Archive for June, 2010

Jayson Home and Garden

Jayson Home & Garden

I’ve had the song “Say Goodbye” by Boys to Men stuck in my head all week.  If I just got that song stuck in your head, sorry.  When I told this to my husband, he replied, “You mean ‘End of the Road’?”  I now have both songs stuck in my head on a rotating loop.  It’s probably been ages since you’ve heard some Boys to Men, or at least it should be.  Well it’s time for me to say goodbye to many things in Chicago, one of which is my favorite design store: Jayson Home and Garden.  Parting is such sweet, sweet sorrow.  I have never made a purchase there and as much as I’d love to take a treasure home from my dream store, I can’t afford it, to be frank.  But I do love walking in there and dreaming.  Come on and take a peak with me at all of their beauty.  Jayson Home and Garden was featured in the latest issue of Lonny as well.

Francine Turk at JHG

Oh, how I will miss you.  This impeccable store was an easy stroll from my apartment.  Jealous?  I know.  Luckily, there is an online store.  🙂  And just as a friendly way to say good-bye, Jayson Home and Garden is having an up to 50% off sale for new and vintage furniture, accessories, lighting and more, starting June 18.  Perhaps I can finally own something from there.  Tomorrow, I will show a spread of Country Living’s feature of the store buyer’s home – Caroline Scheeler – imagine taking all of the best stuff from this store and decorating a home with it.

June 16, 2010 at 6:32 AM 6 comments

Settee Sophistication

I love the sophisticated look that a French Louis settee brings to a formal room.  They are beautiful.  One day, I would like to own a white settee that I can add pops of color to with fun pillows.  Until that day, I’ll just look at these ones.  What do you think?  How do you feel about settee’s.

Settee sitting pretty in it’s own little nook – via Country Living

I love the art installation above the settee, image via Domino Magazine

The type of Settee I hope to own one day – image via Domino Magazine

What a fun pattern!  Image via Everyday Living Blog

Image via Beaux Arts Mansion in St. Louis

June 15, 2010 at 11:09 AM 4 comments

Homeward Bound

Ahhh…the City by the Bay is patiently awaiting our return. We can’t wait to get back. We’ve missed the dramatic vistas, the crisp, clean air, the community feel, the Rock, the smell of fresh sourdough bread, the dinging of the trolley car bell. But most of all we have missed the people, dearly; our fantastic group of friends, old and new, and our family. Since we’ve been gone another addition has come to our family: little Abigail Jean. While we have certainly met her, it will be nice for us to get to know our new little niece better and to hang out with all the others. We want to be the Aunt and Uncle that spoil the kids rotten. Hee Hee. Can’t wait for San Francisco! We’ll be moved and home by Saturday. Yippeee!!

June 14, 2010 at 7:21 AM 9 comments

Happy Friday

Happy Friday everyone!! In a few hours you’ll be out of the office, such a nice feeling. 🙂

This weekend we will be busy, busy, busy. Graham is graduating from University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I am proud of him for his accomplishments these past two years; but I also know, as his loving wife, that these two years have consisted of good times with friends with some studying mixed in. A nice balance! Sadly, the longest, most expensive vacation of our life is coming to end. Fortunately,  Graham is about to embark on the job that he went to business school for; he couldn’t be more excited.  As am I for him and all the graduates.  I’ll miss all the friends that we made here dearly.  But before I think of parting, we’ve got lots of parties to attend this weekend.

What are you up to this weekend? I’d love to know!!

June 11, 2010 at 8:23 AM 1 comment

Colorful Breakfast Nooks

I just wanted to complete the theme going on this week of colorful breakfast rooms that I had presented to my client.  Here are some inspiring rooms or nooks.  If you would like me to work on a specific room for you, I am happy to, you can e-mail me at  Enjoy these pics!

Aerin Lauder's East Hampton Breakfast Nook


Don’t you just love the colorful, light feeling of these rooms?  I apologize for not listing the sources; I had them tucked away in a folder without any labels.

June 10, 2010 at 8:13 AM 2 comments

Breakfast Room Part 2

My client’s only request for her new eating nook is color! Yesterday, I presented an option that was bright, fresh and fun!

Today, I wanted to present an option that is still bright but much more toned down that was inspired by Ahsley Whitaker’s design shown above.

White farmers table paired with bamboo folding chairs in tortoise.

The chairs can easily be brought outside on a sunny day.

Somethings Gotta Give Rug - Beach House 9'x12' Cotton Dhurry

A light blue and white striped dhurry rug.

For the punch of color

Artwork framed out on the walls

Mirror across the wall from paintings.

The color of the room and the drapes would remain the same as “Breakfast Room Part 1”: soft yellow walls and white drapes.

June 9, 2010 at 6:30 AM 2 comments

Breakfast Room

I’m working on a virtual design project for a client who has a separate breakfast room off of her kitchen. This is not her main dining room, rather a spot for breakfast. She requested color, color, color!  Nicky Hilton’s breakfast room (shown above) is an example where color takes center stage.

I have presented my client with two different designs; the one I will show today is all about the color and the one tomorrow is a bit more subdued but still bright and fresh. I’ve decided not to include where these items are coming from since that is part of the service that you get when I design a room for you. But here is what I’ve come up with:

The table – a wonderful splash of color to bring warmth to your everyday.

This watermelon colored dining room table will make a smaller room look larger with it’s bright color. Since this table is a bit more modern and my client tends toward the traditional, the rest of the room will be more traditional but still colorful.

The chairs:

A traditional bentwood bistro chair and the white will continue along with the fresh, crisp theme.

Dash and Albert Palm Beach Stripe Cotton Rug

I’m loving these fun palm beachy colors with the watermelon table

Dash and Albert Palm Beach Stripe Cotton Rug

The chandelier will tie in to the white chairs:

The walls would be painted a soft, soft yellow that is almost imperceptible to the eye and looks like a warm white.

The curtains will be white with a watermelon (that compliments the table) one ticking stripe tape at the edge of the curtains. Luckily for my client, she is an incredibly talented seamstress, so she can make her own curtains. The curtains should be raised above the window and long to the floor, like these below.

Ideas for small spaces: White curtains + faux paneling + modern fabric + tidy storage by xJavierx.

For the table centerpiece old blue glass

Again my client is in luck because her daughter is a professional photographer so she can blow up her daughter’s work. Otherwise, I would suggest fun, poppy art mixed in with family pictures and grandchildren art:

Or instead, going with one large mirror.

Stay tuned for Look Number 2 tomorrow. If you would like me to virtually design a room for you, I can provide you with a list of shopping items as well as instructions on where to place the items. You can contact me at

June 8, 2010 at 7:14 AM 3 comments

In Memory

Over the weekend, I heard news that my friend passed away; he died doing what he loved, skiing. I have wrestled with what to write or even if to write anything at all. But as I have learned from losing my dad last year is that it is better to hear stories from those who loved him, then for them to say nothing at all. The challenge comes in with trying to express how much Arne Backstrom meant to me as a friend and to so many others.

He was always an adventurer and he brought out my inner dare devil from time to time. The most memorable time was when we decided to go on a “mission.” Arne and I had a game where we would look at each other and just say “mission” and we’d figure something fun out to do. That particular night,we decided to get on our bikes and go up to the local golf course to ride a golf cart. The golf carts were locked up and we were out of luck. I turned to Arne on my bike as we exited the course and faced a hill to home and I said, “Arne ,I’ll race you down.” Now this guy was by far and away the star skier at Whitman and he would go on to win the McConkey Cup as the overall Freeskiing World Tour Champion and to be a Patagonia Ambassador, probably the wrong person for me to race. But he was so humble that he probably believed I had a chance. He took my bet with his adorable chuckle and huge grin. And off we went. Unfortunately, I pushed myself too fast and next thing I knew I was sprawled out on the pavement. My face was badly cut up and bruised. Arne took great care of me and went straight into Dr. mode, meticulously picking bits of gravel from my face. I ended up looking like a battered woman for about a week after that but I wouldn’t have changed it then or now for the world. It was such a rush exploring the world with Arne. He could even make the sleepy town of Walla Walla an adventure.

He was more then an adventurous spirit though, he was also incredibly intelligent and focused. I invite you to read his blog here and I assure you, you will be blown away by his eloquence. He would spend hours studying anything from his actual school work to how to perfect his game at chess. He was forever curious and engaged.

He was also a sensitive and caring friend. At one point in college, I was going through a rough time emotionally; he could see this and he just told me to let go and to have a good time. I did just that, with him and two other friends as we took off on a camping trip to Palouse Falls. We had an amazing time there and soon my fears, anxieties and doubts erased because of his light hearted spirit. On the way home from the trip, we stopped off by a bridge that was really high up. The four of us walked out to the center of the bridge, my friend Erin and I thought it was to take in the sites. We were all standing there speaking of the beauty and without a word of warning Arne jumped off the bridge. Erin and I screamed as gravity took over and he accelerated down to the cool water below, but not a peep came from Arne. After he had scrambled back up the rocky bank and met us at the car, he had the hugest grin on his face. Ha ha. That’s how I remember Arne, in true Arne form.

Sadly, we had lost touch as so often happens as moves and years pile on top of another. I was “facebook friends” with Arne and loved following where his next adventure would take him to. My two oldest brothers are avid skiers and I just recently told them that as I soon as I was living back in San Francisco, we would all go to Tahoe and Arne would take them skiing, cause that’s the kind of guy he was. I was thrilled to reunite with my old time mission seeker. I never got that chance.

Arne Backstrom you are loved by so many, including me. I know you are on to your next adventure and just as you did not let anything get you down or get you in your way here – I’m sure you are unstoppable where ever you are. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Backstrom family and to his close friends.

June 7, 2010 at 7:27 AM 5 comments

Happy Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! Another week done…that was fast. What are you up to this weekend?

I have to face the dreaded duty of packing. The time is coming for yet another move. In two weeks, Graham and I will be packing our apartment to move from Chicago to San Francisco. While I’m excited to be settled in San Francisco, I am dreading the move. You see, I have done this moving thing way too many times since College. Here’s a brief history of my moves:

1. June 2003: move from Walla Walla, Wa. to home (Los Altos, California)

2. August 2003: move to New York, New York

3. September 2003: move from Murray Hill to Upper East Side (temporarily)

4. October 2003: move to a different Upper East Side place.

5. Nov. 2003: move to more permanent Murray Hill location

6. Nov. 2004: move to Upper East Side apartment

7. March 2005: move from New York to Los Altos, California

8. June 2005: move to San Francisco, California

9. June 2007: move San Francisco apartments

10. June 2008: move week of wedding from San Francisco apartment to Los Altos, California

11. September 2008: move to Chicago

12: June 2009: move to San Francisco temporarily for the summer

13. October 2009: move back to Chicago

14. June 2010: move to Los Altos/Los Gatos California temporarily

15. July-October: move to New York, New York temporarily


reusing moving boxes makes a world of difference

I realize some of those were tiny moves but they all included packing up everything I own and lugging it to a different location. I’d say my toughest move was when we had to move five days before our wedding and I lost my wedding shoes. They never turned up and three days before my wedding I was buying shoes that I didn’t like but we’re the correct height. NEVER, EVER move the week of your wedding! It will have you pulling your hair out week of. Worst decision ever.


This time will be my first time hiring movers. Luckily, Graham’s company is paying for it. I can’t even imagine having someone else pack my boxes and moving them into a truck. It feels so lavish. Pure joy!


Okay, I think I’ve written move enough times in one day – just writing about it is exhausting. Any moving advice?

June 4, 2010 at 7:17 AM 11 comments

Kitchen Renovation: Before and After

My in-laws have recently transformed their kitchen.   They were genius in their design of the kitchen; it looks stunning and every little detail is perfect.  I can’t wait to see the kitchen in person.  The renovation only took a couple of months.  With no further ado, here is the big reveal:

The kitchen before:

The kitchen after:

Doesn’t it look fantastic!  I adore it; my personal favorite touch is the copper hood, hardware and accents.  I was able to get an exclusive interview with my in-laws, here is the advice they have for a kitchen renovation:

KCI: What is your favorite aspect of your new kitchen?

Belchers: Our favourite 3 things -all of which are equal – are:
1: the space it’s created with extra counter space because of undercounter refrigeration and cabinets going to the ceiling instead of to the soffit (ie removing the soffit).  Having French glass pane doors on cabinets (to match the windows) also creates more light and space.
2: The copper hood.  It ties up with all our very old copper moulds and bowls etc, as well as the copper hardware on the cabinets.  Copper is so warm and complements the Delft china in our kitchen, which could otherwise be cold-looking.
3: We LOVE the marble counters and backsplash.  That fior di pesca has beautiful colours in it and is a much better choice than the white carrera marble that I originally wanted.  It has more life without being overpowering, and the colours will make it less noticeable if/when scuffs and stains occur.

KCI: What was your biggest challenge during the renovation?

Belchers: The biggest challenge, hmmmm.  Probably having two heads trying to always agree!  And the challenge really was using the same floor space, yet trying to enlarge the space.  We did that by having the undercounter fridges, and cutting back the peninsula while widening it, so that there is more floor space with no traffic jam at the edge of the peninsula where it met the free-standing fridge that was there before.  That was too narrow.

KCI: Do you have any advice?

Belchers: Go slowly in the planning stage – take as much time as you wish.  Read books, blogs and magazines to get ideas (like Kate Collins Interiors).  Make copies of everything that really appeals, then see what you can incorporate into your design, remembering that you probably can’t have everything!  You’ll probably find that again and again, your eye finds delight in a common theme.

Be there when the building takes place and don’t be afraid if something looks wrong.

And mostly, have a contractor whom you trust completely – both workwise and integrity.

Thanks for all of your great advice, Glynnis and Brian.  I’m sure you’re enjoying the fruit of your labor.

June 3, 2010 at 8:42 AM 8 comments

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