Behind the Project: Adjacent Living and Dining Rooms

DSC_0138As an interior designer based in North Jersey, I design my fair share of center hall colonials. You walk into the foyer and there is a living room to one side and a dining room to the other. For a change of pace, last week I completed a project that features an adjacent living room and dining room layout in Upper Montclair. I was also just hired to design a house with a similar layout in Chatham that I’m very excited to begin work on. It’s a great challenge to pull together two rooms that are distinct, but very open to one another.

DSC_0160When you walk into this Montclair interior you have the living room as the first room to draw the eye in from the foyer. The eye-catching carpet is reminiscent of camouflage and pebbles. The small sectional invites guests to relax right away.

DSC_0166DSC_0208We added plenty of lighting since this room will get a lot of nighttime use, and a lot of cozy pillows and warm accents to keep things a little on the casual side since this house is home to three children under the age of five!


Once you take a few steps into the living room, the dining room beckons. The two rooms work together but also declare their own identity as separate spaces. One of my favorite things are the two sets of roman shades in different fabrics, but matching in color.

dining room The presence of a rustic fireplace in the dining area brings so much character. The easy flow, and the casual, yet well-dressed, decor of these two spaces together make such a fine place to spend an evening among friends. All in time for the holiday season!

DSC_0262All photos by Uma Stewart.


Love to Pieces: What to Wear to Thanksgiving Dinner?

thanksgiving dressed up

Dressed Up: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that seems to get the short shrift wardrobe-wise. Many of us are with our nearest and dearest and so we choose our homiest and perhaps homeliest attire. The focus is on the great food and the simple pleasure of being together–as it should be. This year, though, this fabulous digital print floral skirt from Max Mara has me inspired to up the ante. Should I wear it a bit dressed up like above?

thanksgiving dressed downDressed Down: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Or dressed down, like here? This mix of something special but still super comfy is probably going to be the direction I lean this year, since I am hosting and want to be quick on my feet and unfussy. I’ll let you know how I actually wear the skirt for Turkey Day. How about you? What do you wear for Thanksgiving dinner?

Entertaining: Thanksgiving Tablescape


I hope all of you had a wonderful week! On our end everyone here caught a bug, including our assistant designer Lauren right before she left for vacation. The kids were off from school most of this week too, which always makes things crazy. Anyhow, we are ready for the weekend! But not before I share the table setting I am working on for Thanksgiving this year.

DSC_0167As I mentioned in my last post, this lovely little setting was inspired by the November Sky images I have been collecting. When you are outside this weekend, take a look at the sky and the flash of yellow leaves, darker bark, and faded leaf colors.


The dishes I used here are ones I purchased at an estate sale hosted by the former owners of our new house. I mixed and matched two of the sets for the perfect warm on cool effect. I’ll be tweaking this table design a little between now and Thanksgiving, including working on some place cards and finding some new glassware to go with it. But even in its rough state I think it is pretty. What do you think?!

Photos and styling by Uma Stewart.

This Week: November Sky

november skyNow that Halloween is over and November is officially well underway, I’ve turned my thoughts to Thanksgiving. I’m hosting this year (OMG). I am trying to stay calm about it, but really I am freaking out because we’ve only been in the new house for about three months and things are far from done or even unpacked…

Here’s the trick though. Hosting events is about offering people an experience. This year I want to capture the freshness of fall air juxtaposed with the warmth of the familiar. Our Thanksgiving will be the same crowd as always, but in a new place. New traditions with old friends. The images above perfectly capture what I am after. Later this week I will share with you a “test table” for my Thanksgiving table setting that carries out this theme. Can’t wait for you to see it! Any thoughts yet on your own Thanksgiving feasts? Do share!

Image Links: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Postscript: Designer’s Halloween

white ghost halloween

Hi all! Hope you had a fabulous Halloween! I wasn’t getting into the spirit much, but at the last moment I decided to decorate the stoop with some spookiness. My son REALLY wanted some decorations. I dug up some random things from the basement and made some ghostly ladies. Lauren, our assistant designer said, “Very Edgar Allen Poe” of this one above.

orange ghostI kept having Miss Havisham in mind when I pulled together this one together. Maybe next year I’ll put her in a wedding veil.

ladies on the stoop

My son helped me put spiders all over the whole thing. Together this pair greeted trick-or-treaters at our door. Hope you had a good one too!