31 October, 2009

"Happy Halloween . . . "

Spooky greetings to all . . .

And I guess the most important part of this post - is that when I googled searched "tartan pumpkin," it gave me several options to choose from. lol. bless the internet and its clearly boundless borders.

Happy Halloween all,

29 October, 2009

"Good Design, Naturally . . . "

Greetings all,

It never ceases to amazes me that whenever I fall through the 'blogging rabbit hole' I find that inspiration spins towards me from every corner. And tonight, thanks to "The Bedlam of Beefy," I'm all aflutter with the work of Edward Bulmer and his beautiful projects in the historic buildings of England. And his eco-friendly stance on design is refreshing.

I always feel such a great sense of calm in the classic rooms. The proportions are so gracious. The history of the furnishings seems to reach out to me. Telling me stories from the past.
I feel that way about some pieces in my own collection. Sometimes I look into the faces of my antique portraiture and wonder what those eyes have seen during their long lives.

And as you well know, I can never quite resist the dramatic charm of hand-painted chinoiserie wall coverings. And the dark, romantic colour would send my to slumber almost instantly.

I love Mr. Bulmer's keen understanding of historic spaces and period furnishings

"We want to have a neutral – or better still – a positive impact on people
and the planet, which is why to develop our business we
have allied design and ecology and called it...
Good design, naturally
- Edward Bulmer

okay, seriously. I love this.

And the weekend approaches - Happy Halloween!

27 October, 2009

"Falling in Fall . . . "

Good morning all,

There was a remarkable chill in the air this morning. And Halloween is this weekend. And the leaves are changing. And 'time change' is Sunday. There are wonderful root vegetables at the Farmer's Market. And I have Christmas parties on my mind.

And Fall always makes me long for the gracious, lovely rooms of Phoebe Howard. Such simple colours, but such elegant rooms. Her rooms just always feel as though someone has just stepped out of the image. There is always such a strong sense of the people who live in these homes.


24 October, 2009

"Snuggled . . . "

Good Morning all,

After another busy week - my hope is to spend a goodly portion of the weekend curled up in the bed with some old movies, multiple pots of English Breakfast tea, and a pile a new design books that arrived this week. ( oooo . . . and my freshly autographed copy of Scott Schuman's new book from his blog - "the sartorialist." just wonderful.)

So in celebration of the aforementioned plan for the weekend, I thought I'd share a few bedrooms that are clearly worthy of a multi-day retreat from the frenzied world outside.

One could always spend the weekend lavished in Italian glory in the spare, but glamorous spaces from John Saladino.

Or maybe something more clean and masculine from James Marzo?

Or I could revisit some of my southern heritage from Cathy Kincaid or Tino Zervudachi with these sweeping rooms filled with perfect light and easy style.

Maybe something a bit more romantic ?

Mmmmmmm . . . the options are, literally, endless.

I hope your weekend has such simple plans as well,

23 October, 2009

"Love, Love, Love . . . "

Greeting all,

Spent part of my afternoon flipping back through issues of House Beautiful . . . and once again fell in love with this glorious space by Joe Nahem. Beautiful colours. Wonderful light. Perfect furnishings. Oh, and yes, that marvelous hand-painted silk wall covering - Fromental's Lotus & Carp in Moon Gold. Yummy. Seriously yummy.

I love seeing this room flooded with light - but, I'd love to see how it feels in the evening. With just the chandelier for illumination. It must be just magical. I'm also loving the mismatched seating . . . and the round table gives such flexibility.

The adjacent living room repeats the wonderful colours . . . but, re-imagines their uses. The deep, almost iridescent blue has now moved from the walls to the upholstery. And the neutral walls are now in Farrow & Balls "Elephant's Breath."

Hope everyone has great plans for the weekend,

21 October, 2009

"Pondering Happiness . . . "

Good Morning,

Yes, you are correct. I'm actually going to write a design blog post about being in Disneyland. It's taken me over a week to shoehorn this in, but seriously, I think I might be on to something here . . . so put on your Mickey ears if you have them handy, and read on.

So here's what I've been thinking - Disneyland is commonly referred to as "The Happiest Place on Earth," and well, that's a big title to have to live up to each and every day. And it doesn't just happen by accident. Here are some ideas that help to make that happen -

1) Even though the park continues to evolve - so that it feels new and exciting - it's also able to tap into those visceral memories of childhood and of the park from years ago. Nostalgia can be a very powerful emotion. And having that sense of history gives the park some emotional depth.

2) You know how long you're going to be in line. I *LOVE* this about Disneyland! There are signs at the beginning of each line saying "the wait for this ride is XX minutes." I didn't mind waiting for 45 minutes for a ride, as long as I knew that's what the wait would be. And, of course, we would all look at our watches and see how close the prediction was. Most of the day, it was within 2 to 3 minutes. (p.s. and the only moment of crankiness during the entire day - was when that prediction was wrong. and let me tell you - it was late, and we were cranky. lol)

3) The park is just incredibly clean and well organized. I've never heard of anyone running out of change. All the bathroom stalls have proper locks. and toilet paper.

4) There will be moments of unexpected magic. Maybe just waiting around the corner. Street performers. Wandering musicians. Little girls in princess dresses seeing the park for the first time. People from every culture. Families laughing and taking photographs.

Ok. So what the heck does this have to do with interior design? How can one have the "happiest design on Earth?" Well, let's try to apply the aforementioned thoughts -

1) Though the style of your interiors is always evolving, you still need it to have a strong sense of history. I've had the great pleasure of helping clients change the way they live - and that's a huge change for most people, and a difficult one if you're not careful. I love when we're able to re-use, or at least re-purpose, existing items from the house. I want people to feel a sense of history in their own home. Those personal mementos can give a brand new room a depth of memory. It gives a sense of continuity to the space.

2) You understand how long the process is going to take. And this is one of the "big ones." I've never had an issue with a client over a delivery date as long as we all knew, when an item was first ordered, that it was going to take 12 weeks, or 16 weeks, or whatever. Setting a realistic expectation can make everything run more smoothly.

3) Everything is clean. One of the best bits of advice I received as a new designer was to be ready to roll my sleeves up. In the trunk of my car is a workbag of tools and cleaning supplies. Glass cleaner, furniture polish, a hand steamer, picture wire, hammer, nails, drill gun, tape measure, and so on. One of the best ways to solve a problem - is to solve it quickly. There's little more frustrating than needing a staple gun to fix a tiny problem, and not having one handy. Or being out of staples. lol. Have a look in your tool drawer at home - do you have everything you need?

4) And prepare yourself for moments of unexpected magic. And sometimes this one is hard for me - lol - as I tend to be a voracious planner. But, when the truck pulls up outside - or you unpack the shopping bags from the trunk - relax. Use the plan you've been working from, but let you're creativity soar. You'll be amazed by what can happen when you don't limit your imagination.

And 'unlimited imagination' is what Disneyland - and great design - is all about.

Told ya I could make that work,

16 October, 2009

"Breathe Deeply . . . "

Greetings all,

It's been yet another whirlwind week here in San Francisco. And not just from our semi-tropical rainstorm. (There were a few moments there when I thought we were going to have to head to higher ground . . . lol.)

But there's also been an exciting whirlwind of great press and amazing business here in the office as well. The challenging part is remaining focused and organized with all the various projects on the schedule. I keep a 'do-to-list' that keeps me on track on most days, but as the holidays are rapidly approaching . . . it's going to make things just that much more frenzied. I always keep a current list of my clients parties and events . . . just to make sure that everyone's home is in perfect condition whenever guests arrive.
If it sounds exhausting . . . at times, it can be. But, I like to stay involved with my clients - even after our 'project' is completed. We've spent so much time together, it only seems natural.

So I'm taking a few quick moments to relax, unwind, and re-visit some favourite images. Like Darryl Carter's townhouse in DC - pictured above.

And flipping through the new edition of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles in the new online edition.

And digging through old files filled with images that I can't even remember where they were found.

Off to Carmel for the weekend to look at a project . . . and to take a few days off.

Christmas is coming,

13 October, 2009

"Mark your calendars . . . "

Scott Schuman - "The Sartorialist"

Good morning,

For those of you in the San Francisco area, we have a special treat headed our way next week. Photographer Scott Schuman - "The Sartorialist" himself - will be in SF as a part of his national book tour.
You can meet Scott and get a signed copy of his new book, "The Sartorialist," next Wednesday evening, October 21st, at the Paul Smith shop at #50 Geary Street from 7:30 to 8:30.

"The Sartorialist" was one of the first blogs that I was ever aware of. It began several years ago with Scott snapping picture of the well (and sometimes just interestingly) dressed population of New York. I always loved that he was very specific about his task - it was never a question of "I don't like those shoes," or "I never look good in that colour," but he wanted his readers just to find inspiration from the pictures - from the couture creations of fashion week, to the simple work clothes of local artisans, or anyone with a chic sense of style. And the photography is breathtaking. Scott is able to capture a magical, ephemeral moment with each subject. You can see the details of the clothing - but, you're aware of SO much more.

Click here for the complete book tour schedule.
Click here for a link to the new book.

Hopefully I'll see a few of you there,

11 October, 2009

"What a Swell Weekend It Was . . . "

Nathan Turner's shop in West Hollywood


As a song once asked, "How can I begin . . . " to tell of my most wonderful weekend in Los Angeles. Great weather. Great old friends. Great new friends. Great parties. Great memories.

Thursday morning started early, with a 5:30am car waiting to take me to the airport for a 7am flight. But an early start was needed - for I had one busy day ahead of me.

As soon as I landed in LA, I gave a quick call to Megan (from beachbungalow8) as we had planned to meet for breakfast. We've been chatting by email forever, met ever so briefly here in SF a few months ago, but never had an opportunity to really talk. I guess the good news is - the restaurant wasn't very busy - because we talked for so long that breakfast had turned into lunch before we knew it . . . lol. It was like chatting with someone I'd know all my life. These 'blog' relationships can be quite amazing. Thanks Megan for spending so much of your day entertaining me.

Aaron Stewart (creative director for SFERRA Linens), Kelly Wearstler,
Scot Meacham Wood, and Ronda Rice Carman (from AlltheBest Blog)

Thursday evening was the SFERRA "Lose Count"/All the Best Blog Cocktail party - with special guest, Kelly Wearstler - held at Nathan Turner's charming shop in West Hollywood. It was such a great space - filled with wonderful furniture, great textiles, and everything for the home (and a huge crowd of people!) - and featuring the new collection of bedding from SFERRA by Kelly Wearstler.

And clearly, any party hosted by the always gracious blogger Ronda Rice Carman, would, of course, have more than a fair number of bloggers present. The photo below only proves the point. It was so great to meet so many people in person that I've only known 'online.'

Christian (from Maison21), myself (from the blog you're reading),
and Jill (the LA corespondent from Material Girls)
(image from Maison21)

Kelly Wearstler's line for SFERRA Linens.

But, fair reader, the weekend had just begun. Friday was spent catching up with old friends (thanks for lunch Patrick!) and old co-workers, some shopping in Beverly Hills (Yay Barneys!), and enjoying the beautiful southern California weather. And glad of the fact that I had a convertible.

And Saturday? Well, Saturday was a well-needed day of relaxing.

Not at a spa.

Not at a museum.

Splash Mountain, post-splash.

But, at Disneyland.

Sometimes, you need to let your inner-child run around and ride roller coasters all day.

Somewhat fearful of tomorrow's workload,

08 October, 2009

"In Conversation . . . "

Greetings from Los Angeles!

I just arrived earlier this morning and it's absolutely beautiful here. Was able to meet with Megan from beachbungalow8 for breakfast and a good long chat. She's amazing!
I am so excited to announce my inclusion in the "In Conversation . . . " series with Ivan Meade. Click here to read the complete interview.
Taking a nap before this evening,

07 October, 2009

"The Castle Lights Are On . . .

Stirling Castle, Scotland

" . . . but, there's no one home."

Greetings all,

I'll be away from my regular scheduled postings during the next few days for a flurry of activities in LA. An exciting party. A chance to meet several of my fellow bloggers in person. Seeing some old friends. Getting some shopping in for a new project. And a day of much-needed merriment in Disneyland. The aggressive variety of appointments is proving to be somewhat of a packing challenge.

See y'all on the flip side,

"The Colours of Fall . . . "

Good morning all,

Just sitting here in the office - and really feeling those first true chills of fall descending on San Francisco. We actually never have much in the way of a 'season change' here, so whatever slight weather change can give me giddy joy. Thus, I have to depend on the shelter magazines for anything in the 'colours-of-fall' inspiration. But, wait, what do I see in the midst of all of that marvelous fall foliage?

the sitting room

It's the almost magical Jacobean revival home of Jennifer and James Cacioppo in upstate New York, featured in this month's Elle Decor. The interior design is the work of Ernest de la Torre - and the photography by Eric Piasecki is breathtaking.

The Dining Room may be one of my favourite images from the house. The grand, baronial space (with its original plaster ceiling) is furnished so sparingly - and that stark contrast I find to be spectacular.

buttoning up my sweater,

05 October, 2009

"The Results Are In . . . "

Good morning,

I can't think of a better way to spend a sleepless night. Hearing the gentle 'ping' from the computer at 2:30am, rolling over in bed to check 'new mail,' and seeing a message from Ronda Rice Carman (the author of "All the Best Blog") with the subject line "Congratulations." I can assure you that I was WIDE awake then.

I'm proud to announce that the images of my little home here in San Francisco were selected as the 2nd place winner in the SFERRA/All the Best Bedroom Contest. Click here to see the other beautiful rooms. The judging was done by a panel of note -worthy designers - Michael Devine, Kelly Wearstler, Vicente Wolf, Todd Romano, Amanda Nisbet, Nathan Turner, and Ronda Rice Carman.


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