The Illusion of Perfection by Michelle Everett

Two weeks ago I stated that too many people confuse perfection for beauty. Or that an illusion of perfection is touted on most forms of social media. But when experienced, one knows it's much more complex. More than a stylized magazine cover or Instagram image.

Just Google it...go ahead, I'll wait.

'the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit'

I hope everyone has the chance to experience a space like that.

One of mine was at Denis Severs' House several years back. Severs worked to turn a Georgian row house into what he termed as a 'still life drama'.

At once beautiful and other times grotesque, the rooms tell the story of a fictitious family of 18th century Huguenots silk weavers. 

Dining Room

Dining Room

The spaces are meant to tell an intimate story of a family who seem to be just around the corner.



Severs lived in rooms where walls are water stained, dusty and even decrepit. But they also brim with life and warmth. Something we should all want our homes to have.

My point to you would be, instead of trying to emulate an illusion, try to create a home that truely reflects you. Your interests, personality and above all, your depth. That is a home anyone would want to visit.

Inspiration by Michelle Everett

Last year I spent time traveling through southern Italy.  Experiencing such beauty and amazing historical architecture is very stimulating.  My aesthetic observations and experiences inspire designs in the most unexpected ways.  Sometimes it's a floor or ceiling pattern or maybe the combination of colors used in a space that catches our imagination.   Later, sometimes, I'll translate that inspiration into the design of lights, hardware details or even fabric combinations.

Also important is time away from technology. If were not constantly entertaining ourselves we can actually contemplate. Purposeful boredom can do wonders in advancing our ideas.   

Nature of Beauty by Michelle Everett

"I love's not my fault."  Valentino

I can relate. I have early memories of trying to make my childhood home more attractive. It's strange that neither of my parents realized the importance. Both had lovely homes growing up.

But sometimes I'd refinished a piece of found furniture or strip the living room wallpaper to paint. I'd do anything to create a sense of order and space.

My fascination originated in trips to my father's parents home. Pioneers in some sense, they filled their home with antiques. It wasn't that their house was architecturally interesting or even grand but I was enthralled with it's treasures.

I loved going into my grandfather's study. The shelves were lined with various items carved in ivory, jade and cinnabar. His writing desk was French with this amazing ormolu. He would sit in there for hours and read or listen to classical music.

Growing up poor in Cleveland, he would of had no context of these things. Yet they were fascinating to him and gave him tremendous joy.  

Those visits and spaces had a profound influence on me. I loved spending time in that house and wanted to return often. Homes are not about creating a stage set. It's the backdrop of our personal experiences....and heaven knows they're not perfect.

Needless to say I love being in these types of spaces. There's a sense of clarity, enjoyment and even singularity. At times it's hard to explain but I do know's not perfection (I'll talk about that next week). A lot of you confuse the two. I blame Instagram and Facebook. We all showcase a curated illusion.

Beauty in all forms and styles has depth and richness. Informed by history even if only to rebel. Alexander McQueen knew that. 

Strive for more than what marketers sell you.


Regardless of your preferred style, these Rococo mirrors are stunning. The shape alone makes a statement.

Artisans by Michelle Everett

The benefits of working with some of the best artisans, craftspeople, showrooms and workrooms in the business are tremendous.  The expertise and knowledge of these professionals helps lead to informed decisions about design and execution.  Each project presents myriad decisions to be made, and most of the best design solutions and decisions are the result of prodigious training, study and experience.  Our excellent artisans artisans and craftspeople understand the level of service that we and our clients expect, and together we achieve exceptional results.

Let's illustrate the process. The image above is of a master bedroom in a private residence in Connecticut.  We worked Pierre Finkelstein's decorative painting studio Grand Illusions to create the hand painted wall pattern.

Generally the process is this...


Original Concept Image

Original Concept Image

The house has traditional Federal architecture and details.  We found this image in a book of Victorian patterns by Carol Blanger and could be generally described as an 19th century Indian design during colonial rule. 

The studio creates samples as per our original concept and color direction.  We then work with the client to select the sample best suited to their needs.  And next...they create the pattern in its entire length to develop the template for installation.

Concept Samples

Concept Samples

This particular design was painted entirely by hand.  Yes, all by hand.  To do this the crew has to work as a well-oiled machine.  It took them only 6 days to complete

Final Wall Pattern

Final Wall Pattern

Pierre hand painting the wall pattern

Pierre hand painting the wall pattern


Lots of people are apprehensive about working with designers. Their concerns are derived from bad experiences, friend's horror stories or lack of experience working with one.  And they have questions, lots and lots of questions. Will the designer listen to me?  Am I going to be forced into a style I don't like?  How much is it going to cost? Our profession provides many major benefits and below are just 3 clients should expect.

Whether it’s maximizing your space, renovating your bath or a highly attuned sense of aesthetics, we are educated, trained and licensed.  You’re hiring us to design AND execute.  To do this we have technical and practical understanding to keep everything organized and on track.  Initial estimated budgets and timelines provide clients the information needed to confidently move forward with their projects.   

Yes, you could do it yourself but while working with clients our most important goal is to surpass their expectations.  Heaven forbid we show them something they’ve seen in a magazine or in a friend’s home.  Their space should be a reflection of their tastes and needs but above all else singularly beautiful. 

Understanding of Process
Translation; save you money!  While we do labor over details and design, to us efficiency is king.  Knowing where to put our energies is key.  The process shouldn't be wasted on easy and straightforward tasks.  The results are stunning projects completed within the necessary time. 

In the coming months we'll discuss a variety of design topics but feel free to send any questions to