28 February, 2009

"Another piece of Pye . . . "

Good afternoon,

I trust that everyone is having a productive and/or relaxing weekend thus far. I ran across this image again the other day (actually looking for something else) and it, once again, took my breath away.

I can clearly recall seeing Roger Banks-Pye's delicious apartment for the first time. So clever. So detailed. So remarkable. SO inspiring. I remember flipping through (maybe it was House Beautiful?) enumerable times trying to emblazon each image in my mind. It *still* inspires me.

One of my all-time favourites was this bedroom. At its most simple description, it's just a riot of pattern within a very tight colour story. But look again at the balance/contrast of the patterns in the space, at the play of textures and finishes. Good grief, the man varnished textile onto the floor instead of using any other kind of floor treatment. Varnished textile on the floor! Seriously! It's genius, pure and simple . . . and complicated, and lush, and cozy, and everything to which I aspire.

off to another rehearsal,

26 February, 2009

"Two Hands . . . "

Good evening,

I had the pleasure (and delight) of attending the "Thank You" party for the 2008 Dining by Design event in San Francisco. It was great to see so many of my fellow designers and friends (just keep reading, this'll make sense in a second). One of the most inspirational speeches of the evening was from a doctor working with the Positive Health Program (whose work the charity helps to fund.) She spoke of the important work that our fund raiser supports and the great need of that support as Federal and State funds begins to dwindle even further.

For those who wanted to do more, she offered the group a recommendation. "volunteer." In these "troubled economic times (how many times a day do you hear that phrase? ugh.)," volunteering can save charities valuable funds, but costs the individual volunteer nothing.

There seems to be a flurry of discussion about what we might each 'give up' for the season of Lent. The next 40 days are a traditional time of reflection and sacrifice to prepare for the celebration of Easter. I've decided to give up some of my spare time. There's a great volunteer program called "One Brick." They help to pair volunteers and organizations and have offices in several cities across the US.

Can't wait to see where my two hands end up.

for more information on Dining by Design.
for more information on the Positive Health Program.
for more information on the One Brick Program.

24 February, 2009

"It's in the details . . . "

"...People's live are expressed in little details....The soap in the bathroom, the flowers in the garden, the books on the bedside table are all strong symbols of a life in progress. You look at these details and a world unfolds - here are their books, the paintings they cherish, the music that soothes their souls."
Charlotte Moss, A Passion for Details

Image : "Entry" by Roger Banks-Pye

22 February, 2009

"Presenting . . . "

Good morning,

After several days of re-painting, re-organizing, and re-lighting - here's the new linen closet. The closet is on the 'dark' end of my entry gallery, and being able to see its contents has always proved to be a problem. With the addition of the brass gallery lights, the bedding, bath, and table linens are now much easier to find.

The top shelf holds my various table linens, including my collection of sterling and antique tartanware napkin rings.

All the bedding fits nicely on the bottom shelf - ready to be pressed and enjoyed.

And the "towel and bath" things have a new home as well.

The new closet also means I have a particular place for all my extra hostess gifts (for those last minute invitations) and wrap/ribbon (for the aforementioned last minute gifts), as well as all of the cleaning supplies (grouped by use) now stored in containers on the bottom.

I guess the real test will be . . . does it still look this way in a month? lol.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

21 February, 2009

"Be very afraid . . . "


As of this moment, I've spent an hour and a half running power into my linen closet so that I can mount brass gallery lamps to illumine the shelving.

Someone stop me. please !


20 February, 2009

"A late dinner . . . "

Good morning,

After an opera rehearsal last evening, I hosted a late dinner for a few of my friends. We've been chatting about china over the last few days, so I thought I'd share the table service from the party. I used vintage Ralph Lauren dinner plates, antique Scottish clan salad plates, the Waterford stemware, and various pieces of my sterling and stag horn flatware.

It was an easy menu (I got home about 15 minutes before my guests arrived!) of pear/walnut salad, grilled salmon, and sorbet with homemade cookies for dessert.

I have an easy day in the office today, so hopefully, I can finish dealing with the "closet" project. I should be some images by the weekend.

Hope everyone has great plans for the weekend,

18 February, 2009

"Defeating Monica . . . "

Good morning faithful reader,

My apologies for going 'radio silent' for the last few days. I've been working on a project here at the house again. There seem to be no end of 'projects' here at the house. lol.

The new enemy is my "Monica Closet" - that closet where everything that doesn't go anywhere else seems to land and fester. Mine is the second walk-in that's back in my study (yes, I have two walk-in closets here in San Francisco. don't hate me). It's basically used to store non-season clothing, holiday items, and various kinds a design debris. And because it's not in regular use, it tends to get out of hand quickly. But, I will defeat Monica before the weekend is done. Oh, and maybe the linen closet as well. lol.

It has been a few days, and it's beginning to shape up . . . but, I need another quick trip to The Container Store tonight after work to get more supplies . . .

on task,

(disclaimer: my closet is not NEARLY as bad as Monica's. Seriously, that's messed up!)

14 February, 2009

"Period. George."

Good evening,

Part of today's shopping flurry included a stop by "Period George" - one of the most delightful places in San Francisco. I love this charming shop in the Richmond district which features the most glorious collection of antique china, flatware, stemware, silver, and everything to set a gracious table.

I found a great collection of 18th century hand etched glassware that should fit nicely into my ever-growing array of table service. I just purchased a few pieces (some tiny, square-footed stemware which could be perfect for champagne), but plan to add others to my collection over the next few months.

Hope you're having a great weekend
(and, yes, I'm blogging and doing laundry on Valentine's night. so there.)


13 February, 2009

"My tartan valentine . . .

. . . . sweet, tartan valentine."

Good afternoon. Having a crazy busy day, but wanted wish everyone an amazing Valentine's Day. I have fun plans for Saturday evening, but some of the weekend will be comprised of shopping for clients. I'll post pictures of any amazing finds !


11 February, 2009

"I promise, I swear . . . "

. . . there's an 18th Century 'Directoire-Styled' Daybed in the middle of the pile. I've always thought that antique shopping was 1) one part organization, 2) one part education, 3) one part luck, and 4) six parts excavation. I'm on the hunt for a daybed that I can use for a small home office for seating and the occasional guest. There's a tough little 'rabbit hole' entrance and I don't think I can fit a proper sofa or loveseat through the door. Still thinking.

maybe recovered in chocolate mohair?

more shopping today,

10 February, 2009

"The 'Castle' . . . "

Good morning,

Though I'd try another couple of 'tester' pix this morning before I headed into the office. This is the little seating area in my bedroom. Actually, in most of the units, this larger room is used as the living room. But just over a year ago, I decided that the big, 'sexy' room (with the window overlooking the garden) would better serve as my bedroom . . . and converted my prior bedroom into a study.

After some paperwork in the office, and a client's furniture delivery, I've got a fun day of antique shopping ahead of me. I'll post pix if I see something amazing.


07 February, 2009

"Testing, testing . . . "

Good morning,

Just a quick update on the "the photographer is coming! the photographer is coming!" project here at my house. I spent part of last weekend cleaning and styling my study and just took some test shots this morning to how it's looking on film.

I'm feeling pretty good about it. Now all I need is the new table linens and the custom bedding to come in from the workroom. Oh, and maybe a new floor lamp. And, um, some new china ? At least I'm stimulating the economy. lol.

on task,

04 February, 2009

"Surprise is . . . "


So today was the first day of 2009 Winter Market at the SF Design Center, and the highlight of my day was the chance to meet (and hear) Michael S. Smith. The lecture took place in the textile showroom where his wonderful fabrics are sold. Because of some A/V issues, it got off to a kinda slow start, but once we could hear him, damn, it was amazing.

I'll open this post with the same information that opened the lecture, "If you're here to get the dirt on decorating the White House, you'll need to wait another 10 years. Seriously. Don't even ask." lol.

With that caveat out of the way, Mr. Smith launched into a 70 minutes talk about his inspirations, his challenges, and his insights on client relationships.

Once we were knee deep in the "inspiration" pool, there seemed to be a theme of conflicting inspirations; "16th Century - Loft" or "Shogun - Modern Kitchen." It made me examine my own thought process. It was reassuring to hear someone clearly as talented as Smith talk about the collaborative (designer/client) aspects of residential design. Once we'd reviewed his portfolio (in slide-show format, with great insights behind the images), we got into a lively Q&A session revolving around any number of issues, but seemed to settle on the area of client relations.

Asked "What is your greatest advice for a designer to keep clients happy?" he answered, without hesitation, "Surprise is the enemy." Wow.

Gonna have to needlepoint that on a pillow,

03 February, 2009

"Excited . . . "

Good evening,

Wednesday begins the "2009 Winter Market" at the San Francisco Design Center and there's always an array of lectures and presentations to tempt anyone in the design trade.

Originally, I had a client appointment that was going to take up most of my day, but as per usual, things have moved around suddenly, and I have the day free to take part in the event.

As pleased as I am, that is not the reason for the "jumping for joy" image that heads this post, this is:

I'm now going to be able to attend the lecture about client relations and trends in design with . . . Michael S. Smith. He was booked for this event long before his work on the White House for the Obama's. And he's supposed to have a book signing as well.

I gotta get there early. It's going to be a madhouse. lol.


ps. I'll post a report, with pictures, later in the week.

01 February, 2009

"Lucid Dreaming . . . "

Good evening,

Next week begins a somewhat gruesomely busy 10 days in my life, so tonight, before I drift off into the world of dreams, I've decided to go on a little REM sleep vacation before the gauntlet of Monday begins . . . .

ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . . . . . .

. . . . just landed at London/Heathrow and have only a few moment before the taxi carries me away to South Kensington to my favourite hotel near Hyde Park.

First, a yummy dinner at the Indian place around the corner - and a good night's slumber . . . then there's a morning run through Hyde Park, with a few laps around "the round pond" by Kensington Palace as the day begins.

After a shower, a yummy breakfast at the hotel, and the required "viente, 1/2 caf, non-fat latte" from the Starbucks near the High Street . . . then maybe some shopping.

David Linley's shop in Pimlico for amazing hard-carved home accessories . . .

Hackett, in Sloane Square, for a few new things for my wardrobe . . . wander down King's Road to search for antiques . . .

or brave the crowds at Portobello Road Market. Hopefully, some antique tartanware from that great little place in Gray's Antique Market . . , or maybe Henry Gregory?

in the afternoon, the glories of Bond Street - Burberry, Pringle, Gieves & Hawkes. . . and a wander through the Polo Store. Oh, can't forget Crockett & Jones for some new shoes. And, hell, Paul Smith too.

gonna need some culture . . . some Shakespeare - "Henry V" or "Midsummer Night's Dream" - and hopefully some new productions in the theatre district . . . and let's chuck in a big-budget musical just for balance.

The National Portrait Gallery, near Saint Martin's-in-the-Field. It has been, and remains, one of my all-time favourite art/history galleries.

and finally, a glorious Sunday service at Westminster Abbey . . . and since I'm in charge of this dream, we'll have all my favourite hymns, the 8 part Martin Mass for double choir, and the Bach G Major Prelude/Fugue as the postlude.

beep, beep, beep, beep.
time to get up and face the week.


"The To-Do List . . . "

Good Morning Faithful Reader,

Let's say you have a few 'projects' that need to be done around the house. You've been meaning to, maybe, replace the light sconce in the bathroom, or re-finish the perfect (almost) desk that you found for a 'steal,' and sometimes it's a easy as - - - "We should put some fresh flowers in the planters outside." For some reason, they never seem to get done.

Okay, here's what you do. Pick a date. Maybe 7 or 10 days in the future. Invite 6 people over for dinner. A serious dinner. With a fancy dessert. It will be shocking what you'll be able to do in the intervening week and a half.

For those of you who are more daring and want the truly advanced version of this, (and this is only for the most brave amongst you), schedule a photo shoot of your home. I've been up since 6am . . . and I've already reupholstered a chair.

on task,
Related Posts with Thumbnails