24 May, 2013
It's always a good way to meet the new day in the early morning hours . . . with greetings and congratulation from east coast friends about seeing our little "Card Room" from the 2013 Peninsula Volunteers Decorator Showcase House featured in the Wall Street Journal today. The collection of images brings together various showcase homes from around the country . . .
If you have a moment - take a look!
23 May, 2013
Imagine, if you will . . . the laughter of ladies . . . gossiping . . . toasting . . .
in the bright summer air of Palm Beach in the 60's . . . .
Well . . . our bright little "Bridge Tournament Room" at the showcase house is about to become a memory - but, I wanted to share a bit of the process of putting the room together before it all fades into the past . . . .
Yep. This is what we started with.
Nice size. Good windows. Decent light. Lots of heat vents. Lots of light switches.
The space had originally been a work-out room . . . you know,
treadmill, weights, and even a sauna.
Oh, and an old mirrored wall.
There's the sauna - through that wooden door.
So . . . first we dressed up that sad mirrored wall.
Adding the lattice work helped to bring the formerly
utilitarian space some much needed style.
And you'll also notice that we painted out the trim work in semi-gloss black.
The black trim immediately smartened up the room . . .
and its graphic nature certainly made the space feel more modern.
Besides - 'workout room' no longer - this was becoming a garden room!
One of the other struggles with the space was our low ceiling.
Really - it's only 7'9" from floor to ceiling.
So . . . the ceiling was metaphorically and *actually* going to have
to be part of the design.
We chose this beautiful Cole & Sons Wallpaper - repeating the
lattice work concept - and giving the ceiling some panache.
And speaking of panache - 104 yards of Lilly Pulitzer toile certainly did the trick!
THAT smartened up the room very quickly.
My reasonings were varied. Firstly, the walls weren't in great shape - and I really didn't
like the idea of having to fuss with a bathroom door (to a room that was
not part of the tour) or that dreaded dark, wooden sauna door.
So we just re-wrote the architecture of the room by tenting the
Custom sewing arrived from our workroom in souther California -
including the pink linen box-pleated table cloths. We used box-pleating as a repeating
motif in the room. It always feels like a more masculine detail - and helped
balance out the very feminine space. But, don't worry - those are
bright pink and green oversized plaid table cloths in there as well.
The 'feminine' side of the space was going to be well covered.
Yes, at one point the 'pile-of-showcase-house' took up one whole end of our
offices here in San Francisco.
And then, moving day came. As did all 16 dining chairs. I was really pleased
that we were able to assemble a 'collection' of chairs instead of one large set of 16.
When I was thinking about the room . . . as if it were a real room . . . in a real house . . .
with our lovely hostess preparing the room for her day of cards with the ladies -
it's not like she would just HAVE 16 matching chairs. She would have pulled the
8 chairs from her dining room. And maybe the 4 from the game table in the living room.
And the two the flank the console table in her upstairs hallway.
So this slightly cobbled together (yet, stylistically similar) group of chairs gave the
room a bit a authenticity.
. . . the lacquered console and artwork went right into place.
The rug, on the other hand, was on the floor for about 4 minutes before we rolled it
back up . . . and sent it back. I wasn't completely sold on the idea of the rug - but, wanted to
see it in place to make my final decision. So . . . away it went.
You'll notice that we use that same 'box-pleating' detail in the style of the tenting.
And then added a grosgrain trim and chrome nailhead to complete the look.
And by the end of the first day . . . it was starting to take shape.
You'll see the repeated 'box-pleating' detail on the window valances too.
And then it was just all about getting the 'detailing' done.
Unlike our own homes - one of the best parts about these installations is that
everything gets 'touched.' Everything is placed in the room specifically.
Every book. Every accessory. In fact, each of the playing cards was
dealt and the first hand was played at each table!
(I often tell clients when we're getting ready to freshen up a room - the best thing to
do is just take EVERYTHING out. That way I know without a doubt, everything
piece of furniture, every single item has been placed purposefully.)
So after several months of planning and plotting -
and three long days of installation . . .
we had gone from this . . . .
All the way to this . . . .
Bright and preppy. With my love for gallery-hung artwork. With layers of lighting.
And a healthy mix of pattern, scale, and colour.
Even refreshments on the table for my 'ladies' to snack on.
Thanks for stopping by!
20 May, 2013
There are always those dates that seem to drift on the edge of my memory. Almost like old phone numbers that spring to mind when I'm trying to think about something else. And May 19th is one of those dates.
It was the day that Jacqueline Kennedy passed away in 1994. And like St. Crispin's Day in October . . . or Handel's birthday in February . . . I always seem to recall them after they've already passed by on the calendar.
But, not this year. I had made a note on my calendar months ago to remind me of the date - as I had some images that I wanted to share . . . and it seemed appropriate to do so in her memory . . .
"Um, this is the church where Jack and Jackie Kennedy were married . . . "
So, of course, my first thought was . . . we gotta get inside. Let's find an open door.
The space was flooded with light. Construction began in the late 1840's - and the church was dedicated in July of 1852. Beautiful stone work. Amazing carved woodwork. Glorious stained glass. And all the romance of that era seemed to pour from every corner. So here are a few images from the day . . . mixed with some archival pictures from their September 1953 wedding . . .
And this is included . . . well, just because it's lovely. As many wedding videos tend to be . . .
(editorial note. clearly, this was supposed to post yesterday. I was 'off the grid' most of the weekend, and only discovered this morning that it had not posted as scheduled. But, I didn't want to delay - so here we are. One day late.)
17 May, 2013
|Drexel Heritage Showrooms for Spring 2013|
I feel like I've got to catch up with pictures from the last month of frantic, and yet fabulous, travel. So just to keep things in their proper order - let's hop in the 'way-back-machine' and just zip back a few weeks ago when I was in North Carolina for High Point Market.
I had the great priveledge of being sponsored for my trip by Drexel Heritage - and part of the schedule included a personal tour through their new showrooms to preview the new pieces added to the line - as well as seeing the classic furniture for which they are SO well known.
So . . . with trusty camera in hand . . . and trusty notepad in my other hand . . . let's take a jaunty trip through the showroom and I'll show you some of my favourites . . .
Enjoy . . .
|Love this collection of Glint Mirrors grouped over the mirrored console.|
I love using mirrors in a BIG way - and these certainly fit the bill!
|These new Windsor-styled dining chairs from the 24 Willow |
Crossing Collection were another hit for me.
I like the fresh modern take on a classic American chair.
|And y'all know how much I love a good detail on my casegoods.|
So this Senna Table with added upholstery trim was getting me a little hot and bothered!
It's great that there are finish, upholstery, and nailhead options - the combinations are endless.
|Herringbone floor details - re-interpreted for table tops. |
Again - with over 50 options for finishes and multiple sizes as well.
|You long-time readers will already know of my love for tufting!|
And this useful little Sara Settee would be happy in several of my current projects.
Clean lines and a modern attitude add up well here.
|Great case goods again. This time again from the new 24 Willow Crossings Collection with the|
Geometric Console. Multiple finishes - with either glass or mirror insets.
|Who could have any questions about the Sofa of Logic? Simple. Stylish. Logical!|
|Then I started getting a little focused on the details! |
Starting with this Gentry Arm Chair.
|. . . and the Synergy Armchair . . . .|
|. . . and the classic manly details of the Josey Chesterfield Sofa . . .|
|. . . and on the paneled details of the newly introduced Fiennes Sideboard . . .|
|And speaking of options . . . this was just one of three wall of textile options . . . fabulous.|
|I finally admitted exhaustion . . . and had to take a seat and wait for my coffee!|
A BIG thanks for Drexel Heritage . . . for their hospitality and amazing showroom.
14 May, 2013
As with any major, and especially minor, interior design installation - it's ALL in the details. For our recent room at the Peninsula Volunteers Inc Decorator Showcase House, we were lucky to partner with La Plates to add some custom details to our little bridge room.
Love these custom playing cards - we were able to 'brand' the room as a bridge tournament space - reinforce our bright, preppy colour story, and add a bit a panache to our tiny little room with these chevron themed playing cards.
Love these DOF Clarus glasses . . . perfect for outdoor entertaining this summer - which includes our monogram! And those 'greek key' coasters add the perfect note!
Another fun shot of the custom coasters!
I actually first contacted La Plates because I knew that they made these perfect monogramed melamine plates - both as dinner and salad plates - in custom colours! We were actually able to send samples of the textiles in the room - and be *sure* that we had chosen the perfect hue to match our colourful room!
A little more fun with customizing! We partnered to create these 'business cards' from simple decks of playing cards.
Go forth and monogram!
12 May, 2013
(originally posted on Mother's Day 2009)
Greetings and Salutations,
My upbringing was kinda strange, to say the very least. My father was in the military and I spent the first 11 years of my life traveling around the world. Being the son of a Southern born, military father had its challenges, but I have a huge respect for my Dad - and for the manners we were expected to display at all times. I still remember, at a very young age, the first time I answered the phone saying, "Good morning. Wood residence, Scot speaking," and seeing my Father smile with pride.
But, this post is about my Mom. A Southerner as well, she is a gracious, fierce woman. If my memories of my Dad are about discipline and manners, I remember my Mother for teaching me how to entertain.
My early life, either over-seas or here in the states, involved more cocktail and dinner parties than you can imagine. I can remember my Mother carefully planning each menu - and almost every Saturday dinner party would involve a Thursday night 'dry-run' when she'd test any new, challenging recipes so that the 'real' party could run smoothly (I still do this . . . lol). Even from a young age, we were expected to sit down to dinner with the adults and hold our own in the conversation. Candlelight, sterling silver, delicious meal, three couples - and two children - discussing politics and current events. It was magical.
But there was more than just hostessing skills in my Mom's bag of tricks. I firmly believe that there are several genetic qualities I possess from my mother's side of the family. We all have tiny wrists. We all have strong muscular jaw lines. And good lord, we ALL love to shop. Mother and I still can go on a 3-day antiquing tour through southern Mississippi and Alabama and never show a moment of exhaustion.
A few years ago, I was having lunch with Mom and my first cousin Ruth. Ruth was the oldest of my first cousins, and being six years older than me, she always seemed to be fantastically glamorous. She is, in fact, an amazing woman as well - I think the 'gracious, fierce' thing may be genetic too. We were talking about the summer that Ruth spent living with us in Los Angeles in the early 70's. Ruth whispered to me, "And your Mother had that red sofa! I never knew anyone with a red sofa back at home. I thought it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen!"
I clearly remember that red sofa. But, it was part of my 'normal' childhood home, so I never thought it was anything interesting or unusual. Apparently - my Mother was a gracious, fierce designer as well. Too often, these qualities are only seen in retrospect. I see now that she showed me that there was no need to follow any trend. No need to be true to some 'expected norm.' Truly, I think she taught me to embrace being an individual. And to test run any new dishes before serving them to guests.
Happy Mother's Day.
07 May, 2013
Have a seat . . . I'll deal you into the next hand! Welcome to our little "Bridge Tournament Room" at the Peninsula Volunteers Inc. Decorator Show House . . . just a simple room - only 16 feet square - all dressed for an afternoon of gambling and gossiping!
One of the best aspects of working on a showcase house is the opportunity to stretch one's creative impulses in ways that might not be present in your day to day client work. I guess I'm still waiting for that one brave client who will let me wrap their room in chinoiserie printed linen - lol. In many ways - this space is much closer to the work I did for Ralph Lauren all those many years designing and installing the showrooms in his Northern California stores!
Though the space is actually at the end of the basement level of the house . . . I really consider it "just off the pool" - which one sees from the french doors at the end of the room. So we went bright and cheery for the colours . . .
We used Lilly Pulitzer's "Happy Plaid" (from Lee Jofa) for the table covers - and her iconic "Heritage Floral" for the seat covers on the 16 antique chairs surrounding the card tables. And how cute are these little table accent lamps from Circa Lighting?!??! The space needed a little 'ping' of polished chrome - and the shape so reminds me of those classic 'bell-hop bells!'
The room also features over 100 yards of Lilly Pulitzer's "Tail Lights" fabric (from Lee Jofa) - tenting almost the entire space. We box-pleated the textile at the ceiling line - trimming with black grosgrain ribbon and chrome nailheads - and allowed it to drape naturally at the floor - giving a slightly 'smallish' room an enormous amount of drama and presence. The mirrored wall existed from the room's original use as a work-out room - but, we added the lattice work to reinforce the 'garden room' mood of the space.
The other challenge of the room was height. We had a ceiling height of less than 8 feet . . . so I kept everything on the low-ish side - but allowed that beautiful chinoiserie secretary from Baker Furniture to have a commanding view over the room.
How fabulous is this custom drinks cart from The Gilded Stag ?!?!??! I worked with Landon, the owner, to adapt one of their classic pieces. Firstly, we decided to beef up the proportions of the bar - taller, deeper, wider - and then to give it its the custom yellow lacquer finish - and create something totally unique for the room. The cart is layered with custom dinner service from La Plates in the same white/black/kelley green colour story.
A few of the details from our bar set-up. Dozens of cans of bracing lemon soda. Fresh citrus - mirroring the citrus trees planted just outside the room. And little nibbles for the ladies enjoying during their afternoon of cards.
These were fun as well. I wanted to find a clever way of branding the space for guests who were touring through the house. So I decided to make several dozen packs of playing cards (also from La Plates) - and use my logo and website as the design on the back of the card. The only drawback has been people all wanting to get the 'joker' from each of the decks . . . lol.
If you're in the Bay Area - please come by the house and say 'hi' - we're open until May 24th. Click HERE for more information.