Monday, February 29, 2016

Beautiful Backyards and Terraces to Jump Start Spring

With Spring just around the corner, I want to encourage you to start thinking about enjoying your home's outdooor space again (or for the first time!). Even if you're living in an apartment with only a small patio, you can still decorate the space and enjoy the fresh outdoor air while at home. One of my absolute favorite things to do on a warm, sunny day is dine outdoors, and these homes are certainly equipped for al fresco dining and enjoying the warm weather in style. 

A Chicago family's Manhattan Penthouse by design firm Dufner Heighes, Image via Architectural Digest, Photography: Nikolas Koenig

A Chicago family's Manhattan Penthouse by design firm Dufner Heighes, Image via Architectural DigestPhotography: Nikolas Koenig

Marrakech, Morocco, Image via Luxury Accomodations Blog

Suburban Sydney, Australia home of CEO Ann Sherry & husband Michael Hogan, See the entire tour on The Design Files

Suburban Sydney, Australia home of CEO Ann Sherry & husband Michael Hogan, Image via The Design Files

Suburban Sydney, Australia home of CEO Ann Sherry & husband Michael Hogan, Image via The Design Files

Isn't this Australian estate and garden beautiful? It really does have a grand appearance along with perfect landscaping. It's quite impressive to say the least. I would host outdoor dinner parties all the time if I lived here!

For those of you with smaller spaces, there are so many inspirational patio and terrace designs that maximize limited outdoor space. The key is to bring in an abundace of potted plants to create a magical ambiance on your very own patio. Take a look at how these small patios have been decorated to maximize the home's outdoor space.

Designer Timothy Whealon's Manhattan apartment, Image via Elle Decor (Outdoor furniture from Harbour Outdoor and Restoration Hardware)

Image via Keltainen tallo Rannaalla blog

Architecture: LB Architecte, Interiors: Mlinaric, Henry, & Zervudachi

March is the perfect time to begin sprucing up your patio or backyard so that you can fully enjoy your outdoor space when warmer weather arrives. 

So, now that you've been inspired, what can you do to improve your own home's outdoor space? 


Friday, February 26, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Costume Designer

If you've ever been curious about costume design for movies and plays like I have, then today is your lucky day. I couldn't pass on the opportunity to interview Irish blogger Niamh McKeever, a young professional in the film and theatre industry breaking into wardrobe styling and costume design. You may remember Niamh (pronounced "Eve" with an "N" for the non-Irish) was recently featured in my Fashion meets Interior Design series, which was fantastic. Now she's back today to share a bit about her career in the wardrobe and costume world. 

Jacquin: Tell us about your average day while doing costume design on location in Mexico recently. Were you working on a film, play, or another project altogether?  

Niamh: I was working in a beautiful historical ton of San Miguel three hours for Mexico city. It was an exciting project directed by Dorothy Lyman and my second time working on Ms Lymans productions. The play I worked on titled "Enemy", was centered around the discovery of water contamination. It was a hard task as this was my first big production. I had seven cast members to dress in addition to being in a town that spoke very little English. I was fortunate enough that most actors had a strong wardrobe already, so we worked around that. I loved the challenges I faced on this particular costume job. I learned so much.

Jacquin: Do you and the costume design team consider the characters of the story when developing each person's costume? 

Niamh: This project was very different to anything I have worked on. Before this I had done small styling jobs by myself or bigger productions such as Jessica Jones and Woody Allen’s 2015 Summer Project, in which I was directed and very much guided through the process. With "Enemy" I was really on my own and it was my first time having to break down a script, which was a great learning opportunity.

Jacquin: I know you have a diverse career background. What experiences inspired and prepared you to work in the costume design industry? 

Niamh: It's funny that I am doing costumes and pursuing this as a career. I never planned it, it just happened. When I was in Ireland studying in the National College of Art and Design, I opted to do graphic design thinking it was a less competitive career path. I was sadly mistaken, but ultimately realized I truly wanted to be a designer. I decided not to let self doubt stand in my way and here I am today.

I think my interest in costumes came from having always been a lover of films and the costumes in films. There are so many films out there that have inspired and impacted its viewers. I love that moment when you're watching a performance or movie and you have an imitate reaction to the character the actor is embodying. I feel costumes play a huge role in developing that relationship and bond between the viewer and character. It's subconscious, but it is still there.

Previous costume production project Niamh McKeever worked on.

Previous costume production project Niamh McKeever worked on.

Jacquin: Did you get to work on-set or was most of your work done off set?

Niamh: Every job is different. I am still in between production and the costume department. For Woody Allen's production I was only onset once, but most of my days were spent running around the city dropping of garments, organizing rooms full of gowns, and other off-set duties. With this production ("Enemy"), I was my own boss but a part of a smaller team. I was pretty much everywhere from the threatre to local shops to conducting fittings with actors.

Jacquin: What components are involved in costume design?

Niamh: On a big production such as film, you will have at least forty people working in the costume and wardrobe departments, and I have worked in both departments. For costumes, that is usually always based on stage where costumes are prepped for episodes. From the work of seamstresses, to buyers, interns and the designers themselves, this is where everything is planned in great detail for production. For wardrobe, we work on location dressing the actors and background. Both jobs are very different but extremely fun.

When most people think of "costume design" for film and threatre, they think of someone hand creating every garment for the production (which it sometimes can be), but it is much broader than that. Working in a production's costume department involves budgeting materials, as sometimes costumes are purchased from costume houses from across the world. It also involves styling outfits and accessories for the actors and actresses. As of now, all my jobs have been style based and pulling looks together to create the character from the script. However, I am returning to Ireland and I am excited to start my next venture into dress making. 

Previous costume production project Niamh McKeever worked on.

Jacquin: What was your favorite thing about living in Mexico temporarily? Did you find any great fashion additions while there?

Niamh: Mexican fashion is so beautiful and ornate. I didn’t go to crazy shopping while living there, but it is very easy to do so. I saw so many talented local designers, but my favorite had to be Recreo by American designer Charlie Coleman. Recreo is based in Mexico and was inspired by Mexican heritage combined with Charlie's own creative flare. My favorite shopping find in Mexico was the Coral cashmere tweed Alejandra wrap.

Designer Recreo of San Miguel, Mexico - Wool-Cashmere Lisa with Suede Lambskin

Designer Recreo of San Miguel, Mexico - (LEFT) Cropped Wool Coco  

Jacquin: What was the best thing you learned while working on this production in Mexico?

Niamh: I feel I’ve learned a lot while living in Mexico. I was working with very talented actors, but there were some challenges along the way. In this case the actors were far apart in look from the characters they were playing. Different body types can also be a challenge many designers face and I faced, as well. One of the actors had a muscle disease which made him unable to hold his shoulders up. He was playing a politician, which required an outfit with structure, but it was difficult because nothing would sit on his shoulders. Thankfully in the end we figured out a solution and everyone looked amazing! I also experienced that when going to work job in another country like this, it is very beneficial to learn the relevant languages. It's also important to have respect for and acknowledge the local culture of the community you are working in.

Learn more about Niamh on her recent "Fashion meets Interior Design" blog feature or over at her stylish fashion blog, Lawless. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fashion meets Interior Design: featuring Joanna of Cut-and-Chic Vintage

Hi, everyone! I’m Jo. I own CutandChicVintage, an online vintage shop and blog dedicated to the modern girl with plenty of “style swagger.” The term “style swagger” was inspired by my customers who all exude this wonderful confidence about their personal sense of style. I think vintage fashion helps to bring that out in people. There’s something about knowing no one else will have the same thing you’re wearing that brings out that confidence.

There’s something about knowing no one else will have the same thing you’re wearing that brings out that confidence.
As for my personal style, I’d describe it as modern vintage. Oddly enough ‘modern vintage’ is a term I usually see associated with interior design, so it really does feel like kismet to be doing this post where fashion meets interiors! The room I was immediately drawn to was this one designed by Susan Greenleaf with beautiful pops of red. It looks like a room that's come together with some vintage finds here and there, yet overall it’s got a sophisticated, modern vibe to it. A room after my own heart!

Interior Design: Susan Greenleaf, Image via Waiting on Martha

What I love most about this space is how these bold and unexpected details are mixed in with a fresh and neutral palette. Because the rest of the room is so clean and minimal, that luxurious animal print rug and those fabulous cherry red armchairs just pop. Although you can never go wrong with buying chic basics in your home or in your wardrobe, it’s those statement pieces that really highlight your personality. Those are the pieces I love finding when I go vintage hunting.

For this outfit post, this vintage ‘60s swing coat instantly came to mind. I found it rummaging around a thrift store in NYC. Its animal print collar and sophisticated cut caught my eye straightaway and it really couldn't capture the essence of this gorgeous room any better if I tried! The vintage cashmere sweater is from Scotland. Even though it was pretty ordinary when I saw it, I just had to buy it because the cashmere was in such perfect condition. I think it’s worth investing in quality pieces that are timeless in style and that you can wear year after year. Plus, you can always dress it up later and make it your own if you get bored with it. 

When it came to revamping my sweater I had to give a little nod to my punk rock phase as my source of influence. I broke out an old box of safety pins and sewed them around the neckline. I have to say, I’m really pleased with how well it turned out!

As for the finishing touches, I paired the sweater with an old pair of skinny jeans and my favorite pair of animal print heels. From head to toe I wanted the outfit to have a more relaxed, uptown meets downtown feel. For this shoot I borrowed the vintage clutch bag from my shop. It's the perfect chic accessory if you're on the go. And to top it all off, I couldn’t forget about that pop of red. No matter what you’re wearing, if you’re looking to add just the right amount of retro-glamour to your overall look, red nail polish and lipstick are the way to go.

Shop the look!

  • Coat and sweater: vintage
  • Vintage clutch bag: here
  • Jeans: H&M (similar here)
  • Animal Print Heels: Nine West (similar Cheetah print pump here and leopard print pump here)

A big thank you to Jacquin for this opportunity to introduce myself to you all! Feel free to check out my hand-picked collection of quality vintage fashion at my Etsy shop,, or come and say hello on my blog CutandChic.

-Jo. xx

Explore more of the "Fashion meets Interiors" series on Interior by Jacquin blog!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Painter & Illustrator Christine Lindstrom

Artist Christine Lindstrom paints beautiful floral and abstract works of art for sale on her uplifting online boutique, Mai Autumn. Mai Autumn not only sells original artwork, but high quality giclée prints, stationery, home decor, and commissioned paintings, as well. Christine's lovely artwork will lift your spirits and beautify your home. 

"Whole", acrylic painting, Christine Lindstrom (2011) 

"Bloom", painting by Christine Lindstrom 

Christine's painting "Bloom" happens to be one of my favorites (see above). It's just the kind of painting I'd like to have around to cheer me up. Christine has this bold floral painting available on throw pillows, wall tapestries, and other home decor items, so it's easy to introduce this vibrant painting and others into your home. You can shop Christine Lindstrom's throw pillows and tapestries through Society 6.

"Fall", watercolor painting, Christine Lindstrom 

 Shop Christine Lindstrom's artwork merchandise here!

Follow along on Christine Lindstrom's artistic journey through her Instagram page or visit her colorful online boutique, Mai Autumn Comes Home

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Home Tour with Minzuu founder Yilan Song

Today we're joining Yilan Song, the founder of Minzuu boutique, for a home tour and interview on her exciting business venture. Minzuu is an online boutique for well-made, artisanal home decor & personal accessories. In case you missed it, also take a look at this recent post on Minzuu's stunning ceramic tableware and the history of Japanese patterns in design. 

Jacquin: Hi Yilan! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to interview you today and take a look into your home. I really love Minzuu's collection of high quality global finds. Please share a bit about your business Minzuu.

Yilan: I'm Yilan, the founder of Minzuu is a hybrid of online boutique and e-magazine featuring the global artisan community, independent designers, burgeoning artists, and ultimately the preservation of traditional handicraft skills around the world. I'm currently living in New York with my husband and our two children. 

Minzuu items: Alpaca Stuffed Animal, $68

Jacquin: How would you describe your decorating style? 

Yilan: Whimsical, rustic, and playful. Neutral colors allow me to relax and truly be myself, plus, they make the perfect canvas for fun pops of color.

On top of a neutral backgrounds, I love to add home accents that come with a unique story or history like you'll find at Minzuu. These cultural decorative items simply do not look or feel the same as decor fresh from the factory, but instead tremendously enrich the texture of your space. 

When we first moved to NYC from San Francisco eight years ago, we made a trip to IKEA and purchased all of the essentials for our apartment. When the time came to retire some of these old items, I started to carefully pick products that were handcrafted by artisans as their replacements. I learned that surrounding myself with handcrafted decor that has a story, actually makes me much happier. Handmade products usually carry a higher price tag, but they are more solidly built, last longer, and age beautifully. I quite enjoy seeing the change of colors and textures or watching them develop a beautiful patina with use, as that evokes a feeling of belonging, a quintessential element of a home. 
I learned that surrounding myself with handcrafted decor that has a story, actually makes me much happier.
Minzuu items: Campanas Necklace, $108 | Primavera Necklace, $108 | Rosary Bar Pendant, $102

Jacquin: What inspired you to found Minzuu? 

Yilan: The original inspiration came from my own quest for living authentically. A few years ago, I finally got tired of characterless, mass-produced products, and wanted to look for something more original, uniquely made by local artisans with their ancestral skills. Pieces crafted with old techniques made me feel bonded to their forgotten, beautiful walks of life. However, they turned out to be surprisingly rare, at least at the price point affordable to me. 

Well, I thought globalization could do better than this. Why don't we champion an alternative model of production and consumption? With the convenience of emails, we can connect and communicate with artisan groups everywhere. They no longer need to go through 2 or 3 layers of middlemen to reach the global consumer market. Additionally, with developments in international logistics, their products can be securely delivered to almost every corner of the world for reasonable prices.  

I was just finishing my graduate study in international development, and this idea made me really excited. I was hopeful to see the global artisan community benefit from the growth of e-commerce, rise above poverty while keeping their handicraft traditions alive. 

 Minzuu item: Primavera Necklace, $108

Minzuu items: Summitin Silver Photo Frame, $29.99  | Pima Cotton Table Runner, $128 | Three Little Pigs, $98 

Jacquin: How do you find new artisans from across the globe? What has been the most exciting part about working for Minzuu so far?

Yilan: So far, the most exciting part of this journey is the people I meet who share the same passion and vision. I first shared the idea with a few friends and professors, and they soon introduced me to a few dozens of like-minded people around the world. From there, I received even more connections. Continuing to meet and speak with all these artisans, artists, designers, educators, business owners and non-profit leaders always gives me new ideas, opens up new opportunities, or leads me to discover new artisan groups that I can't wait to work with.

Minzuu items: Azucena Lamp, $58 | Kabamaru Tea Cup Set, $69.50 

Jacquin: What is your favorite space in your home?

Yilan: My favorite space is the bedroom I share with my husband, and the space also doubles as my home office. I love every piece in the room for their beauty and functionality. It's not a tiny bedroom if judged by the standards of Manhattan, but I'm sure it's smaller than most people's walk-in closets in the suburbs =) Nonetheless, it's an amazing space created to keep myself uplifted and inspired, but in a calm, organized way. The use of vertical space for storage keeps all my files, stationery, product samples, and photography equipment conveniently within arms' reach. The whites, grays, blacks, and earthy tones create a soothing base for dreaming, day or night.

Jacquin: What does Minzuu have planned for 2016?

Yilan: We have only been officially launched for less than a year so there are lots and lots of things planned everyday. For our e-magazine, we are striving to provide a deeper and broader coverage of art and cultural events around the world. For our online store, we are refining our collections to present the best craftsmanship and the most refreshing design. With that being said, our foremost focus this year is on expanding our community, making ourselves and our philosophy known to a broader audience. If you are a lover of art, craft, culture, or travel, sign up at and let's embark on the journey together!

Shop and Save Today!

Monday, February 15, 2016

10 Global Restaurants with Impeccable Interior Design

Need a little inspiration? Well, today's post will inspire you with truly unique restaurant decor and amazing vacation destinations. The restaurant designers featured below have gone all-out to create a luxurious and memorable dining experience for stylish people like you! These photos have captured the essence of these restaurants and are sure to excite you.

1. Le Gauche Caviar Restaurant - Paris, France

Le Gauche is located inside the Hotel Montana and is exquisitely designed by Parisan architect Elizabeth Lemercier. This restaurant features a Russian inspired menu along with rich, velvet chairs designed by Maison Darré. The Hotel Montana is definitely worth booking a room at because the suites are decorated as uniquely as the beautiful restaurant. 
28 Rue Saint-Benoit, Paris, France 75006 (Inside Hotel Montana) (Phone +33 1 53 63 79 20)

2. Alain Ducasse Restaurant - Paris, France

This restaurant showcases highly unique, polished stainless-steel domes on the floor that reflect thousands of floating crystals. Designed by Jouin Manku Design Studio. 
25 Avenue Montaigne, Paris, France 75008 (Inside Hotel Plaza Athénée) (Phone: +33 1 53 67 65 00) 

3. Commissary Restaurant - Los Angeles, California

Amazing greenhouse design by Jason Tauritz. Located inside of The Line Hotel
3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010 
(Phone: 213-368-3030) 

4. Song Qi Restaurant - Monte Carlo, Monaco 

Designed by Emil Humbert & Christophe Poyet, Song Qi is Monaco's first gourmet Chinese restaurant and is the epitome of luxury. 
7 Avenue Princesse Grace, Monaco, Monte Carlo 98000 (Phone: +377 99 99 33 33) 

5. Le Mini Palais Restaurant - Paris, France

This restaurant is located near the Champs Elysées and has a beautiful terrace, perfect for dining al fresco. Le Mini Palais is run by Eric Frechon, a trip Michelin starred chef, so yet another reason to visit this beautiful restaurant. 
Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris, France 75008 (Phone: +33 01 42 56 42 42)

6. Le Flandrin Restaurant - Paris, France

Elegantly designed restaurant with an exquisite traditional french menu. Le Flandrin was designed by Joseph Dirand. I absolutely love the luxurious velvet chairs!
4 Place Tattegrain, Paris, France 75016 (Phone: +33 01 45 04 34 69)

7. Chez Gaston Restaurant - Miami, Florida

French-inspired, Latin fusion restaurant located inside of the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside. Chez Gaston is known for its unique cuisine and ocean views. 
4835 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida 33140 (Phone: 305-538-8666)

8. Palmilla Cocina y Tequila Restaurant- Hermosa Beach, California 

Fine dining Mexican restaurant on the Hermosa Beach Pier with an amazing brunch menu. Palmilla's intricate decor will envelop you!
39 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, California 90254 (Phone: 310-374-4440)

9. Sketch Restaurant - London, England

Sketch is an iconic destination for food, art, and music offering a lovely afternoon tea. The restaurant's interior has a memorable pink motif with elements of curiosity and humor. A must visit for your next trip to London.
9 Conduit Street, London, England W1S 2XG (Phone 44 0 20 7659 4500)

10. La Gare Restaurant - Paris, France

This restaurant specializes in fine french dining in a beautiful setting and offers a separate cafe for lighter fare, as well. La Gare's location was a historical site that underwent an impressive renovation under the direction of architect Laura Gonzalez. The restaurant has stunning blue velvet chairs and vibrant plants as one of the highlights of its decor. La Gare's cafe is also quite chic making it the perfect location for a quick lunch or evening drinks. 
19 Cahussée de la Muette, Paris, France 75116 
(Phone: 01 42 15 15 31)

Today's post has given me so much vacation inspiration! I would love to travel to any of these destinations just to dine at these stunning restaurants. As a quick tip, be sure to Pin this post for later. You'll want to remember these amazing restaurants! 

Which of these restaurants would you be most interested in visiting?