modern monday: favorite modern (nouveau) toile wallpaper

About 4 years ago I came across some photos from the then-new Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. The design was incredible, the anchoring restaurant looked terrific, but what really caught my eye was the custom wallpaper: a nouveau toile (designed by Dan Funderburgh) featuring illustrations that paid tribute to the industrial past of the historic hotel's structure. That was the beginning of my obsession with modern toile (and in case you're wondering how to say toile, it's pronounced twäl)

Toile, or really Toile De Jouy, literally translates to a cloth from Jouy-en-Josas, the French town where the printed fabrics were first commercialized. The pattered style of linen or cotton, which became in vogue during the 18th century, usually featured a bucolic country setting, pastoral scene or contemporary mid-1700s life. The toile could have floral motifs, maidens or heroes in typical landscapes, and the colorways were often limited to red, blue, black or green.

Today the narrative of toile fabrics and prints has grown. While there are still many contemporary companies who favor a more traditional pattern, increasingly there are modern designers putting a twist on the classic look. In the modern toile, the landscapes have been updated, the colorways have expanded, prints incorporate more inclusive depictions of city life, and some have even woven powerful social commentary into their work.  

Toile is even inspring digital installations at LACMA!

Here are some of my favorite toile, y'all!

Sheila Bridges' "Harlem Toile De Jouy" - a satirical piece that lampoons (some of) the stereotypes deeply woven into the African American experience.

Bay Area Toile by Matt Ritchie and JormaTaccone
 featuring Too $hort, Humpty Hump and Mac Dre, Alice Waters, Joe Montana, and Angela Davis. 

I FLIPPED out when I saw this custom wallpaper at the Henry Howard Hotel in New Orleans. I lived in the city for 6 years and fell in love with this design faster than beads fly off a float during Mardi Gras! Here, take a closer look:

It was designed by Kathleen Fitzgerald and Lauren Kolesinkas.

Peacock Toile available through Anthropologie

London Toile from Timorous Beasties

And more toile-centric design here:
Hazelnut New Orleans offers New Orleans-centric fabrics like Magnolia and Cafe au Lait! 
Spoonflower for more toile options at varying price points.

modern monday: concrete + cement

Concrete (that durable composite material made from a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water) and cement (the main ingredient in concrete) have been popping up everywhere in the design world...from lighting to tiling to jewelry, and even inspired wallpaper.

Recently I won a fiberglass-reinforced concrete Kreten Candelabra from Souda (thanks Instagram contest!). It's a strong statement piece which sits on the mantle in our living room, and it provides a nice contrast from my other tabletop and décor objects, which tend to be softer and lighter. The Kreten is always a topic of conversation, so naturally it sparked a new interest in concrete.

Here are some designs I’m really fond of right now. Got any favorites? Feel free to share them.

Happy modern Monday!


Top Row (L to R):
Concrete Earrings from Konzuk Shop 

Middle Row (L to R):
Rainbow Shades from Julien Renault Objects 
Edgy Tiles from Kaza Concrete  
100% Sand from Anabella Vivas

Bottom Row (L to R):
Vases from Seung Yong Song 
JWDA Concrete Lamp designed by Jonas Wagell for Menu 

denver's union station (+ the kitchen next door's beet burger)

Have you ever walked into a space and thought, "I'd like to take every single thing home with me? Those lamps would look perfect here, and that chandelier- despite its size- would look perfect there…" That's how I felt the first time I walked into the new Union Station in downtown Denver. The renovation is spectacular; the design is impeccable. Each piece fits the space and contributes to the historic feel of the station. It's gorgeous: the couches, the lamps, the desk lighting. And don't get me started on the crown molding and the restaurant decor…it's something you should see in person.

Our schedules have changed a lot since the summer ended. Otis and Theodore are now in pre-school till 3:30 every day and I've transitioned from stay-at-home mother to working "3/4 time." Though it's been busy on the work front, last Friday afternoon I took some time to peek around Union Station…this is what I found.
If you want more information on the history and amazing transformation of Union Station click here. For more details on the restaurants and shops click here. I wasn't able to photograph everything because some restaurants were already closed for the day (Snooze is open from 6:30 am- 2:30 pm) or had not yet opened (Merchantile Dining + Provisions officially opens on September 8th and I've been hearing great things), so check it out for yourself!
* * *

After my little self-guided tour, I grabbed a quick lunch at The Kitchen Next Door. I ordered a delicious beet burger, which was topped with balsamic glazed onions, arugula and feta cheese. Lucky for me, and now for you, I have the recipe. Thank you Kitchen Next Door for sharing your culinary creations and for your great work through community outreach and education! Enjoy.  

Beet burger photo courtesy of Davis Tilly Photography
Next Door Beet Burger
Courtesy of The Kitchen co-founder and chef Hugo Matheson
(Printed with permission)
Makes 5 6-ounce patties
1 ¼ cup mirepoix (diced carrots, onion, and celery)
1/8 cup olive oil
1 pound roasted beets, quartered
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 egg
¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
pinch cayenne
pinch smoked paprika

Preheat a pan over medium heat and add olive oil, then the diced carrots, onions, and celery. Sweat until soft and all excess liquid has evaporated.

Place roasted beets and cooked chickpeas in the food processor with the cooked mirepoix and mix, pulse until a rough paste forms. Empty mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and Panko bread crumbs, and stir together. Add seasonings. Form into patties on a parchment-lined sheet tray and chill. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°. Cook for 15 minutes until hot in the center but not too dry on the edges. The Kitchen Next Door serves the burgers on potato buns with balsamic onions, feta, and Arugula tossed in lemon olive oil.

friday favorites: wallpaper round-up!

What can I say? I'm obsessed with wallpaper.  It can add texture, depth, brightness, lightness, whimsy, formality, or color to any room. And there are so many stunning options out there…

A few weeks ago we hung some Miss Prints wallpaper in our kitchen. We covered one wall, but just a few rolls of paper made our drab space pop. The wallpaper completely transformed the room, which now seems brighter, lighter, and just more fun than it was before. I looked through quite a few samples at the Covered Wallpaper, but when I spotted the fig wallpaper I knew it was the one. 

I've been bitten by the wallpaper bug and I've got my eye on the downstairs bathroom, Otis and Theodore's room, and our entryway.  I'll have to pace myself, but it's hard. There are so many good wallpaper choices and none of them remind me of the weird/dated floral number that hung in my parents' kitchen for most of my life (sorry, mom!). Today's wall coverings can be modern, unique, and creative works of art.

Here are some of my favorites. I hope it gives you some inspiration. Chime in if your  favorite is not included. Enjoy!


1. Tree of Life from Timorous Beasties
2. Auva from Trove
3. That Highly Intelligent Clam by Katie Deedy for Grow House Grow
4. Dino Wallpaper by Sian Zeng, spotted on Simply Grove. (There's a magnetic option too!) 
5. From Eskayel. All their collections are terrific.
6. Spot from Abnormals Anonymous
7. Wabi from Calico
8. Nethercote by Julie Rothman for Hygge & West
9. Chinatown Toile by Dan Funderburgh for Flavor Paper
10. Archives Wallpaper (Alt Deutsch) by Studio Job for NLXL 
11. Luxury from Flavor Paper
12. Trace from Trove.

Thank you Dania Ahmad and Carly Loman (both at DLD PR) for your wallpaper input and collage assistance!