The Perfect Black

Elizabeth Bolognino exploring design & environment.

Dear Santa: Please put Coal in my Stocking.

Hey Santa – I mean Jim Zivic’s coal, specifically.  Zivic is the mastermind behind stunning coal sculptural pieces as well as contemporary handcrafted furnishings.  Zivic’s art interprets nature with a man-altered finish, however just barely.  The dense, rawness of natural form can transform any interior – whether contemporary or traditional.

Juxtaposition of Zivic's Coal

Jim Zivic's Coal Scuplture c/o Ralph Pucci
Jim Zivic’s Coal Scuplture c/o Ralph Pucci

Zivic balances rawness & elegance with such ease.   As Forbes writer Richard Nalley writes, Zivic manages “hone lumps of coal into $30,000 end tables.  On the other hand, they are very beautiful – gemlike, even mysterious”.  His latest line of furniture includes a leather link hammock which is suspended from the ceiling with zipper-like straps. 

Leather Link Hammock via Jim Zivic Designs.


To see more of Zivic’s work, please visit Jim Zivic Design.  Happy Holidays!

Saying So Long to Summer…

A bit melancholy, wistful.  A long breath understanding what’s ahead… the Beachfront cafe plays it’s last song & shutters the doors.  The sand & wind along an almost-empty beach, just a man and his dog.  Summer is almost gone as we enter into another cycle of excitement, death, hibernation, rebirth.

It’s been a good one here in New York.  Not too hot, not too rainy.  All in all, pretty great.  Here’s some imagery inspired by my soundtrack tonight.   Summer is for friendships, for getting dirty, for living every moment.  Onward to exciting times & a change of season… but let’s honor this passing first.  Happy Labor Day!


time to go?







last time this year







one love


The Return of the Concrete Floor.

During the mid 2000’s, I was a big fan of the concrete floor.  Concrete is a wonderfully versatile material.  Not only is it maintenance free, the possibilities are endless with color, pattern and texture. Concrete has been used architecturally for milienia; Ancient Rome’s Pantheon in Rome has the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built.  In modern times, architectural greats Louis KahnCarlo Scarpa, & Tadao Ando used concrete to define their legacies…  One of my personal favorites is Ando’s The Church of Light in Osaka, Japan.


Despite it’s simplicity & easy upkeep, concrete is a sustainable building material and can have a buttery feel especially if radiant heating is installed beneath.


I love the use of traditional ceiling medallions & the en trumeau fireplace installed in this traditional parlor apartment.  I’d probably go with something a bit more formal for dining, but the designer nailed the overall approach.


The dark, coarse floor texture gives depth to a minimal, neutral palette.  This could easily be in an urban loft or rustic cottage.


The designer achieved a clean approach using simple, building materials.  I love the hint of a tribal stool with flayed leg to soften the space.


See the seam lines in the concrete above?  These are joints so the concrete can expand and contract…  It is very important to make sure your environment is climatized before installing to avoid cracks. Note the simple rug which breaks the structure & gives warmth to the space.


The assortment of tribal rugs also do a great job of give warmth to the living space above.


Darker grey concrete is used in a sophisticated manner; the color from the art/books really pulls the room together.



This interior is as minimal as minimal gets. I love how the architect  mirrored the concrete finish from the ceiling slab.  The bed is too simple for my aesthetics in a full time residence, but I can see this as a great concept for Marfa/Greece hotel properties.


This Scarpa inspired home uses a beige aggregate in their concrete, giving a natural look to the indoor courtyard.



You can easily stencil or paint a design on concrete for added definition.


It looks like there are two concretes replacing pavers and stonework defining this traditional space.  Hopefully I’ll incorporate concrete into a future project of mine, perhaps my own 🙂  xoEB


Great Children’s Rooms Roundup

Children’s rooms are just about as fun as they come to design.  From tots to teens, city to country, the images below capture something special.  It’s important to remember the small spaces when designing for children.  Little one’s love a space they can call their own… even if it’s the size of a thimble.

MishMash Pattern Mixup

I love the atypical pairing of a old kilim with Cole & Son’s Tree Wallpaper.  Note how hints of red are pulled together by the simple artwork & toys.  Also, the dilineation of tree/void and fuzzy grey stripe relate to one another.


This child’s nook will create forever memories.  This is a great way to make a small space special with the  inexpensive use of a  large scale photo.

upstate perfections

On the flipside, this interior is quite the build-out.  Can you imagine the ghost stories & magical nights spent in this room?  An upstate dream!

chalkboard depth

I love the messy depth chalkboard paint gives to this child’s room.  It’s a great way to save money on artwork as the wall needs nothing but an artist.


Simple, a tad unrealistic, but beautiful none-the-less.  The combination of creams and cool tones make this a very warm, clean space.  However, I think an animal hide would most likely scare a child.

shabby chic

I love the cottage-simplicity of this older child’s bedroom. The worn edges & milk paint soften the cozy space.  I love the lampshades that look like mushrooms!

loft perfection

Not in love with the fabric selection, but this little girl sure is lucky to have a lofted playspace in her room!

built-in nautical

Maritime built-ins are perfect for a second home, even for adults.  I could totally see doing this in a vacation home that has frequent guests.

innovative staircase

Brilliant use of ordinary space.

nautical boat

Fantastical & Perfect.  Can you imagine falling asleep in this room after reading a chapter of Peter Pan?
whitewashed cape cod effect

Wall decals are an inexpensive way to fill dead wall space.  I used decals from Wee Decor in my baby’s room and still love them 2.5 years later.


No words needed for the image above.

quirky and perfect

I love love love this nursery.  There is a Wes Anderson-esque vibe in this image… sure would make for a cool kid.

I’d love to see some images of your favorite children’s rooms as well.  Send them my way! xoEB

The Yum or Yuck Factor.

Let’s face it.  I believe there are two equal approaches to an informed Interior.

As some of you know, I take a learned approach when it comes to Interior Design.  In fact, my most appreciated class while finishing my Masters of Science in Interior Design at Pratt was Design History. DH is the perfect culmination of math, science, & culture (thanks to Alexa Griffith Winton)… It helped me to realize the most important aspect of starting my own business: Design is purely a product of the Moment – a reflection of what is happening NOW.

Example – let’s look at the transition between Art Nouveau/Arts & Crafts & French (then American) Art Deco.  Arts & Crafts focused on the perfection of every detail, every screw.  Architects extrapolated the meaning of Art by focusing on every element… inspired by the intrinsic quality of a leaf.  A&C built upon anthropomorphism of Art Nouveau, allowing us to break down beauty to the micro of micros.

Then the War Came.

Excess stripped.  Time a luxury.  Flowers forgotten and war, efficiency, machines God.  Out goes detail, and in comes American Art Deco… the embodiment of War efforts.  Streamlining everything, engines, airplanes, steel.  Stripped down, sans-serif fonts.  War = Ration.  American Design stole a peek at Italy’s fascist arhecitecture movement, the opposite of its domestic predecessor.  Arts & Crafts = Flourish.  And it is obvious.  Design IS a product of the collective soul’s current status… of a thought’s thought. So it goes.

This brings me to my next point, the antithesis of my informed thinking above.  I believe there is great merit & sociological impact to what my dear friend Mr. Chester calls the “Yum or Yuck Factor”. There is true validity to ones’ liking a “YUM” or a “YUCK”, especially regarding Interior Design.  It reminds me to HSBC’s brilliant AD campaign of 2011. You’ve got to trust your instinct upon first glance.

So which is it?  Informed thinking or the “Yum or Yuck” factor?  I’d like to think good Interiors sits right on the line of both.  There is equal merit to both history and Y/Y.  Both are equally respected and validated.  Neither are dismissed.

I purposely have no images in this post, so you can surmise your own “Yum” or “Yuck” factor… my next post will be light and fluffy about pillows or seaglass or something.

Yours truly,


Ask and You Shall Receive.

A few months back, my husband Justin & I quickly decided to pull the trigger on an impromptu vacation to St. John & Jost Van Dyke.  Our dear friend Johnny joined us (who is also a perpetual islandgoer).  We’ve made the trek to St. John every year since we were married there in 2006.  The trip was so worth it, and I must share some of our most favorite photos with you.  Off topic, sure, but inspirational nonetheless.  Enjoy!

IMG_1170 IMG_1173 IMG_1182










Holiday House Hamptons – The Surfshack

Happy Holiday weekend!   A couple weeks ago, the HC&G Holiday House Hamptons showhouse opened benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  I was invited to design the outdoor surfshack/pool cabana, and collaborated with some awesome vendors to make it happen.  The house features the work of 21 other amazing interior designers,  including James Huniford, Thom Felicia, Fawn Galli, & Tamara Magel.  

The concept for the surfshack is simple;  I created a space that is comfortable in a really informal way.  The challenge of an outdoor space is really the weather that comes with it, so minimalism always wins.  I purposely created a “club room feel”  with enough room so a person can curl up (bathing suits and a little sand OK!).  I omitted a central coffee table from the shack b/c there is a bar built-in to the stone wall adjacent to the boards.  No one needs a roadblock to the bar after a long day at the beach!


The shack was inspired by a certain moment I call “the Afterglow”.  It’s a feeling you get coming home from being on the water or beach… You’re sun kissed, tangled hair, ready for a cocktail & some good tunes.  The surfshack is the place to wind down, that intermittent space between being outdoors & indoors.  Kind of the nightcap on a great day. A Huge Thanks to Hamptons WatersportsDEDONDEDARDash & Albert, and Serena & Lily for donating materials to the surfshack.  It was a fun project for an amazing cause.


I was inspired by natural, neutral colors with the understanding that the seasonal landscaping around the house will become my color pops.  The MU sofas are a transitional blend of contemporary & traditional, especially with the Curl Prestige Terrycloth sofa fabric in white. Serena & Lily/DEDAR provided gorgeous pillows in shades of blue which remind me of searching for sea glass on the beach.  The photo below was on the end of our installation day; luckily we cut caught a little sun so I thought I’d post.


It’s ok to plan a space in your home to not always feel like a photoshoot.  It’s ok to get a little sand on things and have a proper place to store beach treasures at the end of a great day. The Holiday House is open until July 21st; please go to the house and support this great charity!

This AM I was browsing one of my favorite design blogs, for some over-coffee inspiration, & I ran across one of my own kitchen designs! Thanks to Editor Christine Chang Hanway for including the Colorado modern kitchen on her post 10 White Kitchens.   Have a lovely weekend, enjoy this gorgeous Spring Day!  xoEB

10 White Kitchens from Remodelista Designers


There comes a time, every year, where this redheaded left handed southerner turns South and just wishes for a moment she could transport herself Home.

The idea of Home is so transfixing.  It’s the Past, the Future, Smells, Memories, Songs, Feelings.  Tonight I’m thinking of my grandparents, of spanish moss, of pulling crab traps we released off the dock the night before.  I think of flowers, of yellow cake, of walking the suspended bridges over our marshlands.  I miss them so much and can’t believe they’ve been gone for over half my life.

At the end of the day, I’m happiest wrapped in a blanket sitting on a porch somewhere. Depending on time of day, perhaps with an iced tea (half and half to you southern readers) or a vodka lemonade. I’m dedicating this post to my grandparents, front porches & the South. Good Night. xoEB

Spanish Moss like in Daphne, Alabama.
Spanish Moss like in Daphne, Alabama.
Can't you hear the crickets?? :)
Can’t you hear the crickets?? 🙂
I could spend all day under this Tree.
I could spend all day under this Tree.
The Great Blue Heron used to lay it's eggs by the pone on our property.  It was a big deal.
The Great Blue Heron used to lay it’s eggs by the pone on our property. It was a big deal.
Early morning on Mobile Bay Alabama
Early morning on Mobile Bay Alabama
You can learn so much about yourself on nighttime walks with your family.
You can learn so much about yourself on nighttime walks with your family.
Simple and Perfect.  Nothing Fancy.  I can still smell her yellow cake!
Simple and Perfect. Nothing Fancy. I can still smell her yellow cake!
Doesn't get simpler than this.
Doesn’t get simpler than this.

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