Sleek, Modern Bath Accessories

Gatco 4243 Chrome Latitude 2 Toilet Toilet Paper Holder from the
Latitude collection – these are also available at Lowe’s.


How to Fake a Fabulous Closet: Part 2

In home remodeling, realtors and decorators will all advise to put your money in kitchen and bath amenities. For a 1 bedroom like ours in Sunset Harbour, our kitchen will never be ideal for a serious chef, and our bathrooms are well on their way to gorgeous…so I’ve set about the task of improving the #3 priority, which comes #1 to most women (if they’re like me): closets!

Lighting in a standard builder’s grade closet is some variation of a standard overhead fixture: whether a lightbulb with a string or small flushmount. Overhead lighting creates shadow, particularly under any type of shelving. So even if you invest in your tricked out solid shelving (forget that wire junk), you’re only creating darkness, and darkness means the closets are incrementally less useful because if you can’t SEE your stuff, you can’t USE your stuff.

I’m faking my way to a fabulous closet by having my electrician line the interior opening of my closet with rope lighting. Rope lighting isn’t Christmas tree lighting, so don’t confuse the issue and create a fire hazard. Rope lighting is cool, LED-based, and looks ugly, but after the jump, you can see some beautiful examples of how this strategy lights the contents of your closet at eye-level and downward, evening out the closet lighting and helping you see your stuff.

Because your stuff is gorgeous, and deserves better lighting than that sad little bulb.

This is a project you can totally do yourself if you have an electrical outlet nearby. Because I have access to an electrician right now, I’m putting him to work on integrating this with my motion-sensor, so the moment I open my closet doors, everything will be illuminated. Can’t wait! Standard Rope Lighting (18′ fits more standard 80″ closet heights and 48″ openings)

Also, to create visual unity, I’m also investing in a whole bunch of the same coat hangers. This is the best bargain I’ve found for heavier-duty coats and men’s suits.


Peace of mind = Priceless. A Safe Safely Tucked Away.

I’ve been shopping for safes to keep important papers tucked away, and I’ve discovered a few great finds that can be flushmount into your wall – just like locked medicine cabinets. I’m thinking this would be great in a pantry or closet, and since they’re bolted into the studs, these are a great alternative to the standard (and SUPER heavy) safes that you need to crouch down to get into.

Safe, sound and simple. What’s not to love?

See also: My “How to Fake a Fabulous Closet” series!

How to fake a fabulous closet: Part 1

This is part of a series on closet design which will be the culmination of about 10 months of research into closet organization, closet wardrobe systems, and closet storage solutions. I’m not even kidding.

Like EVERYTHING with home design, it’s totally possible to spend ridiculous amounts of money on closets. And often with only incrementally better finishing, performance and results. When we bought this place on Miami Beach, it’s biggest issue was not only its lack of closet space, but the ineffectiveness of the closets: they didn’t maximize their use of space, making them virtually useless to my husband and I – both of whom have a Lot. Of. Clothing.

No, really, we have  a lot of clothing: him nearly as much as me, and it all needs a home!

So I’m going to let you in on these secrets I’ve found, and while closet organization begins with intelligent use of space on a macro level, the way to really fake a fabulous, high-end, luxury space is in the finest details. One thing I am absolutely investing in is motion-sensor lighting, for 3 reasons:

1. It eliminates the need to an additional light switch, keeping the wall outside the closet that much cleaner
2. Motion sensors save energy, so you’ll never forget to turn the light off
3. Motion sensor lighting says “good morning” when you open the closet in the a.m., and “time to party” when you’re getting dressed for an evening out. It feels special and personal.

Stay tuned for more on how to fake a fabulous closet…

Adventures in recessed lighting: Choices, Terminology, and Taste

In swapping out our builder-grade flushmount fixtures, we’re making the choice to opt for recessed lighting. It wasn’t an easy decision, and felt like choosing the lesser of two evils (flushmounts are generally ugly, and some say recessed lighting is dated), but we opted for what we hope will make our ceilings feel higher and our lines all-around cleaner…

So where to begin? First, there are a variety of technology choices, chief among them: standard cans (for standard bulbs), halogen cans/spots, and/or LED lighting.

LED is gaining a lot of momentum for its superlow cost and eco-friendliness, but its drawbacks are its natural (“cooler”) lighting color which can look much like flourescent, and looks that feel like light panels and can seem somewhat industrial. To lower costs, many builders have begun importing LED recessed lights from China which, some say, produces product of lesser quality, however the impact of these imports has dramatically reduced the costs of LEDs on the market. What was once the most expensive option is now in keeping with other recessed choices.

HALOGEN cans/spots are ideal for “task lighting” or spot lighting a particular spot. They aren’t usually sufficient for overall lighting (which we need), but make ideal accents, as an occasional halogen fixture doesn’t create a great deal if incremental heat (halogen does create heat when used more widely, and is certainly hotter than LED).

STANDARD CANS Lastly, standard cans are standard: nothing wrong, but the high clearance needed to install (5-6″) makes them somewhat complex for some of our shallower soffits that conceal A/C or fire sprinkler piping.

Interestingly, though these are the 3 primary recessed lighting types, there is ample evidence that the lines traditionally dividing the “tasks” of each type of lighting are blurring: take, for instance this mini LED that serves the purpose of highly-concentrated halogen cans:

Each of the above photos link to product pages on Amazon, which is just a starting point in researching these options. I encourage you to explore the links to the various LED recessed lighting options: they are cooler (in temperature and style) than traditional recessed options, and not particularly less affordable, particularly when you consider any potential savings in electric costs. Happy hunting!

All that glitters…belongs in the bathroom!

I don’t have a Narcissistic complex, but with the beautiful light in South Florida and the luxury of our coastal view is making me OBSESS over mirrored furniture.

I feel like mirrored furniture’s moment began really 2-3 years ago, and the benefit of this is that I’m noticing that mirrored pieces are easily found either a) on sale, or b) far cheaper than their initial price when mirror first made a splash.

My best case-in-point is our new master bath vanity! Since we’ve opted to keep our cream marble tile in our bathroom, I’m working out a plan to a) nix the nasty 90’s gold fixtures currently in place, and b) update the look in a way that incorporates the marble (paging Kelly Wearstler, paging Kelly. Wearstler). We purchased the vanity from, and evidently we bought the last one since NO photos can be found ANYWHERE. In-person pics to come!

So now we’re on the prowl for a new vanity for our powder room, and I’m contemplating a matching one since our itsy bitsy powder room might benefit from some mirror in making it appear bigger than it is.

Here are a few I just LOVE via Amazon:

And a great 30″ one for smaller powder rooms (I’m thinking smaller might be better, so that the mirrored sides will show):

I’m also thinking about installing an Extendable Makeup Mirror on the side for my master bath. They seem practical, and I like that they can fold up and move to the side, but could this seem cluttered? Still more decisions!

Suddenly Toilets Matter. Seriously?

In a remodel, every detail matters. And to some (husbands in particular), toilets are of particular importance.

For resale value and its prestige factor the very-Euro aesthete of Miami Beach, we narrowed our search to Toto. But, from there, things narrowed themselves down to 3 models specifically:


The Toto Caruso, priced around $121-$190 USD

Toto Carusoe Cheap Toto Toilet


The Toto Drake, priced around $190 US.

Affordable Toto Toilet: Toto Drake


The Toto Aquia. Why? I like the smooth sides which (I’d imagine) wouldn’t collect dust as other toilets do with their ceramic/porcelain sides (which – I’ve always thought – look like intestines. Sorry for that mental image!). The best price we found is $309 at

Sleek Toilet Slim Toto Aquia

So, when it comes to toilets, I wonder if it’d best for property value and overall investment to splurge a bit on something that’s clearly very modern…or if it’s wiser to pick a great brand but save on price. Much to contemplate…

Oh, and here’s something bogus – notice how all the above toilets are featured *with* seats? Well you’ll be surprised to discover – if you’re on the prowl for toilets – that none actually come with toilet seats! Again, knowing we’ve narrowed things down to Toto, we’ve settled on this seat, but so much to consider! Ah!

Confessions of a Trulia Troll…

So here’s what happens after you buy your first house: you become obsessed with your neighbors’ home value. You pay attention to cheesy realtor mailers. You ask others about their condo renovations and the permitting process. And you troll Trulia.

Tangent: why do realtors insist on sticking their faces on all promo materials? The cheesier they are, the less likely I am to think they’re intelligent – or even trustworthy. And in Miami, evidently your boob job is completely relevant to your realtor marketing materials. Don’t know if you got the memo, but your boob job totally indicates your competency and professionalism. No, really.

Anyway, I’m particularly interested in Trulia and real estate listing sites as sources of inspiration for my pending condo transformation. I’m noticing what others in this Sunset Harbour area have done – one owner took the original cream marble bath and mirrored a wall to open up the space. This is interesting…

marble and mirror sunset harbour interior design

Where to find it: DVF Cutipol flatware

In response to my first post, where I tried to showcase a bit of our style before moving to Miami Beach, I’ve had some inquiries about the flatware featured. The superslim DVF cutlery comes from a small, family-owned operation in Portugal. Circa 2011, when I was in the thick of wedding registry, Diane von Furstenberg’s “DVF home” licensee imported the flatware to Bloomingdales throughout the US (this is a great alternative to designing their own look, as it’s hard to improve upon perfection).

Back in April, DesignLoveFest ran a giveaway featuring the sexy flatware (if you’re hearing about it now, you missed it), but it’s still available at some places, including most recently, a sale last week (!) at OneKingsLane.

I expect to be talking about OKL a lot in the coming posts, as I’ve dropped roughly $1500 on the site over the last 6 months between my purchase of a Gray Malin photograph for my Miami Beach pad, as well as silver Cutipol Night flatware for everyday use to accompany my gold formal table setting featured here.

The editoral coverage of this set is huge, and I’m just obsessed with the sleek design. If you love modern flatware, you should also check out the Cutipol Goa set – which was carried very briefly at Crate & Barrel. Here’s a piece on Cutipol love from Julie Carlson at Remodelista (one of my absolute fave blogs) and a piece on their Goa set from Real Simple (possibly my fave print title).

Bon appetit!

Cutipol Gold Sexy Flatware on Sale

Grandma's Lenox China meets Midcentury Modern Flatware

Cleaning up the neighborhood…

Before the Jugofresh and all the Ferraris, Sunset Harbour was the junkyard of South Beach. It housed its mini-storage, auto repair shops, and the bane of every Miami Beach resident: its tow-yards.

Fast forward past a decade of outright gentrification, and Sunset Harbour is the playground of the Sunset Harbour Yacht Club and residents of Sunset Islands, which is to say – the megarich.  Nevertheless, one holdover of a seedier era remains, and almost nightly, residents are awakened to car alarms from Tremont Towing, terrorizing Sunset Harbour with noise pollution, overzealous property seizure, and political corruption which ensures this banana republic institution continues uninterrupted.

Enter the Miami New Times. The New Times is both the best source of journalism in Miami and evidently the only one which can afford a copyeditor…ahem Miami Herald! The New Times, which recently published a monumental story exposing the city’s doping clinics for professional baseball players, has opened a sincere dialogue about this blight on Miami Beach: its towing companies. My only criticism of this piece is that the author incorrectly uses the term monopoly throughout much of its cover-story article, when the accurate term is truly a biopoly between Tremont Towing and Beach Towing.

Memorable snippits include thsi quote from local Miami Beach councilman Jonah Wolfson:

Wolfson vehemently denies doing favors for Beach and Tremont even though both firms supported his wife’s judicial campaign. “Because we’re talking about the tow companies, you want to make it salacious,” he says. “My response to asking me if political contributions had something to do with my vote is, ‘Go fuck yourself.’ ”

Classy. Here’s a link to the whole piece from the Miami New Times.

Sunset Harbour Towing, towing miami, miami tow

Sunset Harbour Towing Mafia. Pure Class.