Thursday, March 29, 2012

Domino Effect


You know when you find a photo of an interior you love and you go back to look over and over again?  Recently, that's been this photo.  I really could spend all day in this space and be happy, I think.  I mean who doesn't love a banquette?  Don't you always pick the booth over the table when you go out to eat?  Or is that just me?

See the doorway looking into the kitchen?  I took it from our kitchen nook. 

I turned it into a playroom shortly after we moved in.
Yeah, the horrible vinyl never stops.  Neither does the cream paint.
But I've been itching to turn it back into a kitchen nook.  I find myself doing an awful lot of standing and eating at the counter in the kitchen while the twins eat breakfast and lunch at their little table. 

Now that I'm almost finished decorating the girls' room -- thanks to my mom who is helping -- I can move a good number of these toys into some new storage I added in there.  (Pictures coming soon!) 

So the dated and very stained upholstered chair is going to go, and I'll be attempting some DIY benches which will wrap from corner shelf to corner shelf in order to a make a banquette.  I already have the table.  We'll will still be a playroom of sorts, but at least I won't have to stand at the counter while I eat my breakfast anymore.

So there's the domino effect.  When you are a family of four and you live in a two bedroom/one bath rental, you can't do something with one room until finishing another.  It's like playing chess, and I hate to admit it has kept me up more than one night trying to figure out how all the pieces will move.

I need to learn to keep my analogies straight.  Is it dominoes or chess?  You know what I mean. :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


My downstairs neighbor loves to trash-pick as much as I do.  She comes home with the most amazing things and recently made these terrariums out of found glass -- things people left on the curb -- little clay piggy included.  He provides just the right amount of kitsch.

We're thinking of starting a new venture based on her found items and my need to fix things up, so of course I had to set up a vignette and take a few pictures.

Did you have a nice weekend?  We just returned from Phoenix where we met a group of friends to watch some baseball games for spring training.  It was the first real vacation we've taken with my three year-old twins (excluding family visits) and they held up remarkably well -- we were worried.  Anyway, it was nothing but sunshine, warm weather, with some baseball, beer, and hotdogs thrown in.  Not a bad way to spend a long weekend.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Look Alikes VIII


This one isn't so much a look alike in terms of style and finish, but rather in space, layout, and photographic perspective. 

Does one appeal to you more than the other?  Or would you combine elements from the two?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I'm so excited!

Remember that song?  Sung by The Pointer Sisters?  Did you know they're from Oakland?

It's fitting for this post because I was so excited to come across a design blog whose author lives in the area.  In fact, she lives blocks from me.  Just across the Oakland line into Berkeley. 

First, I'll show you some pictures of her house and then I'll introduce her.

The newly renovated kitchen complete with a GORGEOUS unlaqcuered brass faucet.

I know!  She's good, huh?  Want to see more?

Her pretty Christmas table. 

You can find so much more at Lane McNab's blog, Urban Orchard Interiors.

We haven't met in person yet, but I hope it's not too long before I've walked a few blocks to  run my hand over those gorgeous marble kitchen counters and ooh and ahhh over the herringbone floors in her bathroom. 

Lane, I hope I'm not scaring you off!


One more thing before I go.  We are headed to Phoenix soon for baseball's spring training.  It might be too much to ask during our short stay, but I'd love to get away for an hour or two to do girlie things.  Any readers from Phoenix?  I'd love your suggestions!  Preschool aged activities are welcomed too!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Flowers from the Weekend

Did you all celebrate St. Patrick's Day this weekend?

We have had five days of non-stop rain (much needed) in the Bay Area, so it's been feeling a bit like 
green Ireland around here.

I had to laugh when I saw these potted shamrocks at Trader Joe's last week.  They're awfully cute, but Trader Joe's made the mistake of including the botanical name for these shamrocks --oxalis.  It reminded me we have oxalis growing in our yard for free.  In this part of the country, oxalis is a weed.  Is it in yours?

So I came home, grabbed a few handfuls of weeds in the driveway and put them in my own pot.

 Take that, Trader Joe's!

I've never really taken much notice of St. Patrick's Day until my kiddos came along.

Though I didn't take any pictures, a leprechaun did make his way into our house through the kitchen window on Friday night.  He left a trail of green glitter along the counter, where he got into the cookies, dumped over the oatmeal canister, and then hid two pots of gold ( foil wrapped chocolates) behind the other canisters.

Oddly, what got the most attention was the green colored water in the toilet bowl (green food coloring).  My girls still can't get over that the leprechaun had to "go potty" before he left our house. 


Saturday evening, I got a knock on the back door.  My friend, Monica, was standing there, holding these. 

An enormous bucket packed full of sweet peas from her flower shop in San Francisco!  Just because she knows I love them.

I've been meaning to do a post on Monica's shop.  Got to do that because it is the teensiest, tiniest, cutest little flower shop you've ever seen. 

Monica is insanely talented.  And she is such a great friend.  The kind that if you casually mention you can't get the kids together because everyone in the house is sick, you'll find chicken noodle soup on the back porch twenty minutes later. 

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd arrange the sweet peas in these canisters that used to sit on my grandmother's counter.  I'm loving these green glass vessels for arranging flowers lately.  They really intensify the color of the flower.

Sweet peas are so, so gorgeous.  Delicate and fluffy and feminine .

They smell wonderful too.  Wish you could sniff them through the screen.  

Hope you all had a pinch-free weekend.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lame Player

It was very nice to be tagged for the game "Tag, You're It."   But I've been lame about following up.

You see, I kind of struggle with whether this blog is about decorating or about me.  Certainly, it's about my decorating, my tastes, etc, but I wonder whether anyone really wants to know the personal details of my life, so I don't often include them.   


~ You must post the rules
~ Answer 11 questions the tagger posted for you & create 11 questions to ask the people you tag
~ Tag 11 people
~ Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Since I got tagged by Barbara of Hodge Podge, Tracey Ayton of Tracey Ayton Photography, and Elizabeth of The Little Black Door in the same week,  I thought I'd pick and choose among the 11 questions they each asked. Is that fair?  Maybe not, but it's fun!

 Questions from Barbara

1. Coffee or tea?  

Coffee.  One of my favorite indulgences is a three minute walk for a latte from here.

Cole Coffee in my awesome Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, California. 

2.  Favorite coffee table book?

 Georgia O'Keefe:  The Poetry of Things by Elizabeth Hutton Turner.   Ms. O'Keefe is a favorite -- her paintings of New Mexico are paintings of my home.  

3. What blogger would you love to meet in real life?

This lovely lady, Heather, of My Many Moments.  I so admire her sense of style and really, even though we haven't met, she's pretty much responsible for this blog.

I originally started it as an easy way to show a bunch of pictures to an antique shop of stuff I wanted to sell.  When I remembered it a month later, I came back, and much to my surprise, I found several nice comments from Heather.  I thought, Well if even one person is interested, I guess I could find something to write about.  As a stay-at-home mom, I might have very well gone nuts without this blog, so for that, I thank Heather.  I hope to thank her in person one day too!

4. What would be your ideal profession?

I've pretty much always, in a dream world, thought artist.  But actually, I've given a lot of thought to interior design.  I've recently rejected that idea for interior photographer/stylist.  Now, if only there were a university program for such a thing...

And that leads me to the next set of questions from Tracey, who is a professional photographer of interiors. 

Questions from Tracey

5.   What is your favorite all time song?

This is a weird one for me to answer because I'm actually not much of a music listener.  I just don't ever think to listen to music and I believe that's because I am so visually, heavily right-brained.  Can anyone else relate?

That doesn't mean I don't enjoy music and if I had to pick one song it would be "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" by Willie Nelson.

6.   Tell me the coolest store in the world so I can one day go visit it.

That's easy, Tracey.  Tail of the Yak in Berkeley, California.   It will blow your mind.  Ever feel inspired by the creativity in Anthropologie?  Take that and multiply it by a hundred for Tail of the Yak.

7.  Give me an idea as to what to blog about in the future.

Another easy question to answer.  I'd love to know what you are thinking in your head and doing with your body as you take your photographs of interiors.  How much styling takes place?  How important is styling?

8.  Which do you prefer?  Milk or dark chocolate?

Dark. Dark. Dark. Dark.

Questions from Elizabeth

9. What is your decorating trend prediction for 2012?

It's probably wishful thinking on my part, but I believe we'll be seeing a lot more natural or stained wood as opposed to painted pieces of furniture.

10.  If someone showed up at your house right now, would it be presentable/clean?


I have three-year-old twins.

 Which is not as bad as two-year-old twins.

But not much.

10. What is your favorite low budget project?

Turning this:

Into this:

For around $300.  (And some major sweat equity on the part of my aunt and me.)

Now it's my turn to tag 11 other design bloggers.

1.  Heather at My Many Moments
2.  Fran at Green Street
3.  Kirstey at South of the Sahara
4.  Ashley at Meet Me in Philadelphia
5.  Kat at Maple Leaves and Sycamore Trees
6.  Karen at Only Things I Love
7.  Nancy at Coza Mia
8.  Traci at Traci Zeller Designs
9.  Lauren at The Cottage Mix
10.  Kate at Kate Collins Interiors
11. Casey at Loft and Cottage

And the 11 questions for you ladies to answer:  (But only if you want to -- I won't be offended if you don't participate. :)

1.   Light and airy or dark and dramatic?
2.  What's your sign?  How does your flair for decorating relate, if at all?
3.  Introvert or extrovert?
4.  Where and when did your love for decorating begin?
5.  What's your favorite project to date?
6.  What's your least favorite project to date?
7.  What is one design trend you love?
8.  What is one design trend you don't care for?
9.  Have you met any other design bloggers in person?  Tell us the story!
10.  What would we see if we visited your first place right out of high school?
11.  Which food do you consider an indulgence?

One last thing:  Happy Birthday, Mom!  I love you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Oh no you didn't!

Yeah, I did.

These are the siderails to the twin beds I've been painting black for my girlies' room.    

No throwing tomatoes.  I know, with all of the kvetching I do about people painting over nice wood, I should be shot.  As a matter-of-fact, I almost shot myself.  You should have heard the abuse I hurled at myself after taking a deep breath and slapping on the first bit of paint.

But I actually really like how they're turning out.  Soon I'll have befores and afters of the never-seen-before twins room to show you.  Black twin beds and all.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Things I Like...A Lot.

Courtyards!  And Spanish Mediterranean style houses.  Spanish Mediterranean is my absolute favorite style of architecture -- especially if built between the 20s and 40s.

This medicine cabinet with shelf away from the sink.  If you only have one bathroom (like me) or only one sink in the bathroom, this is an great way to gain more storage and allow two people to get ready at the same time.

Black pottery? Check.  Stained wood antique?  Check.  Mirror?  Check.  Lamp?  Check.  Something green?  Check.  Black and white stripes?  Check.


Green curtains!  Pedestal round table!

Aw heck.  Why not go ahead and throw a green, velvet couch in here too.

This 540 square foot home for four seen in this month's Martha Stewart.  Love how the built-in couches are also beds for guests.  Look at the styling on the floor.  Shoes and the bag in the bedroom draws the eye down and back.  Click over to see more pictures of this little house and while you're there, notice the bursts of red used in styling of rooms throughout.

The caption says French farmhouse, but I can easily see this in a sunny Spanish Med. house in California.  Love how the laundry room is disguised from the kitchen.  Love the arch too.  Oh, and how about those warm terracotta floors?

I think if ever I have a big ol' sunny lawn, I'd covert it to something like this.  It wouldn't be hard.  You get some fruit trees, raised beds for vegetables and flowers, and a beautiful place to dine al fresco all rolled into one.   That is some smart and affordable space planning.