Thursday, June 26, 2008

Happiest Place on Earth

Taking a road trip with the kids to the Happiest Place on Earth for the weekend. See you all when I get back!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ella's: Keeping Sacramento on the Map!

Main Dining Room, Hospitality Design, May/June 2008, Photo by Mathjis Wessing

Ella Dining Room and Bar is at the top of my list of restaurants in Sacramento. So I was not surprised, but very pleased to see it in the latest Hospitality Design magazine as the winner of their "Hospitality Debut" Award.

Bar and Lounge

The interiors are a great indicator of what you can expect from the superb menu: unpretentious, but extremely well done California dishes with a creativity that doesn't get so out there, you are scratching your head in confusion. It is all about the food, not the "foam". The farmhouse family style tables encourage mingling. The creative use of lighting, the sophisticated color palette of soft greys and beige's, the natural olive branches all converge to give one the relaxed, and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy wonderful food and company.

Owner, Randall Selland and his wife Nancy Zimmer, have been creating top notch food for many years in their original exhibition restaurant, The Kitchen. This is their latest baby....and it is growing into the hottest dining spot in the valley.

The architects are Sacramento natives: Darryl Chinn Architects. The interiors were done by UXUS, Amsterdam.

Private Dining Room

Just another reason to visit "Sactown". Come, sit and enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Design Crush: Ken Fulk

Photo by David Duncan Livingston

For those of you that have not yet caught on to the greatness that is Ken Fulk, I'd like to introduce you. My crush started back awhile when I noticed Mr. Fulk's work and couldn't help but post about it here (Almost a year ago to the DAY!). Well, he has been very busy since then. You may have seen his work in the latest House Beautiful and he also has a project that has recently graced the cover of California Homes magazine.

California Homes Magazine, April 2008, Photo by David Duncan Livingston

With his blend of custom furniture and antiques, Ken never fails to add originality and sophistication without a bit of stuffiness to his projects. For this project, after all of the initial planning and legwork, Ken was able to install everything: paint, finishes, furniture, art....the works, in a three week time frame while the clients were away on vacation in Africa. Wouldn't that be an amazing thing to come home to?! "Yes, darling, the elephants were fabulous, but I am glad to be home....oh, my! Look at this! So much better than those zebras !"

Photo by David Duncan Livingston

The combination of elements here at first glance seems somewhat formal until you realize the coffee table top is made from reclaimed wood planks, and that the firewood is stored in a rustic antique wheel barrow. I think they make the space so livable. You wouldn't be afraid to really relax here. The unique placement of the photography, artistic in itself, creates a great composition with all of the other elements. Wing back chair from Coup d'Etat Antiques. And that paint color! Wonderful.

Photos by David Duncan Livingston

1950's Capiz Shell light fixture in the stairwell is from Past Perfect in San Francisco. Zebra print carpet by Stark on the stair. Ken created this Dining table from and antique trestle base from House of Mann. Antique hooded chair is from Sarlo Wick. Dining chairs are by Milo Baughman and covered in Great Plains linen.

California Homes Magazine, April 2008, Photo by David Duncan Livingston

I appreciate the mix of high and low in the Family Room: Pottery Barn Sofa with a slipcover of linen velvet mixed with the Belgian coffee table also form Sarlo Wick. This stylish room says "comfort" and would be attainable for most of us. I like that.

Mr. Fulk has also been profiled in the latest House Beautiful magazine for his own getaway retreat in the Napa Valley:

House Beautiful, July 2008, Photo by Victoria Pearson

The entry gives a hint at the color scheme that runs throughout the compound.

House Beautiful July 2008, Photo by Victoria Pearson

He revamped a 1940's ranch house and out buildings into a grownup's dream of "camp". He used bluestone inside and out to unite the space and make it user friendly for his dogs, and anyone else who pays a visit. BTW, those are his dogs in the painting in the photo above. Ken has used the dining table as a "library" space and has piled it with books. I love a multiple use space.

House Beautiful July 2008, Photo by Victoria Pearson

Can you see the pipe ladder next to the fireplace? It leads to a sleeping loft. Fun! Dog andirons from LL Bean and another dog portrait. Dog heaven.

Photo by Victoria Pearson

This bedroom is in a tented cabin for guests who visit the property. It really is like camp...only so much better!

Photo by Victoria Pearson

I love the bed here modeled after an old Woody Station wagon. The stacking of the vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases on two wood blocks is just another example of Ken Fulk's ability to think in ways that make him wonderfully unique. Of course, this is the main reason he is one of my design crushes.

Photo by Victoria Pearson

Afternoon picnic in the barn. If this is camp, sign me up!

Photo by Victoria Pearson

I had to add this picture because the red chairs are from Chelsea Antiques in Petaluma where my Mom used to be a dealer. She has very kind memories of Mr. Ken Fulk, who, she said, came in quite often. Just one more reason to throw a little love Ken's way.

Daytripping: Marin County

Last weekend we decided to hit the coast to get free of the smoke filled air brought on by the many recent wildfires in the Sacramento area. We took the dog, a picnic of roasted chicken sandwiches and fruit from the Sacramento Farmer's Market and hit the road.

Muir Beach in Marin County was our first destination. We love it because dogs are very welcome off leash, and Cooper was in dog heaven. After a good two hours of running him ragged and soaking up the sun, we settled in for a great picnic lunch.

If you are ever in the area, you have to stay at the Pelican Inn. Originally built in Surrey in 1673, it was dismantled and rebuilt at Muir Beach where it has been providing a touch of England for over 20 years. Be sure to check out their website for pictures of the authentic Tudor style rooms. If you are daytripping like we were, stop at the pub for an ale and a game of darts.

After a quick stop for ice cream, we did some shopping for antiques in one of my favorite towns, Mill Valley. I suggest Maison Reve if you get the chance:

They specialize in French antiques and garden accessories. So pretty!

Next stop: Sausalito on the San Francisco Bay

There is a beautiful town square, with a fountain guarded by these two handsome elephants. I had to take this for you Courtney!

Full of beautiful Victorian architecture....

And creative people.....

Sausalito is one of my favorite cities by the Bay. It was a glorious to top off out trip we had to eat at one of my all time favorite seafood restaurants:

FISH is located right on the Marina in Sausalito and specializes in fresh fish. A very casual atmosphere, drinks are served in Mason Jars and you sit outside at picnic tables:

But do not let that fool you into thinking that the food is less than excellent. I had a white bean and tuna salad with Kalamata olives, red onions, carrots, celery, and lots of other goodies. And there was clam chowder all around. Here is a picture of the Portuguese Red Chowder, rich and spicy:

Be sure to check out their really clever website here. You will be very entertained.

So...we had a very good day by the Bay.

I am recharged and ready to do some more blogging about one of my many design crushes, so I hope you visit tomorrow!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Scream for Ice Cream! Happy Weekend.

Have you ever seen anything as good as this?

Parisian Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich from Ginger Elizabeth

I think I've died and gone to heaven.

Have some Ice Cream this weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Porch

Coastal Living, April 2008, Photo by Jean Alsopp
What do I like about this Porch? The white painted plank floor, the rattan furniture mixed with the vintage white painted pieces, the beadboard ceiling. Like a tall cool drink of water.
Fabric : Duralee, "Pavilion" in Natural Green.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meet Veronica, Before and After

I met Veronica on the streets. She started off a little worse for wear. She was homeless when I found her. Outside, the luster had faded, there were quite a few battle scars.....but then that's what life can do, isn't it? I took her home. I thought all it was going to take was a little TLC, right? I thought I could get her back on her feet in no time. But after a couple of weeks (or was it three?) of hard core therapy....after some tough rehab, I did start to wonder if it was all worth it.

But then..... after peeling away the layers of dirt....after scrubbing clean the signs of age...I could see we were getting somewhere. I could see definite signs of improvement. It was time for a brand new coat...or several. A little color to top her off. And Viola! She is ready to face the world again. And she was definitely worth the effort.

There is more about her here.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I got tagged last week by Megan of Beach Bungalow 8. It takes me awhile, but I eventually find the time (see "to do list"). Thanks Megan!

So here goes:
1) What did you do ten years ago?

I was living in Sacramento, CA here:

And raising two daughters I adore:

And was working here

2) Five items on your To Do List today:

a) Make an appt for my oldest daughter to take her Driver's Permit test. Sigh.

b) Add up expenses for tax guy so we can get our return already.

c) Find light fixture for Dining Room.

d) Finalize accounting software. boring but necessary.

e) Make dinner, feed dog, laundry, do dishes....oh that more than one thing?

3) Snacks I enjoy:


(Note the "Fat Free" in the lower left hand corner. This means calorie free, right?)

And this:

4) What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Really, I am not sure I would want to be billionaire. The change would be too drastic. But if I had no choice, I would quit my job and take my family on vacation here. (Hi Maryam!) I would set up my brothers and sister-in-law and parents and inlaws in the houses of their dreams. I would set up college funds for my kids and all of my nieces and nephews. I would tuck away a bit for their futures. You know all the stuff we would all like to do to make us feel safe and secure. I would hire an assistant to do all the stuff that makes me too busy to really enjoy time with my family. Once I was "set up" I would start a foundation and start giving away the money earned from the principle. There are too many great causes to count, but I'm with Megan as far as children being the top priority. And I would probably start a design business of some sort: retail, product design....

I could go on dreaming forever, but I am in the process of making some real dreams come that's good enough for me right now.

5) What places you would live?

Well, assuming I had those billions, I would have a home base probably in Southern California (San Diego, Laguna, La Jolla, Santa Barbara), an apartment in NYC, and a villa in Europe, perhaps in the South of France. But the fun would really be in the search I think, not in the ownership. to tag those unsuspecting bloggers that have not been tagged yet. Are there any left?

I tag:

You're it!

P.S. I just reread this post and realized how utterly boring I sound. Ugh. Sorry 'bout that. My head is a million different places and I am finding it hard to be "interesting" right now. I vow to be much more devil-may-care, glamorous, and worldly next time I get tagged!

Black, White and Yellow

Hope you all had a nice Father's Day! Whether it was with your Dad, or the Dad of your kids. It was a beautiful day in Sacramento. I picked up berries, corn, summer squash and these sunflowers at the Farmer's Market for a BBQ with friends last night. It was a good day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Weekend!

I saw this in the latest House Beautiful. It's from The Source Perrier Collection. I was unfamiliar, so I thought I'd pass it along. I picture a pair of these flanking a front door on a grand porch.

Also from The Source Perrier. Recreate that summer in the Adirondack's with this tables and chairs.

Happy Weekend! Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What to do this weekend: Sacramento Second Saturday Art Walk

Sacramento has done some major changing since I moved here some 16 years ago. One of the best things that has happened has been the instigation of the Second Saturday Art Walk, We have an incredibly lively and pedestrian friendly night life in Midtown Sacramento, and people flock to the galleries every Second Saturday.

Here is a bit of info about the "scene" and what it's all about.

This photo is from the new website and truly does not do it justice. There are street bands and many streets are blocked off for entertainment venues. It is sooooo much fun. (And the art is not bad either!)

My friend Ted Weldon, who has worked with me on a number of restaurant projects, is having a showing at the new 500 N Street new "luxury condos". Please check out his website cuz he is fabulous!

Photographer, Jay Canter, is also showing. He travels all over to capture images like the one above. Quite impressive.

And I wanted to give a shout out to my new blogger friend Julie, who let me know about the event. Please say "Hi" on her wonderful blog JUST JULES AND YOUR AVERAGE JOE. You will not see a more beautiful couple....nope....not anytime soon....they should be models.....and he proposed to her on a dinner cruise on Lake Geneva.....I kept thinking George Clooney was gonna be in one of their slide show pictures....that's how gorgeous they are. SO, visit!

Thanks to Terri at the Washington Post

I just want to extend a big THANKYOU to Terri Sapienza for including me in her weekly Blogwatch on the Washington Post for this post about Fireplace "scaping". It is an honor!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Brown Brothers, "Flipping Out"

Some of you may already know about this. But here it is again if you don't. You know that crazy, and sort of wonderful house flipping show on Bravo called "Flipping Out"? Well....Ryan Brown, one of the stars of said know the calm one who partners with the very particular OCD-ish flipper designer guy? The one who whips his staff into shape and turns out some of the quickest and most well designed flips in the LA area?......well, I got a little email from them just to let me know he now has a blog with his brother Joshua. I'm assuming that I am not alone here. But thought I would spread the word along. Find out more about their blog, "Brown Design" here. They have some great posts about their work and .....AND you can visit their website here. These are just a coupla photos of their work I particularly liked. So go "checkitout"!

Welcome Ryan and Joshua! I wish you all the best with your new blog. And I look forward to another season of Flipping Out!

Monday, June 9, 2008


After the cold and darker days of Winter....after the last blazing fire of the year....after the embers have cooled and the ashes have been cleaned out during Spring Cleaning, it's time to figure out what to do with that empty space where the firewood used to be. you just put some new wood in and call it a day? Or do you get more creative? It seems that many are "scaping" their fireplaces these days.

House Beautiful, July 2004, Photo by Charles Maraia, Home of Chris Madden

It used to be that a fern in the fireplace was the expected solution during the warmer seasons. But you would be hard pressed to see a fern in a fireplace these days. The options are only limited by one's imagination. I have collected a few photos that caught my attention.

Domino, December/January 2008, Photo by Annie Schlechter

The style team at Domino got creative using wallpaper to line a non-working fireplace, then added some fuchsia painted logs. The wallpaper is "Summer Palace" by Osborne & Little. Andirons by Lyle and Umbach, who are kinda known for cool andirons btw.

House Beautiful, June 2008, Photo by Eric Piasecki

Christopher Maya used art to enhance this fireplace. The vibrant colors of the Picasso above the mantle are balanced beautifully by the metal shield sculptures in the fireplace.

Elle Decor, May 2008, Photo by William Abranowicz

Art collector Beth Rudin DeWoody collaborated with her designer friends Randall Beale and Carl Lana of Beale-Lana Interior Design to create this fantastically artful display with the tortoise shell front and center.

Elle Decor, March 2007, Photo by Simon Upton

I love this stark white castle against the black interior of this fireplace. Simple and very striking. It is small wonder I discovered that this house was also put together by Beth Rudin DeWoody (socialite, philanthropist, and real estate executive). A woman after my own heart. A collector of art and and anything else that suits her fancy. This house is her Southampton retreat, and this single photo is far from doing the whole article justice. So please do check out both stories (this in the Elle Decor March 2007 issue) to get a picture of this very interesting woman.

House & Garden, May 2007, Photo by Pascal Chevallier

Perhaps a set of extremely cool andirons is all you really need. Children's wear designer Cordelia De Castellane put this pair to great use in the fireplace of her Paris apartment. Sorry, no source information on these, but do check out Lyle and Umbach.

House and Garden April 2007, Photo by Jeff Riedel

This one I love because it so perfectly captures the personality of it's owner, Douglas Little. Mr. Little has a fascinating past, and his present is no less so. In 2003 he launched D.L. & Co.: Modern Alchemists and Purveyors of Curious Goods. To find out more about this eccentric and his candles scented with poisonous plants, check out his website here. But back to this fireplace: the red coral hints at flames licking the backs of these black owl andirons. Wicked fabulous!

AD, April 2008, Photo by Tim Street-Porter

Jewelry designer John Hardy simply places a huge piece of rock crystal in front of a beautiful metal fireplace screen. It also is reminiscent of flames as it catches the flickering light. Very effective in it's simplicity.

Domino, June/July, 2008, Photo by Paul Costello

And, yes, there has been much buzz about Katie Lee Joel's apartment in the June/July issue of Domino. But what hasn't really been discussed much is that Nate Berkus is behind the design here. From the article, I am not sure how much is Nate and how much is Katie, but for the sake of argument, let's assume this fireplace "scape" is Nate's brainchild. It does have his look about it with the tailored crisp black and concrete color palette. Again, I love the simplicity here. Each element is the stronger for it. The concrete garden urns, though perhaps not inspired on their own, are certainly beautiful in combination with the glass domes and olive branches creating a very pleasing whole.

So, you might be wondering where the photo at the beginning of this post came from? Well....maybe not, but in case you were, it is my own living room where I got really creative with a can of white spray paint and some fake concrete logs that I got for free at a garage sale. Although perhaps not as wildly creative as some of the photos above, I like 'em. They are sort of my own DIY version of the KleinReid Porcelain firewood, which you can read more about here on Apartment Therapy.