Archive for September, 2010

Now that’s clever…

My husband has a bike, but the closest spot we have to store it is at my mom’s house (a 45 minute drive away). So if he wants to hop on his bike on a sunny San Francisco day, he has to get in his car and wade through traffic before arriving at my mom’s residence to bike outdoors. Not so convenient.

The other day, I saw this new contraption on Apartment Therapy and I thought to myself, “now that’s clever.”

Bike Shelf by Chris Brigham

For those of you living in a shoe box like us, you can still have a spot to store your bike.

Bike shelf available at his site: knife & saw.

Chris also makes beautiful custom furniture, like this work-table:

I don’t think I would ever leave my desk with that beauty.

September 30, 2010 at 7:20 AM 6 comments

Removable Fabric Wallpaper: Just the Ticket!

We have a long hallway as you enter our new apartment that is just screaming for something to be done to it.  The walls are painted in an eggshell white and they are not to be re-painted, according to my landlord.  Renting can really put the kabosh on a lot of things.  But a little determination can get you a long way.

Just yesterday, I read about applying cornflower and water to fabric so that it will stick to walls and act as a wallpaper.  Luckily, the fabric can be removed and the walls can be cleaned up without damaging the paint.

Here are some examples where people used fabric and starch.

Now that is stunning work; I’m sure like anything else, it is much harder to do then it looks.


Image via Apartment Therapy

That little strip of fabric above the kitchen door frame adds so much to the already beautiful kitchen, so inspiring.

It would also be fun to add a ribbon as a trim.  Has anyone tried this before?

At the moment, I’m thinking I would choose between these two fabrics for my walls but I’m actually planning to just do from the frieze molding up and maybe if I”m totally ambitious, the ceiling.

Waverly Sale - Waverly Spa and Brown - Chippendale Fretwork Chocolate

Waverly Chippendale Fretwork Chocolate, only $12.95 per yard, available here.

Waverly Sale - Waverly Outdoor Promotional Fabrics - Lovely Lattice Lagoon

Lovely Lattice Lagoon by Waverly, only $10.95 per yard, also available here.

I’ll let you know if this DIY project happens.

In case you would like to give it a try, you can find detailed instructions for making the wallpaper paste, here.

September 29, 2010 at 7:15 AM 6 comments

From a Sofa to a Settee

If you read this blog regularly then you know that Graham and I could not fit our sofa up our stairwell. Our beautiful sofa has been sold to a sweet couple. They were thrilled to have it, which made it easier to let go of.

I knew that a settee would fit into our living room and that we would have no problem fitting it up the stairwell. So I jumped on a settee that came up for sale on Craigslist on Sunday afternoon. As luck would have it, I happened to be looking ten minutes after she had posted it. Graham and I headed straight to her house to pick it up and we were left breathless to be in such a stunning home. So from a breathtaking mansion to my humble abode it went.

It is in perfect condition and I don’t mind the fabric, although I was never going for an emerald-green velvet settee but beggars can not be choosers. For now, it is staying. Plus, it was a steal at $200! I’m on the hunt for one more settee or love-seat so that Graham and I could each lay out on our own settee’s and watch TV. If we didn’t have this whole need to lie down to watch movies, I would pair the settee with these two chairs in a heartbeat!

Chairs available at Paris Hotel Boutique.

LOVE! Aren’t they nothing short of splendid?! That firey red-orange has me pumped! Well, if you do ever buy them, please let me know so I can live vicariously through you!

If I can’t manage to tie the settee into everything else that resides in the living room, it may go into our dining room to create a seating area by our bay windows as a spot to enjoy chocolate cake and mint tea. Scrumptious

September 28, 2010 at 8:21 AM Leave a comment

Dorothy Draper Espana Chest

For a couple of years now, I have admired Dorothy Draper’s Espana Bunching Chest in decor magazines and in stylish movies. I believe, the Espana Chest was designed by Dorothy Draper by invitation of the Spanish government to design a collection to raise the profile of Spanish design in the International market. Profile raised; this is a classic piece.

(Dorothy Draper – with such impeccable style.)

I figured that while I could always admire the Espana Chest from afar, it would be a while, if ever, that I could be an owner of such a beauty. There is only one currently listed on e-bay and it is selling for $4,200. There is also one available on ETSY for $1,200, that is in serious need of repair, one of the sides has fallen off.

(Espana Bunting Chest became more of a hot item when featured in SATC movie, Vogue office)

Love the Espana chest, but I can not justify spending that kind of money. However, this past weekend, I went to check out the Candlestick Antique Market. As I was driving around to the flea market entrance, I was looking at the goods through the chain linked fence (instead of looking at the road); I spotted a Draper Espana Chest at one of the booths. Still in the car, not even to the entrance yet, I could not get into the flea market fast enough. I’m surprised I didn’t run anyone over because I was so focused on the chest, I forgot I was driving a behemoth of a car (Land Cruiser Toyota). I parked the car, safely, without hurting anyone and I practically ran to the stand, astounded that I could possibly own a Draper Espana chest!!

(Image via House Beautiful)

Upon approaching the stand in my crazed walk/run, woman on a mission sort of way, I told myself that I would not spend more than $500, which would be in the budget but would mean I would have to sacrifice on other things. But I couldn’t get images of other beautiful homes where Draper chests out of my mind.

(Via Elle Decor)

I made it to the booth and examined the chest while the dealer spoke with another customer. As any other flea market customers approached the chest, I hovered over the Espana with great exaggeration. The dealer finally comes over and says he’s asking $125. I’m nearly lying my entire body over the chest, claiming it as best I can. As nonchalantly as I can, I say “I’ll do $100” as if I didn’t really care all that much for the piece I was now straddling for dear life. The dealer replied, “Well, because I like you, I’ll give it to you for $100” SOLD!!

I literally hear other couples grown as I win out on the piece. Sorry peopes. You have to be on a mission, like mui!

Now there is a catch. Isn’t there always?! It is in poor condition. There are some scratches in the paint but not deep enough where it hurt the wood and the hardware needs to be brought back to its original shine. Luckily, the gold is still in perfect condition. From my research so far, I believe that it is not a fake and the dealer was telling the truth. If it is a rip off, at least I only paid $100 for it.

I do have my work cut out for me and I’m nervous. I don’t want to mess with such a potentially valuable piece. So I may turn to the professionals on this one. What do you think? Do I save money and restore it myself or do I at least call around for some quotes to restore it? I’m thinking I try to figure out if it’s real or a knock off and if it is the real deal get it professionally cleaned up.

September 27, 2010 at 8:26 AM 11 comments

Happy Friday

Happy Friday everyone! Friday couldn’t have come fast enough this week because I want Graham to help me out with some heavy lifting around the apartment. And we have a little wire project to tackle. You see, we want the TV to reside on the opposite side of the room of our outlet. Don’t wires just make you crazy?!

I wanted to update some photos for you of our apartment; I apologize in advance for the terrible quality of the photos. I took them with my I Phone instead of using our Cannon because I’ve been really short on blogging time this week.

What I showed you earlier in the week

Some sneak peaks of the apartment coming along…

Currently, our only seating in the living room; we have to find a couch that fits up our stairwell. I have a Madeline Weinrib rug to go down and I will be adding in more color. In case you are wondering…the gray velvet barrel back chairs are from Pottery Barn, the leather pillows are from Pottery Barn, the coral crewel pillow we picked up in Turkey last year, the brown throw is from Crate and Barrel and the tripod lamp is from Pottery Barn. I swear I do shop at more stores than Pottery Barn! For instance, my bookshelf items come from all over…

The bookcase itself is from Ikea; I believe it cost $20 and I painted it gray.

A closeup of the bookshelf –

The wood shark is from a tiny town in South Africa (yes, I carried that home on the plane); I used wood shoe forms as book ends, which I picked up at a flea market in Chicago; the little Jonathan Adler white dog paper weight was a gift from my sister-in-law and I love it! Thank you, Brittany! The blue and white porcelain dog on the bottom shelf I picked up yesterday; I am planning on adding it to my shop but as for now I’m far too in love with it to part with it. The flower print is from my oh so talented cousin, Julia Lynn – here is her website. I will be doing a post on her work in the future; she is amazing. (I will be hanging the print and centering it in the frame; it seems to have slipped when moving).

I think I win the most improved award for the week. I have to give the biggest thanks to my mom who came up here and saved the day. Whenever she caught me staring at boxes with an overwhelmed look on my face, she told me snap out of it and get back to work. Exactly what I needed! Thanks mom; you are the best!!

We still have lots of work to go…so it’s time I head back to it.

Happy Friday everyone!! What are you up to? We have drinks with friends tonight and our nephews third birthday party tomorrow, plus lots of apartment work. Speaking of birthdays, this sweet little niece of mine turned 1 yesterday.

Isn’t she the cutest?! Happy birthday, Abby! Photo taken by Helen Bae Photography.

September 24, 2010 at 8:13 AM 5 comments

John Derian

john derian

So I’m way behind in breaking the news on this one. I had read about John Derian doing a line for target and I tucked that tidbit of news away in hopes that it would pop into my head the day before his products hit target stores and I would write a post about it. Of course moving, traveling and wedding attending became priority and I let the news tidbit slip away from my mind.

Here it goes, a day late and a buck short. John Derian products have hit target stores and they are scrumptious. Sadly some of the best items have already sold out on but that doesn’t mean they aren’t at a Target near you.

Drool worthy:

The tiered trays sold out online. Did anyone snatch it up?

If you would like to splurge on some furniture, John Derian has beautiful pieces. They are not available at Target, unfortunately:

Geranium Sofa

Coop Bench

Butterfly Chair

He also has the most beautiful Moroccan rugs:

If I find an extra couple thousand dollars lying around my home one day, I’m purchasing one of his Moroccan rugs. Actually, scratch that, I will buy myself a ticket to Morocco and pick up my rug there.

Go to his website, here, to check out a retail location near you.

September 23, 2010 at 6:57 AM Leave a comment

Satomi Kawakita Jewelry

Oh man oh man. Warning, if you love jewelry but are not in the market for any at the moment, you may not want to read any further. I’m guessing you might fall in love with these jewels. I sure did. And I am NOT in the market for fine jewelry. I’m not even in the market for street jewelry under $5. But alas, I must share it with you….

Satomi Kawakita makes the most exquisite pieces. I have fallen hard for them.

The ring that stole my heart – a one of a kind gray diamond.

Her prices are very reasonable; you can go to her website here. Satomi is located in New York; she sells her jewelry at Matter and Steven Alan. Happy shopping!

September 22, 2010 at 5:30 AM Leave a comment

The State of Things

While, I AM thrilled to be back in the city by the bay and I LOVE the apartment we are renting, I have my work stacked up for me (literally).  Sadly, Graham did not get any moving days off and we had a jam packed weekend.  We went out way too late Friday night in New York, arrived in SF Saturday afternoon, tried to sort things out and took a trip to Ikea, then Sunday, we went to visit our adorable nephew who turned three yesterday!  He is the cutest — Happy birthday, Nico!

I’m sure that little photo brightened your morning.  Now here are some pictures that are overwhelming me…this little apartment moving mess is all mine….

The living room

The dining room

YIKES!!  The kitchen and bedroom are also in a state of disarray.

If you would like to come over and unpack everything for me while I sit on my ever growing tush and tell you where to put things, you have yourself a deal.  No takers?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Want to hear a little secret?  I don’t mind unpacking.  And the perk of doing it myself is that I can determine where it all goes.  Don’t tell my hubster though because I think I’m gaining some brownie points for this.  Lord knows I love the brownie points.

Moving Announcement Postcards (Set of 10)  We're living out of boxes

(Moving cards available here).

September 21, 2010 at 5:30 AM 4 comments

Home For Good

“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest. A dearer, sweeter spot then all the rest.” — Robert Montgomery

I have the song “At Last” by Etta James repeating in my head today. It feels so good to be home at long last, “my love (San Francisco) has come along.” A deerer sweeter spot then all the rest.  Living the transient life is filled with adventure, new experiences and hilarities. But it is exhausting, stressful and unhealthy.


At last, my hubby and I get to put some roots down. We can play house together and maybe dip back into the newlywed period. We can visit our families on a whim without a $700 dollar, five hour plane ride attached to it. We can see our friends and catch up on their daily lives without having to think about time zone differences. We (I mean I) can decorate every little nook and cranny of our apartment. We can surf at the beach (not very well) grab breakfast in the city and ski up in Tahoe (me, not very well)  all in one day. We can soak in the warm California sun poolside at my mom’s or we can bundle up and watch the fog billow through the streets at our apartment. We can take long meandering walks through the Presidio and breathe in the distinct smell of eucalyptus trees. We can be home…for good. (Famous last words – I guess you never know what the future entails).

(Painting available here)

Chicago was a glorious city to live in and New York is always the bees knees. But honestly, these past two years have been draining. I took more flights than I can count, I ate out at hundreds of unhealthy restaurants and my idea of a routine is waking up in the same bed four days in a row without having to be somewhere else. In the midst of the motion, I’ve tried to cope with losing my dad. About a year ago, a grief counselor told me that in order to heal, I had to establish roots. Since she told me that, I have taken 42 flights and I have lived out of a hotel for the past three months.

I’m not trying to complain. It is just that honesty has always been my policy. The prospect of real roots has me in happy tears.

And guess what? You get to come along with me as I DIY (Do It Yourself ) the heck out of our new apartment. I will share every step with you from the hiccups and mess ups to the proud finished product. I can’t wait to share with you how I make a home.

Cheers to roots!


September 20, 2010 at 5:30 AM 7 comments

Sweet Goodbyes

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” – Thomas Wolfe

My first time to New York City, I was a Sophomore in college visiting my brother at NYU Law over Thanksgiving. There was an unforgiving freeze in the air, people had their heads down and were all about business, not a single leaf clung to the Elm trees. And yet, within a heartbeat of arriving, I was head over heels in love.

By that point, I had traveled to over 13 countries and I had never been to New York. I swear to you, I had never seen anything so beautiful; I had never felt magic before. I belonged instantly.

The dazzling lights of Times Square at night left me mouth agape, the views on top of the World Trade Center had this small time girl humbled, the fashionistas hanging out at our newly opened, “it” hotel had me in awe of their confidence. It was then and there, I made a pledge that I would be moving to this city. Nothing would get in my way.

Flash forward two years later, and I arrived in this city with two rolling suitcases, my best friend and no plan. I went on to spend two splendid years in New York. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. The lights, noise, and bustle pumped into me and kept me constantly wired. Who has time to sleep in a city that never sleeps? When the time came to let go of the glamor and glitz, I mourned leaving the city. Thinking I would never be back except for brief visits.

Fast forward, five years later and I was given the greatest gift of all: ten weeks of apple time. Ten weeks of 10:00 dinners outside welcoming the warm nights; of drinks infused with mysterious wonder berries hand gathered at far off lands; of lazy Sundays lying in sheep meadow taking in the sights of hundreds of strangers walking by my content gaze; of train rides out to The Hamptons living the life of seersucker, popped collars and rose; of admiring, feeling and taking in the wondrously massive supply of textiles; of long lunches with girlfriends followed by slow meanders through cobblestone streets; of meeting trend-setters, casting off my greatest treasures through Craigslist; of showing my husband why within five minutes I belonged to New York and how it will always be a part of me.

Farewell sweet New York.  I loved my time as always! May I one day bring a child here who feels the need to play out their big dreams on this tiny Island.

P.S. I went out to a restaurant last night (Otto).  My brother informed me (after I ate there) the restaurant location used to be a bar when he was at law school.  Ironically, we went to that very bar the first night on my premier visit to New York; seven years later, the night before I leave for California, I happen to end up in the same location.  Funny when life comes full circle.

Images from This is Glamorous

September 17, 2010 at 7:02 AM 7 comments

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