Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hitting A Brick Wall

There are a few things that I’m absolutely in love with. Hosta plants, tea, chocolate, griege, beautiful bergères and a gorgeously made bed to name of few. But none of these are as striking to me as a brick wall in the interior of a home. I just LOVE the look. And, as the pictures below will testify, brick works just about anywhere from the most formal of homes, to the urban loft.

Check out these beautiful brick walls I found….

Though this house is in Houston, its inspiration is a neoclassical villa. Designer J. Randall Powers brings in classical design elements but balances them with this fantastic wall with its arches into the adjoining room. That, accompanied with the stone fireplace with pass-through makes this room a winner for me.

In the same home, a breakfast room with banquette and upholstered armless chairs are situated along another brick wall, complete with a beautiful lantern and ceiling beams. Everything a girl could ask for! The lantern is by my favorite designer, Michael Smith (Design for Jasper). Designer J. Randall Powers.

Finally, in the same home, an open porch is outfitted with various pieces of indoor and outdoor furniture, all surrounded by the brick again. It gives the space more of a formality I think. House Beautiful. Designer J. Randall Powers.

The Bryan School Lofts in Washington, D.C. Brick is a background that suits almost any furniture style or color palette.

Another Bryan School Loft. I love the industrial look of the iron stairs along the brick wall.

picture of Fort Point Place Lofts for sale

Lofts in Boston. I like the exposed beams above, that add to the spare minimalist feel. I believe this room is just staged for sale purposes. It needs a bit more furniture I think.

Loft Eleven: Loft Eleven Terrace Room Product Display

Loft Eleven in New York, NY. I believe this is a social gathering place. Check out all those prop TVs in the room. How fun. The elegant chandeliers are an interesting juxtaposition with the brick wall.

Loft 12 Chandeliers

Loft Twelve, New York, NY. Fun art showcased on the brick.

Loft 12 Cigar Parties

Loft Twelve, New York, NY. Another staged space. Another elegant chandelier! Love the views.

Loft 12 Private Parties

Loft Twelve. Maybe the same space? Different furniture?

Suzanne Lovell

In an abandoned artillery shed near Lake Michigan designer Suzanne Lovell renovated the above home (exterior and interior photo). She drew from the brick facade and brought it inside to frame out the fabulous arched windows.

Another arched entrance from a covered patio. I love the bougainvillea next to the brick.

The mosaic tiles all over this bathroom are fabulous, but the blue bricks on the outer wall really add a beautiful balance and texture to the room. I love it. Architecture and Interior Design by Frederick Biehle Erika Hinrichs.

Enjoy your week…

Remember…. No matter how wonderful our dreams, how noble our ideals, or how high our hopes, ultimately we need courage to make them a reality. Without action, it's as if they never existed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I’ve Been Tagged!

Over the weekend I was tagged by Anne at The City Sage  to share seven random things about myself.  Since my blog is relatively new I haven’t been asked to participate yet in these tag games, so I’m happy to have joined the game!   So here are my seven randoms:

I am told that my great-grandfather was the artist who created the Pegasus logo for the old Mobile gas stations.  I’m still checking into the authenticity of this.  But, here’s a short history of it.

Mobil Gas Station Pegasus Sign by anglerove.

The Pegasus symbol was used by the Standard Oil Company of New York in the earliest days of oil refineries and filling stations. The logo first appeared on their gas pumps and petroleum products in 1911. When the Standard Oil Trust was broken up by the Supreme Court in 1911, two of its divisions, Standard Oil Company of New York and the Vacuum Oil Company merged. The former brought with it the Pegasus logo, the latter brought the Mobilgas name.

The Pegasus appeared on Mobilgas products beginning in 1911, but it was in 1931 with the forming of Socony-Vacuum that it was officially adopted as a trademark. The flying horse was first colored red by an artist at the Mobil Sekiyu division in Japan. A major makeover was done in the 1930s by the commercial illustrator Robert “Rex” Elmer. Not only was it given a cleaner and more graphic appearance, but the horse now flew from left to right, as opposed to from right to left. Through the years there have been gradual changes made to the rendering of the red horse, but the symbol itself has stood iconic for Mobilgas. The Pegasus symbol is still used today by ExxonMobil.


I was born on April 14th, which is the same day Abraham Lincoln was shot. April 14th is also the same day the Titantic struck an iceberg and met her icy fate. However, on a more positive note, I share my birthday with some interesting notables, British actor Julie Christie, Sir John Gielgud, Anne Sullivan (Helen Keller’s teacher), and Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom (daughter to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert).


When I was a child, I named my favorite cat Molly and later in life I would meet a real-life Molly, who became the Godmother to my firstborn. I also had a cat named Tom, who was a man I was crazy about until my husband came along. Spooky, huh?

books and tea by SunStones.

Books and tea are comforts in my life. Without them, life would be markedly less interesting and enjoyable.

One of my relatives, Dr. Kierstead came over on one of the first colonizing sailing ships to America. 

Bed Linens - White Linen & White/Ivory Prima Cotton Ensemble

One of my greatest pleasures in life is my 400 threat count sheets which sits atop my memory foam mattress topper on my bed. Every night when I get into bed, I wonder why I don’t spend more time there! It’s SO comfy!

I loved the “I Dream of Jeannie” television show SO much as a child, that I asked my Mom to make me a new Jeannie costume three years running for Halloween – every year a different color.  Sorry Mom!

I’m going to tag Vicki at French Essence, Eddie at Eddie Ross, Ronda at All The Best, Kristin at Simply Grove,  Danielle at The Style Files, Ashley at Decorology and Claudia at The Paris Apartment.

Thanks for participating!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Carrara Marble and Rooms With A View

Before I get to my blog, I want to thank Anne over at The City Sage ( for her kind portrayal of my favorite books. She is doing a wonderful series on her blog called "Blogger Book Love" that is so fun to read. After all, when I want to know if a book is worth my time or not, the first thing I do is read every review I can get my hands on. Anne has done that for you with some of her blogger friends. Check it out and her blog. She has an incredible knack for finding great pictures and is ever so witty in her writing. Thanks Anne!

Onto my blog this week....

Carrara is a city in the province of Massa-Carrara (Tuscany, Italy), famous for the white or blue-gray marble quarried there. It is on the Carrione River, about 100 km west-northwest of Florence. My obsession with carrara marble isn't new, but whenever I see a fantastic space with my beloved carrara, my obsession flares up all over again!

This kitchen back wall is tiled in Calacatta Gold marble. The vent for the Viking Professional 36" range is hidden behind a curved archway that echoes the doorways in the house. House Beautiful.

The kitchen countertops and alcove walls are made from large slabs of Calcutta Gold marble. I love the dark wood with the marble. It’s fantastic. My only fear would be getting that beautiful backsplash dirty and greasy from the cooktop. House Beautiful.

Here they use traditional white marble on the countertop in this decidedly farm-house inspired kitchen. House Beautiful.

This simple, but beautiful marble table lamp is designed by J. Powers for Visual Comfort. House Beautiful.

A kitchen from the Christopher Peacock website. His work and cabinetry are so beautiful and timeless. Perfect for marble countertops.

Butcher Block meets carrara marble. Not conventional, but I like it! However, I would like to see a little more contrast between the countertops and the cabinetry.

Another Christopher Peacock Kitchen – from his website. Couldn’t you just sit in this kitchen for hours with your best friend and a pot of tea?

And, in case you have $8 million dollars laying around, I’ve got a great piece of property for you…

A San Francisco Italianate property currently on the market.

The view from one side of their house. The dome is San Francisco’s Exploratorium. It’s a beautiful area of the city. If you ever visit San Francisco, this is a must-see.

View of Alcatraz Island from another side of their house.

Beautiful back yard, with built-in fireplace and fountains.

Living room with one of those beautiful views. I like the herringbone floors. However, the decor is dated, don’t you think?

One more for you. A Sea Cliff Home on the Bay. Roughly around $6 million dollars! They look small from the front don’t they?

Living room with great corner window that takes advantage of the view. The rug adds a very cozy feel to the room and is perfect for this space.

Another view of the room above. Great entertaining space with that grand piano and views to spare.

Dining room of same home. A bit cramped and I’d really have to cover those teal cushions!

Balcony view of the San Francisco Gate Bridge. They caught this picture on a beautiful day.

And my favorite…

Chemical Engine House 44 originally built in 1909 and served as a San Francisco firehouse until 1959. The home has recently undergone an extensive renovation and is now a modern masterpiece.

The brilliant renovation includes 4 levels of unique living space as well as an observatory tower, large wine cellar and tasting room; all designed for modern living.
Features that make this home a standout include an impressive glass and reclaimed lumber staircase, two story family room with a wall of glass, gourmet “loft” kitchen with adjoining catering kitchen, original 4 story staircase and zinc clad doors, roof terrace and dramatic observatory tower with 360 degree views.

Bedroom with very cool flush fireplace, built-in plasma, and what looks like runner light panels along the wall. If anyone knows what these are, please feel free to send me a note.

Balcony with fabulous built-in seat. Great for a party.

Modern kitchen with large glass panels along the backsplash. Blue/black granite tie in nicely. I know they are going for an industrial feel here, but I would prefer different stools (something with a back) and unless that grey wall on the left is a chalkboard wall, I would change up the color.

Living room. Notice the railing in the back that overlooks the front entrance to the home. Another flush-mount fireplace is in the back corner for those chilly San Francisco winters (and summers!).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The City Sage and Fall is Here!

I wanted to give a shout out to one of my favorite new blogs that I read daily, The City Sage , found here… Anne Sage, the superlative owner and editor of the blog, offers me my daily fix of fashion, design, cuisine and wonderment! Anne’s blog features some of the most wonderful images that I want to print out many of them and frame them for my wall (or at least put them on my refrigerator!).

Anne and I have struck up a friendship by email and I hope to meet up with her one day soon, since we don’t live far from each other, but in the meantime, I’m loving exchanging recipes and local interests with her. Visit her blog and be transported!

Fall is here!

My favorite time of year is here! Even though I live in California, I’m far enough north (Silicon Valley area) where the weather changes enough in the Fall that we have to pull out our jackets for the days and warm socks for the evenings! I get to wear all of my favorite sweaters and cozy up on the couch with my soft blankets.

And, of course, it’s soup season! So, in honor of that, even though this is an interior design blog (mostly), I am posting my number one all time favorite recipe that makes a wonderful meal. Serve it with crusty french bread and a nice cup of tea. Enjoy!

White Chicken Chili


2 cans Chicken broth
2 can white cannellini beans or great northern beans
1 (4-oz) can 'medium' chopped green chilies, drained
2-3 cooked chicken breasts, diced
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin
1 (8-oz) container sour cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 bag corn tortilla chips

In a crock pot mix first 9 ingredients, and cook on medium for 2-3 hours. Before serving add sour cream and whipping cream to soup. Let set for 30 minutes ( it will thicken). To serve, crush tortilla chips in a bowl and pour soup on top. Delish!

And to help you get in the mood for Fall, here’s a few interiors (I had to get a few in!) for you! Can’t you just feel the warmth from these fireplaces?

Fireplace Designer Jed Johnson Associates Inc 1.

Designer Jed Johnson

Fireplace Designer Sills Huniford Associates

Designer Sills Huniford Associates

Fireplace Designer Sills Huniford Associates 2

Designer Sills Huniford Associates

I love this wall and linear fireplace. This is my current favorite treatment for a fireplace surround.

A much different look than the pic above, but if your style is contemporary, this fireplace is perfect. Love the recessed lights adding more drama to the fireplace.

The ambience in this room, created by the lovely fire and intriguing sconces on the wall make me want to enjoy a glass of wine with friends here.

I believe this is a room that Candace Olsen did on her Divine Design show. Love her – she is Über talented and I love her show. I’ve never met a design of hers that I didn’t like.

Seville Lite Cast Stone Mantel

Finally, a more traditional fireplace to leave you with dreams of evenings spent by the fireplace with loved ones.

Rester au chaud! (Stay warm!)