar lines is the perfect compliment. The Danze Parma is a classic choice and I think it is very beautiful.

Are you renovating? Do you have a favorite kitchen faucet? Tell us about it!

Summer Chic: 12 Beach Style Tips to Keep You “Cool”

Summer is here! I am already dreaming of beach time and the easy style that goes along with it. Here are a few beach style tips for keeping you “cool.”

1. Try an off the shoulder top for off-handed beach style when you want to cover up. I love this option here, and you can’t beat the price!

2. Pre-style your hair with beachy waves if you just want to take a walk, sunbathe, or ponder like the lovely brooding chick in this pic. Try Apres Beach by Oribe.

e67911beae5e9eeb20ab2d4f78a118de3. Don a pair of wide leg summery pants with a wide cut tank for evenings eating at your favorite beach side restaurant. This is a classic summer silhouette that is a longtime favorite of mine. Perfect pant options are here and here.

4. Flat “sightseer” sandals will save the day by looking great with everything.


5. Sarong it! Wear a large scarf as a beach cover up. Fold in half crosswise to get the shorter look. Love this one here.

6. Cat-eye sunglasses are uber-cool. Here’s the pair I’m going to be picking up.

38a35ce289e2d0ef18e4586def4f3d3d7. A knotted tee is a classic. Anything you already have in your closet could do.

8. Keep a stack of books on hand. They are always the best “accessory.”


7. I got a rash guard for surf lessons I did earlier this year. I love the look for off-the-surfboard time too. If you can pull off the crop top, go for it. If you want a longer version try this one.

8. I’m totally all about the coverage of the brief style bottoms. They make for a beautiful silhouette on the beach.

9. If there is one new piece you must add to your summer wardrobe this year it is a straw fedora. No question.

striped top beach10. Stripes are everywhere this summer and they always look especially fresh with floral patterns. Mix your look up with a floral one-piece.

04a398536dfe8f888a103c3e4ce82dffA couple more ways to get some stripes into your beach style:

11. A classic cover up.

12. A classic beach tote. You will use these for as many years as they hold up and then still want to replace them afterwards.

Hope these beach style tips inspire some good investments for summer “cool.”

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House Tour: Frank Roop’s Boston Duplex


I’ve never posted houses in entirety here on the blog until this post. It occurred to me then, that there are images of houses out there that really stick to me and inform my own work and style. I find myself thinking about them and remembering them. Over the years, this duplex by Frank Roop has been one of them. Every time I layer blues and greens I think of the richness and interest in this house. I still crave this color palette and marvel at the artistry employed to bring this space to life. Enjoy!

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