a new vanity

faux bamboo deskperfumeflower dishbrushesOur apartment is spacious by New York standards. The bathroom, though? Totally suffers from tiny bathroom syndrome. The only storage is in a small vanity and medicine cabinet, leaving me with little room for cosmetics.

In our last apartment, my make-up collection lived in a wonderful Pax wardrobe organizer drawer. It was seriously the best; everything had a place, and I could find things quickly. When we moved, however, we left it behind. We weren’t positive it’d survive the move, and I wasn’t sure I really wanted it in the new bedroom.

So this winter I trawled Craigslist for a desk to use as a vanity. I tried a few keywords: campaign, faux bamboo, mirrored. After a few weeks, I found a cross-post from a vintage dealer on Etsy, based in Brooklyn. It was a faux bamboo desk for $150. Sold.

Well, when it was delivered to our curb, I will admit it looked like a piece of junk I wouldn’t pay more than $40 for at a garage sale. There was major water damage on the top, and the off-white finish had yellowed to a very gross level. But here’s the deal: we live in the city. We don’t own a car. So getting out to the burbs where there are deals to be had on all sorts of wonderful things (as long as you hit the sales every. single. week.), is pretty impractical. So I pay a premium for junk because it’s hard to get it otherwise. And I’ve never bought a huge piece of furniture from the Antiques Garage in Chelsea (where there are still some deals to be had) because frankly, I have no idea how I’d get it home!

Plus, there is primer and paint, which forgives all sorts of ills. I used Chantilly Lace in a semi-gloss from the BM Advance line, the same paint I’m using on trim in our apartment. White paint works miracles, but I’m not quite finished. I’d like to get a piece of mirror cut for the top–I’ve strategically used a tray to hide the major water damage for now. And I need to find a bench or chair. The mirror also feels tiny; I painted a mirror I already had, but I’d like to get something more substantial.

I’m working on organizing the drawers still, but the difference already is enormous. Huzzah for storage.


floridaI got back late Monday from Florida, and what a successful trip it was! I ate every meal outside, drank outside, shopped outside, and saw the ocean. Somehow it had been 5 years since I last visited–a strange realization considering I spent most school vacations at my grandparents’ home there.

All of those formative years spent floating in a screened-in pool, napping on rattan love seats, and eating fresh-picked grapefruits for breakfast have made me very fond of the state, faux bamboo and all. So it should be no surprise that I bought these from Circa Who in West Palm Beach:rattan chairs

They were marked half off, so even when the shipping was factored in (a not inconsequential amount), the chairs, individually, were still less than $200 each. The cushions aren’t attached to the chairs, so when I eventually find fabric to have them redone, it won’t be as costly as upholstery. But the colors in the cushions work with what I have, so there’s no rush.

And now I’m reinstating my moratorium on faux bamboo. But if I ever retire to Florida, I am set.

dining palette update

yellow blue pink paletteI’ve shared the inspiration pictures for my dining room, and the furniture I have so far. I made another color decision recently: the curtains!

The curtains aren’t a custom order, so I hope to have them installed by the end of the month. They’re going to be in this lovely pale blue dupioni silk. The color sets off the citron so well, but it also ties in the gray-blue sofa from the adjoining living room.

The color in the background here is my Deep Caviar. The gloss I’m using for our doors is really bringing out the blue tones of the color, which is so pretty. I’m not going to use this paint anywhere in the dining room, but since the room opens to the living room, which will be painted Deep Caviar, I wanted to see how the colors all interact. And I love it.

I’m looking at dining chair options, and trying to keep in mind opportunities to use some special fabrics in small quantities, like on chair backs. I definitely want to introduce pattern now–I have a solid colored bench and soon solid colored curtains, so a bit of pattern on the chairs would help to break that up, and also introduce a few more colors.

But now, I’m off to Florida for a long weekend. I’m leaving my husband at home this time, and visiting my family there. I have big plans to check out the vintage home stores in West Palm Beach, where I will definitely do some instagramming. You can follow along @colleennath!

carleton varney

carleton varney storeI’m very, very excited to see that Carleton Varney has opened an e-commerce store. He’s the heir to the Dorothy Draper decorating throne, and as such, embraces her use of color and pattern. I’ve stalked Brazilliance –in my mind the much prettier alternative to the ever-present Martinique print– for ages, and now I can get my fix. This is amazing.

The best part? Everything is extremely well-priced and reasonable. Accent chairs for $540, pillows for $100-$120–all of it using iconic fabrics. Now here’s to hoping more of those famous Dorothy Draper florals appear on the site soon!

Apollo Mirror / Abundance of Roses Needlepoint Pillow / Florence Blue Chest of Drawers / Brazilliance Throw Pillow / Carmen Armchair in Zebra Needlepoint

weekend reading

project holly

Image by Kimberly Chau for Style Me Pretty Living

I’m ready to move in to this house designed by Bailey McCarthy!

These bright glasses from CB2 are too cute to pass up at $3 a pop.

I stumbled upon Piol custom dresses; the dresses themselves are out of my budget, but I love the custom color palettes they offer. I already wear a lot of purple, but the red surprised me! What’s your color palette?

I’m a huge fan of cream blushers (really any make-up you can apply with your fingers), so I’m curious about these new Cheek Pops from Clinique.

Nicole’s black parlor is getting me motivated to paint my living room.

Finally, my living room rug made a cameo on Design*Sponge last week!