Going to the dark side.


Digging these dark walls with crazy pops-o-color.  Orange/red ladder?  ish do think so.



Borderline garish, but i like most everything individually.  You know that somebody really ‘wacky’ lives here – like Jonathan Adler, Patricia Field or Carrot Top.  and they wear bow-ties, with suspenders. and shorts.  and I bet they have a weird small hairless dog that they kiss on the mouth.  maybe.
This is one of those that looks good on first view, but actually I don’t really like anything here, save the coffee tables that orange pillow and kinda that big mirror.  But there is something still beautiful about the room as a whole, right? or am i seduced by a good photo?   maybe.  i get seduced easily. 
(first pic via Design Files, 2nd an old Elle Decor, dunno about the third)


Murals I love. See. I’m not a total hater.


Alright, this was much harder than I thought.   Not to beat a dead donkey, but murals are kinda hard to do right.  That being said I don’t want to discount them completely because when they are right they can be beautiful.  The problem is most of the time its when they are old. Like this one above.  My friend Cindy sent it to me this morning.  We shot this house for House And Garden (shot by Francois Dischinger) in Newport, Maine.  It was the house/set for the movie ‘Evening’ with the boring Claire Danes and the amazing Meryl – sidenote, cray cray beautiful house.  On cliffs. Windy, romantic.  I think the Kennedy’s used to vacation there. see below.
Here’s three I found in the New Paris Interiors

There are actually three different things going on the walls here.  Two murals and a swirly feature wall thing which normally I would hate, but since the palette is soft, I don’t mind it.  The murals are probably custom wallpaper.  Either way, i kinda like ’em. 

Now this one, above, is awesome.  Obviously a commissioned art piece.  And it totally works.  I can’t tell if it is actually a piece of framed art just leaning there, but regardless if it was a mural there I would love it.  And that table/rug situation is not weird at all, nope. completely normal.  it must be a ‘piece of art’ too, but no me likey.  

Kids room is probably where I would get murally if I was to ever.  This one isn’t particularly beautiful, but it is weird and playful – like my kids hopefully will be.  this one looks like it was either painted by a nutty swedish artist, or done by a 7 year old.  that’s the kind of art that drives Brian crazy, but sometimes i’m into it.  IN A KIDS ROOM.

if something like this, above, was painted on one of my walls, i would be kinda happy.  Its ethereal and dreamy and weird.  I’ve had this image for a while, not sure where it came from, sorry.

These two are more predictable, but done well so i’ll let the fact that its uber trendy, pass.
They might be photo murals, but they entertain me.  (above, Emmas blog)

And if i was a magazine editor and had offices all over the country, I could see this in my LA office.  
So there. I’m not a total hater.  Just discerning.


Episode 2 Dolphin vs Shark

I just wrote the longest post and then safari shut down.  Awesome.  Perhaps its because it could tell that i’m weak, that i’m a weakling.

OKAY!  episode 2.  Not my prettiest, emotionally.  So I’ll walk you through it quickly to get to the good stuff.


The challenge is fashion to room, we all know this one.  But we have to combine all five of our looks into one space, not easy, pretty unrealistic actually.  I’m a fan of the fashion to room, not literally but the idea that your interiors should reflect your style.  But combining all of them is hard.  Every time we complained about this, they producers would say ‘I guess that’s why they call it a challenge’.  It got to be a pretty funny joke, actually.

I was feeling fragile from almost being eliminated 12 hours before (you guys get a week between challenges, we get hours).  I was excited to work with the girls, I liked Casey and Stacey instantly.

So day one was a lot of shopping and shouting, ick.  We went to Gracious Home (awesome) Calypso Home (awesome) Bo Concept and Zarin fabrics – well we split up Nina and I went to Calypso Home  and Stacey/Casey and Tera picked out the fabrics.

Day two was slightly more pleasant because Tera and Nina left to get accessories (which they did a pretty good job at) and I repainted the niche from gold to charcoal – the gold with the yellow with the peacock headboard fabric that almost went up looked like a terrible terrible bed and breakfast in Maine, circa ’83. Stacey painted a pretty chair and Casey sewed the drapes, helped paint, etc.   Ultimately I think the living room was pretty – i stood behind Nina with the hot pink rug.  I liked the sofa/coffee table situation, the starburst, bedding and side tables in the bedroom.  When the judges came through, we all agreed that we liked the rooms, well mostly.  Here they are:

The bedroom is a bit tragic, the yellow is not good.  And those drapes were meant to be lush navy velvet, not elvis crushed velvet – they couldn’t find what they wanted there so they got this instead.  time. pressure.  sucks.

But as soon as you are the losing team you start looking for blame – who are you going to throw under the bus? What are you going to claim as ‘yours’?  it’s never pretty.
Duh Duh DUH:

Now the juicy stuff.  The second I met Nina I knew that we were opposites in every way possible.  I knew it.  I could smell it.  This could go one of two ways and I’m pretty sure you know which way this went.  It sucked.  The power dynamic was set up after the first challenge, which she won and I lost (almost), so i was the natural weakest link in her mind and she dismissed me completely.  Fine, I get it, it’s a competition she didn’t think I could design. So it made our relationship a bit tricky.



And yes, i’m the dolphin, Nina is the shark – in case there was any confusion.  I’m not an idiot, i’m just not a killer – just sayin’.


So why did Tera go home?
She chose a bad yellow, sure, I could’ve easily picked it too, you get really only a few minutes to choose, and her concept was just a color concept, but those aren’t reasons to go home.



Tera’s mistake is being overly defensive with the judges.  There are ways to disagree with what they are saying, but still showing that you listened.  She almost came across arrogant, like she knew more than them.  And then throwing Stacey under the bus was unnecessary and passive aggressive.   It’s a pressurized situation, remember, so maybe she wasn’t really acting like herself.


 Ooh, let me reiterate I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BASKET ON THE FLOOR.  It was horrifying, and I shoulda just taken it away after Tera and Nina put it there, but at some point you have to let people make mistakes or else no one will know who should still be there and taste levels won’t be displayed.   How did I get blamed for that just because I didn’t stop it? Weird. (please spread the word to any and all people that you know that I didn’t do that.  family members, friends, your waiter, bus driver, every stranger on the street!!!…..the world needs the truth, ’cause that sh*t is embarassing.)
Tera, I think would make a much much better host than most people on the show, though.  She is adorable and charming, so likeable, (except at elimination and when she is around Meana) and such a MILF.

So about Nina not going home.  I’m sick of everyone saying that Nina is only there because she is the villain.  Yes, of course she is the villain, and that creates good TV.  BUT, she also has a lot of design chops that the audience doesn’t see.  She deserves to be there more than some other people.  Let me be clear, we have  completely different tastes, I’m not a big diy mural girl.  ( I’ll do a ‘murals that I like’ post tomorrow, to show you what I like and why – as if you care, but still it gives me something to blog about, i’ve been scraping the bottom of the barrel lately.  )
But unfortunately for Nina, her aggressive personality gets all the attention and her good work gets kinda ignored.  Its taking every bone in my body to be objective here.   So difficult.  I’m amazing myself.


As far as the guys?  I really liked their living room.  But looking at them objectively, I liked our room better, sorry guys I love you, but if I had to live in one of them I would take ours.

That’s all the gossip for today, i’ve probably already said too much.


Episode 2

Episode numbero dos is tonight. I know what happens, but at the same time I have no idea what we’ll see.  First of all, its boys versus girls and we never got to see each others spaces, so it will be fun to see what the guys did.  Secondly, it was a 2 day challenge, plus elimination day at the penthouse/studio, so the editors had to take all that footage and condense it into an hour – and there was a lot of dramer beyond just designing, trust me.  I saw a preview that showed me saying ‘You’re just kinda a bully, Nina’, so I guess that means you’ll have the pleasure of maybe witnessing some of that.  awesome.

I’m nervous, but super excited -per uzh…  I wish I could say that I was a perfect angel, but I probably wasn’t.  Just remember that it was an insanely pressurized situation and people don’t always act like themselves – or maybe that’s exactly who they act like, we’ll see.

On with the show.   Check back tomorrow for the day-after post.  And if you feel like it, follow HGTV design star blog, with Dooce (Heather Armstrong) and apartment therapy for their twitter party during the show tonight.  What’s a twitter party, you ask?  no effing idea. but it has the word ‘party’ in it, so i’m game.  I’m not sure if they give spoilers if they tweet east coast time, so if you are on the west coast be careful.

The love between a woman and her lampshades.

Check out these beauties.


I want to hug and tickle them I love them so much.  They are vintage 60’s or 70’s capiz shell and brass handmade shades that I bought from Bernadette Breau in Portland.  I got both for $60 and I didn’t know what I was going to do with them but I had to buy them.  (it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime-i’ve-never-seen-these-before-and-they-are-soooo-me purchases that don’t really have a place in my apartment yet)  Needless to say these are not exactly Brian’s favorite kind of purchases and perhaps I often don’t tell him about them, and just sneak them quietly into my hoarding closet, only to be debuted when he wakes up one morning and he literally doesn’t even notice it.  It’s baffling to me.  I mean, when we got the new sofa (which I only kinda told him about), he was like ‘did you rearrange in here?’ and I looked at him, not sure if he was serious, but yep he was, and he didn’t even notice the BRAND NEW BLUE SOFA.  Hilarious.  He will however, notice immediately if I accidentally un-record the Met game and record instead a Real Housewives reunion show.  That he notices.


POINT IS:  i’ve decided to switch out my bedside table lamps into these hanging gems on some chain that I will not try to hide – nope.  These are what I have now (above).  I think you can literally see Brian’s sleeping reflection in them.  He thinks i’ve lost it ever since I got back from the show.  I wake up at 6am every morning with a new project around the house to start.  (this may include organizing my magazine by type, title and date, or reupholstering my headboard – see above- or making new throw pillows, painting the wall turquoise (which I regret, btdubs) etc etc, like a complete loon)  Anyhoo, these were from Target and were left over from a shoot (well one was chipped so I couldn’t return it, the other I bought to match). I think they are super pretty and  I’m going to keep them, but Mr and Mrs capiz shell are taking over this space for a while,  if they work scale wise with my vintage baker nightstands that I refinished (not so well, but they were $7 each at a junk shop in the valley -i’ll take proper pictures soon).


I also bought this 70’s hanging light at the prop house in the valley that closed down. I got it for $30, and rewired it a couple of days ago – by myself-ish, the guys at Anawault lumber are soooooo helpful.

I think it was originally inspired by these two pics, which I love:
Left is anthropologie, and the right is from via A perfect grey


 If you want a good re-wiring tutorial, my besty did a blog post about it a while ago and its super helpful. She is also the one that threw the premiere get together last week, why?  because she is the best, that’s why.  Her blog is supes funny, too and she does Design Star reviews on mondays as well.

Here’s an interview that I did this week, by an old Coos Bay family friend Rachel Parker Bishop on her media review web-site.  Check it out.