Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Newer Model

Please, somebody buy me and love me. Don't don't tear me down and replace me with a younger more attractive model. (Sometimes younger models don't age as well as the original. We've all seen examples of this from celebrity marriages - I won't name names.)

I'm sad that I have to post about this topic. But with all the new mega mansions being built, someone is going to come in and bulldoze this incredible old property.

In the Northwest it's hard to find a an old regal house on the water. While there are still lots of original Craftsman's they are usually in more urban areas. Most of the suburban houses are from the post war era and are tiny boxes, or the beautiful 60's and 70's Brady Bunch houses due to the period of growth in Seattle. Not the most attractive real estate for the price of the land. Compare our options to what you'd get in Houston. Pretty sad when you think about it.

Why can't some of our limited architectural history be preserved? I'm not asking for the world. The house could be remodeled and still keep the integrity of the original property alive while allowing the homeowner to have today's conveniences. Really, do you need master bedroom sized wine cellar? Do you really need a giant media room with actual media chairs or will a nice down filled sofa do? How many pools does one person need? And do you really need that Koi pond? Do you need a walk in closet for your 3 year old? Don't get me wrong - I love a walk in closet as much as the next person but it doesn't need to be gigantic to be functional. When are people going to say, enough is enough?

I can't count the number of old beautiful houses that were torn down and replaced with houses straight out of Caesar's Palace in Vegas. ( Go ahead, you can keep tearing down the 70's split levels. It's okay).

I've always been in love with this one. It's on the most beautiful little lane and has prime waterfront just across the water from Seattle. I'm crossing my fingers someone buys it as their home and makes minor modifications while keeping it's history intact. It has the best bones, it just needs a few minor tweaks. I'd be happy to help you with the remodel and give the house a feminine touch. Belgian, anyone? Developers need not apply. IF only I had $6,295,000. Id take you off the market. Until then, my fingers are crossed that you find your soul mate.

Charming walkway to the front door and family room (on the left)

The house from the water. Large beautiful lawn.

Another view from the water.

Incredible living room. The high ceilings, windows on all sides, over-sized lantern, and fireplace are amazing. This room is great in the summer or winter with the views out to the water and access to the patio.

Interesting coffee table. The bones of this room as so good. Truly amazing in person. There's a great nook under the stairs with a mirrored bar. Very Hollywood glam. Wish it was included in the pictures. The staircase is great as well. Sometimes real estate pictures don't do the house justice.

Family room. Needs redecorating but again the bones are good. The room could be opened up to the kitchen for a family with young children without disrupting the overall look and feel of the house. There's a guest wing (I think two bedrooms off this room as well). Again, not sure why there's not a picture of the kitchen. It's a nice sized kitchen, just not the mega kitchen of today.

Dining Room. Wouldn't this be beautiful in white linen and a big chunky dark table. Less period, more drama.

Eating/breakfast nook off the kitchen. Notice the access to the patio and the fireplace at the end of the room.

Master bedroom. Large enough to be comfy without overwhelming.

Outside patio. If I lived here I would never want to go out for a glass of wine. I believe this was an addition yet it was tastefully done to blend with the house.

Another view of the back patio. Love it. Just need some more comfortable chairs for lounging.

Waterfront dock with boat lift. The only way to go.

View from the water and dock.

Aerial view of the property.

Call me if you buy it. I'd be happy to help.

Monday, September 28, 2009


This week has started off crazy with work and kids activities. I haven't had time to do a proper post. To top it off, I haven't been feeling good for about a week. I've had the chills and have been kind of dizzy. I keep wondering if I have the swine flu. You know you don't feel good when you don't want a glass of wine with dinner.

It just dawned on me today, maybe my body is in shock from subjecting it to physical exercise again. I haven't done any strenuous physical activity since June. I did about a month of boot camp (couldn't sit for a week) but I didn't run or do cardio. I mostly lounged at the pool and occasionally took a quick dip just to cool off - not to swim.

Last week my girlfriend and I decided that we needed to start running again. We promised each other that we would take it slow and let our bodies adjust. So, for our first run we ran for 1 hour and 30 minutes! I kid you not. I'm a good 4-5 mile runner when I'm in shape - but that's about 45 minutes- not an hour and a half. And, that's when I'm in shape. We didn't have our watches so we just kept running. Needless to say, I didn't feel very good that night.

We went running again a couple days later. We set out to do a quick and short run. Again, we ended up running for about an hour. Didn't feel so hot later that day. Chills and dizzy. I took a nap for the first time in years.

Today we went for a short run. This time we didn't try to be hardcore runners. We only ran for 40 minutes which was good because I was dying. Dying. That's when it dawned on me. I don't have the swine flu. I'm just making my body sick by exercising.

Body, please! I need to exercise. I need to release some energy and stress. AND I miss my wine. I promise I'll start taking better care of you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Good Finds

I must admit by Wednesday I start to panic about what I'm going to declare is the "good find" of the week. I don't have a standing list of what I want to write about as I want to be authentic and pick something that's moved me or inspired me that week. The problem is between carpools, errands and work, sometimes it's hard to put my finger on what's inspiring me. Then there's the question of whether or not you, my readers, will even care about what I'm loving. Do you care that I love, love, love boyfriend jeans because they feel like sweats but are still pulled together enough (with the right top and accessories) that if I ran into an ex-boyfriend I wouldn't be embarrassed. Do you care about what amazing face product I use or what T.V. show I can't get enough of? Doubtful, but if you're wondering it's Decleor and Flipping Out. Jeff Lewis makes me laugh like no other. If it's on I'm done for. I will sit there and watch episodes I've already seen because I love his hard perfectionist shell and gooey center!

So what do I love this week? As I was trying to think of things that caught my attention this week, I realized that the IKEA Knappa pendant lights in my studio make me happy. Who knew that flat pieces of polypropylene could look so incredible once they were all snapped together. For the record I didn't do the snapping. I took one look at the instructions and handed it over to my sister. Thanks sis! It's a fun and affordable fixture for a modern or industrial space or it adds a little whimsy or eclecticism to a more traditional space. It gives out the softest light and changes the mood of the entire room. And at $29.99 it's a steal. That's high praise from someone who wouldn't normally buy a modern IKEA light fixture as my taste in lighting tends to be more traditional.

If you want something a little larger and more glamorous, the IKEA Maskros is beautiful. It would be wonderful in a bedroom, breakfast nook, dining room or living room. It has a similar feel to high end designer lights but at a fraction of the price. Even better, it lends itself to more of a traditional/transitional feel than the Knappa.

Some friends of mine from Holland have a similar light fixture that they brought with them when they moved to the States. It's magical when you turn it on because the inside is filled with little twinkly white halogen lights. It's literally a show stopper! Gorgeous.

It's call the Fil de Fer by Catellani & Smith and handmade in Italy. It can be purchased through TrendDesign24 and shipped to the U.S.

While the IKEA one isn't as stunning, its lovely just the same. For $89 you can get the look without the large price tag. I might have to run out and get one this weekend.

What do you want to read about for "good finds?" Do you like a mix of fashion, food and design or do you just want to hear about great design finds? I'd love to know.

Have a great weekend!

So Clean

Rarely does a laundry room make my heart stop. But this one from Brooke Giannetti of Velvet & Linen did just that. It's from their recently completed 219 North Cliffwood House. The house is incredible (as usual Brooke), but the laundry room is beyond.

With two small boys and one big one (sorry honey) I could handle doing loads and loads and loads of laundry in this room. It's so clean and pretty, yet cozy. And I could actually fit all my folded laundry on the island due to the generous size.

Brooke, thanks for taking the most forgotten room in the house and making it a functional and beautiful room. Laundry's not looking so bad if you have a space like this to retreat to. "Sorry kids, mommy's doing laundry. It will have to wait".

I can dream can't I?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The New Chippendale

I've always loved Chippendale chairs. Not the Chippendale chairs that were your mom's or the ones that come as part of a set at your local home store. While they are great chairs with great style and bones, they don't have any personality when they are left in their traditional state.

I love any variaration of the Chippendale chair when it is done is a great color. Windsor Smith and Schuyler Samperton are two designers who like to have fun with the chair. Windsor Smith has done the chair in a great glossy white and the oxblood red. She uses it in casual spaces like the kitchen or around a fabulous non-matching table to give the room personality. One of the first times I noticed Schuyler Samperton was when her LA apartment was featured by Elle Decor. She also used a variation of the Chippendale in an oxblood red. It was gorgeous and made me remember her as a designer to watch.

Windsor Smith via www.windsorsmithhome.com

They are so popular now that they are hard to find. But, alas Noir Furniture has created a fun and affordable version. They come in distressed brown or unfinished (I believe they are only available to the trade but the best part is they are affordable). They also come in armchair and sidechair versions.

They are so gorgoeous yet fun. I would buy the unfinished and paint them glossy white or black for a casual but contemporary look. They would also be drop dead gorgous in a gold leaf or silver leaf for a more formal space. Chairs, you will be mine (or one of my clients) soon!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Good Finds: End Tables

Every house needs a couple hardworking tables. Tables that can move to where ever the party happens to be. Tables that can accomodate an intimate group to family gatherings of 25. There are a ton of end tables in the market but these are the ones I keep coming back to over and over again.

Bungalow 5 Jacqui Side Table
Comes in six colors.

Jayson Home & Garden Hitchens Table. There's a beautiful dresser in this collection as well. A little larger, but still movable. It's just so great looking!

Global Views Twig Table. Comes in black or white top. Love, love this table. The detail is beautiful and it's small enough to travel on a moments notice.

Oly Studios - Jonathan Nesting Tables. (Largest one is 20w"x18d"x22"H) I own these and they make me happy everytime I look at them. Three tables in one. Antique gold with tortoise top OR antique silver with white shell top. Gorgeous. Well worth the money.

Bamboo Glass Table - not sure who makes it. Available at http://www.maisonluxe.net

I could continue as there are so many options, but these "good finds" that will last no matter how your style changes.

Pre - Good Finds

Before I start today's post on "good finds," I have to share a little story about another great product. Regular "good finds" post to follow. Check back shortly.

My kids love to play with my business's bank deposit stamp. I think they like the sound it makes. They treat it like a tattoo and stamp their arms, face, legs, stomach - you name it. As I'm working yesterday, they grab the stamp and start stamping. I don't think much about it. Remember I have two boys. Nothing is out of the ordinary for me.

In typical fashion, they follow me wherever I go in the house. So they bring their fun upstairs to the kitchen. About every 15 minutes a fight breaks out because my 4 year old wants his big brother to play with him and big bro is tormenting him. I don't think much as they run screaming into my living room - business as usual. My oldest son is laying on my camel mohair sofa screaming for his life (again, this is a daily occurrence). I go into the room to separate them and what do I see? The black bank stamps (being water soluble) have transferred to my mohair sofa. Black smears all over my sofa cushions! I DIE.

I say things I shouldn't to the kids in the heat of the moment. Then I try to breathe and figure out how to clean it without damaging the fabric. After a call to my mom and internet research, I try dabbing the spots with a dry cloth and then Woolite and water. It doesn't look good as the process is creating big black wet spots that usually dry in a permanent ring. I just keep blotting it with paper towels to soak up the moisture and hope for the best.

Two hours later the cushions are dry. No spots. No rings. Just like new. I always recommend mohair to my clients with kids as a durable fabric. Well, yesterday I had to put my sofa to the test. If I failed, I was in trouble after all the praising I had given that little fabric, thank goodness I wasn't proven wrong!

Mohair, you're still a "good find."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So Silky

There are a couple things I would do if I won the lottery.  Take a vacation,  have a decadent shopping spree, and build my dream house.  

You can bet the first person I'd call would be the team at Stuart Silk Architects.  Stuart Silk has been one on my favorite Northwest architects for years.    His style is a beautiful blend of traditional and contemporary.  His attention to detail and moldings makes me gasp. The proportions are perfect and designed for living - not just for show.   The firm does residential (new construction and remodels) and commercial work. 

What I wouldn't give to live in one of these houses.  Maybe I should play the lotto today. 

Here's a tiny sampling of their work. Enjoy. 


Feeling Blue

Feeling a little blue and exhausted today. Thank god it's Wednesday!  I thought the kids going back to school would make life easier.  Instead all I've been doing is drop-offs and pick-ups at two different schools.  The gas consumption is crazy and I can feel my jeans getting tighter as I type. 

But then I came across this image and I feel a little lighter and sunnier.  I don't know why but this room and color palette makes me happy(sorry, I don't remember the source or designer). It has all my favorite elements:  sisal/seagrass, woven blinds and nuetral foundation pieces. Casual yet so beautiful. 

Wish I could sneak away and have a Calgon moment in this room.  

Monday, September 14, 2009


I'm working on a powder room for a client and want to do something unexpected yet classic. Something that stops you in your tracks and sends you swooning to the hostess. 

I love this Steven Gambrel powder room as he did just that.  He used the pages a curiosity book to wallpaper the room.  It's so beautiful and interesting.  I especially love how he used the pop of red in the chandelier shades.  The wallpaper is the star of the room - everything else is the supporting star.  

If you accidentally got locked in this bathroom, you could occupy yourself while someone picked the lock with the bobbie pin.  

Hope you have a great Monday. 

Friday, September 11, 2009

Good Finds: Weekday Wine

There are two things I can't live without. My cup (or cups) of coffee first thing in the morning and a glass of red wine while I'm making dinner. Those are my vices. My kids know that mommy can't do anything until she's had her coffee in the morning and that mommy likes to have "mommy juice" at night. I know it sounds bad, but just ask any other mom with two small kids and she'll have something that is her vice/reward for making it through the day.

I'm not fussy when it comes to my wine. I don't pay attention to the label or how much a bottle costs. If I like it, I'll drink it. I like my wine medium bodied and smooth without a lot of spice or tannins. I love blends and favor French and Italian wine.

So, in celebration of one of my vices, I thought I share some of my favorite under $10 reds with you. It is a recession and while you're cooking, who needs a more expensive bottle? While the price is great, these wines are fine for casual dinner parties as well. I've served many of them to rave reviews. You know which friends will appreciate them and not think less of you.

So, go ahead. Enjoy a glass.

Don't let the twist off cap scare you. Every time I serve this wine people always are stunned than it's under $10 dollars. I always have this wine on hand. The white version is equally great.

Crowd pleaser -- The Ravenswood Zin. I'm sure you've had it. Almost everyone loves this one. Great with BBQ, or meat.

I love this wine and you can get it at Costco. Bonus. This is a great everyday wine and even my high-end wine friends like it.

Cellar No. 8 Cabernet Sauvignon. This ones a little harder to find (meaning it's probably not at your local grocery store, although I have heard rumors that it's at Trader Joe's...) but worth it.

Last but not least, The Coppola Rosso. This is the wine that started it all for me at the winery years ago. After all those expensive wines in Napa, this one just grabbed me and said "hello".

So, don't let the price scare you. Try one and use the extra money towards a new pair of shoes. You'll wonder why you were spending so much money on more expensive bottles for all those years!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trading Spaces

I was at the library recently browsing the design section. I always like to look at coffee table books before I purchase them to see if they are something I can continually open and be inspired by.

Just for fun I picked up Laurie Smith's book Discovering Home.

Yes, Laurie Smith from Trading Spaces. I admit, when the show first launched I was an addict. I had just had my first son and was in the dreadful feeding stage of sitting on the couch 24/7. (Okay, not really sitting up for all those hours but still on the couch. Really. For months.) I lived for Trading Spaces. Gone where the days of going out to dinner and a movie. My date night was now with Trading Spaces. Sad, but true. I mainly watched to see the dreadful spaces some of the designers created. Hildie - shame on you for covering an entire bathroom with fake flowers (with a glue gun no less!) Or the time you turned a room into a circus tent. Frank - I can't even begin to mention all the dreadful rooms of pigs and cows...

However, I was usually impressed with Laurie's designs. She usually created a well thought out design that looked expensive. She didn't shop the local dollar store. She picked out classic items at the local thrift store and combined them with great contemporary fabrics. She created a real room that could be lived in. A room that didn't need to be dismantled when the crew left town. (I've always wondered what happened to those poor souls once the designers left. Did their ceilings cave in? Did the painted fabric on their sofa rub off on their pants?) I need to know... Please send me information if you know anyone who was on the show.

Laurie uses the remodel of her own house to discuss her design process and offer useful tips. The photos are beautiful. Her house is contemporary yet classic. Her bookshelves are bananas!

Call me crazy, but this book is worth reading and Laurie is a true designer.
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