Livin’ Large in a Harlem Brownstone — Architectural Digest Goes Inside the Home of Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka

Happy Friday y’all!!!  Okay, if you don’t know this already I’ve always had a huge crush on New York City!!!  I was born in Queens (but moved to NJ, when I was like 3).  I always say I’m a New Yorker and the only time I feel like I’m from Jersey is when Bruce sings Jersey Girl. 😉  I also have a thing for brownstones.  Kevin and I originally talked about doing the brownstone thing and raising our kids in the city, but the suburbs came calling with it’s promise of a driveway and a backyard…  We always talk about retiring in the city…hopefully one day…

So I love when I hear about Hollywood Royalty heading back from California to New York.  So Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka are back and have renovated a gorgeous brownstone in Harlem!  It’s been published in March’s Architectural Digest and I might need to pick myself up a hardcopy of this baby, so I can dissect it further.  But here is a look:

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

The ceiling height and that woodwork!!  I also like the stairwell gallery wall in a tight arrangement.

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

Okay, I love this room!  The sunlight from those gigantic windows and you know I have a thing for chaises, but that artwork is killer!  I have to read up on the artist, Annie Lapin.

A Jonathan Adler light fixture crowns the living room, where Room & Board sofas are grouped with a high-back chair designed by Powell & Bonnell for Dennis Miller Assoc., Arteriors nesting tables, and a bespoke Trace Lehnhoff cocktail table; the blanket is by Hermès. An artwork by Brian Wills is mounted over the mantel, the small orange painting between the windows is by Noah Davis, and the seascape on the wall at right is by Annie Lapin; the rug is by ABC Carpet & Home.

Love the bright modern feeling of this room!  I love Jonathan Adler chandeliers and this one is no exception.  I can see they have had better luck than I had at keeping their fiddle leaf tree alive and there is Annie Lapin’s work again on the right.  I love the pops of orange in the room including the small Noah Davis artwork that draws your eye to the back wall.  While it’s not my favorite piece in the room, the piece over the mantle was created by Brian Willis, who creates artwork out of wrapping brightly colored thread around thin wood and mounting them. (Fascinating and I know for a fact that I would go out of my mind!!)

I love the furniture placement in this room and the white walls are perfection!

Holly Hunt pendant lights are suspended above the Caesarstone-top island in the kitchen, which is equipped with a Wolf range and hood.

They have 4-year old twins, so there is no way the floors are always that shiny in the kitchen…I’m just sayin’.  I love me a waterfall countertop and that Wolf range is amazing!

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

Okay that chair is adorable and can be yours in multiple colors.  My son would love that Flash Gordon lithograph…I mean what boy wouldn’t?

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

This is quite a cozy family room and office.  Neil is very into magic and they both claim to love odd artwork and taxidermy.  I think my kids would be terrified to hang out with a weird rat-squirrel-thing-with-wings on the bookshelf, but hey, to each his own.  I do love the RH Chesterfield couch and the colorful circus artwork.

I love that Architecural Digest also has a video of Neil and David talking about their home and parenting (they are hysterical).  It also features the architect and designer.  I found it fascinating to hear the architect talk about the challenges of renovating a brownstone because back in the day people lived in many different rooms.  But that you have to be careful opening it up.  While you want it to be more open, you have to make conscious breaks or it can look like a long bowling alley.  True dat!  They talk about working with the clients’ aesthetics to make things like a secret door to a magical office or designing a piece of furniture at the front door with hidden drawers to hold treats for people.  I need to get this publication because the quick peek the video gives you of the master and master bath looks awesome!

You can see that  video here:
Video: Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka’s Harlem Home

So a welcome back to one cool family to the coolest city ever!

Hopefully this family will tire of their brownstone and the cold winters right at the perfect time of my retirement so Kevin and I can move right in.  I’ll probably need to put in an elevator, if there isn’t one already (the one downside of aging in a brownstone).

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for stopping by!  – kate

PS  I hope you’e all been entering every day…and don’t forget about the deal we made!



The Motherload of Vacation Homes–The HGTV 2015 Dream Home

It goes against my better judgement, but I feel I must tell you this…

Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.  Go directly to HGTV and enter to win their 2015 Dream Home in Martha’s Vineyard!  This house is pretty much everything I love about beach houses wrapped up one beautiful package (oh, and it also comes with a GMC Acadia Denali and $250,000…umm okay).

Seriously!!!!!?  I love everything about this house.  I love the circular gravel entrance that leads you to what looks like a small Cape Cod-style cottage that’s been added to over time.  I love the shutters, portico and painted clapboard in the middle portion, but my favorite beach homes are the ones that feature the white cedar shingles you see on the side additions.  I love when they change to a soft gray overtime to give that quintessential New England vibe.  I also really like the stone chimmneys and the architectural railings up top (they add a little twist with a chippendale-style feel).  So it comes with the car, but I didn’t notice any mention of the bikes.  I hope I get the bikes…

Shall we head inside?  First, here’s a lay of the land:

The Great Room and Kitchen:

The architects and designers nailed it in here.  The attention to detail is gorgeous.  And of course you cannot go wrong with a blue and white and sand color scheme in a New England beach house.  I love the recessed paneling everywhere and the timber beams show off the high ceilings.  Check out all the details, such as the built-ins with dark backs, the fireplace, and all the great accessories and furniture and fabric choices!!

Master Bedroom:

Now we are getting into more a sea-glass color in the master areas (yea, Kevin and I get a whole wing).  And yes there is another fireplace.  I love the chandelier and fabric trim.

Master Bathroom:

And my bathroom! Nice job on the curved ceiling and fixtures and marble choices!

Master Closet, Dressing Room and Private Patio:


Guest Bedroom, Bathroom and Patio:

Okay, I’m definitely partial to navy and orange (check out Kevie’s room) and it works perfect in this guest space.  Love the anchor and again the fabrics are killing me!  I also love that floor lamp!

Kids’ Bedroom, Bathroom and Patio:

Okay this is very cute, but once I move in I’m going to have figure this room out.  I’ve only got one little lady and a giant family (I mean what’s the point of a beach house if you can’t invite tons of family and friends up to enjoy it??  I can just picture the giant Lobster Bake going on on the back patio!)  I’m going to need a lot of bunks in here and there are a decent amount of walls with darn windows…hmmm, maybe I can work on a loft space with a ladder up to more beds.  I’ll start working on that… 😉

Powder Room and Laundry:

Love the neutrals here.

Now, welcome to my back yard!!!!!!

Back Patio:

Keep in mind the teak furniture is going to gray over time, just like the shingles.  I love everything about this, but I’ll probably have to add an outdoor fireplace/kitchen area as well.  Okay, now the doghouse is adorable!  Maybe I’ll even get a dog!?  (On second thought, who am I kidding?  I’m not getting a dog…I’ve got enough things to keep alive.  That settles it, the doghouse is going on eBay.  Let me know if you are interested.)

So there you have it.  What do you think?  It’s probably going to be mine, but you’ve got to be in it to win it, so you might as well give it a shot.  Enter HERE.

PS  If you do win, could I please have 2 weeks every summer?  I mean, I did share…

– kate


Back to Life, Back to Reality

Back To Life, Back to Reality (Do the rest of you think in really cheesy 80’s lyrics, or is it just me???) 🙂

So I hit send on Michael’s Room reveal post and headed into my favorite city (NYC) for a couple of days because the kids were off of school.  We came back late Saturday to a filthy home, one great bedroom and a crazy amount of love on the world wide web!  Thank you so much for all of your feedback and support!!!  I am still going through all the love and I’m still going through all these amazing rooms.

So back to client work and I found myself researching my local Craigslist.  Of course that turns into hours of passing on things that I or my clients don’t need…so I thought I would show you a couple finds for inspiration or if you are local, please, snag it up!!



I thought this set was cute.  I love the chairs.  A set of new bold patterned cushions or spray-painting them a bold color would make a big statement.  Pair them with a different table, maybe a game table or tulip table…
You could get this whole set for one of these from Ballard:

Macau Armchair-ballard-willow-interiors
More inspiration:
emily-henderson-willow-interiorsEmily Henderson


Jonathan Adler X-Bench – $400 (Bronx, NY)

Jonathan Adler x bench. Navy blue velvet (Venice Navy). Brand new condition. Retails for $745


Now I would love a pair of these under a console or at the end of a bed, but one would still look great as an accent piece and additional seating in a living room or maybe at the end of a twin bed in a kid or guest room.


willow-interiorsStyle Within Reach

Black & White with a touch of mint-willow-interiorsJonathan Adler

willo-interiorsElizabeth Dinkel Design



Acrylic Lucite Clear Living Room Square Coffee Table – One Piece – $95 (Fort Lee, NJ)


I have the rectangle CB2 version of this table, but I’ve never seen a large square one with the same waterfall edge.  I love these table, especially in tight spaces because they visually do not crowd the room.


willow-interiorsKristen F. Davis

willow-interiorssource unknown

Jennifer Backstein Interiors - living rooms - willow-interiorsJennifer Backstein Interiors

Dining Room Table and 10 chairs – McGuire Designer – $10,000 (Cape May, NJ)

This Grand Octagonal Dining Table, designed by John McGuire, features bamboo poles lashed in place with McGuire’s signature rawhide laces. The design has a center support of bundled bamboo. Horizontal bamboo members radiate from the center and join eight inner supports and outer bamboo legs to create this beautiful, geometric form.
The glass 1 inch Octagonal top is beveled without a scratch. The table comfortably seats 8 and the set comes with 10 Rattan Chairs that can be easily customized.
Excellent deal as retail price would be roughly $23,000.00.


Okay, that’s a lot of money, but I was so intrigued by this (and their awful photos) that I did some digging.  This is a gorgeous set!  It would look spectacular in someone’s beach house (ummm, please invite me for a cocktail!!!), but would really look great with many different styles.  What’s weird is that I found that they have it listed for $7,000 on Ebay??!  I would start negotiations at $5,000 and also look at the condition in person.  Here are some photos and McGuire Furniture’s website.




Alright, now I’ve got to go find stuff that I and my client’s can use, but your welcome for getting that awesome song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. 🙂

– kate

Staging a Victorian–Waking Sleeping Beauty

Today I wanted to show you a really cool house I recently got to stage in Tenafly, New Jersey.  My friend asked me for some help staging his childhood home and we got to work.  Here are some before and after’s and a couple of tips for preparing your house for sale.

willow interiors
Isn’t she purty!!!???  Have I mentioned that I love old houses? 🙂  A clean landscaping job and welcome porch and entrance is important for a good first impression.

55hillsideb&a6/willow interiors

Welcome to the foyer…look at the amazing original woodwork!  We freshened that up and put down gorgeous hardwood floors.  My friend found that amazing custom door for a steal and we kept our paint choices neutral and light.

Check out this huge living room.

55hillsideb&a5/willow interiors
55hillsideb&a4/willow interiors
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Losing a lot of the furniture and showing off the floors and original plaster ceiling helps to show just how big this room is!  I loved hearing stories about the parties that took place in this room through the years!  Another tip is in addition to making sure your house is sparkling clean, make sure the windows are spotless as well.

55hillsideb&a7/willow interiors

The original dining room had, over time, switched to a sitting room and we brought it back to it’s glory with it’s restored fireplace.  Mirrors add light to any room.

55hillsideb&a8/willow interiors

55hillsideb&a12/willow interiors

This was one of my favorite rooms to transform.  This was what my clients called a walk-through room that was later made into the dining room.  Check out the 80’s wall of mirrors on the left.  We used existing furniture and our amazing carpenter made a built-in half wall to hold a television and, voila, we have a family room.  Another tip, do you have dated window treatments?  Tear those babies down and let the sunlight in.

55hillsideb&a11/willow interiors

willow interiors

Let’s head upstairs and look at that amazing woodwork with gleaming fresh paint.  Here’s a look at some of the bedrooms.

55hillsideb&a3/willow interiors

This room had nice floors, but the interesting and soothing sky light-boxes on the right side of the room had to go.  We put some lights up top instead and set this up with two twin beds as a sunny girls’ room.

55hillsideb&a9/willow interiors
55hillsideb&a10/willow interiors

The rest of the bedrooms got a facelift by losing the dated wallpaper and putting down quality carpet.

55hillsideb&a1/willow interiors
55hillsideb&a2/willow interiors

The master definitely looks more spacious with fresh paint, carpet, open windows and simple bedding.

willow interiors
And we didn’t forget to have fun up in the attic. 🙂

To see more of this gorgeous house check it out HERE and let me know when you move in…I’ll help you make it your own.

Thanks for stopping by!  – kate


All photo’s by Willow Interiors and Sotheby’s Tenafly.

For more info on this house, please call:
Susan Zabinksi
Phone: ­1 201.417.6371­
Phone: ­1 201.568.5668­


Table or Island? #537 on the First World Problems List

Scrolling through Facebook today I was reminded of a design favorite of mine:

willow interiors

If you were renovating, would you ever consider a large table instead of an island?  I love this look!  It has a very European feel.  Here are some of my favorites.

Beautiful Kitchens: Contrasting Cabinetssource

Wendi Young-lookalike kitchenWendi Young Design

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone

Bill Litchfield Designs

fabulous mixsource


Tim BarberTim Barber Ltd.

Open cabinetssource


white cabinets and black subway tile  benches and trellis table  black trim windows and doorssource

cool lightsource

white kitchen, marble counters, dark wood, lantern and tons of windows!source

table as islandsource

These were all in my Kitchen folder on Pinterest, so I guess I like this look.  Thanks for the reminder Traditional Home!  What do you think?

– kate

A Powder Room for the Birds

I made some changes to our half bathroom on the main level yesterday and then last night I had a dream and glanced into my future and saw this:

Bird Lady of Central Park

But I guess that’s better then ending up a cat lady:

You pet your lifeAnimal Hoarders

I’ve been hoarding birds, but thankfully only paper versions.  Now that I’ve collected enough of them I decided to add them to our main level powder room.

 powder room 1/willow interiors

This is a tight room to shoot, but it is a powder room off of our mudroom with a pocket door.

powder room2/willow interiors

Above the mirror, is my butterfly taxidermy (that freaks the kids out).  I found it while on a trip with my husband to Denver and the two birds over the mirror are from one of my local stores, Town Home and Garden, that I mentioned HERE.

powder room3/willow interiors

Over the toilet I was excited to hang my framed vintage birds.  I saw these in a consignment shop and left empty-handed.  I laid in bed that night picturing people going into the store and picking them off slowly by pairs or, horrifically, by ones!!  What a sad and lonely life for this family of birds!  So I had to go back and get them all! 🙂

powder room4/willow interiors

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The two long frames on either side of the sink are also consignment finds.

powder room7/willow interiors

powder room6/willow interiors

And I made the relaxed roman shade a couple of years ago with this fabric.

powder room8/willow interiors

The details in these prints are so pretty and the brass hanging rings shined up beautifully!

So, there’s my bird room.  Please be nice to me when I retire and spend my days on the park bench feeding and talking to my friends.

On a side note, we were recently telling the kids about this movie…imagine if we watched it!!  They would never use this bathroom again…hey, but then it wouldn’t get as dirty…hmmm. 🙂

The Birds (1963) Poster
Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds

Later, – kate

Estate Sale at Something’s Gotta Give House in the Hamptons!!!!

I love that I’m not the only design nut out there.  Shortly after posting yesterday about my obsession with a rug from Something’s Gotta Give (okay, I’m obsessed with the whole damn house), my friend Linda posted on Facebook that there’s an estate sale at that house TODAY!!!!!!!  I am dying!!!  I immediately MapQuested it (that’s a word, right?) and it told me that the house is 2 hours away in the Hamptons on Long Island.  Now if you are from the tri-state area you know that two hours to get from New Jersey, through the city and over to Long Island on MapQuest translates to a possible 3-5 hours….maybe even a week and that’s just to get there!!!!  So I’m going to sit here in New Jersey and stew over this while I check out some pictures of the sale.

Something's Gotta Give house/willow interiors

Before we look at the sale pictures, I should mention to you that just the front exterior of this house was used in the movie.  Imagine pulling up to that every day!  The interior and pool scenes were all created in studio, which is fascinating too.  Here are some of my favorites:

Somethings-Gotta-Give-house/willow interiors

Now do you see what I mean!!!?

I thought this was pretty neat…it’s amazing the beauty and ‘fakeness’ they can create in a studio:

Somethings-Gotta-Give-pool/willow interiors

(All of these photos are from Hooked on Houses…highly addictive if you are obsessed with movie houses and celebrity homes…Love it!!)

So back to real life….hahaha, I crack myself up!  The real 8,000 sq.-foot house is right on the beach in Southhampton and, I’m sorry to say, is not for sale…shucks!  It never even made it to the market!  Hotel tycoon, Jimmy Tisch, CEO of Loews Corporation, just bought this 11-bedroom summer cottage for $41-million!!!  According to The Daily News, it’s previous owner, Alan Meckler, CEO of, made a killing on the sale, having bought the two acre lot for just $5.5 million in 1999!

Okay back to the sale.  I was trying to see the house and they didn’t help me out too much.  But you can tell that there are amazing built ins and mill-work through out…  I also love their American art collection and pottery:

Somethings-Gotta-Give-estate sale/willow interiors

Somethings-Gotta-Give-Art Sale/willow interiors

So a giant thank you to Linda for being a design fanatic like myself.  Now I just need someone to pop in at the estate sale and get me some better pictures on the interiors.

I know what movie I’m watching this weekend.  Happy Friday! – kate