Friday, November 30, 2007

Over and Out

Have a lovely weekend!

(Photo: "Still Life with Berries," by flickr member Veronika Lake.)

House in Progress: Our Brown Boudoir

So we finally screwed up the courage to paint our bedroom dark brown. (And when I say "we" and "paint," I of course mean Nick. Much as I love to choose paint colors, lately the novelty of actually laboring to put them on the walls has lost its allure. So thank you, honey -- you're the best!)

Before, the room was painted a deep, rich red. It was beautiful, but we were just totally sick of it, since we'd also used it at our old house and thus had been living with it for about seven years. We knew we wanted something really different, but with the same drama and coziness. We hemmed and hawed about the actual shade of brown for about a year, with various paint chips taped up on the wall and big brown swatch painted in the corner.

Finally, Nick made an executive decision and choose Benjamin Moore's Chocolate Sundae (over the even darker, cooler Bittersweet Chocolate that I had been angling for). I think he was right -- the color is deep and luscious, but warm.

Although the room faces north, it gets tons of light from a big corner window and a French door, so I wasn't worried about it being too dark. Crisp white trim, bedding, and a large bookshelf, plus mirrored accents around the room help offset the deep color.

I chose a satin finish for the paint, because I wanted the walls to literally glow at night. (We have 70-year-old lath and plaster, so the walls are definitely imperfect -- a fact that the shinier paint does highlight, but I don't mind the flaws.)

This is why we haven't bothered with curtains yet.

This is our view of San Francisco through the French door. I pinch myself every time I see it.

All the "good" furniture in the room belonged to Nick's late mother, who scoured the Napa Valley 25 years ago to find it. It's mostly French. (By the way, I want to make a fabric cozy to cover the TV. I like being able to watch an occasional DVD in bed, but hate actually seeing the TV the rest of the time.)

I like how these manzanita branches pop against the dark walls. The vintage mercury glass vase is from eBay.

The white bedding and lumbar pillows are from IKEA, and I got the lavender Euro shams and coverlet on super-duper discount from Restoration Hardware awhile back, because I think the color was being discontinued.

The circular mosaic mirror was an Alameda flea market find. Nick kind of fought me about hanging it over our heads (seeing as how our house is pretty much right on top of the Hayward Fault). But I think it's made out of paper mâché, and I swear the thing only weighs about three pounds. When the Big One hits, I think we'll have more important things to worry about than a few pounds of paper mâché showering down on us.

I snagged the vintage cork-and-chrome lamps off of craigslist. The circa-1940s mirrored nightstand is from eBay. (Oh, and the book is hilarious.)

Much as I adore these 1930s art deco light fixtures (which I collected pretty seriously for awhile there, and sourced mostly from eBay), I'm craving something simpler, cleaner, and more modern for this room now. Maybe a George Nelson Bubble Lamp?

We got this Asian-style open bookshelf from Pier 1 a few months ago, on sale for something like $200 (solid wood, and no assembly required!). Unfortunately, I think Pier 1 no longer carries it. I need to get white drum shades for the vintage lamps, which I found on eBay. The stuffed corgi was a present from my kids. The magazine collection represents only the last few months' worth of shelter titles that I still need to tackle. It's a sickness, I know.

The porcelain flowers by Roost are from Vivre. The blue cased-glass jar is from eBay.

The bud vase is from West Elm. I stole the foo dogs from my mom, who got them in China.

This is Louie, who's 13 years old and weighs about 18 pounds. Basically, he only moves from this spot to eat and use the litter box.

So that's where the magic happens, people.

P.S. We decided against the wallpaper I asked about here awhile back -- even on one wall, Nick thinks it'll just be too busy. I still like the idea of wallpapering the wall behind our bed, though. We just need to find a different paper. Any ideas?

Cool Stuff: Dutch by Design

I was poking around on the Dutch by Design website, which features -- wait for it now -- the work of Dutch designers like Tord Boontje, Moooi, and Droog, and discovered a treasure trove of fun, reasonably priced, and unique gifts there:

Apple Bowl, $9

Cheese Board, $15

Melamine Mix & Measure Bowls, $18 to $28 each

Birds Salt and Pepper Set, $25

Silhouette Bird Clock, $29

Rack Oh Deer Coat Hooks, $29

Bird Houses, $30 each

Bird Print Cup Set, $35

Muurbloem Tiles Clock, $35

Back in Time Radio Alarm Clock, $45

See all the wares at the Dutch by Design site right here.

Mark Your Calendar: Art Deco and Modernism Sale

This weekend, more than 200 dealers from around the country will be hawking furniture, housewares, jewelry, vintage clothing, and other items dating from 1900 to 1980 at the nation's largest art deco and modernism sale.

"Deco the Halls" takes place Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2, at the Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th Street at Brannan in San Francisco. Admission is $10.

Click here for more info.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shameless Plug: My "Faucet Trends" Article on HGTV

When it comes to faucets, shoppers suddenly seem to have a choice of everything, well, for the kitchen sink.

The hottest trends include the rise of modern, minimalist designs and utilitarian-chic faucets worthy of professional kitchens. What's more, the newest faucets feature better functionality, more novel shapes, and a broader assortment of finishes than ever before.

See the latest designs -- and get tips for zeroing in on the styles, finishes, and features that will work best for you -- right here.

eBay Find of the Day: Vintage Tea Set

This circa-1920s, 29-piece, French-made Limoges tea and coffee set is an exquisite reminder of a time when sucking down our caffeinated brew of choice was a much more civilized affair.

Current bid: $21 (plus shipping from Germany)

Etsy Find of the Day: Swallowfield

Nick and I just finished watching the second season of Weeds on DVD, and the "Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of tickytacky" theme song has been running through my head for days.

So the title of the print above ("Little Boxes on the Hillside," natch), by Portland, Maine artist Jennifer Judd-McGee (aka Etsy seller Swallowfield), immediately grabbed my attention.

Judd-McGee's illustrations and collages remind me of quilts, and I love how they invoke a cozy feeling of home while still being graphic and modern. In addition to her "houses" prints, she also has some interesting abstract works.

As usual, I had a really hard time whittling down my list of favorites:

Close Quarters, $18

Neighborly, $18

I Like the Trees Outside My Window, $22

Little Blue House, $18

Home, $18

A Room of One's Own, $18

Triangles, $18

Orange and Black, $18

Lives of a Cell, $18

I Feel Lucky, $15

Click here to see all of the offerings in the Swallowfield Etsy shop -- including some sweet gocco holiday cards.

Mark Your Calendar: Modern Economy Mini Sale

If you missed the big Modern Economy Sale at San Francisco's Fort Mason Center a few months ago (or simply sneaked out, overwhelmed and empty handed, like I did), then here's a second chance to grab some of those great bargains: Modern Economy is having a "Mini Sale" this Sunday, December 2, in Berkeley.

During the even, part of the Wish List Holiday Sale, samples and overstock from indie designers -- including Henry Road, Deadly Squire, Good on Paper, dwellbaby, and Atelier LZC -- will be discounted up to 70 percent. Perfect for crossing some of those holiday gifts off your list.

And this time, I'll have a better plan of action: Getting there early (right after we hit the monthly Alameda Antiques and Collectibles Faire), and installing my ever-so-patient and indulgent hubby in the checkout line before it snakes out the door.

The sale, which runs from noon to 5 p.m., is located at 2473 Ninth St. in Berkeley.

See you there!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shamless Plug: My Holiday Wish List on Shelterrific

Angela over at the great shelterrific blog was nice enough to ask for my holiday gift wish list, which she posted today.

Now I feel a little guilty for including so many things that make my heart skip a beat. But hey, it's a vocational hazard.

Nick, Mom -- are you reading? ;-)

eBay Find of the Day: Danish Modern Ducks

I've become sort of obsessed recently with vintage Danish Modern teak toys. They just have such a sweet simplicity to them, and add a winsome note to a shelf or tabletop vignette without sending you into a saccharine overdose.

This set of five teak ducks -- a mama and four babies -- was designed in the Fifties by Hans Bolling for Torben Orskov and measure between 5 and 9 inches tall.

I might just have to throw down for these.

Current bid: $34

Shameless Plug: Figueroa Hotel Writeup in Via Magazine

I've been doing a little freelance work lately for the regional travel magazine Via. The short piece above is from the November/December issue.

Magazines are in my blood, but one thing I love about the web is that there are no bothersome space limits. So, in the spirit of excess, here are a few more shots of the Figueroa's lushly exotic interior (which I first discovered thanks to the lovely blog Hidden in France -- merci, Corine!):

One day I'll get to the real Morocco -- but until then, the Figueroa fits the bill for a taste of Marrakech a bit closer to home.

Click here for more info on the hotel.


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