The Style Files: Gen Sohr of Pencil and Paper

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I first heard about Gen and Ben Sohr of Pencil & Paper Creative Development Co. in Nashville when they were featured in Matchbook Magazine in January of 2015. I remember being struck by the husband and wife duo’s playful design aesthetic which blends vintage and modern elements with a fun dose of color and pattern. After a while, I found out that Ben had started his career in retail several years ago and it turned out that we had a good friend in common in Mark Sikes. It is certainly a small world! With backgrounds in visual merchandising and architecture, it was only natural that when the couple moved back to Ben’s native Nashville, they would renovate a house, in their case, a 1930s charmer in serious need of some TLC. Since completing their renovation, the couple’s burgeoning firm has taken on countless design projects including full-scale renovations, working on the team that brought Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James Nashville store to life, and helping to launch brands and lend their creative wisdom on multiple ventures. I recently got to know Gen a little better through the newest installment of The Style Files. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know the fairer half of this talented duo as much as I have!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?
Gen Sohr: Traditional meets modern, collected and fresh.

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

GS: Definitely….you can’t help but be enamored by Nashville’s traditional southern style, charm and hospitality.

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PC: What does your home say about you?

GS: I think a home should be personal….I hope that when people see our house they think its a reflection of us, of our family….the places that we have traveled and the pieces we have collected.

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PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?
GS: I think inspiration is EVERYWHERE…..sometimes it’s in a beautifully filmed movie, a vintage fabric, art, travel, and even Instagram.

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PC: Who are your personal style icons?

GS: Diana Vreeland, Jackie Kennedy, and Jenna Lyons

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PC: Is there anything you find particularly challenging about working with your spouse?

GS: Two strong-willed “decision makers”….. is not always easy.

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PC: What part of it delights you?

GS: Traveling and being inspired….”together”.

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PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

GS: I often start the day with a McDonalds coke….shh don’t tell.

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

GS: I started my retail career with Gap Brands…and at the age of 21 I relocated to San Francisco to be part of a small team that rolled out the Old Navy Brand. This amazing team of people and my first boss (Jody Patraka) have been huge influence….I actually met my husband Benjamin there.

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

GS: Being surrounded by the people that you love in a home that brings you joy.

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

GS: We are excited to be designing FrameBridge’s new offices in Washington, D.C. We are also collaborating with Serena and Lily on an amazing summer party at our home. We will be speaking at ADAC in March (A Candid Conversation on Conquering the Digital Design Space) and are designing our first Window at Legends 2017. We will be featured in Ronda Carmen’s upcoming Rizzoli book: “Entertaining at Home”. We recently launched a collection with ceramicist Jill Rosenwald and have some other exciting collaborations in the works. We also recently completed a re-imagining of the historic George Dickel Distillery and created a new retail concept for the brand ….up next: Stitzel Weller Bourbon.

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Go-To Outfit: neutral cashmere sweater or blue and white stripe T, wide leg/crop jean, leopard shoe or Stan Smiths
Style Mantra: Buy what you LOVE
Scent: anything with Jasmine, Honey Suckle or Gardenia
Piece of Jewelry: vintage gold rolex my husband gave me
Color I Never Tire Of: White. Is that a color? I also love blue or our signature orangey red.
Flower: peony and gardenia
Indispensable Design Element: rattan
Dream Project: hotel
Fabric/Textile: Schumacher, Quadrille, vintage
Hostess Gift: Prosecco with our signature gift tag
Meal: In and Out Burger
Drink: Prosecco with a splash of St. Germaine or ice cold Kalik Bahamian Beer preferably on a boat somewhere in the Bahamas
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Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Family dinner and some late night vintage dress hunting on Etsy
3 Things I Love About My City: southern hospitality, the best “meat and three’s, local road trips
Weekend Destination: Miami…..my hometown
Hotel: Chateau Marmot in Hollywood
City: Amsterdam
Museum: SF MOMA
Artist: so many….. Alexander Calder, Josef Albers, Henri Matisse
Prized Possession: the art that we have collected over the years
Risk Worth Taking: leaving Corporate America
Go-To Color Palette: blue and white with touches of orangey red and always a few natural elements
I can never have too many…vintage dresses

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{Photography by Leslee Mitchell, Courtesy of Pencil & Paper Creative Development Co.}

The Style Files: Shelley Johnstone

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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{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.

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PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

SJ: Chocolate!

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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.

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

SJ: Creating and enjoying a beautiful life with family.

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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

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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!

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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

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The Style Files: Vicente Wolf

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Vicente Wolf is brilliant at mixing antique pieces and modern items, all through a lens that is fresh and polished. He has honed his distinct style through his travels as well as in his work as an interior designer over a career spanning more than thirty years. Vicente is arguably one of the most important designers in our industry today. His New York design firm has continuously completed inspiring projects for top-tier clientele including Julianna Marguelies, Clive Davis, and Ralph Pucci. Both Vicente’s own home and those he designs for his clients are beautiful and very personal. They each tell the story of the people inhabiting the home, what they love, and what matters most to them. Vicente’s work has been published in every important design publication, including Architectural Digest which has repeatedly named him to its AD100 list. Vicente also happens to be one of the most genuine people in the design industry. He is candid and generous with his knowledge and experience, often sharing the expertise he has amassed throughout his storied career with less seasoned designers. Over the years, I have received some invaluable advice from Vicente and had the privilege to give a keynote presentation at a special retreat he hosted for interior designers in July of 2015. Last summer, Vicente was at the opening of the Southern Style Now Showhouse in New Orleans and had some very kind things to say about the room I had designed. It’s a moment I won’t soon forget. Enjoy!

Snip20170130_1Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Vicente Wolf: I would describe my style as having a sense of individuality, yet comfortable with a mix of periods and cultures. When combined together it becomes a modern classic environment.

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{Vicente’s Apartment |{Photo Credit: Lesley Unruh for One Kings Lane}

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

VW: Absolutely, New York is one of the cities that many consider the Mecca when it comes to culture, art, music, theater and design.

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{Vicente’s Apartment |{Photo Credit: Lesley Unruh for One Kings Lane}

PC: What does your home say about you?

VW: My home expresses my love of travel, nature and my sense of balance.

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{Vicente’s Apartment |{Photo Credit: Lesley Unruh for One Kings Lane}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

VW: I find inspiration in my travels and the many museums I visited around the world.

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{A Shot from Vicente’s Recent Travels via his Instagram Account @vicentewolfdesigns}

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

VW: David Hicks, Billy Baldwin and Karl Lagerfeld

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{David Hicks}

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

VW: Honesty, humor and generosity.

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{Photo Credit: Architectural Digest}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

VW: Traveling and gardening

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{Bright Colors in Cuba via Vicente’s Instagram}

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

VW: Twyla Tharp, Richard Avedon, Bob Burton, and composer Steven Sametz

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

VW: My idea of living “la dolce vita” is exploring the environment of places I’ve never visited, gardening, being kind and spreading generosity to those who have less.

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{Photo Credit: Architectural Digest}

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

VW: I will be traveling to Sri Lanka for inspiration, my latest book The Four Elements of Design, my lecture at 92Y, my Frida Kahlo private photographic collection being shown at the Dali Museum in Mexico City, and I’m flying to Tbilisi, Georgia to install another design project.

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Style Mantra: Elegant yet casual

Scent: Gardenia Passion

Piece of Jewelry: Rolex watch

Color I Never Tire Of: Black

Flower: Begonia

Indispensable Design Element: French Sheets

Era for Design: late 30’s, early 40’s

Dream Project: A project with architectural appeal and a healthy budget.

Fabric/Textile: Mohair

Hostess Gift: Orchid in clay pot

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Meal: Sushi

Drink: Polish Vodka

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: exercise

3 Things I Love About My City: museums, theater, diversity

Weekend Destination: Montauk

Hotel: The Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok

City: The world

Museum: MOMA

Artist: Francis Bacon

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood:”Put on a happy face” by Tony Bennett

Actor/Actress: Meryl Streep

Prized Possession: my cat

Risk Worth Taking: exploration

Greatest Extravagance: buying art

Go-To Color Palette: watery colors

Rule to Break: convention

Movie Set Design: Auntie Mame

I can never have too many… plants

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The Style Files: Kevin Walsh

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Kevin Walsh is the talented interior designer and proprietor of the design firm and design store, Bear Hill Interiors in Little Rock, Arkansas. Over the years, we have gotten to know each other on trips to High Point and through social media. In fact, Kevin is one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram. Kevin has beautiful taste and an impeccable eye for style. I love seeing glimpses into the beautiful home he shares with his partner Brett and their two dogs, Ruby and Roxy as well as sneak peeks of his latest projects, whether they are completed or in progress. Kevin’s work a fresh, pretty, tailored spin on traditional interiors, has been featured extensively in magazines including Luxe, Southern Living, HGTV, and At Home in Arkansas. Just last summer, Kevin received the distinction of being named one of Trad Home’s 10 New Trads of 2016. Kevin is one of the kindest people in the design industry. Enjoy!Snip20170116_8

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Kevin Walsh: Tailored, collected, and a little bit understated.

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PC: Has living in Little Rock influenced your aesthetic in any way?

KW: Absolutely! I am surrounded by Arkansas’s natural beauty everyday and face it– southerners know a thing or two about beautiful homes, architecture, and how to make you feel warm and welcome.

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PC: What does your home say about you?

KW: I have a penchant for being pretty tidy. I love fresh flowers, lots of books, and original art. I also have two dogs that rule the roost and have total access to every piece of upholstery.

Style Files Kevin Walsh Instagram{Kevin’s Sweet Dogs, Ruby and Roxy at Home in their Chic Living Room via his Instagram Account, @kevinbearhill}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

KW: Books, travel, Instagram (obsessed!) and numerous dealers across the country including 214Modern in High Point.

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PC: Who are your personal style icons?

KW: For interiors– Bruce Budd, Albert Hadley, Jan Showers, Windsor Smith, Timothy Whealon…this list could go on forever! For fashion– Michael Bastian, Maxim Lundh, Johannes Huebl.

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{Bruce Budd}

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

KW: A great sense of humor.

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PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

KW: Haribo Gummy Bears

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

KW: My partner, Brett Pitts. He is extremely supportive and encouraging– and is a straight shooter!

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

KW: A sunny day spent at home working in the garden with music in the background and amazing aromas coming from the kitchen.

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

KW: I recently photographed a home here in Little Rock for Southern Home magazine slated for next December. I recently joined Southern Living, Coastal Living, and Sunset‘s exclusive group of interior designers. I am currently working on a beautiful home on the May Rive in Bluffton, South Carolina a well as a classical home here in Little Rock with architect C. Brandon Ingram. I am also working with At Home in Arkansas magazine on a series of entertaining features.

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Go-To Outfit: Jeans, blue and white stripe button down, navy blazers, and Alden Loafers without socks

Style Mantra: Less is more

Scent: Currently loving Maison Louis Marie Candle No. 4 Bois de Balincourt

Piece of Jewelry: Rolex Submariner

Color I Never Tire Of: Blue

Flower: Peony

Indispensable Design Element: Great Architecture

Era for Design: 1920’s

Dream Project: I would love to design a small, beautiful French bistro here in Little Rock

Fabric/Textile: Hand-Printed Textiles

Hostess Gift: Fresh Flowers

Meal: Fried chicken, fried okra, homegrown tomatoes, and lady peas prepared by Brett Pitts

Drink: Jean Charles Boisset Brut Rose

3 Things I Love About My City: People, landscape, and my beautiful neighborhood

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Weekend Destination: Lake House in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Lake Hamilton

Hotel: Le Meurice in Paris

City: New York and Paris

Museum: The Met in New York

Artist: Ellsworth Kelly

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: “Pause” by Pitbull

Actor: Eddie Redmayne, Kevin Spacey, Viola Davis, Kate Winslet, Judy Dench

Prized Possession: Untitled Painting by Ray Parker, 1960

Risk Worth Taking: Pursuing a career path that speaks to your heart

Greatest Extravagance: Travel

Go-To Color Palette: Blue with anything

Rule to Break: White jeans are good year round!

Movie Set Design: It’s Complicated

I can never have too many… Cashmere Sweaters

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The Style Files: Sarah Bartholomew

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My friend, Sarah Bartholomew is a very talented interior designer in Nashville. Her style is a fresh interpretation of classic design. Through the spaces she designs for her clients, Sarah marries both a timeless aesthetic with an easy, inviting quality. A native of Virginia, Sarah has been a lifelong admirer and student of classical design, drawing a great deal of inspiration from visits to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate. Sarah founded her eponymous design firm in 2010 and was recently named a “Next Wave” Interior Designer by House Beautiful. Just this summer, Sarah’s home was featured in Southern Living. It is a wonderful interpretation of modern traditional style and is filled with great prints and fabrics, including the show-stopping Pierre Frey Toile des Nantes wall covering in her foyer. With a mix of blue and white, natural fiber elements, great antiques, and pretty fabrics, Sarah has created a home that is not only beautiful, but welcoming and livable. After all, Sarah has dogs, four children, and a husband to account for! Enjoy!snip20161121_1

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Sarah Bartholomew: A mix of classic, all-American, layered, fresh, understated, collected and comfortable.

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

SB: Nashville is a beautiful and vibrant city—American architecture that stands the test of time, rolling green hills and Southern charm, how could it not?

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PC: What does your home say about you?

SB: It says that you can live with beautiful things and have a full house—four kids and two dogs! Also, it says that I’m a devout classicist at heart.

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PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

SB: I’m constantly taking everything in and get inspiration from travel, nature, history, books, magazines, film and art.

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PC: Who are your personal style icons?

SB: Annette de la Renta, Lee Radziwill, Grace Kelly, Jane Birkin, Deeda Blair and Lauren Santo Domingo.

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

SB: Humility, kindness and authenticity.

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PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

SB: Right now, it’s binge-watching “The Crown” and eating Halo Top ice cream.

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

SB: Probably my husband. He’s been my biggest fan and has always pushed me to follow my dreams and passions.

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

SB: Living beautifully with the ones you love.

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

SB: In October, we launched Sarah’s Studio, a monthly newsletter highlighting my latest inspirations, projects and favorite things—I’m excited to continue sharing more from our design studio in 2017! Also, we have some special projects in the works coast–to–coast.

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Go-To Outfit: Khaite jeans and Tenfold tee

Style Mantra: Less is more

Scent: My go-to candle, Ernesto by Cire Trudon

Piece of Jewelry: My simple gold Tiffany wedding band

Color I Never Tire Of: Blue

Flower: Peonies

Indispensable Design Element: Fresh flowers and natural light

Era for Design: I’m always looking to timeless elements in interiors from the past—it’s too hard to pick just one design era!

Dream Project: Any project with Gil Schafer

Fabric/Textile: Holland and Sherry

Hostess Gift: Flowers

Drink: Vodka soda with a twist of lime

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Snuggling with my kids

3 Things I Love About My City: The warm, friendly people, the springtime—it’s lush, green and full of life—and the classic architecture. Oh, and the food!

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Weekend Destination: New York

Hotel: J.K. Capri and I’m dying to go to Trasierra in Sevilla!

City: Paris and New York

Museum: The Phillips Collection in D.C.

Artist: Elliott Puckette, Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko, Robert Mangold, Ellsworth Kelly, Picasso and Agnes Martin

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne

Actor/Actress: Katharine Hepburn

Risk Worth Taking: Starting your own business

Greatest Extravagance: Time to myself

Go-To Color Palette: Blue, white and green

Rule to Break: Are there any rules left to break? Or maybe, less is more cause sometimes more is really more!

Movie Set Design: The Talented Mr. Ripley

I can never have too many… Books

Meal: A home-cooked meal by someone else

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