what I do

what I do

Monday, February 27, 2012

What I have been up to lately

I haven't posted much lately about the projects I am working on - mainly because I don't have anything to really show (no photos). But I thought it was time to at least give a little update. Things don't always move fast in the design world - it can take a lot of time to search for just the right carpet and fabrics and furniture and then there can be a lot of waiting. For example in the dining room I am working on (you know, the one where I am moving the dining room into the existing living room), we want to place new wingback chairs on the ends of the table. First we had to locate the chairs we wanted to use and then we had to select just the right fabric to put on them.

The palette of this beautiful home near the ocean is done mainly in navy, blues and reds. But the client is an eclectic art collector and recently acquired this on a trip to Cannes (photo taken with my iphone):

We want to hang the new artwork in the dining room over this piece from Drexel Heritage's Postebello Home line:

And although I don't want to disrupt the entire palette of the house, I do want to tweak the colors in the new dining room a bit. The new artwork was my inspiration.

This is the fabric we are considering for the two wingback chairs to flank the ends of the dining table. They will have a solid fabric on the front and this on the back. Now that we are pretty sure we have our fabric we have to wait for samples to confirm that it works in the client's space and then order it and wait for the chairs to be made. It all takes time. 

On another project, wallpaper has been ordered (more waiting),

Antonina Vella Trellis Wallpaper

Along with this bench that will be used for a coffee table ...

New carpet will be installed and a few decorative changes made once the wallpaper is installed and the new furniture (including a curved dining settee that has not yet been ordered) is delivered. 

In another home, a lovely 50's ranch, a laundry room remodel is under construction. The house very traditional but I want the laundry room to be a little fun so although we are carrying the existing cabinet style into the laundry room I am changing the hardware to be a little more fun and shiny. Wyeth Blue by Benjamin Moore will be painted on the walls. We pushed out one wall into the hall closet behind it to create a space for storage and folding laundry, and that can also be used as a staging area for parties. (See, don't you wish I had photos?).

Numerous other upholstery, paint and drapery projects, and a kitchen remodel that is starting this week are part of what has been keeping me busy ...

Along with this little girl who came to visit last week! She will be 5 months old today! Life is good!
Happy Monday everyone. xo

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An important conversation

I love perusing through design blogs and seeing all the pretty pictures (although I have not had as much time as I would love to lately) but what I really love is getting to know the person behind the blog. I like when I can attach a face or a personality to the blog. Honestly, that is what keeps me coming back.

I like to read a story. It is what connects us as people. Yes, we start with our shared love for good design, or recipes, or whatever it is that hooks us in, but then we find we have the common thread of different life experiences, kids, struggles and even our faith, and we find that we have a new "friend".

Nancy Marcus, who writes the beautiful blog, Marcus Design is one of those people. Her home is beautifully decorated (all the images shown today are from her home), her blog is always impeccably filled with lovely images and inspiration, she is a talented artist (that is her work below - check out her Etsy shop here) and DIYer (see chest above), and is getting ready to graduate with her PhD in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry. Wow, right?

Last week she posted about some struggles she is going through and shared a song her (very talented as well) brother wrote. It is beautiful. I have listened to it over and over again and it brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard it. I hope it will touch you as well. No matter how well we may have it together in this life we know here on earth, it does not compare to the knowledge that there is One who is always with us and who holds our life in His hands.
Have a blessed Sunday. xo

Andrew Marcus - Our Conversation

Verse One 

Dear Father I feel all alone 
Dear Father I know You're in control 
When I stand here in the middle of this storm 
Dear Father I know You're on Your throne 
And You say... 

Chorus One 

I know the plans I have for you and your soul 
You know My thoughts and plans are bigger than your own 

Verse Two 

Dear Father when I walk astray 
Dear Father even then You light my way 
Sometimes I don't know where to go 
But dear Father there's one thing that I know 
Is that You say... 

Chorus Two 

Fear not for I will save I've called you My own 
When you walk through the storm you'll never be alone 
All the stars in the sky I hold in My hands 
I feed the birds that fly everywhere on My land 

Dear Father... I don't feel alone

(lyrics copied from here)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I won!

Last week I got the most exciting news ...
Hi Sherri!

I am so excited to tell you that you Won the amazing Linda Donahue original! 
I have copied Linda on this email so you two can coordinate shipping.

Thank you both for supporting BB&B. Have a wonderful week!
I won the giveaway on Laura Trevey's Bright, Bold & Beautiful blog! It is a gorgeous painting by Linda Donohue. I can't tell you how incredibly exited I was!!!

It arrived this week and it is more beautiful in person and I can't wait to find the perfect place to hang it!

If you are not familiar with Linda Donohue, she is a local San Francisco painter and furniture designer (and furniture store owner!). She specializes in painting abstract and equestrian art with acrylics on canvas. Her art is sold through through her San Francisco showroom, galleries, designer showrooms, furniture stores and the Atlanta and High Point furniture markets. Her furniture designs have been featured on HGTV and Extreme Makeover and her showroom has been shopped by Sherwin Williams to determine current color forecasts. Her art has been purchased by HGTV Secrets of a Stylist's show and the editors of Better Home and Gardens Magazine. She also sells her paintings through her Etsy shop

Here are a few of her upcoming shows:

And speaking of talented artists, Laura Trevey who hosted the giveaway is also an incredibly talented artist (and one of the nicest and most positive bloggers). I have posted about her beautiful watercolors before (here) when I purchased her painting of the honeysuckle and orange tangerine dress:

Laura sells her watercolors through her Etsy shop as well and if you are not familiar with her work you should definitely check her out. She paints everything from simple sketches to beautiful abstracts to custom renderings of your home. Here is a quick sampling of some of her work: 

Gorgeous, right? 
Hope you are having a beautiful weekend! xo

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Got milk (glass)

I was over at my mom's last week and she wanted to show me some wall sconces she saw in last month's issue of BHG that she thought would look nice in her master bedroom.

Adjustable Arc Sconce from Pottery Barn

It turned out they were from Pottery Barn (easy to get and not too expensive) and so my husband and I went over on Sunday to install them for her. No, I didn't take any photos - oops, I didn't even think about taking any. But what I did want to show you was the cute little piece of vintage (Fenton?) milk glass I picked up from her house while I was there.

She has a nice little collection of it - it belonged to her mother and it is all hidden behind cabinet doors. I thought I would borrow one of the pieces and enjoy it for a while. Isn't it pretty?

I found a hobnail square footed planter just like it on Ebay and it was selling for very little. I guess they don't hold much monetary value. But it has a nice sentimental value for me and that is all that matters.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thank you Sarah Swanson

I love my new Sarah Swanson watercolor ... you know, like the ones she sells in her Etsy shop for only $10. You can read how she started painting them here.  Marianne bought a couple and posted about hers too.  Don't you think it's time you get one for yourself? 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Start with TEN things

So it's Monday morning and there is so much to do that you don't know where to start. The weekend fun has spilled out all over your house. There are kid's toys all over, clothes that need to get hung up, laundry to be done and maybe dishes still in the sink. Do you ever get stuck and don't know where to even start? 

Try this little tip ... pick one room and tell yourself you will just do TEN THINGS. Hang up TEN items of clothing. Fold TEN pieces of laundry. Open up TEN pieces of mail. That is how I start anyway. I tell myself just TEN. You don't have to tackle it all. Just do TEN THINGS. And usually once I get going, I do ten more and before I know it, the task is done. But if not ... at least you will have TEN THINGS less to do!

Happy productive Monday everyone!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


It is so easy to want what we don't have. Whether it be talents or looks or material things. 
In the kind of business that I am in, I am constantly seeing things new and improved. I am exposed to furnishings I would love to have but are out of my touch, people with so much talent it makes me wonder if I have any business doing what I do, and living where I do, here in Southern California, I am surrounded by beautiful people, beautiful cars and gorgeous homes. I live in a material world and it is sometimes hard to feel content.

Jane Hall via

And yet the truth is, I have so much. I am blessed and I know it. I am reminded this week that I live where it is easy to take clean drinking water for granted. That is not true so for many. I want to remember what I do have ... not what I don't.
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." - Hellen Keller

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tricia Guild and the perfect wallpaper

I met with a new client today who has the most beautiful home. Seriously beautiful. Just the the view alone is spectacular. She has recently painted most the the interior walls a lovely gray and is gradually updating her furnishings from the reds and golds and greens to a fresher palette of grays and whites and navy.

 I took a few working "before" photos but did not ask her permission to post them so I hope she doesn't mind this little peek ...

Among other things, she wants to wallpaper her powder room and she had found a pattern that she really liked. She did not know anything about it (who made it) or even the name of the store where she found it. But she had a photo. I told her I would try to find it and really hoped that I could.

So I came home tonight and googled topiary & wallpaper and guess what I found!

Ah... the beauty of technology! The wallpaper is by Designers Guild (their Linnaeus Collection) and comes in 11 different colorways including the one she found, indigo. Designers Guild, based in the UK, is run by Tricia Guild (who is the founder and creative director) and her brother, Simon Jeffreys. 

I love the vibrant colors and patterns that Tricia Guild is known for - there is nothing subtle about her designs. (I could look through her books all day long). Tricia Guild's Design and Detail (1988) was one of the first design books I ever purchased and completely challenged me with her fearless use of color. If you are not familiar with her work, you should definitely check her out. 

images via Designers Guild
wallpaper images

Monday, February 13, 2012

Planning a laundry room

I'm working with a client / friend of mine and we are remodeling her laundry room. She is a gal that I have known for years and have helped her decorate room after room in her house as well as helping her with numerous organizing projects. In fact, she was my very first official "paying" client when I first started my business. Working with her is more fun than business and we spend a lot of time talking about other things while we are working - "life" kinds of things.

The day I met with her to look at her existing laundry room, I found this on her bulletin board:
"Your lack of planning is not my emergency"
I cannot remember the context of why she had it posted like that - if she heard it somewhere or read it somewhere, or had the thought herself when someone tried to impose their schedule on to her ... but I loved it.

That's all. Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom and Abraham Lincoln

Today is my mother's 82nd birthday. She thinks it is really great that she is turning 82 on 02.12.2012 (that is quite a lot of twos!). To celebrate, we are taking her up to see her great-granddaughter. That little girl is the joy of her life right now.  

She is not one to want a lot of attention placed on her ... so we are playing it down. In fact, we are pretending to celebrate this guy's birthday instead of hers ...

We have stove pipe hats to wear instead of party hats and we may have apple pie instead of birthday cake (I hear it was his favorite).

While I was searching for an image of Mr. Lincoln, I came across a blog post written by Jason Baudendist entitled, "Why Your Business Should Be Modeled After Abraham Lincoln's Life" via this blog. I liked it so much I am going to share it with you - I don't think it has to pertain just to business - I think it can be applied to the way we live our lives:
  1. Be honest and fair in all your dealings. -- Lincoln prided himself on his character and honesty.
  2. Work hard and bury your heart in your passions. -- Lincoln had a sincere love of people and although depressive and shy he made a career out of making a difference in others lives.
  3. Always find ways to laugh enjoy life and relax. -- Lincoln medicated his depression with laughter he believed it was better to laugh than allow himself to cry.
  4. Build your business around something you believe in. -- Passion fuels desire and helps to drive you. If you pursue a passion your business processes will never feel like work.
  5. Never stop learning. -- Lincoln had very little formal education. He became a lawyer almost completely off of reading and self educating himself constantly.
  6. Never believe where you came from matters. -- Lincoln grew up in severe poverty and had to quit school to help support his destitute family however he never let his circumstances stop him from striving toward greatness.
  7. Treat failure as a learning experience. -- Lincoln had several businesses fail. He went bankrupt and had his fiancé leave him. He also failed two times to get elected to senate. He never let his disappointments stop him from moving forward.
What great words to live by. Right up there with, "keep your hands to yourself" and "chew with your mouth closed".

My mom with her oldest grandchild and only great-grandchild

Happy birthday Mom! May God bless you and be with you. May pure be the joys that surround you, and may true be the hearts that love you. 

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life.  ~Abraham Lincoln