Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Parts are Sometimes Better Than the Sum: Flowers

Flowers arrived on my sister's doorstep the other day- from a guy she just met.  How sweet and romantic!

Instead of placing one multi-colored bouquet of flowers in the apartment, she spread them out and created mini arrangements all around. They are more stunning than the single bouquet, in my opinion. I do this all the time with my Trader Joes bouquets. 

Which do you prefer? The monochromatic, single flower look or the colorful bouquet? Whichever style you prefer, one thing we can all agree on is the beauty behind a guy delivering flowers to your doorstep after a great first date!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Before and After Living Room: The Impact of Color on Space

                 B E F O R E             A F T E R

This is the before and after of my sister's living room. Amazing, isn't it?  She refinished the hardwood floors, painted the walls a very pale gray/blue, installed white window treatments and a new ceiling light, and filled the room with pieces she loves. 

The sofa is Ligne Roset.  The painting was done by my sister.  The vintage bird bath table was purchased at In Bed with HD Buttercup in Hayes Valley.  The chairs are Ikea.  The ghost table and oversized pendant light are both from CB2.  The rug is probably West Elm.

Wait 'til you see what she did with her Alameda Flea faux fireplace mantel- AKA the "fantel."  After the handyman installs it, I'll take a pic.

Color makes a HUGE difference in the feeling of a space doesn't it?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Modern Farmhouse Inspiration at the Inn at Carneros in Napa, CA

I was in Napa Valley the other day and spent some time at the beautiful Inn at Carneros.  I'm working on several urban farmhouse designs right now and found loads of inspiration here.  Although very trendy right now, it's hard not to fall in love with the urban farmhouse look and feel.  I haven't downloaded my own photos from this visit yet, but was so enthralled with the grounds that I had to post something right away.  More photos coming later...
Red batten board siding...a metal roof...a row of tiny windows...metal downspouts.  So many sweet farmhouse details.
The open air restaurant/lounge area is a great hang-out spot.
The top row of windows under the roofline caught my eye right away.
The charming farmhouse cottages meander around a flowering path with views of the hills and vineyards in the background.
An outside tub is so charming!
The darling cottages with batten board siding and a charming front porch were calling my name.
Great yellow door.
Clean and simple. The diamond pattern in the grass and concrete adds a little something to the minimalist pool.
Great windows and doors.  Wish the lights were bigger.
My favorite convenience store

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spring House Makeover

The weather has been amazing lately and we've been Spring cleaning, watering the garden, and depositing bag-fulls of unnecessary you-know-what to Good Will.  The house is looking great so I thought I'd share some recent photos with you.

The house color is actually much deeper than this image portrays. It's not purple.  It's a dark espresso brown with purple hues.  The front garden has gone through a growth spurt.  I was about to give away my DIY-barn wood planters when our next door neighbors commented on how "Etsy" they were and if I only had two, we could pair them side-by-side.  Well, I in fact, had two!  You can't see it in this photo, but the other one is across from the one shown here and they form a little bridge into our joint courtyard. It's so cute and really helps define this as a special space. Most houses in the city do not have front yards.

I needed to remove my bike from the garage floor so that the painter could Epoxy it (which I LOVE) so I plopped it here on the front porch. It looks so cute that I've been keeping it there for fun.  Isn't this bike the greatest? It's a foldable bike from Citizen called "The Barcelona."  I bought it last year when I realized I had so many design clients close by that driving was uncalled for but who has time to walk everywhere?  So, I got this stylish, uber comfy bike. It's like biking around in your living room!  I'm up high like Mary Poppins and everyone smiles at me because the bike is so darn cute!

I initially had a couple of planters with flowers that bled and stained the Waterworks limestone porch tiles. That wasn't working out, so I replaced them with grasses.  The grasses look great against the yellow-green bottle glass windows.

We had our front floors re-done by NHance, a company who refinishes hardwood floors without sanding.  They have this amazing process where they scrub the dirt off the floor with a special machine and then they color correct any areas that are blotchy and clear coat the floors with a water-based product.  The whole thing took one day and was painless.  I started using this company with clients and it's great if you don't want to pack up and move all of your stuff out to refinish your floors. No dust!

I am loving the happy colors of my living room.  The washed out teal in the rug, the pink accents all against a wispy gray wall color.  Filling a room with colors you love really makes a difference.  This room definitely feels like Spring has sprung!

I finally got rid of my wingback chairs.  I didn't want to commit to anything too crazy since I change things up so often.  I came across these simple, clean lined chairs, stained in white from Restoration Hardware on sale.  They give that touch of modern I needed in this room and made me fall in love with farm table all over again, which I almost swapped out for a round table.

I ended up keeping the slipcovered chairs. Mommy needs a soft cushion at dinner time!

Not much has changed about the kitchen except I clear coated the island top.  I had it made with a butcher block top but my Type A personality did not allow cutting on the butcher block and having it unfinished meant stains soaked up easily.  I put an oil-based coating on it and it has a fresh new look.

I love the look of stainless but cleaning it really bugs me. My cleaning lady, Deysy, told me those stainless steel products you buy in the store don't work.  You have to use soap and water. I try everything but I can never get the stove as clean as the cleaners do. I always want to leave it alone for a while after a fresh wash.

Here's another view of my new chairs!  They really make a huge difference to the space. I also purchased FLOR Tiles for the first time.  The ones I bought look like felt. I forget the name.  So far, so good.  Whenever there is a stain, even if I leave it for a couple days, if I use Bonami, I can get it out.  I realize that light gray under a dining table is not practical, but I wanted something fresh, simple and light. It's just what I like!  We'll see if I like it after I'm scrubbing every day!

My friend (and client) Jennifer gave me some L'Occitane hand soap for the kitchen. It smells so good and reminds me of France.  We are approaching our one year anniversary for our big European vacation and are feeling a bit sad about it.  Our friends emailed us pictures of the farm.  We wish we could be there!

I picked up these great bar stools.  These are the same stools they used for our photo shoot a couple years ago and I thought they were great then. It's taken me a while to pick them up but now that we have them I wonder why I waited so long!

The family room is finally together.  These lamps from Arteriors are perfect on top of my wine crates with marble tops.  The cowhide is so soft to walk on and brings in more warm, earth-tone textures.  The furry pillow really hits the spot, doesn't it?  And those bar stools are the same material as the dining chairs with a different knock-off shape.  The only problem is they are extremely wide which works for our space luckily but could be a bit skinnier. Do you like my paint brush styling?

The TV stand is an Alameda Flea Market find. We've had it in two places prior-- as an end table in this room next to the sofa and as a nightstand in the guest bedroom.  I didn't really like it in either place.  I was starting to feel like I wanted to ditch it and then Steve said let's stick the TV on it. It's a perfect fit!  We placed a slab of marble on top of the pockets to place the stereo on a solid surface.  It looks great! 

Upstairs the guest bedroom has some new art, a lamp from Restoration Hardware paired with a lamp shade from Arteriors.  The plant is Ikea and the other accessories are from Estate sales except for the print above the lamp which is a wallpaper sample from Trove. I figure it will be a pain to remove when I need to show it to clients but for now, I love it in this room.

My daughter is 7.  I am hoping this is a good age for her to respect her nice bedding and NOT draw on the covers (as she did before), wipe boogers on the pillows, or cut the pillow cases.  We'll see.  I finally have her room the way I want it to look with her fun, faux overdyed rug, the Estate sale desk with David Kaufman paint, the Ikea black and white throw, and pillows with punch to tie it all together.  Let's hope she feels the same way I do!

My son's room has a fun black and white Ikea rug with an Ikea comforter and navy blue Ikea sheets. At first, I came home with a green-grass rug which matched the bookshelf color but it was too much green grass and the off-gassing was horrible.  This little rug is so much better and seems more durable to boot.

To keep this bathroom looking good I just have to make sure no one actually uses the towels.  They just observe them through the glass!  I do love the look of glass cabinetry but it is a commitment.  Here's where form over function comes into play.  The hand towels were a few dollars from the hardware store in France.  I LOVE them!

Our bedroom hasn't changed much with the exception of these great nightstands from West Elm.  I bought them for a client and thought they looked great so I picked up a couple for us.  This room is very French.  The bed and dresser have a lot of curves.  I have a dress form in here as well as some Frenchy picture frames clustered on the wall and a pillow which actually has the word "France" on it. I needed some straight lines and less French, and I wanted to bring in the warm tones of the wood floor, bed, and dresser color.  Voila!  These nightstands do the trick.

I cleaned out the drawers in the master bathroom.  It's amazing how you accumulate things. My husband had eight contact lens cases.  I had a handful of mascara bottles.  Fresh drawer liners, neat little stacks of make-up, q tips and creams and I'm smiling.  Organization is the key to success!  I'm still quoting my 7th grade teacher!
We finally figured out the home office- his and her's.  He's on the right. I'm on the left.  Check out my cord bank on the left. I kept asking my husband about the mound of wires on the floor.  "Do we really need ALL of these?"  Apparently we do. I found this great little box at Ikea with holes in it!  We have our modem in there, all those other little technology boxes, and the big surge protector.  The wires come out through the back and either plug into the wall or go up to the desk.  I just happened to have a slab of marble (a former cheese plate) that fits perfectly on top.  I am sooo happy with this solution to the ugly cord pile!  The orange rug and chairs are also from Ikea.  The linen curtains are Restoration Hardware.

We had the playhouse door painted in a beautiful orange color by Benjamin Moore called "Orange Parrot."  It's such a happy color and looks great with the green I mixed up myself.  Before that it was unpainted and we had somebody cut the doors down three times because they kept expanding and wouldn't close. I figured it was time to seal it up and do something fresh. My painter used oil based paint to paint a client's doors a rich chocolate color and another door in Whythe blue and they came out incredible!  The gloss of oil is unmatched by water based paint.

The inside of the playhouse now houses these two vintage schoolhouse chairs I found in Berkeley.  They are great in here!  I love finding new places for old stuff you think you don't want anymore.  They take on a whole new look.

I hope you enjoyed my Spring update and that you do are freshening things up around the house and garden.  Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Living in an Art Museum- The Impact of Art on Space

I came across this modern loft in a highrise condo building in the South Park disctrict of San Francisco while browsing MLS. It just hit the real estate market. 

It's a 1 bedroom, 1  1/2 bathroom, 1270 square foot condo listed for $770,000.  

The loft is overflowing with original art, and lots of different textures-- concrete, wood, metal, and crisp white walls.  If you undressed the space it would feel sparce and uninviting but with the pops of color and varied art the space itself truly is a work of art, enhanced by it's decor.

The power of interior design.


Here is another condo in the same building, so it has a similar layout and overall feel, but the decor is quite different.  You can see how the look and feel of the entire loft changes with the drabby and lackluster staging.

Let's pretend we're taking an eye exam...A or B?  Which picture reads more clearly to you?

                                         A                                   OR                                      B

                                    A                                         OR                                   B

                                    A                                        OR                                      B

                                    A                                       OR                                       B

It's always fun to compare different decor in the same space. It really shows you the power of design.  I believe color and light are the two most important elements in a home. 

This bright and airy loft is located at 77 Dow Place #103, San Francisco.