Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Room To Play

Here is a quick peek of some photos from a project I installed this past week....
We transformed the bonus room at the top of the stairs into a fun space for the entire family.  While it was one of their favorite rooms when they moved into the house, with high ceilings and tons of natural light, it quickly filled up with all the extra furniture that didn't really fit anywhere else.  By adding built-in bookcases and a window seat, we were able to maximize storage for books and toys, while keeping plenty of open floor space for playing.  We even found room for a built-in workstation in what used to be the closet. When not in use it hides neatly behind a custom sliding barn door treatment.  I had so much fun with this project as the family is not afraid of color, "the more the better", and was open to my ideas for adding some quirky vintage elements. 
A lamp made from a microphone stand, vintage cameras for the bookshelves, and even a door handle fashioned from a retired railroad track, all add to the playful vibe.  Now all that is left are the finishing touches, such as mounting the TV, and filling the picture frames with family photos...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ahh summer...

I've been busy getting ready for summer... at this point I'm just waiting for the weather to catch up!

I have some new items in my etsy store and will be adding to it over the coming days and weeks.  I found some more vintage selter bottles at the flea market and thought they would be fun on bar set-up for a summer bbq or cocktail party.

I've been looking for an easy and refreshing summer cocktail to serve this weekend and think I have found the perfect one...

Gin Rickey

  • Ice cubes
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • seltzer

Drop 3-4 ice cubes into a tall glass.  Squeeze in the lime and add the rind.  Add the gin and top off with chilled seltzer.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Modern Living in Los Angeles

Kameon /Otsea House Echo Park image from Dwell

The Dwell on Design conference starts this Friday at the LA Convention Center with exhibitors, home tours, and educational seminars.  With a focus on modern living, the conference shares ideas for sustainable living, urban gardening, and features some great pre-fab homes to walk through.  Dwell is also sponsoring self guided tours of some fun modern homes in Los Angeles.  The picture above is from one of the homes featured in the Eastside Tour on Sunday... as of this morning tickets were still available.

For more information on ticket and to download a schedule:

Friday, April 30, 2010

Rescued from the dumpster update #2

I've been super busy here and April almost slipped away before I was able to post the after shots of my first chair project.  Here it is finished in a natural eco-linen...

For this chair I chose a natural linen from Pindler & Pindler that is sustainably manufactured and has been certified eco-friendly. It is extremely soft to the touch and feels super cozy... like a favorite sweater.

I've had several people inquire lately about reupholstering their existing pieces, so I thought I would do a quick post on the advantages and disadvantages.  First, let me say that I am a HUGE fan of re-using.  I love the idea not just from an environmental perspective, but because it is those unique pieces with a story that help define a space.  Homes should be a reflection of the people who live in them, expressing their personality and style.  So if you have a piece that you LOVE, by all means try to re-use it, whether it has sentimental value or it just has a great feel.  However, be warned that if the main reason you are thinking about reupholstering a piece is to save money you may be disappointed.  By the time you purchase fabric and pay for the labor, you could often buy new.     

Here are some questions to ask when considering reupholstering a piece.
  • Is the original furniture piece of exceptional quality or value?  
  • Does it have sentimental value?  
  • Is it a unique shape, style, or size that is hard to find?
  • Is it super comfortable?  
If you answered yes to any of the above than it might be worth investing in having it reupholstered.

If you decide that it is a piece worth reupholstering the next step will be to choose a fabric and decide on the details such as tufting, welts, buttons, pillows, type of fill for the cushions, and determine if the frame will need to be touched up or re-finished.   Both the fabric selection and treatment of details can dramatically change the look of the finished piece.  You can tie pieces of different styles together with complimentary patterns or give a traditional frame a contemporary look.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ahhh... Mexico

I've been home now for a week and today especially, I am missing the relaxed pace, vibrant colors, and empty beaches of Baja.  We made a trip back down to our favorite little town, Todos Santos, for a few days of relaxation.  However our real reason for the trip was to try to decide what to do with the property we have there just outside of town.  We hadn't been down for a few years, after returning from France time has slipped by, and we had heard and read (thanks New York Times and all of you who forwarded me the latest article) that there has been a good deal of new development around Todos Santos.  Maybe the silver lining to the economic slowdown is that the pace of development in Todos Santos appears to have slowed from the breakneck speed of the previous few years and the town has managed to hold onto the dusty charm that made it so attractive to us in the first place. 


We are thinking of moving forward and building a little getaway so now comes the fun part... 

Do we stay true to the town's Spanish Colonial architecture...

images via Veranda

Or do something a little more contemporary...

images via Mikkel Vang.  
Thank you to Greige for introducing me to his photography

Or think minimalist...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day Continued...

Looking for more ways to continue celebrating earth day? Here are a few things to check out this weekend in our neighborhood...
The 21st Annual Southern California
Spring Garden Show
April 22 -25, 2010
South Coast Plaza

Find everything you need to start a garden of your own. From vegetables to california natives, worm composters and the garden tools you will need to get started digging in the earth.  No green thumb?  No worries!  Connect with professional landscapers, or visit the Ecology Center's garden to pick up information on their back yard skills workshops.  Molly Wood Garden Design, one of my favorite garden shops is in attendance with plenty of potted succulents that are ready for you to bring home and enjoy today.

The Ecology Center
32701 Alipaz St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Saturday - Sunday 11am - 4pm

Visit The Ecology Center to see their magnificent garden of california natives and edibles.  While you are there sign up to become member and find out about volunteer opportunities, or sign up to attend one of their Backyard Skills workshops.  This is a great resource for green living in our community.

Newport Beach Film Festival
180 South
Saturday, April 24 1pm
The Studio at Sage Hill
to buy tickets tickets:

Don't miss your chance to view this documentary by Chris Malloy documenting the 5000 mile epic expedition to Patagonia by Doug Tomkins & Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia and one of the pioneering environmentalists of our time.  In 1968 Chouinard and Tomkins loaded up a second hand van and headed south from Ventura  on the adventure of their lives.

The Volcom LEAF Awards and Screening Event
LEAF (Leaders of Environmental Action Films)
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center

Come out to this free event to celebrate the winners of a the LEAF Ecommercial Contest.  Orange County high school students were challenged to create 30 or 60 second "ecommercials" focused on raising awareness around environmental issues.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Here are a few of what will be this years crop...  organic heirloom tomato plants started from seed.  I am looking forward to getting them in the ground soon and then enjoying fresh tomatoes all summer long!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rescued form the dumpster update

I opened the mail today and flipped through the latest Anthropologie catalog and came across this photo which triggered me to post an update on my re-purposed chair project.

image from Anthropologie

As this is my next chair...

I've been using this fun chair in my office since picking it up at the Santa Monica flea market in January.  As you can see the original seat has several large rips in it.  I love the retro style of the chair but in addition to needing to be recovered, the foam cushion is officially kaput... and no amount of yoga can make up for endless hours spent everyday in an uncomfortable chair.

In staying true to the spirit of the project, after replacing the foam seat,  I am going to re-upholster this chair using one of the re-purposed vintage linen grain sacks that I have left in stock.

Stay tuned for the after photos!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Breakfast made easy...

I had a few friends over for breakfast yesterday and made up a batch of granola to serve with the local organic strawberries that have just come into season.  I was asked for the recipe (if you can even call it that, it's so easy) and thought since I was typing it up I would share it here.

4 cups oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup raw seeds (I like pepitas)
2+ tablespoons unsalted butter
1+ tablespoon honey
pinch of salt (optional)

Combine oats, nuts, seeds, and coconut in a large bowl. Melt the butter and while hot stir in the honey. Pour butter over dry mixture and toss together until lightly coated. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and put in a 350* oven. After 10 minutes toss with a spatula and put back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Let it cool and store in an airtight container.

Voila, it's that simple.

Of course you could substitute vegetable oil for the butter, but I think you will be disappointed!  Feel free to substitute your favorites for the almonds and pumpkin seeds, and you can always add more honey if you like it sweeter.  Serve with milk or yogurt.  I like to serve a bowl of mixed dried berries and raisins on the side but you could just as easily throw them in the jar too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New pillows on etsy

Here are some of our latest pillows.  
You can find them for sale on

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fresh from the garden...

When we returned from France, we were so excited to have a garden again.... small as it is!  In our apartment I had herbs growing in pots on our window ledges, but when you live on the third floor without a terrace there is a limit.  I was asked by our gardienne to remove one especially large pot of tomatoes that I had wired to our garde-corps as she was afraid it might fall on someone's head.  However, with a great farmers market around the corner twice a week, there was no shortage of really fresh produce.  So upon returning one of our first projects was to reclaim the curb in front of our house between the sidewalk and street and turn it into a garden.  We tore out the bricks, filled in the soil, and planted.  In three of the beds we have succulents and california natives (low water and low maintenance) and in the fourth bed we planted vegetables.  It is amazing how much food you can grow in a 4' x 4' area!  Now in addition to the oranges, limes, guavas and herbs that we have been growing inside our fence for years, we have been enjoying homegrown radishes, salad greens, carrots, onions, tomatoes, chives, and now PEAS from our sidewalk garden.  I am amazed at how every year more and more of our neighbors are using their tiny yards and patios to grow edibles.  The trend towards eating locally grown seasonal produce seams to be catching on everywhere, probably because everything tastes sooo good when it is fresh from the garden!

We have been snacking on pea pods for weeks but haven't been able to keep up with production!  Yesterday, I decided to harvest enough to cook up a batch of my favorite soup.  It was a perfect choice as many of the ingredients are abundant (i.e. overgrown) in our garden this time of year.  

This is a recipe I first made in France with fresh peas we picked with our friend Lilibet at a farm near Versailles.  I adapted from several recipes in an attempt to re-create a soup that we enjoyed at Les Papilles.

Cold Pea Soup with Mint and Prosciutto

splash of olive oil
4 scallions
4 cups fresh peas
handful of mint leaves
chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
cream or half and half
creme fraiche for garnish
prosciutto for garnish    
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the chopped scallions and cook a few minutes until tender.  Add the chopped mint and shelled peas and cook for a few more minutes, stirring.  The mint will be quite fragrant.  Add enough stock to cover the peas (maybe 5 to 6 cups) and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste.  Once soup is room temperature, reserve a few peas for garnish and puree the rest in a blender, food processor, or food mill.  Stir in the cream or half and half.  You may want to vary the amount of cream to reach your desired consistency and taste.  Refrigerate for an hour or two until chilled.  Before serving, slice the prosciutto into strips and add to a hot saute pan cooking until crispy.  Transfer to a plate or bowl to cool.  To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with creme fraiche, reserved peas, and crispy prosciutto.  This is a great first course or light meal, and an excellent way to use up the peas in your early spring garden!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thinking of Paris

When I saw these photos of designer Rupert Landendinger's Copenhagen apartment it made me home sick for my apartment in Paris.  I love the detail of the doors and moldings as well as the high ceilings and abundance of natural light.  The architecture and layout remind me so much of 10 Rue Castiglione.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The iconic Chesterfield

The Chesterfield sofa is thought to be named after the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope in the 18th century.  This is fitting as the Earl was a known trendsetter in his day.  The Chesterfield sofa is characterized by it's deep button tufting, rolled arms, equal back and arm height, and nail head trim.  This sofa is most often associated with a gentleman's library... think rich mahogany paneling, distressed leather, a fine bottle of scotch, and the faint aroma of pipe tobacco.  However this iconic sofa makes a statement in traditional and modern interiors alike. 

Want to get the look??  It seems like everyone has a Chesterfield in their current line, each with their own twist!

Leave it to Anthropologie to come up with this fun canary yellow version.

I love the wide sloping arms on this great interpretation from Windsor Smith Home.

Hickory Chair offers a sophisticated Chesterfield with classical lines and proportions.

Mitchell Gold's version will be at home in both transitional and modern interiors.

The Restoration Hardware sofa is evocative of  a gentleman's library, masculine and clubby, with distressed cigar leather and over-scaled styling.
If you are looking for authenticity check out Jean-Mark Fray on 1st Dibs, this one is from England circa 1920.