(Not) Cruel Summer

I’m Paige Wassel. WAS the Newsletter is your weekly dose of design inspiration, grinning like a devil.

Gearing up for my month in Chicago, where summer will be anything but cruel. Well, I hope. In the interim, here’s what else is up:

  • I am currently working on a new series for my Youtube channel called “LET ME DECORATE YOUR HOME”. I am SO excited. For the first episode (which will be a 2 parter), we are redoing my good friend Basma’s bedroom. Kate is helping of course. NEED her eye. Anyways, here is a sneak peak of the wall cabinet we just had delivered from FB Marketplace. For newsletter readers only!! hehe

  • Here is some inspo for her room — we are going BLUE BISH!! Just not sure what shade yet ……..


Great deals don’t take days off, so this week I’m finding all the best stuff in Chicago. Suggest you jump on these one-of-a-kind pieces before someone else does.

If you’re looking for a sign to freshen up your space already, this is it.


What don’t you want people to say when they see your place for the first time? “Wow, it’s so…” and then they trail off. Whatever follows that ellipse isn’t meant as a compliment.

Bottom line is, you don’t want a boring house. You want it to feel warm and inviting. Fortunately, it’s both cheap and easy to add flavor and flair to your place, like the home decor version of a bottle of Frank’s RedHot. Your place should be, like, “Art? I put that sh*t on everything.” Here’s what I suggest:

  • Add Personal Items. This one is so easy. Your home should tell the story of you. The most expedient way to do this is to display something meaningful to you, whether it’s some interesting shells you found on the beach or a rug you bartered for in Morocco or a pillow your grandma made. No one wants a home that feels like a Residence Inn.

  • Ditch the Mass-Produced Art. Is a lot of it cute? Sure. It wouldn’t sell if it weren’t. But you don’t want something everyone has. Every time I see that ubiquitous black and white photo of the horned buffalo in a modern farmhouse, an angel loses its wings. Thrift some art, buy from a local artist, make it yourself, but please retire that damn buffalo.

  • Pay Attention to Lighting and Music. Your place will feel a million times more cozy if you dim the lighting and you’re playing music in the background, especially when entertaining. I love a can light behind a tree—it adds instant interest. You never want your home to feel like an operating room, with bright, harsh, cold light, so warm it up and dim it down.

  • Stop with All the Gray. I feel like a broken record here, but the problem with all the gray is that it’s so chilly. I’m not even saying you can’t do gray if that’s your vibe; I’m saying that you need some warm wood somewhere so the room doesn’t feel antiseptic. (See my comment about the operating room above.) Or, add warmth with textiles—drapes, pillows, blankets, something.

  • Don’t Make Your Place an IKEA Ad. Listen, I love IKEA and CB2 and West Elm. No notes. However, what’s going to give your place character is if you mix in an antique or vintage piece. Don’t just buy all the stuff from page 46 in the catalog and call if done. Something aged will give your space the gravitas. Gravitas is a total ellipse-killer.

  • Give Your Space Some Life. I always have something fresh in my home, whether it’s a plant or a bowl of lemons or a bunch of tulips from Trader Joe’s. Having a living entity in your space makes it feel alive. PS, it’s peony season, so make the most of it.

  • Let’s Get Comfortable. Your home could be a showplace, but if there’s nowhere for your guests to kick up their feet and relax, they won’t feel welcome. Or course aesthetics are important, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of comfort.

Follow these simple rules and the next time someone says, “Your place is…” understand that the word that follows will be “sooooooo gewwwwwwd.”


Benjamin Moore : Walnut

Finish: Flat

Room Light Level: Mid to Low