Friday, August 31, 2007

New at William Sonoma Home

Just thought you might like to know.

There is nothing I like better than beautiful white sheets.

New from William Sonoma Home

Artist Lara Berch - Learn to DIY online

I received an email from Lara Berch this morning, an artist who has just started an online tutorial website for art and painting techniques. I was intrigued, so I went to check it out. Lara is like many of us who thought it would be "the right thing to do" to get a degree in something "practical", like accounting or finance, only to discover that it made us a little bit suicidal. (Me....I got a business admin. degree..sheesh! Although I must admit it has come in very handy since becoming a designer.) The switch to the creative fields was a welcome relief. Lara resides in NYC and is living her dream of creativity and helping to save the environment, both pursuits that I am 100% behind.

Here are a couple of Lara's creations:

AND I think it would be so fun to try out her techniques! Perhaps you have had that chair in the attic that you just needed to do a little something with before putting it in the living room. Or you just needed that last art piece for the powder room to make it complete. Lara's tutorials are just a click away:

I am impressed with her site...AND she also has a BLOG! So check that out too! OH! Did I mention the tutorials are FREE?! Well they are!

OH and BTW, Lara has another site all about the environment called Down with Basics. Check it out too! It will get you thinking.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lovely, Lovely Bathroom

Browsing through the latest Martha Stewart Living, I happened upon this bathroom and said to myself, "if only..."! If only I had the space, I would put this table in the middle of my bathroom, with just that same glass footed bowl with that same magnolia flower. I would put that same bench at the end of that same tub. I would choose that same Waterworks floor tile and the same Waterworks tub fixtures.....if only I had the space.

Perfect and lovely.

Martha Stewart Living, Sept. 2007, Photo byWilliam Abranowicz

Thursday, August 23, 2007

California Vernacular

Greene and Greene, Julia Morgan..these are names that conjure images of old California architecture: California Bungalows, Spanish Colonial, Monterey style. Architect Donald Goldstein and designer Jarrett Hedborg bring these aesthetic qualities to life in their renovation of this Spanish Colonial Revival home in Los Angeles California.

Growing up in Pasadena, I became very familiar with Greene and Greene architecture. We were in and about their homes almost daily. I would pass by the Gamble House every day on my way to school, and had a friend who lived in another Greene and Greene home. My Aunts and Uncles lived in Spanish Colonials, and we had a Prairie Style house. So when I saw this old style California interior, it conjured up very vivid and fond memories. In the image above you see a Roseville Pottery vase to the left and a Daum Crystal vase to the right, both circa early 20th century. Painting in rear by Alfredo Ramos Martinez, front by Jessie Arms Botke.

Another example of vintage Roseville Pottery on the K'ang-hsi coffee table from Rose Tarlow-Melrose House. I love the beautiful collection of art and antiques brought together in this living room in a very fresh way.

The pottery in the Dining Room is early 19th century Weller. The Plein Air painting of pack horses is by Herman Struck This, mixed with the Chinese console, iron gate, the pewter tea paper covered ceiling create a successfully unique combination. I also envy the Fortuny covered Chippendale dining chairs from Rose Tarlow!

This bathroom, with it's beautiful Ann Sacks tile work, is what initially caught my attention in this article. I was working on a Prairie Style home and wanted to show my clients a bathroom with Craftsman tile that would work for them. This certainly works for me!

House and Garden July 2005, Photos by John Coolidge

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Big Fat Remodel - Woe is Me

Well, I wanted to let you all know that I will be a little light on the posting for a week or so. My remodel needs my full attention at the moment. I have had a fiasco hit me full in the face. My counter tops need to be yanked and redone. My painters are trying to prep the mill work, which is in partial disarray because of the counter top situation. And my cabinet installer is trying to do his next phase of work. I am faced with the horrible task of relieving my current counter top fabricator of his duties and finding a new one, shopping for new slabs and starting over. Needless to say this will put the job behind schedule by weeks. I am sick at heart because the fabricator is such an honorable and nice person, but the work is just not what I can live with.

So, I hope you can be patient with me. I will be back as soon as I can!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mirror, Mirror

I just thought this was such a wonderful image. At first glance, it's all about the mirror. But then you realize there is a beautiful Beidermeier desk and a cane chair that are in such perfect harmony. I also love the custom Benjamin Moore wall color in combination with the brown and white bedding. I'd say this room by designer Garrow Kedigian is "fairest of them all".

House Beautiful Sept. 2007, Photo by Pieter Estersohn

Monday, August 13, 2007

David Weeks vs. Serge Mouille?!?

So I have been planning this post on David Weeks and Serge Mouille light fixtures for awhile now because I sort of love them. They are kind of Calder mobile-ish go anywhere sorts of light fixtures. And then I open my new House Beautiful and in my favorite house in the issue, the owner and designer Betsy Brown has BOTH a vintage Serge AND a David Weeks:

Here is the classic floor lamp by French Deco master Serge Mouille. The ikat covered bergere and cowhide rug along with the sculptural quality of the lamp is brilliant!

And here is the David Weeks for Pucci International as a bedside sconce in white. (You sort of have to squint to see it. It's in front of the window.) This is a bedroom I could call home. Mixing this fixture with the gilt mirror and old limed plank floors is just perfect to me! House Beautiful Sept. 2007, Photos by Don Freeman

Working with designer Blathnaid Behan, the owners of this London Victorian house are lucky to own a Serge Mouille. Again, a great combination of contemporary and traditional. Elle Decor, April 2007, Photos by Simon Upton

This Dining Room by another one of my design crushes Vicente Wolf and associate David Rogel features a David Weeks fixture in white. I am thinking the white is my preference. Metropolitan Home, February 2007; Photos by, the man himself, Vicente Wolf!

This Malibu, CA house was designed by another favorite of mine, Madeline Stuart. Again, Love the David Weeks fixture. (But, dare I ask, what's with the furry bean bag chair?!). Elle Decor , Jul/Aug 2007, Photos by Dominique Vorillon

And Steven Gambrel! I just can't get enough! Mr. Gambrel has used a large David Weeks which really makes this dining room happen. House and Garden November 2003. Photos by William Abrnowicz

And here is a chandelier by Serge Mouille in a dining room by designer Tse yun Chu. Metropolitan Home, July/Aug. 2007, Photos by Antoine Bootz (isn't that a fun name?)

And last, this contemporary dining room features a custom David Weeks fixture. Interior Design by David Oldroyd of Orlando Diaz-Azcuy Design Associates. Metropolitan Magazine April 2007, Photos by John Ellis.

So, which do you prefer? The David Weeks or the vintage Serge Mouille? Is David the new Serge? Or is Serge the one and only?

The Serge Mouille fixtures have become so rare that his spouse, Gin Mouille, has introduced a new edition, stamped, numbered, and represented exclusively by Inside Modern Living. To find out more visit the website.

Also, visit David Weeks Studio and see his other creations in furniture and whimsical accessories.

P.S. I was enjoying all of the latest in the blogosphere tonight and came across a happy coincidence on the blog of House of Beauty and Culture. We have both posted on the subject of Serge Mouille. I hope you visit their post since it is all about the history of Serge Mouille. Definately information worth reading! AND their wonderful blog is a Must See!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Richard Mishaan and Tony Duquette

When the estate of Tony Duquette, fabled designer of Hollywood homes, came up for sale after his death in 1999, Richard Mishaan snapped up some amazing pieces for his own Hamptons retreat. Richard Mishaan, architect, fashion designer, now interior designer, is one of the top in the field. At first glance, the house seems to be very grand and formal. But then the fun comes in when one realizes that the Duquette console and mirror in the Dining Room had the glass appliqued on with a glue gun. And the "ivory" pagodas are made of resin. Tony Duquette was certainly known for his theatricality, and he certainly used his tricks of the trade when creating these pieces!

House and Garden, August 2004, Photos by Fernando Bengoechea

The "coral" in this chandelier, also by Duquette, was made using sticks and red paint. Some of you may be thinking about your next DIY project about now perhaps? I must say that this dining room has been in my inspiration file for a few years now, and I find it very fresh and current. I think Mr. Mishaan shows his genius at combining seemingly disparate elements in this elegant, yet approachable space. The more serious tradition of the the window, cupboard and flooring are suddenly transformed by the white lacquer table and contemporary chairs into a friendly, fun, space that is certainly more usable than your typical formal Dining Room.

Tony Duquette is one of the most fascinating designers that has ever graced a magazine page. Many have called him theatrical, over the top, and eccentric. His ideas have been an inspiration to many designers who have followed. I wanted to let you all know about the soon-to-be-released book that is a must have for anyone interested in Mr. Duquette and design history. I have preordered mine through Amazon:

"Book Description: American artist and design legend Tony Duquette (1914–1999) was known for his over-the-top style in interiors, jewelry, costumes, and set design. His clients included Elizabeth Arden, the Duchess of Windsor, and Herb Albert. The multi-talented Duquette designed sets for MGM musicals with Arthur Freed and Vincente Minnelli, and designed Tony Award–winning costumes for the original Broadway production of “Camelot.” Duquette was the first American to exhibit a one-man show at the Louvre in Paris. Tony Duquette is a lavishly illustrated book with many lost and never-before published photographs from the Duquette archives, including portraits and pictures taken by Man Ray, John Engstead, Fredrich Dapriche, Andre Ostier, George Platt Lynnes, as well as original sketches, designs, and texts by Duquette himself. With commentary, interviews, stories, and contributions from Liza Minnelli, Arlene Dahl, Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber, and others. " as quoted from Amazon

HAPPY WEEKEND - My Garden and a New Blog Feature

I don't know if any of you have noticed a new sidebar picture I have added: Gardens to Inspire. In Sacramento California, outdoor living is as much a part of our existence here as indoors. In the summer we get the Delta breezes that blow in and cool the evenings, and outdoor entertaining is common all summer. I don't know about you, but nature influences so much of the interior design that I do. Almost all of the homes and restaurants I work on have an indoor/outdoor flow that is very important to the design. I am going to try and post outdoor "rooms" on a regular basis and renew the sidebar picture at least weekly. I hope you let me know what you think of my idea and if you enjoy the images!

These are a couple of not very well done photos of the part of my own garden still intact during our remodel.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Paintings by Ingrid Ellison

Ingrid Ellison is a friend of mine who recently moved to Maine. Since I was thinking about her today, I thought I would share with you a couple of her very beautiful paintings. The one above titled "Moving" is full of sunshine. Ingrid uses the image of a house or home often in her work. I love how she described the size of the painting on her promo post card: "sort of big...but not really really big".

This painting is titled "Living in Twilight" and hangs in the Stanford University Faculty Club, Stanford California. I think her use of color and familiar imagery in such a contemporary way is wonderful.

If you are interested in contacting Ingrid regarding her art, she can be reached at

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Just a little progress report on the remodel: cabinets are in, well, mostly. I have used Crystal Cabinets, which I love because the company will make anything you want. Totally a custom company. Still waiting for some parts and pieces to arrive. Counters will be going in this Friday (white Carrara marble). I can hardly stand the suspense. I am using someone new for the installation who came highly recommended, but you just never know. He is a charming Italian man who seems to be the only one in town who still hones marble, that is acid washing it to create a flat finish.

I am in the process of ordering all of the "jewelry", like cabinet hardware, lighting, door knobs, bamboo shades for the windows, etc., which is really the fun part!

Anyway, I will post again when things are more "together"!

P.S. Joni from Cote de Texas ( great blog by the way! Please visit!) had a couple of questions about the kitchen, So I thought I would answer them here.

I used pilasters or "legs" between the cabinets to create the look of more expensive inset face frame cabinets for less. These cabinets are frameless or "European" style, so less expensive and a little more contemporary looking. I also like the furniture-like look the legs create. I am putting stainless steel caps at the base of the legs for added durability, and also because I like the added detail.

Regarding the Carrara Marble, I am honing it because polished marble will etch with anything acidic. I figured it's bound to happen, so why not start off with it etched? It will have the look of having been used for years. I have used it for clients' homes and they love it. It is not for everyone however. It will "patina". Carrara will stain and oils can be seen on honed marble, but with a bleach and water solution, most stains will come out. I also like the softer look.

I hope I answered your questions Joni, without getting too long winded!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I've Got Butterflies!

Who wouldn't have butterflies after seeing this incredible desk by Piero Fornasetti in a home by world renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Interiors come to life at the hand of designer Suzy Hoodless. House and Garden, February 2006

This is just part of the breath taking 7 foot wide, 6.5 foot tall fiber-optic Niagra Chandelier by designer Bobo Sperlein for Spanish ceramics maker Lladro. It is made up of 300 3-inch tall porcelain Fairies (which at first glance look like a mass of white butterflies!) Stunning! House and Garden, December 2006, Photo by Coppi Barbieri

Three generations of designers came together to create this confection of a Dining Room. Elizabeth Pyne, mother Anne Pyne and grandmother Betty Sherrill, both of McMillen, Inc. collaborated in choosing this butterfly wallpaper by Osborne and Little: Papilio Prints Alium. I also can't resist the Rene-Lucien Prou iron chairs! House and Garden, November 2006, Photo by James Merrell

This lovely and restful Dining Room by designer Kevin Carrigan of Calvin Klein and partner architect Tim Firzer shows that traditional collection of framed butterflies translates beautifully in a more contemporary setting. Elle Decor, June 2007; photo by Roger Davies

So now that butterflies are all you can think about, let's go do some shopping!

This beautiful wallpaper on the left is from the Spring Lake collection from Thibaut called Lillian (Fabric also available). Architectural Digest, August 2006. I think the 1st dibs lamps with the butterfly cut-outs would look lovely in a bedroom with this wallpaper!

I could see these paper butterfly shadowboxes from Martha Stewart Crafts (as seen on Happy Mundane blog) in a room with these great side tables by House Eclectic (available in lots of great colors!)

And I came across these wonderful butterfly block prints by Esty artist Amanda Kindregan (a steal at $12.00!) There are more fab prints on her website that are well worth the visit!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Vases of Francis Palmer

The wonderful hand-thrown pottery of Francis Palmer has been a long time desire of mine. I love the shapes and styles of her vases and how she thinks about what kind of flower each vase might hold. And of course, I am always attracted to white as a backdrop to flowers. I think they are lovely.

House and Garden July 2004