Thursday, October 29, 2009

Things That Go Bump In The Night

There are houses in my town that have mysterious histories. There are stories of macabre happenings and things that perhaps are better left unsaid. I am all too familiar with one such place......and the stories told here are not for the faint of heart.

For most of the year, the place goes mostly unnoticed by unsuspecting passersby. But in the Fall....strange things begin to happen. And it is only a matter of time before even the most addle minded begin to cross to the other side of the street.

Strange music and muffled screams....wicked laughter and mysterious crashes. Only the most curious dare to peak behind the fence.

I .....was one of those curious few....and the pictures I took....before I fled...tell a heartbreaking story of death and love from beyond the grave. Come with me, but...I warn you... enter at your own risk...for you may never be the same.

Year after year, a story has been spun of the perils of Myra Maines who resided here in life.....and now in death. the Maines Mansion....where many are kept close by.... even after they are gone from this life.

There is to be a wedding tonight...and every night until All Hallows Eve. You may watch and partake of the festivities....if you dare.

It begins at dusk, and you will be prepared for the experience outside. Others will be there to enter with you....they say there is safety in numbers.

Although I was not so sure...

I could not stay to take too many photos....

Before my blood ran cold....was that a man in the doorway?!?

I was lucky to escape when I did....but not before I gave from my heart to those in need...

I hope you will find it in your hearts to brave the Mansion and it's secrets! The Mansion will be open tonight through Saturday where you will be witness to the Wedding of poor Myra Maines and be a part of the Melodrama.

Located in the heart of Midtown Sacramento on the corner of 25th and "I" Streets. Appropriate for all ages and a very good is a great way to spend Halloween.

Donations are gladly received on behalf of The Sunburst Projects serving Children and Families living with HIV/AIDS. And I cannot think of a better cause to bring back light to children's lives.

Have a safe and

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Couple of Things I've Been Working On:

Secondary Bath in Contemporary Ranch House

Sometimes life throws us a curve ball, or lemons, if you will. If we are lucky, we do catch a glimpse of it coming. Last winter, the recession had hit Sacramento particularly hard,and it had a big affect on our family. The position I had held for 10 years as Senior Designer with another design company was eliminated at the end of last year. I had seen it coming. I had prepared myself to make a go of it and open my own design studio. Call me a business in this climate?!?! But I felt I had a few things going for me: I had just finished a remodel of my home which included a large home office/studio space (so no overhead to speak of), I had a pretty good reputation in the area, I had a couple of clients that came with me with the "OK" from my ex-boss, and I had started my blog, katiedid, almost two years prior. I cannot tell you what a huge help the blog has been to me in so many ways.

Perhaps most important to my design business, I have been very fortunate to have wonderful, wonderful clients. They have been staunch supporters, and such a pleasure to work with. I wake up everyday thinking how lucky I am. I have been busy with so many fun projects of all kinds, and some of them are almost ready to "show off".

Secondary Bath

So here are a couple of preview pictures of a house I have been working on with a couple who have become good friends in the process. They purchased a midcentury contemporary home that was in need of a face-lift. Most of the house was gutted, but the terrazo floor in the sunken living room remained intact. These are a just a couple of photos of the Kids' Bath and the Master Bath.

Master Bath

I have also been working on a beautiful Prairie Style Home which is nearing completion as well. Totally different style, and so much fun to work on. I promise to have pictures of this house when it is done!

I just want to say "Thank You" to my magnificent clients. You make my day!

The Lemonade is tasting better every day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Art of the Table: Preview Party For DIFFA

"CHAHUT" Table by Ken Fulk

The Fall party season in San Francisco is in full swing, and what better way to start it all off than with the "Art of the Table" Preview party benefiting DIFFA's DINING BY DESIGN. Gumps hosted the party last week featuring the table topping talents of these four top San Francisco designers: Ken Fulk, Claudia Juestel, Martha Angus and Orlando Diaz-Azcuy. The party was a kick-off event to the upcoming DIFFA events this November in San Francisco. To find out more about DIFFA DINING BY DESIGN click on over HERE.

Partnering in the event at Gumps were notable tableware masters: Hermes, Puiforcat, Cristal Saint-Louis, Raynaud, Ecruis, Alberto Pinto, Varga and Jean Louis Coquet. All contributed to the fantasy table decor put together by the designers.

When we arrived, the party was in full swing. We got a glass of wine and immediately found the tables. I have to say, I was a little star struck by the designer line-up. I am a long time admirer of each one of them.

I started at Ken Fulk's table, which was dazzling. Topped with the front half of a black stallion ringed with dozens of sunset hued roses, this table was off and running at first glance. Ken was so imaginative with this table, I hardly know where to begin!

The dark wood table was topped with a piece of glass which was back-painted with Hermes orange paint. Now, that is an idea that anyone could use to update a table and make it one-of-a-kind. Ken contacted Hermes to see if they might lend saddles to use as the dining "chairs". And they said "Yes"! Ken painted the saddle stands (also by Hermes) a fuchsia pink, topped them with the Hermes saddles, and draped those with Hermes scarves and belt buckles.

The table is set with Fil D'Argent China and Attalage Silver, both by Hermes. The Black Martini glass is by David Redmond, Martini Shaker by Lappas, Toroise DOF by Stueben, and charger by Laque De Chine Noir and Platinum by Haviland.

Ken added the crop (Hermes) as a "party favor", or perhaps just to whip a little more excitement into this equestrian fantasy. This run for the roses is a clear winner.

Hermes Saddle and Stand

Next up was "The Observer Effect" by Claudia Juestel. Claudia, founder and principal of Adeeni Design Group, brought her own design sensibilities to the table by designing a custom Dining Table with Brazilian Rosewood Veneer. She also created the custom dining chairs upholstered in a shagreen textured fabric.

"The Observer Effect" Table by Claudia Juestel

Claudia used China by Raynaud, silver by Ercuis and crystal by Saint Louis and Varga. The silver "bowls" at each place setting are made out of coins and titled "Beggar" Bowls, by Dave Meeker. The centerpiece of the table was not the expected flowers, but what appeared to be a miniature laser light show made from the "Shpera" Light Fixture by Matteo Thun coupled with "Quiet Tectonic" Single Channel Video Projection available through Baxter and Cook Art Advisors. Try THAT at your next party!

Perhaps my favorite thing about this setting was the brilliant bar cart design by Paul Benson. His talent never ceases to amaze. Paul works out of Sonoma and creates the most beautifully crafted metal and lacquered pieces of furniture art. You may remember his console from the Met Home Modern by Design Showhouse HERE.

"Tantalus" Bar Cabinet by Paul Benson

Martha, Martha, Martha! I love your designs! Full of artful fun, high and low, Martha Angus' table is as beautiful as it is accessible. Martha Angus designs are playful as well as sophisticated, which is just how I like it! Martha started things off with a Duodecogonal (say that ten times fast!) Mirrored Dining Table with etching from Sarlo. The beautiful orange and pink upholstered Gustavian and Louis XVI chairs are from Therien.

"NtRain" Table by Martha Angus

And here is where things get fun. The area rug is actually two IKEA rugs put together and the light fixture by Aargon Neon was made from plastic bags. Beauty and creativity is not dependent on price.

Martha topped the table with China by Alberto Pinto, Silver by Puiforcat and Crystal by Saint Louis. Lovely!

The table by Orlando Diaz-Azcuy was an imaginary High Tea with all of the First Ladies in attendance. Mr. Diaz-Azcuy began his thought process with the selection of the Pensees pattern by Bernardaud. The Pansy motif set the tone for the whole table. Mr. Diaz-Azcuy had pansies printed onto the table top (table and chairs were designed by Orlando Diaz-Azcuy for McGuire Furniture) as well as onto the tea cookies.

"High Tea with Bernardaud" table by Orlando Diaz-Azcuy

It was fun to see which of the First Ladies had their place cards at the table. Michelle and the last six all seemed to be in attendance. (Can you name them all?) Pretty and feminine at first glance, there as it was quite another story that was running through Mr. Diaz-Azcuy's head as he told us all what he imagined the ladies talked about at this party! Very entertaining!

After seeing the tables, there was a discussion with the designers about their designs and how they personally like to entertain. Marta Benson of Gumps introduced Diane Dorrans Saeks who led the discussion with the panel.

Ken Fulk and Marta Benson

Diane led a lively discussion, and I learned some very interesting tidbits! There were strong opinions as to whether paper napkins were acceptable or not. (What do you think?!)Orlando likes to play old movies without the sound at his dinner parties to keep the conversation flowing. Claudia loves to play Latin music, while Martha likes techno, but not while at the table. Ken was not able to enjoy his parties until he learned that people had much more fun when he did not worry too much about things being "perfect". Most importantly, everyone agreed that a good mix of friends is key, and that simple is sometimes best.

Diane Dorrans Saeks, Claudia Juestel, Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, Martha Angus

Claudia Juestel, Ken Fulk and Martha Angus

(Love the Houndstooth suit Ken!)

At the end of the party, guests were invited to purchase their tickets for the DIFFA DINING BY DESIGN Events November 18th and 19th. A lucky (SOOO lucky!!!) few purchasers won gift bags from Hermes!

Thank you again to Gumps who knows how to throw a perfect party!

And please hop on over to the DIFFA DINING BY DESIGN site to see how you can attend or help.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kelly! HUE are Back!

Photo by Grey Crawford

OK....a little bad on the pun, I know. But I have a little more info on Kelly Wearstler's new book HUE for you (which I talked about here)! I opened the latest issue of C Magazine and was flipping through when I stopped at this article on Kelly's new home in Hollywood. A little more reading, and I realized the photos are from the new book. If this is a taste of what else is inside, I'm all in.

Photo by Grey Crawford

C Magazine has many more stunning photos of the Hollywood home and a great interview with Ms. Wearstler by C Magazine's Andrea Stanford: all about the book, Kelly's life right now and plans for the future. You might just want to pick up a copy of C.......or HUE.....or both!

Photo by Grey Crawford

It looks like Kelly is at her best in this colorful home: exotic, fun, sophisticated, unexpected and a bit over-the-top. That stairwell is brilliant with it's vibrant art and Greek key railing. The wall covering is by Cannon/Bullock. The Living Room sports a rug by Kelly Wearstler for The Rug Company, and the sphere tables are also by Ms. Kelly for Bergdorf Goodman.

Just a little taste of the fun to come!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So Many Little Time

I am having one of those weeks: busy, busy, busy. But lately, I have been seeing and hearing about so many good books, it gives me pause! I tell myself, "I will never have time to read them." Then I tell myself, "I will FIND the time for these lovelies!"

Kelly is coming out with a new book about the use of color in her work. Not yet published, but I am looking forward to seeing this one!

Ah....Mr. Hicks. Need I say more? I will let Mr. Drucker fill in:

"The Hicks book is THE book of the season." —Stephen Drucker, Editor in Chief, House Beautiful

And many of you have heard about THIS new book. Elle Decor is celebrating it 20th anniversary. And to liven up the festivities, the best of the best has been put into this gem of a book by Elle Decor Editor and Chief, Margaret Russell.

I promise to give my thoughts on the books, as soon as I manage to get them in my hands. And if you already have, please let me know what you think!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

What To Do This Weekend: Apple Hill

Apple Pantry Farm

Apples. They are such a part of Autumn. Bobbing for apples at Halloween, apple pie at Thanksgiving, apple cider at Christmas. In the Sierra Foothills, not more than an hour from Sacramento, there is a place called Apple Hill. When we first moved to Sacramento 17 years ago, we heard about this place and made out first visit soon after. Ever since, we have made a yearly trip to the apple orchards of this area, as have many other families throughout Northern California in the months of October and November.

We come for the apples, of course. And the scenery, naturally! But we also come for a few other things: apple pie, apple fritters, apple donuts, carmel apples, apple cider, apple butter, apple syrup, apple bread, apple cake. You get the idea. If you can make it with apples, you can find it here!

Golden Delicious at Apple Pantry Farm

Apple Hill has grown over the years from an association of about 16 growers to over 50 apple ranches, wineries, a microbrewery, with even a Spa thrown in to make your visit complete. It has become the "Napa Valley" for the apple lover set.

In the Fall, the place comes alive with the harvest. There are pumpkin patches and hay bale mazes. There are craft and art fairs. There are pony rides and train rides. And lots and lots of food: Bratwurst and Pulled Pork BBQ, corn on the cob and potato salad....and then there are the apple desserts.

Apple Peeling machine at Apple Pantry Farm

Some of the ranches are overrun, and honestly too crowded for my personal taste. But there are plenty that are charming and more low key. There is something for everyone. We stopped at Apple Pantry Farm, which makes their pies with Golden Delicious apples, as well as cider and tarts, etc. This is one of the delightfully low key and relaxing places on the Apple Hill map of growers. We stopped here for awhile and ate pie.

Vintage Cars at Apple Pantry Farm

We made a quick stop at Bavarian Hills. We heard the Bavarian music as we were driving by and were intrigued. There were a few craft and booths here, so the girls and I had a look. There were a couple of ladies that had inherited all of their Aunt's costume jewelry. The Aunt, being originally from San Francisco, had collected it her whole life, and the ladies told me there were rooms full of the stuff! They were selling things at amazing prices just trying to get rid of it all. Lucky for ME!

One of the places we love to stop is Jack Russell Brewing Company. I have to say, they probably have the best Barbecue of many of the places we have been. They have BBQ tri-tip and pulled pork. And the beer is truly exceptional. This year was the most crowded we have ever seen it, but there is a large beer garden and dogs (for you Jack Russell lovers!) are quite welcome!

Denver Dan's is also a good place to stop for jams and pies. They have frozen pies (as do many of the ranches) that will make it all the way home so you can bake at your leisure. We brought home a boysenberry, apple pie which was delicious! The berries are also grown in the vicinity and when in season, you can pick them to your hearts delight. You can also pick your own apples here and at many of the other ranches.

This is just a sampling of the goodies to be found at Denver Dan's.

Just a note: Apples are not the only thing in abundance here. It is also pear season and they are available at many of the ranches.

Next stop: Apple Ridge Farms. They are my favorite stop for apple wedges covered in carmel. They have a petting zoo here and pony rides, as well as short nature walks that lead you through the cool pine forests. This has been one of my favorite places as when the girls were young enough to love these things.

We did make a stop at High Hill, probably the largest venue at Apple Hill, and invariably the most crowded. This is in large part due to the number of attractions, which include the fishing pond pictured above, the apple barn which sells many apple varieties as well as anything apple related, There is a Fudge Factory building, pony rides, more craft booths than any other venue, and a number of other outbuildings. One of the buildings has apple drinks: apple cider, apple beer, apple wine, apple shakes....and on. There is also a cider press building where you can watch how apple juice is made. I know I am forgetting something. If this sounds good to you, High Hill is the place to be. But be warned, it is the most crowded and there is traffic to and from the ranch on the weekends in the high season.

If you are the type who would prefer a beautiful country drive with a few stops at smaller more relaxed apple spots, then I suggest taking the the roads that loop away from the main highway. There is an abundance of beatiful scenery, and so many places to stop, you undoubtedly find the perfect place for you.

No matter what your plans this weekend, I hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy the Fall season!

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lunch at Ella with Paloma and Jeni

It was a busy week last week! On Friday, I had lunch with Paloma of La Dolce Vita who was in Sacramento to visit blogger friend Jeni from Mrs. Plain Jane. Jeni and I had met through the blogging connection a little while ago, and when she said that Paloma was coming into town, it was only fitting that we all get together! Thanks Jeni for arranging this get together!

It was wonderful meeting Paloma! She is just as sweet in person as she is on her blog, and both ladies are stunning, don't you think? Um...I was feeling a tiny bit "OTH", but they are both so fun, I put it out of my mind. I always love to meet bloggers in person. It adds a whole other dimension to the blog connection.

The food at Ella Dining Room and Bar is brilliant, as is the interior which I blogged about awhile back HERE.

I thought I'd give you another little peek.

We sat at this table right here. When we first came in it was full, but we ended up closing the place down by the time we got up to leave. Time flies......

Thank you to Jeni for bringing us all together!