Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Showtime!

Beautiful Entry Garden and Front Porch designed by Frank Eddy of Neo-American Gardens. Sculpture a collaboration by Matt Catrino and Wendy Owen
I was a beautiful day for a Show House visit! The San Francisco Decorator Showcase was in full regalia last week. Finishing touches were all but completed when my friend Lise and I attended the press tour last week. (Spoiler alert!!!! I took loads of those of you who want to visit sight unseen...move along:)......).

This is the view that greeted us from where the house was situated..... Gorgeous, no? The view is worth a million just on it's own...but couple with this year's beautiful home....well....breathtaking.

The line up of designers this year is outstanding, and it may take a few posts to show you everything! Let's start at the beginning ....the first floor.
The living Room was designed by David Kensington. Guided by three main principles, collaboration, craftsmanship and personalization, David has a history of highly successful projects that run the gamut between warm contemporary and decidedly traditional.
Here is a peek at his lovely Living Room:

David Kensington

Described as "an oasis of refined comfort for everyday relaxation and sophisticated social gatherings" this space certainly fit the bill.

Right off of the Foyer (more on that later!) was a small jewel box of a Powder Room designed by Matthew Maccaul Turner. Matthew took his design inspiration from the tale of Narcissus when he created this beautiful space with the sparkle of reflections in the mirrors and the blues in the art and accessories hinting at the reflecting pool in the story. Matthew is, himself, reflected in the mirror above the vanity.

Amazing faux wood finish on the walls by Katherine Jacobus. Cannot tell it isn't the real thing!

This is just the beginning! Stay tuned for The Dining Room by the hugely talented, Suzanne Tucker and the beautiful Kitchen designed by Design Duo, Jennifer Hershon and Joann Hartley, up next!
The Showcase will be open starting today, May 1 through Monday May 31 2010
Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday 10AM - 3PM
Thursday and Friday 10AM - 7PM
Sunday and Memorial Day 11Am - 4PM
Closed Mondays except Memorial Day
For more information:
(415) 447-5830
or click HERE

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Designers Here and There

Designers Here and There, by Michele Keith

There is something about having a new book signed by the author that I can't pass up. Especially when it is a design book. So you can imagine that I was quadruply excited when not only the author, but four of the designers in the book were on hand when Gumps recently held a book signing event for Michele Keith's new book, Designers Here and There.

There are so many beautiful interiors presented in books and shelter magazines, it is hard to narrow down the field of favorites. But I am always the most drawn to the homes of the designers themselves. They are the ultimate laboratories for the designers to let their creativity push the limits.

This book is full to bursting with nothing but the personal homes of top interior designers throughout the United States. Each designer shows off not only their "city" home but also their vacation or second home.

Stephen Schubel, Jeffrey Weisman, Michele Keith, Martha Angus, and Andrew Fisher

Michele Keith has compiled a stellar list of designers for this book. And as I said, four were on hand at the signing, Stephen Schubel, Jeffrey Weisman, Andrew Fisher and Martha Angus. These four would have sold me on the book just by themselves! But there are so many other designers included (Michael Berman, Vicente Wolf, Christopher Coleman, Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz and Eric Cohler just to name a few), it is just a feast.

Andrew Fisher, Michele Keith, Jeffrey Weisman, and Martha Angus

After meeting the designers, I can see why they are all so successful. It is one thing to have great talent. It is quite another to be approachable, welcoming and to easily connect with people. They were all fun, friendly and fabulous!

Great evening had by all. The fun thing about a book signing event, or any other event at Gumps, is that there is always something new and exciting to see in the store. Here is just a sampling of the latest deliciousness:

This Buccellati pin made a stunning boutonniere and was just one example of the extensive collection on display at Gumps. Sigh....a girl can dream.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Curtis Park Home Tour....A Well Traveled Life

1912 Craftsman Living Room houses a high canopied bed from the island of Madura.
Last weekend, Tim and I got the bikes out of mothballs from the winter season and rode through our neighborhood visiting our neighbors' homes which were open for the Annual Curtis Park Home and Garden Tour held by the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association. Curtis Park was developed from 1910 through the 30's and 40's. Homes here range from Craftsman Bungalows to French Tudors, Mediterranean and Monterey to Bauhaus International style. The diversity is what gives this unique neighborhood it's quintessential charm.

I wanted to show you a house that took my breath away. I have passed this house a million times. It is one block away from ours. I never knew what was hiding inside.

The Living Room is furnished with art and artifacts from all over the world

The house is a beautiful example of Craftsman architecture with it's natural shingle exterior. This particular home has been meticulously restored down to the beautiful arched doorways trimmed in Eucalyptus. And one might expect the predictable Craftsman style furniture to complete the picture. But upon entering, I was completely taken away. I was charmed at first sight. It was clear that the owners of this house were travelers and had many stories to tell.

Dining Room with Teak table set with pottery made by a friend with Thai Stainless Steel. Plein Air Art.

It was hard to tear myself away from one room, there was so much to see. There was a life here. Many lives really. The owners have lived in many countries including Afghanistan, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Peru. The Living Room held a canopied bed where one could dream away the hours thinking about Bengal Tigers and soft scented nights under the stars.

The Dining Room was a place where I could imagine Baroness Karen von Blixen spinning stories of adventure while guests feasted on wild pheasant and exotic fruits, drinking Bombay gin.
Kitchen Nook
The kitchen was vintage and cozy with it's reading nook. There were cages of canaries singing away in the window next to this happy yellow rocking chair. A case of well loved books and collected crockery compose a very cheerful corner.

The Library
The library was full of artifacts such as the painted screen most likely from Indonesia. Books were housed in the original Craftsman bookcases like those under the window. Do you think you would find a volume of Rudyard Kipling's work here?
The Owners' Art Studio
It became very clear why this house has such character and complexity. Both of the owners are artists. Mary Czechan Coldren is a painter and printmaker. You can see her work above the cabinet in her art studio above. Husband Lee Coldren is a silversmith. I was reminded of artists Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe as I walked through this space with it's collections of horns, skulls, shells, seed pods and stones.

Back Foyer leading me out.
I was led through the house, room by room until I was to leave through a side foyer. It was the room that held the staircase leading up to even more wondrous rooms. But it was not to be. The upstairs was off limits on this tour. However....the foyer proved to be full to bursting with collections and furniture to keep me least until I can meet the owners formally and be invited to see more!
Cane and Walking Stick Collection
I am one who collects. I love things with a past and a story. So you can imagine how much I loved this rack full of walking sticks and canes. Where have they all been?! And who was holding them when they were carried along those many paths? And then there were the hats. On the walls on on the hat rack. There were chests and baskets....what did they hold? Shells from faraway beaches and decorated boxes.....and a curious jar of peanuts. Perhaps to feed the blue jays outside?
More of the Back Foyer
I was not allowed to climb the stair, but was very tempted to see if another world could be found in the back of the wardrobe.
Carved Wardrobe against a bright pink wall.
It was time to say goodbye to this worldly house and ride our bikes through our own little part of the world. I will bring you more of the tour later this week!
To find out more about our Curtis Park Community, click on over HERE.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekends: C Magazine

The Bel Air home of Cheryl Tiegs. Photo by Tim Street -Porter
Just in case it accidentally slipped your mind. I bet you didn't mean to forget. I thought you might want to have a gentle reminder..... C Magazine is out on news stands. And you know Ellen Pompeo....the star of Grey's Anatomy? Yes....the beautiful actress on the cover of this month's Elle Decor? Well....she's batting 1000. She is also gracing the cover of C.
And one more thing.....I thought you might want to know that the home of Cheryl Tiegs is featured inside. Photographed by one of my all time favorite photographers, Tim Street-Porter, this article alone is worth full cover price...(a subscription is so much better, least in MHO).

Master Bedroom, Cheryl Tiegs. Photo by Tim Street-Porter.
There are so many more photos...but I don't want to spoil your magazine page flipping fun. I will be enjoying a relaxing sunny (finally) weekend doing my own page flipping. Hope you enjoy yours as well!

She just does not seem capable of chewing up our brand new patio furniture does she? Sleep of the innocent. more thing! If you are in the Sacramento Area....stop on by Sierra 2 Center in Historic Curtis Park and pick up tickets for this year's Curtis Park Home and Garden Tour! More information HERE and HERE. Ticket information HERE.
Leave your cares behind and have a relaxing weekend!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

City of Angels: Blackman Cruz

Studded Safe, BC Gentleman's Wing Back Chair, BC Salamander Sconces look gorgeous with a spot of red from the snake skin Windsor Chair
Blackman Cruz. One cannot help running across furniture or light fixtures from this iconic Los Angeles store when flipping through a magazine. Elle Decor, AD, Met Home, you name it....they've been there. I have been following the unique and offbeat offerings from Blackman Cruz for years. Not a stretch to imagine it was one of the destinations on my list when visiting LA a few weeks ago.
It was not a disappointment! Adam Blackman and David Cruz founded the company in 1993 with the thought that they were not alone when it came to a passion for the strange and curious treasures unearthed in their travels around the world.
Blackman Cruz Salamander Wall Sconce
It was not long before they began creating their own furniture and lighting designs, like the Salamander Sconce above.
Dark Grey Paneling sets the tone for Drama with the BC Crown of Thorns Mirror, Brass Ball Series Lamps by Lika Moore and Bergeres.
The furniture, lighting, art and accessories have always captured my imagination. So it was an extraordinary experience for me to see the vignettes that were put together in the shop itself. The vision of the owners became very clear, and I loved it.
In 2008, the showroom moved to a larger space formerly occupied by Probe, an infamous gay nightclub popular in the 70's and 80's. Blackman Cruz took great advantage of the the dramatic, somewhat Gothic, woodwork creating fabulous backdrops for their exotic offerings. The dark gray color is a perfect foil for the buttery linen Bergeres in the vignette above. This is an idea that could be reproduced by any of us!
Blackman Cruz Crown of Thorns Mirror
This mirror is another example of the creativity behind this dynamic duo that is Blackman Cruz.

Ornate Gilt Chair with Red Velvet looks beautiful with Italian Poliarte Sconce circa 1960

Italian Iron Altar Candelabra c 1840 is placed with Art Deco Lounge Chair, Limited Edition Bronze Prana Hand Andirons sculpted by Adam Kurtzman, and sconce BC Theater Sconce

Closeup of Prana Hand Andirons by Adam Kurtzman

1960's Brutalist Coffee Table and Brasilia Chair and Ottoman with one of a pair of Bronze Architectural Lamps c 1870 and a grouping of glass domes.

BC Harlow Throne in Persimmon with the BC Screening Room Daybed with Hidden Compartments (I love hidden compartments!) and BC Screening Room Coffee Table

How fun is this Hanging Pod Chair?! Christian and I had fun swinging in this one!

Leather sling chairs looked very cool below the round wall opening

One of a Pair of English Arts and Crafts Benches, a series Black and White Nudes c 1920's and a Gianni Vallino Table Lamp.

Set of Four Neoclassical Style Klismos Chairs around a gorgeous metal game table. Glass Case holds many one of a kind art objects.

Love this BC Hanging Rattan Lounge next to the vintage Nailed Leather Top Table. BC 3-Squared Sconces in Nickel

Thonet Rocking Bentwood Lounge, Austria c1880 and Italian Cast Iron Chimera Fixture, 19th Century

Collection of Vintage Dog Collars. The collector in me went crazy for this idea.

Stunning Gothic Tracery Mirror with what appears to be "Apollo" Sun Lamps

XIX Century Bronze Repousse Torso on Wood on top of a Chinese Root Console

BC Horny Lamp with antique wood Mannequin....seems to have lost his head!

Osvaldo Borsani Adjustable Chaise 1958, Arturo Pani Steel and Brass Trim Pedestal Table
BC Minotaur Club Chairs look so handsome on this red, black and mustard striped rug!
So there you have it.....Blackman Cruz. One of the most unique and ground breaking showrooms in this City of Angels. This showroom combines the serious and the oh-so-not-serious, the brilliant and the dark, the handsome and the curious, traditional and modern to create a new vision, that in the blogger's humble opinion is....sublime.
A big THANK YOU to my friend Christian May of Maison 21 for squiring me to Blackman Cruz!!! A better guide I could not have had.