Archive for October, 2010

Happy Friday

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you are gearing up for some great weekend plans and trying not to work very hard.

This weekend, we’re off to our family ranch for some pumpkin picking.  My brother and sister-in-law are having a party for their friends and lots of kiddos.  I can’t wait to see the excitement and the extreme concentration it takes for a little one to pick out a pumpkin.  Such a great way to get in the Halloween spirit.

I thought I’d end today with the queen of Halloween (or the queen of any holiday) Martha Stewart’s leaf pumpkin carving activity.

Leaf Carved Lanterns:

1. Cut a hole in the pumpkins top and remove the insides (icky).  Tape leaves to pumpkin and trace around edges with a grease pencil and then remove leaves.

2. Cut out the entire leaf shape using a long miniature saw.  Reposition the embellished leaf letting it protrude slightly.

Happy Friday!  Hope you’re getting amped for Halloween.  What are you up to?

October 15, 2010 at 6:51 AM Leave a comment

Animals all over the Walls

A reader told me that they had fallen in love with the Scalamandre zebra print wallpaper.  I hands down support that love affair.  Please, it is to die for…just take a look at these rooms.

As seen at Gino’s restaurant in New York and the iconic movie, “The Royal Tenenbaums”

Kate Spade’s apartment.

Massucco Warren Miller

The reader asked me if I could write about some more wallpapers.  Seeing her love of Scalamandre Zebra paper, I thought I’d concentrate on wallpaper with African animals on it.

The first one that came to mind is this great one with ostriches, seen in Michelle Adam’s apartment; Michelle is the editor in chief of Lonny Mag and she has a great eye!

Michelle Adams Lonny

Wallpaper that may seem a bit zany is a true stunner in her place.

Ostrich wallpaper from Brewers at Wallpaperdirect

The Ostrich wallpaper is Beware the Moon by Brewers

While on an ostrich kick, check out this paper by Turner Pocock


From far away, you couldn’t even tell that it’s ostrich but up close you get to see what a fun, cute print this is.

Now this wallpaper is recommended for children’s bedrooms.  But I say, “why should kids have all the fun?”  Why not try this in a powder room?

Animal Farm by Fern Living

This paper is also fun for a nursery.  However let’s move away from the little ones…how about for a hallway that leads into a hunting lodge-esque room?

I want to make a brief departure from African animals to show a paper that would be perfect for the hallway to the hunting lodge room.


This adorable paper is Osborne and Little’s Best in Show wallpaper

Imagine if you had that in your hallway with an old white bench, some well worn Hunter boots and a bunch of these hooks to hang your barn coats.

Available at The Russian Shop.

It comes in three colorways:

[Best white[3].jpg]best brownbest grey

Thanks to reader Kelly at Design Ties for first posting about this wallpaper.

October 14, 2010 at 8:58 AM 8 comments

“Do by self”

The favorite saying for my nephews and niece that are in the 2 1/2 to 3 years age range is, “do by self.”  Wether it is taking the cap off of bubbles or turning on the water for a bath, everything must be done by themselves!  Well since DIY is just that: do it YOURSELF, I decided it was high time, I didn’t squirmishly ask my husband to come in and save the day on a particular DIY project.

This DIY project was an Ikea desk.

To be fair, most DIYs, I do by myself, although some with about the skill of a newly independent two year old. However, when it comes to Ikea – I always turn to Graham.  I think he likes to flex his home improvement muscle every once in a blue moon.  And I have always enjoyed it when someone else will put out the sweat and tears, while I simply toss over a screwdriver every now and again.  But this is an all together different Ikea story…

Screwdrivers from Alice Supply Co

Yesterday, I took the thrilling drive over the bay bridge to Ikea, wandered the confusing maze of a store, picked out the perfect piece, searched rows of boxes for the correct box, haphazardly put the box containing my desk in one million pieces onto a rickety cart, stood in a line for days, paid an obscenly large bill for Ikea, brought my engorged car over to the loading zone, helped a man put a 150 pound box into the trunk, which he dropped on the tips of my fingers, and drove back home in traffic: all by myself.

Now folks, a solo trip to Ikea is hardly a topic to write about.  However, putting a desk together unassisted, now that deserves some writing (that and I can’t think of any other topics today).  It took me 5 hours, four swear word sessions, three “oh that’s what I did wrong” revelations, two bruised fingernails, one callous and zero helpers, to put the desk together.

Here is the Besta Burs desk in gray, which I’m using as a console for our dining room.  I didn’t use the chrome hardware because I thought it looked too industrial for the room.  The foo dogs will reside on top (with new lamp shades), our fancy wedding silver in the drawers and a painting will be hung above.

(Image taken with I Phone at night – please excuse the poor quality)

What I learned…Ikea didn’t just happen to mess up and put the holes in the wrong place – I was simply not doing it correctly.  If something was particularly difficult to screw in – I was in the wrong.  However, my biggest lesson learned is that it’s a serious pain to assemble Ikea furniture; so find someone else to do it and kindly offer to hand them the screwdriver when needed.  “Do by self” – ha – that’s something I got over at about 3 and a half.

Have you ever built Ikea furniture?

October 13, 2010 at 7:40 AM 17 comments

If I had a million dollars…

Remember that Bare Naked Ladies song, “If I had a million dollars?”  Can you tell that my interest in music ended about Senior year in high school since I always reference bad 90’s music.

Anyhow, I sometimes think of that song when I’m trying to decorate our new abode.  Of course, if I had a million dollars, I would spend it on a one bedroom in SF because sadly that’s about all it would afford.  However, if I had a million dollar budget for my living room, this is how I would design it:

Two of these custom Gregory Chairs from Revival Home and Garden would go on either side of the closet doors.

For a side table in between the two chairs, I would bring in some gold with this gold hourglass table from Pieces Inc.


I would have this sofa that is in Lawrence Bullard’s home custom-made.  It’s one of those sofas that I can’t ever seem to get out of my head – I love the detailing on the skirt.

For the bay window, I would add in custom seating, like the home of Summer Thorton Design


The seat cushion would be navy with the same color piping as in the accent chairs.

For the rug, I have to go Madeline all the way…I would do this Emma rug:

63 Emma Blue 735419 Madeline Weinrib Rugs

I would use the brown colorway; I actually do own the brown Emma rug; I bought it off of Craigslist and I had it professionally cleaned.  It looks good as new and it’s my baby.

For the pillows on the sofa, I would do two of these Ikat geometric pillows from Gore Dean:

Beige Way - Ikat geometric

I would do the Harlow Coffee Table from Bungalow 5


For the chandelier, I would call on fabulous designer and chandelier picker extraordinaire: Julia Edelmann to choose one for me, because she has an amazing eye.  I would let that be the element of surprise for myself.   For my personal pick for the room, I would go with this pink jade empire chandelier by Marjorie Skouras that is hanging in Julia’s showroom:

Could there be a better fit for my fabulous million dollar room?

For my books and keepsakes, I would have to do this bamboo etegere from 1st Dibs:

Faux Bamboo White Etegere

So far, my items have not been out of this world expensive for a million dollar budget.  I am going to spend it on art. For the art, I would go Rothko all the way.  I may go over my million dollar budget but wouldn’t be fabulous to actually own a Rothko?!

From the Tate Modern to my home it would go.

Lastly, to add in an element of wimsy, I would put this greyhound from Pieces Inc next to the sofa:


Perhaps, I would tie a Hermes scarf around his collar.

There you go, my million dollar room.

October 12, 2010 at 8:32 AM 3 comments

Faux Bamboo Club Chairs

Today, I am off to Santa Rosa (about an hour North of San Francisco) to pick up two faux bamboo chairs for $85.  I know, such a steal.  They will finish off the seating in our living room.  I am tempted to paint them white or to use imitation gold leaf paint but I first must pick out what type of fabric I’m going to use for the seat cushions.  They may just stay as is:

image 1994699784-0image 1994699784-2

I saw that Ballard Design makes cushion seats and if these cushions come in the correct size, I may use them which would be must cheaper then getting them custom done.

The latest Lonny Mag came out yesterday, which really made my Sunday complete.  I was thrilled to see a chair like my pair that I’m picking up today in Palmer Weiss’ home.

Prior to seeing this chair, I was considering painting my chairs with gold leaf paint and her chair pushed me further towards that decision.  But we’ll see…the fabric has a large bearing on what direction the chairs will go.  And I tend to change my mind all the time when it comes to our place.  Palmer picked this chair up at Monument in the Mission district in San Francisco which has beautiful pieces!  I’m also head over heels for Palmer’s little girls room…

Love the color choices, love the pom pom trim, love the lumbar pillows, love the photos above the bed, love the bedskirt trim.  Love it all!!  Check out her little girls’ playroom –

Love the grasscloth wallpaper, love the roman shade, love the artwork gallery.  Love, love, love.

Palmer lives in San Francisco, perhaps I will get up enough courage to ask her to coffee one day.

October 11, 2010 at 5:30 AM 1 comment

Secretary Before and After

As I’ve mentioned before, Eddie Ross is a genius at decorating, entertaining and revamping old pieces.  He is a constant source of inspiration.

Way back in 2008, I read about his transformation of an antique secretary.  While some of you may find painting such an antique a sin, I think it is liberating.  Sometimes, I’m so apprehensive about throwing some paint on a piece that has been around for a century.  But guess what?  In that century, the piece has become tired and it just needs a little facelift.

Watch Eddie play furniture surgeon here:



The New Face:

Exactly what I want!

Now I’m nobody’s fool when it comes to how much time and care it takes to revamp a piece like this.  Painting may seem relaxing at first but by day five with your back aching and your hand coated in paint, you really start to question why you ever signed up for such a stupid idea in the first place.  That being said, I figure it’s kind of like having a baby…it’s really hard work during the birthing process (and painting process) but once your done you’ll have something that you’ll love and cherish for the rest of your life (yes, I did just compare a newborn to a piece of furniture clearly I’ve lost my mind and I don’t know what I’m talking about).  For more details on Eddie’s secretary transformation, click here.

There are a bazillion antique secretary’s on Craigslist.  And I believe I picked out my victim….

I won’t feel so badly about painting something that appears to have been sitting in a barn.  Wish me luck on this DIY, if I pull the trigger.

October 7, 2010 at 7:11 AM 8 comments

Nathan Vincent

Today, I am honored to present to you the work of Nathan Vincent.  Besides absolutely loving his art, Nathan is incredibly friendly, genuine and hilarious.  He works in the medium of crochet, sewing and applique to “explore gender mediums and the challenges that arise from straying from the prescribed norms.”

Nathan likes to take typically masculine objects and create them using a typically feminine medium.  Like the wall of crocheted guns shown above, which I think would be a great feature on a loft wall for a bachelor pad.

Nathan had a tough time picking out a “favorite piece.”  But he said that if he had to choose at the moment it would be the lion head that he crocheted.  I love all three animal heads above.  I think they would be especially fabulous in a little kids room or above a fireplace.

This men’s urinal is great, complete with a pink sanitizer inside.  It gave me a chuckle to see a urinal crocheted.  Nathan is working on a large installation piece, based on a locker room, to be shown at the Bellevue Museum in Seattle in February 2011.

Nathan’s created a series of doilies which are sold in select Jonathan Adler stores.  The doilies explore both the “dandy/gentlemen” movement and the more violent aspects of masculinity.

Nathan first learned to sew in his fourth grade home ec class in Michigan.  He learned to crochet around age ten, when his mother taught him granny squares and it took off from there.  His pieces take incredible patience and mastery of the art of crochet, sewing and applique and I am in awe of everything that he has created.  I encourage you to learn more about Nathan Vincent at his website here.

October 6, 2010 at 7:38 AM 1 comment

Stationary Memories

One of the challenges and blessings of moving back home is the constant reminder of my dad.  There are many bittersweet moments when you lose someone you love.  Just this past weekend, we spent a wonderful Saturday night at my dad’s business partner of 30 year’s daughter’s wedding.  We sat at a table surrounded by some of my dad’s number one fans.  It was great fun telling and listening to stories about him.  While at the Flea Market on Sunday, I ran into one of his best friends from college onward.  He was wearing my dad’s hat and he was so happy to see me and I him.  We talked about dad briefly.

My dad (with his shirt off) one of his best buds, Bim (who I ran into on Sunday) and me (about to be told to take that thumb out of my mouth).

These moments are difficult but rewarding because there is nothing more that I like than to think of the good times with my dad.  If you ever feel compelled to tell me a story about him, I am all ears!!  Yesterday, a reminder of my dad greeted me at my e-mail inbox.  It was a posting by Katie Armor, of the blog The Neo Traditionalist, for stationary.  Funny that stationary would send me into a tailspin of tears, but it did.

This stationary pretty much sums up my dad’s loves, minus his Kaky (his nickname for mom), his family, his friends and his Imwalle red wine.

Ever the fisherman, he had all of us kids on the stream as soon as possible.  The first fish I caught was around the age of five, with my dad; I thought I did all the work with landing the fish, even though I’m sure that Dad did most of it.  When we had the fish in our hands, I looked at Dad and said, “Look Daddy, it’s a rainbow.”  I swear he thought I must be a genius because I had indeed caught a rainbow trout.  I will never forget how happy that comment made him.

Dad had a tradition of giving specific monumental gifts at certain ages.  Even though these gifts would seem like “boy” gifts, he insisted on also giving them to his little girl.  When you turned eight in my family, you got to go with Dad to Mel Cotton’s in San Jose for a pocket knife.  It was a very big deal!   I’ll never forget riding in the car with dad and planning out my pocket knife; I came home with a pink one that I still have today.

Dad was a top sider wearing man; the more worn out the shoes, the better.  When I was little I used to put my tiny feet inside them and clunk around the house, just loving to be in his shoes.  I now have my own worn-in pair of top siders as I continue to try to follow in his footsteps to a well-lived, well loved life.

My life is well lived as I am always saying yes to opportunities and experiences that come my way and that has made life all the richer.  It is also very well loved.  I am incredibly blessed to have you all as readers.  Your support and comments mean the world to me.  And I have the greatest group of friends locally and across the country.  I have the most amazing family that makes a world of difference to be close to again.  I have my hubby who got me flowers yesterday sensing my struggles with grief even though I hadn’t said anything about it to him; he knows me so well.  I am blessed and I thank each and every one of you for blessing me!

The flowers which I also pass on to you virtually as a thank you.

(Stationary is available at Gadabout)

October 5, 2010 at 8:16 AM 4 comments

Foo Dog Lamps

This past Sunday, I went to the Alameda Flea Market. What a massive place!

When wandering the stalls, I spied a great pair of vintage foo dog table lamps and I immediately fell in love. I was very happy that I picked them up; as I walked through the flea market with them, strangers kept complimenting them.  Luckily, I got there early, otherwise I think they would now be in someone else’s home.

A foo dog lamp made a recent appearance in June’s issue of House Beautiful.

Image via House Beautiful

Foo Dogs, which are also known as the celestial dogs or happiness dogs, are the ancient sacred dogs of Asia who guard buddhist temples.  They are thought to have protective powers in the home.  They are also very stylish and have popped up all over the decor world…see if you can spy the foo dogs below.

Designed by Domicile Interior Design

Designed by Erin Gates of Elements of Style

Image via Girl Meets Glamour

Image via Kitarita

Image via Kitarita

I was hesitant that foo dogs were too trendy and overdone.  However, since the first appearance of a foo dog is believed to have been sometime in the period of 208 BC and 221 AD, I don’t think I need to worry about trendiness.  The foo dog is not going anywhere.  And I like the unique look of a lamp.

If you would like your own lamp, here are some places you can pick them up:

Picture of Pair of Foo Dog Lamps

The Well Appointed House

Neiman Marcus

Foo Dog Lamps | Pair

Plantation Design

October 4, 2010 at 8:07 AM 10 comments

Happy Friday

Happy Friday!! What are you up to this weekend? I would love to know!

We are all booked up. Friday night I have a friend from high school and a friend from college in town; Saturday, we are going to my dad’s business partner’s daughter’s wedding (it will be at the beach in Aptos and beautiful); Sunday I’m headed to the Alameda Flea Market (can’t wait) and to a lunch for my father-in-law over at the Pelican Inn.

For those California-based readers, have you been to Pelican Inn? It is close to Muir Beach. I’ve only driven past it, but it looks like a lovely spot.

The Inn is a beautiful Tudor style building. I think once I step on the premises, I’ll believe I’m in England. They even have a pub.

How charming! Shepherd’s pie for me, please! Have you ever stayed there?

October 1, 2010 at 7:08 AM 4 comments

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