Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Writing's on the Wall

Juxtaposition Home in Newport Beach, CA
I admit it. I'm drawn to rooms that feature letters and numbers as art and artifacts. It may not be the most sophisticated look in the design world, but there's something playful and personal about having a three dimensional monogram, a lucky number or a backlit reminder used as art in a space.

My inclination was probably fostered by the bold painted wood letters that hung over my bed as a kid. It sort of branded the room as my very own space and I remember looking up as I lay beneath the lime green letters that spelled out my name each morning, happy and content to be in my little corner of the world. It's probably one of the reasons this look particularly appeals to me for a kid's room or nursery.

These days, my affection for it probably has something to do with my love of fonts. I often find myself gravitating to those old neon letters and signs that have been pulled off buildings while walking the flea market. I also always get a kick out rooms that incorporate clever sayings spelled out in neon across stark white walls, the lettering so often quirky or fluid, with one letter bleeding into the next.

This look can venture into cheesy (but hey, to each his own). My personal tastes happen to swing either very classic or a little edgy and I like to see it used either very subtly or balls to the wall bold. So, I thought for this post that I'd feature three of my favorite ways I love to see letters and numbers used in decor.

Preppy // Traditional // Sophisticated 

Bold // Whimsical // Vintage

Organized // Clean // Traditional

I spotted the letter montage above this week at a local furniture store. The use of mid-century type backed by rich textiles was such a fresh take, I had to include it here as one of my favorites. I've got my eye on this project for a future DIY. It's such a classic, masculine look. It'd be perfect for an office space or placed amongst some rich woods and buttery leather furniture.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Feet First

Friends, I'm leaping off into a long 4-day weekend and I'm not ashamed to say I feel about as excited as the people in this photo. I've been working my behind off around here. Speaking of...

Those close to me will appreciate this image. It recalls to mind the Memorial Weekend four years ago when I decided to do a little cliff diving myself. I lacked something in my form and came down onto the water awkwardly, pretty much breaking my behind.

No cliff diving this weekend people. Just don't do it.

Otherwise, enjoy some time outdoors over the next few days. I know that's what I'm going to do.

*Image Via

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Swept Away

I've been swept away by this photo shoot entitled "Windswept", featuring model Camille Rowe, shot by photographer Tim Barber for Marie Claire. In just a few stills, it's amazing how together they brilliantly captured the essence of summer. Looking through these, I can easily feel a salty breeze whipping through my hair and the warmth of the afternoon sun against my cheeks.

I gotta say, the anticipation has been building. We're right on the cusp of Memorial Day weekend here in the States. So despite what the calendar says, it's feeling like a whole lot of summer around here already.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

{Fresh Ideas} French Connection Home Catalogue

British retailer French Connection recently released it's first Home Catalogue. At just 12 pages, it's a finely edited collection of organic textures, small home accessories and furniture set against a minimalist color palette. It's perfectly grounding and offers the subtle suggestion that we could quite possibly live very happily with just the bare essentials.

Some new twists on bedding and artwork certainly caught my eye, as did the juxtaposition of slick white floors set against chunky knits and rustic wood accents.

Simplicity without forsaking thoughtful details.

Dive into the full French Connection Home collection here.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012


Last week, we decided to take a long weekend- in part because it was our anniversary and also to give us a couple of extra days to focus on getting some things done here. We have this punch list- actually we call it "THE LIST"- where we've detailed out all of the things we are hoping to accomplish on the house by the time summer officially rolls around. 

So our time off these past few days was in fact spent staining fences, laying sod, hanging blinds and planting vegetables. Yes, in fact you now know I'm about as un-hip a Hipster as they come these days. In the interest of keeping it real around these parts, I'll even make another confession. Despite copious amounts of hand washing, I feel like I have had a perpetual line of dirt under my fingernails- hell, in my ears and up my nose even- for months now. The Mister looked at me on Saturday night and informed me that he purposely let me walk around with a dirt mustache all day because he thought it was cute. I guess I'd have bigger problems if he thought it wasn't.

But I've digressed... my real intention of this post is to simply say that while house projects typically equal relaxation for me, THE LIST is giving me anxiety. With Memorial Day weekend coming up, our deadline is fast approaching and it feels like it might not all get done like we wanted. 

We may have to re-think our deadline. Or just bust our asses to get it done. The jury is still out on which way that will go. We'll see where we are at after the muscle fatigue wears off over the next day or two.

*Image Credits Via / featuring the work of Lettering Artist Alison Carmichael 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happiness is Here

Today is the day, I married my sweetheart of 13 years. We drove away to this beautiful house in the desert and had ourselves one amazing party, where at least 10 different things didn't go as planned. Life has been a lot like that ever since. Despite best intentions and all the determination in the world, so much in the years that have followed have not gone as we planned. But just as it all worked out in the end that day, with a beautiful sunset, the champagne flowing and lots of laughter and dancing, I'm pretty confident we are going to realize every dream we've ever set out to make together. There's so much to be grateful for already. Because happiness is already here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The House We Eloped To

This week has me reminiscing about the weekend The Mister and I eloped to the desert. Of course we brought 150 of our nearest and dearest and had one hell of a party. But in my memory, that adventure started out with just the two of us, rising early to load up a carload of carefully packed boxes and suitcases, then smiling with excitement as we pulled away from our home to go seal our fate.

I think I've honed my design palette on many beautiful spaces over the years. But there is one influence that really stands head and shoulders above the rest. Perhaps it's because of the memories I made over the three days our families bunked up together preceding our wedding day. Perhaps it was set in motion much earlier than that even- during the planning, scheming and dreaming in the four months that preceded that stay. But the house we were married in, will forever be the house of my dreams.

The four bedroom, five bath modern-regency style house was built in 1967 and is situated on a winding street of old money estates, built by the likes of Palmer, Kriesel and Alexander, in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood in Palm Springs.

I always wondered about the home owners. I wondered how they could even temporarily share such a magnificent space with group of total strangers ready to get their party on. I thought they must be crazy to willingly open their palatial front doors and allow a crowd of wedding crashers to do "the lawnmower" and "the shopping cart" across their beautifully polished terrazzo floors.

I know I could not do it.

If it were mine, I wouldn't share it with anyone... except maybe 150 of my nearest and dearest.

Images Via


Monday, May 14, 2012

10 Rules for a Happy Marriage...

I can't believe it's Monday again. Where did last week go? Come to think of it, where did the week before that go?

It feels like things are moving pretty fast lately; events, work, projects and to-do lists are constantly pulling at us and sometimes it feels like we're not stopping to smell the roses.

This week, The Mister and I will mark another year of marriage. What a perfect opportunity to pause and reflect on how far we've come together and on all of the wonderful things that are happening- RIGHT NOW. And just like the start of a New Year, it's also a great occasion to resolve to do better.

I found a few noteworthy reminders to help us kick off a new day- and another year.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

{Project Reveal} Striped Drapery Panels

Anybody who visits our home can read between the lines rather quickly. Stripes are a house favorite. True, we may have wandered off recently into chevron territory, but we're starting to right our path and return to the bold basic that started it all. 

See, I've sort of let my freak flag fly with all the color and pattern hanging around in my Home Office lately. I originally considered some solid, panels to help balance out all that activity and even thought of hanging a simple valance in lieu of the drapes. Maybe it was the strong feelings I had for the black and white patterns in Tenka Gammelgard's studio or the zig-zag curtains that hang confidently behind Kelley Moore's desk, but once I had the notion for black and white stripes in my head, there was no shaking it. 

I searched high and low for a fabric with just the right stripe width and spent some time combing Pinterest for some DIY inspiration, until I remembered my go-to table cloth fabric at IKEA. 

There was however a slight catch (isn't there always?) //: the pattern runs vertically and I wanted horizontal stripes. I put my thinking cap on and cut two 55" pieces for each panel and then sewed them together with the stripes running horizontally like I envisioned.  The result appears seamless.  I'll admit, the pattern is bold. But it's brought to order by some tidy pleating up top that came together in a snap.

Not bad for a gal who got a D in her only sewing class. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Exterior Renovation Update {Recessed Lighting}

With the addition of some recessed lighting in the entry way, things are suddenly a lot brighter around these parts.

We're slowly making our way down the ol' punch list.

Deadline for all major projects: July 1.

By then, we hope to be slowly floating our way across the ol' pool.

There's still so much to be done.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Glass Half Full

I got just the right mix of relaxation and productivity over the weekend and woke up this morning really feeling like my glass is half full.

CELEBRATED. Spent the afternoon and evening catching up at a friend's fabulous Cinco de Mayo fete. 'Course, we cheered on our favorite ponies and threw back a julep or two with our tacos as well.   I'm usually in full-on hostess mode at our gatherings and it was just so nice to sit and sip this time around.  And what a party it was. My face hurt from so much smiling. Shout out to my friend Laura for being the hostess with the mostest...

ACCOMPLISHED. Saturday morning and the whole of the day Sunday was spent scratching some stuff off that to-do list. Lots of weeding and prepping around these parts. New plants and paint (!) will soon grace our abode. My hands and arms are still smarting from pulling out nearly 100 rusty nails from our eaves. I bet they've been hanging there since the first Christmas Holtwood House ever saw back in '67.  I also nearly finished the new drapery panels for my office. Can't wait to reveal them in all their graphic glory to you later this week.

CLEANSED. Last week I battled through a mini-cleanse. It was rough. I felt pretty awful the entire week. But I woke Saturday feeling stronger and more energized than I've felt in quite some time. True, Saturday's celebration may have derailed me (just slightly), but I was back on that horse, eating clean and taking care of the ol' bod by Sunday morning. I feel committed. Food as fuel and not as entertainment. I may just ride that mantra right into a bikini this summer.

There are a lot of topics I've been chewing on of late and I hope to strike up a conversation with you all about them this week. Until then, here's wishing you a fabulous start to a new week...


Friday, May 4, 2012

Weekend Hair

All images via


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Black Lamp Shades

I've recently realized that many of my favorite rooms feature lamps with black lamp shades. Black shades- especially when paired with an oversized mid-century ceramic lamp make such a glamorous statement in a room.

Behold. Probably one of my most favorite spaces ever published. From the terrazzo floors, to the grasscloth wall in the background and furniture placement in the foreground, this one photographer's shot encompasses a lot of the things that make me say "dream home". But it's the massive vintage lamps with their oversized glossy black shades that draw me in every time I look at it.

With far moodier hues, this room is also a favorite of mine. The white ceramic lamp sort of lightens the load here. But can you imagine it with a shade in any other color?

The glass bases disappear into the background here, emphasizing the black shades which frame the art hanging on the wall. It is such a sophisticated arrangement. 

Danish Magazine Rum Via Solid Fog 
An atypical arrangement hung so low over a desk, but in this space, it's all about the shades and the moody glow they cast.  

A room with many statements, but it works for me. The tall vintage floor lamp with black drum shade adds symmetry and keeps the room balanced.

And then there's this one... sort of the end all be all vintage lamp with black shade combo for me.

I loved this so much, I set out to model not one, but two of the lamps in  my own home after it. Wanna see?

I already owned these lamps and I really like them. But the browntown shades that came with them were not working for me at all, so much so that I actually considered replacing the lamps altogether. The fact of the matter is, lamp shades are expensive. I had tracked some I liked down online, but also spent weeks checking my local Home Goods store to see if I couldn't better the price. They often have shades stocked at some very affordable prices. But black shades are rare- even more rare is the size I was after. So I had a couple of choices. I could live with the brown shades, I could buck up and pay the $40 per shade or I could try and paint the shades with some black fabric paint I had, with the hope that my little DIY would pan out.

It did. Especially once I sprayed the insides of the shade with metallic gold. I'm going to confess, I did try wrapping the inside of the shades first with metallic gold contact paper like Jenny. But unlike Jenny, I just couldn't get it to lay flat enough on the inside, despite my best efforts. So I ditched that idea and grabbed the spray can.

I'm tickled pink at how they turned out. The fact that I saved $80 makes this project even more satisfying.

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