1 chest 3 ways

The talented Tracery design team and I decided it would be fun to do a style session with you each month. This is where we share some simple design ideas that you can use in your own home.  So this week I packed up my camera and headed over to Tracery’s store in Rosemary Beach.

We thought you would enjoy one classic chest styled three different ways.  With holidays approaching, it’s fun mixing it up and styling your tabletops or entries to reflect the season.  Just like our wardrobes, our home environments can and should change and vary with time.  Doing this keeps things interesting and breathes new life into our anchor pieces such as tables, sofas, coffee tables, etc.

Here are our three looks.  We felt partial to begin with white. ; )


I like the crisp, modern elements of white against the rustic finish of the chest. Makes an interesting contrast.

Style Tips:

  1. Add a varying visual line.  We grouped the items together, basically creating an invisible line going a little higher on the outside and lowering toward the middle, or focal point, of the chest. Do you see how the tallest grouping is closer to the outside and then tapers down to the middle section with the bird on the books? It gives the eye a nice resting point.
  2. Incorporate texture.  In monochromatic schemes, don’t be afraid to mix sharp with soft, straight with curvy, modern with classic.  It makes the grouping so much more interesting!
  3. Layer, layer, layer.  Nothing says modern design like leaning a picture on a mirror or layering a smaller piece over a larger one. The key is to not make it look too “fixed.”

We started out with this…

Here is Paige, Tracery founder and Interior Designer, setting up with Anna Kay looking on. Promise next time I’ll get better shots of everyone so you can “meet” the team!

Paige’s Design Thoughts:

“With white texture is very important.  White has a clean, crisp feel and a timeless quality all at the same time. Working with classic designs while incorporating small elements of current fashion are always my favorite looks.  I love to work in all white.”

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We had fun playing around with this one…it was probably our favorite of the three looks.

Style Tips:

  1. Take a cue from Mother Nature.  For a more organic vibe, don’t fuss too much with precision. If you think about it, nature is more spontaneous in its own setting; trees in a forest are never perfectly lined up, but rather scattered about.  Take a less formal approach with your styling in this kind of grouping.
  2. Use exaggerated texture and earthy colors.  Again, refer to nature …when looking at a scene of a lake, a garden, a field, you’ll notice there is usually one main color mixed with all kinds of shapes and textures surrounding it…then small pops of color.
  3. Don’t worry with too much with symmetry. While you want to still  balance your grouping with its negative space (the space between or around objects) you don’t have to make your pieces look perfectly symmetrical.  For example, if you have three candlesticks on one side of a console, you can balance that out with something equal in size or space on the other side of the console versus mirroring it with three other candle sticks.

Our grouping started out like this.

We began with a plain wall but decided that a big pattern on the wall could add so much visual interest to the ensemble.  This is a classic example that when you accessorize, it doesn’t have to be perfect from the beginning.  It takes some playing around and experimenting. Here is Bess trying out a painting in the mix before we committed to the pattern on the walls.

I am  S M I T T E N  with these little chalkboard hangers at Tracery…a bonus is they also happen to be magnetic.  They’re surprisingly affordable [hello, small one is only $11] and perfect for any nook in your home.  I’d like to have one by my back door for posting reminders and hanging coupons and small notes to grab on my way out.  For our grouping, we used these magnets which nicely popped against the black.  Also, you’ll notice we ditched the orange spheres and replaced them with the larger, mossy ones.

Here’s a final look.

Paige’s Design Thoughts:

“Texture is sooo important in good design.  Texture through architectural materials, fabrics, rugs, art, all come together to create complete looks for a room.  It’s like pulling together a good twead jacket, your favorite jeans, a great colorful scarf, worn-in boots, and a pair of diamond stud earrings… Perfect! Mixing textures in your home is just like fashion.  Think of your room, or a chest like this one, just like an outfit.”

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This look is airy and more simplistic than the other styles.  Great look for a bedroom , vanity or anywhere you might want a touch of sparkle.  I would love to see all of this mercury and glass mixed with live garland and cranberries for a holiday vibe. Hmmm, maybe an upcoming style post?

Style Tips:

  1. Simple is good.  When you’re working with a lighter and more elegant aesthetic, think of these three S’s:  Simplicity, shine and shape.  For instance, the graceful silhouettes of champagne flutes look far more elegant when placed alone on a silver tray versus adding anything else.  In the champagne grouping you have all three components: simplicity, shine and shape. Voila!
  2. Classy, not Klassy. Use elements that are equal in style and visual interest. While it’s always fun to throw in an unexpected object or accessory, you want to be careful not to mix too many trendy pieces in your glamorous grouping or the look fizzle.
  3. Less is more.  So often our design budgets don’t allow us to purchase quite as much as we would like to at the time. That’s okay because when you’re working with this particular style, minimal is lovely and far more chic than overly-done. A vase with fresh flowers next to a single shiny picture frame is très chic and simple. Also, timeless fashion can be a wonderful muse when creating this look. Think of a string of pearls with a simple cashmere sweater.  Don’t be afraid to keep it simple!

Paige’s Design Thoughts:

“Glam always has a little bit of shine but not too much.  It definitely harkins to grace Kelley or Audrey Hepburn.  Mercury is a great way to have a little bling, as it has that slightly worn-in feel.  With glam you have to be careful that the metalic element does not look retro 70’s but instead looks elegant.  Think in terms of mercury glass or antique mirror mixed with glass.  Those are good basics to start a glam look!”

We realized that we needed some pretty to go in our glam grouping, so Paige stepped outside the store and picked these lovelies. The necklace, I’m proud to say, is made by local jewelry designer, Alison Craft.  I love pearls and leather, and her designs are amazing.

Thanks to my Tracery peeps for taking part in a fun style session.  If there are any items you like in this post, give the girls a call or check out their affordable online shop right here. I have already spotted a few Christmas gifts I’d like to pick up for some family and friends.

Which look did you like best: 1, 2 or 3?

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  1. kris says:

    I’m loving look #1….so crisp and white. This was a fun post–I hope you guys do more of these!

  2. Shelly says:

    Can I please have that chest? It’s so pretty! Great post..love the ideas!

  3. Amy says:

    i LOVE the last one. the mercury is great.

  4. #3 Soft and Glam is my favorite…. so pretty, simple and feminine but not “girly”… great post!

  5. Aunt Kathi says:

    That was fun!

  6. Julie says:

    Beautiful. It’s hard to pick which one is prettier!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Hi Seleta! I just discovered your blog and have been checking in daily. You have lovely and inspiring ideas – thank you for sharing them. Chest #3 is my favorite. It’s so pretty!

  8. I think I like #3 the best, but they are all terrific. What a wonderful collaboration! I’m so excited to see what y’all come up with for future posts.

  9. beth says:

    soo smart! I love the second look as well. definitely my fav!

  10. leigh says:

    Wow-love this post and the helpful tips. I love number 3 and I love the finish/woodstain? on the dresser.

  11. Jen says:

    Thanks for another great post! The order for the magnetic/chalkboards have been ordered and my mother’s “stumped wall will now be gratefully “unstumped”! Thanks for the suggestion!

  12. cute idea…i like all of them but i think my fav is #1

  13. RLG says:

    When I stand in my “formal” living room, I often wonder, “What would Seleta do?”
    Not having much success channeling you, but this post was pretty close!
    Thanks for sharing. (The first is my favorite.) xoxo

  14. Carolyn Cole says:

    I’m loving #3. I think this is my favorite because it looks personal, like it is from someone’s home rather than a store display. Beautiful.

  15. Annie says:

    I really love them all, but #2 seems perfect for fall (and #3 perfectly matches my “usual” style). What a great feature!

  16. Kelly says:

    Love them all, but #1 speaks to my mood lately. Normally I would love #3 and my girly instincts, but I have been on a modern kick lately so I am totally inspired by numero uno.

  17. Ella Pretty says:

    Thanks so much for this post Seleta – I feel like I attended my first session of Interior Design class LOL! It’s so interesting to read the motives and rules behind the staging. My favourite set-up was the first one. I loved the 3 urns/vases and the shape of the table lamp. The black chandelier reflected in the mirror is so glam as well. Really enjoyed this :-)

  18. Bryn says:

    I love this!! What a great pair – You + Tracery.. two of my favorites. I’d love to see more of you guys together.

    My favorite is the organic, but all three are great! I think I’m going to print and put them on my inspiration board! Bravo.

  19. janet says:

    Pack everything up from the first photo and ship it my way! I L.O.V.E. it all~

  20. April B says:

    I love this post! My favorite was the white on white look…i love the textures and the crispness of it.
    Love that you explained the thought process and design tips for each look!

  21. lynne says:

    look #2 is my favorite…any chance you can share the wallpaper pattern?

  22. I love #1. I’m a sucker for white.

  23. Love the first look – the mirror, the three decorative “urns” and the lamp all grab your attention. I think it’s the drama that I like because I’m usually not the mod type :) The second look was not me at all (the chalk boards and the moss balls were nice) and the third one seemed so ordinary (but I liked the mercury glass). To all his own I guess :) Thanks for the three in one!

  24. So fun to choose….I’m with #1 all the way!!! Often our first instincts are our best! xo E

  25. Ann says:

    I love, love, love the chest. My favorite is number one. Great post!

  26. pve says:

    I do love 1 and then number 3 is so fem and number 2 would be great in a cabin….
    love them all. Really super!

  27. Pierre says:

    Wow…great post. I vote for all 3.

  28. Mom22 says:

    I love number one with number three being a close second. Love this blog. Thanks for taking the time to share!!!

  29. Allison says:

    I love #1…all the white. To me it’s very crisp, elegant and fun. The white is a nice contrast to the rustic chest. Fun post! Great inspiration.

  30. Amanda M. says:

    Love them all. Number 3 is my fave – the look I’d love to have in my home all over. :)

  31. Esther Dee says:

    Seleta, love # 1 the best. It is totally my style. Also getting ready to order some pillows from Tracery. Thank you girls for this beautiful post <3

  32. Brittany says:

    I love love love #1!!!!

  33. Hmm – hard to pick! I love those chalkboards too! Very cute. I’m also very jealous that you are close enough to visit Tracery for their sidewalk sale!! :)

  34. Jill says:

    my style is definitely #1 – also, I am so sad… just realized that I never changed my google reader with your new web address, I’ve been missing SO much! At least I have some weekend reading to look forward to!

  35. Marianne says:

    Really gorgeous! I love them all. What a great idea to team up with Tracery. I love their blog as well!

  36. These are all gorgeous and what a great post! I love seeing the different stylings come together and the tips for how to make it work. Thanks so much for sharing! I think I am somewhere between #1 and #2. So different I know. But I think it’s just because I know I probably couldn’t get #2 past the husband but #1 would be a winner :)

  37. Whitney says:

    I’m dying to know what paper is used in look 2. It’s fantastic. Any source information pretty please?!

  38. Seleta says:

    Hi everyone, thanks so much for the wonderful comments!

    The pattern on the wall is actually a FABRIC. Here is the link to its source:



  39. paula says:

    love this! I thought number one would be my fave then I saw number two and I am in high Heaven!

  40. Love all of the looks, and appreciate the insider tips on how to achieve them! My favorite is probably #3. great inspiration for revamping my bureau upstairs, which needs a little perking up.

  41. wonderful piece! this will be a great monthly feature. (Kinda jealous that I don’t live nearer to those fab Tracery folks…)

    thanks so much for the tutorial….

    all my best,


  42. […] Seleta posted on her lovely blog a style session that she had with Tracery design team.  They took the same table and styled it 3 different ways.  I love all 3 but I must say the organic, fall look of image 2 is stunning!  Which do you prefer?? […]

  43. they’re all great, but no. 2 is right up my alley!

  44. Merissa says:

    I read a LOT of design blogs, and I have for a significant period of time. They’re good for inspiration, photos and even how-tos. But it’s rare that someone actually posts real information on how to combine objects and design elements in a way that works. This post is so so useful! Thank you.

One Trackback

  1. By 3 Different Ways… « Simply Grove on Oct 19 2010 at 1:23 pm

    […] Seleta posted on her lovely blog a style session that she had with Tracery design team.  They took the same table and styled it 3 different ways.  I love all 3 but I must say the organic, fall look of image 2 is stunning!  Which do you prefer?? […]

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    SeletaI‘m Seleta, a city girl living the beach life with my family. A former TV personality turned designer, I love to share the sparkly side of life. Read more here.
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