The anticipation of the holidays– with family gatherings and holiday parties –always puts me in a creative mood! I love this season. In advance of hosting and the joys of gift-giving, I get excited to set a theme and look for new design ideas for the holidays.

This year, I’m craving calm and simple. I’m looking to nature and my backyard for inspiration. A small tree in a woven basket and simple swags of garland are at the top of my list. I’m loving the fresh greenery I spotted at the nursery– especially the eucalyptus and pine. They blend together perfectly for a table runner for my dining table.

Every year I also decide on a theme for my gift-wrapping. This year is going to be kraft paper mixed with natural elements from my garden. Having a theme that ties into an overall palette helps bring order to the chaos. It feels good to be keeping things simple this season. Here are a few ideas to inspire your own beautifully simple (and hopefully) stress-free holiday.

Try a live Christmas tree that comes with the soil and roots. Keep the look simple by not adding ornaments. The tree can later be planted in the yard to enjoy for years to come.  (The Merry Thought)

 

Hanging garland over the windows is a perfect way to add a touch of holiday magic to the your kitchen. It helps frame this room which is a lovely mix of contemporary design and traditional furnishings. It sets a beautiful backdrop for cooking and conversation.  (Maisondepax.com)

 

Doors, mantels, and windows are all great places to hangs wreath. I always decorate my front door with a simple, natural wreath with a beautiful ribbon. (the-unrefined-christmas-decoration-guide-myparadisso)

 

My gift wrapping station (in my garage) is fully stocked with kraft paper and lots of twine string. I cut sprigs of rosemary and pine from the yard to dress up the packages. The wrapped packages coordinate nicely with the natural look of the uncluttered tree. There are many different ways to incorporate your gift wrapping into your design ideas for the holidays. (Musings On Momentum -Simple Holiday Decor)

 

Decorating the dining room table is always great fun and a favorite tradition of mine. I’m going for a minimalist, modern design with a mix of fresh garlands down the center and white table linens.  (ebay/pinterest)

The holiday season is officially here and we are excited to share our favorite picks for gift giving this year!  Below are our most popular choices and we think you’ll find something for everyone on your list.

 

 

  1.  Our Favorite Gift for the Home // 2.  Great Gift for the Cook //  3.  Our Favorite Pottery  //  4.  Great Gift for the Guys  //  5.  Our Favorite Wreath  //  6.  Great Gift for the Kids  //  7.  Best Cookbook  //  8.  Great Gift for the Traveler  9.  Perfect for the Hostess

Have fun shopping and warm wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

In all of the hustle and bustle around holiday gatherings and parties, I love being prepared with hostess gifts in advance. Everyone needs a go-to gift stash. It helps make life go smoothly. With so many parties, gift exchanges, and spontaneous gatherings, it is smart to have a dedicated spot in your home that houses these goodies. I have my gift stash in our garage. Be sure to stock up on beautiful ribbons, papers, and gift tags which will elevate your gift giving. The wrapping and presentation is half the fun. I like to have a few wrapped gifts ready to go so I am not crazed during such a busy time of the year. Here is a round-up of some go-to finds and timeless, gift-giving ideas to help you prepare for holiday fun.

 

Aplat makes wonderful, hand-sewn totes and is all about elevating the act of giving when it comes to food and wine. The dish warmer tote is perfect for a friend who loves to bake, or the wine tote with a bottle of bubbly, are sure to please. Gift totes.

You can never go wrong with flowers – they are universally liked.  I like to bring flowers in a vase so your hostess doesn’t have to worry about pulling out a vase with a house full of guests. Even a single bud in a small vase can transform a table or bar. Heath Ceramics offers a wonderful collection in cozy wintery and rich colors. Ceramic Vases.

 

The perfect addition to any great gathering is a taste of chocolate. I love these artisanal chocolates by Compartres. The 65-year-old, Los Angeles-based company makes over fifty different kinds of bars with themes and designs all done in-house. They are delicious and decadent. A piece of this and a glass of red wine! A perfect pairing. Artisanal Chocolates.

 

also love bringing a bottle of champagne because it is festive and enjoyable. I think most people love a good glass of champagne. I love wrapping it in fabric. Festive Champagne. And, pairing it with a wine stopper or a bottle opener makes it a luxurious combination. Wine Stopper.

 

Nothing is more fantastic than giving a personalized gift such as monogrammed cocktail, dinner napkins, or hand towels. The gift could personalized with initials, an address, a special date or celebration. This is a timeless, classic gift sure to make an impression on your hosts. Personalized Cocktail Napkins.

 

Everyone loves a festive wreath tied in a gorgeous ribbon anytime from Thanksgiving on. The hosts can use it on their front door, over their mantel, or over a mirror in their foyer. We look to Ribbonerie in San Francisco for a wide range of specialty ribbons and trims from around the world. Specialty Ribbons.

Cheers to starting your own collection of go-to hostess gifts!

I love celebrating the 4th of July!  It’s so much fun to be with family and friends enjoying good food, good weather and hopefully some great fireworks!  I think the beauty of preparing for Independence Day is that the decor doesn’t have to be elaborate to be festive.  With a simple touch of red, white, and blue, it’s easy to be in the 4th of July spirit!

 

As you know, I love white houses and think the scale of this large flag on the white background is spectacular. It’s so simple, yet striking and grand. Image via Pinterest.

 

In addition to simple decor, your menu for entertaining does not have to be complicated. Beautiful summer fruit is easy to display in these white parchment cones. Image via The Classy Woman.

 

Farmgirl Flowers red, white and blue bouquet wrapped in their upcycled burlap is the perfect hostess gift to take to any of your Independence Day celebrations.  Not only is it gorgeous, but $10 of the cost of each bouquet will be donated to Together Rising.  Image via Farmgirl Flowers.

 

What better time than the 4th of July to roast s’mores?!  I came across this packaging idea and thought it was the perfect simple way to give your guests their own little treat to take home with them. Image via KristiMurphy.com.

 

And if, by chance, you wind the evening down early, here are some of my all time favorite Patriotic Movies you could watch to round out the night. Or you could even throw them on an outdoor movie projector during the festivities and play them while you roast s’mores! Wishing you a safe and relaxing 4th of July!

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the warm days and sun-kissed nights come outdoor BBQs and lazy weekend afternoons by the pool. We love summer! We’re designing away on pool houses and outdoor patios that bring our family and friends together. We’re working with gorgeous blues – sky blue, cobalt blue, and turquoise palettes to bring that casual summer look to life. It is important that your outdoor spaces be bulletproof with the upholstered furniture covered in outdoor fabrics that can stand up to wet bathing suits, rugs that you can hose off that are outdoor rated and pillows that are durable.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes ideas that we hope will inspire you to create your own dream outdoor space.

Set in beautiful Livermore wine country, we designed this pool house that has gorgeous views of the rolling hills. The clients wanted a sophisticated and comfortable spot that would endure the test of time. The sectional is from Restoration Hardware and the ottoman and the pillows are all custom-made which elevate the room.

 

All of us would dine outside year-round, weather permitting. These melamine Indochine Ikat plates, from Sue Fisher King, are amazing, virtually shatterproof and dishwasher safe. These are great year round for both indoor and outdoor dining.

 

I never tire of blue. I love the mix of florals, coral and modern stripes in the Spring 2018 Ralph Lauren textiles collection. Photo @Ralph Lauren.

 

Succulents and turquoise coasters styled around Gray Malin’s book, ‘ESCAPE’, are perfect pool house decor. Signed collector’s edition of ‘ESCAPE’ are available at Gray Malin. Photo @Gray Malin.

 

We’re seeing a big comeback in porch swings and we are installing three this month. We found inspiration in this classically designed white on black swing with modern, straight lines. Image found @Pinterest.

 

It’s also time to think about summer entertaining with graduation parties, Father’s Day BBQ’s and Fourth of July celebrations in the works. The Paloma cocktail, made with grapefruit, lime, and tequila, is a perfect pool quencher. Recipe compliments of Bon Appetite.
Makes 8 cocktails
1 ½ cups silver tequila
4 ½ cups grapefruit soda
juice of 6 limes + lime wedges to garnish
1. Combine tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime juice in a pitcher; stir to combine.
2. Pour over ice-filled glasses and garnish each with a wedge of lime.

 

Finally, don’t forget Dad this Father’s Day. Dad’s are really hard to buy for. You cannot go wrong with a great book, and a nice bottle of wine. Here are a few of our favorite reads that I am hoping my husband and my Dad will enjoy.
Most Valuable Dads, from parenting expert Tom Limbert, gathers inspiration from some of the biggest names in sports like Steph Curry, Natalie Coughlin and Tom Brady, about the lessons they learned from their dads. The Greatness of Dads celebrates the bond between dads and their kids talking about love, discipline, responsibility, fun, embarrassment, sadness, and joy. Compliments of Chronicle Books.

 

Visiting Florence over spring break, I was struck, once again, by its old-world charm.  Perched above the Ponte Vecchio at Portrait Firenze, I found my perfect home away from home.  I couldn’t get enough of this hotel’s casual vibe and classic, modern furnishings.

Owned by the Ferragamo family, the fashion world clearly had a hand in its design by Florentine architect Michele Bonan.  Light greys and creamy interiors are mixed with dark woods and black velvet furnishings.  A curated collection of modern art, and black and white vintage photography, add to the intimacy and history of the space.

It is a laid back and luxurious place with a nod to the world of of couture fashion.  I loved calling it home.  Until next time, Ciao Bella.

Photos courtesy of Portrait Firenze.

 

 

 

 

We are currently working on two young girls’ bedrooms for our client and are having so much fun sourcing accessories for them!  Makes me want to redo my own kids’ bedrooms again!  Thought we’d share some of the cool stuff we’ve found as we’ve been out and about!

 

Isn’t this cotton candy print adorable?

 

Metallic Hide Jewelry Boxes

 

Great velvet body pillow to lounge around on!

 

I think these light boxes are really fun because you can change the message as often as you would like.

 

This brass pencil holder can be used to hold everything…even lip gloss and nail polish!

 

Ottomans are perfect for extra seating in small spaces.

 

This was a room that we designed for a teenage girl in the Marin Decorator Showcase House in 2012!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday Everyone!  Hope you all had a fabulous Valentine’s Day!  Lots of treats floating around the studio yesterday and I think we all blew our New Year’s Resolutions!

 

 

We just finalized a guest suite fabric palette with our clients yesterday and these are their choices…

 

Emma and I went to the city to do some sourcing for a project and fell in love with this gorgeous chair at Coup D’Etat…

I might never get up if I had this chair in my home!

We have a sneak peek of the kitchen design from the project we are working on.   How awesome would it be to sit and have coffee looking out these windows?!

As you can see, we’ve had a busy week around here, so we’re looking forward to the 3 day weekend ahead.  Hope you enjoy yours too!

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  Hope you are having a “lovely” day and in light of the occasion, thought I would share some fun pink decor!

 

All kinds of pink going on in the studio!

 

Love this pink door! Image via Pinterest.

 

A pop of pink from a pillow might be all you need to add some character to a room.

 

Isn’t this a great shower curtain? Image via Domino with photography by Camille Styles.

 

If you haven’t checked out Zara Home lately, I would definitely take the time. Not only do they have a ton of pink decor, but some other really hip unique finds.

 

Love this pink quartz side table at Anthro!

 

Oh my word…Carli made the most amazing springy lemony dessert for the office yesterday.  She created these mini-lemon trifles in mason jars to celebrate Emma’s birthday and I could have eaten 3 of them as they were so delicious!  She used fresh meyer lemons and they were the perfect cool treat on a warm afternoon.

 

 

She combined several different recipes to perfect these adorable little jars and added a few twists of her own.  Thought I’d share the steps with you in case you’d like to try them too!

 

Each layer is a different recipe…

  1.  For the candied meyer lemon which she placed on the very top, she used https://www.marthastewart.com/313243/candied-meyer-lemons.  She used the remaining simple syrup from the lemon peels mixed with the juice of one lemon to brush over the cake rounds when building the trifle.
  2. Layer 1:  Lemon Cake–she used https://www.marthastewart.com/632498/lemon-cake.  But she omitted the lemon zest.
  3. Layer 2:  Lemon Curd–she used https://www.marthastewart.com/340640/lemon-curd.
  4. Layer 3:  Whipped Cream–she used http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/decorators-never-fail-whipped-cream.  Instead of 2 tsp of vanilla extract, she used 1.5 vanilla and .5 lemon extract.
  5. Layer 4:  She sprinkled fresh blueberries on top of the whipping cream.

I know it looks like a lot of steps and they are definitely time consuming, but they were so good that I wish I would’ve grabbed an extra one to take home with me!!!  They would be a great Easter dessert too!  Thanks Carli!