Friday, July 29, 2011

A Date with Shakespeare at the Lake

 Every year about this time, I head up to Lake Tahoe to spend time with a couple of girlfriends I have known for 18 years or more. We all lived in the same neighborhood when we met, and one of the trio, Diane, moved to Lake Tahoe about 12 years ago. Ever since, we have gotten together at Diane house which overlooks the Lake up on Kingsbury Grade.

We all have summer birthdays, so we exchange gifts the afternoon we arrive. And it never hurts to celebrate with a little wine and a few things to nosh....a little triple cream cheese with fig not mind if I do! We discovered that a few sprigs of Lemon Thyme in a dry Sauvignon Blanc is quite wonderful as well! We caught up sipping cool wine and took in the breathtaking view. The weather decided to be very kind!

 As for the gifts, we know each other very well. We all love to cook, and garden and pretty easy to please us all. I gave the girls each a set of napkins and some great marinades for Asian cooking. Diane gave Lori and I some special herb and spice blends from her company, Heart Rock Herb and Spice Co. (ahem....we were hoping she would! They are so fantastic and makes dinner that much easier). Lori gave us beautiful candles, one shaped like a pear, and a pair of tapers...perfect for hosting that next party!

 We talked and talked while letting go of the weekday world. Pretty soon it was time to hit the hay.....

The next day we relaxed over  a breakfast of pastries from HERE and peaches from my tree HERE. Then we headed off to the Thunderbird Lodge, where Diane is Master Gardener. We never pass up an opportunity to use the beach there. It is one of the most beautiful anywhere around the lake. We caught a glimpse of the Thunderbird Yacht, the 55 foot speedboat owned by the infamous George Whittell commissioned while he was building his beautiful estate on the shores of Lake Tahoe. It was completed in 1940. The Yacht has quite a formidable history.... HERE

Diane laid out a beautiful picnic while Lori and I braved the winter melt in the Lake....yes, we went swimming. Refreshing, bracing, and one of the best parts of the weekend! (That is me on the rock out in the Lake!)

 I little more relaxing was in order before freshening up for the drive up to Incline Village, home of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. I had never been, although I had known of the Festival for years. I was so happy to get a chance to experience a little Twelfth Night with beautiful Lake Tahoe as the backdrop, stars onstage and stars overhead. If you are ever at the Lake when the Festival is open, it is not to be missed...

 It was worth the wait. The sets were exotic...

 Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek left us in stitches....

It was a beautiful performance and a beautiful night....

And this was just Saturday.......

I wish you all a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Barry Dixon Inspirations, A Give Away!

I am always excited when a new design book comes along....even more so when the book is all about a designer for whom I have the greatest admiration. Barry Dixon is a household name: listed in House Beautiful's Top 100 Designers, "A-list designer" by the Washington Post, and "2010 Hall of Fame Designer" by Home and Design magazine. The list does go on! You can imagine my excitement when I received a copy of Barry Dixon's newest book, Barry Dixon Inspirations from the kind publishers at Gibbs Smith.    

Many of you may already have Mr. Dixon's first book, Barry Dixon Interiors. If you enjoyed it, get ready for his newest work in this beautiful book. It is full of ideas that are, as the title represents, nothing less than inspiring.Written by Brian D. Coleman with beautiful photographs provided by Erik Kvalsvik, it is as beautifully put together as are the designs on its pages.

One of the the things I most admire about Barry Dixon's work is that he mixes things up: modern and traditional, refined and rustic. And he seems to do so effortlessly. That is the mark of a master...the seeming effortlessness. In the kitchen above, Mr. Dixon mixes rustic finishes with clean modern cabinets, and then throws in bar stools that reference traditional style. It all works!

 You can see Barry Dixon's attention to detail and, again, his ability to mix things up right on the front cover. At first glance, everything is of course lovely, leaning towards a tailored traditional look. But when I took a closer look, details such as the grommets on the curtains and modern drapery hardware, the contemporary lines of the sofa, and the modern accent table all combine to make the space much more interesting. And just take another look at that chandelier....fantastic!

The book is all about inspiration. It so happens, I have been working on a remodel of a house in the Sierra foothills where I am using metal panels on the face of the kitchen peninsula. My clients and I have been reviewing metal samples, and we finalized the choice today. I was inspired to include metal in the design since I had recently been looking at metal strapping that was holding together the wine barrels on a recent trip to the wine country. It is just a bit of positive reinforcement to see metal panels used in a kitchen design by Mr. Dixon pictured above.

I wanted to show you a few of the pages that inspired me. The whole book is beautiful and it was hard to narrow it down for you. These images just struck me, and all for different reasons.

 This bath looks so serene and beautiful. The 18th century marble tub is decadent and set perfectly in the symmetrical space. The exotic touches of the Ming Dynasty carved teak window screen and the inlaid mother of pearl chair transports me to another place. I love the Kathryn Ireland toile fabric on the curtains and the Walker Zanger tile floor....all so very pretty.

 Another favorite project of mine in the book is the converted brick building in Corinth Mississippi that Mr. Dixon turns into an Urban Loft. Again, Barry uses his design alchemy skills mixing up elements. He kept the walls as they were: brick with plaster worn away. He deliberately left the electrical conduit showing on the walls behind the painting...perhaps the detail I liked most in the space. He differentiates the Dining Room from other spaces by using horsehair and linen sheers keeping everything open and light. He used the open Plantation style caned back chairs with a nod to the warm Southern evenings. Southern Industrial style....a new trend?

The Master Bathroom in a home outside of Washington D.C. caught my attention because Barry used a 1930's Lucite English chair covered in zebra at the traditional vanity table. What a great way to shake things up! Just a "glass slipper" of a thrown for a lady's bathroom.

It is all in the details: the nailhead trim on the onion dome screen, the decorative tape at the bottom of the ottoman, the contrast welting on the custom designed chair and the metal chain link floor all takes design to that next level.

 At the beginning of the book, Barry Dixon describes where he finds inspiration:

"Inspiration is everywhere. It lives in the memory of our past, the vibrancy of our present and the possibility of our future. It hides in plain sight in the view outside our window and it sits on the shelf inside our home. It lurks in foreign ports of call and waits patiently in our own backyard. It whispers to us in our dreams and screams at us in our waking moments, urging  that moment of glorious combustion when our thoughts collide to spark out imagination."

I am putting that up on my wall.

So.....have I whetted your appetites?
 I think you will be happy to know that the generous folks at Gibbs Smith have saved a copy of 

Barry Dixon Inspirations

for a lucky winner! To enter this GIVE AWAY all you need to do is:

1) become a follower by clicking the Google Followers button on my sidebar
2) Leave a comment with your contact information so I will be able to let you know if you are the winner.
3) Hop on over to the Gibbs Smith website and let me know the other books that inspire you! I am always on the lookout for great books!

I will be picking the winner Friday August 5th at 5:00 PM California time.

Good Luck to you all!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Big Things

This is what it is like in my head

I have to apologize....things have been a mite busy of late. But it will all be revealed soon....I promise!

Here is a hint. In part, it has to do with THIS.

I am very excited. ( understatement!)

I hope you will stay tuned!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Before and After: Time to Harvest

"After" three years of waiting for the peach tree to grow. It is now a very happy tree and producing like crazy.
Many of you who have followed katiedid for awhile know we have been working on our house for some time. We have most recently been trying to get the back yard in shape. This summer is the first year our yard has felt like a relaxing beautiful place to be vs. a place under construction. 

We had begun planting a couple of years ago after amending the hard packed clay soil. The idea for the garden is to make it as edible as possible. We started citrus trees in pots and planted fruit trees along the back of the house: peach, plum, apricot, nectarine and apple. There are herbs everywhere: rosemary, thyme, various sages, and lots of lavender. We have potted a couple of pomegranate bushes and blueberry bushes fill in between the trees. There are also pots of beans and tomatoes. Tim just finished another raised bed so we can put in a few more vegetables.

You may remember this post right after we had planted the peach tree. Ahem....we had not painted the house yet after the house remodel, and it is still in the same state. Somehow pecking away at planting the garden does not seem so expensive as compared to getting the house painted. And yes, we rationalize the garden is paying us back.

"Before". The year we planted the peach tree. It seems like yesterday our tree was just a little twig.
Well....we have been very busy picking peaches for the last week. Tim had covered the tree with netting so the birds and squirrels would not get the fruit. We harvested enough peaches to stuff ourselves into a fructose coma, and enough to pass out to all of the neighbors. We have made two delicious peach cobblers and plan to try our hand at peach preserves. It has been a bountiful harvest.

But those squirrels are pesky little critters and have found a way in through the netting. We are harvesting as much as we can before they get the rest. I guess I can't blame them. There is nothing quite like a peach direct from your own tree. And nothing quite so satisfying as the realization that we had a hand in making it happen.

Harvest Time
My morning ritual of the paper  and breakfast has a whole new flavor. It is decidedly juicier.

 Have a wonderful Monday and a beautiful week!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Missing You

Gone for three weeks on her first trip to Europe, she will be home tomorrow. She will be a different person. She will have grown by leaps and bounds. I can hardly wait to meet her.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Never Keep a Guest Waiting.....

 .....Even if the event is in honor of oneself. You never know what that guest, left to her own devices, might do. She might make off with the silver, or worse, the birthday cake! Luckily, this particular guest was soon relegated to her proper place, and the party began in earnest. 

 The table was beautiful with flowers all from the garden: Gardenias and the palest green Hydrangeas mixed with cool on a hot summer evening......

 And the Feast! Butter Lettuce with fresh watermelon, sweet orange honeydew melon, perfect tomatoes and a balsamic vinaigrette.....and a little glass full of Rainer cherries on the side....

 Beautiful wild salmon prepared my favorite way with fresh dill and lemon, crisp green beans and roasted fingerling potatoes with fresh parsley....simple and perfect....

There were candles to blow out....not too many please!

A perfect present is a daughter who can bake a delicious and beautiful lemon cake with lemon curd and lemon custard between the the four layers....with  a few gorgeous blueberries just because....

And, yes! There were presents in wrapping paper as well....

My mother knows me too well....

So does Tim .....( doesn't Silpada make it almost too easy?).... 

It was a beautiful, delicious, evening with many smiles and lots of laughter...
May the year to come be much more of the same.

Thank you so very much to my equally as beautiful and delicious family....
You mean the world to me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Little Things

 Sometimes little things will change a day from ordinary to beautiful and sweet. 

Thinning out branches from a rose bush turned into a lovely display on our Living Room table. It has been there for days. The roses have faded, but the branch remains green. I look at it and smile a bit every day.

Having my daughter home for the summer from college has been wonderful in many little ways.....I forgot how much I missed her talents as a pastry chef. My sweet tooth has been sated with German Chocolate Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Strawberry Short Cake and Cherry Pie. 

A hot summer drive to a new client's home turned into a cool visit with a flock of ducks who were  napping on the road next to a still and quiet pond.....a little resting place for a busy mind.

Another year lived well. 

I hope you are finding some joy in the little things today!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Set Staging in Latest Elle Decor: Lumens Light and Living

I have had the pleasure of  working with Lumens Light and Living, a fantastic lighting and home decor resource, for the past several months. I have been designing and staging the sets to display featured light fixtures, and in this case, ceiling fans in ads for Elle Decor and Dwell magazines. This latest ad is in the July, August 2011 issue of Elle Decor!

  The process for designing the ads is similar to designing a room, but there are some very important differences. I do come up with a design concept based on "imaginary" clients. The client is based on a demographic that is interested in great contemporary design and wants it for their own home. They aren't afraid to "mix it up" and get creative.

I do use items that are available from the online furniture, area rugs, and decor that are offered on the Lumens website. The vendors and brands being offered by Lumens is expanding every day and include favorites like Tom Dixon, Dwell Studio, Kartell, Blu Dot, Artek, Moooi, Missoni and Thomas Paul. This is a sampling of brands in the Furnishings Home Decor section of the website and does not even scratch the surface!  Lighting is a whole other category and includes pieces by designers like Mary McDonald, Ralph Lauren, Tom Dixon, and Jonathan Adler. Truly, the list is just too long to attempt to capture here. I suggest taking a look over on the Lumens website. Click on "brands" to check it out.

So....I do have a lot to work with! After I come up with the concept, I meet with the amazing group at Lumens to make sure we can procure all of the items we would like to use within our time frame. We are working on a project schedule that includes building the set, or "room" if you will. It may include floors, walls and ceilings, but not always. In this set, it did include all three. Next we need to schedule the photo shoot and dress the set with furniture and accessories, and of course the light fixtures! Next, the Art Director does his magic composing the finished ad in time to meet the magazine issues' deadline.

I am lucky to be working with the amazing crew at Lumens, and look forward every month to hunting for the ads in Elle Decor and Dwell!

Right now, I am right in the middle of the process for some new ads that will be coming out in October! Stay tuned....