Design 101: my faves

For those of you who know me well, interior design has become somewhat of a hobby for me. I started reading design blogs when we renovated our house three years ago and have been hooked ever since. I don’t claim to be a designer, decorator or stylist. I just happen to love it.

I’m sharing this laundry list should you have some down time (aka locking yourself in a room or fleeing on foot or by car to get away from your loving family) during the Thanksgiving holiday break.

Two things before I begin. First, I’ve decided to use the word “fave” instead of “fav” as an abbreviation for “favorite” in my blog posts herein after. I’ve seen it spelled both ways so I looked it up in the urban dictionary. Both words are acceptable, but “fav” also stands for “forever a virgin.” Enough said. Second, I am partial to traditional decor -- sometimes transitional. If you enjoy a similar style, read on. If you are a modernist and crave contemporary design, move on.

Let’s start with design television. Sarah Richardson is hands down my favorite interior design TV personality. She is a Toronto-based designer who started her career as a prop stylist. Sarah has produced several shows on HGTV: Sarah's House, Sarah's Cottage, Design Inc. and the latest, Sarah 101 (my new fave). HGTV is currently airing the new season of Sarah 101 on Monday mornings at 8:30. Check it out.

 Tommy and Sarah via HGTV.

Sarah offers a practical and inspiring approach to interior design. She often features makeovers for clients on a shoe-string budget. You’ll see her shopping IKEA with her adorable sidekick Tommy Smythe. In addition to being a talented designer, she is one polished lady. From head to toe she is always impeccably coiffed, accessorized and dressed. Watch her shows and you’ll see what I mean.

Speaking of Canada, my current favorite shelter magazine is Canadian House and Home. I can’t really pinpoint why. It’s just better than most of the shelter magazines here in the states. H&H occasionally features Sarah and Tommy’s design projects, including some their own homes. If you don't feel the urge to subscribe, you might find the magazine at Barnes & Noble – the only existing chain bookstore left on the face of earth. So sad.

I’ve already posted about my favorite online shelter mag Matchbook. Lonny is another fave.

If you’re in the market for a design book to help spruce up your nest -- The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman -- would be my first choice. Deborah was the founding editor of the now defunct Domino Magazine. I loved that magazine. Why do they always do away with the best ones? In her book, Deborah offers practical advice on creating a relaxed, stylish and comfortable home. Virginia Johnson’s original watercolor illustrations make it a joy to look at too. Put this book on your holiday wish list. You will not be disappointed.

If you have not visited Phoebe Howard's Atlanta stores Mrs. Howard and Max and Company, you are in for a real treat. These two retail interiors stores are my absolute faves. To say that they are stunning is an understatement. Mr. Howard -- Jim -- is responsible for the stores' architectural design. His attention to architectural detail is simply brilliant. I go there often for inspiration. After crossing the threshold, you’ll transcend into a sanctuary of atmospheric ecstasy. No exaggeration. Plan to spend at least an hour there to take it all in. And, leave your cameras at home -- no photography permitted. The only down side: you’ll likely go home feeling like you live in a dump. It is so worth it, though! 

Mrs. Howard.
By now, you all know that my absolute fave design blog is Cote de Texas. Check out Joni's Top 10 Design Elements that create a beautiful room. So far, these include linen, slipcovers, seagrass, curtains, light fixtures and wall d├ęcor. Use the site's search engine to find them. While you’re at, you can read her post on Phoebe Howard and her recently published book The Joy of Decorating – another feast for the eyes. Subscribe. You will not be sorry. 

Of course I have all of the publications mentioned in this post. If you'd like to look before you buy, you may ask to borrow them in the comments section below.

That’s all folks. What are your faves?


  1. Congratulations on your blog!!!! Good luck and have fun with it - and thanks so much for the shout out!!!


  2. Thanks! I hope you subscribe and check in from time to time.


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