28 June 2010

you gotta fight!

for your right! to parrrrrrr-tay!
whenever i have a party, i find that people end up congregating in the family room. it is one of the smallest rooms in the house, but i think it turned out to be a pretty cozy and hip little space.

i've teased you with some previews along the way, but here it finally is!

this is what i started with:
those of you who have been following our progress here in fog city know that the house interior was covered from head to toe in the most hideous yellow paint. in these photos, from the open house, it almost looks... nice! i assure you, though, it was terrifying. especially all of the inexplicable wall stains created by 4 college-aged boys with no supervision. *la dee da* putting those pictures right out of my head...

we had the floors stripped down to the originals (YAY) and then we painted, painted, painted and painted some more. the door to the downstairs bath got a coat or two of chalkboard paint as a part of my project doorway.
it has become one of my favorite things in the house because it is covered in love letters from family and friends.

i also painted the cast iron hearth and corbel on the fireplace in high-gloss black for more contrast.
and then it was time for the fun stuff!

i anchored the room with my sofa - it's HUGE and comfy and far too expensive to throw away. the lines are curvy and victorian, but the fabric is modern and neutral so it works. i also kept my antique mahogany coffee table, heat stains and all. it's been with me forever and i love the color - especially in this room because it picks up the darker hues in our floors.

then i trotted off to ikea to buy out the store - picking up the trollsta sideboard to use as a tv stand and a great b/w rug, the stockholm rand.
and then to pier one for a couple of great oversize faux bamboo chairs. the room, with the addition of the chairs is very full but, because it's such a small space, i decided to embrace it and to try to make it feel as homey and intimate as possible.
the topper is this fantastic chandelier i robbed from lamps plus (originally $1350 and i got it for $186!). most folks think it's original to the house (which was built in the late 1800s) - it just seems to fit. and it is GORGEOUS at night.
and assorted tchotchkes i have collected at all of the fun antiques markets up north. (i'm sure you've guessed by now that i am of the "more is more" school of thought when it comes to decorating.)
red carnations and a hand thrown clay taxi cab from cuba.
a vintage "go" lamp from a streetlight and a big, lighted "C" for evening
vintage kit cat clock with rhinestones

add some colorful (and SHINY) pillows and voilà! CLICK ON THE PHOTO FOR A CLOSE-UP.

please excuse the puzzle effect here - it's my bargain substitute for a wide-angle lens.

now i've just got to get some art up behind the sofa and we'll be all done (for now)!

hope you've enjoyed this little peek into my favorite party room!

22 June 2010

hearts and hearts and hearts and hearts...

the fabulous ally at From The Right Bank has issued her annual “What’s Your Style in One Picture Challenge”. i remember reading about it last year - in the throws of trying to find my very own home - and thinking "what, exactly, IS my style? well, i'd better figure it out fast!"

thankfully it wasn't hard. my house style is pretty much the same as my closet style - whimsical, colorful, eclectic, and fun. oh, and sexy. of course. ;)

there are so many great designers at work these days that fit that description - so many that my virtual style files are bursting at the seams! but, somehow, i can't help but come back to this photo again and again. anne coyle, you are a glamour genius!

hope you enjoy it! so what's your style in one picture?

"beauty's where you find it."

21 June 2010

i want cake!

while most of you follow this blog to see what i'm up to on the home front, some of you know that one of my other creative outlets is cake making. i'm not a professional, so this is just a hobby that happens a few times a year, but i really do enjoy it.

all of these cakes are made with one of my very best friends, sarah, who will be leaving with her husband and 3-year-old twins to travel the world for a year. in honor of her husband's birthday, and their trip, we made a cake to celebrate.

the cake is topped with edible likenesses of the girls (though they insisted "don't cut me!" and "please, mommy, don't let anyone EAT me!") and a *very* inaccurate map of the world showing some of their planned stops. (one friend remarked "i'm not great with geography, but WHAT PLANET is that?" haha.)

for those of you who are interested, here are a few (crappy cell phone) photos i took while we made and served the cake.

covering the ugly (and delicious) thing with blue and white marbled fondant.

add partial continents and flags (that's the old vietnamese flag, nguyễn dfynasty/ pre-communism, on the top right for those of you who aren't familiar.)

serving to many appreciative little people.

happy kids.
and a happy gracie.

15 June 2010


some of you may have seen this san francisco toothpick carnival (i'd never even HEARD of toothpick carnivals before this) on apartment therapy today, but here it is in action.

this is one of THE COOLEST things i have ever seen. scott weaver, thank you for your genius.

13 June 2010

shine on!

in honor of the chandelier i acquired on craigslist this week, and the INSANELY lovely weather we are enjoying here in san francisco, a little ditty by one of my favorite brit pop acts. enjoy!

"shine, shine, shine on
yes, won't you shine, shine on
(sha la la la)..."

04 June 2010

it's like the "wild kingdom" up in here!

wasn't that an amazing show? ah, the memories... i love me some tivo but sometimes i long for the days when the whole family would gather together to watch an amazing program together. it was pretty special.

anyway... i'm at home tonight working on some errands to prepare for the weekend and, a few minutes ago, i was about to go outside when i noticed a HUH-YOUGE cat sitting on the fence. i thought maybe it was this little guy's momma - but it turned around to look at me and...


it is a ginormous, well-fed raccoon. seriously, WHAT is it with this house?! our wildlife (like bob the rat) grows to unbelievable proportions!

he's pretty cute though. if i didn't know he would bite and scratch me (seriously, doesn't it look like he's saying "b*tch, i will CUT you!"?), i would want to hug him!

and, while i was up in my library (i'm SO hoity-toity) watching him, i noticed how lovely the view is tonight. thought you might enjoy sharing it with me. *wink wink*

03 June 2010

trumpeting a change?

this morning i woke to the first trumpet flower of the year. isn't she beautiful?

my back fences are covered in trumpet vine - and its lovely flowers are one of the many reasons i fell so in love with this home. the vine was in full bloom at the open house last july and the huge orange flowers looked so cheerful in the summer sun.

i'm hoping that this is a sign that we're finally done with the rain and that summer has arrived.

"summer breeze... makes me feel fine... blowing through the jasmine in my mind..."

01 June 2010

you are the apple of my eye...

"forever you'll stay in my heart..."

isn't stevie wonder just the awesome-ist? if you say no, i just don't think we can be friends anymore. (unless you bring me booze. it's true, i am easily bribed.)

anywhoooo... huzzah for holiday weekends! right? are you with me? it was absolutely GORGEOUS here in san francisco and the weather inspired me to work on a quick art project.

i was tired of looking at the big, blank wall in the kitchen and was inspired by this photo of sarah jessica parker's hamptons kitchen (which is very similar to the plan i have for mine, you'll note!):

i love the big pop art apple, so i decided to make one of my own.

first i bought a sheet of oak plywood and had them cut it to 36"x36" (and other various sizes for future projects). i took it home and whitewashed it with CHEAP white acrylic paint.

then i free-handed (is that even a word? and who else out there is thinking "FREEBIRD!!!"?) the apple shape in red paint.

filled it in and fixed the shape a bit.

the stem was the hard part. i couldn't decide on the shape i wanted, so i played around with a pair of scissors and some paper towels (i'm high-tech, i tell ya). when i got what i wanted, i painted the edges of the back side and stamped it on to the plywood.

then filled it in, et *voilà* - a giant pop art apple of my very own!

total cost was $24 for the sheet of plywood and $7 for the craft paint. and maybe 1 hour total of painting time. not bad, eh?

when the kitchen is complete next month, i'll show you what it looks like on the wall.

hope this inspires you to pick up a paintbrush!

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