Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saying Merry Christmas Without Red or Green

As a holiday thank you I baked all of my clients a variety of sweets. That ended up being easier than coming up with a modern but festive way of presenting them. Orange and white platters were a lucky find, and helped keep the arrangements fun without screaming Santa.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chalkboard Madness

There has been many creative uses of chalkboard paint in the design community as of late; I was almost starting to get a little tired of it. That was until I saw this clever entryway at a friend's home last week. She painted different size frames (from the flea market) entirely with chalkboard paint and drew portraits of the two resident dogs. Genius!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Anatomy of a Sofa: Part II

Hallelujah, the finished product not only looks sharp but it fit through the client's door!

The patterned fabric on the back cushions puts a modern spin on the textbook sofa. The upholstery tacks and the fine attention to detail and proportion make the custom process well worth it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hospital Chic?

Who knows if sick children were actually carted around on this old metal gurney. But, I do know we love the new coffee table it's become.
After finding the folding metal gurney at a flea market I removed the caster wheels (which were super cool but made the table too high) and had Walnut plywood cut to serve as the table top and the lower shelf. After applying a few coats of polyurethane and screwing in the top it was good to go. It's sturdy, collapsible, and best of all you can put your feet up.

I wasted a good hour Googling vintage gurneys with no luck, so it remains undetermined what the base was actually used for. If anyone has seen something similar let me know! (Well, maybe not if it was used in a morgue. That might be knowledge I could do without)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bathroom Accessories for the Modern Home

Why is it so hard to find good quality, tasteful bathroom accessories? Recently on a hunt to get a new modern bath rug I spent hours trying to find one that would work. I didn't think I was asking too much...a black and white cotton rug that didn't look cheap and that would last for more than a month. I didn't have the best luck but I will share a few nuggets that I did find.

Organic cotton color block shower curtain at West Elm
, $39.99

Target Modern Home Link Rug, Cotton with a neutral, modern pattern. A steal at $19.99
I loved this Moroccan bath mat from Ballard Designs. Not such a steal at $65, but if you have money to burn..

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Anatomy of a Sofa

It's not often that we get to see our sofas before they arrive in our living room. One benefit of being a designer is getting to work with local craftsmen to create custom pieces and watching the process along the way. I was able to see this sofa in progress this week, instead of a sketch with dimensions it's become a tangible thing.

The framer delivered the wood base to my upholsterer who built the spring system, applied webbing, and constructed a bench seat cushion made of a foam core wrapped in down. It was seriously comfortable. Now, it just needs to look pretty. To be continued...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Here are some photos from last night's event...we were quite pleased with the outcome.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Decorating Ideas That Won't Make You Sick!

Anyone else tired of the fake cobwebs and cheesy Halloween decor? Well, it turns out there are some spiffy ways to decorate for the Fall and/or Halloween. Having just taken on a project to decorate a nightclub for Halloween we had to push the envelope and come up with some new ideas that did not include scarecrows and haunted houses. Instead, we went with a creepy pumpkin patch theme using thorny branches, crows, and white pumpkin pendants to create an eerie effect without being too literal.

This was taken during the install but you get the idea. We adhered black contact paper to the concrete pillars to create the effect of branches wrapping around. This ties in with the real branches (which are spray painted black) that are coming down from the ceiling.

Ditch the fake cobwebs and plastic spiders and grab some inspiration from nature this year!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stylish Design Bargains!

I've always been a sucker for a good bargain. Below are my top picks for design deals out there right now. Make your money go far in style!

Ikat Paisley Duvet Cover and Shams, $59 for Queen duvet at West Elm

Through-the-Looking Glass side table, $69 at Wisteria

Kulla table lamp, $49 at IKEA
Reunion Dining Table, On sale at CB2 for $199

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bay Area Salvage Resources

I received a few inquiries about where to find salvage and reclaimed wood (as seen in the last post) so I decided to share a few of my favorite salvage sources in the Bay Area. The wood used in the bookcases was from Heritage Salvage ( a great source for all kinds of reclaimed wood species. They also have a showroom with furniture made from their wood. I particularly liked these quirky coat racks:

If you are looking for more than reclaimed wood you can head over to Urban Ore ( in Berkeley. They have everything from vintage sinks, doors, fireplaces, windows, and even some appliances and used furniture.

The Re-use People of America ( in Oakland have a large selection of building materials, and their proactive mission of helping to save the environment with their own deconstruction efforts (which provide 90% of their stock) is commendable.

That's just a short list to get you started. Happy hunting!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

There's Nothing Like Custom!

Today Niche Interiors brought two custom bookcases into this world. With a little inspiration and the help of EVG Designs ( we were able to create these unique, solid steel and reclaimed redwood beauties.

The custom fabrication allowed us to design around the dimensions of the space, utilizing the beautiful high ceilings by pushing the height of the bookcases over 7 feet. The hard lines of the steel contrast well with the rough texture and uneven surface of the reclaimed barn wood.

Stay tuned for more custom furniture births in the near future.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Get the Good Glow

Ready for a more relaxing and cozy home? Making good lighting choices is the easiest way to improve the feel of your space. Ever been to a restaurant that had delicious food but you couldn’t wait to get out? Fluorescent lighting, harsh direct light and overly bright spaces don’t make you want to linger. The same principle applies to our homes. The goal is to create a space that you love to spend time in. Read on for some key lighting basics to get you started on creating your new relaxing space.

Provide multiple light sources of varying types per room. Start with two table or floor lamps for ambient light, and add task lighting for reading or working as needed. This also allows for the use of lower watt bulbs since you are not relying on one bright overhead fixture to illuminate an entire room.

Use a dimmer. If your lamps don’t have a 3 way switch built-in (which requires a 3 way bulb to function) then buy a dimmer at your local hardware store. It’s an easy install and will only set you back $15-20.

Use 40 – 60 watt soft white incandescent bulbs for a cozy, pleasing light. Reserve compact fluorescents for hallways, laundry rooms and other utilitarian spaces. If you are determined to use compact fluorescents throughout your home try the n:vision TCP Home Soft White bulbs, they come highly rated for warmer light output.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sweden Knows What's Up

My recent trip to Sweden and France reminded me of the vast style differences between North America and Europe. The Swedes have a very unique and modern approach to interior design. Clean, fresh but not boring...they just make it look so easy.

This is the lobby of the hotel I stayed in Simrishamn in Southern Sweden. The use of white combined with wood paneling, stone floors, and spare light fixtures and window treatments creates an inviting but restrained atmosphere.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Old School Military Style!

A trip to the flea market this morning brought an unexpected addition to our back patio. This vintage military cot now serves as an outdoor daybed, providing a place to lounge with a bourbon after a long day of work.

The juxtaposition of colors and textures is dope. Best of all, it's designed to fold right up. The built-in straps on the legs provide a way to fasten it up quick if we are ever on the move!

Friday, September 19, 2008

European Chic

I recently came across Jayson Home and Garden...they have unique, European inspired furniture at relatively inspired prices. I particularly like the Napoleon sideboard with it's weathered black finish:

These bird prints also struck my fancy:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hallelujah, Modern Rugs!

Finally, some affordable options for rugs besides the ubiquitous sisal. A little tidbit about sisal and jute rugs: Once you spill, IT'S OVER. You cannot clean them and stains are near impossible to remove.

It's refreshing to see modern, graphic rug designs that don't set you back a few months rent. Check out this 8'x10' Morocco Rug from CB2, on sale now for $349! Bonus: it's 100% wool (which can be cleaned if the tipsy dinner guest spills).


If you are obsessed with interior design you probably tune in to Bravo's TOP DESIGN every Wednesday as I do. Last week's episode was a kicker. I wasn't sad to see architect Jennifer go home. Why do architects always try to get all up in the interior design of a space? As we saw from Frank Lloyd Wright's awkward stab at designing furniture: Stick to what you know. Andrea and Nathan are my current front runners. I can't wait to see what tonight's episode brings...Hopefully more inventive designs such as this one:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh no she DI'INT!

It's about time we saw a worst dressed list for home design. I spy atrocities every now and then and just think WHY, dear god, WHY?! Here are a few to kick this new column off:

The toilet cozy. Hmmmm, what could I possibly put around the base of my toilet to collect all the flying germs who want to create a colony? Yes, a carpet toilet cozy and matching rug! Perfectly sanitary and chic at the same time.

The leather recliner beast. Just because it reclines does it have to be so ugly?

Yikes! Traditional matchy, matchy bedroom sets. I don't even know what to say. Who started this and why are people still doing it?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Misty, Misty Green

Cohabitation: What an exciting thing for a couple!

Him: "Honey, I can't wait to move in with you"
Her: "Me too!"
Him: "There's just one you think we could paint the pink walls a more manly color?"

Queue the Benjamin Moore "Misted Green" (#2138-50). The new walls jive well with my existing furniture and saved him from months of potential torment from his guy friends. Thank you Benjamin, drinks on me.

French Industrial Table

Maybe it's my upcoming trip to Paris, but this table recently caught my eye. Picture a flat with herringbone wood floors, huge windows and loungy Italian sofas. This little reproduction French industrial table would be magnifique!

Hooray for another interesting and affordable offering from Wisteria catalog.