Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lovely Lighting: Aldo Bernardi

New from Aldo Bernardi.
Many say lighting is the most important design element in a space. It provides a mood...it can make or break a social event ( I mean, can you imagine a romantic dinner with super market lights blazing?)....it can make one look sickly green or beautifully rosy.....it can be a bother if done wrong, and a blessing if done well.
Civetta Chandelier 11.600

So you can imagine my delight whenever I run across a lighting line that not only provides an opportunity for great light quality, but also puts the cherry on top of the visual design of a project. I recently became familiar with just such a line designed by Aldo Bernardi.

Lagazuoi 10. 320
Mr. Bernardi is not new to lighting design. He began his business in the 70's north of Venice Italy. He has been working with local craftsmen to take materials such as copper, brass, porcelain and glass making them into beautifully simple, yet sophisticated fixtures. 
Cimosa 8507
This is but a smattering of what his company has to offer......some of my favorites. Some are from his well established line, and a few are new to the line. I hope you enjoy!

Schiara 12. 010
Vicolo 2850
New! Polare Rame Lar 91/02

Aldo Bernardi Italian Lighting is represented by Ollier Distributors. For information on where to find these beautiful fixtures click on over HERE.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Scouting for Cool Stuff

Scout Living is a Vintage Collective run by husband and wife team Erin Boyle and Stefan Betz Bloom. This section of the shop features furniture and decor by Martin Mattox
Shopping for my home and for my clients has just gotten one step easier since new Scout Living opened in town. Located in the middle of "the grid" in midtown Sacramento, Scout Living is the brain child of husband and wife team, Erin Boyle and Stefan Betz Bloom. It is a collective of the best (IMO) antique, modern, and vintage furniture and decor dealers in the area, and I am so excited that they have joined forces and are scouting out the best for all of us.

Scout Living on 18th Street in Sacramento's "grid"
Erin and Stefan began their furniture obsession in San Francisco but moved to Sacramento not too long ago. Sacramento was screaming for some design attention, and Erin and Stefan were only too happy to oblige. This creative couple specialize in 2oth century modern, Danish Modern and Art Deco. Other dealers in Scout Living also contribute to this vibe. Other dealers, like Martin Mattox, offer a mix of modern, industrial and vintage French. There is definitely something for everyone.

Honestly, once I entered the loft-like interior of the charming brick building, my heart skipped a beat, and my eyes dilated...a true sign of design attraction. Here is a little peek at Scout:

This chair had a zebra hide back and white leather, soft as butter, on the seat and back.
Quality is exceptional here. Loved the yellow lamp!

Fantastic beaker collection atop very cool metal industrial secretary

Sofa had original upholstery, in great condition....so comfortable!

I was busily snapping away at all of the goodness when Erin and Stefan came back from errands. Immediately charmed by this hip young couple, I was happy to chat away a good part of the afternoon thanking them for bringing their design sensibilities to midtown. They are a tall drink of cool water for this hot summer town. 
Stefan and Erin....I was thoroughly charmed. BTW....they made the light fixtures throughout the space!
It was very hard to pull myself away, but I know they are only a hop, skip away....so I will be back very soon.

I hope you all have a chance to stop in and say "hi".

Scout Living is located at:
1215 18th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
p: 916-594-7971

For a peek inside Erin and Stefan's house, check out Apartment Therapy HERE, and Mimomito HERE!

Happy Scouting!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Daytripping: Amador Wine Country

View from Andis Winery in Amador County

 Last Saturday Tim and I took a day trip up to Amador County in the beautiful Gold Country where wine growers have gained huge traction over the past five years. My friend Leanne invited us to celebrate her birthday at the first annual Barbara Festival which took place at Cooper Ranch. The tickets sold out in about three days....we were lucky to be on the waiting list and got tickets by the skin of teeth! Northern California is serious about its wines! 

Cooper Ranch has been growing grapes for five generations and has a stunning property. They generously hosted the sold out event on a perfectly beautiful day.

 Barbara is a grape that originated in the Piemonte Region of Northern Italy, and by lucky happenstance, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada have made a perfect home for growing Barbara, as well as Zinfandel grapes. Most, if not all, of the Amador wineries produce Barbara wines, as well as Sangiovese and Zinfandel wines.

This festival,was organized in partnership with the organizers of a "sister" festival held in Nizza Monferatto, Italy. At the event in Italy, three California winemakers were invited to present five California Winery barbera wines. At this festival, five Italian wineries presented their barbera wines, most of which are not distributed in California. It was a treat to taste the differences that environment can have on a grape.
Delicious Desserts offered by Clark's Corner Cafe
 The wine was not the only ingredient teasing our taste buds. Food purveyors  provided delicious dishes such as Duck Risotto, Pork Tenderloin with a spring corn and white bean hash, and blueberry and Fontina cheese lasagna. Some of the participants included Taste Restaurant (recipient of Wine Spectator Award of Excellence), Tuli Bistro, and Bocconato Trattoria

We tasted, we ate, we listened to the music, but what I love the most was just being here taking in the views of the rolling vineyards with the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the background.

 After we had thoroughly enjoyed the festival, we decided to take in a few of the wineries in the region Andis Winery. My friend Ruthie was the manager of the tasting room and I had been hearing rave reviews from many of my friends about a winery that not only was producing great wines, but had taken a very contemporary approach in the construction of their wine tasting facility. Andis Winery hired the talented architectural team of Sage Architects to design something memorable and different.

 Husband and Wife team Paul Almond and Pam Whitehead conceived of a modern contrast to the rustic  surroundings. One of my favorite elements was the use of wine barrel staves in the design as a screen along one side of the building. The weathered grey color and the texture of the screen adds a softness to the sophisticated exterior. 

For more photos you can hop on over to Sage Architecture's website HERE and read more about their thoughts on the design.  

 Andis was one of the participants at the Barbera Festival as well. After we tasted a few of their wines, we declared Andis as one of the top of our list. We came away with a delicious Sauvignon Blanc, perfect for summer and a red blend known as Painted Fields.

We relaxed in the shade and soaked up the beauty for awhile....

 before heading off to Leanne's gracious parents' home to take in a round of Bocce Ball and good conversation before heading back down the hill.....

 A day well spent....

For those of you who missed the festival, perhaps this will tempt you! 

This October 1st and 2nd, Amador Vintners are hosting:


36 participating wineries, world class wine, fabulous food, live music and entertainment, 
Harvest in action.

Check it out HERE 
along with many other Amador Wine events coming up this summer.

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eye Catchers at the Sacramento Antique Faire

 Last Sunday was the Second Sunday of the month.......meaning that the Sacramento Antique Faire was in full seasonal swing! The weather has taken a turn from rain to bright sunshine, and the Faire was full of people and good stuff!

I am not really in the market for myself, but I never fail to find a few things I cannot walk away from. Here are a couple of things that, for the price, were "must haves". I found a great basket woven from hemp for $10, and a "reverse Cheetah" hide pillow...also $10. I need to get a new down filler, but the pillow cover is in perfect shape! Hide on one side and dark brown velvet on the back.

 I also found a little bottle from Spain to add to my wicker bottle collection ($4!). Very cute.

There were a few other things I was contemplating, and in retrospect wished I had gotten....

 A little hex accent table with a Moroccan flavor was in really good shape. It could have been painted a fun color and gone almost anywhere.

This Earthenware urn was plenty big enough to be used as an umbrella stand. I loved the metal handles.

 It looks like this sign may have hung in a room for someone named "Julie"? Fun graphic wall decor for a child's room!

A steer head....almost had a fossilized quality about it. The horns were like driftwood.

One vendor had great bottles and baskets all from Europe.

One never knows when a little Snake Bite juice might come in handy. Hehe...

It was a great day of hunting on a beautiful Summer day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mill Valley: Summer House

Summer House.....Leather Arm Chairs, Knit "Pouf" Ottoman, Wood Carved Mirror
 Last Friday, I drove over to Marin to drop off materials for a potential project (keeping my fingers crossed!). For those of you not in California, Marin is the county just North of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge. It is beautiful lush green hilly country bordered on the West by the Pacific Ocean and on the East by the San Francisco Bay. 

Since I was so close, I never pass up a chance to wander over to the charming town of Mill Valley. Mill Valley is home to some of my favorite shops, one of which is Summer House. Summer House has great home decor....all of the things I love....and they recently opened an annex which houses home furnishings (upholstery, case goods, lighting, and one of a kind finds....) 

Tin Framed Mirror, Mercury Glass Lamps, Mother of Pearl Inlaid Chest. Bobbin Dining Chair in foreground
Summer House seems to put together that perfect mix of rustic and relaxed, elegant comfort, exotic finds, antiques and custom pieces.

 I thought I would share the wealth....

Work Desk made from Antique Cararra Marble from Italy, Tin Base. 
Detail of Dove Tail Joinery on Marble Table Top....Brilliant! Perhaps my favorite detail in the shop that day. Custom Tables are available through Summer House

Summer House does not have a website, but you can find them here:
21 Throckmorton Ave
Mill Valley, CA 94941-1915 
(415) 383-6695

It is well worth a special trip to pay them a visit!

Also, Remodelista had a great article about them HERE with lots more photos.
(Unfortunately, their blog does not seem to be up and running.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Through the Looking Glass

 Well....the San Francisco Decorator Showcase is over for this year, and it was quite a success. There was plenty of inspiration to keep me thinking until next year. There were luxurious sofas and creative wall treatments......beautiful beds and monumental art pieces....quirky accessories and sparkling mirrors....

Let's talk about the mirrors for just a sec. One in particular was a stunner. The designers at Greencouch, Jeff Schlarb and Lisa Bakamis had us all doing a double and triple take with a mirror they had in the bedroom space they created. At first glance, it seemed to be just another white framed mirror...nice, but not overly inspired......just some wall decor to take up empty space. But then I realized....I was not seeing my reflection. Either I was hallucinating, or I had been vampire-ized in the moment it took to come into this room. This was some crazy mirror!

 The first room we entered was a ethereal white and ivory space with a striated Elitas wallpaper and Merida Meridian leather floor tiles. Bungalow 5 furnishings made an appearance along with Oly Studio and Noir Trading.

At once elegant and playful, I thought this bedroom was certainly pretty and perfect. A glance in that mirror took things to a whole new level.....

But that room in the mirror was a little off.....a bit darker perhaps? I thought it was a trick of the lighting....until a person who was not in my room walked into the room in the mirror. Clever......these designers took a trip through the Looking Glass and invented an alternate dimension on the other side. The room in the mirror was identical, except for one thing....it was a completely different color palette!

Same wallpaper, but a different colorway. Same floor tiles, but a dark slate color. Same chandeliers, different colors. The nightstand was green, as was the desk chair. The curtains and cornice were tangerine...the chairs were a gunmetal dark grey....

Even the wall art was the same...but a celery green....

Same bed....same lamps....

different fabrics on the beds....

What an opportunity! It is the only time I have ever been on the other side of the Looking Glass......

Thank you to Greencouch for bringing fantasy to life!

And a huge thank you to all of the wonderful designers from this year's San Francisco Decorator Showcase for working so hard and giving so much time and creativity to inspire us all. And a big thanks to all of the hardworking members involved in putting on a great Showcase year after year. Bravo!  I look forward to next year!