Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Don't judge what I'm about to say, but here goes.  For some reason, still unexplainable to me, one of my favorite scents from childhood came in a little bottle, wrapped up in a pretty package and dropped in my stocking at Christmas.  It was my first bottle of cologne and, in a strange way, my passage from dirty little kid to adult-acting (and smelling) teenager.  And, no, the cologne didn't come with a gold chain or slicked back hair, we just weren't that family.  It was called Grey Flannel and wherever I went (summer trips away, boarding school, the mall) just one whiff of it would send me right back to that safe place called home. I recently had another grey flannel moment when setting up a bachelorette's place after she graduated from medical school.  As a treat to herself for years of hard work, she bought herself a great little cottage in upstate New York.  Her only request was to make this upstate place feel like a downtown Manhattan pad while maintaining "homey touches," so to accomplish that I used a simple palette of tans and, you guessed it, greys.  I know you're thinking dark, depressing..but you're wrong.  On the contrary, these cool shades create warm, inviting places.  To marry all of Mary's styles I used a few fun tricks...old furniture with facelifts.  Think Beverly Hills or Florida with a hip twist (not hip replacement).  In the dining room, for example, I took an antique sofa from her grandmother and recovered it with a totally stain-resistant grey flannel fabric I found at...hold your breath...IKEA for less than $50!  Mary also brought chairs from her childhood into her adult home, so I had those recovered in the same fabric and painted all the furniture the same color as the walls.  To add a pop of new I purchased an expandable table at Restoration Hardware and to give the room a little hint of country charm I had my handyman Don turn a cool lantern I found at an antique store for $10 into a unique chandelier.  When Don was finished with the lighting project I had him sand and stain the wood floors in a washed grey (and used the same stain on an old gross mirror she'd purchased at Target years ago).  While there may very well be fifty shades of grey, there's only one place for this hip chic to call home now!