Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weekend Before and After DIY

 Actually, this story would more appropriately be named "During and After". I thought I had photos of this table "Before" but I cannot seem to find them! I have had this table for over 5 years of the many pieces I have inherited from my mother's collection of furniture. She bought this table from Gallery of Functional Art in Santa Monica probably 25 years ago and had it in her home near Santa Fe. In its original form, it was multicolored like the top (I have not painted the top in this photo). Each stick was a different paint color and it looked like auto paint....metallics and very bright. 

It was fun table, but it never seemed to go with anything in the house. I did like the form of the table and did not want to sell it. I had wanted to paint it for years. But Mom was not on board. We recently tried to find out more about the artist and see if he was still working. Mom hunted around in her papers and actually found the receipt!  After contacting the gallery, we found that they had not heard anything about him for over 15 years, so it was a "go" for paint!

I was a bit worried about how to go about painting this. There were so many sticks, and getting to them all to sand them, prime them, etc. was near impossible. Thank goodness for my friends at University Art!  I went to ask their advice and they recommended a spray paint called Montana Gold Spray Color: Shock White. No primer needed and it sticks to pretty much any surface: wood, concrete, metal, plastic, etc. It dries really fast and there are 204 colors!!!! Sounded perfect. Off I went with three cans.

 The paint worked really well! It had a nice matt finish, which I wanted, and went on really nicely. The only hitch is that I needed three more cans for the size of the many little crevices!. I think it still might need another coat, but I could not wait to try it in place.

I had a galvanized metal top made for the table a few years ago (which is why I did not paint the top!), so we put that back on. It now sits in the dining room bringing the outside in with a very large rustic birdcage on top.

 My mom has seen it and now likes it much better too!

What did you do last weekend? I'd love to see any of your "Before and Afters"!

Friday, August 26, 2011

40 Years with Chez Panisse

 Flowers by Susie Ho of Mend Etc.

My how time flies. Just yesterday I was having my first meal at Chez Panisse in Berkeley California with my mother. Mom was always in the know about everything having to do with food, art, gardening and design. I was probably about 22 at the time, just having graduated from college and living in the Bay Area. Mom had come to visit and took me to Berkeley for dinner. I was wrapped up with a new job at the time. Ironically, I was working for the head of the business department of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, marketing food related products for the gourmet food industry, but I had never heard of Alice Waters or Chez Panisse. I had graduated with a Business Degree after all....not food. Mom rightly felt it was time for my education in the world of food. I think it was about the same time she gave me a subscription to Gourmet magazine ( I am not sure if it was at the same time that Ruth Reichle was the editor or not, but she and Alice Waters were quite good friends.)

My mother was a avid reader of anything M.F.K. Fisher. We had grown up in the same area as Fisher, and Mom was fascinated with everything she had written. Mom was following the rise in popularity of good food raised locally and was by then very familiar with Alice Waters and many of her apostles. I have since read many of M.F.K. Fisher books, own many of Alice Water's Chez Panisse cookbooks, and have read Ruth Reichle's books, Tender is the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples. My education in food had been launched.

Those days are long all happened before my education in design even began....almost 30 years ago now. ( myself here!) It is so wonderful to see that Alice Waters had it right then, and still does. Food is better, so much more delicious, when picked right before eating....which means local is better. Better tasting, better for you, better for the environment, and better for local economies.

 Alice Waters and the Levi's brand have partnered to celebrate this 40 year anniversary of the "Delicious Revolution", and I was lucky to receive photos of a beautiful event that took place on Wednesday, August 24th. The event was put on at San Francisco's Maiden Lane and featured organic, locally sourced box lunches that looked mouth wateringly delicious! Beautiful wildflower displays were put together by Susie Ho of Mend Etc. (Check out her website! Lovely interiors!)

Alice Water and Robert Hanson, Levi's Brand Global President wearing their T-Shirts
 T-shirts were designed in limited edition by Alice Waters and other creatives such as David Bryne, Sofia Coppola, Dave Eggers and Maira Kalman. Proceeds from the sale of these T-Shirts support the Edible Schoolyard Project, a national organization dedicated to bringing garden and kitchen education into grade school curriculum. Check the T-Shirts out HERE on the Levi's website!

There was also a book signing for Alice Water's new book, 40 Years of Chez Panisse, The Power of Gathering. Another "must have" for my culinary library!

Well......I did not get to attend this luscious event myself, but I was there in spirit. We had out own little "Ode to Alice" dinner with almost every ingredient found locally:

We started with an Arugula, Pear, and Gorgonzola Cheese Salad with Pine Nuts.... Local Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar Dressing with Dill from the garden.....

BBQ Spare Ribs rubbed with BBQ spice blend from my good friend Diane's Heart Rock Herb and Spice Blend Co. and Corn Succotash made with tomatoes from our garden, green onions and red peppers.....

.....And my youngest daughter is following in her big sister's footsteps and becoming quite a baker. She made orange cupcakes with orange zest butter cream frosting, orange sugar sprinkles and orange peel "twists" on top.

I am counting the hours until my next trip to the Farmer's Market!

OH! One last note.....One Kings Lane is having a sale on everything ALICE.... which also includes signed copies of Alice's new book. Hop on over HERE to see what you can buy from Alice's Pantry!

Wishing you all a Delicious Weekend!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Architect Lewin Wertheimer and Designer Victoria Hagan

Quite a team! Architect Lewin Wertheimer recently renovated one of the original Brentwood estates which had been built during the 20's and 30's. He gutted the entire house and reconfigured much of the floor plan. The Pool House was also part of the project. Victoria Hagan was brought on board for the interiors, and the partnership seems to be pretty perfect. Mr. Werthheimer has his studio in Venice, California and his work ranges from bungalows on the Venice Beach canals to Spanish Colonial, Cape Cod, and Greek Revival. 

I quite like the architectural details like the high wainscotting, the staircase wall paneling and the dark oak floors. The kitchen is a classic, and the Pietra Cardosa counters are beautiful.

I understand that these photos are before a very important contemporary American photography collection was brought in by the owners. I think that bit of personalization is all this home needs. Victoria Hagan has provided a beautiful backdrop with the cream and ivory tones punctuated by the charcoal curtains, leather chairs and moody historic portraiture. Clean, tailored traditional.....nicely done! Reminds me a little of the Something's Gotta Give house a little bit!

Hope you enjoy.

 Hop on over the Lewin Wertheimer's website HERE to see more of his beautiful work.
(One of his more recent homes, a Shingle Style home that looks like it was transported from the Hamptons straight to the hills of Malibu in Luxe magazine HERE.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Light Stuff

Many of you may be familiar with Lumens Light and Living, a fantastic resource for lighting, as well as for modern furniture, accessories and area rugs. I have been lucky enough to have been working with them for many years as a resource for my design projects, and more recently they have become a design client of mine!

I have had a blast working with the team at Lumens to design and stage the sets for their ad campaigns for the last year, like the one above. The ads have been shown in Elle Decor, Dwell magazine, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as local media. I couldn't ask for a better client or a more creative team to work with.

I recently sat down with Susan Purdy, who writes the blog for Lumens which is aptly named The Light Stuff. I am privileged to be in their designer spotlight this month! 

I hope you have a chance to hop on over and take a peek at Susan's blog post on the Light Stuff HERE. You may just find you will want to catch up on all of The Light Stuff!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Peak of Sofas

 I get a little jolt of adrenalin and I am sure my pupils get a little larger every time I see a piece of furniture that is fresh, interesting and just well done. Sophisticated Living just hit me with a sofa that fits that bill. 

Sophisticated Living is a company located in Germany, with stores in Austria and Switzerland as well. I can only hope that bringing their line of furniture to North America is minutes away. Their design philosophy is described as "Lifestyle on the same wavelength".....

"A good wave and good timing is a must to get a kick while surfing. Both promise joy, a feeling of freedom and the certainty of not wanting to be anywhere else at that particular moment".

Design is like that too. Aren't we all trying to create environments where one finds joy and a feeling of not wanting to be anywhere else at that moment? Being a California native who grew up at the beach, I knew we were on "the same wavelength". 

Sophisticated Living brings me one step closer to finding ideas for making those kind of spaces for my clients. This particular sofa is named "Peak" after a surfing all of SL's products. The metal base is so artful and the cushy comfort of the upholstery makes for a place where one could stay all day. Nicely done!

Catch a wave on over  and meet the team at Sophisticated Living and scope out the other cool sofas, like "Hang Ten", "Haleiwa" and "One Eighty". 

It'll make your summer.

Friday, August 12, 2011

FISH: It Must Be Friday

Whenever in Sausalito, I always try to make it over to one of my favorite restaurants. This restaurant specializes in, you guessed it....FISH. It follows that it is aptly named.......FISH.

Since it was Friday, I felt it was appropriate to let you know where the best fish on the Northwest coast of California could be found. A couple of weeks ago, Tim and I made it over to FISH and I had the most incredible trout I have ever had. Moist, tender and a hint of smokey flavor, this trout must have been 15" long. It was served on what was really a platter, not a plate, with grilled corn on the cob and beet salad. We also got a side of succotash made with the sweetest corn, fresh baby tomatoes, green and yellow string beans and fresh basil. FISH is a place that takes pride in local and sustainable ingredients and has amazing specials every day. (I also had the Sweet Potato, Pea soup with Creme Fresh). It is a very casual setting, but do not be fooled. The food is creative and perfectly prepared.

I could have settled in at the picnic table outside the restaurant and nibbled on the delicious fish all day while watching the boats come in and out of the marina. Hope you have a chance to stop in!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aren't We All?

........Animal lovers? 

I am without a doubt. 

I just received an email from a company called the Animal Blueprint Company. As soon as I saw what they do.....I was on board. I love an old blueprint, and if it is of my favorite canine or feline, so much the better. The team over at Animal Blueprint call it barkitecture. Hehe.

I am completely charmed and will be using one of these in the very near future for a client project, I hope!

 What do you think? Are you with me?

Pick your favorite breed on the Animal Blueprint Company's website HERE.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Winner Take All: Card Room at the Thunderbird Lodge and GIVE AWAY WINNER!

A couple of weekends ago, I was up at Lake Tahoe and spent some time at the Thunderbird Lodge. It was a little jaunt back in time to see one of the last and perhaps best examples of Lake Front estates built by the grand old San Francisco society members before World War II.

George Whittell Jr. was one of California's most notorious playboys and was famous for his exploits with women, fast cars and fast boats. He collected women and wild animals, many of which he kept on his estate. It would only follow that he had a penchant for gambling. The Card Room at the Thunderbird Lodge was built to entertain the "boys of summer" with card games and those women I mentioned. It is one of the few Card Rooms still in existence on the Lake.

George had a clever communication system in place to let the boys know when the coast was clear for a card game, or when to stay away when the wife was in residence. He had a series of lights installed on the chimney of the main house. When it was game night, the light was green. When the wife was home, the red light would show across the Lake. Clever pre-texting system, no?

The Card Room has two huge stone fireplaces, one at each end of the room. There are leaded glass windows and exposed beam ceilings. One of the most striking additions to the decor is the massive Elk trophy. It is believed to have come from New Zealand, so it has been suspected that George may have won it in one of his card games.

I am sure that George had his share of winnings......

For you curious George fans, click on over HERE for more stories about George Whittell's infamous past.

And now for another winner!
I am happy to announce the winner of Barry Dixon's latest book:

Congratulations to 
Linda in AZ!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just a Few More Things for My Library.......

Architectural Digest just came out with a list of the Top Fall Design Books and there are many that will be making their way into my least that is my plan! These are just a few of the new books that are on the top of MY list!

Which ones are you all going to get ?!

Click on over HERE to see them all and get the scoop!

P.S......Don't Forget to add this book to your list!....... 

I am giving one away HERE!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Wish I Had That!

Ever say that to yourself when you see a beautiful room in a magazine? I love that chair, pillow, lamp or rug! Whatever it might be, Anna Spiros has made it that much easier to acquire that special piece for yourself!

Many of you may already be reading Anna's absolutely beautiful blog, Absolutely Beautiful Things. It is one of the very first design blogs I ever read.....I think along with The Peak of Chic and Style Court....back when I first discovered design blogs. There has been an explosion of fantastic design blogs since those days, but Absolutely Beautiful Things has always kept me coming back. Anna has a fresh and happy style that is so colorful and always pretty. I get a mood lift every time I visit. So, it is only natural that Anna would expand her online presence to include a shop of all of the pretty things she finds. Lucky for all of us!

If you hop on over HERE, you can start shopping right away. Just a click of the mouse and you can get all of the info on anything in the room you see above. Have fun!

Wishing much success to Anna and her new venture!