28 November, 2013

"Happy Thanksgiving . . . "

SMW Design, Thanksgiving 2009


You have two duties today.  Gratitude.  And pie.

Git 'er done.


26 November, 2013

"Holiday Decorating Contest - the Judges . . . "

um . . . *


Well . . . we're almost there.  Just a few more days . . . and we'll officially see the beginning of the fourth annual "Tartanscot Holiday Decorating Contest!"

But - I don't want us to get too ahead of ourselves.  There are still turkeys to brine and potatoes to mash for at least the next several days.  Time to gather with friends and family and reflect on the past year and hopefully appreciate all the good things that our lives have brought us.  And there's pie too.

If you missed the last posting about all the rules and such for the contest - you can take a look here for the details!

But . . . for the moment . . . let's assume you know all the 'ins and outs' of the contest . . . but want to see the names and the faces of our judging panel.  So without further ado - though, I really love a good 'ado' - here we go.

"The Judges . . . "

Tobi Fairley
Interior Designer Tobi Fairley has been on the panel of judges from the very 
beginning - and she brings her love of classic southern style and 
her signature focus on colour with her again this year.  

Brian Patrick Flynn
Another judge who clearly knows his way around the colour wheel - Brian Patrick Flynn's 
amazing interior design work can be found both in print and online.  Bringing a 
fresh voice to the group - Brian's style is a remarkable 
hybrid - southern, coastal, masculine, and colourful.  

Grant K. Gibson
Back for another year - fellow San Francisco resident Grant Gibson brings his 
beautifully edited style and european sensibility to our panel.  You 
can always keep up with Grant on his blog - or his Instagram feed.

Ronda Rice Carman
Speaking of european influences, Ronda Rice Carman brings her 'world traveler's' eye to 
the proceedings again this year.  Well known as the writer of her blog - and her 
smashing book "Designers at Home" (which includes a lovely chapter 
on my own home) - Ronda helps to up our 'international game' yet again this year.

Patricia Shackelford
Bringing a fresh voice to the proceedings, Patricia Shackelford joins 
in this year for the first time.  A spectacular writer - with a keen eye 
for design -you might know her from her much-read blog . . . or 
from her articles in Architectural Digest.    

Michael Devine
And rounding out our group, Michael Devine joins us from the east coast - bringing 
his classic style as well as his love of textiles.  You may recognize him from his 
textile collection, his amazing assortment of home accessories
or from his upcoming book from Rizzoli. 

* and as a side note - there's nothing more delightful than googling the completely obscure term "scales of justice holiday ornament" - and getting pages and pages of options.  Praise the interweb!


21 November, 2013

"Holiday Decorating Contest - 2013 . . . "

Last year's "Christmas Tree" winner - Steve Fuller.


Well, the holiday season is finally here again!  And since we had SO much fun last year - sharing images of our homes all decorated for the holidays - let's do it again.  For those of you who have been long-time readers, you'll know how MUCH I love decorating for the holidays.  The smell of fresh cedar.  The feel of pine sap on my fingers.  Maybe some holiday music on the stereo.  

I really want to see what y'all have been up to . . . So, I'm pleased to announce the fourth annual" Tartanscot Holiday Decorating Contest! "

There are four categories that you can enter :

1)  Christmas Tree ( lights. ornaments. creativity. )

2)  Dining Room ( it's one of the best times of the year to entertain.  Let's see that dining table! )

3)  Front Door  ( wreaths and garland and lights, oh my. )

4)  Holiday Pets  ( let's get Fluffy and Fido in the holiday spirit too! ) 

Last Year's "Dining Table" winner - Delores Arabian 

How to do it:

1)  Decorate your home and/or pets. 

2)  Take digital photos.

3)  Email your images (along with your name and address) to "HolidayContest@SMWDesign.com"

But, don't think it will just be me here - throwing darts at the wall to see who's going to win.   Tune in to meet our panel of Celebrity Judges - a collection of designers and writers from around the world.  

And it's not just for bragging rights - images of the winning entries will be posted here on Tartanscot during Christmas week - and I'll also be announcing our special prizes for the contest later in the week. 

Last year's "Front Door" winner - Gary Pitcock

Now, for the small print:

Contest begins on Friday November 29th and ends at 11:59
p.m., P.T. on Saturday December 14, 2013. Winners 
will be announced on Friday, December 20, 2013.

The contest is open to both interior designers and 
design enthusiasts who want an opportunity to showcase
their work in the 'Tartanscot Holiday Decorating Contest'.
Submit clear photographs (up to a maximum of four photos per category)
of each room designed by you to (HolidayContest@SMWDesign.com). It
can be either your own personal home or a home designed by you for a
client, just as long as it is your OWN work.
Photograph from every angle, including close-ups and special details. 
Images should be no larger than 1MB and in jpg format. 
Provide your full name and address.


20 November, 2013

"Holidays at Baker Furniture . . . "


We're going to be at the Baker Furniture Showroom on Thursday evening chatting about all things 'holiday entertaining.'  If you're in the area - please stop by and say hello.


18 November, 2013

"SMW in House Beautiful . . . "

(Photography by Thayer Gowdy, for House Beautiful)


There are those moments that you seem to practice for your entire life.  Singing into your hairbrush in front of the mirror.  Practicing the "thank yous" for your Oscar speech.  And writing the words . . .

"I'm delighted to announce our upcoming editorial in the December issue of House Beautiful."

(Photography by Thayer Gowdy, for House Beautiful)

(Photography by Thayer Gowdy, for House Beautiful)
(Photography by Thayer Gowdy, for House Beautiful)

The online version launched a few days ago (if you'd like a sneak preview) . . . or you can do what I'm doing - and rush to the mailbox with delirious excitement.  


17 November, 2013

"Sunday Runway - Smart Turnout . . . "

Smart Turnout, London.


Besides being somewhat well known for my embarrassingly extensive footwear collection . . . I seem to also have a shameful number of ribbon watchbands as well.

And this is one of my favourite resources for the daily 'wrist party' . . .

Check 'em out.


14 November, 2013

"Of Interviews and Magazines . . . "

Shopping in New York with Susanna Salk.


Well . . . there's a lot going on around these parts today.  So with so much news to cover - let's just take things in turn.

Firstly - I am beyond excited to be featured over on Quintessence as part of their ongoing "Stylish Shopping" series.  Stacey, Susanna, and I spent a marvelous morning in New York - looking at textiles at Lee Jofa showroom . . . and then shopping for shoes at my beloved Stubbs & Wootton.  Check out the video here.

And then . . . after months of plotting and planning . . . this happened.  We have a lovely editorial in the upcoming December issue of House Beautiful of my little home here in San Francisco.  The online version launched this morning . . .

from the December issue of House Beautiful. 
(photography by Thayer Gowdy) 

Keep an eye out for us in the December issue - coming soon to mailboxes and news stands.


13 November, 2013

"Scoring Design . . . "


There's always a fine line around these parts.  One always wishes to be chic . . . but, not trendy.  Current . . . but, not *so* current that you're faced with the unenviable fear of looking dated in a month.  

As I review the design world that exists outside of our own little offices here in San Francisco - there seems to be a certain amount of debate on the (at times) very touchy subject of wallpaper.  As I said, these conversations always seem to be happening outside of our office . . . 'cause here inside our walls . . . we LOVE wallpaper.  

I often think about designing space in term of symphonic construction.  Writing a musical score with the perfect balance of colours and shapes - just like instruments and melodies.  Not everything needs to be blasting trumpets and clashing cymbals.  Sometimes I'm looking for a cello.  Or a Bassoon.  For those situations . . . we need a simpler note.  Not a print.  Not another pattern.  But, just some depth.  Some contrast.   And one of our long-time favourites is the amazing papers from Phillip Jeffries.  

We've been working on a little update to our website - and so have been reviewing most every image in the portfolios from our projects . . . and these classic, and sometimes dramatic, wall coverings keep coming into view.

Peruse a few of our favourites . . .

A simple grasscloth lends texture and warmth to the space. It also highlights the woodwork
by giving the sturdy white mouldings something to play off of. 

3483-B Island Raffia in Bermuda Grey

The papered ceiling wraps this master bedroom with a sense of calm. 

#3501 Japanese Paper Weave in Latte

The textured paper helps to soften some of the formality of this living room. 

#3423 Manila Hemp in Wheat

For me, nothing feels more restful than this bedroom - wrapped in chocolate silk paper. 

#3806 Japanese Silky String in Tiger's Eye

And here we used paper to highlight the existing architecture, creating 
the "negative space" to balance the view of the outside.

#3442 Manila Hemp in Camel
For those more interested in patterned and printed wallpaper . . . stay tuned.  There's always more to come.


07 November, 2013

"Once Upon a Time . . . "


This.  This is how and where it all started.  Nov. 06, 2008.  On a quiet, rainy evening at the little desk in my kitchen - this little blog was born.  


"And then . . . there was the blog . . . "
November 06, 2008

Good evening, 

I'm curious to see how many times I write, then delete, and then re-write this before clicking that elusive "publish" button. Thus far, we're on version number 3. Let's see if this quiet missive makes it into the world of blogspot in anything resembling it's original form.

what to write about first? plans for the house for the holidays? how much I love my new car . . . lol?

well, I think tonight's going to be about exploring good choices and my need to look with hope into the future. kinda excited about being in the office tomorrow. hang on to your socks . . . I'm updating the website in the next few weeks. yay.

I'll start updating images once I've got some final shots from my photographer.

stay tuned,


We've come a long way.  And lordy, it's been such fun.  The best part - is that the fun still continues!  Hilariously, I'm still excited about going into the office again in the morning . . . and, clearly, we just updated with website again yesterday - obviously, things never really change around here - lol.   I can't believe the style and design we're shared.  The travels.  The frustrations.  The successes.  And the holiday decorations!  

So . . . thank you all - each and every one of you - for joining me on this rollicking journey.  Today starts another year of sharing the road with you.  


05 November, 2013

"Breaking News . . . "


Well . . . after what seemed like weeks and weeks of preparations . . . the website at SMWDesign has gone through a marvelous little update.  We just launched yesterday morning.

You can find complete images from our extensive project in Berkeley (you've already seen a bit from the behind the scenes here - and here.)  And after seeing a bit of our work in the Piedmont Hills here - you can enjoy a few more rooms from the house.

We're also delighted to share this beautiful home in Woodside, CA.  After two years of work - it's great to be able to show the results of such a fun collaboration.

And, of course, just to keep things lively - there's always our splashy room from the 2013 Peninsula Volunteer's Showcase House.  I bet you didn't know there was this much pink and green in my vocabulary!

So, take a gander at some of our most recent homes and click "view project" for a look at the complete portfolio . . .  and watch this space for more exciting news in the next few weeks.


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