Design Translation


So my husband and I were trying to find something to watch on tv the other day and I saw that Emily’s show, Secrets From a Stylist, was on HGTV. I loved her on Design Star and my husband always said she reminded him of me. As we were watching, I was talking to him about what she was doing and about the similarities in the way I like to find a person’s design style. There are all sorts of “places” you can pull from to determine this- a person’s lifestyle, their personality, the food they like, the places they want to travel and have traveled, their wardrobe, the music they listen to,…the list goes on. It feels a bit like being a detective…

So I decided to show a little example. Below is a wonderfully stylish lady, we’ll call her Zsa Zsa because I think that’s a funny name that evokes total *glama*. Zsa Zsa lives in Miami and is always comfortably dressed, showing she has laid-back, effortless style, but never lacking in modern femininity, glamour, or necessary luxuries- i.e. her tan and gold Hermes Birkin handbag or her white Gucci aviators. Her color palette of choice is black, white, gray, and tan with any color metal thrown in, as long as it’s tasteful. She is simple, modern, chic and classic, but always turns heads with sexy heels and her sharp, yet ladylike appearance. She knows what she wants and she always gets it, never being afraid to speak her mind. And being that she is quite the social butterfly, she is never without the latest Smartphone to stay connected to everything and everyone and travels in the ultimate style, never to be outdone…Picture1 

So how would I translate Zsa Zsa into design? I’d do it a little like this…Picture6Picture5

(above photos of Ralph Lauren’s Manhattan apartment from Elle Decor)


(Porsche kitchen)

To break it down a little, here are some great examples of modern furniture I found that are a perfect reflection of her sexy, sophisticated, modern glam lifestyle…Picture3

Lots of bold shapes, sleek lines, and glossy surfaces…


Luxurious leathers, simple forms…low-slung, relaxed, yet incredibly refined…


(furniture is all from one of my favorite new lines- Luxo by Modloft at allmodern.com)

So you see, it’s pretty easy to extract things from a person’s lifestyle, likes and dislikes, dreams and goals, personality traits, etc. and incorporate all those “pieces” of who a person is into the home. There are similarities, consistencies, and connections between all of the things that make up an individual. It’s just a matter of finding out what they are, following those paths, and connecting the dots.     


Stop and Smell the Roses…and Peonies…and Ranunculus…and Anemones…


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Picture1Or as my youngest brother calls it- National Singles Awareness Day. (By the way- he’s single, funny, and a real cutie pie if anyone’s interested…)

For my last post, I talked about diamonds and chocolate- two things all women love to receive on Valentine’s Day (or any other day, for that matter). Today I’m going to talk about the other thing we like to get on “the big day of love”- flowers. A whole, big, fabulous bunch of them. Now don’t get me wrong- sure, none of us would complain about getting red roses, but if you’re a creative soul like me (and I know you are), you might like something a little unusual and exciting. So I’ve decided to share some pictures of more unorthodox selections.  Here’s some of my favorites…

Bright, hot pinks, fuchsias, and magentas. Lots of peonies here- one of my all-time faves, along with some anemones, raspberries, other berries, and dahlias…Picture22

Corals and oranges- parrot tulips are so fun. I love how they just sorta lazily and casually droop. We’re also seeing some poppies, lilies, and what I believe may be kumquats… Picture33

Then there’s a softer, sweeter, more gentle pink. Here we have more peonies (told you that were one of my favorites), fiddlehead, and ranunculus… Picture44

Or maybe you prefer something more exotic, in a deeper, richer, garnet or plum hue. I love these colors mixed with a bright green. Shown are anemones and lady slipper orchids, black calla lilies, roses, ranunculus, and berries. Looks like love to me…Picture55

And in keeping with my belief that color can be appreciated for all it’s beauty, that you can prevent it overwhelming and over-stimulating your senses by using it sparingly in neutral settings, I’ve included some photos of bright and gorgeous flowers in neutral-colored rooms…Picture2












(Gaia Interiors)



Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!           


Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend…and so Are Chocolates… Lots of Them…


Ok, so Valentine’s Day is Monday and I know that every girl, at some point in her life (if not every day), has yearned for diamonds and chocolate. Yes, this is truly the way to a woman’s heart. If it’s velvety and sweet or shiny and sparkly, we want it, no? But, like the Stones say- you can’t always get what you want. So just in case you don’t get what you’re craving for on Valentine’s, here’s some things you can easily add to you home for a “fix”… image


  1. ZGallerie- aluminum vase and spheres with hand-hammered diamonds craters
  2. www.shopbedside.com- pillows by Sivaana made with silk, linen, mirrors, silver ribbon, and sequins
  3. Anthropologie- crystal perfume bottles



  1. An arrangement of “disco balls”- maybe it’s because, like a cat, I am fascinated by shiny things, but I have really been diggin’ disco balls lately… I like to think of unique new ways to display them- such as sitting on a coffee table in a group of varying sizes or hanging in a cluster. When you think outside the box and use them unconventionally, they’re really very pretty- just mirrors in a different place and shape, reflecting light oh-so-beautifully
  2. West Elm- faceted antique mirrored side table
  3. Anthropologie- nickel, quartz, and acrylic lamp
  4. ABC Carpet & Home- pyrite and quartz crystals
  5. West Elm- bamboo boxes with silver glass beads
  6. ZGallerie- Gabrielle table lamp- faceted crystal base with white silk shade



  1. ZGallerie- Pierre mirror- love the geometric design
  2. Jayson Home and Garden- antiqued mercury glass- pineapple bowl and hex votive-holders
  3. West Elm- hammered aluminum entertaining and serveware


Or maybe black diamonds are your thing. A little edgier, a little sexier, a little more modern. My husband gave me a band with inset black diamonds for Christmas and I almost never take it off. They are beautiful.


  1. Alexandra Von Furstenberg- black Bullet acrylic coffee table- be still my beating heart.
  2. www.crystalmaster.uk- black Morion quartz cluster
  3. www.supermarkethq.com- ES One of One black sequin pillow


Pick your pleasure…

Rich, dark, sumptuous chocolate- the strong stuff. Like, 90% cacao. Some people think it’s a little on the “bitter” side, but I think it’s sooooo goood…   Picture5

  1. Anthropologie- Washed Ashore lamp made of reclaimed wood
  2. Room & Board- linen and Belgian mohair pillow and alpaca and wool throw
  3. West Elm- butler tray and stand- I like the white lacquer tray with the dark wooden stand or the Espresso wood tray with polished nickel stand
  4. Urban Outfitters- chocolate velvet modern tufted headboard

Cocoa dusted truffles…Picture6

  1. www.shopad.net- Stout’s Color My Window velvet stripe in Chocolate/Fawn
  2. Room & Board- velvet mahogany pillow
  3. ABC Carpet & Home- Tibetan leather covered box- early 19th century Tibetan leather covered box with wood interior- used by Tibetan people to store jewelry and money
  4. www.mountainfarms.com- chocolate ostrich plumes- they can look so pretty in a vase (especially against white) and are a great option if you want something a little unexpected in a room (maybe even a fun thing to have by the bed,…especially for Valentine’s Day… just sayin’…)

Ooey, gooey, sticky caramel…Picture8

  1. ABC Carpet & Home- silk velvet pillow
  2. www.turnstyledesigns.com- satin nickel and tan leather door and cabinet pulls (beautiful against white or black)
  3. fabrics top to bottom (all from shopad.net)-
    1. Kelly Wearstler for Groundworks- Lee Jofa
    2. Duralee wool plaid
    3. Fabricut Silk Nuances II Umber- Bruckheimer- Chestnut
    4. (unknown)
  4. Anthropologie- Rhys chair and ottoman- beech wood and supple, buttery leather
  5. www.save-on-crafts.com- brown curly feathers

Then there’s the fabulous mix of all things wonderfully chocolate with their shiny little coatings. Creamy fillings, hard and crunchy, square, round, or any other shape- they’re all good…   Picture7   

  1. Room & Board- Mark Rothko No. 10 1963 (one of my favorite artists)
  2. Jayson Home & Garden- Hawthorne wingchair in cigar leather with antique brass nailheads and chestnut wood finish
  3. www.napastyle.com- Roundabout leather ottoman
  4. ZGallerie- Ghana vase- this looks like a chocolate-covered macadamia or hazelnut- I love the exaggerated shape!

And the ultimate

Milk and Dark Chocolate Diamondsimage

Hope you have a great weekend! Stay tuned for a post on some unorthodox Valentine’s Day favorites of mine…


Lookin’ Like a Fool With My Bed On the Ground?


Ok, so I have a room at the front of my house that has been my “clutter” room up to this point. My husband and I have decided that we want it to be a (don’t laugh) meditation/exercise/stretching/tai chi/guest room. Pretty ambitious, no? We actually hardly ever have guests, but there have been a few occasions when it would’ve been nice to have a place where family could stay in our home for a night or two. But most of the time this room will be used for… well, all the other stuff. The only piece of exercise equipment will be a fold-away recumbent bike and all the rest of the “accessories” are just little things like resistance bands and dumbbells and such. 

Now here’s the thing, my husband and I had talked about a sofa bed and now he’s stuck on the idea, but I’ve been mulling it over in my head and I just feel that a sofa would seem out of place because we’d never use it as a sofa. And being that the usable room space is only about 10’6” x 11’9”, I don’t want any unnecessary, large object taking up permanent residence. I think it’s a better solution, more fitting for the room’s purpose in our life, to have a type of guest bed that can be completely (or almost completely) stored away. I want as much of that foot print available as possible on a daily basis. A room meant for light exercise and especially meditation should not feel cluttered and cramped.

So here’s what I’ve been working on:

  • Inspiration for the room…   


(Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m showing you my clutter… don’t judge me)

  • Before” pictures…

Picture3   I love our little Buddha collection. I intend on keeping the three little tables. They were given to me. The two lower matching ones will either get refinished or painted white and used as bedside tables. The rest of what’s in here is pretty much crap that will end up being donated or trashed.

  • The tasteful and modern way to do oriental decor…

I was a little cautious at first about re-using some of my oriental-style things (the last thing I want is a cheesy, tacky, theme room) so I found a few more inspiration photos to help me keep focus…




Now. To the bed dilemma. I have looked at everything from sofa beds to air beds to bed chairs and beyond. I have researched what people with small spaces do in this situation. I just felt like, as a designer, I should be able to come up with something creative without it being incredibly expensive and a huge undertaking.

  • Creative option #1
    • bed on the ground

I think it would be cool to have sort of a bohemian-style-mattress-on-the-floor-type-bed. Made up somehow of cushions or two twin mattresses put together. When I mentioned this, my husband thought it would look tacky, like you just threw some mattresses on the ground. I can see where he might think it would, especially since I had no images of how it could look when done correctly, so I sought to prove my idea could work (tastefully). I did some research and actually found some discussions about whether it was tacky. It seemed as though about half of people loved it and half hated it. So I wonder- is it, like with all design, just in the execution? Is it just a matter of personal opinion? Bed on the ground, bed on the ground, would I look like a fool with my bed on the ground?…Picture9(done by Vicente Wolf for Preston Bailey)

an upholstered boxspring with a tufted cushion on top





Picture15the photo on the right is a project someone did where they hooked two twin mattresses on low frames together for a bed and split them apart for lounge seating the rest of the time


  • The original option
    • sofa beds

Picture19All from Ikea (we don’t want this to be a big-budget project), these are the candidates I found. The top left I don’t care for the style- a little too traditional for what I want in this room. Plus, it’s not wide enough for two people. The top right is… (sigh)a futon. As an official grown-up and someone who prides herself on having good taste, I just don’t know that I could bare it. The bottom left is a bit bulky, a little too $$$, and it folds out sideways…meaning the head of the bed would be at one sofa arm and the foot at the other- one person would be “trapped” and couldn’t have a nightstand. And the last one, again, a futon. I know, I’m a snob. Just couldn’t do it.

  • Creative option #2

Picture20This was another option- two chair beds. I could separate them, so they wouldn’t seem bulky, and together they would be about the size of a queen bed. Not bad, but not real pretty… I bet I could work with it, though.


  • Creative option #3Picture18This is sorta what I was picturing in my head… they could be end-to-end in front of the window (the best place to position them as far as their size and the shape of the room) and then turned, connected, and used as a bed. And I like that they’re low-profile. Low, sleek, simple, and neutral-colored will help them seem to disappear. These are way too expensive for this project, though, at more than $2500 for two…


  • The end game

Picture21This is where I’ve ended up. A floor cushion platform (I’d use two), a traditional Japanese shiki futon mattress, and Zabuton and Zafu cushions. I think this is the best solution for us. Here’s why:

  • The platforms hold up to 500 lbs each
  • They’re only $130 ea (and vintagetastic)
  • They’re small enough that I could tuck one away in the closet and leave the other out without it taking up too much space
  • The shiki futon mattress is 4” thick and filled with 100% cotton
  • A queen size is only $250
  • It folds into thirds for easy storage
  • Being that it is a traditional Japanese futon bed- the ones you see on the floor in traditional Japanese homes- and not a cheap Americanized “futon”, it is high-quality and not at all tacky. And, according to my studies, most people (of all ages) claim it is so comfortable that they don’t need any other support- they sleep on just this
  • Since I’d be getting the larger mattress for sleeping, I could use two of these Zabuton and Zafu (meditation) cushions on top of the single platform for everyday use
  • And to top it off, I do already have an inflatable mattress I could use underneath the futon bed if need be. If nothing else, it would raise it up off the ground a little more

Here’s the look I’m going for…Picture1

  • a stone, green-gray on the walls- very soothing
  • an all gray and white color palette with colorful accents in the vintage oriental artwork (which I already own), an Indian Kantha throw, and the antique Chinese ceremonial robe my mother gave to me as a gift years ago
  • I plan on finding/building a very large mirror to go on one wall to help the room feel larger
  • I already have a bronze capiz chandelier I hope to replace the existing fixture with
  • All the rest of the items (lamps, stool, vases, and window treatments) are from Ikea, West Elm, and CB2 (I think it looks quite ethereal)

Picture2These are pages from a Chinese calendar that I’ve had saved for years with the intention of having them framed. I think they’d be perfect in here. They’re really quite stunning in person. All the art and imagery I have that I plan on using is full of foliage, flowers, and birds- great subject matter for a room intended for rest, relaxation, and maintaining one’s health.

Picture4And last but not least, there’s the t.v. Now I’m of the school of thought that t.v.s are a part of life and they don’t necessarily have to be hidden as though you’re ashamed of them or denying their existence. My husband hung this to watch in the morning when he’s on his bike and it’s great to have when guests are here (the bed would be against the window, facing the t.v.) so I think it’s a great idea to have it in the room. However, the damned stud made it so that we had to hang it off-center. Now that bugs me. So I came up with a plan: I would create a little vignette to counter-balance its off-centered-ness. All the options for tables are from Ikea and CB2- I think I like the clear acrylic nesting tables best. With some leaning art, a serene little statue, and a strategically placed orchid to fill the void next to the t.v., I think this could work well.

So what are your opinions? It’s always nice to bounce ideas off other people… I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially answers to these questions:

  1. Would I look like a fool with my bed on the ground?
  2. Which guest bed option to you think is best or do you have another suggestion?
  3. Do you have a “clutter” room? And if so, what do you envision it to be when it grows up?
  4. What do you think about the color scheme? I am debating between:
    • white and gray with just the art for color
    • or white and gray with the art, a Kantha throw, and the robe for color- since I already have the robe and it really is beautiful
    • I am funny about color in here because I want it to facilitate peace and relaxation and the colors in the throw and robe are more along the energetic side- but energy is definitely part of tuning into one’s mind and health…hmmm…color for thought….
  5. And what do you think of my solution for the wackado t.v. placement (which we couldn’t avoid)?