A few months ago I welcomes the amazing writer Lelani Marie Lebong into my little Treehouse for some tea and to talk about my home and what I have been up to. We had the best time talking and laughing about all kinds of random stuff- I usually think I have the best job in the world, but after a morning with Lelani I realized she just might, we had so much fun! You can read my interview here. Thanks so much Lelani for the great article and for making the trek up my 47 stairs!
I am so excited to finally unveil my "Tiny Treehouse!" I have always been the designer that focuses more on other people's homes than my own, so when I found my perfect house I was so excited to really make it mine.
47 stairs up above the trees- my little cabin in the sky is the perfect spot for me to feel inspired and rejuvenated. I have filled it with all my favorite bohemian pieces- frazadas, mudcloth, vintage moroccan rugs and a whole lot of woven rattan and carved wood. I guess I was inspired by my 70's fireplace that is the center of attention in my living room!
Sorry its taken me a bit to do my European travel round up... time ran away at the end of year as it continues to do! So Part I , here it is!
To end my 2016 I had an amazing adventure around Europe. Planes, trains and automobiles- 10 days in France, Belgium, Spain and back to France. Road trips, wide open beautiful countryside covered in vines, the Mediterranean Sea, streets of Barcelona. sleeping in the oldest Medieval Castle in France and the sparking Eiffel Tower outside my window. To say the trip was good would be an understatement.
For me, travel, by far, is my greatest source of inspiration. Being in a different atmosphere than your everyday, getting outside of your comfort zone, enjoying another culture and I am so lucky to get the opportunity to do that!
We started the trip in Sainghin, my boyfriend's home town. Quaint and country. I found myself meandering old cobblestone stone side streets, ancient churches and I knew I was the only American for miles. It is a very small town outside of Paris and I was mostly taken by what I saw in terms of the architecture. All of the homes were very traditional stone, but new builds were popping up in the middle of farms that were wholly modern. The black steel and wide open windows in stark contrast to the traditional surroundings. And I loved it. I also love and noticed everywhere the French philosophy of repurpose. My boyfriend's family home has been in his family for generations and it has been built on, added to, converted, creating a warm and unique atmosphere where everything is worthy of saving.
Next stop a trip to Bruges and Ghent. Drinking hot wine along the winding canals I took in these fortress like cities made more for walking than cars. And dont worry of course I had a waffle!
The next day we flew to Toulouse and I have to say I wished I had more time to enjoy this city. It was pouring rain, so we hid out most of the time in a cafe, but did venture out a bit under the arcade. And the pink city did not disappoint. I have always been a fan of those "big little cities." Maybe thats why I love San Francisco so much! Toulouse felt like that. Meandering and green set atop drifting rivers. Modern and old in the perfect mix, a vibrant outdoor scene and who doesnt love an carousel! I intend to go back and spend a few more days there to really take in the beauty that is there.
Road trip! Unbeknownst to me I had a surprise in store on our way from France to Spain. Sleeping in a beautiful castle in Carcasonne. It was raining when we left Toulouse and as the old walled city lights came into view our little car got closer and closer, until I was told that the hotel was inside the castle! Score! Our adventure to actually get into the hotel was very Woody Allen, trying to drive our mini Euro car on tiny winding roads that were never made for cars, waiting for a bellhop to arrive in the pouring rain and finally arriving to the magnificent hotel in the old walled city.
Part II- Espana and Paris! I cant wait to show you around El Nacional, my favorite place in Barcelona! In the meantime I am heading to Tulum next week. Check out my pinterest board as my plan my warm weather vacation!
The other night we were walking along the bay at sunset and I was noticing how the sun on the water was making everything pink. Paired with the beautiful blue water of the San Francisco Bay it made me realize why I love the color combination of pink and blue so much and why I use it so frequently in my work. I love the way its both warm and cool and pulls in colors from the best times of the day, dusk and dawn.
Pink is an especially beautiful color to me- it can have so many variations and tones and can give a design so many different directions. Ballerina pink for a little girls room, dusty rose for a sophisticated twist, neon pink for an unexpected splash. Ok I know a lot of people don't think pin is as perfect of pop as I do- but my love for pink aint ever gonna die. Follow along my Color Study: PInk board on pinterest where I indulge my love for pink in nature, interiors and fashion.
A few weeks back I completed the design for Audrina Patridge's living room and dining room. It was full on Bohemian/ Bali inspired and we had such a great time putting it together! Head on over to Audrina's blog to read my top tips for getting the same Bali inspired look I did for her on a budget!
photo credit: Carla Choy Photography
Have you read this great article on MyDomaine? I love reading about and being surrounded by smart, strong, talented women with vision who follow their dreams and their passions to success. MyDomain interviewed some of my favorites about their challenges and what inspires them on the daily. A good reminder to keep hustin' and following your inner truth, as it usually leads you the right way. I know that its always worked for me!
Im usually more focused on shopping for furniture and home accessories, but with my impending trip to France, Belgium and Spain quickly approaching and what seems like non stop photo shoots lately, I have been shopping fall fashion and let me say there is some great stuff out there! So to keep your closets as inspired as your interiors here is a quick round up of some of the fall pieces I have made mine or plan to!
I swear I could wear Ulla Johnson everyday. Her pieces are usually my spurge pieces, but they are items I keep FOREVER. I have been eyeing this fringe wrap jacket for awhile and I am pretty sure its coming with me to Spain.
The forever denim lover that I am- I have been hoarding levi's including stealing and cutting up the jeans from my nearest and dearest. No denim is safe from me. Recently bought a pair of these vintage 501's and have been living in them.
Bought 2 of these babies in the stripe version and the basic black and going back for the rest of the colors. These tee's are perfection- the fit is amazing- soft and sexy and I love, love, love a scoop back. Looks perfects paired with my high waisted flares.
Doen, all day , every day! I am so in love with this line - their dresses are beautiful and romantic- I just bought this sweater and just saw how many of their pieces I have been eyeing all summer are now on sale! Shopping spree headed that way! I never met a sweater that I didn't like and the cozy bell sleeves on this was more than I could handle.
Boots, boots! I am ready to wear these babies all over Europe in less than a week. I have been looking for a cool pair of snakeskin boots for awhile that aren't too pricy and these fit the bill. Low heel and great color these will look great dressed up for a night out or out along the Champs- Elysees sightseeing.
My Jord Wood Watch! I'm sure you guys have seen my obsessive posts about my love for my wood watch on instagram- but seriously not leaving the country without it! I have been wearing the Frankie Koa and Ash Style non stop lately and have been getting so many compliments on it. Its so lightweight and everywhere I go people comment on how cool it is. Belle montre!
So where do i like to shop for art you ask? LIke I said in Art on my Walls Part I, art has been and will always be such an important part of any room design for me. Whenever I hang a piece during an installation, I always feel this "aahhhhh" sense as the piece tends to just pull the whole space together.
There are so many great affordable options for art these days. Of course I love shopping galleries and checking out beautiful pieces that are great investment items and its something that I always tell my clients- if you are going to spend a lot of money on anything it should be the art and the upholstery. Those are generally pieces that you have for a long time and will move with you into new spaces. I know I personally have art that I have had for over 15 years that has travelled with me back and forth across the country and made their homes in a lot of different rooms. So here we go top places that I look for art.
Tappan Collective is by far my favorite spot to source art. They do the work for you searching up and coming and established artists and bringing it all together with beautiful limited edition pieces in multiple sizes and price points. I absolutely love the aesthetic they curate, moody, sexy, unique, painting, photography, collage. It runs the gamut and always changing. I sourced beautiful art pieces from Tappan for both Erin Heimstra's guest bedroom as well as the Chicago project and in both the oversize dreamy landscapes were on point to create a mood for the room.
One Kings Lane continues to be a favorite destination of mine for art. They do a great job curating pieces from my favorite artists and again the selections change constantly so if you see something you like you better grab it before its gone! The price points are varied which is nice so you can get great pieces for reasonable prices.
Society 6 is a super inexpensive source that I am constantly scouring. I am such an art freak that I generally dont have enough wall space for all the art that I fall for so I am constantly buying unframed prints and changing them out. Designer Tip: Inexpensive and gives a whole new look! Society 6 is great for this- you can buy prints framed as well, but the unframed are a great buy. I have found that artists i have sourced elsewhere are sold for less here.
Urban Outfitters has saved me multiple times when I was in a bind during an install and needed cool art fast - let me tell you this is very difficult to come by in a pinch! Their selection of art has grown exponentially recently and really bringing cool artists and photographers to the forefront which I love seeing. You can again buy pieces framed or unframed.
Bay Home Consignment in Berkeley and Stuff in San Francisco are 2 local spots I hit up on the regular to peruse their inventory. And let me say I have gotten some gems in both places. Vintage wall weavings and 70's abstracts are some of my prized purchases! Ok so thats my list of "secret" designer sources when I am on the hunt for great art on my (or your) walls! Check out my art pinterest board if you are looking for more inspiration- I am always adding there! xx
WKNDLA Wall hangings. I fell upon the amazing wall hangings from LA based artist Cindy Zell via Vuela Boutique when I was working on the living room design for Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenburg. So happy I found them both, because they are sources I go back to over and over for inspiration, fashion and home pieces.
The wall art at WKNDLA continues to inspire me- I am always looking for the unexpected to add to a client's design and Cindy's work runs the gamut from small pieces to layer on a tabletop to the unexpected fiber art for that empty spot on your wall calling for some love!
I am currently really loving her dip dye tassels- I love them layered on a stack of books on a bookshelf or they are also perfect to add a little bit of a beauty to a door knob.
I am always joking that my favorite clothes are things that look like they could be easily translated into a pillow cover or sofa upholstery so the fact that Cindy has created some amazing necklaces inspired by her tassel wall art- well that is just perfect for me! Love that I can wear it out and then come home and hang it on the wall to enjoy! Multi purpose at its best! Is it too early to say great gift ideas?!
So excited to reveal this one! Recently I completed the design for the guest bedroom of the talented Erin Heimstra from Apartment 34. I have been so lucky lately working with so many talented ladies with a great eye for style- it really makes the collaboration process that much more fun. And it always ups the challenge to create a fashionable, stylish space when the client is so fashionable and stylish herself!
Erin recently completed the remodel of an old Victorian here in San Francisco and let me just say this house is AMAZING! I am happy to say the guest room/ home office is the first room in Erin's "Old Victorian" to be completed and I am pretty happy with the results!
Erin loves white and clean- her inspiration was a little Scandinavian, a little Parisian loft. She really wanted the space to have an easy feel and I played off of that to create a room that was not too feminine and not too masculine.
Leaning pictures, an industrial sconce and clean white bedding all play into the look creating a luxurious respite for guests and also a great place for Erin to spend her days working. You can read ore about the design on Architectural Digest and read more about the project!
By far, nature is one of the the biggest sources of inspiration in my design work. I am so lucky to live in a place where I am surrounded by amazing scenery- trees, mountains, water. All of these elements endlessly inspire my creative process, and I constantly recognize elements in my design work that are a direct result of nature- the colors in a sunset, or the blue of the ocean always seem to find a way into my interiors.
That being said its no wonder plants play such an important role in my design work- I love the drama of an unexpected tree or the perfect tropical plant to add a freshness to a space. So of course you have to think about the perfect planters to use for all this beautiful leafy-ness!
I love a planter in an unexpected texture or color, something that is simple and clean so that your plant can be the star of the show! I've rounded up a few of my recent favorites and I have to say I am pretty much loving that new matte rose planter from West Elm! Going to have to find a spot for her in my house! Want some more inspo? Check out my interior jungle board on pinterest- lots more goodies there!
Art is such an important aspect to any design project. Art can set the tone of a space- it can completely transform the vibe of a room based on the subject, the color and the way you display it. Its always amazing to me the way adding a simple art piece to the wall or combining things together in a gallery wall can totally change the direction of a design. There are so many great artists out there, and discovering new artists is never ending- so I figured I would break up this subject into 2 blog posts, how to display and my favorite sources (I have a lot!).
Gallery walls will never go out of style. I promise! Its a great way to combine multiple styles and sizes to create an impactful focal statement in a space. I created the gallery wall above in the Decorist office and it was such an inexpensive and one of kind option. I went on a little buying trip to one my favorite local vintage shops and sourced some cool abstract art pieces and displayed them above a vintage credenza. Instant gallery wall!
For me gallery walls are great because I have a knack for collecting odd and mismatched pieces for the wall- tassels, horns, convex mirrors are some of my latest finds, so creating unique gallery walls mixed with my latest favorite artists is a great way to keep the space fresh and rotate my ever growing art collection. I created this fun gallery wall for San Francisco advertising agency Partners in Crime because my client also loved art and wanted a way to display his amazing walking sticks from the Mill Valley Walking Stick Company that he creates (more on my favorite art sources coming up!)
So besides gallery walls how else do you display art? Don't restrict yourself just to displaying art on the walls. I love the idea of over-laying art on bookshelves or on other built in architectural elements. It immediately adds depth and unexpected interest in a room.
Leaning art is another favorite of mine. Its feels so casual and sophisticated and has an easy Parisian flair to it. Best part is no nails in the wall so if you are a crazy art collector like me. you can easily change out without feeling like its too permanent.
So thats the skinny on how I like to display my art, stay tuned for some of my favorite (current) art resources!
You can never really go wrong with monochromatic styling. It always feels fresh and modern and its a great way to keep a design gender neutral in an interior. Same goes for apparel, I love the look of all one color top to bottom. One of my clients that I am currently working with loves working in single tones and her spaces are so sophisticated and clean.
Even though you are building on just a few tones keep it interesting by:
+ invite texture- select fabrics and materials that add depth to the design even in one tone. Bring in leathers, knits, velvets. Even all in black each of these materials will look utterly different in the space.
+ pattern play- think about what patterns you can bring in that will compliment the design while keeping in tune with the colors that you are using
+ material mash up- adding acrylic, glass, silver, gold will do wonders to add dimension to your monochromatic look. All of these materials play well with the tone on tone look and dont take away from the clean look you are after.
Ok off to go put my glass heeled booties on (sigh) and put up some of that amazing Kelly Wearstler wallpaper (double sigh)....
My Jord Wood Watch! I have always been a watch freak- I have a thing with bracelets and unique watches, I guess its because I'm such a visual person that I love to look down and see something cool on my wrist! I am also all about function and am constantly on the go- running to meetings, catching flights, getting here and there that I am always in need of the time, so a watch is a must for my daily routine.
I was introduced to Jord and immediately fell in love with the look and the construction of the watches. I am a lover of natural materials and the idea of a wood watch really appealed to me and my aesthetic. Its minimal and lightweight, but has an easy to read face and goes with everything! I have been sporting the Koa and Ash Frankie Watch lately and I love it layered with a funky beaded mala bracelet or any of my go to vintage silver cuffs. Easy and chic!
Check out all the great styles here and best news yet- Jord was kind enough to offer my readers a cool giveaway! Enter here to win e $75 e-voucher toward the purchase of a watch and guess what anyone who enters (excluding the winner) gets a $20 e-gift card. So everybody wins! Check them out and hopefully it keeps you from running late like me!
This post was sponsored by Jord Wood Watches, all opinions are my own
Traveling anywhere is a big source of inspiration for me. Whether its discovering a new coffee shop in my neighborhood or flying across the world- I love seeing what is popular, what design trends people are gravitating toward and what is different and what is similar in different parts of the country and world. Getting outside of my everyday routine inevitably triggers something creative and inspired in me. Recently I spent a few days in Des Moines, Iowa for a photo shoot and on my down time I was able to get out and explore the city. We are just going to ignore the fact that it took me 16 hrs (lightning storms!) to get there! Adventures in travel!
Des Moines, turns out is a great walkable city, I was able to get out in the morning and run along the river and check out the architecture and the skyline. The downtown is full of cool industrial style brick buildings with a thriving nightlife and great vintage fashion scene. Luckily I was pointed in the right direction by some of the locals I was working with and checked out Preservation. Mecca! Chock full of vintage levis, handmade shibori bags and delicate jewelry I knew I was in the right spot. The fact that the interior consisted of cool black and white rock and roll prints, rustic wood benches covered in sheepskin and layered jute and dhurrie rugs- well me and Preservation were pretty much kindred spirits.
After a quick chai in a local cafe with a cool industrial, vintage vibe: concrete floors, buttery leather sofas and misc glass displays I grabbed my tea and took a walk over to the Des Moines Botanical Gardens. Ok we all know what a plant-a -holic I am, so this place was heavenly. An enormous dome overflowing with luscious greens, palms, banana leafs, pretty much any tropical green you can imagine and I was set. After taking this all in, I found myself along the river again coffee in hand, breathing in the thick humid air.
Although it was a quick jaunt through, it was a great trip! I met so many creative people it was amazing- everyone was talking about their home improvement projects, what they were working on, what they were making. It was inspiring to be around so much positive creativity and it was an energy that was really tangible in the air. It was an electricity you could feel - or maybe it was just the humidity!
It opens like this.. "El Cosmico is an 21 acre nomadic hotel and campground in Marfa, Texas. In keeping with the belief that life should be a balance of adventure and do-nothingness...." Count me in! So much is happening these days that I am ever more grateful for, but the idea of running away to a remote getaway with miles of stars and quiet is always so appealing. Of course funky design, sunset soundtracks and camp cooking are just the extra pieces to get me to pack a bag and jump on a plane to wide open Texas.
Trailers, teepees, yurts and tents dot this property inspired by "hippies, nomads, bohemians and those living a life of self-determination." Its the perfect spot to tune in and get centered.