Coastal Living Idea House: Blue and White all over

Last week I visited the Coastal Living Idea House in Newport RI to see the house that Mark did. Designer Mark D. Sikes that is. It was everything I could have imagined and it came as no surprise to hear that the house has been sold along with most of the furniture, drapes and decor. The lucky new owner scored big and will take possession of a blue and white dream house.

Mark Sikes is known for both his love of blue and white and his use of stripes and the idea house has it all wrapped up in one beautifully designed coastal home. I took lots of photos on my iphone and in a few cases the lighting was not optimal (as in really terrible) but I think you can still see the rooms fairly well.

Blue and white cabinets: Linda Holt Photo

My friend and I started our tour in the kitchen and loved the on trend two toned painted cabinets in blue and white. Bright white quartz counter tops on the perimeter kept the kitchen light while the oak stained island brought in some warmth and an organic touch.

Kitchen: Linda Holt Photo

There were thoughtful custom details throughout the house such as the pleated fabric shade on the kitchen chandelier.

custom lamp shade: Linda Holt Photo

and fabulous white pompom trim on the buffalo checked drapes.

kitchen window seat: Linda Holt Photo

Every detail was carefully thought out.

drapery detail

The living room is open to the kitchen and was designed with casual entertaining in mind. White sofas with blue welting and plenty of blue and white pillows signaled to sit down and relax.

great room: Linda Holt Photo

The patio and pool is just off the living room.

Linda Holt Photo

The hallways were decked out in navy blue and white stripes and iron lanterns.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

All the bedrooms were chock full of personality with lot’s of prints, patterns and gorgeous window treatments. Just like the kitchen and living room, they were all done in blue and white. 

Linda Holt Photo

Decorating a room with lots of odd angles and eves can be challenging. I loved that Sikes embraced the sharp angles and wrapped blue and white buffalo check fabric all around.

Linda Holt Photo

The girl’s bedroom was equally as energetic with navy and white trellis wallpaper and a roomful of blue and white botanicals.

Linda Holt Photo

I understand that all this pattern might be too much for some, but for a second home like a beach house I think it’s a lot of fun.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

The bathrooms were also blue and white and again, had interesting details. The stripes on the floral window fabric became inspiration for outlining the ceiling, walls, and even the tile floor with a matching blue stripe.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

The basement is all set for game night and the fabric  upholstered walls made it so cozy.

Linda Holt Photo

The landing between the second floor bedrooms was probably my favorite space in the house. It looked out directly to the ocean and between the art work, the sofa and the carpet it hit all the high notes for me.

Linda Holt Photo

It really is an amazing home and if you are local I urge you to check it out and see it before the new owners take possession.

How about you? What is your favorite room?




Matisse and his “actors” of inspiration

Don’t you often wonder when you look at a beautifully designed room or a stunning piece of art, what the inspiration was behind the creation? “What inspires you?” has to be one of the most asked questions of any creative. The answers vary but often times it’s things like art, travel, nature or even other creatives. 

So it was great anticipation that I made my way to the Matisse exhibit at the Boston MFA just before I left on vacation. The paintings were curated around the objects that inspired Matisse. He referred to his favorite objects as “actors” and used them over and over again in his work. 

“The object is an actor. A good actor can have a part in ten different plays; an object can play a role in ten different pictures” Matisse

I have had a love affair with Matisse since high school. In fact, this framed poster below has hung in every apartment and house I have lived in since college. I have had it for close to 40 years and although it has little to no monetary value, I just couldn’t bring myself to part with it during the downsizing purge. 

Some of the more interesting “actors” used by Matisse were African figures and ethnic textiles.

 Matisse was intrigued with the simplicity of the sculpture and the fact that it was stripped down to just the visual essentials.

Preliminary sketch for portrait below.

Matisse also was inspired by textiles, especially those from Northern Africa and Islamic cultures. He loved the rich saturated colors and the patterns of the hand made cloth. This Egyptian cloth in the exhibit hung in his studio and was used over and over again in his work.

Here it is on the right side of the painting.

The exotic Islamic culture fascinated Matisse and became a favorite subject to paint.

This is a detail shot of another antique textile from his collection.

Matisse used it for his inspiration in the painting below.

One of the more interesting facts I learned at the show was that it was these Islamic textiles that became the inspiration for Matisse’s cut outs which he is so well know for.

He studied the play of light on the mirrored glass inserts and the “movement” it gave to the pattern.

African Kuba cloth which is so on trend today was also a favorite of Matisse.

He collected samples from many different tribes and was taken by the fact that the pattern seemed to have no beginning and no end. The painting below shows his Kuba cloth interpretation in the background. Notice how the pattern climbs out the window seemingly going on forever.

Later in his career Matisse became captivated by Chinese calligraphy and collected samples that he hung in his studio.

The fluid movement of the characters inspired this work called The Acrobat.

He also collected Chinese pottery

Which became inspiration for the tree painting below. 

I found the exhibit so fascinating because it was almost like being inside Matisse’s head. I could look at the object and then see how it inspired him to create his work. 

It also got me thinking about what inspires me. It’s probably cliche but for the most part it’s travel and nature. We were on vacation last week in the white mountains of New Hampshire. The vibrant greens of the forest against the beige/taupe colored rocks became inspiration for a color palette for a new space I am working on.

Here are a few images of what I was surrounded by last week.

White Mountains NH

Linda Holt Photo

Galehead trail NH mountains

Linda Holt Photo

river stream in White Mountains

Linda Holt Photo

This is my color palette inspired by the mountains.

My mountain inspired color palette: Linda Holt photo

Inspiration is different for everyone. I would love to hear what inspires you?

2018 color trends you want to see now

Another High Point Spring Market is in the books and once again I made my annual pilgrimage to see all the new introductions, trends and colors so that I can report back to you what is new in the world of furniture, accessories and lighting.

So as not to overwhelm you (like I was going through thousands of images) I will break this trend report into several posts. Since color, or I should say lack of color, was such a big story at market I am devoting this entire first post to color. Tuesday’s blog will feature the first half of eight trends spotted and I will follow that up with the final four trends.  As usual there are more pictures than words so sit back, grab a coffee or wine and enjoy Color trends from High Point Market.

These are the four color trends I saw at Market with the fifth being “one to watch”.

  1. Warm Neutrals
  2. Black and White
  3. Blush
  4. Jewel Tones
  5. Terracotta

 1.Warm neutrals dominated Spring Market, and I mean…as in there was hardly any color in the majority of the showrooms!

It looks like the tide has finally turned for the cool blue grays. Those sophisticated cool grays that were everywhere just two short years ago have now been warmed up and replaced by warmer tones of gray, taupe and even brown.

Guy Chaddock Monterey collection: Linda Holt Photo

Showroom after showroom was filled with these warm neutrals. It’s as if they all followed in step with Sherwin Williams color of the year Poised Taupe.

Taupe and gray, gray and taupe was all over Market.

Linda Holt Photo

At one point while finishing up a tour of one of the better known showrooms (which shall remain anonymous) my color loving friend Kelly Rogers turned to me and said she felt depressed. I was feeling the exact same way! The absence of any real color was actually affecting our mood.

Linda Holt Photo

The rooms by themselves were all lovely and beautifully styled but for someone like myself who loves color it was getting very hard to take.

Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair. taupe and white

Mary McDonald for Chaddock: Linda Holt Photo

A lot of the new wood furniture introductions had a gray brown stain that was taupe colored as well.

High Point Market Spring 2017. Taupe stained console table

Linda Holt Photo

Below is a better representation of this gray brown stain. The wood is stained but the grain is allowed to show through. (I have no idea what that pink spot is but it would have taken way too long to remove it so please just disregard).

2017 High Point Market. Stained wood trening

Linda Holt Photo

2.Black and White: Warm grays and taupe not your vibe? Well black and white was also trending at Market.

Linda Holt Photo

This may be a look only a few homes and homeowners can pull off but in the right circumstance it is stunning.

Linda Holt Photo

I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of this bold graphic look since I saw lot’s of black and white accessories, artwork and furniture.

Left Bank Art: Linda Holt Photo

Bernhardt furniture: Linda Holt Photo

Matte Black finishes were especially popular for accessories.

Handley Drive for Codarus: Linda Holt Photo

3. Blush:There was one color that stood out as being the “color of the Market ” and that was blush. This soft pink hue was featured in multiple showrooms. 

Mary McDonald for Chaddock Home: Linda Holt Photo

I saw hints of this soft pink in Spring 2016 but this year it was hard to miss.

Mary McDonald :Linda Holt Photo

The sofa below by Christopher Guy is leaning a little too much toward mauve for my liking but I have a feeling that blush, which is so popular right now is going to turn into mauve eventually….urgh.

Christopher Guy: Linda Holt Photo

Pillows, rugs and art work in blush color were prevalent.

Nourison carpet: Linda Holt Photo

4.Jewel Tones: Blues, greens, chartreuse, hot pinks and other jewel colors were spotted at market. I had to seek them out by visiting showrooms that are specifically known for color but the trip was well worth it. Although still popular I saw less Mediterranean blue than in years past and surprisingly used more on furniture than on walls. Blue paired with chartreuse was a very popular combo this Spring.

Lillian August: Linda Holt Photo

A hot pink velvet chesterfield sofa was spotted at Lillian August. Obviously not for everyone but after three days of seeing nothing but grays and taupe I was ready to get my check book out right on the spot.

Lillian August: Linda Holt Photo

C.R.Laine is another showroom that never disappoints with their use of color and they had plenty of it. Blue and orange was another a popular combination this Spring.

C.R.Laine: Linda Holt Photo

The pillows this Spring at Market were some of the most colorful I’ve seen to date. Since I was so starved for color they were like a cool glass of water on a hot summer day. I would make an immediate bee line to any color I saw and fill up with a color fix before moving on to the next neutral showroom. I had a fantasy of buying all these pillows and going from showroom to showroom and plunking a couple down in everyone of those colorless showrooms.

Square Feathers: Linda Holt Photo

Much like the booths filled with colorful pillows, the art showrooms were bursting with beautiful bold brightly colored art. Large scale art still dominated but groupings were popular as well.

Trowbridge art: Linda Holt Photo

It’s not surprising that the accessories were so colorful because how do you add some color to all those neutrals? With colorful jewel toned pillows and bright bold art work of course.

C.R.Laine: Linda Holt Photo

5.Terracotta: I’m calling this a color to watch. I spotted this warm rusty red orange in several showrooms and one trend which I will share on Tuesday makes use of this color.

David Easton for Chaddock: Linda Holt Photo

So there you have it. The 2017 colors of High Point which dictate what you will be seeing in your local home stores in 2018.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the warming up of gray. Happy to see taupe and brown coming back or not?

UPDATE on our house sale. We signed the P and S last week and will be moving May 27th. There is SO much to still do which is why this post is two days past my posting day. Please accept my apologizes and know I will get back on schedule ASAP.













My lucky red Feng Shui closet

After I mentioned our red closet in last week’s post and explained how it has brought me so much luck after following Feng Shui recommendations, I received multiple requests asking to please show the closet.

In case you missed last weeks post, here is a quick recap. I hired a Feng Shui consultant to come and do a walk through of our house shortly after we purchased it (12 years ago). It turned out our “wealth area” on the Feng Shui bagua map was our master closet. At the time of purchase, the walls were never painted, just primed matte white and they were all scuffed up. The closet had cheap wire shelving along one wall and as soon as we moved in, it became an unorganized mess. I wish I had a before photo but I will tell you it was bad. 

Here is our closet today.

My side of the closet

Now, just to remind you, the closet is staged for putting the house on the market. It’s usually clean with very little clutter but not this clean nor this uncluttered. My shoes are stored in those hat boxes because they looked too messy on the shelves.

Hubby’s side of closet

The first change our Feng Shui consultant told us to make to increase the good vibes of our home’s wealth area was to paint the walls red. He then suggested cabinetry to keep it clean and organized. Finally, he advised us to keep symbols of wealth in plain view such as jewelry, a glass jar filled with coins, and vacation photos. We did every single thing he suggested and for the past twelve years I have won more contests and have had better luck than I ever had before. 

So there you have it. Our lucky red closet. 

Several of you also asked where the “wealth area” is located. I am not a Feng Shui expert by any means but from what I understand, the wealth area is the farthest left corner of the house (as you are facing the front door) and that is where our closet is located.

I’m going to miss several things about our current house but I think I will miss my closet the most.



What are the new kitchen and bath trends for 2017?

Next week I will be in Orlando Florida attending the US luxury Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, or as the insiders call it, KBIS. For the past two years I was a sponsored guest at the show courtesy of Modenus and fabulous vendors such as Thermador, Mr. Steam, Top Knobs, Wilsonart, Toto, and more. This year I am on my own but equally excited.

I can’t wait to see the all the new innovative products for 2017 and see if I can spot any new trends. Here are a few of the things I will be on the look out for so that I can share my discoveries with you.

KBIS 2016 Linda Holt Photo

KBIS 2016 Linda Holt Photo

What are the 2017 color trends? Will black still be making a strong presence for both fixtures and cabinetry?Will open shelving still be trending? Are 3-D tiles still hot? What about statement back splash tiles?

KBIS 2016 Linda Holt Photo

KBIS 2016 Linda Holt Photo

Is there one particular product that generates lot’s of buzz? Last year it was La Cornue’s  pink range by Suzanne Kasler. Show goers were actually standing in line to get a photo of themselves in front of it. Now that must be every vendors dream come true!

What is new for storage and for customization? What is new in green design and automation this year?

As I pack my suitcase today my head is spinning and my iPhone storage is plenty. I hope you will follow me on Instagram to see all the  fabulous products that I spot. You can also follow everyone’s favorite products by using the official hashtag #KBIS2017.

Please let me know by commenting on this post if there is anything in particular you want me to check out at the show and I will photograph it and tag you.

Quick note: Even though I will be at the show next Tuesday on my regular blog posting day, I have already prepared a helpful iPhone camera post for you called “What is HDR and when to use it”.

Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll be following up after my trip with a KBIS trend round up as soon as I return.


Looking up at the Boston Junior League show house

Boston’s latest show house (The Nathaniel Allen House) sponsored by The Junior League of Boston is now open. Recently I had a chance to tour the house and take some iphone photos. If you love color, pattern and art you can’t miss this show. The rooms are done up with warm tones, luxurious textures, fabulous wallpapers and art work galore.

The rooms are all so different yet somehow they all seemed to flow. Color and wallpaper are a very big story but the stand out for me is the attention the ceilings received. Almost all of the rooms have either a colorful painted or wallpapered ceiling. Take a look at few of my favorites.

The “Morning Room” was bright, cheerful and fresh and the yellow painted ceiling glowed with warmth from the early morning sun.

The Morning room Kate McCusker Rosenberger:Linda Holt Photo

The Morning room Design by Kate McCusker Rosenberger: Linda Holt Photo

My good friend Kelly Rogers used a similar warm color palette in her “Mother in Law’s Suite” and also chose to paint the ceiling a warm golden honey.

Design by Kelly Rogers Linda Holt Photo

Design by Kelly Rogers: Linda Holt Photo

This “Petite Retreat” designed by Nancy Seibel has a not very shy pink painted ceiling. So fun for a little bathroom don’t you think?

The Petit Retreat designed by Nancy Seibel: Linda Holt Photo

Designed by Nancy Seibel: Linda Holt Photo

Elizabeth Benedict wallpapered the ceiling in her “Chinoiserie Chic” bedroom with bamboo trellis wallpaper. How wonderful to wake up in the morning and see something beautiful rather than a blank white ceiling.

Elizabeth Benedict Design: Linda Holt Photo

Elizabeth Benedict Design: Linda Holt Photo

The “Dressing Room” which had a small desk area also had a wallpapered ceiling. Choosing a fabulous statement wallpaper is a great idea in a small space like a powder room or closet because the cost will not be too high and every time you enter it will put a smile on your face.

Suzanne Logan design :Linda Holt Photo

Suzanne Logan design : Linda Holt Photo

The ceiling that really impressed me was in the “Receiving Room and Sitting Room”. Designer Gerald Pomeroy used high gloss paint to create a decorative stripe that tied two different but adjoining rooms together. The “Receiving Room” is below. The lighting could not have been worse with the sun pouring in creating a lot of glare but you can see what I am talking about if you look above the fireplace.

Receiving room:Linda Holt Photo

Receiving room: Linda Holt Photo

Here is a closer look at the same room with a broad gray stripe and a narrower green stripe.

Receiving room ceiling:Linda Holt Photo

Receiving room ceiling: Linda Holt Photo

Below is the adjoining “Sitting Room”. You can see he reversed the colors with the broader stripe green and the the thinner stripe gray.

"Sitting Room"

“Sitting Room” : Linda Holt Photo

Lastly, here is an image of the two rooms and the ceilings taken from the doorway where the two rooms join.

Gerald Pomeroy Design:Linda Holt Photo

Gerald Pomeroy Design: Linda Holt Photo

I think it is brilliant and I would love to do something similar for a client. What do you think?

I will be posting more beautiful rooms from the show house but I couldn’t wait to show you all the wonderful ceilings in the house. I hope after seeing this trend you will think twice before defaulting to “ceiling white”.

The 2016 Junior League of Boston Show house runs through June 5th. You can purchase tickets here.




High Point Market Recap part one

Oh my goodness…what an inspiring week at the High Point Furniture! I feel like I walked 50 miles in five days. I was so honored to be chosen for the High Point Design Bloggers Tour and we all had so much fun. We visited showrooms I am very familiar with as well as a few I had never heard of but was happy to discover. The Spring Market was bursting with energy and I saw so many beautiful new designs. I compiled a list of nine trends and since I am all about photos, I want to show you lot’s of images. So as not to overwhelm you I have divided my report into three posts since I have so much to share. As a summary these are nine trends I spotted.

  1. Color: Red, Pink, Blush, Coral, Persimmon and Watermelon ruled this Spring, followed by Blue, Emerald green, White and Gold
  2. Chairs: Exposed wood spines, sexy backs, sculpture in the room, statement pieces
  3. Case goods: Faceted wood fronts, wallpapered fronts, decorative geometric shapes, hardware that is either big or “go pegs”.
  4. Brass is KING…seriously, the amount of it was overwhelming.
  5. Live Like You: Furniture for real life not “magazine rooms”. Crypton fabrics, durable quality core pieces for beds and dressers, durable rugs.
  6. Mixed Materials: wood with faux shagreen, wood and brass, Lucite and wood, Lucite and leather, parchment and wood, glass and wood.
  7. Elevated organics: Organic shapes and forms applied to furniture
  8. Accessories: Organics, rock crystals, shells, bones, feathers, spiney sea urchin shapes in brass and white
  9. Fabrics: Large scale florals, birds, tie dye and water colors.


RED in all it’s various hues was without a doubt the trending color of Spring Market. I personally have never been a huge fan of red but after seeing some of the showrooms I think I might have to rethink how I feel about this dramatic color. The Ambella Home showroom knocked me over with their use of red. It was one of my favorite showrooms. The white upholstery and the light gray woods are so striking against the red wall.


Ambella Home: Linda Holt Photo

One of my favorite designers who loves color as much as I do is Tobi Fairley. Her new furniture collection for C.R. Laine and for Woodbridge  is full of rich yummy color, especially vibrant pinks and fushia. (notice nail heads and Lucite are still trending).


Linda Holt Photo

This Pink coffee table is fun but also comes in any color you choose.

Tobi Fairley for C.R.Laine:Linda Holt Photo

Tobi Fairley for Woodbridge:Linda Holt Photo

The Lillian August show room was one of the most colorful showrooms and I love the the raspberry velvet chairs in her Spring collection.

Lillian August:Linda Holt Photo

Lillian August:Linda Holt Photo

Blush pink got a lot of buzz at the show and this blush colored leather chair immediately drew me in. The leather and steel base is more masculine but the blush color pushes it toward the feminine. The chair thus becomes almost gender neutral which was another trend I saw emerging (gender neutrality).


Linda Holt Photo

Norwalk Furniture chose three color themes for Spring. Under the Sea (Blues), Jetson (think 60’s red, silver,black and gold) and Hill Country which is this dusty pink pictured below.


Rowe Furniture Linda Holt Photo

Blue continued to have a very strong showing as seen in the Mr. Brown Home showroom.

Mr. Brown Home

Mr. Brown Home: Linda Holt Photo

Duralee hit a home run with their new fabrics from John Robshaw. The show room was so lively and inspiring and that red and blue sofa in the background was like sitting on a cloud as it was all down!


Duralee: Linda Holt Photo

Deep blue velvet upholstery was spotted it in multiple showrooms and in the photo below it is striking paired with red.


Linda Holt Photo

I also spotted a lot of softer gray blues as in this vignette from Bernhardt Furniture.   The all white furniture and accessories makes the room so calming. Can’t you just see this at a sea side location?


Linda Holt Photo

Emerald Green was another color that made a strong showing. Similar to the bold red wall in the first image, notice the furnishings and accessories are neutral black and white. The green color is the star of the room. The M.T. Company showroom had several rooms using emerald green.

The M.T. Company: Linda Holt Photo

The M.T. Company: Linda Holt Photo

Again, the bold green fabric is the star and the supporting colors are kept neutral with white, black and gray.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

I don’t want you to think that every showroom was bursting with color. There was plenty of gray, white and gold. I just tend to gravitate toward color like a moth to the flame so color is what stood out to me.

Linda Holt Photo

Linda Holt Photo

2.Chairs. Sexy is back or should I say backs are sexy! Chair after chair had exposed spines or interesting lines and looked just as fabulous from the back as from the front. This little red number from Ambella Home was one of my favorites.

ambella chair.REd

Ambella Home: Linda Holt Photo

I also love these dining chairs from Universal Furniture.

Universal Furniture: Linda Holt Photo

Universal Furniture: Linda Holt Photo

This one from Stanley Furniture caught my eye.

Stanley Furniture: Linda Holt Photo

Stanley Furniture: Linda Holt Photo

If chairs didn’t have exposed spines they had interesting shapes. I saw a lot of barrel shaped chairs which tend to look good floating in a room. Blush color velvet adorn these chairs from the new Michael Berman collection for Theodore Alexander.

Theodore Alexander:Linda Holt Photo

Theodore Alexander:Linda Holt Photo

and last but not least, check out this chair from Bernhardt clad in artisan hammered metal. Now wouldn’t that be the statement piece in the room! Surprisingly it was comfortable too!

Bernhardt: Linda Holt Photo

Bernhardt: Linda Holt Photo

3. Case goods. No longer delegated to a supporting role, case goods are now shouting “look at me”. I saw bold, gold, brutalist, faceted, sculptural, and wrapped and wallpapered. There was a huge variety but they were all statement pieces.

Noir: Linda Holt Photo

Noir: Linda Holt Photo

Many had geometric designs like this one from Vanguard.

Vanguard: Linda Holt Photo

Vanguard: Linda Holt Photo

This one from Lexington Furniture was both faceted and gold.

Lexington Furniture: Linda Holt Photo

Lexington Furniture: Linda Holt Photo

Metal wrapped and hammered consoles were also trending like this one from Mr. Brown Home.

Mr. Brown Home:Linda Holt Photo

Mr. Brown Home:Linda Holt Photo

I also saw a number of wallpaper wrapped chests.

wallpaper chest

The other trend is that the hardware has become jewelry. The trend is either really big like on this cabinet from Global Views

Global Views

Global Views

and this one from Harp and Finial

Harp and Finial:Linda Holt Photo

Harp and Finial:Linda Holt Photo

Or really small like these pegs on a chest at Noir.

Noir pegs

Armoires are also making a comeback and they too are statement pieces like this metal hammered stunner at Bernhardt.

Bernhardt Linda Holt Photo

Bernhardt Linda Holt Photo

Geometric shapes are also popular on the doors, especially over glass.

Universal Furniture: Linda Holt Photo

Universal Furniture: Linda Holt Photo

Even children’s furniture is following the trend like this cute patch work quilt decorated chest spotted at Sauder.

Sauder: Linda Holt Photo

Sauder: Linda Holt Photo

So there you have the first three trends. The second three will be up within a day or so.

Which trend do you like the most so far?

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