Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Random Tablescape and Your Thoughts

It has been a challenge juggling things this week. Perhaps it is the end of the school year for my two kids, one graduating up to High School, the other testing for college. Perhaps the going away party we had last weekend for a good friend who is moving to Martha's Vineyard played a part. Perhaps the starting of a new design business and the best part: the wonderful new clients that I have been fortunate to meet from this little blog.

I have run out of time today. But I wanted to share a little something. It represents a little juggling act itself. There is the Andy Warhol poster my mother has had since her days working at the Ace Gallery in Venice Beach in the '70's. There is my prized Empire State Building light. No monetary value to speak of....I just love it. There is my tramp art box, and the tops my father played with as a kid....and a couple of antlers thrown in. All of it sits on top of a glass table top left over from a client's project and two IKEA trestle table legs cut down to fit. It is an ever-changing grouping of things I like...sort of like life. Changing it up every once and awhile makes it more interesting.

Which brings me to the question: I have done a little juggling around with the blog layout . Do you like the wider format with larger pictures? (The plan is to enlarge the banner to fit as well.) Or is it easier for you to read in a more compact format? I would love to hear your thoughts. After all are why I am here. Thank you all for reading and commenting. It really does make my day.

And I promise...the next installment of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase House is on it's way!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Inspiration Everywhere

Floral Bouquets

Last weekend….well pretty much every weekend….we go to the Sacramento Farmers Market to replenish our stock of fruits and vegetables. This time of year is absolutely the best. As soon as I find a place to park and enter the market…an almost overwhelming feeling of giddy wellbeing enters my body. The booths are overflowing and the the early morning crowds with their rolling wire shopping baskets and reusable shopping bags throng the asphalt parking lots shaded by the freeway overpass. Where during the week, a sea of grey concrete is the expected scene, I see color and texture and movement.

This is one of my “happy places”. There is something about looking over all of the bounty and picking out my own treasures, taking out my coins and handing them to the vendors as they hand me a bag from the scale that pleases me to no end.

I find inspiration here……and I imagine rooms in the colors I find:


Floral Bouquet by Veronica Swanson Beard from Elle Decor , June 2009, Photo by Simon Upton


Purple Onion


Purple Onion by Jeffrey Bilhuber from House Beautiful, March 2009, Photo by Julian Wass




Strawberries by Jeffrey Bilhuber from Defining Luxury


White and Red Cherries


White and Red Cherries by Alessandra Branca from Elle Decor, May 2009, Photo by Joshua McHugh




Asparagus by Jeffrey Bilhuber from Defining Luxury

I hope you have an inspiring weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Upstairs Downstairs at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase

Last Thursday I drove to San Francisco to see the 2009 Decorator Showcase. The day was just skies and a bit of an ocean breeze. It promised to be a perfect day. We arrived right around noon, so we had the whole afternoon to take our time and enjoy everything. The house, built in 1910, is located in what is referred to as "the most fashionable" part of Pacific Heights. It was built as a twin in the Georgian style by architect Nathaniel Blaisdell. The Showcase occupied the twin on the left.

I have to stay what struck me as we climbed the steps to the front door were the steps themselves. They were finished in white marble and were in perfect perfect as they could be at almost 100 years old.

We entered the front door and were greeted by this whimsical floral arrangement that extended from the entry level all the way up to the ceiling of the next floor. It was quite a statement and drew our attention to the beautiful balustrade. We discovered it was created by artist Yedda Morrison

The Entry, Staircase and Upper Hallway were designed by Nicole Hollis. She used an abundance of Natural Curiosities in her design which she set off with a rich grey paint color on the ceiling and on the cabinet housing the items.

I love the striking contrast between the white trim and grey paint colors as the backdrop for the natural colors of the objects in the case and the soft grey of the hide upholstered chairs.

I am glad the hall was so interesting, or I would have passed it right by to get to the Living Room which was designed by one of my favorite designers: Myra Hoefer. She has an incredible talent for creating rooms that are both relaxed and elegant.

I was just lucky to catch this image showing a dreamy quality with the sun's rays coming through the window. Myra had created shutters that were upholstered with what looked like white leather with nail head trim. There were beautiful ivory linen covered sofas with generously scaled silk covered pillows in soft grey and a citron-y gold.

When I saw this John Dickinson table, I swooned a little. (I heard it is for sale by the way.....for so much more than I could afford, I am afraid I have forgotten the amount!)

The color palette was just so beautiful....again the soft grey silk taffeta for the drapery panels and ivory linen slipper chairs.

The sconces above the fireplace caught my eye: handmade white plaster made in France. They flank and large antique gold framed mirror. Myra is a master at scale I think.

There were two paintings and a few original sculptures by Wade Hoefer. There was so much more in this room that my poor little camera could not adequately will just have to see for yourself!

The Dining Room was adjacent to the Living Room, and was designed by another design great, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy. Of course, the first thing that caught our eye was the very dramatic "Big Bang' chandelier from Limn. An amazing focal point to be sure. The designer used this piece as a very "today" solution " showing confidence, rather than the aspiration shown by using a copy of a traditional chandelier, as is commonly done." I think it was quite successfully used. (I also overheard it is for sale as well!....any takers?)

The Dining Chairs are also a Diaz-Azcuy design for McGuire Furniture.

We seemed to recognize many of the items in the beautiful collection of white running down the table. We asked the docent, and yes....many are from the personal collection of Mr. Diaz-Azcuy.

This table was one of my favorite things in the Showcase. The flatware is a Diaz-Azcuy design, and the violet stemware is beautifully mismatched and are set off against the white vases. They are also part of the designer's own collection. I love how the dinner plates, with their traditional black and white pattern, contrast with the caviar dishes...a simple rectangle of glass with it's own glass spoon.

The Family Room and Breakfast Room were designed by the very talented Matthew Leverone. There were so many things I loved about this room: the amazing coffee table....

The cozy ottomans...

The beautiful and graphic console in front of the windows....just to name a few. I great combination of really interesting furniture pieces grounded with a calm and serene color palette.

The Breakfast Room by the same designer had a very appealing sculptural quality...again very serene in it's simplicity. I was quite taken with these two rooms!

By this time, I was"catching" the uniting element from room to room. There was a recurrence of soft foggy greys mixed with a warm golden glow. The Kitchen presented this palette through the use of zinc for the counter tops and custom hood, and the beautiful light fixture floating like a sun kissed cloud. (The Liana S. Pendant by Aqua Creations)

I do have a "thing" for the Heath Ceramics tile above the range I must admit.

I thought this was such a clever way to create some drama in an otherwise ordinary small hallway. It look like there is a window right across from this door, right? Well you would be wrong. It was a custom light filter (gobo) shining a window mullion and tree leaf pattern on this foggy grey door.

This house has four we decided to head down to the lower level. Not sure what to expect, we ended up finding a perfect small jewel of a space designed by Darin Geise of the fabulous shop, Coup D'Etat. It measured all of 8 feet wide, but was packed with atmosphere.

It was fully paneled in what appeared to be reclaimed barn wood....a wonderful backdrop to the Renaissance Portraits and tufted upholstery. My photo of the pendant light did not do it justice I am afraid.

The perfect little hideout for reading...perhaps Jane Austin....ok....War and Peace?

Another little space with it's fair share of personality was the Vintner's Vault designed by Michelle Wempe of Zumaooh.

We were tempted....we really were.

With Four Floors of packed with design inspiration, this first installment has covered the "Downstairs" levels. There are quite a few rooms that my camera could not adequately capture. So, if you are in the Bay Area, I hope you have a chance to visit the Showcase! It is truly well worth your attention. This Memorial Day Weekend is the last weekend! Tickets are available at the door. For more inforamtion, please click here.

On Monday, I will take you "Upstairs" for more glamourous interiors!

It really was a fantastic day by the Bay!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Barbara Barry: Gumps and Metropolitan Home

There was an afternoon tea in honor of the extraordinary Barbara Barry at Gumps in San Francisco last Thursday, and I was lucky enough to attend. It is quite an experience to meet a design icon that turns out to be as lovely and gracious in person as you imagine her to be. Ms. Barry gave a brief presentation where she discussed the importance of gratitude, and living in the moment....and simply "being". It was a refreshing and inspirational to hear her speak of appreciating every day.

Barbara Barry and right hand, Saana Baker

Barbara Barry and Gumps have teamed together to offer a wonderful mix of Barbara Barry signature designs in the form of fine furniture, lighting, china, flatware, stemware, and home fragrances. Her Wedgwood china collections are outstanding. This is my favorite I think:

Curtain Call China by Wedgwood

You can see the whole collection on the Gumps website here.

The Furniture is produced by Henredon and every detail is so well thought out. Scale and quality are perfection. The fabrics are beautiful and luxurious. You can see Ms. Barry's complete furniture line on her website here.

It was so much fun to see all Ms. Barry's creations and get to hear about how she finds inspiration for the design process. And there were many friends to see at the event as well! :

Barbara Barry and Marta Benson, CEO of Gumps

Chic designer Cheryl Holbein, the dashing designer and blogger Scot Meacham Wood, and the talented designer Lise Stubbs

Shannon K. Fisher and Mike Kazmierczak, sales representative team for Henredon and Maitland Smith

If you are curious to see more pictures of the event, you can go the Drew Altizer Photography website here and view many many more!

Over the weekend, I was so happy to get both my Elle Decor and Metropolitan Home magazines! I was ready for a great double header magazine-fest. And lo and behold, there was a beautiful editorial in Metropolitan Home featuring a home designed by none other than Barbara Barry. She was able to complete a top to bottom renovation in just nine months! This total transformation embodies Ms. Barry's mantra of "luxury, tranquility and pleasure."

Living Room, Metropolitan Home June 2009, Photo by Jeremy Samuelson

The amazing French 1950'2 coffee table is arranged with Barbara Barry furniture pieces as well as a Robert Kuo drum stool and the Bibendum chair by Eileen Grey in the Living Room.

Metropolitan Home June 2009, Photo by Jeremy Samuelson

The Breakfast Room features a vintage Gino Sarfatti chandelier over a custom Barbara Barry table. Charles Eames chairs from Modernica.

Metropolitan Home June 2009, Photo by Jeremy Samuelson

I love this photo of the study with shelves designed by Barbara Barry, and the chair by Phillip Agee:clean, classic and serene.

Metropolitan Home June 2009, Photo by Jeremy Samuelson

This corner of the Master Bedroom Bedroom is luxury in a nutshell. The chair is a Barbara Barry design for Henredon with a Kravet fabric, also by Ms. Barry. The cabinet is from the owner's collection. What a beautiful combination!

Metropolitan Home June 2009, Photo by Jeremy Samuelson

The outdoor patio space just looks so cool and comfortable. And for a young family who spends alot of time outdoors what could be more perfect than this classic redwood picnic table refinished with a high-gloss paint?

Well....I have had a wonderful few days enjoying the brilliance of Barbara Barry. I hope you all have a chance to take a look at the Metropolitan Home article...there is much more to see!

And you can find Henredon Furniture, Wedgwood China, Flatware, and Stemware all designed by Barbara Barry at Gumps.

White Peonies....the perfect embellishment to this Barbara Barry vignette