Thursday, November 24, 2011

10 Things To Be Thankful For In Design

When I reflect back each Thanksgiving for what I am most thankful, I usually think of my family and friends, our health and happiness and remind myself of how lucky I am. Over the years I have neglected to express my thanks to the people/things that enrich my life in design. So here are the top ten things I am thankful for:

1. Thank you to the interior design publications that keep me abreast of all the latest and greatest. My favorites include House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, Decor, Veranda, and to my favorite online magazines Lonny Mag and Adore. When one of my subscriptions comes in the mail, it's hard to control my urges to drop everything and scour through it from front to back. Like being a kid in a candy store, it's hard to imagine not having them as part of my design repertoire.

2.Thank you to all my favorite interior designers who inspire me with their fresh ideas, creative talent and continuous innovative ways to solve design problems. I can't name them all (I don't have the time to do it, and you don't have the time to read it), but I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed the works of the following people this year:

-Windsor Smith and her House of Windsor in Los Angeles where she and some fellow designers took on the task of designing an 8000 sq. ft. home with the feel of luxury and comfort as one. The whole concept was to create a a healthy living environment for the modern family without sacrificing style. The kitchen was amazing. You can log on and take a look at the whole house at

-Kelly Hoppen, who has used bold statements and a mix of raw materials to create the most rich and beautiful modern homes.

This is one of Kelly Hoppen's signature pieces, the hanging bubble chair.
-Bobby McAlpine and Susan Ferrier for the continued images of romantic homes and interiors with every detail of architecture addressed in a thoughtful and personal manner.

At a book reading last year, Bobby McAlpine revealed that candle lighting  shown in this picture was originally his own design, and subsequently has been copied over and over again since then. 

-Kelly Wearstler, who can be avantgard and quirky but whom I feel is a true artist. Her hotel designs alone are amazing. She is also opening a flagship store in Los Angeles, which I am hoping to see when I'm in L.A.

The Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica has a special place in my heart, since I've been there in person.
This is Kelly standing in front of one of her installations at her flagship store in L.A, which is due to open any day now.
-Jonathon Adler, who's happy chic truly makes me smile. I love his sense of humor and whimsy. He's got that philosophy of not taking things too seriously.
I love these gold hand chairs by Pedro Freideberg. I want one!!!
This was his Malibu Barbie Dream House, if you look close enough you can make out the barbie installation above the fireplace or  for a close-up go to:
-Jim and Phoebe Howard, somewhat local legends in this town, have great taste and always portray their homes in an elegant but comfortable fashion.

This detail is from the dining room above. I love this detail  of  crown molding and linen fabric walls. 
-Miles Redd...thank you for pushing the envelope in COLOR! A man of High Gloss! I love the daring attitude. I wish everyone had clients who let them do the things you do.

-And thank you-thank you to Steven Gambrel who has great taste and aesthetic. I am always inspired when I look at his interiors.

3. I am thankful for my sharpie pens. No joke! I love my Sharpies. If I use another pen, it does not feel right! I always have one with me.
4. .I am thankful for technology!!!Even though I have been a reluctant and slow learner, I am grateful for the  iPads and iPhones and apps galore, not to mention how many wonderful products can be made with ongoing technological advances.

5. I love the word "eclectic" and will continue to use it. There are designers who hate the word and feel it is overused. I don't care. It does have a place in my vocabulary for design. Thank you to the word Eclectic!

6. Thank you to all of my colleagues from the past. I have so many wonderful memories working with co-workers who became my dear friends. If not for these experiences, the good and the bad, we would not grow and learn about ourselves.

7. Historical Preservation!!! Thank god someone out there is maintaining all the beautiful things in the world from destruction and demolition. I thought about this a lot this summer on a recent trip to Asheville to see the Biltmore Hotel with my family. It's such a wonderful feeling to see places old kept up so well.

I love all the details that have been maintained so beautifully.

The botanical garden in the green house was extraordinary.
8. I am thankful for a passport! I've had the opportunity to travel to Europe and hope that in the future I can do a lot more traveling.

9. I am thankful for my new job at Restoration Hardware! I've met some really incredible people and I am so proud to be able to work in such an amazing and inspiring environment.

10. Finally, thanks to the blogosphere for keeping my mind from going to design mush. I really have enjoyed following other design blogs and expressing myself here. Thanks to my 29 followers too. Help me make my goal of 30 by the end of the year, People! Ha Ha! What are you thankful for in design?

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's a Hitchcock Halloween

Still-shot from the movie "The Birds".
Have you noticed the bird craze taking place? Everywhere I turn, home decor turns to Birds! Birds! Birds!!! Halloween is no exception. I had taken notice of the "crow" phenomenon and it made me want to do something fun with it when an idea occurred to me. I quickly sketched something.

Sometimes I doodle in a pad by my desk...just ideas of things that I may try out. This drawing  was done a few months back.
Manzanita trees have also been quite popular for hanging ornaments and decorating for the holidays.         
I just so happen to have a pair of silver trees (or coral branches, I can't quite tell which they are) I needed to hunt down. They were originally bought for the winter holiday season to hang ornaments on, but I haven't used them in years. They were in a box in the garage (which has about a million boxes in it) so I had to work my way around the mess.  I was bound and determined, and sure enough, they still existed and were unscathed.

I love these things...a little weird I admit, but are perfect for this kind of application. I bought a can of black gloss spray paint and went to town. They look amazing black. I was planning on putting the bases in some larger pots, but I think they are just fine the way they are.

I then ordered the birds from Pottery Barn @ $6 apiece. Six would be enough for now. If it's successful, I may order a few more next year to add to my stash. (By the way, I found black birds at Michael's, not as  nice quality, but they were half the cost. I'm still glad I bought these because unlike the Micheal's version, which had a clip at the bottom, they have wired feet so I can manipulate placement much easier.)
I ordered the small ones. The crow with the wings spread is huge!!!

I had been brainstorming ways to incorporate a little lighting and thought that maybe some candlelight would be fun. If I could hang some votives from the branches??? I searched, but found nothing that was just right. Then it dawned on me....nests!!! If I used nests I could sit a candle in each. I found a pack of six nests at The Brass Exchange, on Selwyn Avenue, that had the right scale. I removed the egg from the center and sprayed them black as well.

I bought some flame-less led votives and also sprayed them black, taping off the flame so the the light would show through. Next time I do this, I think I will crackle the black and let the light come through all over.

So, here's how they turned out......

They are a little funky, but I love them! I added a few feathers from an old boa, and actually draped the boa on the dining table to add to the theme. Also placed a few cut-outs in the windows....actually fooled my son, he thought there actually was a crow sitting in the window!

Fooled my son Asher!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween this year! Watch overhead! You never know what might come flying into your own nest!
I wanted to give a personal "shout-out" to our new friends on the mantel, whom my daughter named Roger and Spike. I have to hand it to Michael's once again. Of all the retailers I've researched for this holiday's merchandise, for the price and quality of items, they win, boney hands down. These glittered skeletons are 5 dollars a piece. Cheaper than the average pumpkin!
This is Roger.
This is Spike.
Makes a simple Halloween statement without sacrificing style or breaking the bank!