Sunday, December 23, 2012


Happy Holidays!

I hope you are able to enjoy some time with your families this week!  I am excited to see my sister and her family as well as my brothers and their families.  We have such fun with "cousin time," as we call it.  The kids hang out, hit the beach (I know, but we live in Southern California), go on a ferry ride, make crafts- and eat!  We have lots of laughs.  Ok, a few tears, but what is cousin time without a few cousin fights:-)

I wanted to share a part of an install I just squeaked out on Friday!  This is a Christmas surprise for four kids ages 10-16, so I can't share it all yet!  My client had just purchased a big TV, but other than that, I was able to start with a blank slate.  

We wanted a cozy, but interactive space, so the kids could hang out.  I had a yummy chocolate velvet sofa made, orange poufs flown in from Morocco,  some awesome chairs upholstered in an indestructible, pleather (OK, faux ostrich skin) , with rockin' nail heads and very strong casters and a Murphy bed designed to be adorable as well as accommodate those fun guests!  Everything was custom- in a great way!  One of my favorite things that I had made was this backgammon table by Oomph!  It is a painted in a "Club Navy" lacquer and it is sooo fun!  

Here is the backgammon table with one set of pillows:

In this photo, you can see the navy a bit better.

I definitely love these pillows I had made better:)

Do you see the adorable blue and white on the game board too?  Love, love!

Here is a quick pre-accessorized Murphy bed/display shelves.  I don't think it looks too bed-ish!  I loved repeating the diamond shape I used in the pillows:

Back to Oomph...If you are not familiar with Oomph, you must visit their website.  I could have everything they sell on their website in my own house!  The offer customizable furniture in the most amazingly fun colors.  Here are the colors you can have furniture painted.  I actually went and visited them in New Canaan, Connecticut over Thanksgiving so I could visit the precious backgammon table! 

The first thing I said when I arrived was, "SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!"  Literally, I had to shut the front door so I could take a picture of it.  Have you ever seen a cuter door?

Here is a little vignette with their new sconce on top of their Palm Beach Demi-Lune table.  I just ordered two for another client and can't wait to see those!!

Look at the fun colors on some tables they had in the offices.  They were just determining some new hot colors...I see plum in their future!

Had to buy some Oomph candles!

 Some Christmas red?

An adorable "Tini" table as they call them.  Aren't they cute and teeny??

 Love the quatrefoil shape.

 Seriously?  Could the shapes be any more adorable?

Another vignette of fabulosity.  This is in their foyer.

 Oh, did I mention they offer pillows in some of my favorite fabrics?

 Another new sconce.  The clean lines and the gold are wonderful.

 My daughter wants this set up- complete with the pillow and candle in her room!

 Can I say STOP the madness?

I just wanted to wish you happy Omph-tastic holidays!!  Hope you have a ton of rest and fun!


Thursday, November 29, 2012


Nooks and Crannies

Sometimes it is the little things- or little spaces that are the most fun to design.  They are the nooks, the crannies, the spaces that are often overlooked.  Often they become a feature when they could have been ignored.  These spots are found all over the house- the stairwell, a coat closet, a little jog in the wall.

Speaking of a coat closet, in this tiny cottage (it's mine!) I needed a powder room- badly!  But, when a house is tiny you have to look very hard to find a space:-)  This was a coat closet by the front door.  My first thought was, "Who needs a coat in Southern California?"  Ok, so I was desperate, but I bumped out the wall another two feet and moved the door over to the left as far as I could and put this little vanity in.  The sink is called a "Gerber" sink.  How appropriate is that?!  My daughter may have called it a "prison sink," but she was only 8 when saying that.  HAHA!!  Anyhow, putting the jewelry on- the grass cloth, the Moroccan light, the fabulous Pink Pagoda Elephant, the Asian mirrors and some Thai towels turn what could have been a junk collection into an adorable powder room!

This is another spot...the mini stair well.  It is located at the entrance to 4 bedrooms, so it is walked by all of the time.  So, I did a couple of things.  First, was design some tiles for the riser.  I love the shape and repetition as well as the colors.  This space could be really boring with plain wood!  Then, I designed this simple railing that has a little "somethin', somethin'" going on.  It could have been straight, but the slight curve at the top ties it into the curve in the tiles.  It also could have been wood, but sometimes you can have a little too much of a good thing.  The painters did a fabulous job giving it a hint of shine.  You can't see it in the photo, but I had them start with a base of black and add a layer of a coppery metallic-y gold to it.  Then, they sealed with a black.  It is so subtle, but enough to have something catch your eye.  

Speaking of stairs, the stair case below is at the entrance to a home I worked on.  Individually, the materials are great, but together they were just a hodgepodge.  Soooo...

I broke up the color palette.  I had the house painted a fresh white, kept the Saltillo tile on the treads, the brick on the driveway and the railing, but designed new tiles for the risers.  I chose a simple color palette and made four designs that were repeated up the stairs.  When you drive in, you notice it and wonder what the inside will look like:-)

Laundry rooms.  Yes, mine is horrifying, but it doesn't mean my clients' have to be!!  The painted gray cabinets, the inexpensive Carrara marble tops and the Dal Tile subway tiles in a chevron pattern make this stunning!  OK, the farm house sink helps, too and the pull out drawers that were designed to hold more soap and detergent than I have used in a year, but the simplicity rocks. You say, marble in a laundry room?  Yes!  So you spill a little bleach...The Romans have spilled bleach for hundreds of years and it gives the room character:-)  At least, that it what I say to myself when I look at my house.

Another random jut (jog) in the wall...Well, it is right across from a bar and near the kitchen.  The first thought was to put in a cabinet, armoire or something because it is essentially a hallway, but the second thought prevailed.  Why not make it into a lounge-y area where you can bring a drink.  Think Studio 54 in the 80's- or maybe not, but the space ended up being used as an awesome party area.  People always congregate in the kitchen, but they have the bar, the sofa and the bench that is in the great room close by.  Personally, I think it is the shiny disco wallpaper and the gold sconces that attract loungers, but perhaps it is the alcohol a short distance away.  Ha!

This is another area...It is in a hallway that is near three bedrooms.  It was initially supposed to be a built in for extra closet space, but I thought it would be fun to have a cozy area to sit, put some shoes on or wait for your sibling to hurry up and get dressed!  The grass cloth warms the entire hallway up and the art adds a bit of color.  The client's favorite thing though is the velvet cushion.  The kids love to dive on it!

Sometimes when you have small spaces you have to think vertically. This teenager wanted a hangout area and a place to throw all of his crap on sit and talk to his friends.  So, up went the bed and in came the chair.

Fireplaces are often the focal point in a room.  But, since the room has 16' high ceilings, I wanted to ground the space more by focusing on the oft forgotten space- the niches.First, the arches went in. Then, the new fireplace that soared almost to the ceiling.  Then, two niches to the left and right of the fireplace called for some attention:-)  They begged for a textured wallpaper and a mirror to reflect and bounce light. They also needed something that would ground the large fireplace which were the two chests.  I love the way these niches turned out.  It is my favorite thing in this living room.

I hope you are able to look at your random spaces in a new light!  I'm all about the nook and cranny!

Monday, November 26, 2012



Hi All!

I haven't written in a while and I miss my blog friends!  I want to share a little bit about what I have been up to!  I finally finished my first desert project (the entire home) as well as my second desert project (another entire home), went out to Tobi Fairley's Designer MBA camp in Little Rock, Arkansas and have joined a Master Mind business group for interior designers and design professionals.  Additionally, I am installing a living room and family room in Laguna Beach tomorrow, remodeling my own kitchen that was damaged by a wee bit of water, installed another entire home in Newport Beach, and have been working on a bunch of other fun projects!  I know, I have no excuse for my lack of blogging but I've tried to think of a few:-)

I got a photographer out to the desert last week.  He was great- and very patient as I made the beds so they would look pretty:-) I also finished up another home (7,400 sf) in the desert that is bigger than this one (7,000 sf)!  I will show you pictures of that next because you really haven't seen any.  

This is the great room taken from one end to the other.  The shot really helps you realize how gi-normous the room is!  The gorgeous ceiling fixtures are 50" diameter fixtures so that will help you spatially.  The house is Mediterranean and I gave it and updated fresher look.  For example, instead of the rounded soffits in the ceiling from before, I had them take the curves out and add the straight dark beams.  In a more traditional Mediterranean home you would find more distressed beams, perhaps in a lighter, more walnut wood.  The dark beams really draw your eyes up.

The gorgeous wall-o-windows opens all the way up and the loggia becomes one with the great room.  I don't know if you can see in this photo, but I have 9' antique mirrors on both sides of the interior fireplace.  On the exterior fireplace I added mirrors, too. Yes, they are different, but the tie the spaces together.

The back splash in the bar is the same stone used in the Loggia and the great room fireplace.  I love the texture of the split faced stone!

Here is a closer view of the fireplace side of the room.  I also brought texture in when designing the cabinets.  The faces are all a woven metal.  The metal is almost an oil rubbed bronze color.

Now you can see out the window.  La Quinta is a beautiful area in the desert!  

Into the kitchen...It was a challenge to make such a big space cozy, so I had to divide the space in two.  One area had the fireplace and TV as a focal point, the other area looked into the kitchen and towards the bar.  It's the social area.  The ceiling is 16' high, so I made it cozy by having layers of lighting.  You have the canned lighting on top, the chandeliers in the middle and then, the pendants that brings even more intimacy.    

This is how it used to look!!

Here is the kitchen now.  I love the gray cabinets and custom nickel hood.  The back splash is handmade Moroccan tiles which glimmer in the light.  Can you tell I have a crush on them?!

The kitchen table is a gorgeous piece of wood.  It looks so sculptural in the space.  Since you have a stunning view of the mountains from every window, I wanted to bring a bit of the woodsy outdoors in.  You will see the wood brought into most rooms. Not in a rustic way, more of an artsy way:)  (Very technical terms!)

This is the way I saw it my first visit.  I loved being able to visualize and turn the picture in my brain into a real space that is functional for many people.

Another area I crush on is the master bathroom.  The marble is stunning and I love the new "Bling Chandelier."  It just came on the market and it ties in so well with the new ring chandeliers in the great room.

This is a photo of the bathroom from my first walk through.  We lowered the ceiling in the shower so it wouldn't be so breezy. Doesn't that bug you?  Then, we ripped everything out and started over with a rain head, a handheld shower, two wall mount shower heads.  Oh- and a channel drain so that you don't have the ugly hole in the middle of the shower.  I wish, I wish, I wish I could stay in that space forever:-)

I think I showed you some of the other secondary bedrooms, but these photos are so much better than mine!

Of course, there is the outside.  Love the new pool and spa.  I used the same split faced stone on the wall (where the water is spouting out) as the great room fireplace and the bar back splash.  When the house is so big you have to be careful not to introduce too many different materials.  Repeating them really gives the space continuity.  

Lastly, there is an awesome fire pit.  It gets so warm and is perfect for roasting marshmallows!  

Hope you have enjoyed!  I started writing this post before Thanksgiving, so I got a little off track!  More updates soon!