Monday, May 9, 2016

Entrez, S'il-vous-plaît

The entry was the first room I designed, beginning with this chest that I bought ahead of time from Horchow.  
I always knew that the shell lamp would live on the chest and that I would have a Louis Phillipe mirror over the chest.  I found the perfect mirror at Ballard Designs.
The Black Forest prints were hung as soon as we moved in, but I recently changed them out to....

...two antique oil paintings with gilded frames that compliment the mirror much better than the antler prints.

Eventually, I would like to find another nautical painting to replace the small river scene.

The large painting is of the San Francisco Golden Gate, before the bridge.  A real treasure and one of our favorite finds, Circa 1900.
I felt that it belonged in the entry, complimenting the shell lamp and representing our location and roots.

The entry as viewed from the living room.
I like how Mrs. A's Persian rug fits perfectly here.  It was a pleasant surprise.
The flowers are from Mother's Day!

Upon entering the house, a long hallway takes you to the stairway leading to the family room and lower level as well as the kitchen to the left.

And here is the front stairway as viewed from the front door, looking down towards the street.
I recently added the urn and topiary, trying to give the street entry more appeal.
I designed an iron rail for the right side which is in the works.
Stay tuned for the street entrance reveal with its boxwood, wall fountain and creeping fig.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Family Room

The family room is my favorite room in the house.  
Probably because I always had the clearest vision about this room when we bought the house and now I feel that it is finally complete and ready for its closeup!
Here it is before we moved in, waiting for the furniture.

Top on my list for this room was to wallpaper it in this wonderful, warm grasscloth.
I knew it would be the jumping off point for everything else, like the zinc shelves over the wet bar and the articulated sconces over the shelves.

The original house had upper cabinets over the wet bar but I felt the open shelves were a more contemporary look, even though they pose a decorating challenge!

 This last week, my vision all came together when the long awaited sofa was delivered--a leather sectional from Pottery Barn.

 I struggled with the furniture placement for this room originally because it is long and narrow.
The sectional corrals the seating arrangement around the tv and fireplace.  The wet bar is down at the end doing its own thing, ready for entertaining with the barbeque just outside the door.

 Another challenge has been what to put on the wall behind the sofa.  
That weird heating vent really threw me off!
Originally, I was going to put a big map of San Francisco but it ended up being too tall, so I gathered all my cow paintings and created a gallery wall.
Remember that other Black Forest mount?  It ended up here.

 At the other end of the room, I put an old book case with the Black Forest prints flanking either side.

 Those prints were originally in our dining room at the old house.  I had them in our entry way here, but they somehow ended up in the family room.

I think hanging artwork has been the biggest challenge since moving in.  I hate making a commitment and putting holes in the pristine walls.  Not the case in this room.  The grasscloth hides all the holes so if I decide to take this gallery wall down later, it won't be a problem.

 The family room is aesthetically different than the rest of the house.  It's so masculine, yet cozy and romantic too.  Which is why I love curling up on the sofa and watching a movie by the fire.
There are still a few things left to do--like style the wet bar and find better pillows, but it's definitely my favorite room in the house!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Black Forest Magic

The thing with decorating with antlers is you either love them or hate them.
I love them!
I love how they bring a natural, rustic element to a space like the bathroom above, featured in Elle Decor.

Antlers can break up a series of paintings or plates, creating visual interest and symmetry. 

I love this collection of Black Forest mounts over the bed, but is this too much?
Well, either you love it or hate it!

If you've been following my blog for a while, you already know my love affair with antlers.
This one, covered in tartan is one of my favorites!

I especially love Black Forest mounts because of their intricate carvings.  
I've collected the little roe deer antlers over the years--they look great grouped together.

 I really wanted a large mount over the outdoor fireplace in Asti, but was concerned how it would weather the elements.
I found one made of resin, and it has held up well over the years.
Which brings me to my present situation!

After struggling with what to hang over the living room mantel, I came up with the idea of hanging a large Black Forest mount.
A mirror won't work because the wall tilts back and a painting won't work either because the mantel angles in, so antlers it is!

I found this magnificent mount on Ebay.  Notice the acorn carvings on the plaque.  The dealer is from Austria and has many more like this.
They were so reasonably priced, I bought two!  

 The second one will hang in the family room.
The wall over the sectional is large and in order to fill it up, I decided to create a gallery wall. So I gathered all my cow paintings and a couple of landscapes and laid out this arrangement on the floor.
Now to get it on the wall! 
Stay tuned for the family room and gallery wall reveal.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Adding Life With Plants And Flowers

White orchids are a weakness of mine.
I love them for their elegance and how they take a room from "ok" to "wow!"
Putting this orchid plant in the bathroom between the mirrors takes my breath away now, every time I walk into this room!

Filling the iron urn with white orchids filled up an empty corner in the living room, adding height and life atop the piano.

The fiddlehead fern is starting to fade, but I feel that I will always need something green, tall and dramatic to sit next to the piano as the alcove windows don't have window coverings.

I picked up a little ivy ring at the grocery store for the dining room.
The leopard hide is a new addition and will eventually go on the floor.
I promise!

My friend gifted me this elegant orchid arrangement.
She knows how much I love orchids, as does she.
It adds drama to the dining room bar cart.

And last, the new coffee table arrived!  
Am I ever going to have fun playing with it, filling it with books, candles and plants.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

You Say Curtains, I Say Drapes

 Whether you call them curtains, drapes or draperies, to me they add so much to a room.
The breakfast nook in the kitchen looked perfectly fine with just the window shade...

...That is until Keith, my "blind man" showed up with the drapes and everything suddenly came together.

The room feels warmer now and gone is that echo since the drapes seem to absorb sound.

I chose this John Robshaw print to compliment the black and white ticking and add color to a black and white kitchen.  Even though I said no red, I ended up with red anyway!

It's almost a paisley, but not quite.

For the bedroom I chose an ivory linen for the drapes.

 I went with all ivory fabrics for the window treatments and bed linens to contrast against the gray walls for a peaceful, restful feeling.  The only pattern is the zebra rug and throw.
The drapes can close at night giving us more light control from that nasty streetlight outside!

In the living room, I chose Ralph Lauren's Windstorm Paisley in Desert Sand.
It's a tonal tea-stained paisley that goes nicely with the caramel leather chairs.  I think it will also look great with the gray velvet sofa if it ever comes!

 I really like how Keith does his pleats.  They're not too fussy.
We chose the same rod for all the windows, which he had custom made.
The dining room rod will take longer as it had to be formed to the oval shape of the walls.
So, no dining room curtains.  Yet.

Notice the thuja plants outside the window?  I put them there when we did the roof deck.
It gives us something green to look at and provides a little more privacy.

 The living room is a work in progress and has a long way to go.
The sofa should arrive by June and a brass and glass coffee table is on its way soon. 

Getting the drapes installed was like Christmas!  
I can't believe what a difference they make. 

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Just In Time For Spring

 The roof deck has been a huge project, taking a couple of weeks to complete, but I can happily say that it is 99% done--just in time for spring.
The first step was to determine which plants would give the most privacy.  
After traipsing around the wholesale nursery with Martin and Jesus, I ended up choosing Thuja bushes for their height and deciduous quality.
Here they are in my courtyard--all 26 of them!

Getting them up on the roof was quite a task.  
They were one by one hoisted up with a rope and pulley system devised by Martin.

All the trees and all the bags of soil.  
In the pouring down rain! 

I love how they look in the planters, all lined up.

No they don't give complete privacy, but they offer greenery which is seriously lacking in the City.

After the trees were planted, the furniture had to be hoisted up next.
Martin came up with a plan to get the heavy wicker furniture on the deck.

I could barely watch!
It took four men.  Two down below and two on the roof to lift the sofa.

I question a little my decision to reuse the old wicker sofa and chairs.  After all, once the furniture is on the deck, it will probably be there forever!
A more modern look would be a sectional on the deck, but after a year of remodeling this house and hemorrhaging cash, I will make the old furniture work.

The wicker will get a fresh coat of paint and maybe new cushions down the road.
(See its transformation a few years ago, using Rustoleum spray paint here.)

Oscar loves being on the deck!

And so does Bear.
I'm really excited to have a new place to hang out too!
Stay tuned for the official roof deck reveal.

Wishing you all a happy Spring!

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