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Just for Fun: Bachelorette Pad

Maggie Stephens

My personal taste and style has changed so much since my own first apartment out of college, lovingly deemed my "bachelorette pad." I thought it might be fun to dream up what that apartment might look like if I were to design it today. Open concept floor plan, with an entry, dining, and living space all within feet of each other.

The result is much more feminine and lighter than what I had years ago, but I'm loving the fresh and bright whites and pastels together with indigo tie dye.

What would you do differently if you were decorating your first place again? Still have anything from those carefree days? I think with our latest move I officially moved along the last piece from my own...

Prioritizing Design Elements

Maggie Stephens

For every client I have that has an extremely generous budget and is ready to make every purchase for their home, I have a dozen (two dozen?) that are ready to make significant changes but need to prioritize their purchases. Most people are not billionaires, and have some kind of budget in mind for their home decor. I am the same way in my own home, so I get it.

It is worth noting that even if you don't have the capacity to make every purchase at once, I still strongly recommend having a plan in place for the room in question. A decorator can help with this. Saying "we need a vintage dresser on that wall, about 40 inches wide and in a natural wood" can help shape the rest of the room even when you aren't even planning to source that piece for another 3-6 months. And in the meantime, you can make the purchases that you've prioritized as more important.

But how do you know what items or decor elements are the most important? I'm facing this dilemma now, trying to make the smartest purchasing decisions on a budget that doesn't accomplish my entire apartment wish-list. I've identified a few factors that help me decide for clients and for myself.

1. Does the function have an immediate impact on my happiness? If adding this item fulfills a "functional need" then it moves up the list. Things like a desk for a computer you use daily, a mattress, a dresser, a sofa, a dining table, a storage piece, etc fit into this category. For me an item like a headboard, though fulfilling an "aesthetic need", is not essential to my day-to-day living.

2. Is this a once-in-a-lifetime item that I won't be able to get later? Reserved for amazing vintage or antique purchases and seasonal items.

3. Is the price too good to pass up? At the moment, I have a little decor budget set aside, but since none of the items are "functional needs," I'm able to wait for a great sale to come along on the products on my list. When the price is right, I'll be ready to pounce (the key is to be prepared, sign up for email coupons if possible, and check the price regularly). Though I may want an end table a little more than an entry mirror, if the mirror drops to an amazing price, I will prioritize it over the full-price end table.

4. Is it "low-hanging fruit" as my husband says? I think of them as "immediate gratification purchases" ; usually they are lower priced items like accessories. If it will help your decor-psyche to make some of the smaller purchases then go ahead and scoop them up - just don't get sucked into too many impulse buys. Make sure these items are in your plan.

5. What's the best bang-for-my-buck? For the same amount of money, I could buy one headboard OR buy a console table, lamp, and mirror. If all of the other factors have come up equal up to this point, I go for the multiple purchases first, and start saving up again for the headboard.


Do you have any tricks for how you decide when to make home purchases? Would love to hear them!

Favorite Finds on Chairish

Maggie Stephens

Online vintage sites seem to come and go, but one that has gained traction and grown a ton in the last year or so is Chairish. While I love the thrill of the hunt in person at antique shops and flea markets, sometimes a quick fix is only a computer away... and you can find incredibly unique things that maybe you wouldn't spot in a local shop.

I was poking around the other day and kept finding inspiring pieces and thought I'd share what was catching my eye. Not all goods are vintage; Chairish also lets sellers list new items (think a designer whose client changed their mind on a custom, non-returnable item), pillows, etc. 

This brass cocktail table is a dream and would add a dash of glamour to any living space.

Love the reupholstery on this African mudcloth bench that could be an accent in a living room, go at the end of a bed, or make a statement in an entry.

This is priced higher than I'd pay, but I do love a library ladder (it's a design cliche for a reason).

A well-worn vintage rug is the foundation of many of my favorite spaces. This one isn't huge, but would layer nicely over a jute rug to fill a larger room.

I've been loving sculpture as a truly unique element in table and shelf styling. One can only have so many decorative boxes and jars. I'd love to put this on the table in our entry.

Pairs of benches are always a good idea, and here I especially liked the natural wood mixed with the indigo textile. Mixing some boho and traditional is definitely something I can work with (picture with the rug from above....).

Every room can use a little black. I like this chest for it's patina and charming little legs.

Some upholstery would be in this pair's future but I love the retro shape and you could have a lot of fun choosing a fabric - maybe something painterly and abstract with a black piping trim?

Hope you liked this little virtual shopping trip!

SF Decorator's Showcase - Master Bedroom

Maggie Stephens

Last week I shared my snaps from the 2015 SF Decorator's Showcase, held in Presidio Heights this last spring. I teased the master bedroom a bit, because it was so inspiring and gorgeous it needed its own post. The room was designed by Will Wick. It featured beautiful deep olive walls, lavender, gold, and black accents, and all kind of luxurious finishes and sexy details.

The bed. Note colors, brass bench, mirror...

All the lighting was just killer. Check those creepy and amazing andirons in the fireplace. And the snuggly upholstery on the sofa.

A view of the room from the doorway. Love love love the drapery.

You can see the wall color a little more clearly in this shot. Dead over the oversize swing-arm sconce.

Not surprisingly, the room flooded with other showhouse attendees at this point, but I'm so glad I got a few moments on my own to capture this awesome space. Totally inspired.