27 March, 2018

"How To Make an Entrance . . . "


I've always felt that first impression are so profoundly important - and thus always focus our attention on the entryway of a home to create the best impression for the house. The entries to our homes act (and not just metaphorically) as the portal between us and the big bad world waiting just outside our door.  Thus, I find it incredibly important to create something very specific when I'm designing for any one of my clients - or even for myself.  Here are a few things always on my mental checklist as we begin work on a new project . . .   

The Lighting. 
I like using either a pendant fixture or table lamps (and often both!) in the space.  Dimmers are also always vital.  Here in our project in East Hampton, we went for big scale and big drama with this enormous fixture - bringing the eye upwards into the amazing space. 

The Surface. 
I think every entryway requires a simple flat surface as part of the design.  It's just the mechanics of needing a place to drop the incoming mail, your sunglasses, and maybe even your car keys. Here in our Berkeley project, an antique Scottish dresser is the perfect place to drop off as one enters the house. 

The Mirror.
Once you've passed through the entryway, you are out there in the big world. I think it's smart to have one last opportunity to make sure everything is in order, so I always have a mirror right neat the door.  Here in this Pacific Heights project - we went a bit wild and mirrored an entire wall.  

The Seating.  
Depending on the available space, I love placing a small chair or ottoman as part of the entryway's furnishings.  It's just the perfect place to slip shoes on or off - or drop off a shopping bag just inside the door.

The Jewel-Box.
These lovely spaces are the first thing we see upon entering our homes - and the last moment we have before going out into the world.  Let's make them exciting.  Use great wallpaper.  Use beautiful furniture.  Be sure they're functional - and then make them amazing.  And always leave a wee spot for some flowers.  A little container of blossoms always makes the day better.


18 March, 2018

"Sunday Runway - Instagraming . . . "


If you're anything like me - you spend a goodly part of your day surfing the glorious world of Instagram.  So much of the design and fashion worlds are driven by amazing imagery - it's the perfect mix of inspiration and social connection.

So - for a fun Sunday Runway - I thought I'd share a few of my favourite men's fashion instagramers - and encourage you to follow along . . . 

Easily the most charming and eccentric fellow in the bunch.
Zack focuses on period fashion - and rambles all about
England in his perfectly period garb.
Beautiful imagery from a great New York store.
They feature new products and amazing inspirations from
all over the city.

The perfect intersection of classic 'Ivy Style' and nostalgic
New York memories.  It's all about the duffle coat and the
best seats at the tennis match with Bjorn Borg.

I highlighted Sean a few weeks back - but he always deserves
another mention.  His amazing vintage shop in Brooklyn
is endless visual fodder for his insta-feed - and a great
way of shopping his store.

I've known Michael since our days together at Ralph Lauren -
and practically no one was more excited to see his
amazing rise as one of the US's best menswear designers.
This is a perfect sneak peek at upcoming designs - and great
New York life. 

If for some reason you haven't already - give me a follow as
well!  It's a mix of inspirations, design projects, and random 
pictures from my house (#ScenesFromAHouse) most days.
And my shoes.  

Who are some of your favourite Instagram accounts?  Please
leave me a few new ideas in the comments - I always need to
find some new inspirations . . . 

Happy following -

07 March, 2018

"Making Your Mark . . . "


In a world overcrowded with mass-produced merchandise, it's always nice to have a sense of ownership.  A sense of individuality. To be certain that one has 'made ones mark' on the world.  As a Southerner, monogramming has always been the answer when proof of ownership is needed.  The world of monogramming can get a wee bit complicated at times - so here's a wee collection of guidelines to follow . . .

Monogramming for a Lady

"Classic white bathroom towels take on a whole new importance with a wee bit of monogramming.  
This classic black and white master bathroom needed a 
little panache - and custom towels were the perfect answer."
                                                    - Scot Meacham Wood

Monogramming for Gentleman


Personally, I almost always use a 'diamond' monogram for myself.

Monogramming for a Couple

There are always exception to every rule - like creating a monogram for a couple with differing last names.  In our own home, Leontine Linens created this for our bedroom.  Always ask your monogramming shop if they can make something personalized for you.  Customizing the customization is the ultimate in making your mark!

Even the little things can be monogrammed.  La Plates created this custom barware for our showcase house several years ago. 

We love a good monogram around these parts.  SMWHome customizes all manner of items for your home.  Contact as to find out more!


04 March, 2018

"Sunday Runway - Crowley Vintage . . . "


Anyone who knows or understands my love of history and fashion will clearly see the endless delight that I find in Sean Crowley's amazing vintage store in Brooklyn, New York.  Crowley Vintage opened just recently - and has been an unending inspiration to my wardrobe and Instagram feed

The best advice I can give you is to follow him on Instagram - as he is always posting new product and treasures from the shop.  Amazing British militaria.  Tweedy English suitings. And a glorious collection of vintage neckwear.  He's also a perfect gentleman too.  

If you're in the area - check him out in person at:Crowley Vintage
546 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Happy Hunting,

18 February, 2018

"Sunday Runway - Ralph Lauren, Spring 2018 . . . "


Things were certainly bright and beautiful at the Ralph Lauren Spring/Summer 2018 RTW runway show last Monday.  Inspired by travel, the Caribbean, Jamaica, and glorious beach living - the collection certainly felt like a fresh, modern version of classic Ralph ideas.  

Take a look and let me know your favourite -

I'm curious to see if that striking striped dress at the end winds up on the red carpet during award seasons.  It certainly would be amazing.


15 February, 2018

"Hunting for Style . . . "


Just a wee video of our recent projects . . . hopefully filled to the brim with inspiration.

You can check out our other videos on our new YouTube channel


13 February, 2018

"Royal Family Ties - Camilla . . . "


One of the most evocative lines from my favourite novel "Brideshead Revisited" has some bearing on our ongoing conversation about the British Royal Family.  The novel deals with the implications of friendship, sexuality, and family relationships between Charles Ryder, Sebastian Flyte, and Sebastian's sister Julia.  Late is the story - almost halfway through the novel, Charles opens a chapter with - "It is now time to speak of Julia, who until now has played an intermittent and somewhat enigmatic part in Sebastian's drama."  And from that point forward - Julia becomes one of the most important characters in the story.   Soooooo . . .

"It is now time to speak of Camilla . . . "

In far too many ways, Camilla is the third-rail of the Royal Family.  Practically everyone has a deeply rooted opinion of her and her place within the family.  But, as usual, I'd like to push most of the 'passionate dislike or admiration' aside and deal with some fairly concrete facts about her.

Camilla has been a long-standing player in the story of the Royal Family - but, as of a dozen years ago, her place in the monarchy's future is fairly certain.  At present, she is the Duchess of Cornwall.  It is the female version of her husband's Duke of Cornwall title.  She is the Duchess of Rothesay (as Charles is the Duke of Rothesay).  

She's also the current Princess of Wales.  It's not a title that she uses - and instead uses Duchess of Cornwall (a lesser title) out of respect for William and Harry's mother - and the deep connection to that title.   

She's also quite likely to be Queen Camilla when Charles' reign as King begins.  Now - when she and Charles married over a decade ago, it was announced from Clarence House that "it is intended" that she be known as "Princess Consort" during Charles' reign - but, there are a few problems with this title.  The main one is - within the royal household titles, it doesn't exist.  Traditionally, the wife of every reigning King (King Regnant) is referred to as Queen (Queen Consort).  Elizabeth's parents, while they were on the throne were King and Queen (he regnant, she consort).  Parliament could certainly create a "princess consort" position for her - but, they've made no motion towards that in the last 12 years.  My own belief is that they were hedging their bets - using "it is intended" to help the population slowly adapt to her being a true member of the Royal Family.  

Since the days of their marriage, she has been elevated by HM The Queen to a member of her Privy Council (a seriously BIG honour) and has traveled alongside Queen Elizabeth of many occasions.  Camilla has also been one of the hardest working members of the Royal Family.  She travels internationally with Prince Charles as well as throughout the UK.  

I guess, time will tell what her future will be . . .


and seriously, if you start getting foul or disrespectful in th comments, you will be blocked.  Seriously.  

09 February, 2018

"Sunday Runway - 2018 Olympics . . . "

Opening Ceremonies in 1976.
(I think that might be Dorothy Hamill in the top center?)


It seems a bit hard to imagine - but, the 2018 Olympics start tonight on NBC.  So we're going to cheat a tiny bit and talk fashion on a Friday - and take a trip down memory lane with some of my favourite Olympic Opening Ceremony uniforms. 

  The team in 1960 at the Summer games in Rome, Italy
Those hats are still amazingly chic.  I would take any pair of those sunglasses to wear RIGHT NOW. 

The Winter Olympic Team strides into the Opening Ceremony in Lake Placid in 1984.  These STILL might be one of my favourite uniforms.  Those sweaters are right 'on point' for the mid-1980's . . . and the shearling coats are amazing.  Plus cowboy hats and bandanas - perfect for the location and SO stylish (at the time!). 

 These are probably the more provocative uniforms - from the 2014 Winter Games - because practically no one I know likes these except for me.  Now, I don't like those sweaters in any way, shape, or form - but, I've always thought these were designed to be seen on a large group.  Because we have such a large team - when they all walked into the arena, it looked like a giant 'star field' waving.  So while not great fashion - it was amazing stage costume!

So what's in store for the ceremonies tonight from South Korea.  Ralph Lauren (once again) has designed this years uniform for most of the public events for our team of sportsmen and women competing on this international level.  Things look perfect for the events - and super 'sporty.' 


Will you be watching the Opening Ceremonies tonight?  


06 February, 2018

"Designer Math - Window Treatments . . . "


I always feel that after the holiday season is complete - we always see our homes in a new light. Maybe a guest room didn't function as well as expected over Christmas.  Or the dining room didn't seat as many as needed at Thanksgiving.  Regardless, the new year always brings an opportunity to re-fresh our homes.  And nothing updates and invigorates a space like new window treatments.  

If you're thinking about a little update - here are a few of the things the we here in the studio always focus on.

Let's tour through SMW Design's window treatment check list -  

1. The Fullness
Traditionally, you should be looking at 2 to 2½ times the width of the window for the fullness of the drapes. So if your window is 4 feet wide, the ungathered panels should be at least 8 feet wide, or even better, 10 feet.

2. The Length
For classic side panels, you really have to go all the way to the floor. If you're looking at ready-made drapes, make sure that they touch the floor, even if you have to buy the next size up and have them hemmed.

3. The Functionality
Oftentimes — and especially when privacy isn't an issue — we design drapes that really only function to frame the view. Even in these cases when the panels don't really need to close, they should at least look like they could close.

4. The Textile
There are never going to be any hard-set rules about choosing drapery fabrics. This is where design stops being a science and begins to be art. If your other furnishings are leaning towards solid colors, here's your chance to bring some pattern or at least a punch of color to the room.

5. The "Stack"
When drapes are opened, the space that the gathered textile takes up is called 'the stack.' You can manipulate the architecture by playing with the 'stack' placement If you're decorating a room with windows that feel too narrow, you can expand the fullness and visually expand the window by stacking almost everything to the outside of the window frame.

6. The Hardware
Much like the placement of the stack can expand a window, the placement of the hardware can also help a room. I always mount my drapery hardware as close to the ceiling as possible. Draperies will always establish the vertical mood of a space.

7. The Roman
Sometimes you just don't need all that fabric. So for kitchen and bathrooms - or oddly shaped windows - I often use roman shades. They can either be mounted inside the window molding, or outside the window frame. Whenever I use 'outside mounts,' I'll usually add a decorative valance over the window as well to balance things out.

If we can help updating your home - reach out to us at inquiries@SMWDesign.com to set up an appointment.

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