Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Grasscloth Adventure

Steven Gambrel
 I love the look of grasscloth papered walls.  
Such a great way to add warmth and texture to a room.

 After thinking about it for a year and looking at these inspiration photos, I bit the bullet and ordered seven rolls of grasscloth...

...for the living room!

 Turns out, it's not so simple.  My walls are cracked, textured and 106 years old.
So, they had to be smoothed out with sheetrock mud, sanded and primed.

On Friday, the walls were ready for paper and we left town.
Fortunately, my wallpaper installer just loves to work on weekends!
I can't wait to see the final results when we return this evening...

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Let There Be (New) Light

Behold, the Elena Chandelier from Pottery Barn.
"Strands of natural wooden beads take the place of crystal droplets...a striking departure from tradition."

The tole and crystal chandelier in our dining room is lovely, but I've been wanting a departure from the crystals and uber feminine look for a while.

Something less frilly, yet still traditional with a twist.

 So when I first saw this chandelier, I was smitten.
The wooden beads and bronze metal stamped with a botanical detail just spoke to me.

Here is how it looked last night after it was installed...

...and this morning.
I love the new look!
Now, I have to install the new (old) draperies that I'm recycling from the living room to complete the new, lighter look.  Stay tuned....

For information about the Elena Wooden Bead Chandelier, visit PB's website here.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Finds At Cost Plus World Market

I'll be honest, I've always loved shopping at Cost Plus.
From back in the day when I decorated my first apartment, to the present when I'm shopping for young clients with a budget, Cost Plus has always been one of my favorite stores.

 Cost Plus was first established in 1958, right here in San Francisco by a businessman who sold wicker from his travels abroad.  Maybe that's why I used to associate Cost Plus with wicker!
They've come a long way since!
Take for instance their "Erin Cute As A Button" headboard.  The queen bed sells for $399.99 which is quite a bargain.  And it's cute as a button too!

 Or the Isa bed, which reminds me of a much more expensive bed from Restoration Hardware.

 The Julian bed reminds me of a much more expensive version too.
Isn't there something like this in the Sundance catalog?

 When I visited Cost Plus last week, I walked in the front door and was taken with this linen chaise.
Called the Ainsley Chaise, it's part of their "Kingdom Animalia" collection.

 Notice the detail of the tufting, which is reminiscent of a French mattress.
It's on sale right now for $399.99 and is upholstered in burlap.
Simply adorable!

 The chaise was displayed under this tent which was intriguing me.
I couldn't find a price tag and no one seemed to know how much it cost.

 Turns out, it's not for sale.  Just part of the display.  Really?
That just made me want it even more!  How cool would it be to have this tent in the backyard?

 After much begging, I had to give it up and move on, only to discover these fabulous pillows--and they were for sale, thank goodness.  

The quality of the linen fabric is much more than you would expect for less than $20 each.

The one item I regret not buying is a basket from this collection.
I'm heading back this week.
  Hopefully they aren't sold out!

Don't have a Cost Plus World Market in your area?
Visit their website here.

Click here to see the living room makeover I did last year for my daughter and her family.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pottery Barn's Rustic Luxe Collection

 Last month, I wandered in to the Pottery Barn in my town, which so happens to be their flagship store where all the photo shoots take place. They were photographing their new fall collection.
My first thought was, "Wow, talk about color!"

 Which is fine with me!  I love color, especially the colors they put together.
Olive, aubergine, mustard and red.  Very mediterranean. 
Pottery Barn is calling it their Rustic Luxe Collection.

There were beautiful benches upholstered in Suzani and Kilim...

 ...paisley linens and colorful pottery from their new Tapas Collection.

 I'm such a sucker for paisley!

It's fun to see the designers in action.  Everything is brought in for a day or two, staged and photographed, then it's gone until the catalog comes out. 
Well, I received the catalog the other day....

 ...and I was inspired.  
Their jewel toned glass lamps are just gorgeous, especially the aubergine one.
I actually bought the olive green lamp for the living room in Asti.
Mr. A loves the shape of it, as it reminds him of an antique French wine bottle.

 Their Rustic Luxe linens are beautiful too.
Why am I loving purple?  

The Rustic Luxe Collection.
"Inspired by the pairing of opposites - rustic textures and materials mixed with with soft and luxurious surfaces."

I'm all over it!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rosemary For Remembrance

The Bronze Frog Gallery
"There's Rosemary for you, that's for remembrance!
Pray you, love, remember."
William Shakespeare (Ophelia in 'Hamlet')

Herbs and flowers have a language all their own.  
Did you know that rosemary has long been associated with remembrance?  Me either!
Its just another reason why rosemary is one of my favorite herbs!
I love its heady pine scent, as well as its delicate little needles.
Not to mention its wonderful culinary uses.  How can you have lamb without rosemary?

Rosemary is related to the mint family.  Hard to believe as they have entirely different scents.
It thrives in a Mediterranean climate and has been nicknamed "dew of the sea."
Legend has it that the Virgin Mary spread her cloak over a white blossomed bush and when she awoke, the flowers had turned blue.  And so the shrub became known as the "Rose of Mary."

Rosemary was associated with wedding ceremonies in the Middle Ages.
The bride wore a garland in her hair to remember her vows.  
Newlyweds would plant a rosemary branch on their wedding day.  If the branch grew, it was a good omen for their marriage.

Rosemary thrives in Asti. 
 I planted it everywhere and treat it like a shrub, letting it grow with abandon.
I guess that's a good omen for us?

I even planted the trailing type around the spa.  It makes a great ground cover--so much that it had to be cut back.  It was creeping into the water at one time!
It makes for a very therapeutic spa experience, smelling the medicinal-like scent while soaking away those aches and pains!
 It is truly a delight to the senses!

Sir Thomas More summed it up:
"As for rosemary, I let it run all over my garden walls,
not only because my bees love it, but because it is the herb
sacred to remembrance and to friendship..."

How does your rosemary grow?
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Monday, July 16, 2012

A Garden Stroll

 Nothing too complicated for this Monday morning, mid-July.
Just some random photos of the garden in Asti.

It's such a glorious time of year.
The lavender is in full bloom, the roses are still producing and the grapes are beginning to ripen.
Not to mention the herbs and tomatoes!

Wishing you a fabulous, summer week!

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Outdoor Living Room Reveal

Just in time for summer, my client's new outdoor living room finally came together.
This is how it looked last week after all the pieces except the rug were delivered.

Living on the Northern California coast can be a bit challenging weather-wise, so when this deck was rebuilt, my client had glass walls installed to shelter her from the wind.  Yes, that's the Pacific Ocean in the distance.  A sunny day, but still windy.  When we sat on the new sofas, we indeed were sheltered from the wind!

 I found the outdoor kubu wicker furniture at Orchard Supply Hardware.  It provides the luxurious look and feel she had in mind and works with her budget.  
They're really two corner units stuck together, each forming loveseats. 

I purposely chose gray furniture to go with the new gray deck, along with galvanized accessories. 

They're from Target's Privet House collection and look great with a punch of red from the geraniums...

...and suzani inspired pillows, also from Target.
There is one more punch of red that is missing from this outdoor living room though!

The rug!
It was finally delivered and what a difference it made.  It's amazing how a rug can anchor a space and pull everything together.  This rug was the perfect choice!

It really brightens up the space, especially on a foggy day on the coast!

Ocean?  What ocean?
No matter, there will be plenty of sunny days ahead and now my client can finally enjoy her deck with comfortable seating, shelter from the wind, while enjoying her fantastic view.

Outdoor furniture from Orchard Supply Hardware here.
Rug from Home Decorator's Collection here.
Accessories from Target here and here.

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