Thursday, November 20, 2014

a fall wedding! and a baby!

not both at once :)

A few weeks ago, just as fall color was starting to take hold, but before summer weather left completely, my little sister, Monique, got married! It was an incredible day!

My older sister and I had agreed to do the flowers and decorations, but the month leading up to the wedding I was really sick and mostly in bed. (We are SO excited to be expecting our 4th (!!!!) baby. I can hardly believe it's true. We feel incredibly blessed, and our kids are THRILLED! However, pregnancy is tough for me, and it wasn't a surprise that I had to spend a large chunk on bedrest.)

BUT the week before the wedding my health miraculous turned for the best, and I was able to enjoy the beautiful day as well as do all the flowers. I really feel so blessed that the sickness, intense as it was, only lasted a short while. I feel that being able to function normally now is really a mini miracle--yay!
Anyways....We learned how to make flower crowns--a "must" in my daughters' minds--and had so much fun at the flower shop, picking and arranging! The crowns were actually super simple. We used thistle, hypericum berries, and seeded eucalyptus and wound them with florist tape around a wire--voila!
For the centerpieces and bouquets, we started with seeded Eucalyptus and thistles and queen anne's lace, and then we added in silver brunia berries, something that looked like oversized lambs ear, and David Austin Juliet roses. Usually roses aren't my favorite, but these are incredible! I forget what the tall furry green things are...To fill out the table, we added the extra cuttings in jelly jars. So happy with how it all turned out.

The reception was in the upper part of Darlington House in Dupont circle, which was perfect for a intimate wedding. The room is lovely, and didn't need much aside from candles and flowers

Monique gave us free reign. She really is what every bride ought to be--totally joyful, fully present to the moment, and refreshingly non-dramatic when it comes to sweating the small stuff...and even the big being almost an hour late to her own wedding :)))) any other bride would have melted down, but Mo isn't just any bride. Love her!

Her joy translated into a total blast on all fronts, and made the decorating part even more fun. Whenever I'd call to ask her a question, she'd say some thing like, "O I trust you and I'm so excited to see what you do!"--DREAM client!
the ceremony was in SE DC at Assumption, a beautiful old Catholic church that my older sister has been helping the pastor restore. She's an artist, and did all the paintings that you see below...
The wedding was a slice of heaven, just like the gorgeous couple....

I took no less than 1500 pictures, but most of my favorites are of the kids....they make fun parties even more fun, picturesque, and awesome (something I didn't fully appreciate when they were all in the toddler years, but relish now....and wish I could keep them from growing so fast...)

when the night got long, disco naps were taken...
my husband and brother-in-law played a little tribute in lieu of a mom, who may love them more than her own children has lobbying for them to start a band for years--singing son-in-laws :)--every family party, she asks them to bring their guitars....and good sons that they are, they finally obliged. Great debut boys!
and then the dancing began...

Monique and Jonny (LOVE this new bro!) stayed a few extra days before flying back to San Francisco where they live, and they totally spoiled us! Jonny is the rockstar chef de cuisine at Quince (but he's probably the most humble person I've met and would never let on that he's a total badass), and he and Monique (who is also quite accomplished with her culinary skill...they met working together in a couple of restaurants in New York) created an incredible feast for our families. Perfect end to a perfect weekend! Now we are attempting to lure them back to east coast....

Friday, October 10, 2014

Georgia Okeefe inspired aesthetic

I think most people associate Georgia O'Keefe with her flowers, but they only make up a portion of her work. I've been intrigued by her aesthetic ever since I was a pre-teen and visited New Mexico for the first time, where I fell in love with the landscape and the way that she presented the simultaneous warmth and spareness of its beauty. 

On the recommendation of the lovely Camille of the Vintique Object, my eldest daughter and I visited her home in Albiqui outside of Santa Fe this summer. 

It's the kind of place that you definitely wish was not a museum. It is spare but inviting and comfortable. And so tactile...desert rocks and dry animal bones and greens flourishing against all odds in the stark landscape.... It gave me the same feeling that I get when I'm on a nature walk and can't resist picking up a smooth river stone or running my hands over sycamore bark...except her whole house was like that. There's such a strong connection to the landscape outside, and such a purity to all the materials used inside (the floors of the room above are a mix of mud, milk, and flour) that even though some rooms are roped off, it doesn't feel sterile at all. Her rock collections adorn many surfaces, but nothing is cluttered. The warmth and curving imperfection of the stucco walls mimic the hills below it and the large windows are such a focal point that it almost seems like the home grew up from the ground rather than being plopped there like many houses.

We've been so blessed to have been able to visit the Southwest for a little stretch of time every year since we've been married beginning with our honeymoon road trip, and it's always bittersweet leaving it. Coming back this year, after visiting Albique, I was really struck and even a little surprised to walk through my front door and see my Georgia Okeefe-subconsciously-inspired vignette, my own little slice of nature inspired simplicity. This little vignette originally came about a few years ago when I tried to find a way to mask to hide our ugly thermostat and created the abstract canvas on the right as a reproduction of Okeefe's "winter road"...after doing it, the rest of the objects sort of accumulated...

credits: 1, 2: okeeffe museum , 3-6: Architectural Digest, 7: Leah Moss

Friday, July 18, 2014

Before & (mostly) After: a client living room with around the door built-ins

This project hails from the house of one of the cutest families. The front door leads right into the living room, and they wanted it to feel more special, less cluttered, and more inviting. The layout with the opening to the dining room, the staircase, and the front door made furniture layout rather difficult. They wanted to to work with their existing sofa. I love the side tables, plants, and other accents we added, but the biggest difference maker was the gorgeous built-ins crafted by Kaleo Kala of Kala studios

I snapped the "afters" while waiting for photos to be printed, so ignore all the empty frames :) And some of the shelves like that one over the door way were not complete. And since the photo was taken, the 3rd hex table has been returned to its grouping and replaced between the chairs with another side table.

BEFORE (this is actually an in progress right after the chairs and hex tables came in):
AFTER (taken from a mirror view):

From the dining room...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Modest Moss Studio evolution


A few years ago, I gave up my cute little closet office....

 .....when I realized that Leah Moss Interiors had already basically been commandeering every inch of the house's addition for months :)

For about a year, I toyed here and there with getting a studio space outside my home, but the truth is that I feel like then I'd never actually be home, and home is my favorite place....especially when time is short and precious, and when home studio means no commute (the worst part about the DC area is the traffic). The more involved I get in my immediate community and the faster my kids grow up, the less I want to be commuting elsewhere to go sit and design (since I'm already on the road quite a bit visiting clients, meeting with suppliers, and shopping etc.). And the areas where I'd want a studio at this point are pretty inconvenient.

So, a little while ago I committed to setting up (a more permanent) shop in the addition...

I've always loved spaces that have a depth but also a certain temporary quality about them...something unfinished and interesting but not so precious....a tacked up picture or a stack of books or a leaning mirror or a light bulb hanging from a cord...things that you may see often in stylists' portfolios and artists' lofts but rarely in actual homes...things that draw you in and excite you precisely because they're kind of...precarious almost


....things that make a room not only lived in, but also inviting of creativity to actually take place in...potential and fluidity....but I also like calm and order and the idea of an "edited" space.

In design work, it takes a special client to commit to go that route. "Finished" usually means fixed in place.  Especially in a practical place like DC. But in my own workspace, I really wanted to have a place to experiment with, a place that felt inspiring to me, like a lab...

So my little studio is now one of my favorite parts of home and work....

Happily, the lab studio route also meant that I could get away with spending basically no money...a crazy $210! Woot

I needed storage that would hold a lot, cost a little, and that had adjustable shelves. After looking into custom and scouring my favorite stores, I stumbled across these at Costco for 70 bones--cha-ching! So I bought 2. They hold up to 1500 lbs :) and were pretty much exactly what I wanted.

My favorite part is the desk area...the desk itself is temporary a home depot folding (beer pong :) table...and I love what's surrounding it...thumb tacks hold pictures that are lucky enough to have made it off the computer and onto paper. They can be slid in and transitioned out without poking holes in them...the crucifixion image is "Christ on the Cross" by Velázquez. I remember studying it in art history in college and being so moved by's moody and deep and meditative in that distinctly Spanish way.  My pastor gave it to us a few years ago. At the time, it was in a beautiful but formal and heavy frame, and I couldn't think of anywhere to hang it. I took it out of the frame and tacked it up in my office with an alligator clip for several months before stumbling across an old oil painting at a thrift store. I first loved it for its old tacks and frayed edges and rough worn (it has been torn a little and splattered with house paint in a few places) more than the actual painting. The background of the painting was beautiful but the boat painted in the middle of it was kind of cheesy and awful (sorry unknown old artist!) but I snagged it for $3 knowing that I could use it somehow. Bringing it home and setting it down on my desk, it dawned on me that there was a cool connection between it and the Velazquez so I used it as a frame of sorts, using the decorative interior edge of the original frame's mat to hold the picture and tack through the canvas of the painting

I also love the chairs. They were a freebie from the same thrift store. A few years ago, I saw a whole set of 12 black bent wood chairs there for something absurd like $200. I stupidly left them and went home to think on them (I was trying to be prudent that day as I had previously purchased a different set of chairs earlier that week and was fearing my husband's concerns of chair hoarding was reality), and of course came back to find that the set had gone home with a wiser woman...BUT 2 rickety ones had been left behind,. The owner felt bad and said they would be tossed anyway, so she just gave them to me :) I recently repainted them in graphite chalk paint, and they are exactly what I would have chosen even if they weren't free.  Yay!

The middle of the long narrow room is wide open so that I can spread out when need be, and on the other end is this little Hickory Chair camel back sofa (another freebie that my sister found for me) that I sewed a very, very imperfect slipcover for out of navy ticking stripe. It's one of the most comfortable sofas I've ever sat in, and so it gets a lot of use. 

In other lives it has looked like this....
and this (o my)...
 and this...
and now....

And that is the story of my modest little studio.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Counting down to Easter, I'm grateful for every little quiet moment that this week has brought...

My heart goes to our friends who have experienced some amazing tragedies this past month. I haven't known what to write because in some situations everything sounds trite, especially on a blog...but I'm struck so many times a day lately by how suffering changes the perspective of people around you, for good, when it's allowed and you are open...and I'm so grateful for the hope there is in Easter, perfectly placed in spring...

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