Bossy color hearts Anna French

I arrived home a few hours ago to an empty house. My husband and daughters are still in St. Michaels, where the girls will go to sailing camp this week. Usually I love chilling by myself at home; it’s so rare that no one else is here. But it was a really fun weekend, filled w/ amazing food, bike riding, and hair dyeing

Girl's long hair with red dye at the tip

…so I wasn’t as excited as usual to come back.

I threw down my bags and tackled the mail. All of the Bossettes were in a fabric and wallcovering frenzy last week, and swatches had arrived.

My spirits lifted immediately. Thank you, Anna French!

Gray and blush floral drapes

Songbirds fabric on drapes. Anna French for Thibaut for Duralee

Pink, red, and yellow floral wallpaper

Ash wallcovering. Matches Georgie’s new hair color!

Light green and white embroidered drapes

Arran Embroidery on drapes

I saw Anna French’s latest and greatest collections when I was in the Duralee showroom recently, Thibaut section, Anna French division (whew!). I was in heaven. The designs are exquisite, the embroidery divine.

I’ve used Deilen Embroidery on some Roman Shades recently. Subtle yet stunning.

Embroidered leaf pattern on linen fabric

Deilen Embroidery on pillows

Cream and slate blue chair and drapes

Deilen Embroidery on drapes

And I’m using French’s Rue de Seine fabric for some wonderful, long-standing bossy color clients right now. It’s gorgeous — and it comes in the loveliest colorways.

Yellow, blue and white silk floral fabric

Rue de Seine

Cream and Pink floral silk fabric

Anna French, Rue de Seine on drapes

I’d love to get to know her wallcoverings selection better, too (although Anna will have to line up behind my main man, Manuel Canovas). I mean, this Eglantine wallcovering is pretty stellar. (The Matisse-esque painting ain’t bad, either.)

Pink and red wallpaper bedroom

Anna French’s Eglantine wallcovering

I’m so all about wallcovering right now. Thank you again, HuffPost and Bonnie McCarthy, for that fun interview about wallpaper!

Butterfly wallpaper

Seraphina wallcovering

Gold, teal, and light green wallpaper

Anna French’s Lavinia wallcovering

You’re fantastic, Anna French. Perked me right up and got me ready to return to Bossyland.

Bossy color | Annie Elliott interior design is based in Washington, D.C. We create outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people — starting with color. 

Summer, in color. My favorite colorful things for the outdoors

Do you hear that, Gentle Readers? No? Exactly. It’s the sound of summer.

Brightly colored toy boats

Boats painted at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s annual Memorial Day festival

My daughters finally got out of school last Friday, we had their birthday parties (please note the plural; no shared party for THESE twins), and on Saturday, we drove them to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they’ll spend the week with friends.

Last night, back in DC, I was wandering around the house, marveling at the quiet, and I decided to do a bit of mindless tidying. Bossy color’s Katherine has been telling me about that all-the-rage book about Japanese decluttering she’s been reading, so I moseyed over to the front hall table, that dumping ground for mail, keys, earbuds, library books, and homework assignments.

And catalogs.

Crate & Barrel yellow outdoor sofa and pink ottoman

Crate & Barrel’s Morocco sectional

I started strong, Gentle Readers! Out went the homework (was it ever handed in? Too late now!) and into a tote bag went the library books. But I was powerless to resist the catalogs, which seem to be more fun, more colorful this year. Down the rabbit hole I went.

Here are some of the liveliest, most fun, colorful things I found.

You know I’m a fan of Dash & Albert rugs. Well, I’m happy to report that they’ve expanded their indoor/outdoor offerings dramatically — and in such amazing colors! (These are terrific for dining rooms as well as porches, by the way…) Put this rug in front of Crate & Barrel’s yellow-cushioned Morocco sectional and call it a day.

Red patterned indoor/outdoor rug

Dash & Albert’s Coco indoor/outdoor rug

Missoni Home’s outrageously colorful outdoors collection doesn’t disappoint, either. Imagine how THESE would brighten up bleak teak garden furniture.

Wild crazy colors and patterns on outdoor pillows and rugs

Missoni Home

Colorful crazy patterned Missoni outdoor pillows

More Missoni Home

I’m always a fan of bringing indoor dishes outside, and I fell in love with these sweet plates from good old Sundance.

Sweet colorful summer plates


To augment those, there’s no store better for simple, colorful (and, as a bonus, inexpensive) ceramics than Fish’s Eddy. My favorite serving bowls are from there.

Brightly colored dishes at Fish's Eddy in New York

Fish’s Eddy in New York

And finally, look at these Tamiami Chairs from Brown Jordan! How fun! How unexpected! How bossy color! Obviously you choose the frame and webbing colors, and they have tables that you can match…or not…

Outdoor porch chairs in vibrant colors

Brown Jordan’s Tamiami Lounge chairs

Brightly colored garden chairs

Colorful lawn chairs from Brown Jordan

Bottom line: there’s no excuse for a color-free summer this year, Gentle Readers. None at all.

Bossy color | Annie Elliott interior design creates outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people — starting with color. Be sure and read our recent interview with The Huffington Post about wallpaper!

Hey, Millennials: home IS an experience

Jura Koncius just wrote a terrific article in the Washington Post about Millennials being more interested in experiences than in accumulating things for their homes. For this generation, nostalgia is in short supply.

Millennials in their Living Room

Millennials! Photo by Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post

Koncius points out that it’s not that Millennials don’t care about their surroundings. They do. Newell Turner, Editor-in Chief of House Beautiful, says in the article that “Millennials are design-conscious, informed consumers” who choose furnishings that have special meaning. They just don’t believe in investing in their surroundings the way older folks might.

Navy and red traditional living room

Family Room by bossy color. Photo by Michael K. Wilkinson

I understand, Millennials. You don’t have as much disposable income as previous generations did. You have student debt, and you’re starting your careers during a bummer of a recession. It’s not easy.

But if you value experience, isn’t home the most profound experience you can have?

It’s where you have meaningful interactions with your friends. It’s where you and your partner build a life together. It’s a sanctuary where you relax and recharge.

It’s worth your attention and a bit of your hard-earned money.

Living Room with green bookcases

Living Room by bossy color. Photo by Michael K. Wilkinson

I strongly encourage you to invest in stylish and decent-quality furniture from well-priced retailers such as West Elm. For one thing, the better the quality, the better the furniture will withstand multiple moves. (Because you are planning to move soon, aren’t you?)

Wooden dresser with blue lamp

West Elm’s Mid-Century Dresser in a Bedroom by bossy color. Photo by Michael K. Wilkinson

And yes, the photographs from your travels can be your artwork, as long as you blow up the pictures to 8 x 10″ or larger and mat and frame them. (Preferably in a tidy grid, as Michael did.)

Gallery wall over sectional

“Wanderlust Gallery Wall” from the blog, Inspired by Charm

The rug you stuffed in your rucksack and lugged halfway around the world should have pride of place in your home, but believe me: it’s too small to anchor a room. Place that 5 x 7′ rug on top of a larger rug and all of a sudden, it works. Crate & Barrel has a good selection of well-priced, low-profile sisal rugs.

Living Room with Oriental rug

Persian rug on top of a sisal rug. Living Room by bossy color. Photograph by Andrew Propp for Washingtonian Magazine

Finally, even if you rent, please invest $100 and a weekend and banish the “rental-unit cream” from your home. Paint your walls with environmentally-conscious, low-VOC Benjamin Moore Natura paint.

Green Living Room

Benjamin Moore’s 628 Winchester Sage

Home is an experience, my dears. One of my favorite clients said that to me, and it became my mantra.

Your home must ground you, strengthen you, and bring you joy, so that you are inspired to go into the world and fulfill your passions. It’s worth an investment of your time and money.

Bossy color | Annie Elliott interior design is an interior design firm based in Washington, D.C. We create outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people — starting with color.