Raised by Design


Bar Cart Essentials /// Chairish October Blogger Challenge

Last week the folks at Chairish asked me to participate in their October Blogger Challenge. I tried to play it cool but it took me all of one half nano second to say, “YUH-HUH!”

This month’s Blogger Challenge is all about bar carts (heyo!). So my super-fun homework was to choose one of Chairish’s vintage bar carts and style it up with the hotness.

modern memphis group bar cart styling essentials

1/ Ice Bucket 2/ Kosta Boda Decanter 3/ Bottle Opener 4/ Striped Leaf Bowl 5/ MCM Vase
6/ Smokey Gray Cocktail Glasses 7/ Chrome Bar Cart 8/ Corkscrew 9/ Cocktail Shaker
10/ Lucite Tray 11/ Bar Cloth 12/ Cocktail Napkins 13/ Cocktail Jiggers 14/ Lemon Juicer
15/ Brutalist Sculpture 16/ Framed Art 17/ Modern Decanter 18/ Celery Platter 19/ Wine Charms

Chairish is my joint. They’re an online marketplace for vintage and gently used furniture and they have it all figured out. As a buyer, I prefer shopping Chairish because the price point is reasonable and there is an option to ‘Make an Offer’ on any piece. Their inventory has been vetted by a staff of stylists and interiors experts so you can cut right to the good stuff. As a seller, I love Chairish for listing large pieces of furniture because they take care of the shipping. GENIUS. YAS. THANK YOU.

Because Halloween is in full effect I’m feeling inspired by the set design of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. Lately I’m also really feeling the comeback trend of the Milan-based Memphis Group  movement of the 1980’s. My style concept is a mashup of the two – here’s a visual of my inspiration in case that sounds like snooty design jibberish to you:

beetlejuice memphis modern inspiration board bar cart styling raised by design

Beetlejuice /// Ashley Hastings /// Shape Up Lighting by Ladies and Gentlemen Studio – Photo by Charlie Shuck via Yellowtrace /// Ettore Sottsass Jr’s Carlton Shelf

How to Stock a Killer Bar Cart for your Next Event:

Having tended bar for most of my twenties, I know a thing or two about whipping up some dranks. Now that I’m hosting parties and holidays in my home, I’ve learned that setting up a well stocked bar cart for guests to help themselves is the best trick to hosting a great party. Nobody likes to play conversational double dutch and wait for their opening to ask for another Manhattan.

Here’s a checklist of everything you need for a fully stocked bar cart. Just add booze and you’ll be wowing guests with your artisanal mixologist skillz in no time.

stocking your bar cart essentials checklist

Pick the Right Spot: If you don’t have a bar cart, you should head over to Chairish and get one! If you’re waiting for that perfect piece, you can set up a bar on almost any tabletop, bookcase or sideboard in the meantime. The best location for the cart is in a transitional space like a large entryway or off to the side in your main gathering space. You want it to be easy for guests to spot so pick a place that people will walk by often. Folks will probably linger there, so if you can give it some breathing room even better. Word to the wise: definitely keep it out of the kitchen! There’s enough going on in there and you want to give people an excuse to hang elsewhere.

Simplify your Drink Menu: I like to choose a seasonal cocktail (spiced whiskey in fall, citrus-y vodka fizzes in summer…) and make a large batch ahead of time. Pour it into a pretty pitcher, punch bowl or beverage dispenser. Offer garnishes in small bowls and write the name of your drink on a place card. This way people can pour their own and you don’t have to fiddle with all of the complicated (and sticky!) steps on demand. To keep things simple I always offer beer in a large bucket with ice and wine in a carafe or wine cooler alongside. Don’t forget a small bowl for bottle caps next to your opener and a bin for empties.

Jeuge the Presentation: Have a little fun and infuse some personality into your setup by choosing vintage glassware, bold flowers in an interesting vase, framed art or something sculptural. If you don’t have good lighting in the space, pull a lamp over or light a votive candle to warm the space.

Over time, you’ll build a collection of beautiful barware and tools and a shelf of quality display-worthy spirits. Next thing you know, you’ll be throwing parties just to try out that new cocktail recipe!

BTW: Although Chairish did approach me to write this post, it is not a paid sponsorship and all recommendations and opinions are my own. 

Bambino’s Nursery Plan

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog for the last few months, you know that we’re expecting a baby this February (!!) and we’re having a boy who we affectionately refer to as Bambino. I’m resisting the temptation to be all Baby Town over here, but I’m sure you can imagine how excited I am to design Bambino’s nursery. And I promised I would dish once we got some details squared away, so today I’m sharing The Plan for the baby’s room. Here goes…


Here’s a rough sketch of the room’s floor plan and how I’m imaging the furniture layout:

raised by design nursery design floorplan

The room is separated by a sort of invisible corridor created by the door to enter the room off the living room and the external door that leads out to the driveway. In the original floor plan, this room was the eat-in kitchen which is why there is an exit. (Until we created an exit off the new kitchen to the backyard, this door functioned as the back door.) We left the door in place because we weren’t sure how we would use the room long term. For now, we’ve placed furniture in front of it so that it functions more like a window.

I wrote here about how the West side of the room is my office space, which will stay that way for as long as I can manage.

The East side of the room will be Bambino Territory. There is plenty of space for a crib, a large dresser that we’ll use as a changing table, a bookcase and a glider.


There are a few challenges in converting this space to a nursery:

  • The scary-steep basement stairs right off the room. We will need a serious Alcatraz-style baby gate there some day. The tricky part is that Roxy’s litter box is down there so we always keep the door cracked for her. Eff. Do they make baby gates with pet doors? Somebody get on that and become a millionaire.
  • The counter-height outlets leftover from the kitchen layout. DANGIT! In some ways these are great because they’re out of reach when baby is crawling on the floor. But they are perfectly within reach when baby is on the changing table or in the crib. To solve this one we’ll be hanging artwork over the one above the changing table and we’ll be putting the crib on the wall without an outlet under the windows.
  • It’s chilly in this room. Probably because of the drafty door but also because this room stays pretty shaded by the house next door during the day. Having the crib under the window may not work well if it’s too cold so we may have to rethink the layout.
  • There isn’t a closet. The one you see in the floor plan is actually our front hall/coat closet and we haven’t figured out how that’s going to work yet. We currently stash our coats, vacuum, ironing board, drying rack and umbrellas there. Where will we store all of our impending baby gear and huge packages of diapers? Our solution to that problem is to wing it until a solution presents itself.


For the most part, we have tried to repurpose furniture and decor that we already own or use things endowed to us by our families in their timely effort to downsize. But we will need to buy a new crib and a chair for rocking baby to sleep.

We have our eye on the Midcentury Crib in Natural from Dwell Studio. There are a bazillion cribs out there that we like, but this one is our favorite because of the killer x-shaped base and gold-toed legs.


For cuddling up with Bambino and late night feedings, we are going with the Graham Glider from West Elm in Lagoon. The deep blue faux-velvet is a bold choice that will give the room a good jolt of personality. I’m kind of obsessed with it. The chair has a nice high wingback shape – which means Mommy and Daddy can rest their weary heads while rocking fusspants to sleep.

I’m holding off on getting the matching ottoman until I can say for sure that the room can fit one. If we have the room, I may look for something fun from a different maker to mix things up.

West Elm Graham Glider in Lagoon

Next to the glider, we are keeping the brass/walnut bar cart in front of the door as an end table. I found that guy about 7 years ago at a thrift store in Roslindale, MA years ago for $40. It’s kick ass. I’m happy it can hang in the nursery.

raised by design - bar cart styling in office

We are (happily) taking my little sis’s orphaned Hemnes 8-drawer dresser from IKEA to use as Bambino’s dresser/changing table. This big guy didn’t make the cut when she moved into her studio apartment but its only a few years old and is incredibly versatile. The Hemnes is the perfect height to use as a changing table and the 8 gliding drawers should be enough storage to house diaper changing supplies, clothes, crib bedding and maybe a few toys.


Speaking of toys, for the majority of Bambino’s prized possessions we are planning to use two hand-me-downs from my parents: an extra large braided basket from Mexico and an antique bookcase with adjustable shelves. The basket will be a catch-all for easy cleanups and the bookcase will house books and things we want to have on display.

raised by design - honeymoon woven mexican basket

Once we settled on the pieces we would be bringing into the space – all basics for the most part – I started to brainstorm ‘themes’ to round out the decor. OH BOY! That’s where the fun starts.

I’m going to share the Mood Board with you later this week so you can see what we’re doing to fun the place up for Bambino.

Stay tuned!

Loveyoubye, Magoo.

Jo and Joe’s Tribeca High Rise

Today I’m excited to give you a peek at an e-design consult I’m currently working on.

Joanna and Joe are moving into a fabulous high rise apartment in TriBeCa next month and they’re in the process of defining their style as a couple as they merge the contents of their respective bachelor and bachelorette pads. Always a fun exercise.

Joe is a music/tech entrepreneur and Joanna is in finance and active in the NYC theater community. They’re both live music junkies and fell in love shredding fresh powder and building bon fires at a ski house they share with friends in Vermont.

In their Manhattan pad we’re pulling together a palette that will feel cozy in the winter and breezy in the summer. Grays, blues and whites anchor the living room, paired with warming wood surfaces and leaving room to introduce city-chic feminine details and layered masculine textures. 

Here’s the mood board I put together:

Raised by Design - Jo + Joe's Tribeca Highrise - Wintery Palette Mood Board

Our first step was to establish some basics in the space – they needed help putting together their living area starting with a new couch, area rug and end tables. Most of the furniture they’re bringing into the space, including their coffee table, is darkest brown wood so we wanted to lighten things up a bit.

I sent them to shop for couches at Room & Board‘s SoHo showroom, my favorite source for big ‘All Growns Up’ furniture purchases. Everything at R&B is American Made with high quality craftsmanship. Their pieces are gorgeous and it’s a great place to make that first investment purchase for your home. The Jo(e)s ended up going with the super versatile Metro Sofa in a custom L-shape with cement-gray upholstery.


Next we chose an area rug from West Elm – the Andes Wool Rug in Dusty Blue. Rugs are tricky and Joanna was leaning towards a playful chevron pattern but we agreed that chevron is a well-worn trend and she’d be sick of it in a matter of weeks. We settled on this more sophisticated, subtle iteration of a chevron in a wool blend that will stand up to high traffic but still feel soft under bare feet.

WE-andes-dusty-blueWith these anchor pieces locked in our next thing to tackle was end tables. Here’s where things got fun. I try to avoid anything too matchy-matchy or strictly symmetric in my designs – although the eye likes symmetry it can sometimes feel too rigid or bossy.

I think living spaces should make people feel inspired, calmed and comforted. The best way to achieve a relaxed vibe is to establish a balance while maintaining an ‘undone’ or organic feeling.

So to start down that path, I recommended that we go with two different end tables that will bring asymmetry into the space but play well with each other.

Joe and Joanna describe their style is ‘classic’ and didn’t want anything too ‘crazy, art deco or modern’. I turned down the funk and stayed away from anything too artistic, abstract, vintage or bohemian and tried to choose pieces that were simple and clean lined without being boring.

Here are some of the options we’re considering:

Raised by Design - Joanna and Joe's Tribeca Highrise - End Table Roundup

  1. Distressed Metal End Table from Target – $83
  2. Safavieh Wynton Table from Target – $136
  3. Allard End Table from Room & Board – 429
  4. Wicker Drum from Pottery Barn – $149
  5. Eden Table from World Market – $70
  6. Driftwood Side Table from Crate & Barrel – $399
  7. Martini Side Table from West Elm – $119
  8. Oslo End Table from Target – $129
  9. Safavieh Josef Table from Target – $229

The Jo(e)s are leaning towards the Driftwood Table from Crate & Barrel so I’m encouraging them to bring a new material into the mix. I’m loving the balance that a steel or bronze piece would bring into the picture. What do you think?

Loveyoubye! Maggie


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