Friday, February 19, 2010

Living room inspirations

I'm always looking for ideas and came across these truly inspirational living rooms. Currently working on a couple of projects and feel myself veering towards monochromatic colour palettes but incorporating splashes of colour either with fabric or accessories.

The use of yellow in the chair and cushions really makes the beige walls and window treatments come alive:

The only pattern here is really in the blind:

The dark blue wall shows off the mobile beautifully:

Look at the amazing fabric on this chair and the hints of red:

The screen and cushion add a hint of pattern:

This room is nearly all cream - walls and sofa but the one cushion really ties everything together:

All black and white but the patterned chair and cushions add interest and help the eye settle around the room:

Stripes and florals in this beige and cream room:

The books add interest and colour in this reading nook:

Asian influences and the subtly patterned screen and cushions:

The cushions and ottoman look amazing in this pale cream room:

Grey and white room with a hint of yellow in the patterned cushion. I really like the pom poms on the curtain edge:

Touches of blue:

Pink and purple splashes:

The black shiny paint effect is stunning:

The only colour here is the curtains:

The sofa colour, cushions and artwork all add interest:

All photos courtesty of the fabulous British Homes & Gardens:

Friday, February 12, 2010

And so to bed....

If a client is a little scared of colour, then baby steps should be taken.... and maybe, just maybe, they may let you be a little daring in the bedroom - with colour I mean!!! ;o)
Take a look at some of these great bedrooms and the use of either bold wall colour or wallpaper, bedding and floors.... also note the lighting:

All images from the fabulous British Homes & Gardens at:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cool loft space

I remember looking at a loft at the bottom of Potrero Hill years ago and kind of wished we'd bought it.... don't get me wrong - I am very happy in my pretty San Franciscan Victorian all painted pretty.... but I still love loft spaces. So I was very happy to see this month's Elle Decor which features a fabulous loft space in Tribeca.

I really like the way the designer uses the two upholstered daybeds and paired them with the tripod floor lamp and the Saarinen Tulip table. The large photograph propped against makes a bold statement and is by Iran Issa-Khan and the small one displayed between the windows is by Horst P. Horst.

More photographic work by Iran in the master bedroom:

Open shelves in the foyer hold pre-Columbian artifacts, Michele Oka Doner candles, and vintage lamps from Holland:

The steel table and settees were custom made in Mexico and are grouped with a photograph by Robert Curran:

In the dining area, bent-plywood chairs by Norman Cherner mingle with seats from CB2:

For more information check out

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chuck Close

Thanks to my lovely friend, James Bacchi, owner of ArtHaus here in San Francisco, I have a new found love for art.... he truly has opened a HUGE door for me that I am just eager to learn more. As a true Aquarian I then have to share every detail with you! I'm in love with the work of Chuck Close.

Chuck's father died when he was ten years old. Most of his early works are very large portraits based on photographs (Photorealism or Hyperralism technique) of family and friends, often other artists.

Close's first one-man show was in 1970. His work was first exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art in early 1973. In 1979 his work was included in the Whitney Biennial. One demonstration of the way photography became assimilated into the art world is the success of photorealist painting in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The everyday nature of the subject matter of the paintings likewise worked to secure the painting as a realist object.

One photo of Philip Glass was included in his black and white series in 1969, redone with water colors in 1977, again redone with stamp pad and fingerprints in 1978, and also done as gray handmade paper in 1982.

Philip Glass by Chuck Close

Although his later paintings differ in method from his earlier canvases, the preliminary process remains the same. To create his grid work copies of photos, Close puts a grid on the photo and on the canvas and copies cell by cell. Typically, each square within the grid is filled with roughly executed regions of color (usually consisting of painted rings on a contrasting background) which give the cell a perceived 'average' hue which makes sense from a distance. His first tools for this included an airbrush, rags, razor blade, and an eraser mounted on a power drill. His first picture with this method was Big Self Portrait, a black and white enlargement of his face to a 107.5 in by 83.5 in (2.73 m by 2.12 m) canvas, made in over four months in 1968, and acquired by the Walker Art Center in 1969. He made seven more black and white portraits during this period. He has been quoted as saying that he used such diluted paint in the airbrush that all eight of the paintings were made with a single tube of mars black acrylic.

Later work has branched into non-rectangular grids, topographic map style regions of similar colors, CMYK color grid work, and using larger grids to make the cell by cell nature of his work obvious even in small reproductions. The Big Self Portrait is so finely done that even a full page reproduction in an art book is still indistinguishable from a regular photograph.

Close has also continued to explore difficult photographic processes such as daguerrotype in collaboration with Jerry Spagnoli and sophisticated modular/cell-based forms such as tapestry. Close's wall-size tapestry portraits, in which each image is composed of thousands of combinations of woven colored thread, depict subjects including Kate Moss, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Philip Glass and Close himself.

Kate Moss by Chuck Close

On December 7, 1988, Close felt a strange pain in his chest. That day he was in New York about to give an art award. He begged to present first, went on stage, quickly read his speech and then ran to the hospital. Within a few hours, Close was paralyzed from the neck down. At first the doctors were confused but eventually they diagnosed a rare spinal artery collapse. Close called that day "The Event." For months Close was in rehab strengthening his muscles; he soon had slight movement in his arms and could walk, yet only for a few steps. He has relied on a wheelchair since.

Chuck working in his wheelchair with his paintbrush strapped to his hand

However, Close continued to paint on with a brush strapped onto his wrist with tape, creating large portraits in low-resolution grid squares created by an assistant. Viewed from afar, these squares appear as a single, unified image which attempt photo-reality, albeit in pixilated form. Although the paralysis restricted his ability to paint as meticulously as before, Close had, in a sense, placed artificial restrictions upon his hyper-realist approach well before the injury. That is, he adopted materials and techniques that did not lend themselves well to achieving a photorealistic effect. Small bits of irregular paper or inked fingerprints were used as media to achieve astoundingly realistic and interesting results. Close proved able to create his desired effects even with the most difficult of materials to control.

Maggie, 1996, Oil on canvas

Big Self-Portrait (1967-1968), is, indeed, big (nearly nine by seven feet). He used acrylic paint and an airbrush to include every detail


Mark (1978 - 1979), acrylic on canvas

Above and below, in the 1990s he replaced the minute detail of his earlier paintings with a grid of tiles daubed with colorful elliptical and ovoid shapes. Viewed up close, each tile was in itself an abstract painting; when seen from a distance, the tiles came together to form a dynamic deconstruction of the human face.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Featured designer at Ava Living

What an honor. I'm one of the featured designers at Ava Living. It is so nice to be mentioned and see my work on screen. Thank you very much.
Ava Living offers lots of interesting articles to read and you can browse so many designer rooms and more.... please check it out at

Monday, February 1, 2010

Posters & signs

I remember furnishing my first home in London and filling it with posters which I framed - some were quite tasteful actually! When I moved to San Francisco, I didn't really bring any of them with me, but I still think of one in particular, so I dug around to find a photo of it and here it is.

David Booth's The Tate Gallery by Tube (1986) proved to be one of the most popular posters and has been sold around the world. It was an advert for the Tate Gallery and shows a tube map being made from lines of paint squeezed from a paint tube with the tube logo and the word Pimlico on it (Pimlico is the nearest tube station to the Tate Gallery). By the 1990's advertising was being sold more agressively by TDI (now Viacom outdoor), so there were fewer of these "free" spaces. Even so, market research showed that the public liked these images which weren't hard sell and provided something everyone could enjoy. Now the London Transport museum is home to the great historic archives of the tube poster and is also the principal retail outlet for these posters.

I also framed the complete underground map next to the Tate Gallery poster.... it was actually really helpful when I had guests staying - they would decide where they were going and then sort out their route before leaving the house!

Once I started delving around, it seems that there's a number of fabulous posters and signs for sale. Take a look at these tube station signs.... they're not that expensive either:

I really would like to own one of these old bus signs - remember the old London red buses - they were called Route Masters and you could jump on the back? Well these are cloth signs that were placed at the very front of the bus, placed on rollers so the bus driver could change the destination with the twist of a hand:

Of course, the New York subway posters always look great:

I couldn't leave out San Francisco's Muni map either.....