Spruce Up for Summer

Summer is just about here…the weather is slowly heating up, the kids are out of school and the traffic…well…in LA, there is always traffic!  Just like the notion of decorating for fall holidays or spring cleaning, summertime is a terrific opportunity for refreshing your home, garden and office with some new pieces that reflects this relaxed time of the year. You don’t have to spend a fortune to switch up your space.  Here are E I G H T (8) ideas to give you some inspiration for a season of fun, frolic and enjoyment for those long summer days and nights!


Orange is a fabulous color to add to your scheme in a kitchen or communal space.  I love to mix it with chocolate brown, navy or icy blue, red or pink.  If you have a neutral color couch or chair, these could be a great pop.  If they are made with indoor/outdoor fabric like Sunbrella, throw them on your favorite Adirondack chair on the deck or grass.

image006Speaking of long summer nights, why not add a glow to your deck, patio or estate with some unusual rattan ball string lights?  You can wrap them around your umbrella, string them through your ficus trees or tuck them under the eaves on your home.  Whatever way you use them you’ll love the added light and the shadows they create against any surface.  Why should they only be for a special event?  I keep them up year round!

Ever wonder what to do with glass jars from jam, mustard or Tequila?  Reuse, repurpose and recycle!  I love the idea of taking Kerr canning jars or something like the ones to the left and applying summer color paint and a sealer.  Voila…you have great vases for cut flowers from your garden or a friendly neighbor’s discards!  You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to create these great pieces…really!  Contact me and I’ll tell you how!

PICTURES….when is the last time you downloaded a photo off your camera or iPad and printed it out?  Most people don’t keep physical photo albums anymore but have them digitally on their hand held devices or computer.  I still love to walk into someone’s home or office and glance at their collection of memories whether it is on a wall, a desk or any other surface.  Aaron Bros is having their One Cent frame sale this week…..now is a perfect time to refresh or update photos of your favorite people, vacation or pet.  If framed pictures aren’t your thing, a carosel that holds photos, postcards or other pieces of ephemera is a fantastic way to display what makes you smile!

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Plates are something that I love……..I collect sets of them and nothing speaks more to me than a fabulous John Derian plate!  I’ve been doing decoupage myself for so many years but master of all beautiful things in this art form is John Derian (johnderian.com). Drink a few less lattes for a month and treat yourself to one of his pieces.  It will look stunning on a bookshelf, table top or mantel, not to mention bedside, desk or kitchen counter.  While he is my all-time favorite artist of this genre, there are many other people that do beautiful work as well.  If you want to run the DIY route, I can help you there too.  Just reach out and I’ll gladly point you in that direction.

Curb appeal is an important factor in home appreciation whether you want someone else to love it or it’s for your own enjoyment.  A great way to add something different to the front of your home is your street address numbers.  There are many clever ways to make this simple change but here are just a few!

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I don’t know about you but my hands are always dry.  I touch so many surfaces each day and wash them frequently so I am always looking for something to soothe and moisturize them after each wash.  Rubbing oil on them is great but then I’m greasy for a spell…that’s not a winning solution.  So, I have found a few terrific creams and lotions which I apply generously all the time!  Place a great looking duo like one of these next to your kitchen sink and your counter will be happy and so will your hands!

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image051Last, but certainly not least, some eye candy.  No, I’m not speaking of a full size poster of your favorite movie star.  I mean something that speaks to you and creates an emotional response.  Art comes in many forms and is available at all budget levels. So what if you can’t afford a Monet, Picasso or Agam? Seek out one of the many talented artists that create beautiful work in many styles.  You can purchase a small 8 x 10” print to a 30 x 40” unframed canvas.  Why not look at abstracts, pen & ink, acrylic landscapes, black & white photography, water colors & more.  I love supporting the community of talented folks on Etsy (etsy.com) and have been quite successful in finding striking pieces for our home, my office and that of my clients and friends.

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You can follow me on Pinterest anytime to get inspiration of beautiful things and ways to rethink your space.  Of course, I am happy to help you with a few hours of refreshing to find ways to use what you have and maybe rethink something old into something new again.

Happy beginning of summer to all!



Hardware…does it sound like one of the easiest decisions to make when you’re completing a remodel in your kitchen or bathroom?  Maybe you just want to do a small update or refresh so you exchange the knobs and pulls on cabinetry or furniture?  How about door knobs, locks and key sets?  I haven’t yet mentioned switch plate covers, drapery hardware, shelving brackets….is your head hurting yet?  There are SO MANY choices on the market now and it can feel overwhelming for many of my clients.  Have no fear………..while it isn’t brain surgery or as crucial as selecting a spouse, it is an important decision and one that you want to consider well in the process.  The fact of the matter is I love hardware!  It’s one of the most enjoyable items to plan and select ..…well along with paint color, wood finishes, window treatments, fabrics, carpets, architectural details, garden beds…OK…so I love it all…what can I say!

In terms of metal applications, I’m finding that the most popular finishes today seem to be forged bronze, chrome and satin nickel.  There are also glass knobs and handles, one-of-a-kind and novelty options as well as oversized pieces which my clients are really enjoying too.

Drawers, pulls and knobs are particularly fun these days because of all the options.  Your hands touch them each day…maybe more than other surfaces in your home so getting the right look and feel is key to completing the appearance and functionality of a particular space or piece of furniture.  As I always say, the secret to a fabulous design combination is all in the detail and this is one facet of a project big or small that is a finer aspect not to be dismissed.

So, as there are far too many options for me to list here, let’s begin with a few types.  Drop handles, bars, back plates and more…so many to cover but today we’ll look at bin pulls, glass knobs and novelty options. 


Bin Pulls
This type of pull is from the late 1800s typically found in Shaker style homes.  They tend to have a clean line, minimalist look…very Restoration Hardware-esque.  I think they can have a vintage feel too with their upside –down cup shape.  They generally come in most of the metal options: forged bronze (below left), satin nickel (below right) as well as chrome and brass.  The ornate bin pull to the right would probably be used in a restoration project of a home from the Arts and Craft period of the early 20th century.

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Glass Knobs
Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 1.42.03 PMThere once was a time around the Depression Era when multi-faceted glass doorknobs and draw pulls with mirrored star-burst centers were standard issue in new homes as they were affordable. Today, they are mined like diamonds at salvage yards and flea markets. Their enduring craftsmanship and design of older pieces as well as their ability to work with most modern locksets if they are door knobs have really become a highly sought after commodity for homeowners all over.  The types that are sold less expensively are not made as well as the old days especially if they are constructed of plastic or an inexpensive version of alloy metal.  If they are new, just look them over first to make sure they are solid and not too lightweight with no rough or protruding parts. I have to hand it to Anthropologie…I think they have done a great job in sourcing well-made knobs in this genre that have a great aesthetic.  Here are some of my faves that include mercury glass as well.

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Novelty Knobs
This option is good for a traditional, contemporary or modern space.  They can also work wonders for a stand-alone piece of furniture or cabinetry that lacks personality or is plain and simple.  They definitely make a statement but take caution when you grip some of them, especially if they have irregular edges.  Don’t shy away from them though……they can lend just enough drama to a common area that needs to scream out a bit!  Remember, nothing too kitschy or over the top…less is more on this option.  I must admit…I have found myself drawn more recently to some of these knobs over standard issue pulls and bars.  Some are absolutely stunning and are on my list of beautiful objects these days.

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This one is mother of pearl………LOVE IT! I’ve used it in three very different applications both at my home and for clients.  It looks different and amazing in each place.

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Another time, we will talk about curtain and drapery hardware, hooks and racks, shelving brackets and switch plate covers….all details that can make or break a completion of a room. Send us pictures of your favorite pieces of hardware when you have a moment………..we love to collect photos of beautiful accents.




A Place To Sit Down

preview_1953-m91I love chairs….all kinds of chairs.  Big, overstuffed chubby chairs that can fit two people…well maybe before a big dinner!  How about stand-alone side chairs that look like they used to be part of a big family back in the day?  Chairs are one of the most ancient of all furniture types.  We see examples of chairs today that harken back to early Egyptian, Roman and Greek civilizations.  Many chairs from these early societies used wood, ivory and metal for sturdiness.  Folding or X frame chairs have been found in tombs and often carved with animal forms and covered with whole skins.

Actually, it wasn’t until the 16th century that we began to see a chair…one with a seat, a back and four legs….become more commonplace rather than a bench, stool or chest.  With the advent of new technology and materials, chairs began to take various forms throughout the last four centuries.  Today, ergonomics (comfort level) is a top consideration in how a chair is built.  France can probably be credited with producing the earliest comfortable chairs and the largest variety.


Swap meets, antique and junk shops and even people’s cast offs can be retooled to become a fabulous new addition in your home. We have taken chairs that seemed to be at the end of their days and given them new life time and time again. Today, you can spend the King’s Ransom on chairs or pick up something fantastic at Pottery Barn or even Ikea.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 3.00.04 PMCase in point:  below you’ll see an example of a fabulous chair…eight of them to be exact…..that we purchased for a client on sale at Cost Plus World Market.  They are paired with a gorgeous zinc topped farm table (not shown) for their Great Room eating area.  These vintage-inspired light walnut finish French bistro side chair look pretty close to ones you’d find in a Parisian patisserie. The wood is distressed, the back splat has a terrific detail and the bottom has a wide, flat seat. Now in this case, the wood isn’t smooth so if you’re hanging out in your Lululemon leggings, you won’t find sliding to be that easy.  To rectify that scenario, we had custom seat cushions made in a stripe that we’ve used in another part of the house.  No unsightly ties hanging down the back of the legs for these chairs.  Instead, we had a small tab created and a white pearl button made them more elegant.  We had each cover made with a zipper so they could be removed for cleaning.


Just for comparison sake, here is Restoration Hardware’s rendition of the popular European café chair which they offer in five different finishes. On sale (today), it happens today to be similarly priced to the one we selected from CPWM with arguably the same level of workmanship.

When it comes to chairs, whether they will be used daily or occasionaly, my rule of thumb is that the inhabitant’s rear must try the seat. This is really the only good way to select a chair or a couch for that matter.  Each client has his or her own set of proclivities when it comes to comfort and style. So if you are purchasing fresh, then you must carve out the time in your schedule to go around and see what is comfortable for you. Then, we can either purchase chairs from a store, order from one of my sources or have it custom made. All are great options dictated by time, budget and availability.

Here are some great seats I’ve seen in my searches for the next great chair.

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What’s the favorite chair in your home, garden or office? Send us a picture and tell us a little about it. We always love a good show and tell!