30 September, 2009

"Take a moment . . . "

"Razzle Dazzle" from Benjamin Moore
Greetings all,

As much as we all feverishly look through each new magazine for the hottest trends - there are more important things than a dramatic, new paint colour.

Gwyneth Paltrow

More important than a custom-made Ralph Lauren evening gown for the Oscars.

More important than a candy pink Mini Cooper.

Or even a beautiful room by Miles Redd.

Or a simple arrangement of a dozen roses.

And that is your health.

October 1st marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Take a moment and be well informed about the facts. Click here for more information on screening, treatment, and donations. Click here for more information on the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Be well,

also check out my friends - beach bungalow 8, Mrs. Blandings, Easy and Elegant Life, Cote de Texas, and Pigtown Design for more thoughts on Breast Cancer Awareness month.

29 September, 2009

"All the Best . . . "

Good morning,

I can't begin to tell you how proud and excited I am to be a finalist in the "All the Best - Bedrooms Contest." And to know that images of my work (of, frankly, of my home) are in the hands of the judges - Vicente Wolf, Michael Devine, Amanda Nesbit, Todd Romano, Nathan Turner, Kelly Wearstler, and Ronda Carman. The winner will be announced on October 5th.

You can peruse images of the top 12 entries at "All the Best" and you can also take part! There is a "Reader's Favorite" contest as well (I'm entry #4).

almost bursting with pride,

28 September, 2009

"The Colours of the Ocean . . . "

Greetings one and all,   

My ongoing personal challenge - whenever I'm posting about a project from Michael Smith - is to attempt to keep my obsequious fawning down to a dull roar.  But, I should also state, I believe he's an absolute genius.  

This particular project (from a recent Elle Decor), in Malibu on the Southern California coast opens directly onto the Pacific Ocean.  I'm truly in awe  the wonderful colours in the house.  The great variety of blues, from a musky slate blue to the clear, bright blue of the ocean sky.  The ivories that feel almost like alabaster or afternoon clouds.  The contrast with the rich corals.

the design is much more of a melting pot. “The floors are 
simple, and the walls are monochromatic, but we 
have an eclectic mix of furnishings without 
any studied emphasis or period."

Wonderfully cozy.  Beautiful detailed.  Practically perfect.

More of the luxurious palette of blues reigns in one of the guest rooms.  And I love that there are always masses of books in almost every room.  The warm, evening glow from the antique lanterns and the feel of the Tabriz rug under foot.

“Everything has its own story and its own strength, but 
when you put them all together, the effect is quite 
soft,” Smith explains. “The place has a lot of very 
rare objects in it, but it also has a looseness.  People feel really 
comfortable here. The sweep of the land is extraordinary, 
but the house itself manages to retain a human scale and sensibility.”
- Michael Smith

Back to the 'to-do-list,'

26 September, 2009

"A Brief Encounter . . . "

Greetings all,

It's always such a great delight having amazing people in my life. Several weeks ago my sweet friend David B. said, somewhat casually, "If you're free on Saturday, September 26th, just make plans to spend the afternoon with me. It's a surprise." Well, David and I have known each other for what seems like forever, and I'm more than happy to block out an entire afternoon for whatever he might have in mind.

Well, today was the day. We met downtown just after noon. And walked around a bit before heading up Geary Street. And stopped suddenly, in line, for the ACT Theatre - and a matinee performance of Noel Coward's "Brief Encounter." Yay. Heck, double yay.

It is a difficult show to explain - to say that it crafts a story and staging from every medium (stage, film, and music) is kind of an understatement. Let me say - it is delightful and imaginative in the extreme. A clever mixture of cinematic elements, lively singing, audience interaction, and a classic heartbreaking love story. And a perfect afternoon's entertainment after a long week's work.

Here is the tour schedule - I recommend it quite highly to everyone.

still humming,

25 September, 2009

"Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn . . . "

Good morning all,

Just wanted to quickly share the wonderful home designer of Kathryn Scott in Brooklyn Heights (as featured in NYSD in week.)  Click here for the complete article and a myriad of images.  The pictures of the dining room are some of the standouts for me.  Such an amazing room.

Ahhhhh.  The moulding details.  The ceiling height.  The fireplace.  The storage.

And click here for more information on Kathryn's work.

And back to the task of my 'to-do-list,'

23 September, 2009

"Luxury need not be extravagant . . . "

Charlotte Moss and Scot Meacham Wood

Greetings and Salutations,

Where does one begin to describe the wondrously gracious Charlotte Moss? And how does one, such as myself, begin to tell you about the amazing evening . . . listening to Charlotte at Gumps in San Francisco - in conversation with Diane Dorrans Saeks - discussing design, windex, and life in general.

"The love of beauty costs nothing." Seriously, how can you beat that kind of inspiration. Charlotte opened the evening with a description of her love of fresh flowers. I think we've all mentioned how special fresh flowers make our homes feel. But now, she's up at the crack of dawn, going to the local flower market - buying wholesale and arranging them herself.

And a sea of homesickness swept over me as she talked of her childhood in the South. "My mother would always be the last one out of the house," she said. "We would just be waiting in the car. But, we knew she was inside, plumping the decorative pillows on the sofa before she would leave the house. Her reasoning was - 'You never know who might stop by?' And Mother wanted everything to be 'guest ready'." Like so many southerners, there just always seemed to be such a pronounced sense of hospitality in her upbringing. And that specific aspect of one's home, as a place to welcome guests, seems to permeate so much of her very gracious aesthetic.

And the advice wasn't limited to interior design, my favourite - "Don't spray windex on antique gold gilded mirrors. Spray the windex on a rag, and use the rag to clean the mirror. Otherwise - the gold gilding begins to turn blue." Good to know.


22 September, 2009

"The Art of Living . . ."

Charlotte Moss

Good afternoon,

Just getting back into the office from a very long (and very productive) meeting at the house in the east bay . . . so finally letting my brain take a little rest - and getting some much needed food in my system . . . lol.  It's always such a delight to work on a project when the client is SO decisive.  We made important progress.  But that's not the only good news today.

As I'm perusing my calendar for the next few days . . . there it is . . . my invitation . . . just a tiny bit over 24 hours away.  "The Art of Living" - a conversation with Charlotte Moss at Gumps in San Francisco.  Yay!  I cannot wait to meet her and hear her inspiring words.  (Oh, and what the heck am I going to wear?!)

"... our objects, bibelots, whatnots, and knickknacks - say 
the most about who we are. They are as honest as a diary."
- Charlotte Moss

So excited,

21 September, 2009

"Random Acts of Crimson . . . "

Good afternoon all,

How much do I love Alessandra Branca? Great style. Wonderful details. And just a touch a red. Just take a few moments and enjoy . . .

Until later,

19 September, 2009

"Something lovely . . . "

Good afternoon,

Just a little something calm and lovely for your Saturday afternoon. A wonderful apartment on Nob Hill in San Francisco. Click here for the complete article.

And what a perfect way to spend one's weekend.


17 September, 2009

"Bad news, Good news . . . "

Greetings all,

Yes - it's been a little unproductive here in the "Land of Tartanscot." The last few days have been an exciting ride on the 'I-wonder-if-this-is-just-the-regular-bed-rest-and-fluids-flu-or-should-I-rush-to-the-hospital-flu-?' adventure. After several days of just feeling cruddy but, with nothing more than a low fever, I'm assuming that I'm in no true danger . . . in fact, I've been back in the office a bit today to slice through the mail (both in 'snail' and 'e' format) But, there is good news to balance everything out . . . and quite good news it is . . .

Either in some sort of fever-addled haze, or maybe it was the medication - but, last night, I had a crystal-clear, sparking vision of how I want the house to look for the holiday season this year. And not a moment too soon. Christmas is coming quickly!

Here's what I'm thinking so far - A canopy of garland stretching from the chandelier in the dining room to the four corners of the room. Maybe the antique German china on the table? Multiple trees decorated with nothing but simple, white lights. And I'm sure there will be pheasant feathers mixed in with the fresh greenery. And somehow, there will figs on the menu. and maybe a rich, warm lobster soup.

Hmmmmmm . . . still thinking . . .

14 September, 2009

"An Irishman in Florence . . . "

Greetings and Salutations,

Maybe it's just a bad case of having 'fashion on the brain' after seeing "September Issue" over the weekend . . . but, seriously, how fabulous is the wonderfully chic Florence studio of world-famous handbag designer Pauric Sweeney?  

"Pauric Sweeney, 36, is an enigma. The softly spoken 
Irish-born designer is all tall, thin and brooding, 
in a Gallic kind of way, with an almost laddish sense 
of humour. Yet he is responsible for some of the 
fashion world’s most sensual and seriously 
lusted-after handbags"
                                              - The London Times

For additional information and images of Sweeney's Studio and Home have a look here.  And for another great interview, check here.

Off to another busy week,

13 September, 2009

"Grace under pressure . . . "

Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour
Greetings all,

To even suggest that the new documentary, "September Issue," focusing on Anna Wintour and the fall edition of Vogue might actually 'star' the viscerally talented Grace Coddington may be seen as stepping over the boundaries of hierarchy just a bit. well, maybe not. Let's say 'co-starring.' Or maybe they are the best representations of "yin" and "yang" in the fashion industry today.

I don't want to give anything away for those of you who haven't had a chance to see the film - only that I highly recommend it to anyone who is passionate about artistry and creativity. (and anyone in the business of being creative, as well.) These the two strong talented women so clearly show the struggle of keeping the commerce of style alive. (and a few fun moment of seeing the reality behind several scenes in "The Devil Wears Prada" . . . lol)

And just wait until you see the myriad of photo shoots and fashion shows. And the mundane events that can inspire such amazing beauty. There was a sublime moment when Grace, the magazine's creative director, is riding in the back of a cab.  She tells of the advice she received from Btitish photographer, Norman Parkinson, "Never shut your eyes or go to sleep in a car, train, anywhere.  You might miss something inspiring  . . . " And that, my dear friends, is some wise advice.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend,

11 September, 2009

"Up a steep and very narrow stairway . . . "

Greetings all,

One of my favourite surprises each weekend is seeing which wonderful home is featured on the New York Social Diary's "NYSDHome." And, yay, today's entry is the simply charming home of New York interior designer Garrow Kedigian. The space is filled with the most marvelous objects, the most lovely classical furnishings, and the wonderful light from the 5th floor windows. (yes, that piano came up all five floors.)

"Garrow himself says he was going for 'the abandoned mansion'
look and says that the French influence on his work
is an unconscious channeling of his summer visits in Paris
where his grandmother lives."

Once again, I'm simply in love with the simple, elegant colour story. I'm always impressed by anyone with a huge library. And I love seeing the kitchen tucked quietly away in the back corner behind the upholstered screen.

10 September, 2009

" Simply beautiful . . . "

Good morning all,

I'm taking an intentional break from the workload this morning.  Flipping through design magazines (yay, for the new House Beautiful!), scanning through some of my favourite designer's websites, and planning some window shopping this afternoon after lunch - are all on the calendar for today.  For me, it's such an important part of the design process.  It's never about re-creating something that you've seen, but, more importantly, it's about being inspired by beauty.  

And when you're looking for wonderful spaces, Alessandra Branca is always a great place to start - these images from House Beautiful have always been favourites of mine.  

"It's like the Mona Lisa. Would she be as beautiful if the 
scene behind her wasn't interesting? The paisley in the 
library, the chinoiserie in the dining room, even the 
damask in the master bedroom, all have curvy patterns 
that create drama, the kind of tension I love against 
the straight lines of the furniture."
                                       - Alessandra Branca

Such a lovely room.  so light. so gracious.  

"I adore the styles of the 16th, 17th, and 18th 
centuries in Europe — I even love Baroque — but I like 
to take the shapes and patterns and find a new point of view for them."

There's still a busy day ahead of me, but I'm feeling like my engines are starting to re-charge.

Hope everyone's having a great week,

08 September, 2009

" Grrrrrrrrr . . . "

Good morning y'all,

The good news - I've survived the holiday weekend with flying colours.

1.   The client's party in Palo Alto went off without a hitch.  And lots of great feedback on the project.  (Of course, I was in 'design mode' during the party as well . . . and I noticed a few changes that we need to make to help the house flow a tiny bit better.)  

2.  Great trail run on Sunday with barely any muscle issues or sunburn - lol.

3.  Back in the office and feeling REALLY inspired.

The bad news - 

1.  The house is in a shameful mess.  seriously.

2.  I have a huge pile of work to slog through today to finish getting ready for a big meeting tomorrow.

3.  I have another marketing meeting this afternoon for the new website . . . and need to get some storyboards together - and write some website text.

4.  I noticed that I have been blogging shamefully rarely these last few weeks.  I've been searching for a topic that moves me . . . or inspires me . . . or amuses me . . . or feels worth writing about.  Grrrrrrr.  It's either just simple 'writer's block,'  or (and I suspect this might be it), I'm directing all of my creative energy towards my own design work these days.  Yeah, let's say that's it.  

So, here's a general 'howdy' to everyone out there.  Yes, I'm still alive.  And except for my messy house, things are moving along nicely.  

03 September, 2009

" Love, Love, Love . . . "

Good afternoon all,

Sorry for going a bit 'radio silent' the last few days, but things here in the office have been busy, busy, busy. I've had several small installations this week, as well as getting started on a new large project that is just in that exciting 'beginning' stage - I have a fresh set of blueprints just waiting for a great day of space planning, textile placements, and dreaming . . . (and running around buying new tartan shoes . . . lol)

Whilst looking around today, I happened back across the Dan Marty Design website and was, once again, delighted by almost every page and image.

"In March 2009, Dan Marty Design opened a new 13,000 sq. foot
showroom in the Pacific Design Center. Exploring the
showroom is a true travel journey with global presence,
which mixes European Colonial style with California laid back ease."

Such wonderful accessories. And such a beautifully detailed space.

"Dan Marty’s talent and unerring eye is evident when he
mixes all of these influences into sophisticated showroom
vignettes marrying antiques that include maps, vintage
textiles, warm woods, gunny sack grain cloth and cross bottles."

The collection includes; artwork, lighting, textiles, pottery, and a wonderful selection of furniture.

Back to the space planning task,

01 September, 2009

"Giggle . . . "

Good afternoon all,

Just found.  Tartan flannel Jack Purcell's.  Yay.

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