25 February, 2020

"Designer Blackjack . . . "


Let's play a game.  I'm going to deal out 21 questions to 21 of my favourite interior designers . . . and together we're going to explore the 'highs of lows' - the 'challenges and celebrations' - and an all-aces 'why we love to do this' - with many of today's best and brightest designers.

Watch this space . . . 


18 February, 2020

"Fresh from the Garden . . . "


Though we are world-renowned for our endless love of Scottish highland textiles . . . one does not live by tartan alone.  Here at SMW Home, we love a vibrant palette - and sometimes those fabrics DO arrive on our shores from Scotland - but, we also print amazing floral and botanical fabrics here in the US.
SMW Home's Brogue Floral in Tartan Navy

Camille Floral - in Midnight

 Here is our Camille Floral wrapping the windows
and settee at the High Point Showcase House last Autumn.

Many of our textile patterns are based on vintage textiles that my mother and I collected - or in some cases, samples of my mother's needlework from when I was a child . . . 

Frances Crewelwork in Lake District Blue.
We used a small collection of my mother's
crewelwork as inspiration for this pattern.

SMW Home's Harrison Floral in Thyme

I was even inspired by the antique china that Mother and I would collect at each and every antique shop we would visit.  

Staveley Park Trellis in Summer Palace

We used Staveley Park Trellis for our own home for
a little party over the Christmas holidays!

Have a look at our entire collection of floral and botanical textiles - and let us know if we should send samples!


11 February, 2020

"Royal-Tea . . . "


A proper tea service is equal parts ceremony, tradition, and much-needed hydration.  And sometimes a snack.  And sometimes a meal.  Let's examine a few facts . . . a few legends . . . and a few of my personal preferences and rituals.

Let's talk tea . . . 


High Tea or Afternoon Tea?

Many fine folks use these terms as though they were interchangeable - though, in fact, each has a very specific meaning.  The term 'afternoon tea' refers to a mid-afternoon snack comprised of tea and light nibbles.  It is usually served at 4pm and serves as a snack between proper lunch and usually mid-evening dinner.  Scones are the perfect fit for afternoon tea - as well as simple sandwiches and cakes.    Now 'high tea' was traditionally used a substitute for the evening meal - and thus usually had a selection of much heartier dishes for the meal.  So though 'high tea' sounds like a fancier version - usually 'afternoon tea' was used as a snack by the upper class - and 'high tea' by the working class as their evening meal.

English Breakfast or Earl Grey?

English Breakfast.  Stop, the end.  Only and forever.  Seriously.  With some Scottish Breakfast for
a wee bit of variety.

Milk First or Tea First?
Now this one gets serious.  In our household, it is ALWAYS tea first - whether I'm brewing a cup or a pot.  The tale I was told was that as tea became a tradition in English society during the Victorian era, tea service began to be produced for working-class households . . . and those service pieces were mass-produced and usually of a lower quality.  For that reason, the milk was added first - to temper the tea and keep the cups from breaking.  I also (personally) find that adding the milk to tea helps manage both the colour and temperature of my tea. 

Pot or Cup?

This really depends on my day.  My usual tradition is to make a huge pot of tea if I'm going to be at the house all day - and I'll work my way through it in a hour or so.  But, a quick turnaround almost always mean a cup (or frankly, more likely a mug) of tea with breakfast. 

What are your rituals around making or serving tea?  What's your favourite brand and flavor?


06 February, 2020

“In Praise of the Old . . . “

The combination of an almost hundred-year old
house with modern lighting and a late 18th century chest can
sit happily next to contemporary artwork and a mirrored inset.


People often comment on the warmth and history in many of the rooms I design.  That my rooms feel lived in.  That my spaces have soul. It is always a remarkable compliment that our projects feel collected and acquired - more than purchased.  Even though, quite often, the entire contents of the home arrived on the same truck on the same day.

From our Showcase House is High Point
last autumn, modern floor coverings from Stark
and some of our newest textiles and wallpapers
from SMW Home marry beautifully with
antique dining chairs and sideboard.

So . . . you might very well ask - what’s your secret?  Well usually, it's a healthy dose of antiques!  

 Loving this combination of an antique settee
with the modern artwork and accessories.
The original woodwork from the house is
glorious - and the restrained sisal runner
is another marvelous contrast.

First of all, we love when we are able to use existing pieces that our clients own to use in their newly designed space.  I really get excited when we're able to take an existing family heirloom and reupholster it to become part of a newly-designed space.   

Is there anything more iconic than an antique Enhlish
desk and armchair to bring some depth to this modern
condo here in San Francisco? 

A bit of Tartanware furniture - dating from the late 1800's
makes the perfect addition to this guest bedroom
at our project in Colorado.
We also shop for antiques as well.  Antiques create 'soul' in a new home . . . and we use everything from high-end antique shops to online resources and flea markets!  

 Loving the mixture of the modern artwork and
seating - with this marvelous antique Spanish
table in a library space.

Do you use antiques in your home?  Tell me what you have found that works for you!

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