Slow Dance


Below is a poem by child psychologist David L. Weatherford.

Have you ever watched the kids                                                                          

On a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain                                                                                  

Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?    

Or gazed the sun into the fading night?

Time is short  

The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day

On the fly?

When you ask: How are you?                                                                                    

Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,

do you lie in your bed?

With the next hundred chores

Running through your head? 

You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast

Time is short.

The music won’t last

Ever told your child,

We’ll do it tomorrow?

And in your haste,

Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,

Let a good friendship die

Cause you never had time

To call and say, “Hi”?

You’d better slow down.                                                                                         

Don’t dance so fast. 

Time is short.

The music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere

You miss half the fun of getting there

When you worry and hurry though your day

It is like an unopened gift thrown away. 

Life is not a race. 

Do take it slower. 

Hear the music

Before the song is over. 

From East to West

I heard from a very popular blogger than when you do not feel like writing that most likely, your readers are not interested in reading . Holidays and heat waves could be the culprit .

Los Angeles has been an inferno. And not just the temperature. My heart has been heating up in more ways than one. Now that I am  back from the wonderment of summer debauchery, tennis, sunsets, late mornings,riding bikes, and attending after parties , I actually think I am lost.

Carpool, Mammogram appointments, What’s for dinner? , PTA night, Snack day.  Who am I?

I went from  seeing my husband so infrequently this summer ( he was able to come three times in 10 weeks ) that I actually remembered what it was like to impress him. Think hair salon, a week of squats and delivering breakfast in bed to him every morning. There was no “Honey , can you take out the recycling” I had him dialed..It was a honey moon in every sense of the word.

Now, back in LA, we are back into the mode of life. It is a grand life with healthy children and a roof over our heads. Schedules, rules and calendars run my day now.  I jumped back on the hamster wheel with the hubby over a silly argument about who was going to rent the piano for Bailey, my second child. And to add insult to injury,  I donned the most horrendous pair of old granny panties while I complained to him. This is not cool to do when your husband is starting to look younger than you.

So what I have done to feel better?

I allowed the girls to stay up past their bedtime last night. We ate food on beach towels and they all tee-teed on the lawn and squealed with delight.  I sipped on a beer and sprayed the hose on them as they jumped in and out of our swimming pool naked.  I could not muster the energy to do bath time, story time, tickles and  “May I have one more glass of water” . Everyone fell asleep in the their clothes.  And all children had a spring in their step the next day.

I am also sporting a highlights and a blow out. ( I never get them as I can not  stand the word blow out or the overdone look in general. Having long blown out hair reminds of 40 something women in reality shows or on Entertainment Tonight. .. But golly it works! Wow! It was worth every penny as I watched my face look better and better under a sheath of shiny smooth hair.

My heart feels good. And I am blogging. Let the Fall roll in..

Below is my attempt to share without sharing too much.. These are my photos from being home on the east coast and coming back to where my heart is.


Mid July. 40- something year old women adding more concealer before party..Newport RI

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Pond at Wedding Ceremony


Flowers on a window sill at end of summer party in powder room


Sneak peek into bathroom during a photo shoot


Fresh snap peas from garden waiting on counter


Living Room of friends grandmother’s home


Working kitchen that has not changed since the 50’s..


Newly clipped hedges on “Bunny Hop Island ” . Affectionately named by the girls..


After the rain on the lawn


South Carolina Crabbing.


My God daughter , Mimi.


Sunset on the marsh




The Atlantic

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photo 4

Pawleys Island


The flower room


Back to Hollister..


The hoe down farm stand..

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Camping on the lawn..




Growing up


Very proud papa..


The McDonough family beach day


Off-line and In Life



There are several mistakes I made in starting a blog. The first is that I should have started it in 2006 when people still liked to read. The second is that I started it right before summer. Every day I wake up and think about how I have not written a post in a week, two weeks and now a month. Who I am kidding? I can barely find a stamp to mail my bills. I waited until the deadline hour before I filled out the various school forms . I ordered “Tween Time” to cover my gray hair because I am too lazy to drive a mile to the local Wave Lengths salon to get my hair dyed. The only contents in my antiquated refrigerator are moldy cheese, limp celery and curdling half and half . Work is piling up, excuses are flying out. I am a hot mess. But..  I am having the time of my life.


For all the time I am off-line I am on the court.


I am in the cabana and off my phone


Playing in the rain has never been so fun


Baby Feet and the smell of grass. Time sits still if I let it.


Conversations with new friends that are 96 years old.  I hope I make it to 96 and ,maybe, I will wear wide brimmed flowered hats and neon orange lipstick and realize all that worrying never truly mattered.


Adolescence is contagious


Untouched Butlers Pantries


Kind Smiling Bartenders


Dinner Parties with Vintage Finds


Design with Bravado


Clipping Roses


Girl Friend Dinner Parties


Boats on the Wharf


Shoes that will not fit next summer



Garden Parties


Before Beach Rush hour..


Afternoons in the hammock


Little girls


Hot summer days before the rain..


Surfing the waves and not the internet….Putting life in perspective











Every year I have a fairly predictable first day of summer vacation. It is, without fail, emotionally charged in a sweet and nostalgic way.
















Eloise is always the first to instruct the taxi to make the left turn into the graveled driveway of Beachmound, my husbands family home, just as the the sun is setting over the Atlantic Ocean.

Our hungry and tired bodies are instantaneously reinvigorated by the site of our faded white clapboard cottage, formerly named the “dumplet” by my in laws. The neatly pruned hydrangeas stand alert on the front lawn.

By August, a riot of pink and purple blowzy blossoms will paint my lawn and will pack every leftover glass jar and vase in my house.

It was yesterday that my families’ aubergine station wagon was chugging down the South Carolina highway with three children,without car seats,  in the back seat .   ford-ltd-station-wagon_fc6f8 pawleys-island-real-estate-contact













Now, I have taken over the wheel and I am trekking with my children across the country to their summer destination. While Newport, RI seeps into my skin a tad more every summer , my childhood summer memories will always be the freshest and the purest, just as I watch my own children’s unfold before my eyes.

Like clock work, the girls catch their second wind as they race through the creaking cottage doors  in a dash to find their faded favorite tutu or coveted swimming metal that was left in a specific spot the year before.

I peak into the closets to find hangers stiff with dresses the color of Easter eggs, questioning out loud if they shrunk over the winter months.


We travel lightly as hand me downs are the clothes that are in season at the “dumplet”.



Cursing the windows year after year I finally release the storm glass, allowing for fresh air to replace the palpable smell of humidity and confinement. ( A rite of passage for the gift of this cottage year after year I tell myself..)



William gedney. jpg

William Gedney

Secretly, I imagine my home awakening and thanking me for filling the void of nothingness that enveloped her for last nine long months.
Black and white and color photos cover the walls with children that are recognizably mine.  Yet, there is no casual whisper that my childrens bodies are elongating and the baby-ness of their faces is departing. I can feel the passage of time.

I am no longer the child in the back of a wagon asking ” Are we there yet?”  I am the mother gently explaining that it is bedtime even though the sun is still out. Patterns of clouds  forming into animals and worn white sheets  transport me as I say,  It’s bedtime!”5c494c8ff977c7d91a0b54a16699426e

There is no substitution for what summer can donate to a family.  My children will affectionately speak about the lengthy summer days and they will pine over them and embellish just as I do now. The details matter and I will take my position of Director of Fun seriously this summer.

The word stress will be void I will try to listen more to their stories and complaints, and play the same games over and over again and remember that there is no time limit on swimming pools, oceans and popsicles.

I can leave the work books and the ipads and the TV for the school year. This is the summer of fun.

Bailey and Posey making bubble dresses.. The TV broke this summer is what they think..

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you”

Khalil Gibran


Summer is for kisses and compliments. .   Bernadette Pascua. Her blog is amazing!














Crabbing with Bailey. TIme flying by.




Tryst with a House & Tom. Part 3

I have a confession. I dreamt that I went to court for blatantly stealing a chocolate brown room with cotton candy pink sofas.  I confess.  I, Ruthie Sommers, ripped off one of my favorite decorators in the history of decorators, Tom Scheerer.

Interiors of Tom Scheerer for Book

Tom sits on the steps of his family’s home in East Hampton. The wallpaper and coral colored tread combination has seen generations of families. Powerful decorating comes from the inhabitants when they recognize that new is not always better. Disposable decorating has become second nature these days. “Trending alert”, headlines magazine articles about the newest ideas to follow. Wallpaper one day and then remove the next? Not in my swatch book!


Tom Scheerer Decorates, by Mimi Read is arguably the best design book in ages.

Mimi, a super smarty pants writer, (Think magna cum laude Brown University in literature) penned his book and I could hang on every word she wrote as she described this master of charming and fresh design.

Why is his book different? Well, for starters all of the rooms are actually rooms he designed for homes around the world. Unlike several design books on the market, nothing reeks “photo shoot for book”. Formality is missing and what a relief! Each space, whether town or country or island, lends itself to ever lasting decorating. I find myself wanting to read, eat, entertain or nap after a sun drenched day in all of his rooms and, truthfully, in all of his beds.

Familiarity drives my personal design and this is why I adore my old car and yearn for my grandparents peeling cherry wallpaper in their china closet. Spirit and life are the definition of a successful room. No two homes feel that they are related in his work. They may be distant cousins with similar exquisite design qualities but all of his work feels particular to the client and the home.

We must move on to the subject at hand. Lyford Cay Club and how I was caught with my hand in the brownie jar. At this club Tom created what is an already iconic room. A room where a mocha grande of brown grasscloth drenches the  walls with stenciled cream palm trees and is peppered with pink sofas, sisal rugs and gold mirrors.

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I did ring up Mimi to find out how Tom came up with his famous mural idea.  He explained, ” I was going for an El Morocco look, vividly etched to those of a certain vintage. The iconic New York cafe society hang out was midnight blue with uplit white papier-mâché palms shooting up behind zebra covered banquettes.

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Lyford Cay Club has a history that is as colorful as its interiors and guests.   When I open a delightful invitation via mail (thank goodness for real invitations..) and the name Lyford Cay Club sits raised off the card, I know I am going to be packing my bags. Weddings and birthdays are a highlight in my travel notebook of spectacular weekends I have spent in the Bahamas vacationing here.


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Tom redesigned the interiors at this venerable private club. Clearly, it was a match made in heaven.








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How did he decide on chocolate brown?” I ALWAYS choose chocolate brown when attempting something chic and sexy”. When I read this on my email,  I turned a shade of Ban de Soleil gel #4.

Moving on to my blatant thievery for my client in Chicago , I will remind you that my client had been very sick. The chemo had her in bed, during tough bland winter months. Elissa is quite the traveler and the thought of Lyford Cay Club holds happy memories. What better way to have a nibble of a memorable room than to recreate it?



In comes the most talented painter I know, Patrick Roullier.

Patrick Roulierr

Patrick Roullier

Painting palm trees on the walls in Lake Forest Chicago felt a tad out-of-place so when in Rome.. well, be true to your surroundings. We copied the trees on her front lawn, speckled lily of valley around and plopped the large acorns that drop on her driveway in the fall. Some insects and butterflies made flight into the mural as well. And cheesy as this may sound, Patrick pulled it off. Elissa has a young son and he suggested this.  Watching him catch a glimpse of a butterfly on the way to bed is worth all the cheese in the world.



From South Central with Love

Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you are a visual person. I certainly am.

With Instagram, Twitter and everything in between, we are the recipients of  eye candy on a daily basis. Photos and inspiration come in hot and usually with little reading. And I just started a blog.. Great..

ruthie sommers red library

My favorite chair in my library. I spend half as much time in here as I did three years ago.















Gardens at Courances Chateau I collect photos like these. Just in case I have a place to build this one day? Not..








Carolyne Roehm- This photo reminds me of an incredible children’s book-The Curious Garden by Peter Brown as seen below.




Pretty, chic, gorgeous are all words sitting on the tip of my tongue waiting to  be used on anything from a kitchen sink to a piece of fancy art.  I like pretty things, from topiaries to bed spreads. I live in an over stylized Pinteresty world and I enjoy it. Little did I know, my search for a new pound puppy would lead me down a colorful path of inspiration.

South Central Los Angeles is a hop, skip and a jump from my bucolic neighborhood. The gorgeous green lawns trade places with yards littered with grocery carts. Riots , poverty and crime are words that are synonymous with this area more than beautiful and chic.

With every drive, my eyes were opened to something new amidst the decrepit buildings and baron yards.  At 7 am I had a glimpse of the elderly grandfather watering his petite garden patch that was as colorful as children’s book. I discovered a tiny house painted a shocking magenta pink crawling with blooming soft blush roses and neon colored bougainvillea.

The touch of people, the human touch on so many of these houses screamed “Look at me in a different way”.


The neatly swept brick path speckled with garden statues and gnomes felt cared for with love. One porch was barely visible from the street as it was covered in a riot of planted ferns all in painted pots.

What a wonderful break from what is becoming the norm to me on the internet.   Cape Cod styled kitchens, food so glorious that it should not be eaten,bedroom canopies that rival those of Marie Antoinette. My idea of pretty has become fairly unrealistic.

The time I spent in South Central had an impact on me . Not only the long and surprising drive but the people I met along the way. While I touched several furry friends, the people at the shelters touched me.

Leslie, the supervisor, has a favorite dog named Michael that she named after an angel. She takes him out everyday and showers him with treats when she can.

John, the cop, drives the streets of downtown LA in search of dogs that are abandoned. He started his own rescue and had just carried in two dogs that were pushed out of a car.


Here is the cop with the dog rescue. He had seen this dog pushed out of a car. Don’t worry! This will have a happy ending because of his kindness.


Leslie and Micheal.










This is Destiny. I almost fell over when she told me her name. I told her I knew it! She had an amazing gift and this is where is she is needed. We laughed and laughed.










I needed this change of scenery. Those bright orange shutters and hot pink house will probably never make it to a Pinterest page. And I am not sure when I will connect with Destiny any time soon.  But I feel richer than I do surfing the net or sometime chatting about mundane topics.  This was a new kind of beauty. And one that I have been missing in my life.

And now, I have a new puppy, many new friends at the animal shelter and a new view.

Below are some moments that remind me of my journey .  The black and white photography came from a fantastic book called The Americans, photographs by Robert Frank and paintings from my favorite artist, Edward Hopper. 10119918_1_x-Custom robert-frank-the-americans-american-flag-covering-windows


By Peter Brown

By Peter Brown





I hope you can find beauty and inspiration today in some unsurprising places.

PS-This has a happy ending but get out the tissues.







Audrey and My Phone


Audrey Hepburn said, ” Pick the Day ! Enjoy it to the hilt.  The day as it comes. People as they come. Not to live for the day . That would be materialistic-but to treasure the day. ”

I desperately wanted to come up with something new and catchy to write about today. However, I need to check out of the computer and phone abyss that takes up so much of my  day. My phone is wrecking me. I am over it. Throw it in the ocean!  Why it is so popular ? Why do I check it every twenty minutes? Who is in there?  It is driving me crazy yet I yearn to find it, touch it and open up the contents of a world of Safari, email, Pinterest and news hour by hour.  What is in my little silver square treasure chest of a computer that is more important than playing in a real treasure chest with my children?  When I am eighty, and golly I hope I make it there, I will have never wished I spent more time on my computer. I will have known, sadly, that I looked at my phone too often.

where did all the fun










I will long for the days of the soft, buttery touch of my two years old hand. I know, with all certainty , that I will not remember the weight of my four-year old’s body when I pick her up and I will forget what my seven-year olds hair smells like ( unwashed, like mine, I know it well now!)



So today, I can not think about rooms, or things. I want to disconnect from my phone even though it is Tuesday. I will not read the news because lately what I read has scared me. I have had thoughts of fear that surround my children and the what if’s have become too vivid for me.

I need to reach in my toolbox and know that everything can wait, nothing is a rush and appreciate and find meaning in all the little things .


Last night my children wanted to watch a cartoon. I said ,Go Play!  They came up with the most amazing ” trap” by the front door of our home. Eloise filled a small box with shredded paper from my office, Bailey found two pieces of old ribbon and Posey just ran around following them like a baby duckling. When I peeked at what they were doing I saw my chintzy living room pillows,  hat boxes and several other misplaced items by the front door. A small box filled with shredded paper was set on the  tippy top ledge of the door in hopes of Luke walking through any minute. However, the plan failed and I was to be the new recipient. Eloise asked me to watch her do cartwheels in the front yard and I quipped that  I needed to finish an email. Finally I raced out ,with the email on my mind, and then darted back inside the front door. Only to be stopped by a rainfall of white confetti. The joke was on me.

Minutes before, while I was typing on my computer, my ego was reminding me of what a good choice I made.. “No TV girls, it is uncreative. There is no flow.. ( did I hear that on Oprah?) .. But , there I was, NOT in their flow. Go Play? Where was my play at 7 pm?

Today I choose to be as present as possible. I am trusting my gut this morning and chose to write about how I feel.  Who cares about lamp shades any way? Today June 10th 2014, will be about the smelling, the touching, the listening and maybe even some journaling .. On paper that is.. Have a wonderful day whatever you choose to do!


This is heart designed by a farmer for his late wife. What a beautiful homage and also a reminder to what is the precious thing of all-Time.


Interior Design Heaven

My mind was racing this morning pondering the best way to open my post.  Last night I met the WHO’s WHO in interior design and photography.

While I am not a ga ga kind of gal over people-Dogs,trees, musicians and good ole chintz-yes,yes, yes!  I would rather be seated next to the nerdy science geek or WWII veteran any day over a fancy smachy Us Weekly person of the moment..But throw in a celebrated magazine editor of the old days of magazine divinity  AND an insanely talented photographer? Pull out your autograph books! Giddy with delight is an understatement when I saw the who’s who of fabulousness standing by the front door at a party I attended last night.

Claiborne Swanson, a bombshell of a beauty ,author and photographer of the book AMERICAN BEAUTY , hosted a small summer soiree last night in her Beverly Hills home.14-Claiborne-7837_151159588030-682x1024

The Swanson girls are some of my favorite people on the planet. I will be shallow and mention their incredible good looks.. But the real beauty oozes  out of all of them the minute you start a conversation. We gab about the wonderment of life, babies, work and fun and everything in between. These sisters always have something positive to say and it is usually about an idea or an interest and always spoken with kindness. I have met their mother, Elizabeth , and I know she is responsible. Therefore , with three of my own girls, I strive to recreate whatever she did right. Authenticity appears to trump all things material and I love this about them.

Now moving on to the hot ticket in the house.  Douglas Friedman,the photographer, was in my presence.


My friend Nena and I decided we may  just hide in his mustache and go along with him to the next party. As most of you know his work as an interiors photographer, he is equally fabuloso in fashion and lifestyle. I squeal with delight when I open a magazine to see that he is the photographer. As busy as he is ,the best homes require his touch so you know that the spread will be special.


Douglas Friedman


Douglas Friedman


Douglas Friedman. He can make anything look beautiful. Check out his blog the Facinator.














Douglas Friedman


Douglass Friedman


Douglas Friedman


Douglas Friedman


Douglas Friedman

























Claiborne married James Frank, Cynthia’s son.  James could have been James Bond in any movie, in any year, if you get my drift.

VERONICA BEARD Spring 2013 Presentation

Cynthia was an editor at House and Garden-ahhhhh. those days..  Cynthia is responsible for making magic with some of the worlds most artistic and unique homes by placing them upon pages in the top magazines from House and Garden days  to Elle Decor and Town and Country.  I devour my old House and Garden magazines on a weekly basis. Tattered and dog eared, they are  peppered all over my cottage in Newport RI. And every year, I find something new to adore in the same magazine I have been reading for years.

Cynthia was kind and chic and I would pay money to follow her around for weeks on end. Here is some of her personal work. We are all fortunate to have her producing shoots that we read in Elle Decor at the moment.


This was Claiborne and Jame’s home in New York and Cynthia helped design this.  Her home in Beverly Hills has  many of the same furnishings with the help of her adorable cousin,Nena Woolworth. Claiborne’s house is deliciously simple and inviting. Photography and family photos are her main event. And the house was impeccably neat but I felt I could relax here and dive into art books for hours on end.


Cynthia’s Home in South Hampton . Haynes Roberts collaborated with Cynthia. I love this duo of design team. One of my favorites by far.





The floor plan of this room is close to genius in my opinion.



The one blue chair? The blue chair is bold and brave amongst his monochromatic friends.


House and Garden Magazine. Elsie de Wolfe


House and Garden

11. mathilde  agostinelli bedroom

House and Garden Mathilde Agotinelli bedroom. Oberto Gigli


1961 House and Garden photograph


Oberto Gigli . I adore this photograph

11. elsie de wolfe house and garden

Elsie de Wolfe House and Garden











The Man Child

Well, love comes and goes doesn’t it? This morning is one of those mornings. Of course I did everything right. Rise and shine at 6, Whole Foods with Bailey by 7, croissants and bagels at home for everyone by 8 am. Luke sleeps in, duh..

But somehow, I forgot to get the nanny for the time he has tennis and I have to get my gray hair dyed. We all know which is more vital , to me and our marriage.  We have the ground-hog day kind of fight. He can be mean. I am passive. No one is to blame. He always apologies and I hide until I realize I am behaving like a four-year old. But today he is angry. He slammed my wonderful blue faux leather door against the oven about five minutes ago. blue-door-faux-leather-ruthie sommers

And here is the thing. Luke is not a douche. But he is acting like one this morning. Most likely, he is not getting enough attention so this is my fault. For an hour I am going to let myself vent because two people who share children and cars and backyards and bank accounts and holidays can not always see eye to eye. The apology is more important than the argument.

But give me a minute to pretend I am single and these are the places I own. In Paris , left bank, bien sur! And my boobs are what they were before three children.

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I am now going wallow about my not so cool office and secretly dream I had these the tall ceilings and this blueberry delicious ottoman in the photo below. Throw in that totally useless ladder as well .I will flirt this idea all day.  Notice the delicate petite table on spaghetti legs in the back? Who can keep anything that neat? Today I pretend that is me.


I would like to give credit to this designer if anyone knows who it is.

Now I am going to listen to this song by the XX, Heart Skipped a Beat, which reminds me of Luke . Music is powerful and it has found its way back into my life on a daily basis. Listen loudly in the car with your children, dogs or by yourself and magic happens. This song will conjure up why I fell in love in the first place. And, I am going to apologize first.

But before that I may hit a store or two to buy a new dress. I rarely shop for clothes in retail stores. Barneys is calling my name. It is singing” Sale items” And tonight, with my newly dyed hair, old boobs and possibly a new dress I will have forgotten about the silly fight . We will never ever have this day again . I am going to make the most of it. And this writing and this song pushed me along! Have a great one everyone.




Tryst with a House Part 2

If you have not been following this story, please read The Tryst Part 1 or this will sound extremely corny to you. 

He had me at Blue Ground.. A Farrow and Ball paint color that is. I met him when he first appeared on a small swatch at little paint store.Unknown I did not know when we would meet again but.. he came in hot and swathed his little dandy self all over my clients dining room walls and molding before I could say no..

This is the paint color that I adore yet can scare any decorator. Strong and lively, this color lends itself to a historic tone in the right space. But if used the wrong way, it can go too Pirates of the Caribbean tick tacky or bad Greek restaurant bathroom..

This dining room was gloomy when I met it.  But it was only having a bad hair day. Think of a fresh coat of paint as a blow out. It can do wonders, right? The Jansen table was a score and the chairs, while uncomfortable for large for a man, reinforced my bond over anything French.



View to the hallway and the living room.




A Bennison floral fabric made it’s way to this bench Elissa had already.

Phase One was accomplished. However, it felt naked. Draperies and shades could solve that. Who do we turn to for advice?  Miles Redd of course.

Finding a lower cost silk to make the draperies took forever to source . Keep in mind the house got the curtains in the divorce. We lined them with pink taffy silk stripe to pump up the charm. We limited the trim because Elissa and I are self recognized patisserie snobs and the little bobbles we wanted were about $300 a yard..

Photo shoot ready

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