Friday, December 11, 2009

All That Glitters...An Inexpensive Holiday Decor Update

Among the gifts of frankincense and myrrh that the wisemen brought baby Jesus was the precious metal of gold.  Add to that silver, copper, platinum and a shiny champagne sparkle and you've got one of the hottest trends in interiors and fashion today.  If you like the traditional reds and greens, adding some metallic accents will update the look without buying all new decorations. 

Several weeks ago, I went to a holiday decorating seminar put on by Keller's Gift store.  For the second year in a row, they brought in a designer from New York who works for a major importer.  If you are familiar with FrontGate catalog, he is responsible for their beautiful pages and covers.  He showed many ideas using metallics as a way to add punch to your current decor and I'm going to show you some ideas below to add some sparkle to your holidays.  This trend started last year and will stay strong for the next year or two.

Spray paint pinecones and nuts with silver/gold

In researching this popular trend, I found ornaments readily available at department stores, Home Depot, Target and much to my surprise, The Dollar Store had copper, champagne and silver ornaments.  For $17 dollars I bought enough to update my tree that I use burgundy and cream ornaments on with some champagne colored sparkle.  I'll try and post a picture of my bargain update!

This is a wreath featured on Martha Stewarts website.  By embellishing a live wreath with eucalyptus and silver ornaments, this could go with anything.  Red or white dishes would look great with this.

Grouping your collections together gives them more of an impact, like this display of mercury glass that is really a great trend right now.  Mercury glass and reproductions are enjoying tremendous popularity again.  It contains neither mercury or silver but a silvering formula.  Discovered in early 19th century Germany it became a substitute for real silver and was known as "poor man's silver' in England.

Gold and copper ornaments mix with green and play off the stain of the hardwood floors and the piano.

Add sparkle to a tabletop with metallic ornaments and some candles.

You can 'warm' up silver by using some wood, natural materials like nuts and textures.

This picture is from PomPom Interiors and would look great in a guest bath.

This tree is ablaze with twinkle from white lights and crystal ornaments...a beautiful contrast to the green tree, the wood paneling and the gifts wrapped in white.

                   Add some sparkle with these crystal accents...they will literally go with any color!

Last three images from Pottery Barn

This christmas I wish you peace and give my heartfelt thanks for your comments on blog posts that have inspired or helped you with a design dilemma.  I'm excited about a new year and a new decade...have a joyous christmas season!

P.S. Christmas is in two weeks...yikes!  I will be posting some more inspiration throughout that time.

Happy Designing


Friday, October 23, 2009

My Fall Decor

I love everything about Fall...the colors, the scents (I always go for spice scented candles), and the leaves turning color. I love autumn food; soups and bread especially. Instead of living life on the patio I start this whole cozying up the nest thing.
It's not as dramatic a change here in California as it was when we lived in Washington. Here it's the subtle changes you have to pay attention to. It still may be 75° degrees out, but the mornings start out cool and crisp and the days end that way too. The leaves change or just get tired and fall off from exhaustion. So inspired by Julia at Hooked on Houses and her Fall House Tour, I'll give you a peek at how I celebrate the season in my home (disclaimer...I am not a photographer).

Come on In!!!

This console table is just inside my front door. I love all the colored pumpkins, especially the blue green ones!

To the left when you walk in is the living room but I have put my dining room table there.The ceilings are 25 ft tall so I can put really tall things on top of the armoire.

I've used an outdoor window planter, a wine bottle crate and the stick bundles that I got at Pottery Barn a couple years ago to dress up the armoire. At christmas, I open the armoire door, empty everything out and we create a winter wonderland with our Christmas village.

This is the family room that is adjacent to the kitchen and here is the most comfortable sofa in the world. Someday when the decor is not determined by kids, dog, cat, watching ballgames, etc., I will have a linen covered sofa...sigh. The table I painted and covered the top with cork and a round glass tabletop.

I am loving sparkly things right now and especially glass jars of all shapes and sizes.

I generally like the mantle to be simple, not a lot of clutter. Some candles, berry garland, some greenery and of course a stack of pumpkins.

This corner to the left of the fireplace is totally DIY. I spray painted the chair and recovered the seat. I also spray painted the lamp shade and added the trim around the bottom. The table topper is burlap to add some texture. I cut a square and removed threads to create about a 1" fringe border. The candles in the basket are wrapped in upholstery strapping from Joanne Fabrics.

I love this pumpkin plate!

So that's a little peak from my house to yours. Hope you enjoyed the tour and if you've got pictures of your Fall decor send them and lets share what we love about this harvest season.

Happy Designing,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sister Love, Design Above All and k.d. Lang

I am blessed to have three awesome siblings; one brother and two sisters. For the past 20+ years, my sisters and I have been getting together for "Sisters Weekend." The weekend has evolved to fit schedules and life changes, a child being born, birthdays, employment status and significant others coming or going but it has always centered around the three of us spending time together for a full weekend of uninterrupted talking, laughing, crying if necessary and last but not least, eating and drinking wine. We live in three different states now and rotate each year which one of us will be the "hostess with the mostest." The last weekend of September has become our weekend to gather every year and this year it was my turn to host. With one sister coming from Medford, OR and one from Las Vegas we arrived in San Francisco to stay at the Stanford Court Hotel. In previous years we have hit wine country in both Napa and Sonoma, hiked in Zion National Park, hit the casinos, the spa and the dance floor. We have even spent a weekend in Sisters, OR. This year however, we purposely kept the intinerary loose, with some ideas in mind but nothing that tied us to being anyplace at a certain time.

We checked in, got settled, picked the brain of our bellman/concierge about places to eat and headed out. After two suggestions that didn't pan out (another whole blog topic), we ended up at a piano bar in the Huntington Hotel for appetizers and yes, you guessed it, a glass of wine.

It was elegant, cozy and just what we were looking for...someplace we could chat and catch up. So with the piano playing in the background we found a table and sat down. I pulled my chair up to the table and glanced next to us as the tables were really close together. Imagine my surprise when I recognized k.d. Lang with two friends not four feet away. After some whispered discussion, we decided it truly was her. All three of us love her voice and felt like we had truly ended up exactly in the right place at the right time! Her music was our soundtrack for the rest of the weekend. What a way to begin Sisters 2009.

One of the things I had on my "to do" list while in San Francisco was to visit an ongoing Designer's Showcase at One Rincon Hill called Design Above All. The sisters were game so on Saturday morning our first stop was to the South of Market (SoMa) district. Design Above All is in collaboration with the San Francisco Design Center and involved four designers each showcasing a condominium on the 53rd floor of this beautiful urban building. Each designer was given a client scenario and a budget to work within.

This is one view looking across the Bay Bridge toward Oakland

The units were all approximately 2000 sf. with three bedrooms and two baths. Two designers changed the floorplans and reconfigured rooms and two worked within the original layout. Most designer showhouses are traditionally one large home where a designer is assigned a specific room or area. It was very interesting to see what each of the designers did with a whole living space. And let me tell you, this is no ordinary living space. You cannot implement a design plan without taking into consideration the views...they were unparalleled and breathtakingliy beautiful on the clear blue sky day that we were there. I think the view would be equally as stunning with the fog or a storm coming in over the Golden Gate Bridge.

From their website

As a designer, a huge challenge would be in softening the impact of all that glass but still enhancing those views.

One Rincon Hill is a 64-story building with a weather beacon at the top. It is the first in the Bay Area and stands on the same site as the old Bank of America clock tower (prior to 1993 it was the Union 76 building). Natives and visitors alike can look to the tower for the local weather forecast. Building amenities include 24 hour doorman, concierge, full service valet parking, club-quality professionally equipped fitness center with steam rooms and showers, spacious hospitality room with high-definition DVD theater and catering kitchen for hosting gatherings, full-size outdoor pool with beautifully landscape garden desk, gourmet barbeque area, and reflecting pool with infinity edge. This is not just a building to live in but a complete living experience.

If it is not your style but you would just like to take a peak from the 53rd floor of a high rise condominium, pretend for a moment what it might be like as you look at the pictures below. We had a great time going through each unit, picking our favorite rooms and views. It's only an elevator ride away to a completely different lifestyle...enjoy!

These first images were by Leslie Bamburg of design firm Labexperiment. Her project description was for a single Google executive. He enjoys computer games and skateboards but also has a refined taste in wine, food and culture.

Kitchen with bridge view

Notice the bar stools...they had stormtrooper backsides on them

Master bath with beautiful mosaic was quite large.

Master bedroom with a padded wall behind the bed
stenciled with a crab...not quite sure about that!

I took this picture which shows a closeup. I do love the color scheme...the headboard and the
orange throw add a nice warmth to the cool grays.

This designer is Eugene Anthony and Associates. His project description was for 50-something empty nesters moving to live in the heart of the city. This is one of the units where walls were moved. A library and fireplace were added and the space became a kind of Paris-meets-Manhattan. It had black ebony flooring and very cool wall coverings.

Beautiful sofa and pillows that face the fireplace.

This chandelier was exquisite Swavroski Crystals. Imagine dining at night with the crystals
overhead and the twinkling lights of the city out the windows.

We all loved this bathroom. The mirror is actually a modern contrast to the console and sink.

The next unit was done by the architectural firm of Carver+Schicketanz, designers Mary Ann Schicketanz and Carissa Duncan. The project description was for a couple downsizing from a large suburban home to a smaller urban residence. Interior walls were removed to create a master suite with sitting room.

Walls were moved to create the entryway...using the large mirror expands the space .

Hall bathroom...sorry about the flash. I also like to use a small lamp on a vanity if there is room.

Columns add architectural detail...notice the balcony through the window

The fourth unit was done by Donald Joseph Inc., designers Donald Fugina and Karen Calija. The project description "incorporates modern organic sophistication...characterized by beautiful finishes and furnishings..." It had a "Creative Room" with a floating glass desk and a walk-in closet that held the owner's guitar collection.

One of the most exquisite rooms was the master bedroom with the floating backlit hand-blown glass panel headboard.

These pictures do not do it justice!

This unit truly was about using natural elements...My sister Kelly and I want to recreate

this for one of her bedrooms!

Uplit with rope lighting

My beautiful sister Patti sitting on a cork couch...really! It was soft as butter!!

One last view of the city by the bay...

We had a great rest of our weekend. Next year is Las Vegas...I should be able to come up with some hot "must see" design happenings to check out by then! But for now if you live in N. California and want to see Design Above All, here is the info:

Design Above All
Sept. 19-November 1, 2009

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays

Tickets are available at the door

$20 (includes valet parking)

425 First Street, San Francisco

Ticket price goes to three charities, so it's tax deductible!

Each of these units is $3.4 - 3.6 million and that's why they call it a million dollar view. They are totally furnished as you see them...move -in ready! Want to make an offer?

Leave me a comment and tell me what you think...

Happy Designing!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Seasons Change...Time to Reconnect

Did you hear it last Tuesday? It was that collective sigh across the country as the last kids headed back to school. Over the past month, as families have adjusted their schedules back to a more structured schedule (maybe); we're more apt to be caught up in the who's doing what, when, where and how are they getting there. The Halloween displays have been up for two weeks already and can Christmas be far behind? So stop...take a breath...aaahh. Now wouldn't it be nice to have some nice chat time with a friend or two. Nothing fancy. Just a chance to reconnect and catch up!

Maybe just coffee and donuts...

September has some of the best weather of the year

How about something outdoors...

Not too much fuss...just add some fall leaves or pumpkins

or a beautifully aged picnic table works

Use what you have...these oranges could easily be small pumpkins
to get the same pop of color or some green pears would be
beautiful too!

So send an email or text (or maybe call them) to a few of your girlfriends.
The ones you know will appreciate a break from the routine but won't
expect your best linen and crystal, unless you want to use them of course!
Share a couple of hours catching up, venting and celebrating all the reasons
why you're friends in first place.

And just to get in a few design tips, here are three projects from that will enhance any fall decor and the girls will be so impressed that you're channeling your inner the pumpkin chandelier!

Cornhusk Votives
Outdoor Bouquet

Pumpkin Chandelier

How fun would it be to include your friends and make one of the projects get to laugh and have fun and each go home with something beautiful. Email them the supplies list and provide some snacks and munchies and spend quality time catching up and being creative!
Spending time with the girls...priceless
Happy Designing,

Friday, August 14, 2009

House Beautiful...Beautiful Color Inspiration

I may have said this before but I have an addiction. Those of you who know me well are probably thinking "well, we knew she liked wine", well yes, I do like wine but that's not it. It's magazines. I'd like to say it goes with the job. I use them for inspiration and to keep up with everything design, but that's just the excuse I need to enable my habit. My husband John tells me I need a twelve step program and although one of the first steps is admitting you have a problem, I don't think I do. It is true that most of my subscriptions are for shelter magazines and I do have to help out my niece every year when her school is selling subscriptions (it's my duty as an aunt!). But keeping up with my, um, problem has been really difficult recently because four of my favorites (Domino, Cottage Living, Home Companion and Country Home) have all gone under, as in bye bye, no longer arriving in my mail box or waiting for me at Barnes and Noble. The publishers have replaced them with things I wouldn't normally subscribe to and that does give me something to thumb through while waiting for my favorites. So imagine my joy when i saw the new House Beautiful; ah, the Fall Color Issue; and they have truly outdone themselves. It is full of the most beautiful photography and color filled rooms that I paged through from front to back in about 20 minutes and then had to go back through for another look. I don't love every room but what I love is the genius in showing what can be achieved with color in a room.

One of my favorite parts is the middle section (pgs. 94-95) titled "What is Your Color Personality?" It has lists of inspirational books on color, a numerology key to your color personality (a little weird), designers to Google if you love color and iPhone Aps to download.
But the most fun part is color quiz on the very last page. You don't have to turn the page upside down to see the answers because there are no right or wrong ones. It is just meant to get you thinking about color and how it plays a part in your life. So here are the questions and my answers but I challenge you take the quiz and see what your answers would be.

1. What's the first color you seen in the morning? Lots of sunlight and Ralph Lauren's Linen paint on the walls, cut 50%.

2. What color are your eyes? Hazel but sometimes green depending on what I'm wearing.

3. What color do you wear the most? Green or Black

Allison Paladino/House Beautiful

4. What color do you never wear? Tan/Beige...makes me look washed out.

5. What color do you wear when you want to feel sexy? Black of course!

6. What color gets you the most compliments? Apple green and Pink/Fuscia

7. What color is your lipstick? I always seem to pick the same shade of pink/brown, I wear the same Bobbi Brown lip gloss usually. I'm in a rut!

8. What color was your living room when you were growing up? I can't really remember...Mom? Maybe beige.

9. What color was your bedroom when you were growing up? First lavendar and then pink...

10. What color are your sheets? Cafe au lait

11. What color was your favorite crayon as a child? Blue and we did a lot of coloring!

12. What color is your car? Technically it's called Winestone but it's maroon. I like this one!

13. What color was your prom dress? Peach, I think and I hope there's no evidence to prove me right!

14. What's your favorite gemstone? Diamonds are a girls best friend!!!

15. What is your favorite flower? Peonies and then roses...(lavendar, sunflowers, coneflowers...)

16. What color makes you happiest? These ones...

17. What color depresses you? Army green...nuff said.

18. What color calms you? Aaaaahhhh!

19. What color makes you grind your teeth? Hhmmmm, when I first moved out I painted my room a hideous royal blue. Not a good experiment!

20. What color would you like to try, but are scared to? Black! I'm not scared exactly, it's just such a commitment.

These two rooms could make me lose my fear of commitment...I love them!

Images by Rob Southern/HouseBeautiful

So now it's your respond all you have to do is click on the "comment" link at the end of this post. Choose which browser you want to use and let me know how color plays a part in your life.

Happy Designing...