Castle Heights Bungalow

Remember when I shared my design boards for the Castle Heights Bungalow a  few months ago? In a very satisfying conclusion, you can see the finished space on Style Me Pretty Living today. Its fun to see how the design boards became a reality, especially with only a few weeks to spare before Junior made his appearance. I think since there are so many intricately layered spaces to cover, I will break it down by nursery, living room, dining room, and den in 4 separate posts coming up. For now, please enjoy all the available eye candy on Style Me Pretty.


Dining Room

Living Room



Ins and Outs in 2015

It seems like every self respecting blog is calling out what will be trendy in 2015 and what is out. I am no fortune teller but I am a good observer so here are the trends that are catching my eye that I will be incorporating into my near future designs. And the trends that have had their day in the sun and I would strongly recommend avoiding in the near future.

Hmong batik and African mud cloth textiles - Ikat is over. For global flavor its Asian hmong and African mud cloth fabrics that are getting popular. Mixing and matching is key along with with bonus points for indigo hues. (sources: 1/2/3/4)

Mixing metals - brass is going strong among the design set but I have very few clients "brave" enough to go there. Chrome is the new cool metal to get for bathroom fixtures, lighting, and kitchen hardware. I wouldn't specify any new fixtures that are brushed nickel, but if you want to mix them in with brass and chrome fixtures you will be good in my book. No matchy matchy. Let's get crazy with our metal mixing in 2015. (sources: 5/6

Rattan - not Golden Girls wicker. More modern shapes with rattan as the material to add natural texture. Warning - don't overdo it. This is an accent only with a chair here, a side table there. Think Franco Albini (sources: 7/8/9)

Palm Fronds - I never got behind the pineapple print craze of last year but this new incarnation of botanical patterns I can see fitting in with the rattan accents already mentioned. A clean graphic version of traditional botanical prints. (sources: 10/11/12/13)

Hamsahs - I have been into hamsahs as protection from the evil eye since I can remember. I love how you can have many design interpretations of the same concept. I like seeing the current crop of hamsah designs in graphics and jewelry. Even when this trend is over, I will still be into it. It has been going strong for 5000 years so why not a few more. (sources: 14/15/16/17)

That was exhausting, huh? A lot of trends to keep up with these days. I will tell you what I will not be scouting or even thinking of using in 2015: anything chevron (paint brush stroke patterns interest me more), espresso wood stains (ash and white oak are the stains I now get excited by), salvaged wood and overly industrial furniture (yet I still like midcentury modern designs). And what about you. What trends are you into and what are you over? 

Forty Years

A mesmerizing exhibit by Nicholas Nixon of 4 sisters shot every year for forty years. The New York Times catalogs each and every shot with its bewildering and bewitching to watch their faces and bodies age year after year. Some years the changes more dramatically pronounced than others. I could spend a lot of time going back and forth between the faces and the images. I'm sure you could too and make 

Noteworthy 07

I have been feeling some stress the last few weeks. I know I spread myself a little thin between taking on one too many projects, but that's honestly the mode I operate best in. There's mommy duties and holiday planning. The dread of the impending 2 week holiday break and how will I keep the kids busy?  And a little real estate legal issue that we got dragged into unjustly. We took every precaution to avoid the exact situation we have found ourselves in and that's pretty distressing. It turns out that people have zero integrity in their business dealings and that's even more distressing. We will sort it all out, but its hard not to constantly think about it. 

On a sunny note I somehow found myself with every to do item on my week's list crossed off before noon and I was delighted to carve out a little time to post another noteworthy collection. Happy Friday indeed people and happy holiday season.

1) A new construction LA house that is truly inspiring. It illustrates that if you save, plan, and design well your dream house is in reach. Once we sort through our legal issues, I hope for this to be our reality one day. A girl can dream.

2) I was happy to procure this delicious vintage leather Percival Lafer lounge chair for my good friend and soon to be client. He has an ah-maz-ing modern industrial Japanese zen house that just needs a few small touches of warmth and this chair will greatly help matters.

3) Thinking about holiday tables and helping a client sort hers out. This modern organic Thanksgiving tablescape arrangement was a good source of inspiration.

4) Our office/playroom is going through another redecorating. I was only happy with it for one minute and now it seems off again to me. This is ongoing theme here and the guest room of my house. Anyway, its not quite done but I did make this modern dream catcher with my own two hands and I am happy with the way it turned out. Super easy. 

5) I am working on a Happy Camper in Joshua Tree themed nursery and this photo captures the vibe I want. Click through for the full house tour. One of my favorites.

6) Along with the nursery, a loungey living room is being developed. 

7) This to die for handmade planter - perfect for any room in any house.

8) Attention any Secret Santas who are searching for that last minute gift for me: this minimalist necklace is on the top of my wish list. Or this infinity necklace, this ring (size 4), or the dagger necklace. Seriously, I'm not kidding.

9) The Encino Lake house is getting close to completion. A fugly Tudor is slowly becoming the modern family home it was yearning to be. Very slowly. Its been 18 months already and due to many factors its taken that long to get to a place where we are installing finishes. Tile floor is down, custom cabinetry has been installed, and now we finally chose the interior paint colors and some new furnishings. Very satisfying and I can't wait for my clients to move in. In another 2 months or so? 

Santa Monica II Completed

Over the course of the summer I had the pleasure of working with a truly sweet couple on their home in Santa Monica. They were vibrant, easygoing, and intelligent yet their home of more than 30 years did not reflect these sensibilities. It was well loved but tired, in need of repairs, and had seen its fair share of children and pets. It needed major updating, but we weren't about to demo kitchens and bathrooms. The layout remained the same. The key was to address every single room (3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and the living spaces) so that the updates were consistent throughout the house and it felt like a fresh space. The difference that picking one color scheme and applying it everywhere, along with contemporary lighting, can make is jaw dropping. Just look at the before and afters.

Let's get into specifics. Lighting is not the first thing that happens, but it tends to be one of the most exciting. Choosing the forms, materials, and sizes for the lighting is an almost scultptural exercise and makes a huge impact on how you are affected as you move through each space.

The bentwood pendant is an easy and accessible method to add an organic form to the sharp lines of the dining room. And some warmth to balance the cool hues.

This twirling baton chandelier is the perfect scale and style for the staircase. 

I have had a crush on the ceramic semi-flush mount ceiling light from School House Electric for too long. I was happy to find just the right application for it along the hallways.

The kitchen exemplifies and concentrates all the upgrades we did. Everything else kind of radiated out from this point and relates back to the kitchen.

  • Paint all walls, doors, and cabinets one of the 5 colors in our palette.
  • Dress up existing cabinets with new hardware. I went for extra long square pulls to make the Shaker cabinet fronts feel less traditional.
  • Update to energy efficient appliances.
  • Install new white oak wood floors stained to medium walnut where carpet and linoleum existed. Refinish and stain existing oak floors in the living and dining rooms to match.
  • Out with the dated tile counter tops. Hello clean white quartz.
  • Splurge on marble subway tile back splash since we were saving a mint by not reconfiguring and rebuilding the cabinets.

There were 3 bathrooms that needed our attention. Cabinets and tiled showers were to remain, but similar to the kitchen, everything else was cleaned up.

  • Walls, trim, and cabinets were painted white for a new start. 
  • New porcelain tile floors to match the existing shower tile.
  • The same counter top material and hardware as the kitchen
  •  New plumbing fixtures and lighting

Along with the vessel sink, these simple elements gave the master bathroom (along the smaller ones not shown) a sleeker and more expansive feel.

The most rewarding part of this project was working with two easy clients. They trusted the process, the estimated budget, and the schedule. I presented my ideas at the beginning of the summer. They instantly approved every selection I offered - no second guessing, seeing third or fourth options, or revisions were requested. Of course that's 100% ok for a client to ask for, but when they don't, man do things go smoothly. Once the designs were approved I laid out the schedule for them - 2 weeks to put together the drawings we needed to get the work done properly, then get a quote for labor, 4-6 weeks to order materials. When the supplies were in we could start the demo and installation with another 6 weeks to completion. Letting me drive allowed us to get things done in exactly the sequence and budget I predicted and freed my clients up to not stress over the daily details. I couldn't be happier, they couldn't be happier. It was a surprisingly devoid of surprises. If only every project could go that smoothly ;)


I'm thankful for my easy going husband, my charming children, engaging family members, high quality friends, all of their health and mine, the safety and comfort of home, my self directed work, changes small and large. And warm sunshine on days like this.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Holiday or Every Day Tableware

Thanksgiving, a day away. Will you be cooking or eating out? Feasting regardless. I put this post together because as much as I enjoy the break that Thanksgiving grants us, it also gifts us with stupendous savings as we prep for Chrismakah. I never deal with the stores, but online is a different story. I put together a pretty organic modern tablescape in time for hosting holiday meals, or a fetching collection of items to pull the trigger on this weekend, not necessarily related to the holidays. Happy Turkey Day!

Holiday Gift Guide

It seems a tad early to start a collection of gift ideas, but you know those holidays will be here before you know it and you do not want to be running to CVS to get a teacher, hostess, or secret Santa gift. I think getting big gifts for your dearest is easy, but its harder to find special and useful gifts in the $25-$50 range. My philosophy about buying gifts for others is that if I would truly like it for myself, they will probably like it too. I do get in trouble with a "one for you, one for me" motto (hint hint loved ones). But here is a start that will hopefully help you as you start scouting gifts.

  1. Unison pot holder - for only $7, this graphic potholder is a super cool addition to any kitchen related gift.
  2. Food 52 egg separator - have you ever seen an egg separator so elegant? I mean, seriously! This is a sculptural and practical object that is obscenely good for $25.
  3. Food 52 brass coasters - there are so many beautiful kitchen objects on this site and here is amnother example of an on trend geometric and brass coaster set. 
  4. Chemex coffee maker - a classic. Paired with gourmet coffee grounds for a very welcome gift.
  5. A+R corky carafe - coffee and tea are a breeze for me, but drinking water throughout the day is a chore. I actually ordered this for myself to try to motivate me. I think on a table top, bedside, or at arm's reach of the PC it would look enticing.
  6. Holly Mueller Home constellation dish towel - I love this practical and personal dish towel for $16.
  7. Tiny Armour arc earrings - you cannot go wrong with sparkley jewelry and I could do a whole list of pretty shiny things I covet, but it is hard to find something that doesn't look chintzy for under $50. These are so pretty. 
  8. Coriumi leather pouch - A leather pouch is really helpful for organizing within a bigger purse and this one looks much higher end than its $30 price tag.
  9. Jerusalem cook book - a fitting Channukah gift but actually an inspiring cook book for any foodie this season, with cross cultural recipes and sumptious photography.
  10. Veak Ceramics floating planter - a little bohemian, a little green, a lot earthy and unique. 
  11. art print - how cute and funny for a certain friend with a good sense of humour, and style.
  12. Mudpuppy Hamsa - protection from the evil eye in the form of an artful ceramic decor amulet will make for an unforgettable gift.
  13. Kinivo mini portable speaker - this is about as techy as I get. I get overwhelmed with choices and how expensive gadgets can be. We have this at home for instant dance parties when we listen to new songs on the iphone or watch music videos on the ipad. Its little and cute, easy to plug in and work, durable, and at $19 a fun gizmo that I don't mind my kids pawing.
  14. Think and Ink Studio mouse pad - it may seem like a boring idea, but nothing is boring about this black and gold mouse pad that will dress up the work area and make the gift receiver smile every day.
  15. Gizmo Gadgets ipad case - having recently recovered from a shattered ipad screen, this is more of a priority than pretty shiny things. I love the rugged leather, so me yet rustic enough for a dude.

Don't forget to make the bulk of your purchases Black Friday-Cyber Monday. I am astounded year after year by how much savings are to be had online at that time. Having a list ready to go makes holiday shopping/bargain hunting easier and actually enjoyable. Happy shopping.