28 March, 2012

"Go East Young Man . . . "


Well . . . there's a great deal going on here at the house this evening.  The good news is that we're heading east for a few days.  All the way east.  As in the other coast.  Looking at a design project for later in the year.  Visiting friends.  An exhibition here and there.  And a series of cocktails and dinners to fill almost every spare moment.

Which brings me to a particular point of excitement.  Yes.  One of my favourite accessories here at the house is lending its special organizational skill.  My collapsible rolling rack.  Now, I first bought this great tool many years ago - as I always use it for parties here at the house.

Like almost every other house in San Francisco - we're not a very storage friendly abode.  So having a little clothing rack for guest to organize their coats (and because of our particular chilly weather 11 months of the year - we tend to wear coats a great deal of the time!) is always a help at any function.

But, that's not the best part of this evening.  What has me this excited is that I can wear all the bright clothes that I can rarely wear here in San Francisco.  Turquoise.  Fuchsia.  Teal.  Canary.   Tempered with navy and black.  All in a parade on my rolling rack.

You see.  Here in San Francisco . . . most residents usually wear anything - as long as it is from the vast collection of browns and greys that make up most of the fashion in our fair city.  I frankly consider it to be entirely caused by the computer industry that populates most of the area.

And though I dearly love all of the wondrous gadgets that blink and ring . . . the almost aggressively casual work environment that helps to spur that creativity - has set an incredibly 'low bar' for ones personal appearance. A fact which has always troubled me.  

But now . . . at least for a few days . . . I can strut my true self . . . resplendent in bright colours . . . and ginghams galore.  And this evening,  I'm just sitting here . . . looking at my rolling rack.  Making last minute changes.   A few minor substitutions.  And awaiting the chance to get dressed.


22 March, 2012

"Okay. Seriously Y'all . . . "


The new season of Mad Men starts on Sunday night.  I'm not sure I can contain myself.  We've been re-watching season 4 over the last few weeks . . . getting ready.

omg . . .

no.  seriously.  



16 March, 2012

"And In This Corner . . . "


It was at least 20 years ago.  It might have even been from a magazine.  I still remember the first time I heard it used as one of life's rules.  And the more I thought about it . . . it kinda seemed true.  "There are three things in life.  A great home.  A great job.  A great relationship.  The only caveat is . . . you can only have 2 of the 3 at any given time."

Great houses, great jobs, and great relationships each take a great amount of focus and time.   And though I've never liked the idea of letting one 'slide' to focus on the other two, when I look back over the last 20 years . . . sometimes it felt like the saying might be sort of true.  But, sadly - I've let one of them slide too far.  And for too long.

Oddly, this post started out as something else all together.  You see, my house and I have been fighting the last few weeks.  After lavishing hours of attention . . . and a goodly pile of cash . . . on the house for a photo shoot last month, I started spending my time on other things.  Catching up at the office.  Spending time with Drew.  Well, like any other jealous lover, the house has not responded well to being ignored.  Instead of feeling its loving embrace each night when I get home . . . it's just been sitting there.  Glaring at me in the semi-darkness.  With everything but a, "and . . . where have you been?" lingering in the room.

Then I remember that old chestnut about not being able to have it all . . . . and then I decided that I was not going to hold myself to such a low standard . . .

Clara Bow

So . . . starting last night . . . my house and I made up.  Hell, after re-organizing half my closet and a good part of my kitchen, we practically made-out.

I can remember years ago . . . working on an installation for a large home.  We had been there for several days.  Placing all of the furniture.  Hanging all of the artwork.  Slowly and carefully placing all the accessories and decorative pillows throughout the house.  As my client walked into her living room - filled with fresh flowers . . . and still a few delivery people . . . and me . . . and my staff . . . and the cleaning service . . . she commented, "I never realized how much it was going to take for the house to look amazing!"  And I replied, almost without thinking, "Living a fabulous life is hard work.  Sometimes it even counts as cardio."

Barbara Standwick

Fight the good fight,

UPDATE : James, so are SO right.  It's a quote from Maupin's "Tales of the City."

13 March, 2012

"168 Hours . . . "


We're having one of those weeks here in San Francisco where we're expecting rain and drizzle for the next 6 to 7 days.   Now admittedly, this is after a winter during which we had precious little rain.  So, I'm glad for the rain.  It's washing my car parked in front of the office right now.  It also means we shouldn't have any water restrictions later in the year . . . and I'll need to take a shower in July at some point . . . lol . . . so, I'm at peace with the precipitation.  

But, as a way of counteracting our forecasted 168 hours of rain . . . let's pretend it's bright and sunny outside . . . 

SMW Design, Presidio Heights Residence

SMW Design, East Hapmton Residence

from Coastal Living

SMW Design, East Hampton Residence

from architect David Neff

SMW Design, East Hampton Residence 

from Brooks Brothers


12 March, 2012

"Salmon Fishing. In the Yemen . . . "


Just a quick one from me today.  If "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" comes to a theater near you - you might wanna go see it.  The film opened here in san Francisco this last weekend . . . and we went on Saturday night.

It's just a simple tale of dreams and faith.  My concern is that it might be a little off the beaten track for many of you out there in 'blogland' - but, it's well worth the effort to find and see.  Emily Blunt is radiant.  Ewan McGregor is charming and charmingly befuddled.  And Kristen Scott Thomas is in rare comic form.


05 March, 2012

"Designing in the Flickering Darkness . . . "


Okay y'all.  I wanna play a little game with everyone.  Hop over to the comments . . . and let's talk about the movies.   Not your favourite stars . . . or soundtracks . . . but, your favourite interiors.   But, I want to go further than a gushing commentary about the "Something's Gotta Give" house.  Yes, I know we all love that space.  And it turned the design world upside down for years afterwards.  But, I wanna dig a little deeper.  What I'm really fascinated to talk about are those movies where 'the house' is a character.  And the changes to the interior of the house affect the plot of the film.

I'll start with a few.

"Out of Africa"

Even just typing those three words on my computer brings up a deep well of emotion.  And that house.  That house.  Watching its evolution throughout the film.  And then seeing the contents of Karen's home spread across the front lawn (like some kind of turn-of-the-century One Kings Lane sale) . . . and Meryl and Robert swaying in slow motion - weaving a path through 'the things' of her life.  A simple, glorious film about ownership . . . and letting go . . .

"Mr. Blandings Building His Dream House"

I often recommend new clients watch this one before we start any major renovations.  Not only as a cautionary tale . . . but, to help everyone see that even the most gruesome construction projects result in the most amazing homes.  I even use "is this the flower sink?" as a code word . . . to be that little "why-don't-we-just-do-this-tiny-microscopic-throw-away-idea" thing - that throws the entire project (and/or budget) into a tailspin  . . .

And then something a tiny bit more obscure . . .

"Kiss Me Goodbye"

If you've never heard of this one . . . don't fret . . . practically no one has.  And it's SO off the radar, that I can't find a single image of the interior of the film ANYWHERE on the entire internet.  The story itself revolves around the brilliantly comical Sally Field - as she re-opens the New York brownstone that she had shared with her late husband.  I know it doesn't sound like a promising beginning to a fun comedy . . . but, if you find it 'on demand' - it's a good two hours of laughter and classical design.

Alrighty y'all.  Let's start sharing your favourites . . .


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