Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Coming Along

I was out in the desert yesterday to see the progress of the first desert house.  I kept singing the Third World reggae song, "96 Degrees in the Shade."  I really should have been singing, 110 steamy degrees inside the house!  Holy moly, Batman!  I opened the door and stepped out of my air conditioned car and thought someone had thrown me into the steam room at the gym.  (That is imagining that I really DID go to a gym!)  

I got my game-face on and started going through the hundreds of boxes that I have been shipping down to another house (project #2) and began the task of labeling.  Nothing like a black Sharpie and a box cutter:-)  Hmm, this is for Bedroom #2 for the first house and that is for bedroom #4 of project #2.  Yes, the minor disaster is that boxes of items for BOTH projects are/were going to the same location!  I had some amazing helpers who happened to be from Mississippi, so they had no problem with the heat. They knew how to mop the brow and carry on.  I am quite skilled at that now.

I found all of the light fixtures, labeled them and brought them to the other house.  In spite of the heat, I actually got excited thinking about each room!  It is going to be ahhh-mazing!  

Here is a peak at the master bathroom.  Remember that everything has four layers of dust on it and is mostly wrapped up.  There is a box on top of the tub, so you can't see the entire shape.  It's part of the cloak and dagger secrecy.  Ha!

Love the new vanities.  You can neither see the wood details nor the slab, but I will reveal more later.

This is the wall that separates the tub area and the shower area.  When you enter the room, you will be able to see the slab from the tub soap niche run up the back wall in the shower.  The veining is really pretty.  I visualized laying in the tub and reaching over to this niche so I wanted it to be accessible whether you are facing North or South in the tub.  I ran the slab down to the floor so the drippy hands won't ruin the wall.  

I love, love the dual shower heads with the handheld on the side walls.  If you can tell, the back wall is a polished (shiny) slab and the side walls are honed (matte) 6" x 12" tiles laid in the same off-set pattern as the main floor.  I did this so that the gorgeous nickel fixtures would shine that much more brightly against the wall.  Your focus will be on the slab and the trim- the jewelry, if you will.

 The other side.

I really wanted this to be clean, so I had the contractor install a channel drain.  He graded the shower pan so that the water would fall toward the drain which is in front of the bench.  I love that you can tile IN the drain.  As you can see, I added another texture. The same tile, honed, in 1" x 1" squares.  This helps for slippage too.  You wouldn't want any slab on the floor!!

This is a peek from one opening of the shower to the other.  Each side has their own linen closet.  There will be some big double hooks on the outside wall to the right for a robe and towel.  Easy access.  I had the walls of the opening and the dam (threshold) surfaced in slab as well.  It is so pretty when you don't have to see grout when you are stepping into the shower.

I know a toilet is a toilet, but I think this is just pretty:-)

The faucets are gorgeous!

This stone is the flooring for the majority of the first floor.  The top left fabric is going to be used in the 10' drapery panels that will be lined with felt and another liner so they will look lush!

Here I am trying different pulls on the kitchen cabinets.  I am going to use the top in the master bath and both of the others in the kitchen and pantry. 

Here is a little peak at the kitchen.

This is the last little teaser.  You can see the Moroccan hand made tiles going in on the back splash.  They will go all the way up the wall.  We have a rockin' nickel hood coming in and the three pendants will allow anyone to see the hood and wall.  

I hope you enjoyed your "peek!"


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Better Homes and Gardens

I am so happy to have my old bathroom featured in the August 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens!  I moved from this house about two years ago and I do miss this bathroom!  The home was built as a beach cottage in 1949 and had two large bedrooms and a teeny tiny bathroom to share.  I have no idea if this was true, but I always thought the person who built this had the top floor filled with bunk beds and little kids who didn't care about the bathroom because they only had one thing in mind.  The beach!

We lived in the home for a year before we did the renovation.  I needed space!  We added this master bath and a walk in closet as well as a new bathroom and two smaller bedrooms.  The vanity was fun to build.  Since storage was at a premium I decided to build the center high up.  This way, I could have a drawer to house the blow dryer.  I had the electrician put an outlet right behind the drawer so I would never have a blow dryer out on the counter.  That drives me crazy:-)  I also liked having a side for me and a side for my husband.  We never fought!  

Being a giant 5'2" and 3/4", I liked having the round mirrors to tilt at the perfect angle.  One for me, one for him!  The tub from Sunrise Specialties is awesome too.  I used to throw all three children in at once!

I remember picking out the beautiful Calacatta Gold slabs and choosing the edge detail to go with the vintage of the home.  Same goes with the cabinet faces- traditional and classic, just like the home. 

I am so happy that the new owners love this bath and really appreciate the new owners giving me the credit for designing this bathroom.  It was a design from the heart.

Hope the bathroom has inspired you!


Thursday, July 19, 2012


Desert Upholstery

I have just visited my upholstery that is being made for the first desert project I am working on.  I thought it would be fun to share the process of designing and creating upholstery.  I start with something that inspires me.  This can be a shape I see in some architecture, a graceful curve of a piano, a photo in a magazine or a vintage piece of furniture...You get the picture.  

My trip to Prague

My trip to Prague

I often have a photo that I scribble on with modifications and bring it to my upholsterer.  

Nail Head Styles
Then, we talk about all the fun stuff.  Will I use nail heads?  What size?  What color?  What is the spacing?  Will I use welting (trim)?  Is the welting a different fabric (contrast welting) or the same fabric (self welting)?  

Contrast welting and nail head trim

What will the legs look like?  Espresso brown? Painted orange? Straight? Curved?
Furniture Legs
Once we get all of the details down, I find out how much fabric I will need to create the piece we sketched out.  Most of the time, I know what fabric I will use before hand.  However, this often changes because either I am inspired to make a different choice or the fabric is out of stock!  I am always thinking about choice A, B and C!  Then, I need to figure out pricing for my client.  That may lead to fabric choices D, E and F:-)

Once I get the OK, it is a go! I buy and deliver the fabric, the upholsterer makes the frame, and the magic begins.  Here are some works in progress.


Bed Frames

Bed Frames

Bed and chair frames

Detail of BIG nail heads on the head board

Chair frame
Chair arm


Many chairs!

Hi chairs!
Foam seats waiting for the down

Sewn cushion covers

One of three panels for a wall headboard

This will be gigantic!

I can't wait for these to be in the new house!!  It will be clean and monochromatic, unlike my life!  Haha.  


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Tile and Stone

I am so excited to be working on another house in the desert.  It is larger than the other house I am working on in the same neighborhood.  (Yes, that would be about five times as large as my home!)  The house has some great curb appeal that will soon be enhanced:-) 

Imagine a creamy white paint on the smooth stucco with the warm used-brick accents.  When I saw the stairs, I thought that it would be a great place to add something special.

We can remove the orange hued tile and add some hand painted tiles!

I remembered seeing this photo on a brochure for Tabarka Studio tiles.  If you are not familiar with the company, they are located in Scottsdale, Arizona where artisans hand paint terracotta tiles.  I am having some painted for the other house I am working on. I want to do something similar to the tile risers in the photo below using different colors and patterns.

These are close ups of some of their beautiful patterns.

Since my color palette will be creams and terracotta, the beige colors will work better.  I have selected my tiles and strike-offs are being made this week.  A strike off is a tile sample.  Because the tiles are all made to order and because they are different colors than their samples, I want to be sure that they look as good in my hand as they do in my mind:-)

I love some of these arabesque shaped tiles!  The big daddy on the bottom left is going in the master bath floor.  

The arabesque tile below will be used as a back splash in the kitchen with a limestone counter top.  This sample has been grouted.

This sample has not been grouted, but I like it because it shows the individual tiles fit together like a puzzle.

The demo of the project is cruising along and soon I will have a clean start!  The interior furnishings and the new kitchen design and fixtures will really work well with the architecture of the home!  I hope you like!!