Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kitchen Face-Lift

There's nothing like a good kitchen make over! As fun as it is to start from scratch with new cabinets, new appliances, new flooring, etc., sometimes it's just as rewarding to just switch out a few necessities. Below is a before and then some after photos of my client's kitchen that we just recently completed. I had a meeting with her today and it was the first chance I had to see it all finished, so I was excited to take a few quick snap shots to share with you.

We kept the layout, cabinets, and appliances the same, but painted the walls, got a new back splash and counter tops, new knobs on the cabinets (that coordinate with the bronze liner in the back splash), and had an electrician install new pendant lights over the counter. We also kept the existing barstools and just had the seats reupholstered. My client was looking for a more contemporary look using clean lines and earthly tones. I was so pleased to help them with their kitchen face lift and I think we hit the nail on the head.

The "before" kitchen photo. Originally they purchased the model home in their housing development so there are some bold design statements that just needed to be updated.

Changing out the knobs or adding new knobs to existing cabinetry can make a big difference. The existing knobs were white so we wanted something darker that would stand out more and also coordinate with out new color scheme. The counter tops are thicker than standard counter tops, which I love, and that was actually my clients' suggestion to add to the more contemporary look they were going for.

The back splash is made up of glass brick tile, bronze liners, and a grey stone hexagon mosaic. My clients also added lighting under their upper cabinets, always a smart idea.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

LA Fashion District

I had to go back to LA today to check on a custom table I'm having made for a client. The shop was just a few miles from downtown so I decided to stop by the Fashion Disctrict and see if there were any deals to be had. The Fashion District is great for a few reasons:

(1) It's really really inexpensive. Fabric prices range from $2/yd-$20/yd.

(2) You don't have to wait or pay for shipping, you can take it home with you right then and there.

(3)You get to haggle. Today I had a shop owner come running after me when I was leaving and brought the price of a pink leather hide down $50 from her original offer. How could I possibly say no to pink leather? (see photo below)

Sometimes you can score big on a great print, but if you're looking for a solid velvet or linen, you can almost always find what you need. Below are some photos of some cool stuff I came across today.

Jose helping me with my pink leather hide.

If you're new to the fabric district and looking for good upholstery or drapery fabrics, I recommend starting with Michael Levine (great prices, helpful workers, and tons to choose from), Castle Fabrics (great for scoring knock off well-known prints-Windsor Smith, KWID, etc., or just great prints in general), and Home Fabrics Inc. (good for silks and velvets).

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Yesterday I took a field trip to LA and visited several stores, but thouroughly enjoyed chatting with Kimba, who owns Rumba; a fabulous little vintage furniture shop in Santa Monica. She had great stuff in her showroom, and more in an extra warehouse. She also shops for specifics for her clients, so if you have a certain style or piece you are looking for, you can let her know and she'll be on the hunt. I love that kind of customer service!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Original Art

I'm a firm believer that every room isn't finished until you hang artwork. I especially enjoy the depth and originality that original artwork can bring to a room. There are so many different resources out there for obtaining original art, and whether your purchasing a Picasso at an upscale auction, or scouring the racks at your local thrift store, there is original art to be had by all.

This month's House Beautiful mentioned a great website for original art, Lost Art Salon. You can search art by artist or subject and art comes in a period frame or you can also purchase unframed art. Prices range from $350-$1000. Here are a few favorites that I saw while browsing around today:

Another great place for affordable original art is, of course, the flea market. Below are some flea market finds that I couldn't pass up. Each piece was from $15-$25. A lot of flea market art comes framed, but reframing is always a good way to tie different pieces of art together in a grouping or manipulate the piece to fit your room by putting a contemporary frame on a traditional piece, or vice versa.

A line drawing by artist, Masti; a pencil portrait from an unknown artist; and the bottom 2 are etchings from Europe.

It's always hit or miss with me and artwork at thrift stores, but I scored this oil painting done in Mexico in the 70's at a second hand store. I loved the colors and texture.

Of course it's always fun to get a client who appreciates fine art and either already has an art collection or is interested in investing in some serious art pieces. Two Chrismas's ago I decorated Dr. Jerry Buss's home for the holidays and got to see, up close, some of his extensive art collection. Below is a photo of his living room mantel, complete with an original self portrait by Van Gogh.

For more original art check out these other sources: (Never underestimate eBay!) (A.N. Abell Auctions is a great auction to check out for those in the Los Angeles area.) (AAF contemporary Art Fair is great for beginning art collectors. This art fair showcases emerging artists and their affordable works. Locations in NYC, San Francisco, and London)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


So I sort of have a thing for purple. I use to not care much for any shade of purple, but lately I've become quite fond of it, especially the dusty, grayish hues of purple. Above are some fabrics and grasscloth that are making up the color scheme for a guest room for one of my clients. I can't wait to get started.

Below are some images from one of my favorite designers, Kishani Perera. She's known for her moody rooms that often incorporate grays and grayish lavendar tones.

Here are a couple more purple rooms from other well known designers; Katie Ridder and Steven Gambrel:

Room by Katie Ridder featured on the cover of the March '08 issue of Elle Decor.

A room in Steven Gambrel's Sag Harbor residence.

I think my original turn off to purple was that it could very easily look too cheesy, or too MTV circa 1985, or just not sophisticated enough. But when used in the right way, with the right furnishings, and in the right shade, I think it's pretty fantastic.
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