Take Me Away // Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford

The Napa Valley has been a favorite getaway for me and my husband since we were old enough to drink!  The scenery is unbelievable, the pace is relaxed, and everywhere you go, people are passionate about producing great wines – and food to go with it.
Napa_Valley_from_Auberge_du_Soleil_1Recently, a design project involving an intimate winery tasting room called me up there for a couple of days. I was sure to steal some time to spend on the patio of the restaurant at Auberge Du Soleil. It’s the best spot I know in the Valley to eat and drink something delish, while taking in breathtaking views.

2a357032ada8c52947ec1282c26c2e5cA stay at Auberge Du Soleil could break the bank, but a nice brunch, lunch or afternoon cocktail is pretty accessible. If you find yourself in the Napa Valley, make the drive up the hill and take advantage of this beauty.

d7e3f24207bbd873f6c13393eb424d7cAnd what a fun sculpture garden!a8cbfe33605a108cee77f67f7dd87718

Images // 1, 2, 3, 4

Current Project // Eichler House

I’m very excited about this project that me and the team are working on – my first involving an architecturally significant house! Joseph Eichler was a mid-century housing developer who was intent on bringing good design to the post-war masses. He built some 11,000 homes in tracts in his day. The relatively few Eichlers that remain are highly sought after for the way they epitomize Mid-Century California architecture.IMG_5626The house that I am lucky enough to be working on has all the hallmarks of the Eichler style, including a very private front that unfolds upon entry into a beautifully transparent dwelling. There is an interior atrium, and glass walls that invite the eye to travel straight through the house’s interior Living and Dining area to a sparkling pool in the backyard. A connection between the indoors and the outdoors is often something I strive for in my interiors, but in this case, Eichler and the talented architects he hired have more than done the work!IMG_5606Still, there are many things that need updating with this old house, and my client is ready to make an as yet sparsely furnished space feel much more like a home for herself and her family. A kitchen remodel (in which we kept the original foot-print) is almost complete, and room by room, we are decorating the house. IMG_5616My client has a wonderful appreciation for Mid-Century furniture and has acquired a few ,key pieces so far, but told me from the start that she didn’t want her house to look like a Mad Men set! The decorating is a mix of vintage pieces along with new furniture and rugs in a modern eclectic style.
IMG_5576Thank you to Ilse Helgen for taking these cool pictures. She gave me the “Before” pictures I asked her to snap, and then threw in some art!

Show Me 3 // Midcentury Style Armchairs

Lord knows my love affair with mid-century style is an enduring one. But even if you’re not especially a fan, what’s not to like about a beautiful walnut wood finish teamed with black upholstery? In a soft leather or a woven blend, one or a pair of these chairs always works in an eclectic interior, and can add a dash of warmth and vintage flair to a starkly contemporary room. Picture yourself swilling a martini, as you lean back in the best one you can afford.
PD_19638_MAINHIGH // Model 45 Chair // Design Within Reach // $10,000



MID // Cavett Leather Chair // Crate & Barrel // $1,300


LOW // Raylan Leather Armchair // Pottery Barn // $1,000

Past Work // Kitchen Remodel – Part 1

Here are some of the details of the Kitchen remodel we did prior to moving into our home about 3 years ago. The house already had a lovely open lay-out and good flow, and I wanted to take that further with the Kitchen by expanding the depth of the bar, removing the hanging cabinets over the bar, and removing the ceiling soffet. Often soffets house electrical components and you’re stuck with them – it was a happy day when we opened up the drywall and confirmed that it was merely a design choice, and could be eliminated altogether!
beforekitchenSplurges for this kitchen were the Caesarstone (when it comes to counter-tops, I say buy the best and you’ll only cry once), the Olivieri sink (I was sure we wanted a double-bowl, stainless-steel under-mount sink with an integrated drainboard, and this was the only one I could find) and the Ann Sacks handmade tile (not a lot of wall to cover, and I was in love with the colors and pattern). We saved money by sticking with the original floors, and by selecting an inexpensive faucet, cabinet hardware and pendant lights.

1. Trim Paint // Ralph Lauren Mombasa Mist 2. Wall Paint // Glidden Parchment White 3. Backsplash // Ann Sacks 2″ x 6″ Chevron Tile in Dense Fog, London Sky and Cloud 4. Pendants // West Elm Globe Pendant 5. Faucet // Ikea Ringskar Faucet 6. Cabinets // Martha Stewart Kitchen in Maidstone Ocean Floor 7. Countertop // Caesarstone in Lagos Blue 8. Hardware // Lowes Satin Nickel Arched Cabinet Pull 9. Sink // Oliveri 274-1 Drainboard Series Sink

8 NewOne day I’ll tell you about the other side of the Kitchen, including adventures in DIY stainless steel back-splashes!

Take Me Away // Matisse’s Chapelle du Rosaire

I hardly know where to start with Matisse. His colorful paintings captured my heart at a young age, and my affection for his work has never diminished. One place I absolutely want to visit one day is this chapel he designed in Vence, in the South of France. It was  completed in 1951, after Matisse spent four years working on every aspect of the design. He called the result his masterpiece. Who am I to argue? Take Me To Church!

bffdb4155f69a9e061322361a49684b0 Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 12.04.40 PM
e2f6fda2ea9866af148a3235b8242f1d 79f86481098fc9520a8ff1b4d2b48dae 377480c0c040bbc1e545b1863bc0214aI love this intricately carved confessional door! A concept for some special door or screen I may design one day.
416f1c1bfed005b92be9e74557e9736f 65cae743134a65821ac8393592e0dab7 Matisse even designed the vestments for the priests! How rad are these?80ad40bed8b1597214e91d9d3dcec1b0


Images // 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Show Me 3 // Leather Campaign Stools

I love a good piece of Campaign furniture. This style came about because way back in the day, army officers who were accustomed to the finer things in life started commissioning well-made but portable pieces to be brought on military campaigns. (They were the original glampers!) For us civilians, it would be enough that one or a pair of these x-based, leather-seated stools could be moved around in a seating arrangement, or travel from room to room. They would lend any space, from a Living Room to a Bathroom, an adventurous touch.


HIGH // Cooper Leather Stool // Serena & Lily // $800

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 5.39.09 PM

MID // Karr Stool // Room & Board // $600


LOW // Portable Folding Stool // Dick Blick // $40



Design Inspirer // Alex Prager

I’m always mesmerized by Alex Prager‘s photographs. This is the one that first caught my attention a few years ago.
1Fashion editorials and advertising campaigns by the photographer have kept her on my mind.2Obviously, each image is intriguing. There is a specific story about an interesting woman in just about every one. 3aThe vintage aesthetic and cinematic feel of Prager’s work makes it all the more appealing to me. The influence of Hitchcock and Cindy Sherman can not go unnoticed, but everything I see her do feels fresh and captivating.3bPrager lives and works in Los Angeles, and her work reflects it. Yet another reason to love.
678Even with such a stylized feel to much of her work, Prager is never just one note. Her images could be anything from unsettling to bizarre to sweet and nostalgic.910
11Each one is singularly compelling. (What is going on with these chicks??)


Past Work // 6th Street Living Room

For the last couple of years, I have been working with select clients across the U.S. on living spaces that I will never actually set foot in. Here is an example of one of my customized Decorating Guideline Packages. I work on them with my talented assistants, Anna and Caroline, and deliver them to my clients by email.

This one is a recent Living Room design for a young family in Washington, D.C. Their new townhouse is their first home, and all they had for this room when we started was a credenza to go under their TV. The clients and I determined together that they wanted a casual, “Coastal Modern” vibe for this room. “Ikea to West Elm” was the price point they gave me for sourcing.


To get started, my clients sent us pictures, and all the relevant measurements for the room. Next, we had a phone meeting to chat about the way they wish to use the rooms in their home, and what their style was like. The way I communicate ideas with my clients varies. In this case, a shared secret Pinterest board was key. My client, a Pinterest virgin when I first mentioned it to her, went so far as to snap pictures of their art and existing furniture pieces and upload it to the board, so we could see them laid out with the possible new pieces. It was so helpful for putting together a design that we knew would work cohesively with what they already owned and liked.

On this project, we needed a furniture plan before we did any sourcing. My team and I explored rug sizes and furniture arrangement possibilities in drawings. The one we selected was best for its reasonably baby-friendly round coffee table, and the inclusion of swivel chairs, for which my clients had expressed a fondness. It also filled out a niche in the room that would have been perfect for some custom built-in storage (which was not in the budget) with a good Ikea solution that happened to fit beautifully. I love it when that happens!

6thOf course we elevated the design by changing the hardware on the Ikea pieces to something more special (even if it is from another bargain resource!). I ALWAYS do this with Ikea furniture when I can. My clients went one better and painted the back pieces of the shelves an ocean blue before assembling them. (This kind of hack is actually one of my signature design moves, but I must give them props for coming up with the idea themselves here!)
These are the specifications for this design, which my D.C. clients have kindly agreed to let me share here on the blog. As you can see, I lay out the details in my specs so that my clients can go down the list and have all the info needed to place the orders for the things they choose to buy. I don’t get involved in any purchasing for a project like this, so it’s all very low-pressure, and clients can watch for the store sales or make substitutions according to their preferences.
Holman LR

We wrapped up this Decorating Guideline Package by inviting the clients to another secret Pinterest board with some options for art and accessories. They have placed a lot of orders in the last couple of weeks, and it is good to hear that the furniture is already rolling in.

My team and I can fit in only a couple of these Decorating Guideline Packages per month with my larger local projects, but they are so fun and satisfying to complete! If you have a room that might use some design help from afar, email me the details.

Show Me 3 // Brass Accent Tables

A little while ago, I showed you a brass drum table at three price-points. I don’t see people’s hunger for brass accents abating anytime soon, so here are three more fun little tables in  said finish that I have run across in recent weeks. Each is an eye-catching shape that kicks this trend up a notch. brass_tear_tableHIGH // Jonathan Adler Brass Teardrop Table // Wayfair // $995

834c14a054cd56118f5a3fa7537cb7e6MID // Arteriors Lowry Side Table // Wayfair // $720

lucida-side-tableLOW // Lucida Side Table // Crate & Barrel // $230