Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Greek keys

My love for keys started many years ago when my friend, Alicia and I, went to the Greek Island of Kos. I seem to remember our hotel was on a terribly noisy street - full of bars and discos.... we were working long hours in London and had decided to have a quiet, peaceful holiday - so much for that!

So, we pooled our money together and hired a car to "get out of dodge". Alicia was the designated driver, as she is such a well travelled lady and has driven all over the world (unlike moi)! While most of the party-going people from our hotel and surrounding neighbourhood were snoozing off their hangovers, we drove up hill and down dale and discovered all kinds of interesting villages and places. It was on one of these visits that we found a tiny antique shop where I bought my first keys. The dealer had a basket full of them but as my funds were limited I could only afford two! Here they are:

I've noticed that there are a lot of stores selling keys nowadays.

These white coated keys are cute:

I think this old hotel key holder would look fabulous as a piece of art:

I like the industrial look too:

Instant art or table decoration. I like to place old keys on top of books too!

It's also said that keys are lucky: Three keys worn together are said to unlock the doors of 1) wealth, 2) health, 3) love. The ancient Greeks used one key as a symbol for knowledge and life. A gold and silver key crossed is a papal emblem of authority and translates to mean the "keys to the kingdom of heaven."

I was also lucky this Christmas as one of my gifts from my Mum was a key necklace - don't you love the piece of jade (one of my daughter's names too!) and the little heart attached?

Wishing everyone a lucky New Year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beautiful lighting

Last month I was fortunate to be featured in the San Francisco Chronicle in their Stylemaker Spotlight section (I've re-posted the link below), one of my tips or rather dislikes is strong overhead lighting. Bright lights make everything look harsh - our complexion, our furniture, rugs, etc. Ambient lighting is far more soothing. In my designs I like to use chandeliers with dimmers, table lamps everywhere, floor lamps and uplights to highlight plants. It's an easy fix and looks so much better.

Here are a few of my favourites:

If you are interested in any of the above pieces, then please contact me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kitchen remodel update

Well..... not a whole lot has happened with the kitchen! The delay is mostly due to City permits! So in the interim, I thought you'd like to see how the kitchen used to look:

And just look how it looks now:

I'm not a huge fan of demolition, but know it has to be done! Everything is dusty and messy.... so to make everything better it's always nice to look at what's to come. For instance, beautiful, clean white subway tiles:

We are also extending the kitchen so there's going to be room for a casual dining area. As the kitchen will be white cabinets with black countertops, I'm mixing it up with an industrial table - rough wood and wrought iron legs:

Then thinking of softening the table with a sofa - probably covered in a neutral fabric though:

Adding a few Louis inspired chairs:

And a fabulous industrial light fixture:

Monday, November 8, 2010

An evening with Franc D'Ambrosio at ArtHaus

James Bacchi, ArtHaus, yours truly and Franc D'Ambrosio
Photo by Robert Sokol

I had the pleasure of meeting Franc D'Ambrosio at the end of October at the opening of his exhibition at ArtHaus, here in San Francisco. It was a rainy evening but the gallery was packed for the invitation-only event. Franc introduced himself to me and we immediately started chatting about his paintings. I've been told that I become animated when I talk about design, well that's just what happens when you talk to Franc about his work. He explained in detailed the layering process and water jetting on some of his pieces. It was fascinating.

Franc D’Ambrosio with his Prayer Group I,60”x36”,
acrylic on canvas, private collection
Photo by: Joshua Weishaar

Mid Century Afternoon, 60”x48”,
acrylic on canvas

Ovation, 22”x28”,
acrylic on canvas

A little background on Franc..... The world was introduced to D’Ambrosio when Francis Ford Coppola cast him as Anthony Corleone, the opera singing son of Al Pacino in Coppola’s seven time Academy Award nominated film “Godfather III.” Franc starred in the film and also sang the Academy Award winning theme song, “Brucia la Terra”, both in the film and on the original film soundtrack.

And so began this varied artistic career. Years later, D’Ambrosio became known as “The Iron Man of The Mask”, and was awarded the distinction as the “World’s Longest Running Phantom”. His current one-man show, “I’ll Be Seeing YOUZ – A Bronx Boys Musical Perspective on World War II”, opened at The Raaz Room in San Francisco and is now touring.

On the subject of Franc D’Ambrosio – THE PAINTER, the self-taught artist recalls…“I began painting exactly the same way I began singing.One day I didn’t do it, and the next day I did. The act of painting rose from a very spiritual time for me, and I cherish this gift. I paint just as I strive to live; fearlessly. As I approach the blank canvas, I have a pallet in mind and the end result. Throughout the painting process, I abandon resistance and embrace expression and the relationship between myself and the canvas. As each work develops, I experience an intimacy which I define as the growing, revealing and discovering of one’s self in the presence of another. My relationship with the canvas mirrors my feeling and passion for prayer and God.”

ArtHaus introduced D’Ambrosio’s paintings in SUMMER TIME, a recent group exhibition of works by Gallery and Guest Artists. According to Gallerists James Bacchi and Annette Schutz, the response to THE PAINTERS’ work has been overwhelming. “D’Ambrosio paints much in the same way that he sings; directly from his soul, allowing his audience and the viewer a shared and extremely intimate experience with his work.”

“The Diva aka Lisa Vroman”, by Franc D’Ambrosio went to auction on September 24th at the 14th Annual ArtforAIDS benefiting the UCSF Aids Health project, and his work will be featured in a solo exhibition at Summit One Gallery, North Carolina in 2011.

Franc about to sing to us.... it was amazing!
Photo by Robert Sokol

Franc D’Ambrosio – THE PAINTER – continues at ArtHaus through December 23, 2010. ArtHaus is located at 411 Brannan Street, between 3rd and Ritch Street, San Francisco.
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Friday, 11am-6pm and Saturday, noon-5pm.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A visit to SF Design Center

I've just started working with the nicest couple ever, which makes my job a breeze. We are currently working on their living room and dining room, which is being painted and wallpapered as I type! Their two daughters, Samantha and Victoria, are also enjoying the whole design process and when they saw my presentation they said that they can't wait for me to start on their bedroom. How cute is that? So with that in mind, I thought I would take my two new clients to the Design Center to get their input. I also brought along my kids too!

Outside the Design Center
Back row, L to R: Samantha, Jade and Daniel
Front row, L to R: Emily and Victoria

First of all we headed to Osborne & Little, as it's one of my all time favourites and reminds me of my days in London when I would head to their store on the Kings Road most weekends.

As you can see, the kids got straight to it and knew exactly which fabrics they liked.... they even wrote the codes on their sheets in order to get samples.

Daniel decided his room needs a make-over and picked this fabulous wallpaper. Sorry hun, but the client comes first!

Victoria has very expensive taste.... love her style!

Samantha sitting pretty.

Checking out the Benjamin Moore showroom samples.

We had a pit stop and sampled Perry's mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Our final visit was to Restoration Hardware's new showroom, the former Ed Hardy building is stunning.... they loved the fountains:

The sleigh seat was a huge hit with the ladies.

Victoria and Emily wanted this bed and looked so tiny next to it.

Jade sitting on Samantha's knee.... sophisticated ladies, they loved this chair.

In the grand entrance at Restoration Hardware

Heading home with lots of samples!