Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Taking a Break: India Hicks Island Style

So, my friends..........I have been away! From the blog. I am sorry I did not give a warning, but a break was needed. Nothing earth shattering.....just things to attend to. Children to send out into the world. Business to work on. Trips to plan. In short......I needed to let go of the blog for awhile and figure out a new type of life with kids gone from the nest. It was not easy to take the blog break. It was like moving to a new town...saying goodbye to old friends.....for awhile. But I hoped I could come back at some point, or try to if any of you are still here. Are you?....still here? I hope so. I hope you understand. 

So, the thing I have come to understand is that we all need a break now and again.......and again.....and perhaps again. But if something is important, we make the effort to come back around and restart. Begin again.......and what better way to begin.....than by taking a break.  
India Hicks and her dreamy new book, India Hicks Island Style..... what a fabulous break!....

It is full of images that will let your body stay right at your desk, but will take your mind away on a relaxing vacation. It might even get you thinking that perhaps it would be a good idea to move that desk to a new location altogether. The Bahamas perhaps?

Many of you know of India Hicks and her fabulous life. But for those who do not......Her father was David Hicks, iconic decorator...... She was a flower girl in the wedding of her godfather Prince Charles and Princess Diana...... Her grandfather, Lord Mountbatten, was the last viceroy to India. Quite a background! India Hicks grew up in Oxfordshire, England, but lives now on Harbour island in the Bahamas with partner David Flint Wood and their five children.

This book is about her life, where it started and where it is now in the Bahamas. It is about how she got there and what life is like on an island paradise. It is about the connection between her past and present and the things in her home that tie the two together. Mostly it is a journal about how her home has become what it is today......casual, care-free and beautiful.

A beautiful life makes for a beautiful book! The images throughout this book are inspiring. There are many of the island itself and more about the house that India built with her many memories showing up in every corner.

Now....just a word on the quality of the book......I always like to know, and maybe you do too! really nice coffee table size book about 9.25" x 11" x 1.25".....nice matt finish to the cover.....and nicely formatted full bleed photos as well as framed.....more photos than prose, but prose are very interesting! Because the style of India's home is so classic, this book will be a keeper pretty much for the life of your library. 

India's concluding words in this book must be true for pretty much everyone....
"In those moments of silence I realize that my house is simply a series of rooms. What makes it a home are the memories, the objects, and, above all, my family."

It is certain that each object in this home calls forth a memory worth keeping.

So, with that said, it is time for me to make more memories of my own! I am planning a trip, and will be walking the old stomping grounds of India Hicks by starting off the trip in England. We will be traipsing across the country from London to Wales, and then off to Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy over 4 weeks in May. My husband and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary. Celebrating 25 years of amazing memories and looking forward to many more.....

It is time for adventures.....

Real and imagined.....

And India Hicks knows how to imagine a life and make it reality.

My wish is for us all to do the same!

India Hicks Island Style , Published by the wonderful folks at Rizzoli, is available now!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lunching with Creative Minds at Coup d'Etat

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of lunching with a bevy of creative souls at one of my favorite San Francisco Showrooms, Coup d'Etat and hosted by the indomitable Jeff Schlarb of the Interior Design firm Green Couch

I was a bit late getting to the event after navigating the bumper to bumper gridlock over the Bay Bridge. Getting to view the San Francisco skyline with the sea air floating through the sunroof....really, I could not complain. When I arrived, most of the attendees had already served themselves a delicious lunch of salads, beautiful fruits, chicken and corn  and were sitting at tables chatting and eating....waiting for the panel discussion to begin. So I followed suit and found myself a seat with minutes to spare.....

Jeff Schlarb of Green Couch
Jeff Schlarb was the moderator, and his enthusiasm is so infectious, I knew we were in for a good time. The panelists were selected to represent creative minds in architecture, design, art and dance. They included Stephen Sutro of Sutro Architects, fine artist Katina Huston, and Alonzo King of LINES Ballet. Amazing talents, all.

Stephen Sutro, Katina Huston and Alonzo King
I have to say, it was one of the most inspirational panels I have seen. It was especially interesting to hear how these three panelists each approached creativity in a different way, no doubt influenced by there respective disciplines. Jeff led them through a series of questions that unearthed their attitudes about tapping into their inner creative genius. I took lots of notes and was ready to share all of the intricate insights with you, but then I was lucky enough to receive a little recap of what we all got to experience. Jeff sent out a vimeo teaser which you all can see here:

SF Design Salon 2014 - Trailer from Green Couch Interior Design on Vimeo.

(Somehow, I unknowingly ended up in this video more than once. Clearly I have a habit of chewing my lip and nodding in agreement when listening intently..... Jeez.) But seriously, many thanks to the film Producer/Director/Editor, Hunter Preston Boucher. Nicely done!

 For the full presentation in four parts....hop on over HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE!

After being thoroughly inspired to return home and get going with my own creative process, I still needed to get my Coup d'Etat fix before leaving. It never fails to remind me why I am in this biz. I hope you enjoy a little design jolt to spark your imagination.......

Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Come Right In: 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

Isn't always nice when visiting your friends to be greeted at the door with a little champagne? Jonathan Rachman did just that when I found him in the Entry Hall and Main Stairway at the 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase. Jonathan just seems to know how to entertain, and he does it with great finesse in this space. He was inspired by fashion icon Kate Moss and the song "Royales" by music artist Lourdes....and I did feel a bit royal walking in. Gold and crystal, neutrals and white all combine in a luxurious way and just make one feel pampered and a bit special! 

Have a spin around this space before we move along into House Beautiful's 2014 Kitchen of the Year designed by San Francisco's very own Steven Miller.....

Jonathan Rachman
I walked through the Dining Room next, (but we will get to that later) and then into the Butler's Pantry, which, as it turns out, was a perfect precursor to the House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year. Steven Miller is no stranger to a Decorator Showcase Kitchen ( he designed THIS spectacular kitchen for the 2009 Modern by Design Showhouse in San Francisco). He hit it out of the park again here. Quite the sophisticated take with the glittering mica wall covering my Phillip Jeffries, and iridescent back splash tile from Ann Sacks and black lacquer cabinets from Kitchenmaid all warmed up with walnut wood drain board by Grothouse Lumber at the Kohler sink.....

The main kitchen also has the black cabinets making the black appliances from Whirlpool right at home. White floors and walnut counters make for a very handsome impression....sort of "white tie and tails" glamour...

One of the most eye popping details in this space was the custom quartz crystal ceiling cove lighting installation by lighting designer Christopher Boots. Steve and Christopher collaborated and the original recessed box ceiling was transformed into a white surface with a recessed space for the light sculpture. Fantastic!

Just a little info on the generous sponsors for the kitchen:
Whirlpool brand provided their Black Ice Collection of appliances
Kraftmaid Cabinetry supplied those black enameled cabinets
Kohler for the sinks
Caesarstone countertops
Grothouse Lumber supplied the very beautiful Walnut counters
Wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries
Backsplash Tile by Ann Sacks
Paint by Valspar
Some Furniture items by Made Goods

Steven also took possession of the Family Room and adjacent Deck space.....lots of greys, white an black make this space the perfect calling card for Steven Miller's new gallery aptly titled The NWBLK (read: "the new black") . Many of the peices are from the gallery, which is a new showplace for outstanding furniture, lighting and accessories. All of you design junkies have a new place to get your fix!

Just off the Family Room is the Deck, also appointed with items from The NWBLK. Just another reinforcement of Steven's "cool" factor, in case you needed another reminder.....

Steven Miller
I hope you all have a chance to head over to the 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase! It runs through May 26th....this hop on over!

More to come soon!

Monday, April 28, 2014

San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2014: Back to Front (and Book Giveaway Winner!)

Time again for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, and this year it quite a special one! First of all, 2014 House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year designed by Steven Miller is part of the festivities this year. And then there is an amazing display of talent throughout which I am excited to show you!

But first, I have to say the day was just spectacular. I decided to approach the city by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. For those of you who know San Francisco, it is much faster to take the Bay Bridge when driving from the Valley, but since the Showcase house was right next to the Presidio area, I knew I would get to it right off of the Golden Gate Bridge. And there is something about entering San Francisco this way that never fails to fill me with awe. What a day!

I quickly found the house and made my way inside. The Showcase house is a 1908 Classical Revival owned by Alfred and Rose Sutro located on Jackson Street overlooking the Presidio and San Francisco Bay. Designed by the architectural team of Walter Danforth Bliss and William Baker Faville, the red brick home with Palladian style windows is 8,820 sq. ft. with six bedrooms, six and a half baths, and six fireplaces. There is an entry foyer, and then another much larger formal foyer....a sitting room, and then a much larger Living Room.....get the picture? This scenario sort of repeats itself throughout. 

Before I inspire you with all of the beautiful work by the very talented interior designers, I wanted to show you the exterior. After does seem that Mother Nature has a way with providing limitless amounts of inspiration....... 

As I mentioned, the day was perfect and the views spectacular. Sunny, warm but not hot, and Spring is in its glory. The gardens at the Showcase were enhanced by the talented team at Living Green Design. They added the eye catching red bench and Alice in Wonderland scaled snail sculpture, as well as the sculpture of Hercules. They also enhanced the Formal Gardens with new plantings. Take a little stroll...

Dunkirk and Associated provided the red bench by McKinnon and Harris

Hercules torso by Luciano Tempo
Rhododendrons were in full bloom!

Team from Living Green Design, principal Davis Dalbok

These two have been involved with quite a few of the recent Showcase houses, and every time I see their work, I do stop and stare. Just beautiful!

Another team who came together to create a special space outside is comprised of landscape designer, Katharine Webster and Thayer Hopkins Architects. These two took an otherwise unusable space and created a wonderful little wonderland. One enters from the back deck down a staircase and around the side of the house, passing white flowering plants, white roses and variegated greenery. The deck was constructed from reclaimed wood and leads one through the white garden into a space under the kitchen deck......

 The designers continued the decking underneath creating a space that could make a wonderful setting for an informal garden dinner! They lined it with boxwood and added a couple of fun swinging chairs.....

Just past this "indoor" space, one is drawn into a fanciful rhododendron tunnel lined with chartreuse ground cover that is sprinkled with shards of broken mirror and lined with undulating silvery ribbed fencing.....

Up the stairs, there is a courtyard with mirrored columns creating a multidimensional garden reflection. Fantastic!

As one comes all of the way around back to the front of the house, it is time to re-enter and start tour on the wonderful inside! I hope you will join me.

I will be back with more in days to come!


The Winner of the book:

Courtesy of Rizzoli

Janet Rose

(Janet, I hope you see this because you did not leave any contact information. Please email me at or comment again with your contact email so I can send your book to you! I will pick a new winner in a few days if I do not hear back.)