Reader Design: Jillian's Glam Getaway

Jillian and I have so much in common: a history in one of the best cities ever, Richmond, VA (school for her, growing up for me); a love for New York City; and a government day job in Washington, D.C. Despite those similarities and the fact that we live 15 minutes away from each other, we have never met (Jillian, we must change that!). 

But those overlaps are why I am so excited to show off the home Jillian and her boyfriend have created in Bethesda, Maryland.


This space is just their in-between place - a spot to relax after work and rest their heads until they find a place to buy in the area. But just because it's not part of the long-term plan doesn't mean it can't feel special. 

From Jillian:

I’ve always loved this quote from Bunny Williams: “If you love something, it will work. That is the only real rule.” Through fashion or interior design, I find items that speak to me and I allow them the space and the confidence to coincide together. If I love something, whether it’s art or furniture and it makes me happy to live beside it everyday, that’s more valuable to me than anything. To me your place has to host sentimental value…only collect the pieces that tug at your heartstrings.

Jillian's heartstrings feel the pull when they're around interesting historical details, understated glam elements, Parisian flair, and traditional silhouettes - all of which are seen clearly in this cute one bedroom apartment. 

In the living room, one of the best finds is the bar cabinet. 

I scored the bar cabinet in Richmond (my beloved college town) - I spotted it in the far back corner of the store, and I just had that feeling. I have wanted a bar cabinet for years, and this piece is not only incredibly sturdy but the bleached walnut details are so unique. It was a great investment, and I am so glad I decided to buy it.

In the bedroom, Jillian opted out of a traditional headboard by replacing it with a bright piece of seriously incredible abstract art. 

I’m so in love with the piece that hangs over our bed. It’s the first original piece we bought together as a couple. It’s vibrant and strong, and it makes me happy everyday to wake up to it.

This place has such a clear personality and is 100% Jillian, 100% of the time. It's authenticity and intrigue shine through in every single corner, and I am loving it.

Jillian, thanks for welcoming us in for a visit. For a place that is allegedly intermediate, it sure does feel like home. Follow Jillian along on Instagram @jqg_ for more. 

Reader Design: Adam's Charming Tudor

Today, we're off to visit a historic 1940's Tudor home in Knoxville, Tennessee. It's the loving project of Adam, a photographer, and his wife Amber and, as their first home together, is a major labor of love. 

With such a labor of love, Adam & Amber are taking their sweet time with this place, making sure things are done right the first time in a way that feels true to them and is true to the character of the home.

We have tried to spread our design process out over a longer period of time to allow us to wrestle with the overall design of the space, trends, and what the space actually needs. Our philosophy throughout the process has been to try our very best not to cut corners. I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for, and we really attempted to do it right the first time. Obviously, we have been blessed to be able to do this, and it has often meant waiting on certain purchases.

They started the process with a focus on what they were trying to achieve. Is it a specific look? Mastery of a certain trend? Or something more elusive - a feeling, perhaps? For Adam & Amber, that was it. They wanted to their home to feel joyful, calm, and captivating. 

The journey to capture those feelings also guided their style decisions. 

We do not concern ourselves with following one particular style, outside of trying to integrate the design in a seamless way with the architectural bones of the house. In our home, you will see elements of mid-century, Scandinavian, traditional, minimal, etc.

Adams & Amber composed their home piece-by-piece. In the dining room, they started with a custom, handmade table from Vermont Farm Table. 

It is perfectly proportioned, has such clean lines, and feels modern and timeless all at the same time. We wanted a table that would age well over time and become a family staple. The finish Vermont Farm Table uses strives to highlight the natural beauty of the wood and stand the test of time.

In the bedroom, they proudly display two of their favorite belongings. 

The first is our midcentury dresser, which belonged to my wife’s great-grandparents. It fits so seamlessly with the aesthetic of the rest of the room without being too matchy-matchy while also adding some extra soul. My wife remembers pulling clothes and jewelry from the piece to dress up in when she was young, and we often talk about how fun it is to think of her great-grandparents using the piece each day when they were young so many years ago.

My second favorite piece in our bedroom is our print above the dresser by Anjuar Patjane. The photo actually won the National Geographic Travel Photo Contest a few years back and captivated us so much that we new instantly we would integrate it some day into our home. We often find ourselves staring at it mesmerized.

I simply adore everything about this home and the method by which it was created - lovingly, carefully, and slowly over time, as if it were mirroring the process used almost 80 years ago to build it in the first place. 

I also adore these parting words of wisdom from Adam.

It is so easy in the age of Instagram and Pinterest to be overly critical of your work, which we find ourselves guilty of from time to time. While it is hard to know what the future will hold, we see ourselves staying in our home for a long period of time. Therefore, we try to not worry too much about what others would do, but instead choose what fits us the best as a young family.

Thank you so much for letting us in. And if all you mutts are feeling the same way I do, RUN to follow Adam along on Instagram @azford. 

Next week, I'm off for my jet set across the pond, so we'll see you in two weeks for more reader designs! 

Reader Design: Johanne's Black & White Beauty

Today, we're off to Canada! Johanne, who is a professional interior designer, is welcoming us in to her Montreal home that she shares with her husband and two adult children. 

Johanne and her family moved in to this 1950's cottage 15 years ago. It sits outside Montreal in a town known for its stunning mountains and parks. Johanne doesn't use a lot of color, but that doesn't mean that her home is devoid of depth or emotion. Her neutral palette just bring other features to life - like the wood fireplace, used year-round, that Johanne calls "the best investment in the house." 

From Johanne:

Many things come into play when designing a house. The first thing I look at is the architecture. This cottage has very large windows, so our first move was to open up the space and take advantage of the ever-changing light and nature surrounding the house.

The second thing Johanne considers? Location. 

We live in a Nordic city, so I am very influence by Scandinavian design not only for its style but also for its way of life: simple, modern, warm, and practical. I love wood and try to use it as much as possible along with natural materials such as stone, straw, wool, and cotton.
Midcentury and Scandinavian furniture design offer modern furniture that blend well with many different styles. They are good quality and timeless which is always a good investment. I like to mix them with older pieces such as our tulip dining chairs with our rustic dining table, which we found in an old barn and have had for many years.

The third consideration is nature. Johanne seriously considered the world around her and took advantage of those influences in every way she could. 

Soothing grays, greens, and earth tones are always a good choice for me. Those are the colors I see when walking on the mountain, but they are also the colors I see when I go on the gorgeous beaches of Maine, USA, where I have spent every single vacation of my childhood and where we have taken our children as well since they were born.

I think we can all agree that Johanne has some incredible style. Thank you, Johanne, for letting us in and sharing your design influences with us. 

Learn more about Johanne on her website or follow along on Instagram