How to Style a Buffet

Happy Monday Y’all! We had a fun filled weekend with some dear friends that came up to visit us from NYC. Sometimes a weekend full of laughter & good conversation with great friends is exactly what the doctor ordered. I’m feeling refreshed this morning!


So, while this post is titled “How to Style a Buffet”, it really should be called “how to style any surface” but that just didn’t sound as pretty. I get asked ALL the time for styling tips – people often find that their surfaces (buffet, tv console, side table, nightstand, mantle, dresser, etc) are either too crowded or too empty. It’s hard to find that balance of looking styled, yet natural.

A few key “rules” I like to follow when styling a surface:

Let one piece anchor the space

Stick to groupings of 3

Incorporate natural elements (plant or flowers)

Stack books to elevate / create mixed heights

Keep it cohesive with a color scheme

Here’s are two examples of how this can be done:

The above buffet is about 60″ long so I wanted to create two small spaces so that it didn’t feel overcrowded. The art (roughly 2/3 the length of the buffet – the perfect scale) anchors the space, while the two groupings create some visual interest. While everything is in the white/cream/grey family, I created interest by using various textures & materials (ceramic, marble, glass). The lamp provides more height and the flowers bring in a natural element. I’ve actually got another similar white vase that I swap out (it’s short and squatty) and I’ll fill both with greenery. So many options here!

The mantle above is a bit longer – about 70″ and so there was more surface space to cover. Ideally, I would like a larger mirror but this works for now. As you can see, I’ve stuck to the neutral pattern as well, but incorporated some brass, gold and wood to give it more of a pop. The tall, oversized eucalyptus really makes this space work for me. Again, you can see I used the marble + wood box to pair with the beads & candle (set of 3!) and the picture frames at varying heights keep it cohesive, yet interesting.

I hope this helps! If you follow these 5 rules for styling your surface, you can’t go wrong! If you have any questions or need help styling your own space, feel free to email me.

Have a great week!



Our New Living Space

When I announced that we were moving back in December, I put together a design board that gave a general outline of the style and feel I wanted our new place to have. Lucky for us, our home has some killer architectural character – 14’ ceilings, intricate molding, floor to ceiling windows with natural light & various built-ins. The bones are easy to work with but it did have some challenges as well, including a narrow/awkward living room layout, minimal storage and an overall small space of only 800 square feet.


With three of us (including our Frenchie, Mela) living here, I knew that we needed our main living space design to achieve 5 main goals:

  1. A bright, neutral color pallet
  2. Added storage, mainly hidden
  3. Comfortable seating for at least 4 (+ pup)
  4. A distinct dining area
  5. An open & spacious feel

Here’s how I did it:

A bright, neutral color pallet: The walls are a very light gray, the trim, molding, windows & ceiling are all bright white. I stuck to a cream/white/gray color scheme for all of the furniture to keep it visually bright and light. I incorporated some natural elements (wood coffee table, woven baskets, eucalyptus) to keep the space from feeling sterile. Also, I mixed various textures to warm up the room and keep it interesting – we’ve got microfiber, linen, silk, velvet, faux fur & more. Texture was key here.


Added storage: Behind the sofa and in the nook are woven baskets that store extra pillows, blankets and various dog toys. The coffee table also has two secret drawers that store all of our remotes, candles, chargers, etc. The buffet was the biggest game changer in this room – we have over 30 bottles of wine and a full bar in there. We also use this to store cute cocktail napkins, bar tools & cozies.

Design Tip: We keep the buffet top styled on every basis (less clutter), but we display a few items on a tray atop the bar when we have friends over.

living room1

Comfortable seating for 4: Our sofa is only 72” and though it’s not long enough for someone to sleep on (sorry out-of-town guests, you’ll have to get a hotel), it fits 2 comfortably and 2 more can sit on the chairs. If we are expecting more or need more seating, we can easily push back the sofa and add a few ghost chairs (or ottomans) for additional seating. We’ve had 4 people hanging out in the space multiple times and it’s always plenty of room.

Side note: Our space is too narrow to mount the television above the fireplace so we decided to place it on the wall across from the sofa. We rarely watch tv, but when we do it’s usually just us two and this is the most comfortable layout.

dining area2

A distinct dining area: If we didn’t have that pesky radiator on the back wall, I would have tried a bench/banquette against that wall and a rectangular table; however, I think that this 42” round tulip table works perfectly. I opted for ghost chairs for a few reasons – first, they take up minimal visual space so the area appears larger than it actually is. Can you imagine if there were four bulky chairs there? Second, they’re light weight and can be moved around easily when needed. Also, we can push the table against that back wall when hosting to open up the walkway between the kitchen & deck and use the table more as a serving piece.

living room2

An open & spacious feel: A huge mistake that people make (especially when renting/moving) is not using furniture that’s an appropriate scale for the space. Our sofa is only 72” but it’s the largest we could go for this room, without the hallway feeling crowded. We purchased two chairs and anchored it all with an oversized rug. By centering the furniture in front of the fireplace, not the room center, we were able to create a “sitting” area and a “bar” area. We played with a few layout options here and this one works the best for sure. Note that we also went with low profile furniture so that the bright window light wouldn’t be blocked.

Design tip: Ideally you want 36” for any walkway in your home to allow for a comfortable flow.

 So, there you have it, our little living room / dining room / bar space. Brownstones are always challenging to design because they’re long and narrow but I think that we did a great job maximizing our space, highlighting the features of the space and making a warm, inviting home. We love it here!

8 Easy Ways to Refresh Your Home Today

Rustic Mornings-1.jpg

When it comes to home decor, I always have an urge to mix things up and refresh my space. In the past, I’ve shared ways to shop your home before if you’re looking to update things but don’t want to spend any money. As Spring slowly approaches, I always find that now is a great time of year to update our space. Bring in some lighter tones, purchase a few new pieces and make our home feel as light & bright as possible. Here are 8 easy ways that you can refresh your home today.

1. Refresh your art. Framed, gallery style abstract art is having a huge moment right now and I love it. Art is one of those things that is 100% subjective so really, you should purchase whatever speaks to you. If you need a few suggestions, I love this garden canvas and this abstract piece. If purchasing a new piece isn’t in your budget, consider taking down a lot of your current art and switching things around. You will be surprised what a difference swapping pieces out can make!

2. While I’m typically one for fresh cut flowers, faux greenery is needed (Example: a bathroom with no windows). These boxwoods are an excellent styling prop for bookshelf styling, for the dining room table or atop a stack of books. If you have a vase that needs filler, try fresh eucalyptus (will dry nicely in place if you don’t touch it) or stems such as these dogwoods.

3. You’ve likely seen various types of decorative beads in pictures recently. I just LOVE them and think they’re such a versatile, beautiful way to decorate. I actually picked up the most gorgeous, light gray set in South Africa from a super chic boutique that I found in Cape Town (and they were under $10). My only regret is that I didn’t buy like 4 sets for gifts! Studio McGee has a great option on their website as do a lot of sellers on etsy. You can drape them over books, set them around a jewelry box or flow them out of a vase. Really the opportunities are endless.

4. Natural wood tones have been my wood choice for quite some time, especially for those of us living in small spaces. Nothing will make your home feel smaller than oversized, dark wood. I like the light/natural wood as a more mature, masculine alternative to white. Some examples are this bench, which would look great at the end of your bad, and this mirror, which I may have to snag for our entry way.

5. Add in some blue + white patterns, in the form of dishes, vases or planters. A more modern subtle to the ginger jar, a planter like this one would be a great way to update your space for Spring. This light blue pattern goes with pretty much any decorating style, which is why I always suggest them. They’re also great for sunrooms or outdoor spaces.

6. For a classic, modern touch to your home, try adding in some marble. One of my favorite material combinations is wood + marble, which just looks fabulous every time. An easy way to accomplish this is to display your wood cutting boards in your kitchen and then put a marble bowl in front. Or incorporate a bone inlay tray or mosaic bowl into the mix. I think this footed bowl may be the cutest thing ever. I purchased it myself and plan to set it by my wood bowl catch all (used for keys, chapstick, etc) alongside a marble vase I keep filled with fresh greenery.

7.  A tried and true favorite, and one I always recommend, is to swap out your pillows. Truthfully, blankets and linens fall in this category too – most textiles are seasonal.  Pastels are going to be huge this spring and pillows, like this lavender one, are a great way to display these hues. I am a huge fan of light blues, creams, greys & blush (just like my wedding pallet) in decor. It’s feminine yet a bit subtle.

8. One last way to refresh your space is to style with books. Coffee table books are the perfect gift for any occasion because your home can never have enough! Whether it’s decorating shelves, adding height to a vignette, stacking them on the coffee table, or displaying them on the nightstand, there is a way to use them! When I’m feeling bored with my space I always rearrange the books and it definitely gives a new feeling. I’m in search of 5-6 new ones for a styling project I’m working on. Favorites: Living with Pattern, Domino, Nate Berkus, The Nesting Place.

What’s your favorite way to refresh your home?!

Thanksgiving Tablescape Inspiration

Can y’all even believe that Thanksgiving is next week? Insane! Given all that we have going on right now (moving, new job for T, etc) we are pleased to be attending a Thanksgiving feast at our dear friends’ home in Newport, Rhode Island. Hopefully we will have a large dining room of our own in upcoming years and be able to host our own Thanksgiving day celebration for family & friends. So for my future reference, and for all of you wonderful host expecting a crowd, I’ve put together some tablescape inspiration for you:






So many pretty options to be inspired from! I’ve put together a mock table setting myself and hopefully it will inspire you even more! If I were hosting this year, here’s what my table would look a little something like:

Thanksgiving Tablescape.jpg

{napkins / chargers / plates / greenery / glasses / vase / napkin holders / place cards / runner / candle holders + candles}

Who’s hosting Thanksgiving this year? Is your table ready?!

Our New Living Room

I hinted at some exciting news on Friday and here it is…South End Style is moving! We’re not going far but we are headed back into a through-floor brownstone in the heart of the South End, my favorite neighborhood of Boston. We’ll be a few short blocks from all of my favorite local spots, including Picco, Hudson & Blackbird Donuts. I can’t wait!


the adorable front staircase at our new home!

So with moving comes…you guessed it, redecorating! I’m actually selling a LOT of items so you local folks be sure to check it out (armoire, tufted bed, wood bed, tripod lamp, kitchen table, kitchen cart, gold side table, set of lamps, round mirror & nightstand)

We will be keeping some of our current living room furniture, selling a few pieces and adding a few to the mix. Our new living room has beautiful 13′ ceilings with detailed crown molding, a large fireplace, three huge windows & a whole lot of opportunity.  I’ll share more about our master bedroom & back deck (finally!) later but for now here is my design board for our new living room:

I’ll be keeping our current setup with this sofa, these two chairs, this coffee table & my new favorite rug (mine is similar and a killer Safavieh steal from Homegoods!). I’ll be switching out our current ivory/tan/gray pillows for a pair of velvet navy + some contrasting blush pillows for a little more color. I’ve also got a great neutral faux fur blanket that I’ll add just in time for cold weather. A gold + glass accent table will go in between the two accent chairs for additional surface space.

Our TV will be mounted on the wall (not above the mantle) so I’m still debating putting a thin, white console table to balance the space. Above the mantle I’ll likely style this round, gold mirror with a pretty vase and some eucalyptus branches to add some color. I’ll fill in with various white, wood & marble pieces.

To the right of the fireplace is a pretty large alcove (about 6’X13′) where I’d like to put a bar cabinet. I’m not sure which one yet but I’m liking this midcentury modern piece, this green glam piece and this classic, natural piece. Atop the cabinet, I’ll style with a pair of lamps and some bar accessories, like this mixer set. Above the cabinet, I’m debating between an oversized framed fabric piece or a light aerial beach print (I have one framed in white – will decide once I pick a cabinet).

So what do you think? Any suggestions for bar cabinets?

Baby Boy Nursery

Lately, I’ve been helping a couple design the nursery for their third child – a sweet baby boy. You may remember my gender “neutral nursery design” post or my “one nursery, three ways” design (<<– I still love this design SO much, I’m going to be stealing these ideas in the future for myself!). While both of those rooms were gorgeous, this one is going to be a bit different. I’ve actually helped this couple with their entry way, living space, and dining room so I’m very familiar with their style. The home has a lot of charm and the interiors are mainly monochromatic – classic with a twist, if you will.

Here are a few inspirational spaces that we pulled – take note of the color pallet, patterns, key furniture pieces & overall style.

animal prints

animal prints + neutral color pallet

2 accent wall

 glider + wall detail

3 arrows and rustic feel

 rustic vibes + patterns

4 wall detail

 accent wall + natural elements

{ 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 }

From these images, we had a few key takeaways for baby boy’s new nursery: a color scheme of gray/navy/brown (the crib & dresser are ones they already had & wanted to use again), a rustic/natural feel (rope, wood, etc) and a few nods to animals and patterns (hence the artwork and bedding). Here is the design board I presented:

Baby Gs Nursery.jpg

{ accent paint / main paint / ottoman / mirror / bedding / animal prints / glider / pillows }

What do you think?!

I’ll be sure to share more pictures as the room is installed.

10 pictures that will make you want to visit South Africa

South Africa is one of the most naturally diverse countries I have ever been to. The Western Cape offers beaches and mountains, while the inland countryside offers beautiful wine country, while the Southern side offers cliffs and lush forests and the Eastern side offers incredible safaris and animal spotting. With a brief two hour flight you go from million dollar beach front homes in stunning Camps Bay to impoverished villages near the Kruger National Park. Whether you’re looking for an eco-friendly tent camp, a luxurious spa retreat, a mountain camping experience or a food & wine tour, this country has it all. There is so much to do that it is a bit overwhelming. One common denominator among all of the variety though? The people. Oh, the people are just a special kind of wonderful. Especially those who have little to nothing of their own – the kindness, the generosity, the spirituality…it’s something I’ll never forget.

Of course, we couldn’t do it all during our two week vacation to South Africa, but we tried our best! Over the next few weeks I’ll be breaking down our trip into various posts – Cape Town (what to do, eat, drink, hike, etc.), Cape Winelands, Road Trips, Hotel Reviews, Safari specifics and more. But for now I’ll leave you with this – 10 stunning pictures to get your heart racing and your soul excited for what’s to come. Looking at these pictures makes me know one thing for sure – I cannot wait to go back!

10 pictures that will make you want to visit South Africa


The vineyards of Franschhoek, Cape Winelands


Female leopard feeding on a Kudu


Giraffe walking through the bush at sunset


Enjoying the sunset view from the V & A waterfront in Cape Town


Enjoying the views of Camps Bay from the side of Table Mountain



A killer view of Lions Head from halfway up Table Mountain


 In the ice cold Indian Ocean about to go shark diving!


The adorable penguins of Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town, ZA


Watching the clouds roll in over Lions Head, with Robben Island in the distance


Soaking in the view of the 12 Apostles from the peak of Lions Head

Okay…let’s make it 11. This last one is too exciting not to share. Our first animal spotting on our very first game drive!


Spotting a herd of elephants in Kruger National Park