Frances Valentine

I have always been a BIG Kate Spade fan and shared the country’s grief when this gorgeous light dimmed.  I was so saddened for Kate and for all of her family, especially her daughter.  (Not to diminish the depth of dispair over this entire situation, it’s not where I am going to focus today. Having lost a parent as a child, I prefer to make this blog about design and not someone else’s private family grief.)

I first became aware of Kate and Andy Spade back in the days when the world welcomed this uber talented duo. I remember a time in my life when Kate created a particular purse I worshipped and desired. (It was green tweed and would have been perfect for life in Vermont). I was a divorced mother with 5 small children working multiple jobs to keep us afloat. There was no way it was in my budget. Two of my dearest girlfriends independantly appeared with that purse and carried it beautifully. I’m not one for jealousy and I am by far not the most fashionable gal on the block but I do remember feeling that little twinge  of jealousy.  And then I discovered Kate’s apartment in New York….over the years I have spent hours drooling over the Spades’ New York City apartment in which Kate and husband Andy managed to pull off the trifecta of perfection….classic timeless elegance, a home for their child, and a glorious mix of gorgeous neutrals with yummy pops of color. As someone who struggles with an obsessive love of neutrals and a teensy tiny passion for color in interiors, I always wonder….how do I pull this combination off? How do I balance my love of neutrals and find ways to add color without it coming out too cute or overly contrived? Like the Spades. That’s how it’s done.

Many of these photos come from one of my favorite websites www.theselby.com. Do go check it out. It’s magnificent. I first found them when Amanda Cutter Brooks posted about their visit to her. I have been a loyal follower ever since. I also found fabulous photos by www.thecoveteur.com, an amazing website I found through the wonderful Heather Clauson of www.Habituallychic.luxury. I highly recommend looking at all three websites for more information and photos of the Spades’ amazing home.

Let’s get started!

As I’m looking at this for the umpteenth time I am noticing those glossy black doors!! Kate’s gorgeous signature style and the magical mix of design elements make this photo timeless. photo by The Selby

As I’m looking at this for the umpteenth time I am noticing those glossy black doors!! Kate’s gorgeous signature style and the magical mix of design elements make this photo timeless. photo by The Selby

Gallery walls galore in the front enterance. I love gallery walls and these photos inspire me to keep trying to get it right! photo by the coveteur.com, photography by Alec Kugler

Gallery walls galore in the front enterance. I love gallery walls and these photos inspire me to keep trying to get it right! photo by the coveteur.com, photography by Alec Kugler

Anyone who has lived with children knows there is the struggle of where to put the stuff and keep up appearances! I love how the Spades just mixed it in. photo by The Selby

Anyone who has lived with children knows there is the struggle of where to put the stuff and keep up appearances! I love how the Spades just mixed it in. photo by The Selby

I’m just crazy for this painted piece and the gilded mirror. Look at that glass!! photo by The Selby

I’m just crazy for this painted piece and the gilded mirror. Look at that glass!! photo by The Selby

Again, they are mix masters. I have not quite gotten this right. I LOVE antiques and they have found a way to masterfully mix in modern pieces. Photo by The Coveteur.

Again, they are mix masters. I have not quite gotten this right. I LOVE antiques and they have found a way to masterfully mix in modern pieces. Photo by The Coveteur.

Oh the red pipping!! and family portraits!! photo unknown

Oh the red pipping!! and family portraits!! photo unknown

In a video with People magazine Kate said this was her favorite table in her house because it has all of her family on it. Photos from The Selby

In a video with People magazine Kate said this was her favorite table in her house because it has all of her family on it. Photos from The Selby

I miss socially appropriate ashtray displays of stolen hotel finds. I also miss matches!! Photo by The Selby

I miss socially appropriate ashtray displays of stolen hotel finds. I also miss matches!! Photo by The Selby

I too have a love for and collection of old cigarette boxes. Kate also said in the people interview that she started this collection with one of her mother’s and that she then found the rest of these. Photo by The Selby

I too have a love for and collection of old cigarette boxes. Kate also said in the people interview that she started this collection with one of her mother’s and that she then found the rest of these. Photo by The Selby

Is that chair not the absolute most gorgeous blue?????? photo by The Selby

Is that chair not the absolute most gorgeous blue?????? photo by The Selby

I spy some real treasures here!! Can we please have gorgeous logo matches back??? I’m going to start passing out matches for my needlepoint business!! photo by the Selby

I spy some real treasures here!! Can we please have gorgeous logo matches back??? I’m going to start passing out matches for my needlepoint business!! photo by the Selby

As a recovering cigarette aficionado I LOVE this. I smoked many a candy cigarette as a child with my grandmother at Shraffts Ice Cream Parlor in Scarsdale, NY. Photo by The Selby

As a recovering cigarette aficionado I LOVE this. I smoked many a candy cigarette as a child with my grandmother at Shraffts Ice Cream Parlor in Scarsdale, NY. Photo by The Selby

That phone!! I love this because it’s a real working desk. Not a desk for show. There are several chairs with needlepoint cushions in various photos. Photo by the Selby

That phone!! I love this because it’s a real working desk. Not a desk for show. There are several chairs with needlepoint cushions in various photos. Photo by the Selby

LOVE a great bar tray!! photo by the Selby

LOVE a great bar tray!! photo by the Selby

photo by The Coveteur

photo by The Coveteur


What always appealed to me about Kate’s style is she took what we saw our mothers’ love…women who were raised in the 40s and then raised their families in the 60s and 70s….. fabulous classic American style with early European influences… and she added a modern twist. Kate took all of this one more step farther, with a genius use of color.

Don’t you want to hang out in this kitchen???? I always get drawn into the details of family life. I too have a TV in my kitchen in Vermont. It keeps me company while I create masterpieces or sit and have a cup of tea. Phone, cookbooks, I love it all. photo by the Selby

Don’t you want to hang out in this kitchen???? I always get drawn into the details of family life. I too have a TV in my kitchen in Vermont. It keeps me company while I create masterpieces or sit and have a cup of tea. Phone, cookbooks, I love it all. photo by the Selby

LOVE this. Why do I so love the combination of silver and liquor bottles? I just love the way it looks so much! Phot by The Selby

LOVE this. Why do I so love the combination of silver and liquor bottles? I just love the way it looks so much! Phot by The Selby

photo by The Selby

photo by The Selby

Photo by The Selby

Photo by The Selby

Photo by The Selby

Photo by The Selby

Photo by The Selby

Photo by The Selby

I hope there are Sea Monkeys in there! photo by The Selby.

I hope there are Sea Monkeys in there! photo by The Selby.

photo by The Selby

photo by The Selby

A magical corner where I’d like to sit. Photo by the Selby

A magical corner where I’d like to sit. Photo by the Selby

As you may be aware Kate and Andy Spade began Frances Valentine after the sale of their first business. It was an opportunity for Kate to keep creating. The names Frances and Valentine are family names on Kate’s side. Kate and Andy’s daughter is also named Frances. There are many articles about the company and it’s structure and all of the wonderful people involved on the magical internet. I encourage you to read them. Kate’s dear friends, husband, and family are dedicated to keep this company going. They are all involved. They are not muddling through… they are moving forward with talent and enthusiasm and dedication. Kate’s niece Rachel Brosnahan has done an amazing ad campaign for Frances Valentine. The photos, the bags, the shoes, the colors, the attitude, all of it. They have nailed it. (Have you seen The Amazing Mrs. Maisel??? My sister Puddy would not stop talking about it and badgering me to watch it. She was right, it’s absolutely hilarious. Watch it! I have recently become a big Rachel Brosnahan fan.)

Photo from Frances Valentine of their gorgeous bags www.francesvalentine.com

Photo from Frances Valentine of their gorgeous bags www.francesvalentine.com


photo from www.francesvalentine.com

photo from www.francesvalentine.com

photo from www.francesvalentine.com

photo from www.francesvalentine.com


I have decided to really get behind this company. That’s what you do right? When a family powers through a personal tragedy we as a community make casseroles, drive carpools, send notes. When a family and their friends carry on with a gorgeous beautiful brand in honor of their beloved founder, we get on board, we open their emails, we look at their website, and we buy beautiful bags and shoes.  There are so many beautiful products to choose from. I can’t wait to buy a summer bag. Maybe they will make a green tweed one for winter!!

xo Tricia