This week’s interview is with a lady who I am happy to introduce to you all today – the fabulous Blondie, of Blondie Luxe. I’ve had more than a few requests to interview Blondie, which is no surprise as she has fabulous style, reflected in her jaw-dropping closet and beautiful home! Blondie not only has wonderful taste, but is also intelligent and conscientious, ambitious, and a huge wanderlust. Enjoy meeting her!
Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
I am a twenty-something blonde bookworm who is addicted to fashion, travel, family and my pup Munchkin. I enjoy nights in with a good book and a glass of wine more than a night out partying, and above all I love learning! I graduated Summa Cum Laude from my university and did not miss one day of class, as missing out on an opportunity to learn more makes me anxious (my constant striving for perfection is both a character strenth and flaw!). I work a lot, in a very unglamorous field of finance, but it is challenging and ever-changing. If I could, I would check out for six months and roam around Europe or Asia. So, if anyone wants to roam with me, I am always up for it! It is very hard to find a good travel buddy with similar interests.
I am extremely close with my family and select wonderful friends scattered across the country. Starbucks, salsa and macarons are my guilty pleasures, and I am always trying to discover new full-bodied, spicy and unique wines; they are my favorite.
You’re a big traveler. What are some of your favorite destinations?
My favorite places are Paris and Madrid. I enjoy them best when I am doing nothing touristy, but instead just having lazy afternoons getting lost in the city and taking photographs. As much as a trip to paradise lounging on the beach would relax me, I prefer city life and excitement. I could get lost in the Louvre for weeks if I had the time! On my next trip to Paris I would like to take an interior design antique tour and find some unique treasures within the city. This spring I would also love to make it back to into the Loire Valley. One of my fondest trips was roaming the area staying at a different French chateau every night. The landscape is gorgeous and magical.
You have an absolutely beautiful home. Can you share some details behind how you transformed it from bare bones to what it is today?
You are very sweet to say that! It means a lot when people like my place as it is my first attempt ever to make a house a home. Prior to moving here, I would only stay in a place for a year or less, so there was no need to invest in nice pieces that may not have translated from space to space. So I basically lived in an IKEA catalog with a couple Target pieces scattered about. The big shift in my mind happened when I determined I was going to stay here for awhile.
At first, I felt paralyzed to make any decisions. Various questions were “How do I choose the right size rug? What if I choose a rug I love, order it, and then find a couch that won’t match it? What if I choose a couch and then find another one two weeks later I love even more? What if the proportions are off? What if the color doesn’t show up like it did on the computer?” I could go on and on, as uncontrolled variables in all aspects of life give me anxiety!
Eventually I took the plunge and ordered a bed frame I absolutely loved and things began to take shape from there. For my living room, it was a graphic gray-scale rug, and in my dining room a metallic table. Then, I filled the space with sparkle, purple, and mirrored everything! Sticking to the motifs you love is a fool-proof way to be happy with every part of the home. Some may feel like all the velvet and tufting is a bit much, but it is very ‘me’ . It is my space after all, so I made it for me. Instead of a standard guest bedroom, I custom-designed a highly impractical lavender velvet daybed to relax on amongst my bags and shoes! Maybe a little silly, but I don’t regret it one bit.
One tip I would definitely recommend that I know people often overlook as actually painting their paint samples on the wall. And I don’t mean just on one spot, I mean by the window, by the lamp, down by the floor– as colors are dramatically different in various places within the room. It may seem like a waste of money, but investing in 10-15 options is worth it in the end! The colors I thought I would love ended up being the worst on my walls; those paint chips are very deceiving.
What was the hardest aspect for you when working out your final home decor? What are some of your favorite details?
The biggest challenge in my home was storage related. The challenge was ‘How do I keep all my bags, shoes and jewelry organized, without wasting an entire room as a walk-in closet?’ If anyone lives in an apartment or condo, they can relate to how precious their square footage is. I quickly determined that the best use of space was vertical. If I could use up an entire wall, but only protrude into the room fourteen inches, I would still have the entire space to use for other things.
Some people love keeping their precious pieces in boxes, but this method cuts down on clutter, makes for a prettier room, and you never overlook an option that otherwise would be buried in a box at the bottom of a stack. It’s absolutely the best decision I made in my home. Bookcases can be expensive, which I find silly since you don’t want the bookcase to stand out, you want the items in it to be the stars. I put the entire thing together myself, from IKEA’s Besta line. Excellent value, but absolutely miserable to do alone! I am short, so swinging around 8-foot-tall panels was not a pretty sight.
My favorite details are the pillows I had made from Hermes scarves. They add so much color, texture and luminosity to the spaces. I also love the silver fox blanket on my bed– my puppy burrows into it and sleeps like a baby every night. And the Louis Vuitton trunks I made into a foyer table; it is unique (as I stacked them into a pyramid) and instantly sets the tone of my home. Gosh it is hard to not choose more! I truly tried to make everything a ‘favorite’, from the stencil pattern on my accent walls to the Moroccan mirrored side tables and my lamps I drove many hours to retrieve. I am truly obsessed with every single piece and put a great deal of thought into every decision. This home is an absolute reflection of me, my passions, and my taste.
You’re now taking an interior decorating class part time. What have you learned from it?
I am only three weeks into my interior design class, so I haven’t learned a huge amount yet. But I am already looking at color, value, and textiles in all new ways. I have met some really nice women, so I hope it will be a way to make new friends. I think the main thing I have learned so far is that there are choices I made in my home that may look great, but aren’t practical! For example, a light colored velvet couch in a high-traffic area. So for a future ‘client’ I may warn against that.
Now, onto your amazing amazing closet. Can you share some of your favorite pieces?
Gosh, my favorite pieces, that is tough! Mainly because I don’t buy anything unless I am absolutely obsessed with it and can imagine myself wearing it decades from now. You may be surprised to hear that my favorite purse is a Louis Vuitton white Multicolore Murakami Speedy. By no means is it rare or extremely valuable, but it still is my favorite.
Of all my Hermes bags, my first, a Lagoon Birkin will always be my most beloved. I waited four years to find the right one, and the wait was completely worth it. My Chanel Classic flap covered in Swarovski crystals is my favorite evening bag as it glows and is surprising durable. Recently, I have been playing favorites with three Cartier bracelets, as I like the trinity of gold colors together (white, yellow and rose). This past year I have been on an exotic kick, so Constance clutches in Rose Scheherazade and Ultraviolet, as well as a Braise Kelly pochette are very precious to me as well.
As an aside, I have only returned a luxury piece once. I don’t have second thoughts or regrets as I never make a purchase if I am not 100% sure I will love something forever. I am not wish-washy, I rarely ask anyone’s opinion before a purchase, so decisiveness may be one of my best qualities. I still have the first Chanel bag I purchased eleven years ago, along with my favorite hot pink Louis Vuitton Vernis pochette from twelve years ago. Once I love something, I truly love it forever.
What are the items that you wear the most – that you’re so glad that added to your wardrobe?
You may be surprised to hear how often I use a Birkin. Almost every day I use a different one, so it has been completely worth it to collect a rainbow! Also Chanel Maxi Jumbo bags (black, white and red). They dress up any outfit but are large enough to carry everything I need while traveling or running errands.
My Peach Strass Lady Peeps also get a ton of wear, so much so that I bought the same shape in Aurora Boreale Strass recently too. They are my go-to evening heels as they are comfortable and crystals are more durable and show less wear than suede, satin or whatever else. And my chinchilla coat. I never buy fur at retail prices, I wait until the end of the season when the good stuff that no one will buy normally goes to big discounts (50-70%) off. I wear that coat rain, shine, whatever. I am a firm believer that if you are going to baby your things and never use them, it is a complete waste to buy them in the first place. Could something get damaged? Yes. But if that’s the worst thing that happens to you, you are ahead of the game.
If you could go back in time to when you first started becoming interested in fashion – what is some advice that you’d tell yourself?
I would tell myself “Get ready for a crazy ride!” My closet is literally what I fantasized it would be when I was five years old – all the glitter and rainbows I wished for. I am still that little sparkle-crazed girl at heart; what other motivation would there be for a huge Bond No. 9 perfume bottle covered in purple crystals? I didn’t even like the scent! But honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. If I had focused myself back then into a specific taste, my style wouldn’t be as diversified and unique as it is today.
I did go through a phase where I thought it was cool to buy Prada t-shirts and jeans, which was so dumb; they were plain and didn’t fit as well as J.Crew! I learned my lesson though, as I really don’t invest in ready-to-wear at all. When I was in Spain I found an amazing crystal encrusted Escada jacket I cherish, but otherwise I like wearing BCBG, Zara, J. Crew and whatever designers Saks sells in the mid-price point. In my opinion, when you have amazing accessories, the clothes can be a basic backdrop.
What are some of your other hobbies and passions?
I am very passionate about my family, and consider my parents my best friends. Their opinions and advice are like gold to me. I read quite a bit, so I find it very relaxing to sit alone with a coffee or a glass of wine and get lost in a book for several hours. I also love yoga, either in a studio or in my home whenever I find the time. When I was younger, I danced very intensively with a Ballet company 5-6 days per week, so I have never been involved in competitive sports. I am obsessed with Italian Renaissance and French Rococo art, so I am likely at a museum in whatever city I travel to! I am not very artistic myself, (drawing and painting) but I find scrapbooking especially relaxing.
Finally – please share something surprising about yourself!
I modify and performance tune Italian and German cars, and have raced them in the past at local tracks, though less so now because i am so busy! I have a collection of trophies in my kitchen.
Isn’t Blondie’s last fact so cool? I would love to see all those racing trophies lined up along with that amazing Hermes china. I could generally just look at photos of her apartment forever. I also love how Blondie has filled her space only with items that she loves and completely sure about. As somebody who has regretted a purchase or two, I really admire her ability to understand herself and her taste enough to be completely confident in what she buys, and not regret it. Blondie is beautiful, inside and out!