Monday, July 27, 2009

Time for a Breather

We have headed to Southern California to do the College Tour Hop and have a little fun while we are there. Top of the Family List? Where else?
My List includes the beach (San Diego and Santa Monica) and perhaps the Getty Museum.
I had meant to post a bunch of things for you while I was gone....but I thought it was a good idea to fit in a Yard Sale yesterday before we left........ What was I thinking?!?! Between carting all of the leftovers to the Salvation Army and finishing laundry and packing....I ran out of time just a little. So I will be posting lots of good stuff when I return!
Catch you all when we get back!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Napa: Shopping at Erin Martin's Showroom

After seeing Erin Martin's designs for the Showhouse in San Francisco, I thought it would be fun to stop into her Showroom while we were in Napa. Well worth the visit! It is located on the main Street in St. Helena and is full of Erin's creativity. Many of the items, like the rope chandelier are Erin's own designs. I hope you enjoy this little peek as much as I enjoyed the shop!

A bit of a short post, but we are headed out the door for SoCal!

I will miss you while we are gone!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Napa: Dessert!!

I promised you dessert didn't I? How rude of me to keep you waiting!

After a delicious lunch at Bistro Jeanty, we hopped down the block to Bouchon Bakery. Another of Thomas Keller's creations, Bouchon Bakery was started to compliment his restaurant, Bouchon. Thomas Keller is well known for the famous French Laundry in Yountville. Mr. Keller started Bouchon as a more casual, family style French bistro and Bouchon Bakery was first started to supply Bouchon with it's bread. It has since blossomed into a delectable patisserie with macarons, eclairs, and tarts. There are also cookies and chocolates. And if you want a quick picnic, there are soups and sandwiches for take-out.

I thought you would enjoy a peek!

I had a carmel macaron that was so big I had to save part of it for later. ( OK......Later being ten minutes.) Soooo good!
One of the best cookbooks out there for French Bistro faire:

Click here for more info on the cookbook!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Napa: Where to Eat

I guess a better question would be, where NOT to eat! There are so many 5 star restaurants in the Napa Valley, you might never find a bad one. On our day in Napa, we had a hard time deciding where to go. We decided that Bistro Jeanty would be perfect: casual, but brilliant, authentically prepared country French food.

Opened in 1998 by chef Philippe Jeanty, Bistro Jeanty has been receiving accolades ever since. Philippe Jeanty came to the U.S. from Epernay, France in 1977 and hasn't looked back. And lucky for us! He arrived here to open the Chandon Restaurant with a team of French chefs. But after many years of perfecting his skills in classic French Haute Cuisine, he decided to open Bistro Jeanty to quench his thirst for the simpler country version of French food.

The restaurant has received a Michelin star each of the last three years, as well as other numerous awards. Yet you would never feel out of place in this charming, so-not-stuffy bistro.

OK, before we go any further, click here to listen to some music to put you in the mood. Then come right on back!

Here is what we had:

My friend Leanne had the Salmon Carpaccio and a Beet and Orange Salad. The Carpaccio was melt in your mouth, and the beets delicate and delicious.

Mine was a mouth watering leek tart with a Porcini mushroom reduction. I also had the Hericots Verts Salad, perfectly seasoned with just a hint of crunchiness.

And Lise had the Salade Nicoise and Frites. The Butter Lettuce was firm and perfect. The artichoke hearts, tomatoes and anchovies tasty and fresh, With the light dressing of EVOL and lemon good! And the Frites? Well....let's just say there were no leftovers.
If you have not already perused the website by now, please take a moment to visit. The website is just as charming as the restaurant! You can see menus,( which change daily...I can see that what we had is no longer on the menu), and learn more about Chef Philippe Jeanty.
I hope you all have a chance to visit in person next time you are in the Napa Valley!!
Tomorrow: Dessert!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Week in Napa Valley Starts with Ma(i)sonry


I was in Napa a couple of weeks ago and really...I had meant to blog about it sooner. But life has a way of turning things on their included. I had a wonderful day with two good friends, and aside from the sweltering heat ( I think it was 120 degrees....OK I'm exaggerating, but not by alot) we had so much fun. So, this week I am blogging about all of the things we did and places we went. (I know the title is a little confusing. I was there for the day, but YOU will be seeing our day all week!).
We came to Napa Valley for a wine tasting and book signing event taking place at Ma(i)sonry in Yountville. One of only three stone buildings constructed in Yountville, the building that is now Ma(i)sonry was built in 1904 as the primary residence of Charles Rovegno, an Italian immigrant lured to the fertile farmlands of the valley.
The newest owner, Michael Polenske, has taken this historic building and through careful preservation and meticulous renovation, has turned it into a showplace for fine art, carefully selected vintage furniture and beautifully crafted custom furniture, as well as a a boutique wine tasting venue. Ma(i)sonry has become a collective for a partnership of wine makers such as Blackbird Vineyards, Brown Estate, Joel Gott Wines, Lail Vineyards, Pedras Wine Company, Renteria Wines and Tor Kenward Family Wines.

Here is proprietor and curator, Michael Polenske with girlfriend, Kimberly Miller (editor of Daily Candy, San Francisco by the way!) Handsome couple, no?

Also an art and furniture collective, Ma(i)sonry is currently exhibiting works by Chiara Mondavi ( yes, THAT Mondavi) and Wade Hoefer. Furniture collective partners include such greats as Ron Mann, Alexandra von Furstenburg, Citizen:Citizen, and Hudson Furniture.

Front Room

Michael assembled a team of talent to renovate the building and the grounds with the help of Project manager, Paul Leary (also COO of Blackbird Vineyards....many hats!). Architects Douglas Thornley, Gould Evans/Baum Thornley, Designer Erin Martin , and Landscape Architect, Dave Roche of Roche + Roche worked to create the perfect marriage of historic preservation and modern design. Please check out the Ma(i)sonry website to learn all about the process. In the photo above you can see how the old stone walls were a rustic counterpoint to the new industrial modern staircase.

The spaces are filled with antiques and art, like the landscapes of Wade Hoefer shown above and below.

A piece by Chiara Mondavi hangs above a Bombe console.

Clever "art"!

Another piece by Chiara Mondavi sits above a console by Alexandra von Furstenburg.

The decomposed granite patio is full of furniture designed by legendary Ron Mann.

Doesn't it look lovely and cool here? I am sure it is wonderful on most days, but on this particular day it was hot, hot, hot!!!! I was very thankful that there was an abundance of a very refreshing citrus punch, and slices of cool watermelon, as well as delicious wines from the collective wineries. The table is all ready for the book signing for the Orlando Diaz-Azcuy book by Diane Dorrans Saeks, (which is available here)

Somehow Diane and Orlando managed to look serenely cool, collected and quite wonderful! Be sure to checkout Diane's blog, the Style Saloniste! She has a wealth of knowledge about design and architecture.

Many thanks to Michael and Kimberly for hosting such a fun event ! Ma(i)sonry is a "must see" for anyone planning a trip to the Napa Valley.

All photos by katiedid except those of the patio provided by Diane Dorrans Saeks

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Beach is Calling: Bonesteel Trout and Hall

Just wanted to add a little freshness to your weekend.

I was snooping around the updated Bonesteel Trout and Hall website and these images made me happy. I thought they might do the same for you!

Have a breezy weekend.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cool: Australian Botanicals Outdoor by Mokum

I think this new Australian Botanicals Outdoor fabric collection from Mokum speaks for itself.

It's saying: "I love porches. They are my favorite places to be. Unless you find me out by the pool, or in the garden. With my indoor-oudoor lifestyle, I am happy in almost any environment! My style reflects the native landscape of Australia: soft eucalyptus greens, crisp aquas, ocean blues and the warm rust tones of the outback. I am pure Australian through and through: I am tough (exceeding 50,000 double rubs) but caring (100% recycled content). And of course I am fun-loving and not too hard on the eyes if I do say so! In fact, I have been told I am quite stunning! I hope you have a chance to visit me ....or better yet....let me visit you! You can find me here under latest releases."

Great speaker! Great design

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Future’s So Bright……

Cooper in Shades

I passed a milestone last week. I have to say I am a little put out by this whole “getting older” thing. I don’t feel any older. I feel like I am just getting started! Not that I haven’t lived yet….but there is so much living yet to do. And I am enjoying every bit I can.

We went on the most beautiful hike on the 4th. Took the dog, and a picnic. Tim and I and the girls drove up to Horsetail Falls in the Sierras and it was just a gorgeous day.

Cooper on our Hike

Cooper couldn’t have been happier. Squirrels, leftover cheese from the lunch pack, sticks to chase, and cold clear H2O from the Sierras. What could be better?

Horsetail Falls Hike, River

Later we had a block party with the neighbors…pot luck….and I have foodie’s for neighbors, so the spread was amazing! A very nostalgic, old fashioned Fourth of July. We even stood in a circle at one point right before the fireworks “finale” in the street, and everyone sang the National Anthem. I was quite impressed really. We all remembered the words, and most were able to hit the high notes.

Then Monday came around. I woke up feeling the same as I usually do….a little groggy, but looking forward to the day. Then I remembered. It was THAT birthday! I tried to just put it out of my mind. I had a pretty normal day. I worked. But when I checked emails, I was really touched to receive so many well wishes from my blogger and facebook friends. I have to say it really brightened my day! Thank you all so much!

When I say I worked…I was actually told to stay in my basement studio until my family gave the word that I could come up. They were preparing something special!

Cupcakes with candles My husband prepared one of my all time favorite meals: BBQ-d steak (medium), fresh salad with roasted pine nuts and avocado, and corn on the cob. Then my girls presented me with this! Orange chiffon cupcakes with orange butter cream frosting (all home made from scratch!). They even made marzipan labels with chocolate letters that spelled out “HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM”.


They were sooooo good! Someone was waiting very patiently for a piece:

Cooper under the table

After dinner and cake, it was on to the presents!

And what is it about Mothers? My Mother always seems to find the perfect thing. She wrapped individual little packages (one for each year….you’re counting aren’t you!) and fit them into a vintage cloche on top of an antique footed ironstone platter, both so gorgeous, I was speechless. It was so much fun to open every little package, funny little things: a bandana, a carved wooden stamp, a hair comb, a beaded necklace….and on.

Cloche with Presents

Some birthdays seem to have a sort of “theme” to them, don't they? This was a birthday of flowers. I seemed to receive them all week long. The first bouquet was from my workmate, Lise. She picked the most beautiful roses from her garden. They smelled heavenly!


The next day I got a knock on the door, and these were on the other side! My old college roommate who shares my birthday sent this stunning bouquet. There is a rose for every year…..your counting again right now aren’t you?

Yellow Roses 2

The week kept rolling along. My husband and I were going out for dinner Friday, just the two of us….but when we got there, they had given away our table………or did they?!?! When the hostess said she would find something for us, she opened a curtain, and, …..yes…..SURPRISE!!!! Twenty of my girlfriends were there to celebrate my birthday with me. My husband had been planning for months. I am very lucky, I know. These were waiting for me in front of my seat at the table:

Blue and White Flowers It was a wonderful birthday WEEK! I got to see friends that came in from out of town, and friends that I have known since my kids were little. This getting older thing turned out to be not so bad. It was a reminder of how many people I have met and who have become friends I care about.


I received so many thoughtful and beautiful gifts, and very kind words. And I will keep them all in my memory. Thank you all! But, one of the things I will treasure above all (along with my husband’s careful planning), is this simple white envelope with cut out letters made by my daughter’s hands.

The Future’s so bright…you gotta wear shades!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I have some housekeeping issues to attend to:
1) Regarding this brilliant console: I erroneously wrote it was designed by Jay Jeffers and produced by Paul Benson. In fact, this beauty was designed and created by Paul Benson. My sincerest apologies!!!!!! Check out his website here.

2) I must also apologize for not addressing this earlier. My internet has been down since Monday. I thought I would do the big switch to SureWest from ATT and put phone, Internet and TV all with one service. I had heard great things about SureWest, and was promised great things by them as well. Turns out we didn't have the proper CAT5 wiring we needed when the installer came Friday. Didn't realize it was urgent to get the wiring done til stuff started turning off Monday night. Whoops! Someone somewhere did not tell ATT that we weren't ready yet, and it wasn't ME. But I am back up with Internet access now.....and I must say it is MUCHHHHH faster!!!!!! After the initial HUGE hassle, I am starting to feel much better. So c'mon SureWest....don't disappoint me. I am counting on you to speed up this blogging process so much I can visit all of my favorite blogs and post more blogs much more often. :)

I will be posting again tonight or first thing tomorrow! Thanks for being patient. I am trying to be.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Modern by Design Showhouse 2009: Last Stop

Last Stop: Top Floor!

The Top Floor of the Modern by Design Showhouse was a show stopper! At the top of the stairs was the large Family Room designed by that purveyor of “Sophisticated Fun”, Jay Jeffers. Jay has been noted in House Beautiful’s Top 100 and has graced the pages of Metropolitan Home and Elle Decor numerous times.

His room for this Showhouse shows off his talents yet again. A sunshine-y color palette makes you feel immediately upbeat, and there was an abundance of great ideas.

Jay Jeffers Family Room, Modern by Design Showhouse 2009

The main seating area was grounded by a fantastic geometric cowhide area rug designed by Jay and put together by Kyle Bunting. The sofa is another custom JDG design. Note the subtle crenelation across the back. The high back club chairs are from Modern One, and the coffee table is by Paul Evans. The light fixtures were another custom design and made by McEwen Lighting Studio.

Jay Jeffers Family Room Cffee Table, Modern by Design Showhouse 2009

Remember that sofa back? Well, it is echoed again in the design of the fireplace surround. And I loved the side table between the chairs: a vintage scale from Coup d’etat.

Jay Jeffers Family Room Sideboard

This one-of-a-kind beauty was a custom design by Paul Benson. Yellow lacquer console with yellow brass and aluminum with a bamboo interior (bamboo interior! All things were considered here.) The art above is Untitled, but described as a “Yankee Septic Emergency” (Hahahaha!) by Gregory Crewdson available through Berggruen Gallery.

Jay Jeffers Game Table, Modern by Design Showhouse 2009

I loved the game table and it’s industrial chic look (Coup d’etat). The base was made from an iron buffing machine circa 1900. Jay Jeffers designed the rug to look like a tree stump (Mark Nelson Designs), and also the game table chairs (C. Mariani) ….amazing designs!

Jay Jeffers Loft Stairs

I was taken with the design of the Loft steps and how they were also used for library shelving. So clever! And the leather covered panels are barn doors for bedrooms on either side. The chairs are Austrian secessionist elm wood burl circa 1880 from Epoca.

Jay Jeffers Family Room Loft, Modern by Design Showhouse 2009

Jay put in a couple of seating areas in this loft space. Kind of a fun little hideaway! Fun faux wood grain fabric on the chaise is from Dogwood Fabrics. And the Ikat fabric on the drape is from Belfour. Interesting lighting idea: lining up a series of spyglass sconces from Circa Lighting. I have never seen this done before.

Jay Jeffers Family Room Powder Room, Modern by Design Showhouse 2009

JDG also designed the Powder Bath which I thought was really handsome. The vanity is another custom design by JDG produced by Metropolis Metal Works (who also did the fireplace surround). The mosaic tile is made from cork!!! (Habitus Inc. ) The other thing that caught my eye was the wallpaper: a trellis print on grasscloth by Studio Printworks. Fresh and fun.

There was so much here to see, I could not capture it all! You will just have to come in person!

Jay Jeffers, Designer 1Jay Jeffers, Jeffers Design Group

Jay was so gracious and quite dapper in this picture, I think. His tie fits in perfectly with the scheme. He was so fun to talk to and had so many fantastic ideas in this room!

There were two “his and hers” bedrooms off of the Family Room designed by the architectural partnership of Min Day. E.B. Min and Jeffrey L. Day created duel spaces that are young and fresh. They designed a pierced panel closet door in a sort of wave pattern that hides a Murphy bed. Nicely set off by the blue green desk area. Fun carpet tile by FLOR. Wood stool designed by Min Day.

Min Day Blue Bedroom

In the “girl’s” room, the dot idea was carried out with paint stenciled in a cloud pattern. Really a great idea for a child’s room! More “dots” on the floor (FLOR carpet tile)

Min Day Pink Bedroom

The bathroom was an “ode to green” with it’s apple green paint and glass tile (Walker Zanger) Happy and striking in it’s monochromatic palette.

Min Day Green Bath1

It was a refreshing way to end the tour of the interiors here!

But there is more outside!!! Surfacedesign is the genius behind the outside spaces. This first space is the rooftop terrace which was decked in an angled pattern and furnished with soft “sculpture”.

The downstairs patio was a study in black and white. There was modern wood paneling installed as sculpture and stained black Throwing Rock Studio created the concrete pads and bench. The white strips in the concrete are LED lights that glow with a blue light at night. Quite stunning.

The space had a very liveable quality but at the same time was a sort of interactive art piece in and of itself. Quite beautiful.

The birdbath was formed out of the end of the bench. It reminded me of Indian grinding rocks filled with rain water.

And one of the talents behind Surfacedesign is principal Roderick Wyllie who was on hand to chat about the landscape design and his company. Do check out the Surfacedesign website to see more genius at work.Roderick Wyllie, SurfacedesignRoderick Wyllie, Surfacedesign

I hope you have a chance to get over to the Modern by Design Showhouse this weekend….the last weekend BTW! There is so much I was not able to show you (my little camera can only do so much!) And so much more you really should see!

I wanted to thank all of the designers I was able to meet for being such great hosts in the very hectic hours before the opening Gala. It was truly a pleasure meeting them all. As varied as their styles are, there were clearly traits common to them all. They are all passionate about what they do every day, and the enthusiasm for the clients with whom they work is palpable. It was inspiring to see their designs….but perhaps even more inspiring to see the kind of people they are: really interested in the world and the people in it.

(And a special thanks to Cheminne Taylor-Smith of Metropolitan Home!)