Dissecting the Details: Alyssa Kapito Interiors

Hello LDV readers, Nancy of Marcus Design here, happy to be bringing you another Dissecting the Details installment. I’ve been awfully drawn towards the work of Alyssa Kapito Interiors, as Alyssa’s style incorporates stunning clean lines, with sculptural and natural elements throughout. Let’s take a closer look at four design elements she consistently uses in her living room spaces:


Through bespoke wooden furnishings, chunky jute rugs, woven baskets, and natural additions through an abundance of plants, Alyssa creates a magical mixture of textures. Truthfully, this magic is only heightened by being juxtaposed against man-made objects such as the lucite tables and metal or mirror surfaces.


Particularly stunning black and white abstract pieces, each of these gorgeous living rooms contains artwork that truly makes the room. The artwork anchors the entire space and is often the first element your eye is drawn to. Another principle that definitely applies here – go big or go home.


Whites, creams, and beige’s never looked so good! The softest of palettes create such a classic feel to these living rooms. Even when color is injected (as in the first photo here), it is in the most subtle and restrained ways.


The vignettes created above are like little opportunities for creating an added layer of modifiable art. Through piles of books, plants, sculptures and trinkets, special moments are made that capture one’s attention and has you wanting to take a second look.

There you have it, four key features that Alyssa utilizes in her design and decoration of living spaces. Expect to see more from her recent projects soon, and follow along with Alyssa’s sneak peaks on her stunning IG account and via her website.


The Style Files: Shelley Johnstone

Shelley Johnstone Portrait


Shelley Johnstone is a talented, up and coming designer based in Lake Forest, Illinois. I first came across Shelley’s work on Instagram and instantly identified with her elegant, traditional style. She is known for elegant, European inspired interiors with a modern twist– an aesthetic I can certainly relate to. Shelley trained at the Inchbald School of Design in London and has completed projects in various parts of Illinois, Rhode Island, London, and Naples, Florida. Shelley is adept at embracing color and the special, bespoke details that make for stand-out interiors. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about this chic and promising designer.

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Shelley Johnstone: Classic and timeless with modern and curated pieces layered in to create interest.

shelley johnstone living room

PC: Has living in Chicago influenced your aesthetic in any way?

SJ: Chicago and my home town of Lake Forest have given me a tremendous awareness and appreciation for beautiful architecture and the importance of small details: On a walk through town, I am fortunate to see Chevron doors, Chippendale gates, limestone urns, and other design elements that provide flair.

shelley johnstone treillage

PC: What does your home say about you?

SJ: That I enjoy creating a beautiful place where my family and friends can also feel comfortable and at home.

Shelley Johnstone Bedroom

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

SJ: I am inspired by everything around me – a shell on the beach, the prettiest pink tablecloth at a restaurant in Capri, a Rothko hanging at the Art Institute of Chicago. I try to recreate the many visuals and environments from my experiences into my design and my home.

Shelley Johnstone Kitchen Detail

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

SJ: I am most influenced by the beautiful lifestyles created and enjoyed by Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Bunny Williams, and John Rosselli.

oscar and annette de la renta vogue

{Oscar and Annette de la Renta}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

SJ: I admire those who are kind, considerate, and well-mannered.

Shelley Johnstone Breakfast

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

SJ: Chocolate!

shelley johnstone blue and white

PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

SJ: My parents, who are extremely creative and entrepreneurial while keeping an emphasis on family and life at home.

Shelley Johnstone Kitchen 2

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

SJ: Creating and enjoying a beautiful life with family.

Shelley Johnstone Living Room

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

SJ: I am currently designing a table for Veranda’s Orchid Dinner benefitting the New York Botanic Garden, and decorating a room for the 2017 Infant Welfare Showhouse in Lake Forest. Meanwhile, I am fortunate to continue working with amazing clients on projects for Shelley Johnstone Design.

Shelley Johnstone Vignette



Go-To Outfit: Roger Vivier shoes, jeans, and an elegant top

Style Mantra: “Keep it simple.”

Scent: Candles and fresh flowers

Piece of Jewelry: My engagement ring and my Cartier Panthere gold watch

Color I Never Tire Of: Chocolate brown

Indispensable Design Element: Chic natural fiber rugs (sisal, jute, abaca) and bamboo and rattan furniture

Fabric/Textile: Interesting prints on linen mixed with textured velvet and cashmere

Dream Project: More projects with the wonderful, detail-oriented clients I have!


Drink: Almond milk hot chocolate

Hotel: The Carlyle Hotel in New York and La Scalinatella in Capri

Museum: The Art Institute of Chicago and Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris

Artist: Mark Rothko (painting) and Massimo Listri (photography)

Actor: Cary Grant

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Hello Goodbye by the Beatles

Movie Set Design: Sets from 1940’s Hollywood, especially You Were Never Lovelier (1942) featuring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth


The Style Files: Anna Burke


I first came across Anna Burke and her fabulous style on Instagram. It is such a great way to connect with people who have similar taste! Anna is a young interior designer working in New York. Originally from Chicago, Anna launched her eponymous design firm in 2014 after working for Celerie Kemble for six years. Anna’s style offers a fresh take on classic, sophisticated interiors. You’ll find that the spaces she designs never lack color, pattern, or a statement-making piece or two, yet it is all executed with a discerning eye and a wonderful ability to edit, so that it is never too much. Anna and her work have been featured in Lonny, Trad Home, ELLE, and Domino. While interviewing Anna, I felt that I could relate to so many of her answers which cemented the fact that we have such similar taste. I loved getting to know more about this talented designer and know that you will, too. Enjoy!


Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Anna Burke: My style for interiors is warm modern and also a little bit bohemian. I tend to gravitate towards the wild and interesting option, and then reign myself in to be somewhere in the middle. I love contemporary design, but I also love florals and fine antiques. I’m not tethered to any one look; I just love beautiful things!


PC: Has living in New York influenced your aesthetic in any way?

AB: Living in New York has made me appreciate the comfort, warmth, and privacy of my apartment and our home outside the city. With that in mind, I seek to create spaces where my clients can relax with their families but also entertain friends without notice. New York spaces are multifunctional, and decorating them well requires thought, discipline, and flexibility. For example, a dining room might do double duty as a library and a family room.


{Beautiful Details in a Client’s Dining Room via Anna’s Instagram}

PC: What does your home say about you?

AB: My home represents my own evolving style. After years of bright colors and patterns, I realized what I wanted to come home to at the end of the day is a neutral, soothing color palette. Most of our clients love color and ask for it in their schemes. This translates to rooms with neutral walls and upholstery along with pops of color here and there. My own home is mostly whites, creams, and grays!


{The Chic, Modern, and Neutral Kitchen in Anna’s New Apartment}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

AB: Instagram, The World of Interiors, Driving around on the weekends and looking at houses, the architects we have the privilege of working with…


PC: Who are your personal style icons?

AB: Diana Vreeland, Bunny Mellon, Lee Radziwill


PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

AB: TV, Cheese, Bread, First Class, Silk Velvet


PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

AB: Kindness and a sense of humor


PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

AB: My mother is a decorator and my parents build houses as a hobby. I spent many weekends during my childhood looking at houses and hanging out on job sites. They instilled in me a love of Greek Revival architecture and an appreciation for antiques. Working for Celerie Kemble influence my life immensely. Celery has an energy and effervescence that is contagious and she shared it with me and the others who work for her. She gave me the confidence to take risks and to always see the big picture in every room.


PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

AB: A job that I love. Clients who are happy. A sleeping baby. Dinner out with my husband. Sleeping in on a Saturday. A cold glass of white wine. A vacation somewhere I’ve never been. I’m living it now (minus the sleeping in) and I am grateful for it everyday.

wkphotography-abi-hr-162PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

AB: We are installing a prewar duplex on the upper east side in November that we’ve been working on for a year and a half. A major renovation of a colonial farmhouse on Long Island. I just finished renovating and decorating my own apartment which I will be sharing photos of soon.snip20161002_13



Go to Outfit: Statement blouse, jeans, and lace-up flats

Style Mantra: Every room, outfit, table setting needs something high and something low. I like the challenge of mixing H &M with Hermes and West Elm with 1st Dibs

Scent: Nitesurf by Regime des Fleurs

Piece of Jewelry: My engagement ring. My husband and I worked on it together. He proposed with a simple band because he knew I would want input on the ring. Smart man!

Color I Never Tire Of: White

Flower: Poppy

Indispensable Design Element: Christopher Spitzmiller Lamps

Era for Design: Now

Dream Project: Restoring a David Adler home in Lake Forest, IL with my favorite architect Jim Joseph and me as the client!

Fabric/Textile: Rosemary Hallgarten Abaca Boucle

Hostess Gift: arrangement from Plaza Flowers the morning of

Meal: Steak au Poivre at Raoul’s in NYC, several glasses of wine, and dessert

Drink: Margarita on the rocks with salt


Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Playing with my daughter, Netflix, Magazines. Laughing with my girlfriends over margaritas.

Weekend Destination: Our home on the Hudson River

Hotel: La Mirande in Avignon and the Hotel Bel Air

City: Los Angeles, London

Museum: The Art Institute in Chicago

Artist: Vermeer, DeKoonig, and photographs by Julie Blackman

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire

Actor: Katharine Hepburn

Prized Possession: Photos of my family

Risk Worth Taking: Starting your own business

Greatest Extravagance: My housekeeper

Go-To Color Palette: Green, White, Jute

Rule to break: Never mix business with pleasure.

Movie Set Design: The Thomas Crown Affair

I can never have too many… Moments with my daughter


{Photography Courtesy of Anna Burke}

The Style Files: Kendall Conrad

Kendall Conrad


Kendall Conrad is a modern style icon. The former model who worked with the likes of Helmut Newton, Valentino, Calvin Klein, and Giorgio Armani grew up in Santa Barbara, the daughter of a writer and a painter/former bullfighter. Her classic, sophisticated style has undoubtedly been influenced by her bohemian California upbringing as well as the time she spent living abroad in Paris and London. Kendall’s creativity and chic style eventually lead to the creation of an eponymous handbag line which has evolved into a full accessories collection featuring bags, shoes, jewelry, scarves, and items for the home. All of the pieces are made in California using artisanal techniques and the finest materials. The collection is filled with streamlined, timeless designs with nods to equestrian style and a sense of California cool. Kendall has namesake boutiques in Venice and Brentwood in the Los Angeles area as well as in Montecito in Santa Barbara. Most recently, Kendall launched an exciting collaboration with Club Monaco. I met Kendall when she was in town a couple of months ago and was struck not only by her beauty, but by her warm, kind nature and effortless style. Enjoy!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Kendall Conrad: Relaxed, tomboy, uniform. I don’t like to think about what I am going to wear clothing-wise-I like to keep it simple and suited to me. A basic canvas that I can then accessorize. Which is why I am probably an accessories designer as I love changing up shoes, bags, belts, cuffs and jewelry all of the time!

Kendall Conrad OKL

PC: How has living in California influenced your aesthetic?

KC: The weather leads to layering as it can really heat up after a chilly morning. I almost always have a cashmere scarf around my neck in the winter or a linen one in the summer.


PC: What does your home say about you?

KC: A lot I think as it’s an expression of how we live and what we like. Like the way I dress, we start with a blank canvas of neutrals, and bring in the “accessories” art, books, rugs, flowers, objects. These can change all the time for freshness.


PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

KC: My daughters, nature, music, film, books, sculpture and art-it all gets in!


PC: Who are your personal style icons?

KC: Well, to me it’s not just what they wore, but the whole package-who they were, how did they live their life, what did they contribute, etc…Georgia O’Keefe is way up there, and my old friend Huguette Calan, an amazing artist/sculptor who wore chic smocks everyday with paint on them and had special evening smocks as well-a true uniform. And of course all of the 70s babes like Charlotte Rampling and Lauren Hutton, then and now.


{Charlotte Rampling Photographed by Helmut Newton for Vogue}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

KC: Very dark chocolate– 85% plus.


PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

KC: Character


PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

KC: Agnes B.! I loved her stores in Soho and Paris when I lived there. She was so cool and all about art. She always marched to the beat of her own drum.


{The Agnes B. Store in Soho}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

KC: Family, friends, and the beach


PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

KC: We are very excited about our new collaboration with Club Monaco!




Go-To Outfit: jeans and a v neck cashmere and cashmere scarf in winter, shorts and a v neck t-shirt in summer with a linen scarf

Style Mantra: Make sure it fits well!

Scent: Nalu, by l’oeil du vert-we sell in our stores

Piece of Jewelry: cycad cuff in sterling silver

Color I Never Tire Of: white, black, navy

Flower: peony or fresh cut ginger

Indispensable Design Element: balance, space, and light

Era for Design: I love Spanish colonial mixed with modern organic and ethnic pieces

Dream Project: to have my husband build and design a modern house overlooking the sea.

Fabric/Textile: natural jutes, dark woods, brass and silver, wool

Hostess Gift: one of my candles in their hand-stitched leather boxes.

Meal: anything from Gjusta in Venice

Drink: grape kombucha


Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: yoga, hot bath or beach walk

3 Things I Love About My City: since I straddle two I will list for both: Santa Barbara: nature everywhere, beautiful scenery and privacy. Los Angeles: happenings, art and sculpture, architecture, music scene, restaurants.

Weekend Destination: Inverness or Point Reyes in northern California

Hotel: The Colombe D’Or in St. Paul de Vence, La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca, Claridge’s or Blakes in London

City: London and Paris and nyc

Museum: The Prado, Madrid, Foundation Maeght in Vence. Victoria and Albert in London, The British Museum, L’Orangerie and the Louvre in Paris, Picasso Museum, Rijks museum in Amsterdam, Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia and on and on….

Artist: Picasso, Matisse, Frankenthaller, Cezanne, Basquiat, Mirø, DeKooning, Schiele, Van Dongen, Twombly, Modigliani, Gerhard Richter, Charles Fine

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: So many! “Blue Lines” by Massive Attack, “Born Slippy” by Underworld, there is a great mash up of “Peg” by Steely Dan by someone I don’t know who, De La Soul’s “3 is a Magic Number”, too many to list!

Actor/Actress: Brit Marlen

Prized Possession: my wire haired dachsunds

Risk Worth Taking: introducing yourself to someone you admire

Greatest Extravagance: 1st class travel

Go-To Color Palette: any neutrals and black and white

Rule to Break: no white after labor day-ridiculous and non applicable in California.

Movie Set Design: The Life Aquatic

I can never have too many… bracelets and scarves

Paloma Signature

Fabulous Room Friday 11.07.14

jute kitchen 1

As we head to Northern California tomorrow, I am feeling the pull of warm spaces with a slightly rustic vibe. This week, I’ve been focusing on wine country architecture as well as Fall design inspiration. This stylish kitchen by Ali Davin of Jute, an interior design firm based in Marin County, not far from where we will be, features several of the elements I have been so inspired by lately. The architecture is clean-lined and the Shaker style cabinetry is completely classic. The saturated gray hue of the cabinets is both chic and modern and is further complimented by the geometric backsplash above the stove and the simple lighting.

The thing that makes this kitchen a true standout is the use of warm wood finishes from the rustic farm table and mix of dining chairs in various shapes to the butcher block counter tops and that stunning herringbone floor stained in the most beautiful finish. The long countertop opposite the counter with the sink and window pictured on the left in the image above is genius not only for additional storage, but to use as a buffet when entertaining. The whole space feels pulled together, but completely relaxed– just the kind of vibe I am feeling as we head on our trip. Have a wonderful weekend!

jute kitchen 2

jute kitchen 3

jute kitchen 4


Paloma Signature

{Images Courtesy of Jute}