My love of “The Amandas”

Are any of you watching the show The Amandas on the Style network? I am OBSESSED. What could ever get me to turn the channel from my beloved Bravo?

This nutcase:

I use that term in the most lovingly way possibly. I think I found my long lost twin sister and no not because we look eerily related. She’s Amanda Leblanc owner of Closet Prescription, an organizing firm based in Birmingham, Alabama. Her show, The Amandas is a reality show about her business, her employees, and the homes and lives they transform through organization.

As you can see from that photo, they are basically Charlie’s Angels in stilettos and wielding power tools. I love this show for a myriad of reasons but the biggest one is that they show how Amanda runs her actual business. Yes there are magical before and afters (and we’ll get to those) but what puts the “reality” into the show is how Amanda balances her work/life/kids/husband, how she deals with problem employees, and how she grapples with her own personal demons of insecurity, anxiety and ADD.  In one of the early episodes they film her trying to relate to the other moms at school and her fear of introducing herself to them. Issues you definitely wouldn’t think a strong-minded entrepreneur would have to deal with but she does and it shows that you can be highly successful and functional in many aspects of your life, but simple things like meeting new people, or trying new things can be total roadblocks for anyone regardless of success or personality. Amanda also demands perfection from her employees and their projects which can make her come across a little unlikeable but I think most of it comes from editing and her young employees inexperience with having a boss that won’t accept laziness or talking back. Ok, on to the porn…

(All images from

This is the office of a cupcake store. I am a believer in white when organizing but that’s just my personal preference. It’s just important to keep the color the same so your eye isn’t competing all over the room.

This is a closet for triplets. It’s truly amazing what you can do with just a standard closet. You don’t have to have a walk-in to be organized!

This is the inside f the cupcake store’s foodtruck. My only concern is the white and pink boxes on the left. Are they nailed down or will they scatter all over once the truck gets going?

What’s interesting about this closet is that it already had an organizing system in place but it just wasn’t being used effectively. Wood hangers, though? I’m a strictly Huggable Hangers gal.

This is my favorite of all her projects I’ve seen. Such a beautiful nursery transformed from basically a household dumping ground.

Are any of you watching the show? This week she’s tearing up NeNe’s ( from RHOA) closet…OMG. What projects in your life do you need help organizing with? I actually just got my first client in Walla Walla for organizing rather than designing and I can’t wait to get started! The before/after pics are going to be amazing:)

Living Inside The Pages Of April’s Elle Decor

Lots to parse in this month’s issue. They unveiled their entire showhouse at Paramount Bay in Miami. Ten designers were commissioned to overhaul a penthouse apartment. I had high hopes. I should have known better. Let’s start out with the something good, the Trend Alert.

Graphic Patterns!

I loved this entire spread. Art Deco era prints are exploding all over the designsphere. They are a welcome respite from the tribal patterns that have been dominating for the last 6 or so years. (Thank you Madeline Weinrib) Graphic and geometric prints were shown all over the Spring 2012 runways. Gucci featured them prominently.

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy

Gucci S/S 12 courtesy

Unless you own a Goyard and then you’re already ahead of the times:)

My baby.

I was elated to see a spread on Maryam Montague’s home in Morocco. My grandfather immigrated from Mostaganem, Algeria so I love seeing North African spaces and design and trying to imagine what the places my family lived in looked like. Probably nothing like this.

Montague and her architect husband built the 4,500 square foot, two-story home from the ground up. It took almost 4 years to complete.

The master bedroom

I am always a sucker for a year round outdoor dining space. I think it’s from spending so many years in Minnesota. Even though the weather in Washington is considerably better, my goal in life is to get to somewhere where we can be outside year round. Life is too short to be stuck inside for 6 months.

This mural in the guest room is insanely decadent. Admittedly, the room as a whole would really only work in an African/Middle Eastern locale but you can always steal elements like the graphic rug or using an antique quilt for a bedspread.

I feel bad leading with such a beautiful spread because you know what that means… It can only get worse from here. And oh does it.

Am I the only one over the ridiculously over-priced custom design show homes where they throw in a bunch of designers to design individual rooms? I imagine it like a ghetto version of the Real World where instead of fighting over who is going to clean the dishes, they have knockout drag down fights over how many of them get to use a random placed phallic-looking obelisk or the number of natural tree branches allowed per square foot. Oh look…branches and phallic mushrooms! Shocking.

“Giant sculptural tree? Check. Branches in a vase? Check. Hunk of coral? Check. Hmmm…I don’t think we’ve brought enough of the outside in. Oh here, I’ve got some hideous magic mushrooms to shove in the corner. Nothing says modern coastal living more than those… Wait, is that old bust of Mozart still in my storage unit? ”

“The media room. Oh, do people actually watch a television anymore? I’m much too refined for that. The news is too violent and everything I need to know about the arts I can learn from Terri Gross. Well I guess if I have to include one of those dreadful flat screens I’ll make sure to hide it in an armoire. No one can actually know that this room is specifically for viewing media. Now for seating….lets make it as inconvenient as possible to look at that monstrosity. Yes, a chaise. Because why would people want to actually sit next to each other to view that thing? Oh fine. I’ll throw in some ridiculously uncomfortable chairs you can physically turn if you absolutely have to watch that Downtown Abigail show I keep hearing everyone talk about. Darn…I still have to include something coastal… hand me that antler, please.”

“Well I was really hoping to get that gig designing a room for the Vegas showhouse, but I guess I have to settle for crappy ole’ Miami. Le sigh ya’ll. Instead, let’s just decorate it like it should be in Vegas. Make that Liberace proud! Ya know, in my fabric line, I carry shiny gold taffeta. Let’s tuft it with them there Swarovski crystals ( you know that crystals aren’t tacky if they are Swarovski.) and then we’ll pair it with BRIGHT purple! Purple and gold, because nothing screams coastal living more than a big tribute to the Minnesota Vikings. Oh wait we’re going Vegas here right? You know what that means??? Leopard print! Wait…purple leopard print! No, the rug needs to be circular. Like the shape of the bed I would have chosen if I could have convinced Elle Decor it was beachy. I guess this giant gold box will do. Do you have any of that left over fabric from Joanne’s when I was going to sew myself a pair of Zubas? Yes, slap it on that bench there. Thank yoooou.”

Alright alright, enough snarking, I just had to show you the worst of the spaces before we could get to the best. I absolutely adore this entry. From the console, to the art, to the chair with a touch of Missoni. This space is done perfectly. It has touches of coastal, but not a shell in sight:)

I’m torn about the dining room. I love the rope idea, the chandelier, and the table. But lord do those chairs look out of proportion. Is it just me or does it look like if you sat in those you’d barely be chest height with the table??? The buffet looks too small as well. So, while I love that table, it it way too large for the other pieces in the room. Also, the Charlie Brown tree in the corner just looks… sad.

I adore this kitchen. Talk about mixing metals and colors harmoniously! It’s a perfect example of not being afraid to mix things up in your kitchen. The back splash is onyx, the counters are quartz, and the island is granite. A classic way to make a kitchen look more high-end is to not have everything be matchy matchy. The sitting area in the foreground is divine. Perfectly styled.

What do you all think? Love the showhouse or are you over it?

Hotel Crashing: Viceroy – Palm Springs Edition

Whenever I head to Palm Springs, The Viceroy is the place I always have to visit.

Originally opened in 1933 as a boutique hotel, the property was completely redesigned in 2001 by the Grande Dame of Design herself, Kelly Wearstler. (Her husband is the CEO of the Viceroy Hotel Group)  The hotel consists of 67 guest rooms, including studios, suites and private villas. All rooms and bungalows feature a classic Hollywood regency style using black and white with punches of neon yellow.

The lobby

A bungalow

The entrance to their beautiful spa, Estelle.

Outdoor massages under the gazebo!

The property has three large pools. This one is viewable from the hotel rooms. Look at that yellow and white awning stripe fabric, how Troop Beverly Hills.

“Never go to Reno for a divorce, girls. The California community property laws cannot be beat.”

God, I love that movie.

Oh, hello there Monsieur.

These white greyhound statues are the signature item of the hotel. They’re everywhere.

This is the entrance to their meeting space. Yes, that is astro turf. I may or may not have got down on all fours to sniff it and make sure.

The interior is decorated with cool gray walls, wainscoting, (love that mirror inset idea) white chiavari chairs, and chrome accents.

A closer look at one of the glass chandeliers. I’m pretty sure that plaster sunburst detailing is original to the building.

Had to get a quick shot of the roman shades on the doors. I love a hint of greek key.

The entrance to a bungalow. Please ignore the sunspot. Bad photographer! Bad! Instead note the coral doors (GOD, I love that color) the chrome hardware, and the striped awnings.

The view when you step inside. While we’re on the topic of things I love, here’s another, a good kick plate. They transform any door.

The ample living room

A closer look at the glass fireplace. I adore this style of gas fireplace. You simply turn that knob on the left wall, and then hold a match over the glass shards, and it instantly lights. Much more aesthetically pleasing than those faux log monstrosities.

I find it so cool that they selected such a vibrant wallpaper and continued it through to the ceiling. It defines the space and creates a comforting feeling. Definitely a pro’s trick you can steal for your home.

The kitchenette was the only let down for me. It looks like something you’d find in a Queens fourth floor walk-up. I understand wanting to maintain the integrity of the original 1933 space… but new counters, a modern sink, and appliances would have gone a looong way.

The bathroom. Another decorator trick you can adapt for home. If you have a standard tub/shower combo, give it drama by raising up the curtain bar ( you can go all the way to the ceiling) and using two curtains with tie backs. Then use a fabric shower liner. Always a FABRIC liner. There is nothing tackier than a plastic shower curtain.  I’d rather watch you eat Colby cheese on a chicken in a biscuit cracker than see a plastic shower curtain in your home. Seriously.

Here’s something I don’t find tacky. A neatly stocked lucite shower caddy.

Now for the pièce de résistance, a dramatic bedroom.

Floor to ceiling drapes, an almost all white palate, greek key, and a stylish armoire…Swoon.

Also, swoon-worthy was their restaurant Citrone.

They have a mix of indoor and outdoor dining spaces.

A table all set up for something fabulous. How fun would it be to have a bridal shower here? Or a bachelorette weekend:)

A view into the delightful bar

So bright and chic. It reminds me of something that would be on the Cote de Azure.

I’ll close this post with another gratuitous pool shot.

Hope you enjoyed this addition of Hotel Crashing! Tomorrow, I’ll be dissecting the newest edition of Elle Decor. There are some hits and some BIG misses… Also, I’ll have a look at the new Lily Pulitzer furniture line and a DIY Union Jack dresser. Here’s a teaser…

Stay tuned!