Trend Alert: Mad about plaid

Being of half Scottish heritage, I think I have plaid in my DNA. My maiden name is MacFarlane and as a kid I remember my dad wearing a bright orange and green tie that was “The MacFarlane Plaid”. My mother joked she thought it was one of the ugliest plaids and that she should have married a Campbell because she much preferred that clan’s dark green and navy plaid.

Plaid, or Tartan actually goes back as far as 100 BC, created by ancient Celtic populations. As early as the Roman conquest of Britain in Julius Caesar’s day, the Celts of Scotland and Ireland wore primitive tartans. Each clan or tribe wore their own unique plaid which was associated with their specific region or district of the country. Your clan’s plaid colors and pattern would quickly identify you as friend or foe. Actually, not unlike the Bloods (red) and Crips (Blue) of today.

I’ve always associated plaid with European country homes, Ralph Lauren, rustic cabins and Christmas like in these images below.






Technically, plaid is really not a trend since it’s been around for centuries but what I have started to see is a new interpretation of plaid. A fresh spin so to speak with updated colors like on this chair I spotted last week at the Boston Design Center.

Fushia plaid chair at Boston Design center

Fushia plaid chair at Boston Design center

I wonder if any of  my clansmen ancestors would have worn fushia plaid even if the dyes were available at the time.

Plaid rugs are becoming very on trend. This is the latest window display at Stark carpet at the Boston Design center.

Stark Carpet

Stark Carpet

Plaids are also on full display at Kravet Fabric with at least a dozen panels displaying plaids in almost every color and size.

Kravet Plaid Fabrics

Kravet Plaid Fabrics

Plaid is one of those prints that has a lot of personality so if you really love it take a look at this room done by Anthony Baratta.

Anthony Baratta

Anthony Baratta

A more subtle way to bring in plaid is to use it on the floor like in this fresh and airy beach house designed by Victoria Hagan.

issa Cullman

Victoria Hagan

Using plaid on a piece of furniture is also a fun way to bring in plaid without too much of a commitment.

BHS design

BHS design


Also, don’t forget about pillows and accessories as a way to add a bit of plaid.


Since this post is about plaid I want to share with you one of my most coveted possessions. This tiny book entitled Scottish Clans and Their Tartans has been passed down the generations and has ended up with me. It is so old that there is no publish date on it. My great grandfather’s name is written on the inside in pencil but it might go back even farther.

clan book 3

The book gives a brief history of all the Scottish clans with their corresponding plaid. Here is my ancestral plaid on the left and my late mother’s favorite, the Campbell plaid on the right.


I agree that the MacFarlane plaid isn’t for everyone but at least it makes a statement!

How about you? What do you think of the return of plaid?


Friday’s Photo:Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West

One of the trips we made while in Scottsdale last week was a visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright House called Taliesin West. Here are two interesting factoids about the house I thought were worth sharing.

#1. There is not a single straight wall anywhere on the house. Wright wanted the house to appear as if it was part of the landscape so he took great pains to copy the exact angle of the surrounding mountains.

#2. While Wright was alive there was no glass in any of the windows. Again, he wanted the house to be organic and one with nature. After his passing his wife (who was probably sick and tired of daily sweeping out the desert sand and lizards) put in glass.

Frank Lloyd Wright House Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright House Taliesin West

If you get a chance to visit I highly recommend it. Wright was quite an interesting fellow and the guided tour was quite enlightening.

have a great weekend!


Friday’s Photo: Tiny dining space with pizzazz!

A tiny space carved out for dining and made special with a statement art piece.

 ID Creations/Linda Holt Photo

Holiday House Hamptons/Linda Holt Photo

Who said downsizing has to be boring?  If it’s just the one or two of you isn’t this really all you need? A little table, a few chairs and a fabulous piece of art?

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Friday’s Photo: Headboard alternative

There are so many creative and out of the box ways to create a headboard. This custom painted wood screen is a great way to add color and visual interest to an otherwise neutral and very small bedroom.

Boston magazine Design Home 2014

Boston Magazine Design Home 2014/Linda Holt Photo

Happy Friday and have a great weekend everyone!

Friday’s Photo: It’s all in the mix

The secret to creating a room that has life and interest is all in the mix. Furniture that doesn’t all match and wasn’t all purchased at the same store. A mixture of patterns and textures and art work that speaks to you. These are the elements that give a room soul.

The Hampton Show House library, designed by Greg McKenzie, is a perfect example of this. Greg used a masterful mix of different period furniture, textures and patterns. I love the classic knole sofa mixed with the mid century Lucite coffee table, and the two side chairs piped in thick fringe. The chevron fabric from Schumacher, the graphic wallpaper and the Zebra hide rug add some punch to keep the mostly neutral room from being anything but boring.

Greg McKenzie Design

Greg McKenzie Design

I think the whole room is fabulous. Don’t you?

Have a great weekend my friends!

The top three trends in Window treatments

If I had to pick my absolute favorite element when designing a room, I would have to say it would be a tie between choosing a color palette and designing custom window treatments.  Since I am currently working on designing window treatments for multiple spaces in a very large home, I have paid special attention to what the top designers have done at this seasons show houses.

This is what I have seen as the latest trends in window treatments.

1.Hang em’ High This is not really a “trend” but for those that still don’t know this….drapes are hung high these days and off the window. I want to emphasis this because I went to a home just last week and the client had her window treatments mounted directly to her window molding (which was at least 18 inches below her ceiling). This is a no no, hang them high!

Bosotn magazine Design Home

Boston magazine Design Home

In the living room at the Hampton Show House, the drapes were hung from the ceiling molding since the windows went all the way up. Take note too of the gold rod and hardware… the trending color in metals.

Patrik Lonn Design Hampton Showhouse

Patrik Lonn Design Hampton Showhouse

2. Sheers. Yes, even though sheers have a bad rap for years, I saw them over and over at the show houses.  Today’s sheers are not your grandmother’s nylon ones but are made from a variety of materials such as silk, wool, cotton, and linen. Not only can they be beautiful but sheers are very functional. Sheers allow in the light while at the same time protect furniture, floors, carpet and other decorative drapery panels from the harming effects of the sun.


West Chin design Holiday House hamptons

The sheers Jen Going used in her Holiday House Hampton bedroom were embellished with decorative raffia circles.

Jen Going Interiors Holiday House Hamptons

Jen Going Interiors Holiday House Hamptons

3. Embellishments and trim. Tapes, trims and fringe are really trending right now. Not only are they a fun way to add more detail but you can also use them to jazz up inexpensive panels or shades without breaking the bank.

Michelle Smith Holiday House Hamptons

Michelle Smith Holiday House Hamptons

Katie Leede Design

Katie Leede Design

I love this green trim Gil Walsh used on the leading edge of her bright floral patterned panels in her Hampton show room.

Gil Walsh Interiors Hampton Show House

Gil Walsh Interiors Hampton Show House

A few other observations I made are that natural fiber shades are still going strong, drapery rod finials were not elaborate (many rods were simply capped) and a surprising number of the show rooms used my favorite rod which is the soft bend rod (also called the French bend rod). No finials needed and it gives a nice clean look.

Brady Design Holiday House Hamptons

Brady Design Holiday House Hamptons

I would love to hear if you have a favorite window treatment. Also, do you have an opinion on “to pool or not to pool?” I would say it was about 50-50 at this season’s show houses.

Friday’s Photo: watercolor walls

Watercolor walls is a very big trend in interior design right now and this ethereal bedroom from the Holiday House Hampton is one of my favorites. Designed by Jen Going it was inspired by an abstract water color given to her by a friend.

Jen Going-Linda Holt Photo

Jen Going Interiors-Linda Holt Photo

Such a beautiful and unique way to treat an accent wall don’t you think?

Have a great weekend everyone.

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