Made in the Shade

3d93614485205854ebd51e63cf98f5eeAs the days begin to warm up, spending time outdoors becomes a bigger priority! And, for those of us who have already logged too many hours in the sun, a stylish umbrella becomes more than outdoor decor. Ok….it can make our outdoor decor, but it’s really practical, too!

There are so many chic options these days. Though, I’ve lusted after the couture style umbrellas from The Santa Barbara Umbrella Company, other companies, such as Frontgate, Pottery Barn and One Kings Lane are selling stylish options at much lower costs.

Here’s a little eye candy to help you design your own backyard oasis.
66fcf763742f3ad1f7b48b931b85d7ebScreen Shot 2017-04-23 at 8.59.30 PM Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.00.19 PM Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.00.42 PM626d121ba48ccf79f7ab48c3e770e198 c15587e41aeffcacaec5c621ab1723de def4796323f993283b8feee77b7e3e79I recently upgraded my own umbrellas to something with a little more panache. I’ll share which one on Instagram tomorrow, so visit me there at

This summer….you can have it made in the stylish shade!


Interior Designer – Diana Byrne Designs

IMG_2488Today, I’m excited to introduce you to a young interior designer, Diana Byrne, of DB Designs, who is making her mark – melding contemporary design into family homes and proving that modern designs can be fun, functional and full of warmth. Diana’s award-winning work has appeared in the WSJ, Luxe Interiors + Design and Serendipty Magazine and she’s just getting started!Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 6.49.22 PMPPT: Tell us a little about your background  and experience in interior design. Was it always your passion?

DBD: I actually started my career as a magazine editor. I worked at Vogue, Allure, Seventeen and YM, so I was always surrounded by extremely creative people in the office, on photo shoots, at fashion shows and scoping out cool new places in New York. I suppose that experience plus being aesthetic in nature translated into home design for me!

I had also taken classes in the city over the years and learned from helping out friends and family, just for fun. My first official project was a large beach house in the Hamptons (probably the craziest way to kick start a business). Since then, I’ve done all residential projects in New York and Connecticut working with clients who have varied tastes and styles, which I love. I’m constantly learning and discovering, whether it’s with my clients, architects, artists, or on adventures searching for treasures.

One of my best friends is also my business partner, Lynn Biase. She handles all the non-design parts of every project and she is absolutely an invaluable part of this job for me.IMG_2506IMG_2495PPT: What elements do you always include in a room you design?

DBD: I definitely don’t have a set of rules. I’d say balance is essential but them again, some rooms need to be thrown off balance to make them interesting. I love to have something in a room that makes people smile, widen their eyes or feel like they’re seeing something they haven’t seen before. I tend to think there should also always be a place in almost every room to sit, feel cozy or have a conversation. Lighting is obviously important, so I always try to take the most advantage of natrual light and address lighting fixtures and placement early on.IMG_2487PPT: Some designers start with a fabric or a carpet…what’s your jumping off point?

DBD: Usually, I first think about how the room is going to be used and the layout – if there is a central focus or purpose in the room, like a fireplace or tv, how to maximize light from windows, if there are any limitations, and whether any architectural elements or woodwork needs to be added or removed. Once the overall structure is set I like to know if we are working around any current art of furniture. From there I usually go to wall finishes, lighting and furniture and then the ball is rolling. I will say however, that sometimes I’m just daydreaming or hunting around NYC and find something I didn’t know I was looking for and that just kickstarts it all from a completely different direction!IMG_2490IMG_2486PPT: If you could design a room/home for anyone…who would that be?

DBD: Love this question! Kristin Wiig or Steve Carell. They make me laugh without saying a thing. And, if they’re busy…then a beach house for my husband. And, then he’d have to share it with me.IMG_2494 IMG_2499Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 6.49.00 PM IMG_2501 IMG_2502IMG_2507 IMG_2503 IMG_2508 IMG_2511 IMG_2512If you’d like to see more of Diana’s work and learn more about her projects, visit her website.

Thank you, Diana, for sharing your insights and inspiration with us! I can’t wait to see what you dream up next!


photography: interiors by Jane Beiles, headshot by Alix Martinez

Organization – May Designs

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 9.23.37 PMHow’s your January going?! It’s flying by, right?

We’re half way (half way!) through the first month of the year, so it’s a good time to check in and see how your calendar skills, organization techniques and goal setting is going. Are you doing well or need a quick reset? We all have to do it. Great intentions need constant tending in order to move us forward.

One of my favorite designers for making all this organization more colorful and fun is May Designs. Originally known for their customizable, soft-sided notebooks, they have everything from desk and wall calendars, gratitude journals and even fun planner stickers to keep the task of staying organized easy, creative and affordable.

One of my favorite products is their desk calendar. Once the month is over, flip over the card, cut it in half and it is meant to be used to send a note to someone. Pretty clever!Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 9.24.49 PM

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 9.23.14 PM Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 9.22.53 PM Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 9.20.23 PM Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 9.19.36 PM Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 9.19.19 PMIt’s never to late for a fresh start, so if you haven’t gotten organized yet….get the tools that will help you make the most of the remaining 11.5 months of 2017!