I don’t know about you, but when it comes to decorating I find it difficult to “stick to the rules.” On the contrary, I’d rather break them—that’s when your own personal style really starts to shine.  As a result of having the great pleasure of working in this business for so many years, sometimes I think I’ve seen it all. But of course that’s never true, which is why it was so much fun to shop Taigan.com for some fabulous finds. As I accumulated my choices, I noticed that there was a theme emerging: an uptown-downtown look, represented by items that evoke a mix of livable luxury, understated elegance, and bohemian chic, which is what I love!

-Carolyn Englefield, Director of Decoration and Special Projects at Veranda


In Vogue: An Illustrated History from Absolution

In Vogue is one of my favorite books. It’s an in-depth look at the history of one of the world’s most influential publications. The book highlights the work of some of the 20th century’s most respected artists, cover illustrators, and photographers, such as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Helmut Newton, to name a few. If you love magazines and interiors as much as I do, it’s a must have for your library.

Vintage French Armchair from Ann Koerner Antiques

This 19th-century French armchair, reupholstered in muslin, is a classic beauty that would add style to any room. It could fit well in a modern or a traditional context, depending on the other elements in the space.

Diamond Faceted Sapphire Gemstone Earrings from 88 By Sandy Simonian

I was struck by the “rough cut” look of these one-of-a-kind natural sapphire and diamond pavé earrings. You could dress them up or dress them down, depending on what you wore them with. I tend to like simple, good-looking jewelry that goes with everything, and these totally fit my uptown-downtown, slightly bohemian look.

Zebra Printed Cowhide Beige Large from Imperio JP

This beautiful rug is the perfect exclamation point for my uptown-downtown look! It makes a bold statement and is soft underfoot. It would be ideal for an entrance hall, or under a coffee table or a desk in a library. If you’re feeling really fearless, you could even hang it on the wall as a piece of art.


Black Ikat Coat from CJ Laing

This stunning imported, hand-loomed silk/cotton ikat coat is a signature piece. It makes such a statement, and has been worn by many women who regularly appear on “best dressed” lists. It has a fresh, modern look and is also extremely practical. It can be worn over a cocktail dress or cigarette pants in New York or Palm Beach, or over jeans and a T-shirt in Aspen. It’s a fashionable uptown-downtown looks that’s timeless.

Santa Maria Novella’s Angels of Florence from Absolution

Angels of Florence has the scent of all my favorite flowers: jasmine, lilac, rose, and gardenia, with a hint of peach, melon, and violet and a drop of grey amber added in. It’s a truly intoxicating and delicious fragrance, and wearing it makes me feel as if I’m lost in a garden somewhere in Italy. Divine.

Dragon Earthenware Garden Stool from Revival

This attractive garden stool, with its stylized dragon design, would add a bit of character and casual sophistication to any room. I can imagine it being used as a side table with the gorgeous 19th-century French armchair above, both of them set on the black-and-white zebra printed cowhide rug. The bone-colored glaze and oversize, embellished details make it versatile enough to use both inside and out.

Pair of 19th-Century Blue-and-White Jars with Foo Lids from And George

This jar is sold as a pair. How great are they? They might be my favorite items in this whole roundup of selections. They would be the perfect accessories for almost any room—blue and white always seem to add a sophisticated look and well-traveled accent to a place.

Calais Bedding from Julia B.

What could be more fun than these whimsical scallop-edged, polka dot custom bed linens? It’s always important to remember that luxury begins at home, so why not start with your bedroom!

Stainless Steel Tray with Horn Handles from Imperio JP

This oversize platinum-like tray with buffalo horn handles is useful and chic. It would be a perfect catchall on top of an ottoman or ideal for a bar setup on a console table. It adds a bit of sparkle and glamour to a room.


C. 1900 Chinese Carved-Wood Monk from And George

A divine character with a lovely patina that exudes a true peace of mind. This wonderful sculpture would give a great sense of culture and history to any space.

Matte Gold or Pewter Beaded Envelope Bag with Turqoise Inlay from Imperio JP

I was attracted to these beaded bags for their unconventional, somewhat ethnic look. They are the perfect wardrobe essential and would make a stylish statement day or night, ideal for a black-tie affair or with jeans, sandals, and a T-shirt.

Jeffrey Campbell Jannie Suede Flat from Haven

I love comfortable, flat, ballet-type shoes, and this red suede pair with gold embroidered details would be easy to wear with a whole range of outfits. For instance, they would make a wonderful complement to the CJ Laing black-and-white ikat coat.

Gurhan Mixed Metal Jordan Rock Crystal Ring from Amanda Pinson

All that glitters is not gold. I love the scale and simplicity of this ring. It has a sculptural quality and is also something of an optical illusion: the oval rock crystal is set atop a hand-hammered 24k-gold inlay, giving it the look of a golden colored stone that can be worn with anything, anywhere.

Vintage Quilted Kantha Blanket from Krickette

I’m always attracted to unusual antique textiles, linens, and quilts, and I couldn’t resist this “exotic” looking quilted blanket with different prints on each side. I can imagine using it as a throw on a living room sofa or as a cover on my bed—it would go so well with those whimsical red-and-white scallop-edged sheets. I like it when things don’t look new and store bought, but rather found and collected over time.

Buccellati Sterling Silver Small Shell Dish from Far 4

This beautifully simple and elegant shell dish in sterling silver is a real treasure to behold. It adds a sophisticated, well-curated accent to anything it touches. I imagine it placed on my Chinese Dragon garden stool, the perfect shimmery jewel-like accessory to the room.


Carolyn Englefield’s publishing career spans decades, mastheads, and continents. She spent several years at House & Garden, has been a contributor to Elle Decor, and was with House Beautiful for 14 years, serving for a time as the magazine’s senior decorating editor and eventually becoming its Paris-based European correspondent. Carolyn joined Veranda in 2000 and returned to New York in 2007 as the magazine’s editor-at-large. During hertenure she has produced countless celebrated features and covers. She now also supervises special projects—including showhouses on both coasts—and speaks regularly at design center symposia around the country.






About Julia Reed

Julia Reed is a columnist at Garden & Gun magazine and a contributing editor at Elle Décor. She also contributes to The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, and The New York Times, and makes frequent appearances on MSNBC. She is the author of five books, including But Mama Always Put Vodka in the Sangria, Adventures in Eating, Drinking and Making Merry and One Man’s Folly, The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood.

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