Archive of ‘Uncategorized’ category

Dining Room Redo

Nearly every day I sit down in my living room and stare into the dining room, shaping it in my mind into the fabulous space I want it to be, knowing the reality of pulling it together is far, far away. The reason isn’t inspiration (I know exactly what I want to go in there) and it isn’t desire (I want to do it RIGHT NOW) but its budgetation (like my made up word?). Why can’t money grow on trees?

I would love Zuber paper. Alas, I am not living in the White House:


Or de Gournay. Alas, I am not living in this house:

Why must you forsake me, oh mural gods!

Instead, I’m wondering if I have it within me to do this:


Now, granted, it’s not to scale and I didn’t finish it, but…could I? Or is this just some sort of masochistic day dream? And while it would never look like Zuber of de Gournay (as if), what it might look like is my own art on my own walls with an awful lot of time, and artisanship, and love. And really, that’s what I’m always going for, whether for my clients or in my own home–something that says, “It’s me.”

Crazy or inspired?! Seriously, weigh in here, people. I’m split between ambition and reality check right now.


Dreaming of a lakeside summer

I once read an article (Southern Living, perhaps) where a group of friends purchased a closed down summer camp that had gone neglected for years and turned it into their own special summer retreat. Each lakeside bunk house was renovated into small private residences so that couples had their own space but with shared grounds, dotted with fire pits and seating areas in communal spaces so that gathering was easy. There may have even been a mess hall, but I’m not quite sure.

I remember reading that article and thinking it was the most brilliant idea and getting swept away in the dream of living small and simple, under warm sun and ample sky by the lake. Easy living with loved ones a stone’s throw away.

I was reminded of the article today when a friend shared an article on “Besties Row”, a series of micro-homes right next to each other outside of Austin, Texas. These best friends had built a lane of loyalty that was not only heartfelt, but now physically manifested with tiny homes all in a row.

Micro-home in Bestie Row

And it got me thinking about that summer camp again, and how much I’d love that. The love-deep-down-in-my-toes kind. The kind that starts a swelling in the center of my chest and pushes out until I’m bursting with the idea.

I can’t find the original article, but the idea from it was a seed, planting images of summers that would feed the soul.

I’m dreaming of a lakeside summer.

via poindextr blog

Dot & Bo and my honorable mention

Are you familiar with Dot & Bo? The online shopping service is a mix of all the things you love from design flash sale sites like One Kings Lane and Joss and Main, with fabulously curated interior decor pieces at even more fabulous prices, but unique in that you don’t have to buy the items RIGHT NOW BEFORE THEY’RE GONE!!! You can shop at your own pace, exploring the various collections that have been created by interior designers, and make thoughtful selections for your home without the mad push to buy before the sale is over.


They do a terrific job at offering dynamic, fresh, and most importantly, affordable design to all, as they say, “democratizing design” for everyone. And that, my friends, is something I believe in. Having a home that reflects your style doesn’t need to cost a lot. It’s about collecting things that truly speak to you.

But having a site that curates only the best stuff to choose from certainly doesn’t hurt.

Recently they held a design competition, looking for rooms that were reflected the style of the people that lived in them, titled #LiveYourStyle. And guess who’s room was one of 5 honorable mentions?! This chick right here!

It’s a privilege to be part of a great group of rooms and for my design to be recognized by others. This calls for a little bubbly (although if you know me you know I think everything calls for a little bubbly)! And while we’re drinking to my win, why not pop on over to Dot & Bo to do a little shopping with your sipping. I guarantee you’ll find something you love.



Franz Kline Inspiration

I’m an art fan of all mediums and have a penchant for pieces that tend to be dark and moody (I’m currently dying for Emma Bennett’s paintings and Jennie Prince’s photography). It’s that combination, as well as the bold, heavy lines and graphic appeal, that draws me so much to the work of American Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline.

Untitled-Franz Kline

Cardinal-Franz Kline

Untitled-Franz Kline

And I’m certainly not alone. In 2013, Kline’s “Painting No. 3″ fetched a whopping $2,811,750 at auction for Christie’s.

So what’s a girl to do when she’s lusting after original art that’s just a *smidge* out of her price range?

DIY, of course.

With a bottle of black, a bottle of white (Billy Joel, anyone?) and a little bit of burnt umber, I channeled my inner artist and went for my own version of a Kline original.

It's's Franz...well, let's just pretend, shall we?

It’s me…it’s Franz…well, let’s just pretend, shall we?

My Golden Pyrenees puppy Charlie kept me company as I painted away. When I was done, I stood back to stare at my master piece. As you can see, Charlie was thoroughly unimpressed.

But the fact is that anyone can try their hand at abstract art. All it takes is a little courage, a dash of gusto, and a big glass of “I-could-give-a-rat’s-ass”. I mean, it’s supposed to be abstract, not perfect. And if anyone asks, you were trying to convey “anguish and angst in equal parts”. Then take a sip of champagne with your pinky out.


It’s an Outlander Christmas Up In He’ya!

Most years I’d be knee deep in recipes having to do with brining and spatchcocking and stuffing balls around this time, but next week we’re heading to my sister-in-laws, who kindly is doing all of the heavy lifting instead, leaving me with an appetizer and pie to put together. Thank her kindhearted soul!

Not only does it take a load of stress off my shoulders, but I can wholeheartedly throw myself into Christmas inspiration and planning without the normal guilt I feel at decorating before the turkey’s been devoured.

You know, they say inspiration strikes anywhere, and let me tell you, strike it did! Like a lightening bolt.

Like Jaime Fraser (Sam Heughan) in Starz Original Series “Outlander” based on Diana Gabaldon’s books of the same name.

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser


If you are not familiar with Mrs. Gabaldon’s books or the television series, enjoy a few moments to bask in all it’s glory.

Shirtless Jamie

Oh my…

Oh, and there’s Clare, too.

Yeah, she’s pretty…If you like that chiseled, glowing, beautiful sort of thing.

But a third, and often forgotten “character” is the gorgeous Highland landscape of Scotland. I mean, it actually looks like the place fairies come from.

It’s like the land of FAIRIES, people!

Somewhere between Jamie’s sexy smirk, Clare’s…well, whatever Clare does, and the beautiful landscape, I decided this year Christmas would take on a decidedly Highlander-esque theme. And so I’ve been plotting and planning and searching for tartan like it’s on blue light special at KMart.

I’m inspired! Give me tartan, plaid, blue, and roses and let’s get Scottish up in here!

Scottish Christmas


What’s your Christmas style? Are you a “theme” person when it comes to your Christmas decor or do you keep it the same each year? There is something definitely to be said about keeping it the same; it nostalgic and reminds us of the memories we’ve built. But let me tell you, there’s also something to be said about Sam Heaughan in a kilt.

Happy inspiration!

Shopping Craigslist: Brass, Glass, and Fab, Oh My!

Some people spend their downtime watching t.v. or reading a book. Others might take the time going for a walk, communing with nature. And I do that stuff, I swear. But there is a siren that calls to me, that speaks to me in whispers about newly posted furniture and negotiating prices. It calls to me with its promise of finding the special…the unusual…the rare “free” find worth driving for.

That siren is Craigslist, and she owns a part of my soul.

Okay, maybe that’s stretching it a little but if you’ve read my blog before you all know just how much my little heart beats to the pitter patter of newly posted items. And let me tell you, yesterday’s trolling finds are AMAZING. I have a little list of items I regularly look for, and yesterday I focused on brass and glass, and boy did it deliver. So if you’re in the mood for a little flash and pizazz, a little “of the moment” look, take a stroll through these finds. And if you’re in Sacramento, get on these STAT before they get scooped up!

I’m gonna keep it real with you…I almost didn’t put this one in the post because I’ve been eyeing it for a while and it’s so fabulous and it’s kind of like “If I can’t have you NO ONE WILL!” But then I realized I don’t *think* I have the space for it and I figured I shouldn’t be such a virtual hoarder. This table is just gorgeous and well worth the $100 they’re asking.


And another one I didn’t want to share but told myself to let go of was this set of chairs. 6 for $60! Say what?! The table isn’t worth anything but those chairs, once reupholstered, would be like, BAM, SHIZAM, THANK YOU MA’AM! Just look at that wire curve in seat. LOVES IT!

While we’re talking dining room chairs, take a look at this set. I picture replacing the yellow fabric with a beautiful camel color leather. So pretty. They’re asking $200 but I’d see if I could get the price down a bit with the plan of redoing the seats.

This set is well worth the $40 price tag for the chairs alone. Imagine those is a navy or fushia! Gorg!!!

And this simple glass table is a wonderful foundation and would work with a bunch of different chairs (which you could easily afford with the $100 asking price).

While overpriced ($250? Should be more like $100) this table takes up the funk a notch.


I have a little mental list of items I consistently look for, and brass and glass is at the top. What about you? What types of things do you scour Craigslist for?


Lucky Number 600 of Pinterest!

There are literally thousands of people on Pinterest with gobs of followers, but my 600th follower is a big deal to me. Why? Because every single one of my fabulous followers is an authentic one. I have not offered them a prize, traded a follow for a follow, or offered any other type of incentive. Basically, each and every fabulous person that follows me on Pinterest does so because they value the content I share and like my perspective and I can’t tell you how much that warms my heart. I love Pinterest, but I love that there are people in the world who I connect with based solely on our creativity and love of life. That, my friends, is awesome in the very best way.

And if you’re not following me on Pinterest, come and take a peak! I post a bunch of recipes, crafts, design, clothing, travel…basically all the best things in life!

Rockin’ Geology Party

I’ve got a seven-year old on my hands, people! How did this happen? I’m far too young to have such a big kid already, right. Right?

Alas, ’tis true. And right now my girl loves all things geological. As her current hobby of choice, rock collecting naturally lent itself to rock-sharing and hands-on exploration at her birthday party. With actually rock specimens to study as well as fun rock-themed activities, the kids had a great time learning and celebrating the birthday girl.

I started with cute (and free) rock and mineral images from this source  and built her invitations and all the paper goods from there. Let me be honest with you, I am no pro when it comes to swanky artistic software. All my stuff is created in good, old-fashioned Microsoft word. But I love the way the invites and info cards all turned out.



Next, I created image cards to build a pin board. The pin board served as my backdrop to all of the amazing rock specimens my fabulous neighbor, Mary, lent us. It pays to live across the street from a geologist!

opalcard amethystcard setup1

And the rock specimens really were amazing. I had a serious case of geological envy. Kinda wanted them to stay…permanently.

rock3 rock2 rock1

Snacks were deceptively easy. I always fret over this one. Keeping it real; I’m not a big fan of party snacks. While I love to eat them, trying to find a cute way to tie them into your party is usually a bit much for me. But I came across this awesome lesson plan on making geological soil strata and decided to adjust it to meet my needs. I created a “Soil Strata Snack” and the kids went in a circle, filling a clear cup with snacks that represented the layers of the earth/soil. It was great in that all I had to do was empty stuff into bowls and the kids got to “make” their own snack. That’s a win right there on my part, people!

soilsnack soilsnack1


Then we had the kids hit up stations. This was the fun part (outside of decorating…y’all know I love to decorate). We had a rock exploration station where kids got to look at and handle different rock specimens.



I made reference cards and mini field note journals where they could write down and draw their observations.



And a rock dig area. I bought a large bag of tiny tumbled rocks, spray painted some larger rocks into “gold nuggets” and let the kids go to town trying to find them all in our sand pit. This was a big “time” hit in that the kids spent quite a bit of time here. I actually plan on doing this again with the girls, just to give them something to do outside.

rock dig


There was a “Pet Rock” station, where garden rocks were transformed into best friends.

Petrock girlspainting


And the coolest station; the Radioactive Station. My wonderful neighbor/geologist, Mary, brought over special rocks that glow under a black light. We turned one of our coat closets into the radioactive room and the kids went in four at a time to see them.



Another big hit at the party was the cake. I made an amethyst geode cake. I looked like a baking goddess.

I’m a fraud.

Yes, I baked and decorated the cake, but it doesn’t get much easier than a bundt cake made from boxed funfetti cake mix and dyed purple, butter cream frosting dyed gray, and purple rock crystal candy. It does, however, look much harder. Again, a win in my opinion.



All in all, the birthday girl had a “rockin” good time (sorry, I couldn’t skip a pun opportunity) and her friends enjoyed celebrating with her.

And I enjoyed watching my baby girl get just a bit bigger…but not too big. I’m not ready for that.





Moving: Tips and Tricks

We’re moving! I can hardly believe it myself, especially given that we weren’t actively looking. I, however, have a serious obsession with what I affectionately have termed “real estate window shopping”. It goes a little something like this; me sitting on the couch with the laptop, scanning Redfin and my local MLS, plugging a multitude of criteria combinations and seeing just what I *could* get in my dream areas if I could ever convince my husband to move. Once I’ve spotted a gem, I turn to said husband and exclaim, “Look at this gorgeous turn-of-the-century farm house!” to which he inevitably asks two questions, 1) how much, and 2) where’s it at, knowing fair and well it will be 1) stratospherically out of our price range, 2) somewhere far, far, away, or 3) in a neighborhood I wouldn’t leave my bike in. “But it’s got amazing potential,” I opine, to which he chuckles and flatly ignores me in favor for whatever is on t.v.

To be fair, he moved an awful lot as a kid and as such, is not too excited at the idea of moving yet again. I moved often as well, but to me it was always an adventure, an opportunity for new possibilities.

So I nearly choked when I found a beautiful home, in a fabulous area, that was…wait for it…within our price range! I quickly employed the help of one of my best friends, who just so happens to be a real estate agent. We made plans to go see it, the husband begrudgingly, the two of us excitedly, because I knew for him this house would be a game changer. Yes, it needed some cosmetic updating to make it more like “us”, but it was practically turn-key, which is a must for the husband. And it was built in the 80’s. The 1980’s. That alone, I think, was the selling point to him (homie has an obsession with the 80’s something fierce).

Within a two-day period we were in contract on the new house AND on our home. It’s been warp speed ahead since.

So now comes the worst part of moving; packing. I HATE packing. But I’m way too frugal (read: poor) to pay for a moving company to pack our stuff so it ends of being he and I after the kids are in bed, night—after night—after night. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, I’ve been trolling the web and asking friends for packing tips and I figured I’d share some, just in case you too find yourself suddenly buying a house and trying to figure out how to stuff it into a single truck like a tetris game.

Tip #1: Bag You Clothes

via Renaee Sowe

This one is from my friends Ashley and Jessica: Instead of folding and boxing your clothes, cover several hanging pieces with a large black trash bag. Pop a hole in the middle of the sealed in end, thread your hangers through, and toe the bottom in a knot. Now they’re protected and you can lay them down in the trunk of your car or hang them from your hand rails in the backseat.

Tip #2: Pack You Books in Rolling Suitcases

This prevents the weight of your books from tearing your boxes and makes them easy to move without breaking your back. My problem is I have way more books that suitcases, but I’m using this tip for the heaviest ones.

Tip #3: Create a “Packing Caddy”

via Kristy at

Gather all your packing items together (scissors, tape gun, Sharpies, etc) and put them into a caddy with a handle. That way everything stays together, can transport easily from room to room, and your not constantly asking your spouse where the (fill in the blank) is.

Tip # 4: Wrap Your Furniture/Mirrors in Saran Wrap

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="349"] via Rocky Mountain Movers

This may seem a bit of an overkill, but it will save you many tears shed over Great Aunt Trudy’s chair that now has an oil stain on it. Put an X of tape over your mirrors to help protect them from shattering and wrap your furniture in saran wrap. You’ll thank me for this later.

Tip #5: Eat Your Food

via For Rent

I know this sounds silly, but stop shopping for food a week or two prior to the move and make an effort to eat all that you’ve got. Nothing is worse than a refrigerator filled with food you need to toss. Or trying to borrow enough ice chests to move it all.

Tip #6: Use Soft Items as Space Fillers

I have finally found a purpose for all of the damn stuffed animals my girls have! Stuff them around your more fragile items to protect them in the move. This works not only with stuffed animals but also throw pillows, towels and blankets.

Tip #7: Take a Photo of Your Cords

You know all of those cords that make your life function, like the t.v. cords and the internet cords? Then you also know the jumbled mess they make once disconnected. Save yourself the frustration of trying to reconnect them through trial and error and take a picture of them plugged in.

Tip #8: Use Wine Bottle Cases for Your Glassware

Okay, I might be outing myself here, but wine cases aren’t very hard to find around my house. The cardboard dividers are great protectors for glassware, so re-use those babies!

Tip #9: Tape screws/anchors/picture hangers to the backs of art and furniture.

via Instructables

If you have to dissemble your table for moving, it’s a quick search to find the nuts and bolts that put it back together when they’re taped to the underside of the table top. Same goes for art…and anything else requiring small parts to hang up or put it back together.

Tip #10: Pack a First Night Box


I need to thank Pinterest for this one. I’d never thought of a first night box, but it totally makes sense. After spending all day packing, and unpacking, most of us just want a shower an a good night’s sleep. The first-night box makes this easy. Everything you need for that first night; sheets, pjs, toothbrushes, face lotion, it all goes into the box.

Hope these help. I’ll be making the big move in two weeks and as I’m putting all of these tips into action I can tell you they really will save you time, money, and an awful lot of work. If you’ve got any other tips I should know about, please share! I’ll take all the help I can get.

Speaking of which, what are you doing two Saturdays from now? Cuz if you’re bored, I’ve got a job for you.




San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase Review and Thoughts

I spent Memorial day weekend enjoying family and friends and the treasure that is the San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase. The 37th annual showcase took over 3660 Jackson Street, a stunning 9,000 square foot mansion built in 1907 for the Sutro family and purchased last year for a cool $18 million.

via Bartlett Real Estate

A decorator’s showcase is an opportunity for designers to show their work, but also a chance to push boundaries, and the San Francisco Designer’s Showcase was no exception. There was A LOT of personality and boundary pushing going on this year. If last year’s collection was more about designing livable, artistically inspired spaces, this year’s was all about design as art… with much less emphasis on the livable part.

My appreciation tends to fall into the prior camp, and as such, it was some of the smaller rooms that really worked for me. A stand out was Regan Baker’s little boy’s room, which had a world-traveler vibe. Using the original linen wallpaper, she transformed the space into a 4-year old’s dream with a tented bed that expands to fill the entire room. And lining the closet with a world map was a stroke of clever genius. Plus she was super sweet to boot!

via Patricia Chang at SF Curbed

“Lily’s Pad”, a pre-teen room designed by Tineke Triggs, was darling (although I could have done without the splatter paint ceiling), but it was the restroom that was the star. With a lacquered vanity, brass mirror and fixtures, and beautiful Moroccan inspired tile work, it offered a glamorous little retreat for any teenage girl.

via Patricia Chang for SF Curbed

And while we’re on the topic of bathrooms, I felt like there were some clever design ideas going on. For instance, Jaime Belew used a creative approach in her master bathroom by creating a shower surround that showcased the space and brought in architectural detail. And her cat print with goldfish below was a witty remark in an otherwise formal setting.

via HGTV

Also, the small sitting room off the main entrance bathroom was a sumptuous space, harking back to the days of formal waiting rooms where one could “touch themselves up”. It felt very glamorous.

via HGTV

The kitchen, House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year, was not my style, but had several very cool ideas to take away. It was entirely black (mmm…no me gusta), but the herringbone tile pattern was chic, as was the massive fig tree on the counter. I also thought the idea of side-by-side ovens was genius for those who don’t have the wall space for double stacked ones, and the led mini light strips on the inner facing of the glass cabinets was so smart! You have great lighting that isn’t obstructed by shelving as you would if it were lit from the top.

via Patricia Change for SF Curbed

I think one of the most serene and smart spaces was actually the potter’s shed. Designer Randy McDannell incorporated equal measures of form and function, each choice made to create a feeling of bringing the outdoors in while also making sure the space was actually usable for it’s purpose. Bravo to that!

via HGTV

A few other design highlights include the cow hide gold flecked rug in the entry, the table setting and superb tailoring on the formal dining table (the wallpaper was AH-MAZ-INg, but original to the space), and the outdoor concrete sofa (it was heated—perfect for foggy mornings and evenings).


Unfortunately, some of the spaces just didn’t work for me.

The foyer and sitting vestibule by Jane Richardson-Mack and John Romaidis was a miss. While I loved the color palette, the styling and fabric choices felt cheap to me.

Also, the music room by Steve Henry and Michael Booth of BAMO just didn’t work. There were major issues with scale and styling. But the light fixture was cool, so I guess there’s that.

And don’t get me started on the “artist’s retreat”. It may be one of the laziest designs I’ve ever seen. I will never be sold on the idea that paint splattered all over subflooring  and tacking burlap to the walls as drapery are “creative choices”.

via Sally Kucher for SF Curbed

All in all, I enjoyed my time perusing the spaces and getting some ideas to incorporate into my own designs. I will also say that I know it’s much easier to arm-chair judge when one isn’t confronted with the actual work, so a big kudos is in order for all designers for stepping up to the task.

However, burlap tacked to the walls as drapery never works. Like, ever.



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