Sketch for Elle Decor Showcase House – San Francisco

February 20th, 2011  ~  1 comment

Back in November Elle Decor had its first showcase house ever – here in San Francisco!  So why am I writing about it now?  Well, this month’s Elle Decor (February/March 2011 Issue) has a beautiful spread on it with all of the rooms, sources, and who the designer’s were.  I had the incredible opportunity of completing Grant Gibson’s concept sketch for the showhouse!  It was so exciting to be a part of the process and actually see one of my sketches turn to reality.   Not only that, I got to sketch out such fun things as DeGournay Wallpaper, Serena & Lily bed linens, and two fabulous animal print headboards.

Check it out!  The sketch even made the Elle Decor landing page back in November!

The image included in the recent Elle Decor spread

Marie Antoinette – I Want (Eye) Candy

February 5th, 2011  ~  0 comments

When I think of eye candy, I think of Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola.  So what that it wasn’t well received by the critics.  My guess is that they were too distracted by the incredible set and costume design.  I own the movie and every time I see it I am just in complete awe.  It is so fascinating to see the 18th century Versailles come to life through the lens of Sophia Coppola.  She obviously put her own spin on it by incorporating music of today, flashes of hot pink and glimpses of converse sneakers.  The hot pink is genius because it, as a color, was not introduced into the fashion world until the 1950s which leaves Sophia’s unmistakable visual edge on a movie set in 18th Century France.

Red, White, Black & Chic in Amsterdam

February 3rd, 2011  ~  0 comments

Yessss….its been a while!  Lots of things going on and lots of changes.  But I did have the opportunity to go to Amsterdam this past fall where I was so inspired by their architecture.  Even though the famous facades were designed over 3 centuries ago, they look as fresh as ever today.  And of course there are a few that have been clearly updated in this century.  Enjoy!

Biggie Smalls

July 14th, 2010  ~  1 comment

My new subscription to House Beautiful hasn’t kicked in yet, so I am super happy that I picked up the latest issue at the store.  They featured several different homes, all which are relatively small in size, but the one that I couldn’t get enough of was the 390 Sq Ft one-bedroom apartment of interior designer David Kaihoi, his wife and their daughter.  I can relate to this since my husband and I lived in a one bedroom of similar size with 2 cats for 2 years.  However, this one just blew me away in its ingenuity and style.  They did not hold back at all!  They managed to infuse over the top glamour into 390 square feet.  Amazing.  This is what makes me love interior design.  The fact that you can take an apartment that a family of three would run away from and turn it into a space of envy is incredible.  It goes to show that rather than sprawling out in a huge McMansion, we can be perfectly satisfied and even envied in a much smaller place.  While this one bedroom apartment isn’t a long-term solution for a family of three or a viable solution for everyone, it does show you how far you can take good design – space planning, looks, and all.

Also, for all of you naysayers who think you can’t paint small spaces dark colors, here’s that notion being disproved.

The console table folds out and doubles as a dining table.  Genius!

Purple on purple on navy – who’d have thunk?  But I’m loving it.  The banquette (or couch) was custom built and also doubles as storage and dining seating.

Breakfast time.  I could easily curl up there and take my morning coffee.

More storage and entertainment console complete with a library ladder.  The lacquered black really helps enforce the luxe/glam vibe and ties back to the chandelier.

An entryway is defined by the painted floor and its pattern.

I’m green with envy!

Storage in the banquette.

A pop of red to make your closet (and laundry room!) more fun.

Lots of hidden storage in the bathroom behind a graphic print wallpaper.

Antique doors are used as closet doors upping the luxe ante.

A close-up of the incredible antique Chinese wallpaper.  If only I could see this in person!

Finally, where their daughter sleeps!  The trundle is pushed back under the bed each morning.  All images are courtesy of House Beautiful

Painted Kitchen Cabinets – Before and After

July 1st, 2010  ~  2 comments

Its amazing the dramatic difference a can of paint can make.  That is a can of paint, a power sander, primer, paint brushes, drop cloths and some labor of course.  My landlord gave me the go ahead to transform my ancient stained kitchen cabinets to white painted pristine.  My dad was also so generous to fly up from Texas and help me out.  So over the course of 4 days (it could have been 2 though – read below) we transformed the dull dingy kitchen to a happy bright space.  It really looks like we installed more lights!

Here are some tips for a successful kitchen cabinet paint job -

1.  Get brush-outs of your paint samples.  The paint chips at the paint store are not actual paint, so therefore there can be (and will be) color variances.  Having a brush-out will give you an accurate picture of what color you are looking at.

2.  ***THIS STEP IS KEY*** Once you have selected your paint color from your brush-out samples, order the paint and have them BRUSH OUT YOUR ACTUAL PAINT.  This simple step can save you soooo much time.  We spent two days getting an excellent paint job on our cabinets.  We left for dinner to let them dry, came back and started putting in drawers and holding up the cabinets to get a sneak peak on the final picture.  Once we held them up it was VERY apparent that we had the wrong color.  We then painted some of our quart of paint to our original brush-out and sure enough the paint store had mixed it wrong.  This color was incredibly blue compared to the color we had selected.  So we had to spend an extra two days applying the correct paint color to the cabinets.  So please please have the paint store brush out the actual paint so you can compare it to your sample brush out.

3.  Employ the use of a power sander.  You can get one for around $80.  Using a power sander will not only make the sanding process go incredibly faster, but also more evenly and uniform.  We used 180 grit to remove the original varnish and 360 grit in between coats of paint.  We took the cabinets off, sanded, then primed them.  Don’t skip sanding.

4.  Label your cabinets so you know where they go when its time to put the puzzle back together.

5.  Prime.  We primed before putting the first shade of white on, but even when we discovered that we had the wrong shade of white we should have primed again.  This again would have made our lives easier.

6.  Sand in between coats of paint – this will ensure an even smooth coverage with no brush strokes.

7.  Use foam brushes.  These gave us more control than a roller and didn’t leave the brush marks that a bristle brush would have.

So finally, here are the before and after pictures!  The color we used was Benjamin Moore Affinity A-5 Frostine in semi-gloss.  It took less than 2 quarts of paint to get 3-4 coats of paint on.

you can see just how beat up these cabinets are

the picture is taken at the same time of day with the same camera settings – look how bright!

White Kitchens – Inspiration

June 16th, 2010  ~  0 comments

I recently had the opportunity to help out a friend with her kitchen remodel.  She loves white kitchens as much as I do so we had lots of fun shopping for countertops and backsplashes to complete her new kitchen.  But the one constant was that her cabinets are going to be white and she did not like granite.  So what is it that makes white kitchens so beautiful?  Is it their crispness?  Is it that they showcase food beautifully?  Is it that they provide timeless bones for your home?  Is it that they give you a bright space to work in?  Is that it can make your space appear bigger?  Its all of these things.  White kitchens are incredibly stunning and can give your home an elegant twist whether its a traditional, transitional, or modern white kitchen.  A kitchen re-model can be the most expensive thing you will ever do to your home so its not like you want to give into fads or colors that you might tire of.  Give your kitchen some good bones and then you can experiment in other ways such as textiles, china, and kitchen accessories.  Why else did you get that Red KitchenAid Stand Mixer? Check out the inspiration images below -

Use mirrors as your backsplash to make the room appear bigger.

What a great mix of rustic and glam!

I love the mix of materials in this kitchen

Wondering what my friend chose for her white kitchen?  White quartz countertops and subway carrara marble tiles – its going to be beautiful!

Coffee with Grant K. Gibson

June 4th, 2010  ~  0 comments

I had the wonderful opportunity today to have coffee with Grant K. Gibson of Grant K. Gibson Interior Design. We met at Out the Door on Bush street – who knew that they serve coffee and breakfast goods?  Its one of my favorite places to eat (hello green papaya salad! imperial rolls! glass noodles with crab!), so I am loving that they do breakfast.  But I digress over the location and food.  It was great to catch up with Grant, hear how is business has been faring in this economy, and talk about design.  Things have been going great for Grant as he was just featured in the June issue of Elle Decor, House Beautiful, C Magazine and The New York Times this past fall.  I thought I’d share with you some of his stunning interiors.  He’s got an incredible aesthetic to go with his warm and engaging personality.  Be sure to check out his blog too as he writes about design, food, travel, and photography.

I love all of his calming, approachable yet classically appointed spaces.  His designs are proof that white isn’t boring.

Carrie and Big’s New Apartment – Sex and the City 2

June 2nd, 2010  ~  4 comments

I got to catch up with my girlfriends last night over a drink and then we saw Sex and the City 2 – what a fun night!  The movie was good, but I was ogling over Carrie and Big’s new apartment every time it was on screen – it was a scene stealer for me.  The apartment couldn’t scream Carrie and Big anymore as it masterfully combined the masculine with her eclectic feminine.  I couldn’t get enough of the navy blue touches and wallpaper throughout – two of my favorite things.  It made me love my new navy couch that much more!  And Carrie couldn’t have said it better when she said that she’s been cheating on fashion with furniture – that’s been the story here.  Lydia Marks of Marks & Frantz is responsible for the incredible apartment seen in the movie.  Check out the drool worthy interior shots below from Elle Decor’s slideshow.

I am flipping out over those lamps.

What better place to put her books than in the foyer, juxtaposing the classic with the whimsical light fixture.

Like the couch?  Check out this sofa from Mitchell Gold Bob Williams and their other Mid Century inspired pieces.

I love how Big is sitting on the masculine navy couch and she is sitting on the feminine blue pouf with ribbon detailing.  What a great shot.

Mid Century Modern reigns in this kitchen.  I love the light fixture and two toned cabinets.

The heath ceramic tiles make me think of ocean waves.

The subtle complementary color scheme can be seen here with the orange toned cabinets in the background with blue tile and the coppery light fixture in the foreground (which I am also flipping for)

The pattern on the walls is repeated on the headboard but in a different color value, scale, and medium.  You can’t see it in this shot very well, but the trim detailing on the curtains is fab and relates back to the yellow/orange/blue’s seen elsewhere in the apartment.  Check out Cole and Son for wallpaper and Kravet for the custom headboard fabric.

Someday I’ll have a Carrie worthy closet with his and hers cabinetry, or perhaps my own closet with just her’s cabinetry and a chandelier ;)

2010 San Francisco Decorator Showcase – Visited

May 20th, 2010  ~  0 comments

I made it to the showcase and am FINALLY writing about it!  The house was absolutely stunning and such a treat to walk through.  It is so inspiring to see so many designs carried out.  Perhaps someday I’ll have a room in the showcase :)  Here are some pictures from this year’s showcase.  When you’re done here, check out Grant Gibson’s post as he has some great pictures he took himself.   The images below are courtesy of and California Home + Design as I was afraid to take pictures (and too distracted by looking at everything)….

Sitting Room from Benjamin Dhong Interior Design – You can’t see the level of detail in this room from the picture so you must see it in person!

Sitting Room from Michael Burg Interiors

Sitting Room by Brian Dittmar Design, Inc.

Quiet Room by Lushart Decorative Painting & Murals

Sitting Room by The Charles de Lisle Workshop

Guest Bedroom by Wick Design

Sitting Room by Cecilie Starin Design Inc.

Retreat by Philpotts & Associates, Inc.

Front Garden by Neo-American Gardens – White roses graced the garden the day I was there which set the home of beautifully.

What did you think of the Showcase?

2010 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

May 12th, 2010  ~  0 comments

How many opportunities do you have to walk through a stunning Pacific Heights home that has been outfitted by the most talented designers and architects? Fortunately, if you live in the Bay Area you get this opportunity each year by going to the Decorator Showcase which has historically been in a different home in Pacific Heights each year. Here, designers and architects get to design each of the rooms. It’s a great chance to see the latest design trends and a variety of styles. The Showcase is from May 1 through May 31 and tickets are available at the door ($30). Proceeds benefit the financial aid program at San Francisco University High School – so you are doing a good deed as well! Here are some pictures from last year’s Showcase. I absolutely loved all of the muted creamy gray walls. I can’t wait to go to this year’s and update y’all!


Family Room by Leverone Design

Breakfast nook by Leverone Design

Kitchen by J. Weiss Design

Her Study by Benjamin Dhong Interior Design

Master Bedroom by Cecilie Starin Design

Teenage Girl’s Room by Palmer Weiss Interior Design

Penthouse by Heather Hilliard Design