July 29, 2014


I know, it's been five months since my last post ... But I recently updated a couple of bathroom closet doors with Spinneybeck leather pulls and love them so much, I felt like I just had to write a blog post.

The photo below shows the pull that was there when we moved into our house (the one on the left). Pretty boring stuff. I don't have a picture of it installed because it didn't even seem worth pulling out the iPhone to snap. The distance between the ends of the pull weren't quite standard, so I thought the West Elm flexible rope design might be a good choice. But I wasn't crazy about the color because the doors are off-white.


I recently visited a home in SF for an article, and there were these gorgeous leather strap pulls on the closet doors. I think they were a custom job from Spinneybeck. But when I clicked around the website, I came across the small slider style that seemed like it would be perfect for my bathroom. And they are!


I realize that this may not seem like a big deal. But after six years in this house, having pulls that I don't cringe at several times a day, makes me pretty happy.

November 07, 2013

Hang Time

A couple of weeks ago, I received my order of Laure's gorgeous, large-scale print. Since it measures 32"x48", one of the few places I could think to hang it was the guest bedroom. When we moved in about five years ago, I painted a yellow block on the largest wall in there and it served as the background for a mini-photo wall. I was actually kind of tired of it, and was just waiting for a good reason to make a change. So now this is what that part of the guest bedroom looks like:


I didn't frame the print because it was going to be expensive and/or a hassle. So I picked up a 32" Posterhänger, which works great and was a cinch to hang (seriously — it only requires one nail in the wall). I especially love that the print kind of gives the illusion that there's a window on that wall.

October 11, 2013

It's a Wash

This is a bit of a random post, but this is one of my favorite handy little tips.


In our household, I'm in charge of the laundry (by choice). All those years of working at the Gap and Banana Republic have resulted in me being an expert clothes-folder. (I don't need those folding boards to create a perfectly aligned stack of shirts.) But it's tough to keep track of what all of those care symbols on garment tags mean. So we keep a fabric care cheet sheet, as well as Martha Stewart's stain chart, on the laundry room corkboard. So simple, yet so helpful.

July 22, 2013

Be Our Guest

Over the past month or so, we've had several overnight guests. Which has been great, especially since we finally closed up the hole in the ceiling that was the result of a leak we discovered last winter. I know I've shared pictures of the guest bedroom in the past, but I've been finessing the details for a while now so I wanted to post a couple of current photos of it.


Of all of the rooms in our house, this is actually the one I would consider the most done, decorating-wise. And I know this is going to sound a little crazy, but we basically bought the console table (this Richard Velloso design from West Elm) to have a place to display the vintage typewriter (a gift from my sister). I haven't really styled it up because: a) I'm not good at that sort of thing, and b) I was going for functionality here and wanted to leave the shelf and area underneath the table available for guests to use.

One of my favorite things in this space is the gallery plate we installed underneath the paint-splatter art by my nephew. The text lists his name, the year he made the piece, and where he painted it.

P.S. That West Elm table is so sturdy and is probably the easiest piece of furniture that we've ever assembled.

July 11, 2013

The Five-Year Gallery Wall

Yes, it took five years, but I'm finally done with the gallery wall in our bedroom. And, uh, it's not even a full wall!


Since it took me this long to get things hung on the wall, it may be another two years before the top of those barrister bookcases get adorned/styled. My favorite piece is the woodcut on paper that depicts a lacrosse scene (Jon played in college); we got it at the amazing Lost Art Salon. And the vintage frame that it's in was a big selling point for me.

Oh, about those barrister bookcases! Maybe it's my law school dropout background, but I have been wanting barrister bookcases forever, and finally found a set I liked earlier this year. There are four units in total, and they're only about half-filled with random objects right now (which is why it wasn't worth including them in the photo).

April 07, 2013

Good Buy

Late last year — back when we were still getting rain around here (it's been a ridiculously dry 2013 in the Bay Area) — we discovered that our roof had a leak. Of course, we discovered this because water started streaming into our guest bedroom. By the time we realized there was a problem, we had damage to the ceiling and the carpet. (Note: I prefer hardwood to carpeting and eventually want to rip out the wall-to-wall in our house and install hardwood. But I'm not sure when that's happening.)

Since the water damage to the carpet is quite an eyesore, I decided to buy a rug to cover it up. The only problem: 8"x10" rugs are pricey. Really pricey. Unless, that is, you go to PBTeen. This cotton, chevron-patterned rug is marked down to $130, and I bought it when they were running a promo that gave me an additional 15% off — making it just $110!


Because I wanted to feel even better about my purchase than I already did, I headed over to the Jonathan Adler website and priced a rug with a similar look. (Their version is hand-loomed wool, so I get that it's going to be a lot more; though I'm allergic to wool, so cotton works better for me anyway.) The total on their rug? $2,400. Yikes. That would be an expensive cover-up!

March 11, 2013

Bora Bora as Inspiration

A week ago, this was the view from our poolside cabana in Bora Bora:


We had such a great trip, and I've been thinking about ways to bring a bit of that Bora feel into our home. Since the above view reminds me of the Cole & Son "Palm Leaves" wallpaper in light blue/green, I'm now scouting spots in the house where I can install the pattern.

via Kravet

via Designmade

via Modern Palm

via Design Crisis (from the pages of Living Etc.)

I'm not sure if the tropical motif works for any of our rooms, though, so I'm leaning toward installing it inside a closet or perhaps to the back of a bookcase.

January 30, 2012

Hanging Around

When it comes to frames, I know a lot of people swear by Ikea's Ribba line. Not me. I am a big fan of West Elm's frames — in part because they come with templates which make them a cinch to hang. This weekend, for example, I finally got around to dealing with this wall in our master bath:



I feel like I should add a disclaimer to all of my blog posts apologizing for my bad photography skills!

The frames are the 13" square Gallery in silver, which has sort of an antiqued finish to it so it's not too shiny. I replaced the linen mats — they're really nice, but just don't work in my bathroom — with white mats with a thin black border (purchased on Picture Frames). As for the art: I selected some of my favorite postcards in the set of 100 that Ruben Toledo created for Louis Vuitton. (Jon gave me the box of City Guide postcards for Christmas.)


December 01, 2011

Screen Gems

When we first looked at our current home, it was the living/dining area that sold me. The room is rather large, with high ceilings, and views of redwood trees just beyond the deck. For Jon, it may be the living space downstairs that did the trick. He knew right away that he wanted it to be a home theatre and it's the only real project we've undertaken in this house.

Lately, I've been on the lookout for cool movie-related art for that room. And since discovering her Etsy shop yesterday, I can't stop thinking about Claudia Varosio's versions of various film posters.




There are so many to choose from! Decisions, decisions ...

August 10, 2011


Issue No. 4 of Anthology will be released in a couple of weeks, and it includes a feature on my own home. While the photos in the magazine were shot by Kelly Ishikawa, I recently asked Victoria Smith — yes, that Victoria Smith — to come on over and snap some pics of the place for Refinery29. Victoria's photos, as well as the interview with me, are now up on the site!

I love that Victoria brought Lucy to the shoot. Of course, she made it into a couple of the shots, including the one below (taken in the guest bedroom).



Also: Lots more photos of my home can be seen in Issue No. 4!

January 18, 2011

(Dining) Table Talk

A couple of years ago, Jon and I decided to stop exchanging Christmas gifts. Instead, we agree on a purchase (or purchases) for the house. This year, we bought a dining table from the newly opened H.D. Buttercup:


It's slightly longer than our previous table, and I think the rustic aesthetic perfectly suits the style and setting of our home.

December 03, 2010

Guest Bedroom Curtains


You may be thinking: "Huh? Isn't that the DwellStudio Peacock pattern in Citrine?" Why yes it is! I purchased a king-sized duvet and Madina Aryeh worked her magic — transforming it into these curtains that I absolutely love. (She also sewed the striped ottoman slipcover that matches the upholstered chair.)

I've been working on a few decorating projects around the house this year and have been really slow in sharing them. We've made a bunch of other changes to the guest bedroom as well, but I'm holding off on taking more photos until I find just the right thing to hang on the wall. (It could be a while!)

November 07, 2010

$5 Well Spent

We started our weekend with a trip to the Palo Alto Farmer's Market, where I picked up $5 worth of hydrangeas. I split the bunch, placing some in the guest bathroom and the rest on the entry table.

I know I've shown pictures of this bathroom before, but I've finally gotten around to accessorizing it. There's art on the walls (well, a few of the Penguin postcards from this box of 100); a vase from my favorite Etsy store, High Street Market; and a vintage shaving/mirror thing from The Perish Trust.

The entry area is a work in progress. I recently replaced the mirror with this twig one, which I'd been eyeing since seeing it in Benjamin Dhong's SF Decorator Showcase room a few years ago. I still haven't decided whether to keep it this natural color or paint it (Ben's design includes a gold version). I got a great deal on the mirror at a One King's Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale. If you're not already checking these out, you should! Most of the stuff is out of my price range, but every once in a while, there's something so good and deeply discounted, I can't pass it up.

Other weekend notes:

  • We had a delicious dinner on Saturday night at Wayfare Tavern. A woman in the restroom actually struck up a conversation with me about the well-designed bathrooms in the restaurant. Random, right? Though she had a good point.
  • I haven't worked on a craft project in ages and it was fun to make something again. It's for the Anthology launch party on Thursday, which is going to be a good time. If you're in the Bay Area, come join us!

October 18, 2010

Desk Dilemma

Last year, I purchased the small West Elm Bond desk for my little craft room ...


But lately, I've been eyeing the WE Pratt desk — in part because I love the file cabinet that goes with it. And now that Anthology is up and running, I need a file cabinet to devote to the magazine's operations.


I couldn't really justify replacing the desk though, especially since the Bond collection includes a perfectly nice file cabinet as well. Today, while flipping through the weekend edition of the Financial Times, I came across a desk that now has me feeling a lot more excited about my existing one. Behold the Stroller desk by Steuart Padwick:


I think I'm going to spruce up the Bond desk by painting the drawer fronts, much like the Stroller. And once I buy the file cabinet, I might paint the horizontal pulls on the drawers a matching color. I love a good project!

May 27, 2010

Have a Seat ... Or Three

Have I shown you one of our more recent acquisitions for the home? A 1960s trio of stackable stools:


I was considering buying a set of floor pillows for the living room, but I like these from Nancy Boy even better. You can sit on them individually or, when stacked, they make one regular-height seat.

When we bought the stools, the cushions were covered in a ho-hum fabric. They didn't have any ties on the bottom, so they would slip off the wood bases too easily. We enlisted Madina's help to update them — going with a simple pattern (Betwixt, one of Celerie Kemble's designs for Schumacher) in a colorway that would allow them to fit into pretty much any room in the house. I think they are so cute!

March 15, 2010

Paul Ferney Painting

Instead of exchanging gifts with each other this past holiday season, Jon and I opted to make one big joint purchase. We called it a gift for our house, but obviously, we're the ones who get to enjoy it every day: a gorgeous painting by the very talented Paul Ferney.

Ever since we moved into this house, I knew I wanted a painting above the dining room credenza. And I knew I wanted Paul to paint it. (I was so jealous after reading that Liz' husband gave her a Paul Ferney painting for Valentine's Day last year!) We contacted Paul a few months ago, began a discussion about the subject matter, and he soon got to work on it. We are thrilled with the final result. THRILLED, I tell you!


(I'm not a very good photographer, so I'm not doing Paul's work justice here. And in case you're wondering, that spot of light on the wall is the sunlight coming through the clerestory.)

February 09, 2010

Twig Mirror

Since stepping foot into the bathroom designed by Benjamin Dhong for the 2008 San Francisco Decorator Showcase, I've been coveting this mirror:


I think it would be a great replacement for the mirror currently hanging in our entry:


That wall seems to lend itself better to a vertical, rather than round, mirror. Now I just need to convince Jon!

P.S. I bought the Madeline Weinrib rug on sale at ABC Carpet & Home, which now has an online shop.

January 25, 2010

Go Greek

A couple of months ago, I spotted a1960s Greek key mirror on the wonderful Paris Hotel Boutique and decided to buy it for our guest bathroom. I gave it a couple of coats of primer and then a few more coats of Benjamin Moore's "White Opulence" — the same white used in the pattern I painted on the room's accent wall.


It's a lot better than the plain-Jane oval placeholder mirror we had in there for a year and a half! Next up: Adding some much-needed color to the room, in the form of some artwork.

P.S. This is what the vanity area looked like when we moved in:


Since we're trying to avoid any actual renovations — just making cosmetic changes — we replaced the sconces and knobs right away.

January 20, 2010

Blame It on the Rain

Thanks to the recent round of Bay Area storms, we lost power at our house yesterday for about six hours. Without any Internet access or car access — unless I wanted to manually lift open the two-car garage door — I decided to organize my magazines.


It's a good thing Jon and I went to Ikea the other day and picked up a lot more of their inexpensive magazine holders!

January 15, 2010

Circa Lighting

When we were in Savannah last month — it's about an hour from where Jon's parents live — we visited the Circa Lighting showroom. I've been obsessed with this store for a while now and have been wanting to check it out for myself. It's not a large place, but boy is it packed with gorgeous lighting of all sorts.

I'm looking to replace the sconces in our master bathroom and the ceiling fixtures in our closet. For the latter, I'm leaning toward one of these:


Circa has so many options, it was hard to narrow it down to just these two!

January 06, 2010

Closet Encounters

This week, Habitually Chic featured not one but two posts on closet organization, a subject that I have a keen interest in.

In our previous house, we utilized every single closet to store our clothes. Shoes were in the office. Coats were in the hallway. The hampers occupied all of the floor space in the master bedroom closet. It was a horrible system.

Now we're lucky enough to have a master suite with a walk-through closet (it has a door on each end). When I first saw it, I decided that I was going to do two things: 1) hang my clothes by category and color, and 2) replace all of the hangers so that they match.


These two things make the closet — well, at least my side of it — look so organized. And it makes finding what to wear a snap.

Below is one of my favorite closets, which I don't think was included in HC's round-ups. It's from an old issue of Living, Etc.


January 04, 2010

West Elm Parsons Desk

I am revisiting the desk in the guest bedroom. I'm just not sure I'm loving the CB2 Peekaboo console in there, so I've been scouring the Internet for other options. One design that I keep coming back to is the Parsons from West Elm. It's definitely the right size (the mini version is just 30" wide) and price ($250).

I love the way interior designer Martha Angus incorporated the Parsons desk in two showcase spaces last year:

Metropolitan Home - Modern by Design - Boy's Room
{ Photo by Matthew Millman }

Millenium Tower - Icons of Design - Guest Bedroom
{ Photo by Peter Medilek, via SFLuxe }

December 23, 2009

A Gift for Thrift

So my house was sort of in the SF Chronicle the other day. Interior designer Grant K. Gibson and I spent several months collaborating on an article about transforming inexpensive flea-market finds. Since the "after" photo shoot took place at my house, you can see snippets of it in the images below. All of the projects were Grant's briliant idea.

The chair needed a little TLC and new fabric, which Grant found at the flea market for just $5/yard. Such a bargain shopper, that guy.

I love these fashion illustrations, which were $7 each, that Grant framed himself. And I never would have thought to take a handful of watch faces, also $7 each, and turn them into artwork. That's why he's the designer, and I'm just the reporter.

The bar cart was really ugly when we picked it up for $25. With some paint, Grant made it cool. I especially like the way he styled this photo, too.

The vintage tennis rackets, which were only $5 each, were probably my favorite of the makeovers. I'm still trying to find the perfect spot to hang them.

It was such a treat to work with Grant on this story — it didn't feel like work at all!

December 22, 2009

Lewis & Sheron Textile Co.

L&S is officially my new favorite fabric store. They have a great selection, the prices are excellent for home decor textiles, and the customer service is stellar.

Madina Aryeh — who I also cannot say enough great things about — sewed these cushions for the bench in my entry. I went back and forth on the fabric and thought I had finally settled on Brunschwig & Fil's Dzhambul, but there was a problem getting a sample. Then I came across a post on Elements of Style about a pattern that is very similar, available at L&S. Since it was a lot easier and cheaper to order the L&S version, I went with that one. And I'm super-pleased with the end result:


When I posted about the bench earlier this year, it was suggested that I keep the seat bare. But I wanted to add some sort of pattern to the entry area and decided that a couple of cushions would do the trick. As you can see, they don't cover the entire length of the bench, so some of the wood is still exposed (which I love).

November 30, 2009

In Progress: The Guest Bedroom

Last month, I mentioned that I was working on the guest bedroom and was giving myself a mid-November deadline to complete the space. While most of the pieces are in place, I think the bed side of the room still needs some work:


I'm just not sure yet what it needs exactly. Maybe a patterned wallpaper in a neutral color. Or new lamps to provide another jolt of color. Perhaps paint that isn't so beige. Hmmm. (We're not making any further changes to the furniture or bedding.)

I also like the idea of wallpapering the ceiling. In this month's issue of House&Home, there's an article on a guest bedroom makeover which includes covering the ceiling in Osborne & Little's Coronata Star. I don't see the story online, but it's the same wallpaper used in this old photo from Domino.

star ceiling.jpg

I don't think I'd want to wallpaper the ceiling myself, so I'd have to factor that extra cost into the decision as well.

October 21, 2009

Do Not Disturb

Lately, when I haven't been working, writing, traveling or watching the baseball playoffs, I've been trying to squeeze in an update of our guest bedroom. Right now, the room is a disaster.

DND Guest.jpg

It actually looks much worse than the photo above indicates. But I'm setting a deadline for myself: This room will be done by mid-November!

Note: The horse hook is from High Street Market and the needlepoint sign is from Eden & Eden. Both are vintage and I love them.

October 20, 2009

Working from Home

On the days when I'm not at my part-time job, most of my time is spent sitting at the dining table, typing away on my laptop. We do have a home office, but I just can't bring myself to leave this seat, in part because of the view:

dining view.jpg

It's like the nature channel outside of our house. I swear. Sometimes I get a little distracted by the deer, turkeys, quails, hare, and of course the squirrels who seem to love those redwood trees as much as I do.

September 16, 2009

Be Our Guest

As of this week, I've officially scaled back to part-time hours at my day job. The main benefit is to have more free time for freelance writing. A lesser benefit — because it requires that I spend money rather than make money — is the additional time to focus on decorating projects. The first on my list: the guest bedroom.

After seeing Lydia's headboard on design*sponge, I bought the same Horchow upholstered headboard kit. I briefly considered using a patterned fabric because I love this headboard and matching bedskirt from Palmer Weiss' portfolio:

pweiss bed.jpg

The only thing is: We already have patterned bedding — Dwell's old "Trellis" design in butter — and I'd prefer to keep it. Looking around the Internet some more, I came across Erinn Valencich's website, Omniarte Design, and was smitten with this room:

omniarte 2.jpg

Now I'm thinking the best option is a combination of these two: Solid headboard with matching bedskirt + neutral wallpaper pattern on the wall behind the bed. I think I've finally got my fabric and wallpaper picked out, so hopefully the new look will be complete in a couple of months. (I have a ridiculous number of fabric and wallpaper samples lying around my house right now.)

July 22, 2009

Another Desk Idea

I love love love Christiana's apartment — especially the fact that it's always evolving and, therefore, always providing inspiration. I've been toying with the idea of getting an acrylic console instead of a more traditional desk for the guest room, and this recent photo of her bedroom has me leaning that way:


It's from the latest issue of DIY magazine, which has a spread on Christiana's apartment. You can see more photos on the Ferm Living blog.

Also: I am totally into those wallpapered wall cubes! I might have to steal that idea from Christiana, too.

July 14, 2009

Desk Job

I'm in the process of revamping our guest bedroom. It's a slow process, as I can't quite find the right desk to place on the left side of the bed. Ideally, it would also serve as a bedside table. The latest contender is the new Flip desk from West Elm:


A potential problem with this option: where to place the bedside lamp. If I leave the desk closed and just let guests open it as they need it, they'd have to keep moving the lamp to open it. If I leave the desk open, there doesn't really seem to be a good spot for the lamp. (I already have a pair of lamps that I'd like to keep in this room.) Maybe I can put a small stool between the desk and the bed just for the lamp. Hmmm ...

July 08, 2009

Picture This

It's hard to believe that we've been in our house for almost a year now. And just a few weekends ago, we *finally* got around to hanging up the plexi photo display that also lived in our previous place.


(When we first installed it in our old house, this is how it looked. The dining room evolved over our four years there and by the time we moved out, the chairs and buffet were different.)

We even managed to swap out some of the photos before we screwed the display into the wall downstairs. Hooray for long-overdue projects getting checked off the ever-growing house to-do list!

July 06, 2009

Skirting the Issue

A few months ago, I interviewed interior designer Palmer Weiss for one of my weekly Stylemaker Spotlight columns for the SF Chronicle. This organizational tip she provided stuck with me:

"My standby is a skirted table in an entryway. You can customize the piece to fit your needs exactly. I have even measured the husband's shoes to make sure they will just fit. I love a shelf for mail and handbags, and bins below for shoes and backpacks. You can leave the top free of clutter and place flowers, pretty objects and family photos."

Palmer's online portfolio shows a couple of examples:


I became such a fan of this look/idea, that I had a tableskirt made for the small table in our entry:


I love the way it turned out, but now I feel like we need a new entry rug (we have Flor tiles there right now). The list of improvements is never ending!

June 18, 2009

Have a Seat

We have a stool, which was used for the kitchen peninsula in our old house, that needed a new place to live in the current house. I placed it in the closet so that Jon would have a place to sit and put on his shoes. But apparently, he is very possessive of this stool and would reprimand me every time I moved it over to my side of the closet. So obviously, I needed my own seat:


I pulled this chair out of our guest bedroom (which I'm hoping to update soon/rid of the black and white motif). It was an inexpensive piece that Elizabeth was kind enough to pick up for me last year at the Alameda flea market. I spraypainted it black and found the cream cushion at the Secondhand Sunset booth for $2. The cushion covered in Manual Canovas' "Misia" print is an Ebay purchase.

And I just couldn't resist photographing the chair with one of my favorite heels. I love the contrast between the grey patent and the pink interior lining.

May 27, 2009

That's a Wrap

A few weeks ago, I started the process of transforming a sad little closet downstairs into a gift-wrap space. This is what it looked like before I cleaned it up:

gift wrap before 3.jpg
gift wrap before.jpg
gift wrap before 2.jpg

And here is the after:

Continue reading "That's a Wrap" »

May 11, 2009

Sew and Tell

This weekend, I had access to industrial sewing and overlock machines. So, with some excellent guidance/close supervision, I did some sewing for the first time in ... I can't even remember how long! (I haven't used my sewing machine at all since moving nine months ago.) I whipped up this little pillow for the armchair in our guest bedroom:

guest chair.jpg

The pillow is made with some leftover fabric that was in the workroom, and I can't believe how well the colors in it match with the armchair and ottoman. (You'll have to trust me on that, since the photo is a bit dark.) I think the chair still needs either another pillow (maybe a square one behind the rectangle) or a throw (probably in orange).

I also sewed a pair of curtain panels for the gift-wrap closet, which I'll hopefully be able to share photos of soon. (Just to clarify: There are no windows in the closet. I removed a couple of cabinet doors and decided to replace them with fabric panels. Again, I managed to find the perfect pattern in the workroom.)

April 01, 2009

Mini House Tour

Over on decor8, Holly posted a little tour of my house.

03 living room.jpg

Thanks, Holly, for inviting me to share!

March 27, 2009

Spring It On

One week into the spring season: the skies are blue, the sun is shining and the temperatures are in the 70s here. Since the house is currently flooded with natural light, I'm trying to take photos for an upcoming mini-house tour (on a design blog that I am a big fan of).

Right now, one of my favorite things is walking through the front door and being greeted by fresh flowers:*


* Thank you, Trader Joe's, for your awesome $6.99 bunches of tulips!

March 24, 2009

It's Shoe Time

Some people like looking at bookshelves filled with colorful spines. Me? I like walking into my closet and seeing colorful shoes. They make me happy.

shoes sm.jpg

(BTW, our bookshelves are a mess. The office/library is the most neglected room in our house.)

March 16, 2009

Good Buys

While most of our furniture purchases follow much deliberation, there are a couple of spontaneous buys in our house that I really love. Such as the "Boomerang" chaise by Romani e Saccani that we bought at DWR right before we moved into our first house (it was discontinued, so was on sale):

ale living room chaise.jpg

And most recently, we picked up this vintage bench that was used in a school gym in London:

ale entry bench.jpg

The bench isn't very deep — less than 12" — so it fits perfectly in our entry area. I just can't decide whether or not to add cushions to it. Oh, and I also can't decide what to hang on the walls behind the chaise in the living room.

February 25, 2009

Finally — Curtains!

After living for seven months with just sheers in our bedroom nook, we finally put up some actual curtains.

bedroom nook 1 347.jpg
bedroom nook 2 347.jpg

These grommeted linen panels are on sale at West Elm. Initially, the plan was to buy yards and yards of the Marimekko Lumimarja fabric and have curtains made. (Look how great they look in Nicole's guest room!) But the cost and effort involved were more than I wanted to deal with right now.

While I've got curtains on my mind, I think I need to buy some sort of trim to dress up the plain white panels in the guest bedroom. It's a good excuse to make a trip to The Ribbonerie!

February 03, 2009

Lighting Strikes

I need some help, please. This is the candelabra that hangs above our dining table:

candelabra sm.jpg

It needs to be replaced — mainly because it's impractical. I am not about to light all of those candles every night, but we definitely need more light in that area of the house. Although I would love a David Weeks fixture, I have no idea how to get my hands on one. (I suppose I could ask a designer?)

Are there any lights out there that you'd recommend? I think this candelabra is about 3' in diameter, so the room can definitely handle a good-sized fixture.

The Forgotten Flickr Account

So much time had passed since I last logged into my Flickr account, I actually forgot my password. But I'm just getting back into the Flickr thing and started a new set with a handful of photos of our house. Hopefully, I'll be able to round up more pics and upload them soon.

February 02, 2009

Wall Flowers

This past Christmas, we decided to give a present to our house: a Jill Bliss original. Last month, we were lucky enough to hang out with Jill while she painted this lovely mural in the bonus room (a.k.a., my craft room):


This is just half of the mural. Unfortunately, the (small) size of the room makes it impossible to photograph the entire wall in one shot. But trust me — it is really amazing. And my terrible photograph does not do it justice.

January 26, 2009

Painted Wallpaper

After Apartment Therapy linked to my previous post, several people commented and emailed regarding a how-to. While written step-by-step instructions would be tough, I do have photos that I took along the way that may be of assistance. For anyone interested in trying something similar on their own walls, below are the project pictures I could find on my camera.

Continue reading "Painted Wallpaper" »

January 19, 2009

Fresh Paint

Paint, paint, and more paint! There have been a couple of paint-related projects around the house lately. Here's a picture of the bathroom wall that I previously mentioned:


The pattern is basically Cole & Son's Pompeian. I think the room still needs some pops of color though, so I may have to get some new towels in there.

P.S. I can't write a post about paint without mentioning that I am all about Benjamin Moore's "Natura" paints. I first heard about the eco-friendly line on Apartment Therapy and now I won't use any other paint. There are no fumes and it dries super quickly. Which is good because I had to do quite a few touch-ups on the above wall.

December 29, 2008

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

So the good news was that I was lucky enough to have a five-day weekend. But the bad news was that Jon was gone most of that time. Usually, we spend Christmas Eve with my family and then take the red-eye to the East Coast to spend Christmas Day with his. But, because I was low (okay, actually negative) on vacation days this year, I decided to stay home this holiday season.

What happens when I'm left alone and all I have to keep me entertained is a roll of paint tape? This happens:


Yes, I finally made a decision about the wall in our upstairs guest bathroom. The photo above shows the wall before any painting. I started the project on Christmas Day and am about halfway done with it.

P.S. We hosted Christmas Eve dinner for the first time and everyone should have it as easy as we did. My parents brought some snacks, my brother's family picked up dessert and my sister's family took care of the main course and most side dishes. And our guests actually washed and dried all of the dishes before they left. So yeah, in a nutshell, my family rocks.

P.P.S. Jon's parents gave us a coffee machine and a hot chocolate maker, both of which are awesome. And now — since we already had an espresso machine — we're all set if we ever want to turn our kitchen into a coffee shop.

December 17, 2008

All Wrapped Up

We are done! That's right — done with our holiday shopping, with an entire week to spare. Now if only we could get started on those blank holiday cards that have been sitting on our coffee table for the past few days ...

Now that we don't have to make any more trips to the stores, we had to find *something* to occupy our time. So Jon and I have decided to try to start two new house projects over the next week. Yes, house projects — two of them — right before the holidays. And we're hosting Christmas Eve dinner this year. Hopefully, there won't be holes in the walls and small cans of paint everywhere.

Oh! One gift-y thing I wanted to mention, without giving away too much here: We used Blurb for the first time and are super pleased with the results. (Putting together the book, with its photo layouts and captions, brought back memories of working on the high school yearbook.)

December 15, 2008

Tree's Company

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas in our house! This is the first year that Jon and I have had a real, live tree. And — hooray! — we didn't have to move around any furniture to accomodate it.


The fake tree from Christmases past was about 6'. This one is 8-9' tall, which means more lights and ornaments are necessary this year. One of my favorite new ornaments is the handmade felt fortune cookie by Arawa. It is absolutely genius! (We still need to get a new topper, since the old one is way too small for this tree.)

December 02, 2008

Stencil Me In

We've been slowly making changes to one of our guest bathrooms — such as swapping out the mirror, sconces, vanity hardware and towel bar. But the space still feels a bit too neutral. I've been mulling over several ideas for one of the walls. After seeing this photo on Apartment Therapy yesterday, I'm now leaning towards a stencil of some sort:


I actually like this "Teardrop" pattern from the Stencil Library quite a lot. According to the resource list for the photo, it's about £50, so I'm guessing it's the large or x-large size.

November 21, 2008

Side Dish

No, this isn't a re-run. I posted this picture from Angie Hranowsky's online portfolio before, but there's a reason it's popping up again.

angie hranowsky 1.jpg

See that mirror? Well, we have the same one above our living room mantle. And that rattan side table/ottoman next to the armchair? We're now the owners of the same Franco Albini piece. I swear we're not trying to totally copy Angie's room.

As soon as I saw the side table/ottoman, I knew that it would be perfect for our living room and emailed Angie about it. She was kind enough to respond and suggested that I look on eBay. I ended up getting mine through Austin Modern and it arrived earlier this week. Here it is next to one of our other recent purchases, the Portland studio sofa from Room & Board:


November 10, 2008

Closet Case

There are four things I especially love about our home office:

  1. The natural light.
  2. The access to the lower deck.
  3. The built-in desk (see photos of it fake-wallpapered at Apartment Therapy).
  4. The storage, thanks to a pair of good-sized closets.

Unfortunately, #4 on the list also comes with bland sliding closet doors. Inspired by Benita's (of Chez Larrson) closet door project shown below, I think I may try to paint them out.


The only thing is: The built-in desk with the Ferm living "Feather" wallpaper is right next to the closets, so whatever I paint on the doors has to complement that pattern.

October 20, 2008

ABCs of Seating

What a weekend! My sister and I arrived in NYC around midnight on Friday and, 48 hours later, I was already back home in the Bay Area. One of our first stops was ABC Carpet & Home, where we spied these seating options:

I couldn't resist getting a pair of these stools (on sale!).

We loved this petite upholstered chair, but it was $2500. Yikes.

Obama chairs, but no McCains or Palins to be found.

It was a great trip, but too short! Still, we managed to cram in lots of good eating and shopping. Now I need a nap. (And my credit card needs a rest, too.)

October 14, 2008

Sleep On It


For our guest bedroom, we pretty much kept everything from the old place. Since we have quite a bit more room than before, we also brought in an armchair and a floor lamp (not pictured). And I'm still hoping to get a pair of ottomans/stools/small benches for the end of the bed and a small side table. But what's really stumping me is what to put on the wall behind the bed. I'm considering buying two of these Jonathan Adler mirrors, to place above each nightstand:


But I just don't know if that's the right move here.

October 10, 2008

Design Chair Cushions

Just as we were about to land in Tokyo, I realized that I had forgotten my wallet at home. Usually, I forget to pack pajamas. This time? Just all of my credit cards.

That oversight, coupled with the fact that we were trying not to check-in any luggage (I hate waiting at baggage claim), cramped my shopping style. But I still couldn't resist picking up a set of these "Design Chair Cushions" at Sempre.


In the store, they displayed them with several different chairs — including the Eames fiberglass design that we have in our kitchen. I had actually been looking for cushions for these chairs because I always feel like I slide back too far and then the table ends up feeling a tad too high. Even though they didn't fit in our suitcases, I managed to successfully carry four of them home with me on the plane.

September 15, 2008

The Mirror

So I did it. I bought THE MIRROR. The one I posted about here and then again here. But, after my second post, Leah (of More Ways to Waste Time) emailed to let me know that there was an eBay seller offering up the same mirror for much less money. So, thanks to Leah, the mirror is now hanging in my living room:


The original plan was to place it in the dining room, but the size just overwhelmed the credenza over there. So we moved the mirror to the living room, where there was a vacant spot because the painting that hung above the fireplace in the old house seemed too small for the new space. (The painting is now on the wall leading from the entry to the living room.)

P.S. I still do not love the paint treatment in the living/dining room. We have polled every single person who visits the house and, for some inexplicably reason, most have sided with Jon and think we should keep the walls as-is. Huh???

September 12, 2008

Make Like a Tree

Remember when I posted about Ferm Living's branch wall sticker a few weeks ago? Well, it is now up in our bedroom:


Since I'm always describing our house as a giant treehouse — in part because we look out on to a bunch of redwoods — it seemed fitting to add these branches above our bed. (Apologies for my lack of photography skills!)

Now I've got a dilemma with the guest bedroom: Again, I don't want to put anything heavy on the wall behind the bed because we're near the San Andreas Fault. Right now, I'm leaning towards doing a simple wallpaper treatment, with just a few panels. I like how it looks in the bedrooms below (from the House to Home website):


September 08, 2008

Before & After: The Laundry Room

As much as I loved our old house, whenever Jon and I spoke about our next place, there were two things at the top of my wishlist: 1) a walk-in closet, and 2) a laundry room. We got lucky and now have both in the new house. I decided that the latter should be our first makeover project, since the space is small and wouldn't take a crazy amount of time and effort.

This is what the laundry room looked like when we moved in:


And this is what it looks like now:


I'm really happy with the way it all turned out. And I owe a big thank you to Elizabeth for helping me pick out the paint color and to Jon for handling the wallpaper (his first and, according to him, last time with that).

August 29, 2008

Laboring Away

We are really really really looking forward to the three-day weekend. No, there aren't any plans for a big BBQ. Nor do we have any travel booked for Labor Day. (We took our little getaway last weekend to Napa.) We are simply going to stay at home and FINALLY make our way through the unpacked boxes lying around. And there are plenty of them!

The past month has been busy with work, travel, houseguests, gatherings, etc., so we haven't been able to set aside any time to get ourselves organized. It'll be nice to finally put things in their proper place and start to feel settled in the house. Below are snapshots related to some projects on this weekend's to-do list:


See you next week!

August 14, 2008

Branching Out

I came across this photo on the Ferm Living blog and immediately went over to their online shop to order the "Branch" wall sticker for our bedroom:


See, we live right along the San Andreas Fault, so hanging anything above our headboard makes me nervous. This is the perfect solution for adding a little visual interest, without the risk of anything falling on top of us if there's an earthquake.

Also found on the Ferm blog: A sneek peek at a couple of new (not yet available) designs!


August 11, 2008

Notes from NYC

Since I was in NYC last week for less than 48 hours, I didn't get a chance to visit ABC Carpet & Home. But I did make it over to Barneys housewares department, where I picked up this Madeline Weinrib rug:


Also at Barneys, I spotted these cute stools and ottomans done up in Judy Ross patterns:


And at Anthropologie, they had a bunch of vintage suitcases that had been transformed into tables with the addition of some wooden legs:


Those suitcase tables are now officially on my DIY project list.

August 08, 2008

Daze of the Week

What a week. In the middle of all of the moving madness, I had a writing deadline *and* ended up going to NYC for a couple of days. All good stuff, but very tiring!

Oh, here is a snapshot of the only box-free room in our house, the dining room:


And in case you're wondering: Yes, we are short several chairs in this photo. But they have been ordered and should be here any day now (an amazing housewarming gift from my sister). The candelabra is a holdover from the previous owners that I'm still debating about. And we need a longer runner now that we've expanded the dining table.

Have a great weekend!

July 31, 2008

On the Move

We've spent the past few weeks packing up box after box and it's finally moving day! The previous owners of the new place vacated this past weekend, so Jon and I went over and snapped a few photos. Like this one:


There are skylights in pretty much every room on the main level of the house. And Jon informed me last week that those windows way up there by the ceiling are called "clerestories."

This photo is taken from the dining area and you can probably tell that there's a faux finish on the walls. I am not a fan of faux finishes. But Jon claims that he likes it. (I think he's just saying he likes it to avoid having the walls repainted.) I'm willing to live with it for a bit and see how it works with our furniture, but I'm skeptical that the finish will grow on me. I think the space would look better with a nice coat of white.

July 28, 2008

Good Housekeeping

Remember those great pocket-sized floor plans that were posted on Apartment Therapy? I decided to take that idea and modify it a bit by using a Russell + Hazel mini-binder.


Each room has its own tab, which includes: a layout of the space on grid paper, fabric swatches for furniture, and clippings of possible future purchases. I'm also keeping track of paint chips and wallpaper samples that we might incorporate in the house later on.

July 21, 2008

Wii Room

So I have this idea for our new house: a Wii Room! Jon's not fully on board yet though ... And that could be because we don't yet have: 1) any furniture for that room (including a TV), or 2) a Wii. But here's just what we need to get motivated to start putting together our Wii Room:


Nintendo wall stickers by Blik! (via Apartment Therapy)

July 17, 2008

Cleaning House

Our realtors came over earlier this week to assess our current house. The night before they stopped by, I took down the Ferm Living wall decals in the living room:


I was sad to see them go and am convinced that I need to re-create this corner somewhere in the new house.

P.S. The wallpaper in the entry is staying!

July 09, 2008

Decked Out

Just one of the reasons we love our new house: It's got a little bit of a treehouse feel to it.


Another reason we're eager to move in: AIR CONDITIONING! This current heat wave is brutal.

P.S. I haven't posted any interior shots of the place because the only photos I have feature the previous owner's belongings.

July 08, 2008

Sample Matters

In my head, I've already started mapping out exactly where everything will go in our new house. And there are two pieces of furniture that I'd really like to buy: a bench for the end of our bed (I've always wanted to have one and finally have the space to make this happen) and a comfy armchair in the guest bedroom. You know what I learned while researching these items? That lots of companies will send you free fabric samples, including Pottery Barn, Crate&Barrel, Williams-Sonoma Home, and Room&Board. Very handy!

Also: Fabric stores — such as Textile Arts — often charge a small fee for samples, and you can later apply that fee as a credit towards your purchase. (I really like Nicole's Lumimarja curtains and am leaning towards that fabric in a different colorway for our bedroom curtains.)

June 30, 2008

It's a Wash

I don't think I will ever get tired of saying these words to Jon: "That goes in the laundry room."

Yes, the new house has a room dedicated to washing and drying and ironing clothes. And, although I'm not a fan of these chores, I am super-psyched to have a laundry room. In fact, I have been sifting through old magazines and online galleries searching for inspiration for ours.

Source: HGTV Canada

Source: House to Home

Source: This Old House

Source: Hampton Design

Source: Domino

But before I get too carried away with the design of the room, I have to actually pick a new washer and dryer ...

June 27, 2008

Bust a Move

It has been a crazy week. There's been a lot going on, but the biggest thing is: We closed on a new house!

Although we LOVE our current house and I suspect that I will get weepy in the days leading up to our move, our main concern was the square footage. Since we'll soon have a bigger space to play with, I am constantly peeking at Desire to Inspire for decorating ideas. These are a couple of my favorites lately:



P.S. Yesterday, I went to the Pacific Coast Builders Conference for a writing assignment and got completely overwhelmed by doors, windows, countertops, hardware, etc. I'm relieved we won't be doing any remodeling with the new place!

June 17, 2008

Finally: Curtains!

Remember the Kelly Wearstler-ish fabric I bought back in January? Well, SIX months later, they have been transformed into curtains that are finally hanging in the office/craft room:


The original plan was to hang the panels with clip rings, but I screwed up on the measurements and we had to go the pole-pocket route. Oh well. I still love our new curtains.

Now we just need to clean up the rest of the room! Oh, and dress up that daybed.

P.S. Did you see the fantastic installation of the Wearstler "Imperial Trellis" wallpaper over at BeachBungalow8? So pretty.

Pretty in Pink

Back in April, I mentioned the rosebushes that my parents planted for us — including a red one. Well, shortly after that post, we had some yard work done. And I came home from work one day to find the red rosebush gone. No trace of it. It had been accidentally removed, so it was subsequently replaced ... by what we thought was another red rosebush. Until it started blooming recently:


I love this hot pink color, but really miss our red rosebush. Maybe we'll have to plant another one somewhere else in the yard.

June 02, 2008

Off the Wall

More wallpaper was brought into the house this weekend! But not on the walls ...

Here's the deal: We have a guest bedroom. Yes, it's very nice and grown-up and all. But it actually isn't the best use of an entire room in our house. Jon and I have discussed and he insists that we maintain a guest bedroom, so there you go.

There is a small closet in this room that is used to store random stuff (e.g., my wedding dress, our luggage, paintings we picked up in Paris). When we have guests, however, we have to clear out this closet and make way for the guests' belongings. Well, this practice just could not continue. So we decided to buy a narrow Ikea armoire for the room, and this armoire is entirely for our guests to use. Since it's not a very big room, it's not ideal to bring in another piece of furniture, but it makes the space function better.

To spruce up the armoire a bit, we lined it with PB's Overlapping Leaves wallpaper and replaced the knobs with a pair of white coral knobs I picked up at Anthropologie:


The wallpaper was super-easy to apply. It's pre-pasted and features some fancy schmancy wallpaper technology called Surestrip, so you just need to dip it in water and then stick it on. THAT'S IT. Magic, people, magic.

I'm not sure about the knobs, but I like them better than what came with the armoire. I wish I had purchased extras of the link knobs that I spraypainted for the nightstands (seen here).

Remaining projects for this room:
• Paint and sew a new cushion for the chair that Elizabeth found at the Alameda Flea Market.
• Arrange some travel photos and art prints on the empty wall.

May 27, 2008

Adventures in Wallpapering, Take Two

On Saturday, Christiana (of Ferm Living) came over for the wallpaper project do-over. Prior to her visit, I ripped off the wallpaper that Elizabeth and I had installed. It was surprisingly easy! (The task may have been helped along because — following the advice of the guy at the local paint/wallpaper store — I applied a coat of some sort of special primer.)

It took Christiana and I about an hour to complete the re-wallpapering of the 8'x3' area in the entry. Figuring out the cut-out and trimming the left side were the really tricky aspects of the job.


My sister has this lovely cabinet that she wants to give us, and Jon and I were planning to place it against this wall. But now the wallpaper just looks so good, I don't think I can do it.

May 15, 2008

In the House

When I saw Jill's collection of house drawings over at Together Gallery, I had to ask if she would consider a commissioned piece of my own house. I was thrilled that she agreed, and even more thrilled when I received the drawing yesterday:


I love the way she's captured our house with her unique style of illustration. And this is definitely something we'll proudly display for many years to come — no matter where we live.

May 07, 2008

Adventures in Wallpapering

Please excuse my bad photography, but I wanted to share a bit of our newly wallpapered accent wall:


This was the first time Elizabeth or I had ever wallpapered anything and it was ... uh ... interesting. Much harder than I thought it would be — considering the wall is only 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide! But, as with a lot of older homes, nothing was straight. And there was a cut-out in the corner. And did I mention that neither of us had ever done this before?

Jon and I are contemplating a do-over, but a cabinet may end up covering most of the blemishes anyway.

(Pssst ... In the background, you can see the dining room chairs that we finally decided on.)

May 01, 2008

May Flowers

More roses from our yard:


I had forgotten how nice it is to have fresh flowers around the house — even nicer when you can pick them yourself!

April 28, 2008

Fresh Paint

I've been meaning to paint the guest room nightstands for a while now, but the winter rains and various vacations left me with just a handful of weekends to work on the project this year. (Yes, this has been in the works since January.)


I think the white is much better in the room than the natural wood, but I feel like there's still plenty more to do in this space!

Other items seen in this photo:

  • That's an Anthropologie knob, previously brass, that I spraypainted (the knobs are no longer available).
  • The tissue box is an older Lotta design; there's a bench cushion in the room that I covered in the same fabric.
  • The vase is the Swallow cup by Cake — only $14! (Flowers courtesy of our garden.)
  • Bedding is an older Dwell pattern/color, with West Elm bolsters. (Bluefly sometimes has the duvet set in stock.)
  • The alarm clock is from Restoration Hardware.
  • The lamp was a clearance item from Garnet Hill, and I added the trim to the shade.
  • And that little upholstered horseshoe on the windowsill is from Hable Construction.

April 25, 2008

Window Treatment

I like our kitchen a lot — I mean, as much as someone who doesn't enjoy cooking can — but it's always felt a little staid. Since we didn't want to add curtains to the window (I prefer leaving it fairly uncluttered), we decided to give the Strossel Design window films a try:


I think it's nice that the greenery is still in view; the films block part of the fence between our house and the neighbors' (who wants to see that anyway?). And, in case you're wondering, they are super easy to apply.

April 24, 2008

Shelf Life

Saturday: I came across a vintage trolley at Anthropologie that would be the perfect replacement for an old Pier One bookcase in our dining area. But there were two problems: It was $1800. And it was already sold. (The sales associate said she could track one down from another location, but that didn't take care of Problem #1.)

Sunday: I found something similar in style to the Anthropologie trolley at Nest. The size was even better for the spot I had in mind! AND it was much, much cheaper! But there was one problem: I couldn't fit it in my car.

Tuesday: Jon had an appointment in San Francisco, so he stopped by to pick up the shelving unit. The most perfect thing about it? It's a shoe rack from the 1930s. A shoe rack! Given my deep love for shoes, I feel like it was so meant to be mine. I mean, ours. (Apparently, the store owners brought it back from one of their trips to France.)


Most of the shelves consist of dowels (not flat surfaces), so I went to Tap Plastics and had some sheets of Plexi cut to size.

April 23, 2008

Coming Up Roses

The rosebushes are blooming!


My parents planted several rosebushes for us last year and they are going crazy this spring. I love that they are pretty much the first thing I see when I pull into the driveway every day.

April 21, 2008

Well Grounded

I was recently lamenting to Elizabeth that the living room in my house seemed sort of blah. Sure, we have red accents and some patterns, but maybe what we needed was a new rug to liven things up a bit. So we decided to layer a colorful rug on top of the neutral, larger sisal that's already in place. This is the chosen rug (Pottery Barn's Moorish Tile in clementine orange):


Me like!

Pssst ... Even though the PB website says the rug is a catalog/Internet-only product, my local store actually has them available in the orange (brown and yellow are special order). If only I had known! Because you know I hate paying for shipping. That's what I get for believing what I read online.

March 26, 2008

All the Trimmings

After a trip to The Ribbonerie:


I was able to finish the living room curtains:


Hurray for completed tasks!

BTW, I wouldn't have thought to add two grosgrain ribbons of different colors and different widths. That is all Elizabeth's idea, and I think it turned out great!

March 20, 2008

Bedroom Corner

I have been a fan of Heather Frazier's mobiles for quite some time. So I am happy to report that one of her creations is now hanging in the corner of our bedroom:


Hmmm ... Now that I'm looking at this photo, I'm thinking I may need to lower the mobile a bit. Maybe so the top is along the same eye-line as the top of the framed posters by Robert Hanson and Hanna Werning.

P.S. You can check out Heather Frazier's lovely Portland home in a House Call I posted on Apartment Therapy a while back.

March 17, 2008

Dwell Tablecloth for Target

When we moved into our house, we didn't have a dining table, so we ate at the kitchen counter every night. This worked for a couple of months, until we decided to host a birthday dinner for Jon. That was just the motivation we needed to go out and find a table. I had a very specific idea in mind, which we totally lucked out and found at a vintage shop. It was affordable and imperfect — both of which are good things in my book.

So for three years, we've kept this table that I adore mostly uncovered. But when I recently came across this Dwell tablecloth at Target (they no longer carry it online), I decided to give it a try:


I think I still prefer seeing the bare wood tabletop, even with its scratches and discolorations. (Perhaps it has something to do with the contrast between the white chairs and the teak table?) So the tablecloth may be brought out only when we're expecting company.

P.S. I think Jon and I have finally agreed upon replacement dining room chairs! More on that when it's a done deal/purchase ...

March 13, 2008

Busy Decorating Bees

Last night, while I was sewing up a little pillow for a chair in the office/craft room, Jon was slicing away at some Flor tiles, putting together a runner (with a border!) in the main hallway of our house:


March 12, 2008

Have a Seat

I tried to convince Jon that we should get these chairs for the dining room:


But he refuses. He thinks they are outdoor chairs and, therefore, belong in the backyard. Nevermind that even Pottery Barn is now showing them as INDOOR dining chairs. Complete with cushions for them.


And so the search continues ...

Clean Machine

I am really bad at unpacking after a trip. But this week, things are different. They have to be: Jon's parents are coming to town this weekend. So in addition to emptying out the suitcases and doing loads of laundry, there is plenty of tidying up to do around the house. And lots of donating of random furniture.

In the guest bedroom — where his parents will be staying — at least we've got this off the bed and on the wall now:

Textile picked up during our Thanksgiving 2007 trip to Los Cabos

February 27, 2008

Saturday Play-by-Play

Pssst ... Erin over at Design for Mankind kindly invited me to participate in her "The Dailies" series. You can read all about my Saturday — and check out some never-seen-before photos of my house — right here.


February 25, 2008

Curtain Panel Makeover

Remember the living room curtain issue? Elizabeth and I agreed that the Amy Butler fabric was a bit too pink, so we nixed it as the patterned band at the bottom of the grommeted panels. Then I remembered that I have a yard of Marimekko's "Liv" fabric.


We both think it works well with the rest of the room, but needs a little something more. (I've only pinned it in place to see how it looks.) A band of cardinal red or tomato red will probably be added between the curtain and the fabric.

February 20, 2008

Pinecone Windchime

I never really met a windchime that I liked ... Until this weekend, when I came across this pinecone version at a local shop:


It's available in multiple sizes, but I thought the smallest sounded the best. So that's the one now hanging in my porch.

February 18, 2008

More Cowbells

We enjoyed a super-mellow three-day weekend ... well, at least I did. Jon had to deal with a fair amount of work around the house, as well as in the office. (But the latter, although a bit of a pain, led to dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants — Hotaru — on Sunday night.) At least he got to check out the Tour of California, which kicked off in Palo Alto/Stanford on Sunday afternoon. (I quickly got bored and walked over to the mall.)

At home, I had a little to-do list for Jon that mostly entailed hanging stuff up. Here's one project that he wasn't responsible for because Elizabeth came over to help out:


P.S. In case you're wondering about the title of this post: During cycling races, it's a tradition to ring cowbells to cheer on the riders.

February 05, 2008

Future Wall Decor

Currently lying on our living room rug, but (hopefully) soon to be hanging on our bedroom walls:

Left: Robert Hanson print
Right: Hanna Werning poster/wallpaper

January 30, 2008

Curtain Conundrum

I've been on the hunt for new curtains for our living room. Right now, this option is in the lead:

Purchase grommeted panels and ...

Add a band of Amy Butler's "Lotus Wall Flower" in cherry to the bottom.

January 28, 2008

Wall o' Shelves

The office/craft room still needs some work, but at least we've emptied the freestanding Ikea bookcases and loaded up the wall-mounted Elfa system:


And, yes, that is a Flavor Flav clock on the bottom shelf. And a UPS delivery-guy bobblehead on the top shelf.

January 17, 2008

Shipping Sticker Shock

I am crazy about this Draper cabinet and totally want one for our dining room (to store cookbooks):


But I simply cannot justify paying $275 — which is about 35 percent of the cost of the cabinet itself — for shipping. I just can't do it.

December 21, 2007

More on the Doors

Okay, two quick things:

1) The door installer's cell phone ring is The Beastie Boys' "Brass Monkey." Awesome.

2) Here's said door installer's handiwork in our hallway:


Again, awesome.

December 10, 2007

The Mantlescape

Thanks to Elizabeth and her artistic eye, this is our current mantlescape:


Noteworthy items: The hurricanes on each end are left over from our wedding reception; the Eva Zeisel vases were a gift from Jon years ago; the conch shell is from a family vacation to Turks and Caicos; the painting is from a gallery in Vietnam; and the framed picture is one of the annual holiday photos taken with Jon's family.

November 27, 2007

A Chandelier ... Finally!

I have wanted a chandelier for a long time. And I was so pleased when Elizabeth — who is guiding me through some redecorating around the house — agreed that the guest bedroom is the perfect place to install a chandelier. Grace's post yesterday served as a reminder for me to go ahead and purchase one already. So, on my way home from work today, I did. This one:


It's the Gracie, in glossy white, from Crate&Barrel. Next decision: Shades or no shades? And if yes on the chandelier shades, then what color/style?

November 15, 2007

The Homefront

Int. Our House - Evening

Jon and I are in the living room. He is sitting in his usual armchair, directly in front of the giant TV. I'm standing in front of the fireplace, placing the newly purchased Palo Samko rocking bird on the mantel.

     Jon: Do you have to buy everything that you see that you think is cute?

     Me: Yes.

Three weeks later, there are some new additions in the home.

For our wedding rehearsal dinner, we rented out the bowling alley in the Presidio. So when I saw this pair of pins on Three Potato Four, I couldn't resist.

The Palo birdie needed some company. Hence the penguin glass vessel.

I wonder how long it will take Jon to notice them?

November 13, 2007

Pipes and Plumbing

What. A. Day. I had to work from home yesterday because we were trying to resolve a plumbing problem that came to our attention around 7am. Since Jon had already showered, he got to leave for work while I waited and waited for Roto-Rooter.

The plumbers were supposed to show between 8am and 10am — "or earlier" said the dispatcher. You know what time they came knocking at the door? ONE. THIRTY. In the afternoon. After three hours and various attempts to clean out the pipes, they left me with the same plumbing problems. But just more frustrated, having wasted an entire day. So the City came out around 5pm and tried to clean out the pipes as well. Today, more City crews will be returning — this time to stick a camera into the pipes to see what's what. (We have a big maple tree in front of our house, so the roots may be causing problems.)

Fun times!

October 23, 2007

A Little More Welcoming

Since Anthropologie doesn't appear to have our newly purchased doormat online, I took a picture to share:


Some of you may recognize this pattern as Alexander Henry's Mocca. Years ago, I actually made some pillow covers with the fabric, but I don't know what happened to them ... Anyway! I like this doormat much better than the old Ikea one.

October 15, 2007

Rockin' the Designers Guild

During our honeymoon three years ago, we popped into the Designers Guild shop in London and picked up a couple of pillow covers (I believe they're called breakfast shams). But I couldn't quite find a spot for either of them in our house ... until this weekend. Although one of the covers still lives in the closet, the other is now providing a lovely, colorful background for Cha Cha:


Now if only I could figure out what to do with the Designers Guild Tatami fabric that I bought a few months ago ...

September 21, 2007

Writers' Rooms

Today on AT:SF, Danielle posted about this fantastic Guardian article. The UK-based publication profiled the rooms of 37 writers. I always refer to our back room as the Office/Craft Room — never even considered calling it a Writer's Room. But I really like that designation, and it actually is true. This is where I do most of my writing:


The desk was a $15 purchase from a dot-com going out of business. Ditto for the file cabinets. I think I'm going to replace the lamp (which used to be in our bedroom) with a real task lamp. The taped-up paper represents where we're thinking of hanging our diplomas. But I'm thinking I might want to go with ledges so that the diplomas aren't just up there by themselves. We'll see ...

Anyway! In the Guardian piece, this is Will Self's room — my favorite of the bunch because I love all of the Post-Its and the London map stapled to the blinds:


September 20, 2007


Until three years ago, I lived a passport-free existence. I was finally prompted to apply for a passport when Jon and I planned our honeymoon to Europe. Since then, I've been fortunate enough to go on some truly fantastic trips. I'm taking a lot of photos around the house these days, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite travel keepsakes:

The textile is a napkin that we picked up in Bucharest this summer. We only bought one because it would have been too expensive to get a whole set of them. Plus, we don't use the cloth napkins we already have tucked away in the linen closet.

Flanking the Alyson Fox piece I commissioned as a graduation gift for Jon: a small owl softie from Japan and nesting dolls from Russia. The latter was a last-minute purchase at the airport in Moscow — an attempt to rid myself of as many roubles as possible before we boarded the plane for Prague.*

As a kid, I loved Barbapapa. So when I came across these figurines in Paris, I freaked out. (The whole family resides in those white cubbies.) Jon was totally baffled because he had never heard of Barbapapa before we stumbled upon this toy shop.

Coincidentally, today's "Room to Improve" column in the NY Times asks: How can I display travel souvenirs without making my house look too messy?

* Prague is known for its beautiful glass and porcelain products. But you know what else you can find EVERYWHERE in Prague? Puppets! So one of our souvenirs from Prague is a Harry Potter puppet. Yeah, that's right.

September 05, 2007

Apartment Therapy Fall Cure

The AT:SF Fall Cure officially gets underway next Monday. And I am really, really looking forward to it! This will be my first time participating — plus, I'll be posting about the Cure for AT:SF.

Jon and I have been in our house for about 2.5 years now. When we moved in, we made a lot of changes throughout. Now that we've given ourselves some time to settle into the space, I feel like it's time to launch the Nesting 2.0 campaign. There's still a lot we want to do in the house — isn't that always the case? — so I'm going to use the Cure as a big motivater over the next eight weeks. I'm hoping to declutter a bit, as well as finish up some areas that have been works in progress for far too long.

So that's my goal! You can catch it all over at AT:SF, and of course, you should join in the fun!

July 24, 2007

Sewing Station

Getting a new chair motivated me to tidy up my tiny sewing area a bit. While I was going through my pile of fabric, I came across an old Angela Adams pattern that I had completely forgotten about. (I wish she still carried textiles in her online shop!) So I decided to sew a cozy for my sewing machine. Is that weird?


P.S. Yes, my sewing table is actually a $1 Ikea shelf (found in the as-is section of the store) with some Ikea desk legs screwed into it.

July 17, 2007

Getting Lit

One of the design decisions I've been struggling with in our house is lighting. There are several ceiling fixtures that need to be replaced! There are table lamps that I'm tired of looking at! There are corners that are dark and scary! I've been waiting for Perch to make their new designs available online, and today I noticed that they are.

I especially like that — since it's made to order — the Zooey mini chandelier can be purchased at any length. (We don't have high ceilings, so most chandeliers are out of the question for us.)

perch1.jpg  perch2.jpg

I also have one of Perch's early bird pendants, but haven't figured out where to place it yet. I picked it up at last year's Mod Economy sale — which, by the way, is happening again later this month and is not to be missed!

May 11, 2007

Hop Skotch Rug

Yay! Flor put together instructions for creating the hop skotch rug that's featured in their latest catalog:


When I got the catalog in my mailbox a few weeks ago, I flipped through it about five times, and then browsed the web site for another hour, trying to find this product. Turns out, it's their regular carpet tiles with a little DIY magic.

I think I need this as my hallway runner.

May 04, 2007

For the Birds

The new issue of Domino has me thinking a lot about the backyard. And then this morning, I saw these at The Curiosity Shoppe:


I want! I want! The birdhouse comes in orange or green, and is priced at $30.

March 02, 2007

Graham & Brown Wallpaper

There's one wall in our garage that is lined with cabinets. They were there when we moved in, and as ugly as they are to look at, they serve their purpose well. I decided a while back that, rather than simply paint them white, we should wallpaper them! Have some fun with them!

I really like Graham & Brown's patterns — and prices — and have been pleasantly surprised by all of their new-ish offerings. For example: The Julian MacDonald line. (Please ignore the fact that the photo on the site shows him with Paris Hilton.)

Right now, I'm leaning towards the "Frames" pattern because I think it would be fun to fill in the frames with all sorts of random scribbles, notes, magazine clippings, photos ... the possibilities are endless!


March 01, 2007

Handbag Reorg

A couple of weeks ago, Apartment Therapy: Chicago posted a "Good Question" about handbag storage. Since then, I've been trying to figure out a better way to store my stash — especially since several folks said hanging them on pegs is a no-no. Yesterday, while at The Container Store, I came across these 3-tier hanging wire bins.


Although they're meant for sweaters, they might work for my handbags, too (the description even says so!). Tonight, I'm going to try to clear 13" of space in one of the closets to try out this contraption. (I'm thinking I'll probably never wear those old suits from my law school days ever again, so those can go.)

Oh, and I asked the sales associates if I could hang additional baskets (i.e., more than three), and they said that's absolutely possible/safe. Wish me luck ...

February 21, 2007

Art in Hanoi

This Sunday's NYTimes "Travel" section included a great article on Vietnamese contemporary art:

“Just wait,” my friend said. “You will fall in love with the art there.”

And I had. But while I was fascinated by 20th-century Vietnamese art — a mixture of Eastern techniques (woodcutting, engraving, silk and lacquer painting) with European influences from the early 1900s (Impressionism, Cubism) — I was most taken with the contemporary works by younger artists, many of whom are integrating the traditional into the modern and expressing themselves in new ways that reflect an awareness of what is happening in the Western art world.

The first piece of art that Jon and I purchased was actually from a gallery in Hanoi. We bought it right after we moved into our first house (two years ago):


January 19, 2007

Let There Be Light

Before we bought our house, it was rented by a couple for 15-20 years. (A couple who now rent a house two doors down from us.) It definitely needed a lot of TLC, even though the sellers made some minor improvements — such as updating all of the ceiling light fixtures to whatever was on special at Home Depot at the time. In other words, they aren't offensive, but they have no style whatsoever.

We immediately swapped out the dining room chandelier with a LeKlint. And our first summer in the house — which has no A/C — we changed our bedroom fixture to a ceiling fan.

Now, I'm on a mission to replace the entry, hallway, guest bedroom and office/craft room lights. Oh, and our living room needs a new table lamp. For the hallway, I'm leaning towards a Galbraith & Paul pendant:


Their shades are all hand block-printed on fabrics such as silk, linen and velvet. Pretty, pretty.

January 18, 2007

Candela Covers

We've been using the Candelas in our house for a while now. I initially picked up a set of four that, due to a poor battery set-up, went kaput after a few months (I can't remember exactly how long). So last Christmas, Jon bought me a two-pack of the new and improved Candelas. But just the other night, we realized that they had also stopped working. Luckily, this time, we can buy a couple of new batteries* and the problem will be solved.

In my Candela-related shopping research, I came across the colored covers that allow you to change the appearance of the plain ol' white ones. Festive!


* I think the 2007 version of the Candelas have rechargable batteries. But they also have more of a yellowish glow, rather than white. So even though I'll probably have to buy new batteries every year, I'll stick with the old design.

(Image from Unica, which also carries the covers.)

January 10, 2007

Mural, Mural on the Wall

So our house has a decent-sized backyard, which is surrounded by a taller-than-me wood fence. When we landscaped the yard about a year ago, we decided to go easy on the plant purchases. We would start out with a small collection of them and see how they matured before deciding whether or not we needed more.

I suggested then — and still bring this up on a regular basis now — that we paint a nature-y mural on the back fence (the one you look straight at when you step out of the house and into the yard). Jon was against this idea in a big way. But I have discovered new ammunition in this debate:


This mural, by Decoradar, is exactly what I had in mind! It's described as "tri-colored silhouettes of flowers and weeds." I think I'm due for a new home decorating project ...

November 26, 2006

'Twas a Month Before Christmas

Rainy weekend = Christmas tree up and trimmed. Stockings hung by the (now clean and inspected) chimney with care. Wreath jingling on the door. Windows decorated with Tord Boontje holiday decals. Pumpkin bread straight out of the oven. (Some) presents wrapped and ribboned.

Yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.


November 02, 2006

Decorating Don'ts

So the other night, I caught the HGTV special "25 Biggest Decorating Mistakes." Here's what their panel of experts — which consisted mainly of hosts of HGTV shows — cited as the worst things you could do to your home:

    25. Toilet rugs
    24. Too many photos
    23. Ignoring the foyer
    22. Undressed cables
    21. Out-of-place themes
    20. Outdated accessories
    19. Lopsided furniture arrangements
    18. Keeping something you hate
    17. Too formal
    16. Uncomfortable dining chairs
    15. Lack of traffic pattern
    14. Everything matches
    13. Following fads
    12. Furniture that doesn't fit
    11. Too many colors or patterns
    10. Floating rugs
    9. Improper lighting
    8. Frames hung too high
    7. Tacky couch covers
    6. Pushed-back furniture
    5. Ignoring windows
    4. Fear of color
    3. Knick-knack overload
    2. Too many pillows
    1. Fake flowers
Hmmm... I think we're guilty of at least five of these offenses.

October 29, 2006

Fabric Banner

Last weekend, I was in Lavish admiring the fabric banners for sale. Since the colors wouldn't really work in our guest bedroom (which is where I envisioned the banner hanging), I decided to sew my own. To start, I clicked over to Purl Soho — the perfect resource for a project like this because you can buy ¼ yard of any of their super-cute fabrics.


Continue reading "Fabric Banner" »

October 23, 2006

Plexiglas Photo Display

Since our dining room photo display got a bit of love from various blogs, I wanted to make sure it was searchable on the new/improved version of this site. So I'm posting the details again:

The hardest part of this project is the measuring. Really. The bulk of the work was actually done by the kind folks at Tap Plastics, where we bought the Plexi.


Continue reading "Plexiglas Photo Display" »