Today's Ideabooks
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Wisteria

It is always a good day in my house when I see that the folks over at Wisteria have posted new products on their site. The latest update did certainly not disappoint. While there seems an stronger than usual bent toward colonial and patriotic stuff, the items they have chosen still, do not disappoint.

The painted tramp art mirror, is without question, my favorite new piece. I am a big fan of this style, but painting it, gives such a fresh modern look, I can't wait to get one. Also the Moroccan chests in several colors, really caught my eye as well. I am a big fan of pink and with the bone detailing it really creates a very pretty cabinet. Lastly is the weather vane, with fourth of July, just around the corner I couldn't resist.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Garden

These are not the best images, and I promise to post more at some point, but as many of you know we have been working madly on the garden for sometime now. I thought I would post a few images. The one at the top shows what will become a wisteria covered outdoor dining room, but is actually an extension of the old garage.

The lower image shows the axis that runs from the Den to the back yard with an old Moroccan fountain right at the end (its a bit hard to make out in this picture. I am really happy with the results so far.... now its just about maintaining it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Resource Day: A Life Imagined

Today is a little bit of a different type of Resource Day, think of it a Resource for the Soul. Today the Resource is a website called A Life Imagined. First of all, in the interest of full disclosure, I need to say that Gilena, who is the author of this site is both a very close friend and a client, but that is not why I chose to write about this today. I chose this site today, because it is so inspiring to me, to read stories like this of people overcoming adversity in a very positive way, and coming out on the other side not as wounded birds, but as people who have learnt great life lessons.
So as a resource, I think this site is worth visiting, for no other reason than to see that with a little perseverance and a lot of positive thinking, you really can overcome almost anything that gets thrown at you. I will not give away the story (as I want to create enough curiosity that you go visit and read for yourself). I hope you enjoy it, and please leave her comments with your thoughts.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New from Oly Studio

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday morning is to sit at my lap top with a cup of coffee and scan through some of my favorite web sites and see what is new and interesting. A site that I haven't visited in a while is Oly Studio. They are the more value conscious arm of Ironies, out of San Francisco. So, shopping through Oly, you get all the benefit of the great designs of Ironies that have been re-engineered for a more budget conscious shopper.

I found on their site today some great stuff, particularly a Dining Room table that is stunning and a console table that I think is the perfect thing for what I need outside in my covered patio.

Take a look and see what else is there, let me know if I missed any gems.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I love Finding New Resources

Today was just one of those days, some stuff happened today that I will be able to reveal in the next few weeks, exciting times indeed! However, in the meantime I wanted to share a great resource that I stumbled across. I wish I could remember how I came across Factory 20, but now that I have found them, I will keep coming back.

They are an appointment only place in Virginia, but I can at least visit vicariously on the web till I get a chance to drop by. I hope you enjoy them too.

How beautiful is that stool?????

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thank You Crate and Barrel

Many of you read my Open Letter to Crate and Barrel that I wrote a few weeks ago, so you can imagine the thoughts that went through my head when my assistant told me that Vicki from Crate and Barrel was on the phone and wanted to speak with me. I felt a little like I was being asked into the principals office. Well, the conversation could not have gone better, and over the period of a few phone calls, I have gained even more respect for the way that this company does business. They were totally willing to listen to my concerns and be open about their plans, and I am pleased to say that we can probably expect a professional program in the not too distant future.

We also discussed some other ways that C & B can become a bit more designer friendly, I would suggest that making Mark Cutler the new face of Crate and Barrel, would be a great start...:)

I think it bears saying though that in this economy where success is defined by survival, developing partnerships and finding creative ways to form partnerships will help us all. So in light of that I wanted to say thanks again to all the folks at Crate and Barrel for listening to my concerns and being so gracious in their attempt to help. Bravo!

Chairs that you REALLY Must Have

I was hunting around last night for some interesting chairs....and look what I found! This set of black leather swivel chairs....beautiful! They are from a vintage store called City Foundry in Brooklyn.

A quick scout of the web site and I am sure you will find a bunch of stuff that will take your fancy, from Garden decorations to cool industrial era furniture. Not sure what the prices are like, but as the ad goes "4 jetson style, black leather swivel chairs....? Priceless!"

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pier 1 is my new Love Interest

I think I have probably spoken about this before, but there is always a great delight in coming across store and vendors that you have dismissed for any variety of reasons, and then rediscover them as if they were new. Well That is the case with Pier 1. They are usually off my radar, for any number of reasons, but this season, they have come up with some really cool outdoor pieces. The french wire table and chairs are great, and at a less than $200 are a bargain (compare similar at Anthropologie for almost $900!).

The colorful garden stools are great too, I like how cheery they look, and the pagoda umbrella is a not to be missed item.

LOL don't get me started on the no Internet sales ability, but at these prices I want to go to the store and see what else is there.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Outdoor Dining Table

I have been looking around for sometime now for a table for our new outdoor dining room. I recently came across these redwood picnic tables by Forever Redwood. They come in a huge varirty of sizes, and I am in love with the oldschool kind of feel of the traditional picnic table.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Open Letter To Crate and Barrel

Dear Crate and Barrel,
We, the designers of the world love you. We love that you bring quality design to the general public. We have even come to treasure your little sister CB2, with it's spunky attitude, fresh colors and unbeatable prices. The question I have is why do you not love us? 

As designers, we would love to purchase and specify your product more, but because you seem unwilling to offer us price considerations, we are often forced to look elsewhere. I hold you responsible for my fascination with William Sonoma home, and their easy to use Design Professional Program. The same can be said for pottery Barn, Smith and Hawken and almost everybody else in the field.....but not you.

You know that for most of us, our income is based on a cost-plus structure, but when the starting cost to me and the cost to my client are the same, you place me at a huge disadvantage. I like your product, and I am convinced that if this situation were to change my purchasing from you would alter dramatically, not to mention all of the other designers who feel like I do.

I would also like to think that we are fairly inexpensive clients to service, we know the product, we know what we are buying, there should be fewer costly returns....

Crate and barrel, I hope you hear me.  Thank you

Friday, May 15, 2009

A New Must Read

Hitting the bookstores this month is a new book by the people who bring you Metropolitan Home Magazine. It's called "Glamour: Making it Modern". I have to admit that I have yet to receive my copy but I am thrilled to say that I have been included among some of the other amazing projects. Thank You Metropolitan Home for all your support!!!

Please run out and grab a copy, and be sure to let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Affordable Art?!

Thumbing through past issues of Domino, I came across a small article on an art website called 20x200, so I decided to check it out. This virtual art gallery carries exhibition quality unframed prints available at three price levels.
For $20 you get one of an edition of 200 at 8-1/2" x 11"; for $200 you get a slightly larger version from a run of only 20, and for those interested in a (almost) one-of-a-kind... two very large renderings of the piece are sold for $2,000 each.
After setting my eye on a few prints I was contemplating buying for my hallway, I realized they go fast! I finally opted for the one below. The ordering process was simple, and shipping was less than $10. Now I can splurge on a great mat and frame! Check out the site at www.20x200.com.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Finding Inspiration in Art

You can find inspiration anywhere....where do you find yours?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Favorite Gas Stations

It's little wonder that Los Angeles has some of the best looking Gas Stations in the country, we are after all, one of the most car centric cities in the world. So I was reading the other day about this new station by Kanner Architects and it was such a fabulous combination of retro style and modern thinking.

I thought I would post two other images too of two of my favorite stations...get your fill!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lobmeyer Chandeliers and Sconces

Lighting is such an important part of any project, and there are always lots of options, but there are a couple of brands that I keep coming back to. One of them is Lobmeyer, an old company that has created some of the most iconic chandeliers of our time. They are responsible for those amazing pieces at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

I used similar ones in this project in a Dining Room in Los Angeles, I think its a great counterpoint to the rustic stone wall. Check out more of their fixtures on their website.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Have to Admit This is Kind of Hot

I am not sure why, but I was browsing through the Pottery Barn Teen website and came across this wall decal. I think it's very cool, I am doing all that I can to resist getting one.

Check it out at PB Teen

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Week Tips!

Since I am celebrating Earth Day all week, I thought I would pass on my favorite (and most simple) ways to be more GREEN at home... Some of these are so easy, you will wonder why you were not doing them already!
1. BYOB: Bring your own bag! I collect cute ones from my favorite eco-friendly stores. Keep them in your trunk so you will never be caught without them at the market.
2. Go Digital: Do you REALLY need to print that email?? Think twice and then decide. If you need directions or an address; instead of writing it down, email or text it to yourself and save a sheet of paper.
3. Buy Green: This week's Target mailer was full of products that are eco-friendly or made from recycled materials. If you are going to buy a product anyway, why not buy the greener version?
4. Unplug: Unplug those chargers! I know it seems convenient to leave them plugged in all of the time, but they are still using energy. Unplug them to reduce your energy consumption, AND your electric bill.
5. Use the China: It only takes a few minutes to wash a plate or pop it in the dishwasher.Next time, skip the paper plates and use that china. Washing dishes with a full load in the dishwasher is more environmentally sound then tossing out paper plates every day.
6. Bottle it up: Show your style with a to-go water bottle and a water filter. I have a bright pink bottle that I fill up from my Brita every morning. The new bottles are so fun, there is no excuse to use and then toss plastic ones that end up in a landfill.

Monday, April 20, 2009

An Art Happening

I have to admit that a lot of contemporary art leaves me a little cold. It seems that in the rush for intellectualism we have a lost a true sense of beauty, that can be so uplifting. So, it was a sense of skepticism that I attended this art happening. Some friends of mine had commissioned a Dutch artist to create a sculpture for their back yard. The premise is that this piece is delivered, then the air is sucked out, creating the art in front of you, simple enough huh?

I have to say it was an incredible moment as this huge metal box started to collapse, and after about 30 min the process was over, and what was left was this beautiful piece that seemed so organic and soft. Really amazing!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

i-Phone App for Book Lovers

I am famous for being hot onto yesterdays bandwagon, so for those of you who are totally tech savvy, you are probably going to be bored by this post, but for the rest of you, I have something you are going to love.

I am forever shopping, whether it be antique stores, swap meets , whatever, and I am constantly coming across books that I want to add to my library, but by the time I get to a pad and pencil, the title is long forgotten. I have tried lots of things, mental notes, cyber notes, but I think I have finally stumbled across an application that really works for me.

Snap Tell, lets you photograph the cover of the book, then using i-Phone magic, directs you straight to a link where you can buy it, or save the search, no typing in titles etc etc, it does it all from the photograph!!! I have tried it on a few books here at home and it's been perfect every time, so if you are like me and love to collect books, its an ideal application.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's Finally Done!

From That to This!! The Pasadena Showcase House finally opens tomorrow and awe are done!!

It was a lot of work as it always is, but boy was it worth it.The room looks great with some fun, unusual aspects that really make it pop. Here are a few things to look for:
  • Cow hide on the ceiling (for acoustic qualities)
  • Antique rug thrown casually over the sofa for a splash of color
  • Layering two rugs on the floor for added visual depth
  • A simple color palette that allows for seasonal change
There are other elements too but you will have to go and check it out for yourself. The showcase is open for a month starting this Sunday. Here is the link for more information: Pasadena Showcase

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thomasville... really?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this new (sorta-traditional/sorta-funky) Wessex wingback chair by Darryl Carter for Thomasville! Maybe it is the way it seems to reach out and hug you, or maybe it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland fairy tale furniture... i'm not sure, but either way I LOVE IT!
The rest of the collection isn't half bad either (think filler pieces)... check it out.

Finally A CFL We Can Love!

Finally GE has come out with a CFL which looks like a traditional bulb look. I really hate to see those "old fashioned"CFLs in fixtures where you can see the bulb and this is the perfect solution. Save the Planet, Save your Chic Decor!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

HGTV's Top 10

This is total self congratulations, but I am totally excited to see HGTV's Top 10 today. The episode on Outdoor Rooms has two of my rooms featured, and Margaret Russell called me "CHIC"!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Interview of a Color Maven

Recently I saw Kathryn M Ireland speak at Dan Marty Design during the PDC West Week and was really enthralled by her use of color and "found items". I also loved her room at the Greystone Mansion this past year, images of which you can see in Veranda Magazines dedicated issue from this past winter. Not only is she incredibly personable and very funny, as you can see her personal sense of beauty and design has a signature all her own! Here is an interview that I did recently with her:

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started as a designer?

I started designing by chance when years ago Steve Martin came to my house, loved it and asked me to help him find and design a house for him. Other people did the same and offered me to help them with their houses.

I am basically untrained except I took a course in college on textile and design, which btw, the only thing I really learned was which way the warp and weft went. I was the only one to sign up for the class and honestly did so because I was sure the teacher wasn’t going to show up… No such luck!

What is the most unique room you’ve ever designed?

I did a project for director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forest Gump etc.) He asked me for a ‘screening crypt.’ For it, among other things, I made a coffin coffee table and when you opened it up it had bright pink satin lining. You can just image Dracula popping out… he would have been very comfortable in there!

What is the most popular decorating style you are asked to design?

Comfortable and casual. My style is English manor meets French country meets Malibu beach.

Do you use a sketchbook, idea notebook, or inspiration board to explore new ideas?

Yes all of those, and also endless amount of photographs from my camera.

Have you ever been stuck in a “creativity rut”? How did you break out of it?

Every now and again, and I go to France and chill. Always works.

Where do you find inspiration for your incredible rooms?

All over the world. Also, where I’ve lived. I was lucky enough as a teenager to live in a Palladium Villa in the Veneto region of Italy. In fact, I’ve lived in everything from a Palladium Villa to a fisherman’s cottage to a cow barn; all inspirational.

What are the most popular colors or palettes you’re seeing this year?

I just concentrate on what I’m doing. I see what I want to see and I want to see color. My life is always full of colors.

What styles do you prefer in your own rooms?

Mixture, eclectic; a mixture of items that I love and have to have. It could be something Gustavian, French Rococo, Chippendale…or a piece of driftwood that I’ve picked up on a beach. If something has an innate quality, a beautiful quality, they all work together.

What room is giving you the biggest decorating challenge right now?

I’ve just been working on a project where we had a garage that we converted into a room. It went through many design planning incarnations; a disco, a gift shop—and now its a meditation room. It evolved after many ideas were considered.