Wednesday, September 26, 2012

House of Turquoise

Today you can find me at 

I'm guest posting about the little girls' room I just finished decorating. 

Have beautiful day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Now that it's fall...

 I thought I'd revisit an easy and inexpensive fall display for those of you who are new to this blog.  

This little display couldn't be simpler.  Take a walk to find pretty fallen leaves.  Add some unripe pears from the the grocery store in a wooden platter.  As the pears ripen, eat them, and replace with more after your next grocery shopping trip.  This display will last you all season long -- all the way until Thanksgiving.

Looking for a wooden platter?

You can get this rustic platter from Target for $20. 

Or this one from Sears for $10.

Happy Fall!

P.S.  I got a very nice note from a reader in Sri Lanka the other day and wanted to acknowledge those of you visiting from other countries who are experiencing spring instead of fall, who live in temperate climates, or who don't celebrate Thanksgiving at all.  Thanks for bearing with me. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why we put work into a rental.

People often ask me why we bother to do things like paint our kitchen cabinets when we rent.  I think the above illustrates exactly why.  The first photo shows a three bedroom, two bath cottage --the house of a popular blog in Alabama called The Lettered Cottage.   The total listing price of this house (they gave the real estate link) is what we'd pay for a 15% down payment on a similarly sized house in my Bay Area neighborhood.  Yikes!

So we rent.  And because we are getting a great deal on rent for our area, we feel that it is worth it to put the time and energy into doing some cosmetic fixes to make the place more liveable.  Our 1920s-30s Craftsman place has great bones, but some rather outdated and/or shabby finishes.  The cost to do some minor fix-ups is nominal compared what we would pay for rent in a finished place that measures up to my (unfortunately high) aesthetic standards.

Which brings me to my next point.  I was vacuuming the horrible, horrible stained beige carpet in our hallway the other day.   I knew there were hardwoods underneath, but I had no idea in what condition. 

 When I used the nozzle to get into the corner, up came that section of carpet.

My curiosity got the better of me, so I took a peek and...


You can see that they're in worse shape than the finished dining room floor in the foreground.  I haven't quite figured out how I'll refinish these after I finish ripping up the carpet in the hallway (and maybe the bedrooms?), but even if it never gets redone, it's better than that carpet!  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Heart Ticking Stripe


These pillows are for sale here.


I just received the ticking stripe curtains I ordered for the breakfast nook, which currently is being used as a playroom.   

I need the storage on those corner shelves more than I need the open shelf decor space. So they'll have the ticking stripe curtains to cover them.

This whole space is getting a small makeover.  There will be a (grown-up sized) table and chairs for eating meals, bamboo blinds for the windows, and a place to hang kid art.  It will be the breakfast nook/art nook/office for me.  

I have to tell you this so I get off my rear end and get started on the space!  I've been talking about doing it for ages...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sweet Odette

Traditional Home

Martha Stewart


Who remembers this image from Cottage Living?  I studied it for longer than I'd care to admit.
Southern Living

I just love this little settee.  It's the Odette Sofette from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.   So versatile, as Susan and Lauren McGrath have so often pointed out!

When I first started this blog, I wrote a post about my favorite living room arrangement -- parallel sofas.  I've always known my living room can't handle two parallel sofas, size-wise.  But it recently occurred to me that maybe if I got two settees, I could scooch 'em really close to the fireplace and still have enough space to walk through to the dining room.  (Then maybe there would be space to fit in a daybed on the opposite end of the living room.  Which is a whole other story.)

Nope.  It's just not going to work.  My poor measuring tape broke trying to figure it out. 

Instead, I'll have to suffice with all of these dreamy pictures of the little Odette.

Thought you'd enjoy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Get the Look: A bit of sparkle.

New at Claremont Finders Keepers -- Vintage Crystal Chandelier

The Look:  Add a bit of feminine sparkle with a crystal chandelier.

(We do believe that our chandelier is the exact copy of the one in the photo!)

***Get the Look posts are published only on weekends as an addition to my regular weekday posts.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Who knows about this fabric?


Can anyone tell me where I can find the fabric on the roman blinds?  Or something similar?  

Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Composing Photos: When to show the ceiling?

In my previous posts in this series, I've talked a lot about everything from drawing the eye down to the floor to styling the floor

Next, I thought we should turn our attention to the ceiling.
 When you are taking photos of a room, when should you show the ceiling?  Sometimes?  Always?  Never?  I was curious to know because I didn't quite have an answer either.  The topic of when to include a ceiling seems to be pretty subjective, but here are some guidelines:

When not to show the ceiling.

I'll get this one out of the way, because it's fairly obvious.  When the subject of the photo is a thing like this bed, or a vignette, not a view of the room, then the ceiling doesn't need to be included.  Getting an up close and personal shot often cuts out the ceiling.  As I've said time and time again, taking the photo low to the ground seems like the best way to photograph these kinds of details

When to definitely include the ceiling.

Again, this one is fairly obvious.  Show the ceiling when there is something interesting to show.  Like beams.

Or a beautiful cathedral ceiling with windows at ceiling height.  

Or when the ceiling is painted a different color.

Really any time the ceiling has some kind of interesting feature like extra glossiness, or beadboard, even pretty molding, it's worth framing up the shot to include the ceiling.

Now for the grey area. 

In the above photo, there's nothing remarkable about the ceiling, but it is included in the photo because the bamboo shades are hung at ceiling height, and because those two gorgeous lanterns hang from it. 

This ceiling has really nice planks, and again we have two remarkable fixtures, plus the quote on the left wall.  If the photo was composed or even cropped where the back wall meets the ceiling, that quote would be cut off. 

The pretty molding and the fact that the frames extend all the way to ceiling height make it necessary to include it in this photo. 

As do the baskets in this photo.

But what about this one?  Use your scroll bar to scroll up and cut off the ceiling where it meets the back wall.  It doesn't look good, does it?  At least it doesn't to my eye, and I'll tell you why.  It would be tempting to frame up or crop the photo so that the ceiling fan doesn't show.  The ceiling is unremarkable too, but when the photo is cropped, there's too much going on.  With the nice white space created by including the ceiling, the eye has a place to rest. 

Here again, the ceiling is unremarkable and there are no nice fixtures to show.  If you use the scroll trick , you will see that it actually would be ok to crop out most of the ceiling.  The room is calm, there's not a ton going on in the background, and I think it would be fine to frame up the photo so that only a tad bit shows above the curtain rod.  And do you know what's funny?  I was just flipping through an old copy of House Beautiful and saw this photo in an ad -- most of the ceiling was cropped out. 

Again using the scroll trick, I'd be tempted to say that the ceiling doesn't need to be included here, but then I would be left wondering from what spot the pendant light was hanging.  It's kind of an optical illusion otherwise -- it looks closer to the foreground than the background. 

The opposite is true in this photo.  I'd rather not see the fixture.  But I think that's a matter of personal taste. 

Again, no real need to show the ceiling here.  Especially because it appears a tad dark and shadowy.

Speaking of dark and shadowy, there was no need for me to include the ceiling in my kitchen when I took this photo of it.  And that dark pot light in the ceiling has no business in the photo either.

I like to include my own photos to show you that these kinds of posts are meant to be instructive to me as well as (hopefully) interesting to you!  I'm no professional.  Just trying to learn to take better photos!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Get the Look: Light and Airy Vanity

New listing at Claremont Finders Keepers:  Matching vintage vanity and chair set

The Look:  A light and airy vanity -- perfect for a sunny corner 
of the house.

**"Get the Look" posts are only published on the weekend as an addition to my regular weekday posts. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Little Black Door

'Tis the season for guest posting. Today you can find me at:

where I'm telling a little story about ugly.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1920s Bay Area House Tour

A few weekends ago, I had the privilege of touring this beautiful 1920s San Rafael house, located in San Francisco's North Bay.  The house is chalk full of beautiful and original details, like this Moorish archway leading from the kitchen in to the breakfast nook.

Turning in the opposite direction, you see the breakfast nook with built-in storage under the window.

A view from the dining room into the living room.

Note the beautiful barrel ceiling and wood beams.

The nursery.

And one of the bathrooms, which still has the original tile. 

In the back, there's a covered patio.  Can't you imagine eating dinner here in the evenings with twinkle lights strewn above you?

Also in the back, near the driveway of the house, is this curious little niche.

A nice cool place for the dairyman to leave his delivery, complete with an order dial.  I suppose since there are only three needles you could only get three items at a time.   Anyone know the difference between table cream and whipping cream?

Here is a picture of the front of the house, with my twins running in the yard.  I could be wrong, but I think it was built in the Tudor Revival style -- ivy covered walls and all.

Beautiful, isn't it?  They don't make houses like they used to...

This house belongs to the cousin of my newest client, my friend Melissa, who just moved here from D.C.  She was staying here while she hunted for a place to live.  I had a blast apartment hunting with her and I can't wait to show you some of the before pics of the garden apartment she found.  That's coming soon.