Interior Decorating by Elaine Burns

Master Bathroom Powder Table

When my parents renovated the “attic” of my childhood home to include an updated master suite, my favorite part of the entire remodel was the master bathroom add. I wasn’t old enough at the time to appreciate the timeless fixtures and details they considered, but now the understated skylight, massive shower, and calming color scheme make it one of my favorite rooms in the house.

Given that my family is already ramping up for the holiday season (read: guests visiting all the time), it was decided that the bathroom needed a powder table - a place for guests to drop their jewelry before hopping into the shower, store spare towels, and have toiletry essentials available.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a brand that promotes lady power. So, I was especially excited to discover Cora - an organic tampon brand dedicated to delivering a quality product to their customers while also giving back and supporting access to safe period products to women around the world. The product packaging is well designed - they can be beautifully displayed and do not scream the need to be buried in a drawer, out of sight - a rarity in the world of feminine hygiene products.

I was proud to incorporate them into my styling of the new powder table. For the design, I re-purposed a bedside table and focused on keeping the nook uncomplicated and uncluttered.

Learn more about Cora and their powerful mission here and here. You can purchase their products (and sign up for a subscription service) on their website or at Target.

Using the discount code ELAINETWENTY1016, receive 20% your subscription order on Cora's website. 
*Discount valid 10/27/16 to 11/11/16.

Textile Inspo

After being in need of a little city-escape time, a few weeks ago my sister and I took a trip to the town of Saugerties along the Hudson River. The weekend was full of everything we needed - quiet time away in the woods, good food, and a quaint town center with antiques galore.

The time away from the city was refreshing, but the treat of the visit was our adorable Airbnb. It was a loft with massive windows that made it seem like we were staying in an oversized treehouse. The feel of the location was incorporated into the decor, specifically with the abundance of greenery in the space and variety of natural woven textiles. Though the color scheme of the space was neutral - mainly beiges, whites, greys - the layering of different sizes, shapes, and types of fibers created a richness that had me craving some more natural textures in my own space.

I am working on giving my living room a facelift, and while adding plants is my usual go-to solve (see Instagram evidence here), my trip inspired me to expand a bit beyond my comfort zone and work to layer in more dynamic textiles to freshen up the space.

Some of my favorite finds so far are...

Easy Entertaining

Now that August is winding down, my jam-packed weekends of summer travel are coming to an end. Bittersweet, of course, but since weekend getaways are the norm for me and my friends, the beginning of September is when we all are back in the city together again - it’s about time!

For a recent afternoon catch-up session, I wanted to keep things easy - a simple snack to munch on in-between stories. In less than 15 minutes, I whipped up this Sriracha Party Mix recipe using some healthier alternatives - unsalted nuts, whole wheat cereal, and Bitsy’s Brainfood Cheddar Chia Veggie Crackers.  A light beer was the perfect compliment to the spice.

I kept the party decor low-maintenance too - some punchy blooms (thanks, Greg!) and brightly colored accents served as a nod to the summer days we were reminiscing.

Green, Green Everywhere

Early last week, I spent some time at the new Etsy HQ helping my mom, of Early Bird Designs, pitch her ceramics line to a handful of major retailers and about 100 boutique owners from across the country (Go Mom!).

As part of the event, we got a tour of the Etsy office - amazing for numerous design and space planning reasons - but one thing that I noticed throughout the tour was the very deliberate use of plants and natural elements as an additive texture technique. After the day ended and I scrolled through the pictures I had snapped from the day, it was clear that the calm and inviting feel of the office was mostly due to the abundance of lush greenery. 

I’ve started to pay closer attention to both the purposeful and unexpected greenery I encounter through my days - like finally noticing this tree/bush sprouting up from a chimney outside of my apartment building - and am determined to broaden my knowledge and use of plant life in my upcoming home and styling designs.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll notice that most of my new pins are packed with plant life - check out my page here. I'm on a serious green kick!

Travel Momentos

This summer has been jam-packed. I have been doing a little more traveling than in the past - visiting new friends and old, spending time with my family, fitting in a few trips with my boyfriend - and have plenty of pictures to prove it.

Scrolling through photos on our phones has become the new default for sharing favorite vacation memories, but for me, leaving them in digital form only assures that they will get lost in the black hole of the ‘Photos’ folder of my laptop. So, I prefer to do something a little more meaningful with those special snapshots.

Incorporating photos into a gallery wall is always an easy way to update an already existing collection of images and allows for a really careful selection of your favorite, most important shots.

And while I love the idea of creating a photo album to keep out on the coffee table (there are so many online resources now that makes doing this super easy!), I am more drawn to having a simple bowl of prints, polaroids, and photobooth strips that my guests and I can comb through whenever we are lounging in the living room.

Another simple and elegant solution is the wood block + prints set from Artifact Uprising. I purchased this as a gift for my boyfriend and was so pleased with how we were able to preserve our favorite moments from our trip to Charleston while having an understated, far-from-tacky display.

Summer Escape

Like most city-dwellers, I look forward to summer weekends as a chance to escape the sweltering streets for a mini-getaway.
A few weeks ago, I traveled up north to Vermont where my family stayed this fall in our favorite farmhouse. The house was just as wonderful now as it is during prime leaf-peeping season. We spent an afternoon in Brattleboro, fit in a hike one morning, and mostly just soaked up as much of the long days as we could playing lawn games until the early evening. We, of course, managed to fit in a few styling shoots as well; the space (and lighting!) is such an inspiration.

Below are examples of vignettes I helped design for some of Early Bird Design’s newest work. Be sure to visit her website and Instagram for more updates of upcoming new work.

My 5 Favorite Vintage Pieces

I've been pulling together some of my favorite home items and knick-knacks to have on hand for styling and design board purposes, and in the process have been stumbling upon some of my favorite antiques.
Below are my 5 favorite vintage pieces in my home & the stories to go along with them.

Watering Can

 Photo by Erin Fikentscher

Photo by Erin Fikentscher

This is a flea market find that my mom gifted to me when I moved into my first apartment after college. I had just moved to Manhattan, and as a way to brighten by super small living room, she brought me a peace lily (which is still alive!) and this antique watering can as a housewarming gift.
This watering can was used at my parents' house for a couple of years before it became mine, so it serves as a reminder of home and my mom every week when I water my ever-growing plant collection (and attempt to channel her green thumb).

Card Tray

This is one of my favorite decorative elements on my desk. It’s a bridge tray from the late 1950’s/early 1960’s and while I only purchased this single item, most trays from this era came in a set.
I bought this last summer at my favorite market in Worcester, MA: Crompton Collective. It’s the perfect size for miscellaneous office supplies.
On the bottom of tray is a sticker (still in mint condition) that reads “alcohol-proof”. Ironic since the bridge-playing ladies before me were probably enjoying plenty of cocktails while meeting up for games.


 Photo by Erin Fikentscher

Photo by Erin Fikentscher

A truly amazing Craigslist find. When I was moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I wanted to find a special bed frame that would be the focal point of my (still) very small room. This is an authentic 1950’s brass frame and was going for only $100!! It’s dented a few places and needed a little shining up, but it dictates the feel of my space and complements the muted green, purple, grey and cream palate of the space.


This converted planter was originally a chicken feeder! One of the perks of my corporate job is that we have prop sales about once a year, selling off any props or furniture used in stores that the team no longer needs.
The first of these sales that I ever attended was during my first week at the company. While most of my peers were buying chairs, tables, lighting fixtures, or art prints, this was my only purchase of the day and I definitely got some strange looks. But, now it acts as the focal point of my kitchen table and helps to add something special to an otherwise blank wall space.

Cow Creamer

I had been searching for a perfect vintage cow creamer for months, so I was so excited stumble upon this one last fall. I whip it out for all of my brunches to hold either coffee creamer or maple syrup, and the rest of the time it lives on an exposed shelf in the kitchen to be admired.