Blog Archives

Spring Inspiration

Good design starts with a clean home. With this in mind my inspiration for this budding spring is; clean, organize, edit and enjoy!


I love a check list, makes me feel so accomplished to check a box off!

b13a8d3a72be140e4a2ab91b8d90f8c2If you want an even more thorough list check this site


Diy: Tips For A Sustainable Thanksgiving With Napa Style

Every family celebrates Thanksgiving a little differently; in some pecan pies reign king in others apple pie is a must. Even the date can vary, my Canadian friends celebrate Thanksgiving on a different month. But one thing is consistent and that is giving thanks. The world economies are seeing some tough times, and the road ahead is not a smooth one, but it’s in times like this that people come together and we find support in each other. This should also be a time when we are looking for way’s to support and sustain our home, planet earth.

Hand painted glass ornaments. Save on Crafts

  1. 1.) Rinse the inside of the ornament with rubbing alcohol and allow it to dry. This will help the paint to stick to the inside area more efficiently.
  2. 2.) Choose two or more acrylic paint colors that match your holiday decor, sports team or school colors.
  3. 3.) Remove the metal top with the hanger on it carefully and set it aside.
  4. 4.) Hold the first acrylic paint tube over the hole in the top of the ornament. Squeeze the bottle to allow a few drops to flow over the rim and into the ornament.
  5. 5.) Rotate the ball and add another color or two or three more around different sections of the rim.
  6. 6.) Swirl the paint around inside the ornament by moving your hand to allow the paint to flow inside the ornament. Add more paint if it does not swirl efficiently.
  7. 7.) Place the ornament into an empty egg carton. Wait about five minutes and rotate it again. Check on it every couple of hours and rotate it again until you get the desired effect.
  8. 8.) Turn the ornament over and allow any excess paint to drip out of the glass ball ornament into a wastebasket.
  9. 9.) Place the ornament into an empty egg carton to support it while it is drying. It may take up to three or four days. You can speed up the process by using a blow dryer.
  10. 10.) Replace the metal cap and hanger. Add a decorative ribbon loop that matches the colors in the ornament and hang it on your tree.

Look for a new blog after Thanksgiving on December 2nd, with lots of holiday decorating tips- including paper garlands!

Hear my radio interview with Kari of Napa Valley Life as we discuss sustainable tips on KVON (The Vine).

Recycle, restyle, revitalize! DIY bathroom makeover

Bathroom makeover for Kari Ruel of Napa Valley Magazine. Read the full article in this edition of Napa Valley Life. Also, you can hear me discussing budget minded design on the radio with Kari Ruel and Kellie Fuller.

Kari Ruel’s guest bathroom. It was pretty much unchanged since they first bought the house, and she decided it was time to amend this. Kari wanted a vibrant room that made people say “Wow!” when they walked in. When I came over I saw an outdated bathroom with a 1970s built-in cabinet, a plastic marble vanity, and theater-style light bulbs above a glue-on mirror. However my mind immediately envisioned something else: a Moroccan bathhouse retreat. Now the challenge was achieving this opulent look on a dime. I wanted to create the flavor of Morocco, but with a contemporary twist that was still in keeping with the simple ranch style architecture of the home.

Before video.

Inspiration board.

DIY Process:

1.) Paint. I choose two colors of orange with a lighter shade on the upper third of the wall and ceiling (divided by a thin border of copper) to make the room feel bigger.

2.) Spray painted the plastic faux marble vanity counter with white primer.

3.) Painted the primed counter with Martha Stewart bronze metallic paint. After this we lacquered it with three coats of water proof varnish.

3.) Painted the cabinet a chocolate brown color. Replaced the door hardware with new glass knobs from Cost Plus World Market.

4.) Created a tile back splash with crackled glass tiles found at Home Depot. Instead of grouting these we just glued them directly onto the existing plastic back splash (which we painted in bronze).

5.) Created an octagon template inspired by Moroccan tiles for the door.  Marie Ferrini of Ferrini’s frame store helped me with this.

It’s crucial when working with a repeating pattern to check your alignment, everything must be straight.

6.) Taped off a 1.5″ border then taped up plastic to cover the rest of the wall preparing for the copper spray painted border.

My inspiration for the mirror- Moroccan tea glasses.

7.) Sample spray paint for mirror stencil. We used spray adhesive to stick the stencil to the glass before spraying.

Mirror Detail. I found the glass mosaic coasters for $4.95 each at Cost Plus World Market and glued them on the corners of the mirror for an accent.

Marie paints the door while I hang the artwork.





Door pattern inspiration.

Candle inspiration.


Previously there was a ‘lighthouse’ theme for this room. I couldn’t wait to rip down that wall paper!

The pattern on the door gives depth and dimension to the small space. It’s a little welcome surprise when you close the door.

Hiding the shower.

This sheer patterned shower curtain conceals the shower while allowing light to pour through.

Lofty Heights: DIY for a clean, modern, loft inspired look

For me a loft conjures thoughts of massive windows spilling light over a vast ballroom wood floor, the kind of space that encourages paint to be splashed on canvas. A lively chasm between aloof, towering structures. A corner of the city where people mingle late into the night,  arriving via a warehouse shaft elevator.

But you don’t need a loft to create the feeling of a ‘lofty’ place, open up your mind, imagine what you want your home to feel like. Hopefully these blogs serve as inspiration through the process!

New post every Friday. Sorry there was a glitch this week, WordPress haphazardly deleted this post and I had to resubmit it!


Puppies and flowers.

The Biscuit Company Lofts, Los Angeles. William Anthony documents his move into the Biscuit building.

Usually numbering around eight to twelve participants from various buildings like the Biscuit/TOY, Molino and Factory Place Lofts, the group roams in no set path for about an hour. We interface with residents and generally show a presence in a neighborhood once considered abandoned.

Welcome to The Selby.

PRODUCT PICK: Anthropology Morel stool  $298.00

Verner Panton Chairs. A Danish designer known for his funky, futuristic designs. PRODUCT PICK: Design Within Reach $260.00

DIY: Inspiring ideas for a similar look and feel.

Anthropology Cordoba Bench, this one comes with a heifty price tag, $2298.00. Suggestion; buy a flea market bench and drape a sheepskin, or faux sheepskin over it.

IKEA. Boja rattan pendent.

I’m digging this knotted Melati chair from Anthropology. $498.00

Shag baby?

Fur bean bag.

Flokati: handmade wool rugs traditionally made in Greece. After the rug is woven, it’s placed in the cold water of a river to fluff the shag.


1.) Flokati rug. The Company Store. 2.) Argus camera. Etsy 3.) Tea set from Leftovers SF.   4.) 60’s metal sculpture. Etsy 5.) Marimekko fabric. 6.) Seagrass basket. West Elm

My mid-century furniture can now be bought at LEFTOVERS in San Francisco.

Rest easy. A pure place for the mind to find peace.

Photo via French by Design.

I’m drawn to the sparse simplicity where the main feature is just one thing, the bed.

Product Pick: Anthropology bed. (Sorry, I just fell in live with so many things they have right now!)

DIY Project:Turn a boring shade cord into something unique, bead it! On this cord wooden beads are threaded on. Note: only bead the exposed part of the cord- when the shade is up.

Light it up!



DIY Christmas Decorations

Christmas is a time to play!

Photos (except those with other referenced blog sites) by Indra Fortney. New blog on Monday the 19th.



Think of color and texture this holiday season, gnarly grape vines, shiny glass, pearly white and glistening gold. DIY idea: Fill an open weave basket (like this acorn shaped basket above) with a mass of small twinkling white lights and hang from the porch.

Go on the hunt for gold.

Find new ways to spell out Christmas.

Toss in a little retro- marble grape clusters and shiny silver disco bulbs make a fun and funky setting.

Owls are a hoot! You can find these ornaments at Artefact in Sonoma.

Surprise guests with whimsical details.

Vintage dolls.

Recycle- newspaper wrapped gift boxes.

DIY paper garland check out Irene

What you need:
Sparkle paper

Hot glue

How to:
Cut desired twine length.
Punch out circles. I used  1 and 2 inch.
Figure out pattern of circles. Once thats set
Place one circle sparkle side face down
Place twine on top of the back of the circle
Place hot glue over the twine onto the circle. And
Sandwich the twine and glue with another sparkly piece.
Continue the pattern until desired length is complete.

Oragami by MINNIE.CO.UK

Napa Bungalow: DIY Winter Decorating Inspiration

Napa is dotted with quaint bungalows. These sweet little houses are perfect for snuggling into on cold winter days. New post on Monday Dec 5th.

Photos by Indra Fortney. Decorating by Domus Designers.  Homes listed by Kathyrn de Maigret.

1.) Add a flavor of fall with colorful pillows in orange, yellow and brown.

Check out vintage Ikat fabrics which have wonderful colors and patterns. These are from etsy.

2.) Top-down-bottom-up shades provide privacy while still showing the outdoor views.

3.) Martha Stewart kitchens from Home Depot.

4.) Vintage beveled mirrors.


Shopon Sherman $39.00

New Moon Rising $200.00

5.) Eclectic pillow assortment.

Sulkan ikat velvet pillow.

Elem O Pillows $30.00

Serene Soul butterfly pillow $39.95

A vintage poster could be just the thing in here..

1960 ad Rapid Shave Palmolive shaving cream $10.00

6.) Space saving idea- convert a portion of the garage into office space.

IKEA has a great selection of affordable work lamps.

Tertial $8.99

Tisdag $69.99

Husvik $59.99

Holiday Craft Workshop at Ferrini November 30th 6:00- 9:30

These free standing treasures are a peek into holidays past.
Create a delicate diorama using vintage figures, Dresden trims & glitter ephemera to make these charming vignettes! Approx 10” high.
$85.00 per person, materials included.

DIY: Tips for a sustainable thanksgiving with Napa Style

Every family celebrates Thanksgiving a little differently; in some pecan pies reign king in others apple pie is a must. Even the date can vary, my Canadian friends celebrate Thanksgiving on a different month. But one thing is consistent and that is giving thanks. The world economies are seeing some tough times, and the road ahead is not a smooth one, but it’s in times like this that people come together and we find support in each other. This should also be a time when we are looking for way’s to support and sustain our home, planet earth.

Look for a new blog after Thanksgiving on December 2nd, with lots of holiday decorating tips- including paper garlands!

Hear my radio interview with Kari of Napa Valley Life as we discuss sustainable tips on KVON (The Vine).

Sparkling: Begin the evening with some appetizers and some bubbles. Domaine Carneros Brut Vintage 2006. Eileen Crane, the winemaker, suggests adding a paper thin slice of pear or lady pink apple.

Red Wine: Benziger Tribute 2005. Mike Benziger says, “The acid and tannins have the same balance as the turkey and gravy.”

White Wine: Try Robert Sinsky Abraxas, Vin De Terroir 2009. According to Robert Sinsky, “It’s floral, dry, wonderful aromatics. It will match a broad range of flavors at the table: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes. Even sweet potatoes, as long as they’re not too many marshmallows.”

For more great thanksgiving wine suggestions read Adam Morganstern’s article in the Huff Post Food.

Creative recycle projects for empty wine bottles.

Soap Dispenser: Add liquid soap and a pump dispenser, and voila! You have a nifty Napa soap bottle.  Buy soap dispenser here.

Oil lamp: All you need is, a long wick, some lamp oil, a ceramic wick stopper, and a small glass flame-protector. These would look great lining a long table for outdoor entertaining.

Homemade herb olive oil and vinegar: Just add a new cork.

Pumpkins are popping up everywhere, now is a good time to look for these at your local farmers market. Wait! Don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds! Here’s a delicious, healthy snack my mom used to make.

Pumpkin seed snack:

1.) Rinse all the slimy gook of the seeds.

2.) Pat dry.

3.) Spread onto a baking pan with tinfoil and coat with soy sauce (a wheat free version is Tamari).

4.) Bake in an oven at 425 until crisp. Store them in a glass jar and they will keep for quit a long time.

Homemade shabby chic napkins.

Grab one or two favorite sheets, floral patterns work well, and give them a coffee or tea stain. The stain gives a soft, vintage look to the fabric-coffee gives a stronger stain.


Fill a small sack with lots of ground coffee. I over-do it and use about a cup. Tie it closed and throw it into a pot of boiling water. Brew it for about 10 minutes and remove the sack.

Let your fabric simmer in the pot for 10-20 minutes depending on how dark you want to stain it. Remember: Once the fabric is dried, the stain will become MUCH lighter. Remove from the pot with tongs and immerse in very cold water with some white vinegar added. At this point, immersing the fabric in hot water would remove some of the stain. Rinse in cold water.

If you don’t want to ruin your ironing board, cover it with an old pillowcase or spare cotton fabric. Iron the fabric or trim by sections with a hot dry iron until it is completely dry. The stain is now set. More info at Patchwork Pottery.

Support local farms!

Julie and I model fresh tomatoes (taken during the summer) from Gotts Roadside garden in St. Helena. Gott’s grows much of the produce it uses in it’s kitchen.

Contact Farm Fresh To You. They will deliver a box of fresh produce to your door. It’s always a fun surprise to see what goodies I will get in the box and it often the ingredients inspire me to try new recipes.

Support free range, animal friendly farms. This is a ranch owned by friends of mine in Oregon, Big Table Farm. You can find their wine on local shelves and next year, grass fed beef.

Farm photos by Ann Trinca.

Organic Vino!  Good for you, good for the planet.

Take a tour of the Benzinger winery in Glenn Ellen. They use certified Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. Biodynamic agriculture is a method oforganic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system.

Listen to Mike Benzinger discuss biodynamic viticulture.

Don’t waste your Thanksgiving scraps! Instead compost them.

Read my full article on how to start a compost here.

Don’t throw away food! Recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Sweet and spicy turkey curry soup. Recipe here.

Sweet potato soup with crisp prosciutto. Recipe here.

Whole wheat french toast with cranberries and walnuts. Recipe here.

The famous hot brown sandwich created in Brown hotel in Louisville Kentucky in the 1920’s. Recipe

Can it! I come from a family of caner’s, both my mother and grandmother simmered pots of fruit on the stove, pulling hot glass jars out with tongs from boiling water. So I have a soft spot for home canned food. This would also make a terrific Christmas gift and the glass jar can always be re-used!

Pickled Sweet Onion recipe.

Take time to enjoy small moments in the midst of chaos.

Finally, a suggestion for working off the big meal, dance it off!

Special thanks to my dear friend Julie who’s photos I have stolen for this blog. I encourage you to check out her fabulous blog, ‘Literary Legacies’.

Julie and pumpkin.