Friday, December 27, 2013


It's been a while since I've sat at the keyboard to check-in, but I hope this post finds you well and enjoying the holiday season! As the New Year comes upon us, I hope you are at ease, without the pressure this season can often bring. I wish for you the time to reconnect with family and friends, reaping all the benefits of your efforts for the past year. Some of you may be on the party circuit for the New Year while others may be looking forward to a pause or celebrating at home. I dream of calling out for Chinese take-out/sushi! In my book, this is not settling. Alone or with friends, keeping it simple can be stress free and lots of fun.
I had a lot of fun pulling this table together for this Sushi inspired New Years table. I didn't purchase anything, I only used things that I've collected over time. Hunting and gathering throughout my home always reminds me of what I have and how I can make it work in other ways...that's the fun part!

A patch-work Asian inspired piece of fabric was used for a tablecloth. The gold tray was bought at a yard sale this past summer for $2.00! Normally it lives on my credenza. The lavender glass candlesticks I purchased at Anthropologie several years ago.
Loving this glass votive gift I received at Brimfield, from Rue La La! I used paper and cloth napkins for multi-use and contrast. White square plates add a bright spot against all the color. 
Gold French ribbon is tucked under each plate...just because. 
Amethyst and malachite colored bento box bowls for miso soup, compliment the amethyst glasses.  
Different  chop sticks at each place setting.
Teacups for green tea and small leaf bowls for wasabi and soy sauce.
These are one of my favorite pair of chop sticks. The more worn they become, the more I love them!
Okay, so maybe I'll have to order some flowers along with the take-out! Ha! Willow or and orchid would be nice! 
I hope you've been inspired to have a festive New Year 
how ever you choose to spend it! 
Happy New Year!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Longing for artful and luxurious pieces that tell your story?



Beautiful spaces are thoughtful and speak to detail. A home layered in collected beauty exudes depth, fine taste and personality. Often our lives are void of the time, effort and expense that it requires to carefully select global pieces. AYERS is a NYC based luxury home décor company and at the helm, Manhattan-based interior designer and Principle of Irwinteriors, Penelope Irwin. Ms. Irwin's extensive travel has made it convenient for you to attain these desirable pieces from the comfort of your own home.

The Ayers Ebony Bowl (shown above) is the first of a few vessels I selected to feature:
*The Ayers Ebony Bowl is a completely one-of-a-kind piece that is as beautiful as it is interesting. These bowls are "found" Ebony wood that has been collected in Indonesia and have a natural, shiny finish. This is a treasured decorative piece that makes a stunning impression. These bowls are beautiful and unique pieces of art.

I recently asked Elisa Hetmanski, Media Marketing Manager of Ayers International, LLC, to explain in her own words what to expect when acquiring a piece from Ayers Collection?

"When acquiring an Ayers piece, one can expect it to enhance the space with a quiet, modern yet classic, interest. Each Ayers piece has a subtle statement to them—nothing too loud or obnoxious—just a quiet tone. All pieces —new and old—have an extensive story to them. The curated pieces are distinctly different and rare; the created pieces are handcrafted works of art, which are meticulously created by artisans in New York City."

*The Tibetan Spice Pots are an example of vintage, handmade Tibetan art and were meant for daily household use. Each piece is carved meticulously from a single piece of wood and decorated with carved geometric lines. These pots exhibit a subtle glow of patina, which is the result of years around wood-burning smoke and very buttery hands. All pots are vintage, from the mid 20th century. Each unique in their own way, these pots tell a story on their own or as a collective group. Perfectly suited for holding rice, lentils, sugar, coffee, tea, spices, or simply as a beautiful decorative piece.

I love the varying heights and hues of these graceful vessels!

*The Glass Sculptures are striking, one-of-a-kind vessels that are produced by NY based artist Michael Anchin. No two pieces are exactly alike and each adds visual interest either on its own, or in a group of varied shapes, sizes and colors. Michael began glass blowing at a cooperatively run community hot shop on the famed Mulberry Street in Manhattan in the 1980's. He went on to hire many of his teachers, highly skilled glassblowers, to help him produce over 100,000 long neck sculptures that were sold worldwide.
Each piece is a beautifully unique art form that is hand-made and individually signed by Michael Anchin himself. The color present in the glass is made from real earth minerals that are added in while each vase is blown. Each sculpture is a colorful, organically shaped figure that is formed in a 2000 degree oven by a true glass artisan. 
Elisa explains the luxury companies aesthetic goal, "The Ayers aesthetic mission revolves around the culmination of modern luxury and precise design. The concept is a balance of modern designs complementing a vast array of fascinating curated pieces. Pillows, throws, trays, bowls, baskets and global artifacts are all designed to give visual and tactile pleasure in the home.  Beautiful fabrics such as cashmere, linen, silk and cotton complete the look. The designs and objects are a bit posh in the most relaxed sense. If one identifies with an effortless style and appreciates being surrounded by sensually sophisticated items, objects and art, then one understands Ayers." 
*The D'Or vase is a hand-made ceramic pot, crafted on a potter's wheel in the Netherlands. The beautiful, golden luster is created with pure, 24k gold, which is hand applied to the final product. In order to give our ceramics a premier quality, they are baked once without a finish at 1250 degrees Celsius and then again with the finish at the same temperature. This is 2-3 times the industry average and creates a more durable and beautiful end product.

Elisa, what can we expect in the near future? "The new horizon for Ayers is the upcoming Fall season. Fall is all about a "Relaxed Glamour". While the designs will continue to have the same relaxed feel, it will combine seamlessly with the glamour of amazingly luxurious fabrics. Linens will be at the forefront of the collection, but cashmeres and silks will also play a strong role. The upcoming seasons will also begin to introduce furniture. While the focus will be upholstery, there will also be a few metal pieces to compliment the look." 
Elisa further explains, "Ayers mission is to represent the highest standards of quality, service and creativity within the luxury lifestyle marketplace. We believe in the invention of design and the curation of talented artists and craftsmen from around the globe."
I am truly impressed with this collection! The pieces are exquisite and I cannot wait for the opportunity to use them on an upcoming project!  More to come....         -Michelle
*Product descriptions and photography provided by Ayers International, LLC

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Ready for the this! #BRIMFIELD VIP TENT is going to be the best Brimfield event yet!
In addition to 6,000 vendors showing their best treasures at the antique fair, the #Brimfield VIP Tent will be the social media hub for all thing design at on of the largest antique fairs in the world! On Thursday, May 16th - May17th, interior designers, decorators,design and fashion bloggers, celebrities and media will gather at the tent hosted by Fashion + Decor.  What makes the event so great you ask? Well besides the obvious, the sponsors will be: Benjamin MooreRobert Allen Fabrics, Sunbrella, Rue la la, Polar and Director, Jen Hoyda! I'm looking forward to chatting and hearing what's new and exclusive from all of them!

Cari Cucksey of HGTV and Jamie Drake of Drake Design Associates are just a few of the celebs that will be attending. Here are a photos courtesy of Cari Cucksey of a chaise lounge "Before and After," now covered in:

Robert Allen Naturals II of course! Can't wait to see it up close at the tent!
Robert Allen has a few more surprises in store with their latest digital release! Can't wait!

Need a break from shopping? You can catch up with all your Brimfield friends, get the scoop on exclusive trade news, tweet to your followers about market finds, have a chair message or lounge by the bar designed/built by Interior Designer, Shane Inman. I'm looking forward to seeing what else Shane has been up to in the tent for the past couple of weeks!

Now back to the bar! Liquid indulgences will be flowing by Mixologist - Warren Bobrow, also known as the "Cocktail Whisperer." Warren is also a food writer and has a wealth of knowledge you can tap into on pairing culinary delights and spirits.

Enough said, "Rain or Shine" I'll be there with bells on or maybe even Wellies! Regardless, this is an event not to be missed. I'm looking forward to seeing all my Brimfield friends and shopping till we drop!

Stay tuned for live tweets from Brimfield! You can follow me @cortizointerior.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brizo/Bon Appetit Video:Jamie Bissonnette and Seth Fritz

DESIGN NEWS EXCLUSIVE! Brizo once again is paving the way by teaming up with Bon Appetit! Have a look at this special release video: Featuring Brizo's Lead Designer Seth Fritz with "Chopped" winner and Boston Chef/Restaurateur, Jamie Bissonnette of the famed Toro and Coppa. Together they exchange their creative process and share how critical decisions lead to excellence in each of their fields.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Passport To Design Blog Tour

Just imagine having a passport with an itinerary of five style packed destinations without ever having to wait in line at the airport or suffer the consequences of jet lag!
Thanks to Boston Magazine,Yvonne Blacker of Designer Bath and participating showroom's, our lovely group of bloggers shared an inspiring adventure at some of North Shores finest showrooms.
Between the month's of October 2012 and March 2013, you too can get your tour on the road! Just register for a Passport and get it stamped at each of the participating showrooms for inspiration and have the home of your dreams! Click here...
Our day began at 10AM in Danvers, Ma. at Circle Furniture!

This bench caught my eye in these deep beachy tones. Terrific seating at the table or anywhere else. Tufted details and welting with two great pillows for visual interest and added comfort.
 Love these ottomans in pink and gray fabric!!
This was one of my favorite finds of the day. Can you believe this is a recliner!!
Best recliner I have ever seen and comfortable as well. This actually made me excited about sourcing a recliner. Trust me, that's a first! P.S. Our co-host Sean William @BostonMo was fab!
So many faucets to choose little time. Many brands and varieties but this is just one of my favorites by BRIZO. The Vuelo is like a piece of sculpture!
 Doesn't this sink give you the urge to garden? Love it!
Black matte super sexy soaker by Zuchetti!
Iridescent glass = undulating beauty.
 Teak tile!! Yes, wood tile that can go anyway with the exception of a back splash or shower interior. It resist moisture and can take a beating. I loved this tile, it is really beautiful in person. There was a wide selection of wood tiles in a variety of finishes. Another favorite was the herringbone wood tile that came in a weathered grey option. Stunning!
 Silk rugs that look like paintings line the walls and floors of Landry and Arcari. You could spend an entire day marveling at their delicious textiles. Consummate professionals are there to educate and advise you. Our group was highly impressed with the knowledge that was so generously shared on the artistry that goes into crafting a fine carpet.
I couldn't get enough but they certainly had enough!
 Loved this little spot of Suzani and Ikat textiles!
 Woven beauty!

Last, but certainly not least, the final stop of our tour is Lucia Lighting. Lucia has an abundance of traditional to contemporary lighting products. Two stories of illumination with a vast variety to choose from. When you go, say hello to Lucy! I'm convinced she is the source of all the energy at Lucia!! Lucy and her staff were very accommodating and provide custom services to meet every need. I look forward to visiting again!

Thank you to Yvonne Blacker and all of the participating showrooms for their time and service.
It was especially nice to see familiar and as well as new faces. Waving hello to:
Kristina Crestin, Erin Greene, Katherine Hawkins, Danika Herrick, Linda Holt, John Kelsey, Megan Meyers, Linda Merrill.

Cheers! To a day of inspiration and great company!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Budget Friendly Before and Afters!

Thirty years ago my mother decided to update her old dining room set, so she passed the old one on to me! I happily embraced the old cabinet with all of it's peeling veneer and blemishing chips. I loved its bones and bowed glass doors that made it so special. The veneer was beyond lovingly worn. The damage was extensive enough making it difficult to repair, so I painted it! Yes, I know this upsets some, but I truly believe that paint can hide a multitude of furniture sins. Besides, why settle for a so-so finish job, when you can have a piece that makes a statement, while making you happy at the same time. Our china cabinet has sported several different shades over the past 30 years and each time it displays a new shade, I fall in love all over again. It's hard to give up on a piece that has so many memories attached to it. Recently I decided to start updating my breakfast room and the old china blue on the exterior lacked depth, so I added a little more saturation by giving it a few coats of Ben Moore "Wool Peacoat" on the exterior. 

BEFORE: The cabinet interior was too dark in this sunny breakfast room. I wanted vibrant and it was more like a black hole. So Ben Moore's "Green Hydrangea" was my pick to brighten it up a bit and give it a bit of a face lift.
AFTER: Big difference!! Don't you think? I'm very happy with the outcome! Now the space feels bright and welcoming. The deeper exterior helps to create a stronger contrast between it and the vibrant green on the interior. Even the dishes look happier!

Here's one more simple adjustment that made a world of difference. Changing out the old standard candle bulb to a filament tubular bulb, took this sconce from ordinary to extraordinary. Now it's current, interesting and easy on the eyes.
I had lots of fun making these few updates and I hope these few examples inspire you to find simple and economical ways to make anything old, new again in your home!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

May this year bring you much love, growth, good health and prosperity. I'd like to think the best is yet to come as we continue to aspire and inspire! Happy 2013!