Monday, January 19, 2009

{artist: Ed Burtynsky}

I first saw Ed Burtynsky's art while visiting the Hamptons Designer Showhouse this summer. There were several pieces hanging in the living room (seen in the back left). Unfortunately, I did not make a note of his name, and it quickly left my mind. Fortunately, as I was scouring the latest House Beautiful magazine, there he was again, in a picture of the living room of the same showhouse. I featured this a while back, and you can see my pics here.

Nickel Tailings No. 34,Sudbury, Ontario 1996

Carrara Marble Quarries # 11,Carrara, Italy, 1993
Did you ever wonder where your table top, or marble floors came from? It's a miracle in itself how they can do this.
Iberia Quarries # 8,Cochicho Co., Pardais, Portugal, 2006

Oxford Tire Pile No. 8,Westley, California 1999

Shipyard #15,Qili Port, Zhejiang Province, 2005

I'm trying desperately to buy this one, but waiting for the gallery to call me back. Isn't it incredible? His work is so relevant today, and is beautiful and eye-opening at the same time.
Click Here for information on the artist

{design: vintage reclaimed wood floors}

Historic Barnwood Oak

If you've ever replaced your floors, or even had them refinished- then you know how daunting of a task it can become. There are so many choices, colors, textures, new, old, engineered, reclaimed, etc. UGH. I've made some mistakes in my life when it comes to floors, but mistakes no more, I know what I need in my floors. For example, my store has engineered flooring due to the high traffic and high usage of the space. We are constantly sliding heavy things and need the floors to be scratch proof. However, in my main residence in LA- we made a hasty decision to have three bedrooms refloored while we were on our honeymoon, and came back to less-than-desireable floors. The moral of the story, don't leave town while your floors are being done unless you have them sign off that they will give you their first born if they are not done to your exact specs....

Coopersmark Oak Barrels

Fortunately, the rest of the house has gorgeous 85 year old Oak floors that were laid in 1923 when the house was built, so we just tolerate the other floors in the bedrooms. Which leads me to my cabin, which in case you didn't notice, has become a bit of an obsession. I've been determined to not settle on even the tiniest point, which has led me on a search throughout the country for the perfect wood floors. While we were in the Hamptons over the summer, we found a little shop in Bridgehampton with the floors I desperately wanted, but hence, could not be shipped across the country without quite an ordeal and large expense. We were also weary of ordering them, having them shipped, and then taking the chance of them not being exactly what we wanted. So, the search continued, until I found Vintage Wood Floors right here in Southern California.

Sample boards in the showroom

The view inside one of their warehouses

Old red barnwood from a dismantled 50+ year old barn in Wisconsin. I'm going to pick each piece myself (they said I could!) and have all my windows and doors trimmed in this.

This is a sample board of wood that we discussed as a possibility for the exterior horizontal finish with chinking. We decided it was too rustic and picked a different wood and finish. This is a great way to ensure you are getting exactly what you asked for and envisioned. If they can't provide you with a sample board, or you don't ask for one, then you just may not get what you want.... Clearly not an option for me.

To see more of their work and about their company click here

Sunday, January 18, 2009

{shop: Deyrolle rises from the ashes in Paris}

One of my favorite shops in Paris is the nearly two centuries old, Deyrolle. For lovers of natural history,curiosities, and a bit of the dramatic- this shop is housed in one of the most beautiful townhouses on rue de Bac. Amid exotic animals and birds, are shelves and drawers full of insects, fossils, and shells. Sadly, around this time last year, the store nearly burnt to the ground due to an electrical fire in the walls. The city rallied to pick up the pieces, with even some customers donating their purchases back to the store. In grand Parisian fashion, the store is back open, and is a MUST see.

46, Rue Bac75007 Paris, France
+33 1 42 22 30 07

Friday, January 16, 2009

{design: reclaimed fireplace mantels & stone floors}


I've been on the hunt for some interesting pieces to incorporate into my cabin, and have stumbled upon some incredible finds. When my husband and I designed the new addition, we put in as many fireplaces as possible, and then were left with the task of making each one unique and special. These fireplaces are the hub and focal point of all five rooms they are in. Most importantly to me, was the library, my sanctuary. One the flip side of the library fireplace is the family room fireplace, so I wanted them to have a cohesive feel, but not the same mantel.

These antique French limestone mantels are pieces of art and can give a room that homey, rustic feel-while still keeping it sophisticated and simple. I just couldn't stand the thought of staring into a cookie cutter fireplace when we will be using it so much and with lots of friends and family. These are from Exquisite Surfaces in Beverly Hills. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely think these are extravagant purchases, but these types of details will absolutely MAKE your renovation. You really can tell the difference, I promise.




This flooring, rescued from a very old estate in France is absolutely gorgeous. They bring it back as a large slab and make 3 horizontal cuts in it to reveal three different grades of stone. This one is the first cut, and the most expensive at approx. $58 per s/f (based on over 500 s/f). My little toes were in sheer heaven walking on this!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

{designer: Michael S. Smith gets the White House gig}

Available for purchase on Amazon

I can't live without my design books, and Michael S. Smith's designs have always served as an inspiration for me. I use his books as design references all the time. MS knows how to mix just the right amount of what you'd expect, with a pop of what you wouldn't. Let's hope we get a taste of what he does for the Obama's with a nice glossy spread in Vanity Fair or such.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

{design: reclaimed antique Indian doors}

There are several dealers I work with who bring in reclaimed items from all over the world. I seem to gravitate towards really old wood and things that were used for many, many years and in seemingly ordinary ways. These wood double doors are from India, and are gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, art pieces. They range from 50 to over 100 years old, and can make the difference between a ho-hom entryway, and a knock-em-dead experience.

I've used a smaller set going into a guest bathroom, and am going to use one of these as an entrance into a guest bedroom. My contractors will have to cut down the wood frame a bit to make it fit into the width constraints of 48", but the height of about 9' will ensure that the dramatic effect of the doors is intact.

Whether you are working on a new house, or vamping up an older one- try to find some unique ways to make your house stand out from all the rest. You'll be glad you did!

{design: bathroom idea, fossil murals}

I always seem to be bored with peoples bathrooms. I long for the unique and unusual, or at least, give me a beautiful piece of art. Right? Well, I'm designing another bathroom for my cabin, and have been searching high and low to find something that makes sense for a lakehouse guest bath, but that is a showstopper.

Well folks, here it is. These are fossil murals and mosaics composed of the sedimentary layers of the deepest part of Fossil Lake, an ancient Eocene lake in existence in Southwest Wyoming 45 to 50 million years ago. Now located 7,300 feet above sea level, the layers of sedimentary stone reveal the rich variety of life that thrived in and around the lake during the Eocene.

The spectacular Green River Formation specimens are quarried by a specially trained team who remove the fossils by hand, according to scientific specifications. Each digging season, approximately May through October, yields a fascinating collection of finds, including a wide variety of fishes, as well as the more rare palm fronds, turtles, crocodiles, and birds.

They are pricey, but how many people can say they have art that is 50 million years old? I have an appointment today in their showroom to see what I can find.

If you want more details about this fascinating find click here

Monday, January 12, 2009

{book: Building With Reclaimed Material}

I was recently at a warehouse hunting down old barn wood for the floors of my cabin that is being renovated, and stumbled upon this book. It was a wonderful find for anyone that needs fresh ideas for old materials. You will love the pictures of how they mixed the woods with reclaimed marble, and stone. I found the book on Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

{home: Olivia Palermo's Tribeca pad}

If you don't know who Olivia Palermo is, then you either are not hanging with the young, socialite, Upper East Side crowd, or not watching MTV's The City. I heard about her a while back when a "fake" email was sent around claiming to be from Ms. Palermo, asking for entree' into the existing Socialite posse. Daddy came to the rescue on that one to clear her name, and she is back and better than before. Don't hate her because she is beautiful, thin, rich, young, got a great job with DVF... in fact, don't hate her at all... yet! Okay, I admit that her referencing her "deb ball" while acting like Manolo Blahnik was her best friend was a little puke worthy, but let's just hope that she can give the New York dose of reality needed to keep things spicy on The City.
Here are pics of her Tribeca apartment that her mother, designer Lyn Hutchings, decorated for her.
“I’m so excited to be living in my own home,” says socialite Olivia Palermo, surrounded by clothes racks, shoes and handbags in her colorful, 63-square-foot walk-in closet accented with a zebra-print rug. She used the Container Store’s Elfa system to transform the office space into her dream closet.

The ins and outs of Olivia's place

Moved In: 2007
Neighborhood: Tribeca
Layout: one-bedroom with an office space
Nearby: Nobu, Mr. Chow, the Odeon
Worth: One bedrooms with home offices in the building start at $4,150 a month

The sofa is a two-piece sectional sofa bed from Jennifer Convertibles. The eye-catcher in the room is an Hermès tray, a vintage find from the ­Hamptons, placed on top of a Carlyle ­Custom ­Convertible white-leather coffee table with nailheads.

The art deco chair was a housewarming present from her aunt.

Photos and some copy: The New York Post

Friday, January 2, 2009

{reasonable resolutions}

I liked this article I saw online today. These were all resolutions that made sense and were possible to achieve. What do you think?

Change your life in 2009 with these 52 tips: Help yourself to these little changes, one for every week,...

By Liz Doup, Nick Sortal and John Tanasychuk

Dec. 31--The problem with New Year's resolutions is that they're way too big.

Lose 30 pounds! Work out every day of the week! Quit eating sweets!

We've been there and we know, big resolutions lead to big disappointments when our resolve starts to soften around Feb. 1.

So for 2009, we recommend a new tack: Start small. Very small.

With this in mind, here are 52 small tips. One for every week of the year.

We can't guarantee miracles. But we can guarantee that each small tip represents a practical and manageable change for the better.

[1] Drink diet soda instead of regular
[2] Keep a packed gym bag in your car at all times. That way you're always ready to work out.
[3] By noon tomorrow, do something that has you in a full sweat.
[4] When you go into the boss's office, balance on one leg. It will strengthen your core.
[5] Include two servings of fruit or veggies at every meal.
[6] Pick out a 5K or bike ride in your community and pay your registration fee well in advance. That way you won't drop out.
[ 7] Tell a friend that you did No. 6. Now that you opened your mouth, you gotta do it.
[8] Eat from a salad plate instead of a dinner plate.
[9] Don't skip breakfast. When we're hungry, we make bad choices.
[10] Eat slowly.
[11] Don't deny yourself a guilty pleasure. But have just a bite or two -- not the whole thing.
[12] Keep a food journal.
[13] Sit when you eat.
[14] Order one dessert and share it.
[15] Only drink alcohol on the weekends.
[ 16] If you work out in the evenings, don't stop at home from work. The mail, phone messages -- and refrigerator -- will still be there after your exercise.
[17] Use mustard instead of mayo.
[18] Keep in mind that one portion of meat is the size of a deck of cards.
[19] Eat fish twice a week. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the heart.
[20] Bookmark on your computer and read it during your lunch hour.
[21] Always have salad dressing on the side.
[22] Eat your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime.
[23] Curtail your treat consumption. If you're eating a bowl of ice cream every night, it's no longer a treat. It's a habit.
[24] Bake, grill, microwave or steam foods instead of frying
[25] Set little goals and reward yourself, but not with food.
[26] If you work out in the mornings, set your clothes out the night before so you'll get dressed by rote.
[27] When ordering in a restaurant, ask the server to bring you half of the meal and to set the other half aside to take home. That way, it won't even tempt you on your plate.
[28] Use olive oil on bread instead of butter.
[29] Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream -- a healthier choice without compromising taste.
[30] Skip sugar-laden exercise drinks. You're probably not working out hard enough to need the electrolytes they provide. Instead, have watery fruits such as watermelon or grapes in addition to water for hydration.
[31] Choose egg whites instead of whole eggs.
[32] Taste food before adding salt.
[33] Trim all visible fat from meat.
[34] Use fat-free or 1 percent dairy products.
[35] Substitute sweet potatoes for white potatoes. More flavor and better nutrition!
[36] Gradually shift from eating white-flour pasta to whole-wheat by mixing half of each until you're accustomed to the flavor and texture of whole wheat.
[37] And on that note, eat whole wheat instead of white bread.
[38] Park far from an entrance and walk instead of driving around to find a closer spot. Saves gas, too.
[39] Rather than sitting and having a conversation, take a walk with a friend or loved one to talk about the day's events.
[40] Before you eat a calorie-laden treat, go to to see how long you must exercise to burn the calories.
[41] Combine a small bit of protein with carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar from spiking and making you feel hungry. For example, add a few nuts to your fruit snack.
[42] Always keep nuts and dried fruit with you so you don't get hungry.
[43] Instead of eating whole almonds, eat slivers. You'll feel like you're eating more.
[44] Make working out a family affair. While your kids are on the ball field, jog around the park.
[45] Find workout activities your family can do together. Ride bikes, hike or jog.
[46] Alter your exercise routine to avoid getting bored. If you take an aerobics class one day, try yoga another.
[47] Get a workout partner so you encourage each other.
[48] Schedule your workout like an appointment so skipping the gym is not an option.
[49] Create a daily log of fitness activities with specific goals, then keep track of them.
[50] Check out several exercise CDs or tapes from your local library. Try them all and buy the ones you like.
[51] Go to your local track with a stopwatch once a month and time yourself for a full-out, one-lap sprint.
[52] When you're home watching TV, sit on a large exercise ball, rather than the couch, to tighten your core.

Stay with it.

Get professional advice on how to keep your resolution.

To see more of the Sun Sentinel or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2008, Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

{simplify: getting back to basics}

Did you make resolutions this year? Were they different than last years? I don't have the list I made for '08, but I remember what the theme was... work, work, and more work. Being a certified workaholic, that seemed like a good thing... and there were certainly some good things that came out of focusing on my store and growing my business. Unfortunately, the sacrifice that came with that deal was less time to focus on the other important aspects in my life.

My father always gave me the same advice, "Simplify your life. Downsize." I always thought he was being kind of dramatic, but the older I get, the more I understand his philosophy. His advice never felt more relevant than with this new year upon us. I'm a pretty practical girl, so downsizing still seems a little extreme, but getting back to basics by eliminating some of the extra clutter in my life makes a lot of sense. And by "clutter", I mean anything that is making your life more complicated than it needs to be. This might include putting some distance between "friends" who seem to take more than they add to your life, not accepting all invitations to parties or events, not staying late in the office, or volunteering to be on another committee. You would be surprised how much time these things can take away from the things you really want to be doing.

My resolution for 2009 is to focus on the things that make me happy and cut out some of the things that take away from my quality of life. It may sound simple, but sometimes having to say no can be very difficult. You just have to try to remember that when you say no to something or someone, you are saying yes to yourself. I'm looking forward to a year where I have more time to focus on the things that I enjoy, which will improve not only my life, but the lives of the people who mean the most to me.

Happy New Year! Make it about you.