Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Favorite L.A. Design Shops

For the west-side/south bay design junkie, here are a few fun places for browsing. From North to South.

Shabby Chic
Still standing in Santa Monica - the industry standard

in Santa Monica - great lighting, upholstery, accessories - you name it

in Venice - lots of whimsy and charm

in Venice
Big ticket salvage pieces, lovely textiles, and one of a kind's

in Manhattan Beach
East Coast Cape Cod meets California fusion

High style
in Manhattan Beach

Beautiful home accessories and jewelry
in Hermosa Beach

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cedric Smith

Great work from Cedric Smith. Born in Philly. Living in Atlanta. Maybe someday L.A.?

Carrot Cake, 48 x 36"

Evaporated Milk, 36 x 36"

Butter Bean, 48 x 36"

Daily Chores, 48 x 72"

State Fair, 48 x 36"
Check out his blog too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Sewing Lounge

If you're on a budget but still a fashionista at heart, here's a happy compromise.

"Just 19, Jessica Dooley opened a boutique in Burbank last month called the Sewing Lounge. "I want to create a community of crafters who encourage one another," she said from her sunny space. A recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising's marketing program, Dooley hosts daily "open sewing" hours when customers can drop in and use the machines. She also leads classes. Subjects include refashioning thrift-store finds, making alterations, sewing simple curtains and, yes, learning how to operate the sewing machine you own but don't know how to use. Classes are designed for three or four people, but private sessions also are available, and she plans to add lessons for kids next month. Prices for most group classes run $50 to $75 for two to six hours of instruction, and private lessons are $35 an hour; "open sewing" is $9 an hour."

3216 W. Magnolia Blvd.; (818) 729-1781; 

Friday, May 15, 2009


I was wearing one of those peasant-type tops at work today, when a customer asked me... if I was pregnant.

That was a first. While it's true I have developed a small Buddha-belly this past year I didn't think it was noticeable to anyone but me and my bathroom mirror.

But it got me thinking. With summer on the way, I'd like to get bathing-suit-ready doing laps in this pool at La Bastide de Marie.

la bastide de marie

Friday, May 8, 2009

George Smith Gets Hip

Loving these George Smith upholstery pieces dressed in Raoul Textiles designed by Sally McQuillan.

George Smith Medium Short Scroll Arm Chair in Zoo Dance Cocoa


Raoul Gilberte swatch - Coral

George Smith Dahl Chair with seat cushion in Gilberte - Coral


Raoul Stella - Cardamon swatch
Dahl Chair in Stella - Cardamon


Raoul Tie Dye - Olivine

George Smith Georgian Chair with Seat Cushion in Tie Dye - Olivine


Raoul Dominic - OlivineGeorge Smith Standard Stool 36" * 48" in Dominic - Olivine


Raoul Jimpy's Papaya - Cardamon
George Smith Jules Sofa with Seat Cushion in Jimpy's Papaya - Cardamon

I'm a bit of sofa junkie and absolutely love the Jules sofa shown here. Tight back, bench cushion, English arm, turned legs with a modern fabric - doesn't get much better than that for me.


Raoul Congo - Cardamon
Georgian Sofa with Fixed Seat in Congo - Cardamon

Monday, May 4, 2009

Design on the Town

Thursday night is always a good time for industry parties in the L.A. and this past Thursday was no exception.

To start the evening off Brooke and Steve Giannetti hosted an exhibit for Linda Broadfoot's botanical and insect specimen photography at their store Giannetti Home. Below are some photos of the evening. I'm not exactly a photographer so hopefully you can still appreciate this inspiring home store.

A window display as you approach on San Vicente Boulevard.

The store's concept is really unique. The front of the store, or 'house' as they say in retail, is a shop open to the public for shopping and browsing. It houses all of Brooke and Steve's fantastic finds and designs. The back of the house, separated by floor to ceiling linen sheers, is actually the design studio where the architects and designers work their magic.

Interior store view.

Linda Broadfoot's photos atop a lyrical x-base coffee table.

A-ma-zing- sofas.

Fanciful bird cages displayed behind the beautiful sofas.

Back of the house.

Fortuny Chandelier, from Brooke's trip to Italy, hanging in her work space.

Hosts Brooke and Steve Giannetti with their inspiration wall in the background.

What a great way to begin the evening. Brooke and Steve were gracious hosts and we would have loved to hang out longer. Unfortunately we had to get across town for another fun event.

We were off to Hollywood at Home where the equally talented Peter Dunham was busy hosting a book signing for Annie Kelly and Tim Street-Porter's latest collaboration, Rooms to Inspire in the Country. My husband wasn't sure what he'd gotten into with all these artsy types but being a good sport he road the wave.

I've written about this enclave of shops before and it truly is a slice of West Hollywood heaven.

A hedge lined, gravel walkway leads you to the shop tucked off North Almont Drive. Outdoor furniture, pots and found objects line the walkway to the front door.

The entrance to Hollywood at Home.

Up a narrow red carpeted stairway is the shop itself. Once the apartment to some lucky soul, the converted store with raised ceilings and larger windows now houses Mr. Dunham's beautiful textiles and designs. Gorgeous fabrics from Brian Ferrick, Jed Johnson, Carolina Irving and Martyn Lawrence Bullard are available as well.

A new fabric for Peter Dunham, GLOBE, upholstered with nail heads on an English Club Chair

Ivory tufted chaise, with the How to Marry a Millionaire Rush Chair in the background.

Back at the party everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, especially honored guests Annie Kelly and Tim Street-Porter signing books and mingling.

Photographer Tim Street-Porter, Western Interiors Editor-in-Chief Michael Wollaeger with his wife Margot, Designer and Author Annie Kelly.

A courtyard view.

Hollywood at Home's Joel Longenecker and Nicky Rising, with proprieter and designer Peter Dunham.

One the right, the fabulous Jackie Terrell, one of House Beautiful's Top 100 Designers, and me.

A relaxing nook on the upstairs balcony.

All said, it was a bit of a whirlwind evening. For those of you living in L.A., imagine driving from the South Bay to Brentwood to West Hollywood during rush hour, all in the name of DESIGN.

Just another day at the office.

We finished the night off at a favorite L.A. restaurant, Chaya Brasserie. Chaya has been around for about twenty years (can that be possible?) and it still holds its own in this fickle town.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Calling All Designers

From the L.A. Times Home and Garden section.

By Alexandria Abramian-Mott
April 25, 2009

Here at Upward Bound House, extreme makeovers are happening every month -- just without Ty Pennington, the cameras or the network TV budget.

The Santa Monica nonprofit, which provides housing for homeless families with children, offers an unusual volunteer opportunity: a chance to play interior decorator. Called Adopt-an-Apartment, the program grew out of a natural need, says David Snow, executive director of Upward Bound House.

Volunteers redesign apartments for each new family.

"Families come to us with very few possessions," he says. "Some of them only have their cars. And when they leave, we encourage them to take everything they possibly can, so we're left with empty units."

Volunteers raise money, shop for furnishings, then decorate the apartment. They can sign up for an individual phase, but most take on all three, seeing a project from inception -- when they receive information about the incoming family's needs, interests, even color preferences -- to installation. Once a family moves in, it can stay for up to nine months.

Brady Walters, a facilities manager for Eurest Services and Google, worked with six co-workers to raise $1,500 that they spent at Target, IKEA and Bed, Bath & Beyond. They also stocked the fridge and pantry.

"That ended up being the tricky part: They liked black and red, and the carpeting is hunter green," says Walters, whose team is gearing up for another makeover this summer. "But we managed to make it work, and we really gave the bathroom this spa-like feel."

Snow says volunteers "think of the most amazing details."

"They'll put out cookbooks if a kid is an aspiring chef, or a robe and slippers for the mom, or have warm chocolate chip cookies waiting for the family when they first arrive," he says. "So when that family walks in, they feel appreciated and loved again."

The rules: No paint (not enough time or resources, given the turnover of units), no new window treatments (blinds are already installed) and no candles (fire hazard).

Beyond that, volunteers are free to make design decisions down to the spoons, sheets, shower curtains and throw pillows. And, like professional decorators, they have to stay within a budget, $800 to $1,500 for everything except major kitchen appliances and beds, which the nonprofit supplies.

"All of the beds are twins and go with the families when they graduate from the program," Snow says. "We have mattresses in inventory, though never enough, so if a group or individual is able to provide mattresses, this is invaluable."

In the last six months, the waiting list for apartments has more than tripled to six months, sometimes longer. This fall Upward Bound House will open a second facility with 18 units in Culver City. But unlike the Santa Monica apartments, the new building will function as emergency shelter with a three-month limit on stays. That, says Snow, means "more turnover, and more need for apartment adopters."

Information: (310) 458-7779, www.upwardboundhouse.org.