Before and After: Vintage Child’s Rocker and Flea Market This Weekend

Here’s a quick peek at a rocking chair I redid this weekend.  It’s a child’s rocker and although it was really sturdy, it needed some help:

Here’s the before:

And here are the afters:


Excuse the blurry photo above.  I was definitely rushing with this photo shoot…

It’s in ASCP Primer Red with Duck Egg Blue underneath.  I thought it would be a sweet combo for the winter and also could be a little country touch in a nursery.

Also, just a reminder to all my Bay Area followers, Camille of The Vintique Object and I will be sharing a booth at the Alameda Antiques Faire this weekend, Sunday November 4th.  We will be booth Q3 so please stop by and say hi!

Moroccan tiles

Four years ago when we bought this house I began planning a redesign of our kitchen.  If you have been reading this blog you know where we started:


And where we ended up:

But for most of the time I was planning the redesign I was 100% sure I wanted Moroccan cement tiles for our backsplash.  These are the ones I had chosen:



I still LOVE these tiles, I just chickened out.  I got worried that I would get tired of them after a while as I do with almost everything, and then I would be stuck with a pretty hard to remove design element.  I always caution clients against going too bold with fixed elements so I took my own advice.  We now have marble:


And I love it.  But I still dream of using these tiles one day.  Maybe when we live in a little Spanish style cottage when the kids are grown.  In the meantime, here are some more beautiful cement tiles from Mosaic House:









And here are some beautiful images of Moroccan cement tiles from my Pinterest board:






Source: via The Urban Orchard on Pinterest


Source: via The Urban Orchard on Pinterest

What about you? Have you ever gone bold with a fixed design element before?  How did it turn out and do you still love it?

Before and After: Tiger Oak Buffet

I’ve been storing this piece outside for the last couple of months and the rain is coming so it was time to photograph it before I store it for the flea market in November.  I found this gorgeous large buffet that was just in need of some TLC.  Here is the before:

After some refinishing and 3 layers of ASCP (Primer Red, Old White and Chateau Grey), here is the after:

This would definitely be a statement piece in someone’s home.  It’s big and has beautiful lines.

I love the top!  This wood grain is so amazing and makes this piece so special–That, and the thickness of the wood block top.

And look how substantial and beautiful these corbel scrolls are!  They also have that beautiful graining pattern.

This piece will be for sale at the flea market or if you are local and want to pre-order it, check out my shop page.  The same is true for anything listed there.  If it’s not listed as sold, it will be going to the Alameda Pointe Antiques Faire with me on November 4th.  Camille, Wendy and I will be hosting another booth and I’m so looking forward to it!

House Tour: Master Bedroom

Sorry to have been away for a week or so.  We had a small break in last week and someone stole my laptop!  The good thing to come of it is that we are finally  investing in a security system.  We’ve been meaning to for years…

I wanted to add another room to the house tour since it has recently undergone some changes.  You may remember I found that barley twist four-poster bed at my favorite salvage store not too long ago.  After dealing with the finish which was a pinkish beige stain from 1987, here is the new bed:


It’s hard to tell from these photos but the cover is actually a dark grey linen.  The comforter at the foot of the bed is a faded ticking stripe.


 Our bedroom is a lot smaller now as we moved from a double to a CA king but so far I am really happy with having a larger bed–especially since we frequently have little visitors. :)  Although this room is about the same size as the boys’ room, it lacks the large bay window.  We chose to make this one the master for several reasons though, one of which is this view from the window next to that chair above.  Here’s our view:

Not as great as many around the Bay Area but we are at the bottom of a big hill and surrounded by so many large buildings that seeing roof tops and tree tops was a big bonus for me!  I hope to someday make that window much larger or add a small roof deck with a glass door opening to it there.

 This is the view facing the other way.  The bed is painted in ASCP Old White.  The dresser will probably go on sale soon.  It was supposed to be temporary but here it sits 2 years later!  The mirror was an old garden gate I turned into a little trumeau.  The vintage brass light was an estate sale find.


 The chair needs recovering but I love the green.

 The swing arm lamps are new too.  I ordered them from Lowe’s and they were really reasonable.  Unfortunately, one doesn’t work!  I didn’t want to return it until after I took some pictures though.  Those curtains are also new–from World Market.  I love the pattern but the fabric is very cheap feeling.  One of these days maybe I’ll just add some lining to them to give them more weight.  The prints are antique lithographs of insects I ordered years ago from ebay.  I had to add a couple of weird things to the space so it wouldn’t be to sweet.  :) On my side of the bed are beetles.

Also had to share these wood block prints I got years ago at an estate sale.  I love these silly fat birds!  To the left there is our master bath and to the right is a very small walk in closet–another reason we made this the master!  That stool is an antique milking stool.

I found the green velvet of that one pillow at a discount fabric store here in Berkeley and I love it!  I have got to go back and buy more since I want to add some of these pillows to the living room as well.  It’s a versatile green that works well for fall and winter.

Click here for a small glimpse of our bedroom before the new bed and lamps, etc.

Fabric Love

Here are some fabric collections I am loving right now from Spoonflower:  I could spend hours browsing this site…

Jellies on black


Jellyfish on black


Jellyfish Dots on black



All fabric above by Jellymania on Spoonflower.  Aren’t they amazing?  So gorgeous on the black background and I could see it in so many applications–from a kid’s room to a beach house to really bold statement on a wing-back chair.

All fabrics below are by Holli Zollinger on Spoonflower.  There are several because I love every fabric she designs:






























And this next one is a beautiful stripe that I’m using for a client in a living room project–also from Holli Zollinger:



Do you have a favorite fabric designer lately?  I love a good fabric recommendation!

Boys’ Bedroom Redo Sneak Peek

The boys’ room has needed help for a while.  It’s a great room with great bones (probably the best bedroom in the house) but basically always looked like a toy store exploded in it.  I definitely needed to get in there and clean out old toys but the set up in general just wasn’t conducive to play either.  Also, the blue (a color my oldest chose when he was three) made a room with big windows and plenty of light feel dark.  Here are the befores:

The mural was cute a few years ago but now just felt sloppy and dated.

So, after donating a bunch of old toys, painting and rearranging things, Things are starting to look better.  I still have several projects to finish–painting a bookshelf, getting new duvets, making a new cushion for the bay window, but here’s where we are now:

The curtains over the bay window serve several purposes; They block out light.  They close to make the bench a little stage.  And they also close to give a little privacy for two boys sharing the same room.  One can sit in the window and read a book and close the curtain and feel a little more separated from his brother.  Privacy and providing a way to get a break from each other was a big concern for this redo.  I plan to make a new seat cushion for the bay window too of black ticking stripe and then add some throw pillows.

The art above the bookshelf are pages from a vintage 1970s calendar featuring scenes from The Hobbit.

The vintage/antique maps are of various CA and Bay Area locations.  The dresser looks so much better now!  I kind of hated it in the old room but now I actually think it’s pretty…

The chalkboard paint on the walls was barely dry before they started writing on it!  What is it about writing on walls?  I just love chalkboard paint for how much depth it adds to a space.  The table and chairs are vintage school chairs that I painted.  I did the metal of the chairs in ASCP Graphite and the table in BM Agave.  The stripes on the wall are Agave too.

The bed area still needs work.  I moved their tall bookshelf to the end of the bed–I still need to paint the back of it.  I like that it creates a little cave out of the beds as well as an entryway to the room.  I also need to get some bedding to cover those comforters and some lighting.  We’ve used baskets under the bed for years as extra clothes storage and love it.  It’s easy for them to get to and I don’t have to have another dresser in the room to store all the clothes.

That’s it so far.  I’ll post more photos when I get it really finished and styled.  I’m just happy I can walk across the floor in there now without breaking my neck!

Why Eclectic Is Here To Stay

Eclectic design is everywhere these days and has become so ubiquitous it is really what most people are talking about when they say contemporary.  There are many variations of course: farmhouse eclectic, boho chic, contemporary eclectic, etc.  A decade or two ago, eclectic design conjured images of your crazy aunt’s house that looked like a garage sale exploded in it with tchotchkes everywhere, dark oppressive colors, and a combination of styles of furniture that would give you a headache.  But I bet your crazy aunt loved her crazy house and it was truly collected.  It represented all the things she loved in her life however badly it all might have looked together.

But now eclectic is pared down with white or neutral backgrounds and interspersed with clean lines to give your eye a place to rest.  It’s thoughtful eclectic or contemporary eclectic–not busy or cluttered feeling, but with a collected feeling giving warmth to spare design.  It also draws your attention to the collected or eclectic items in a room so they are appreciated instead of lost in the shuffle.  This is why your great grandmother’s Victorian settee can work with the Eames chair you just bought at DWR and the Moroccan side table.






Source: via Heidi on Pinterest



Source: via cate on Pinterest





Whenever clients ask me for a trend-proof design, one that they won’t have to update in 5-10 years, I give them a variation of this answer:  The only design items that are trend-proof are the ones you love.  If you really love a particular trend, go for it!  But if you overdo it, be prepared to have to update it in about 5-10 years.  Do you love painted furniture?  Find one piece you love and incorporate it into your overall design.  But don’t paint every piece in your living room.  Do you love industrial?  Add an industrial light fixture you adore or a rustic metal coffee table you scored at a flea market but be cautious about incorporating too many of these pieces and creating too much of a theme that you will tire of more quickly.  Do you love a particular furniture line at Restoration Hardware or Room and Board?  Buy one or two of those pieces but don’t get the whole grouping.

Things you should always be prepared to update:  fabrics and paint colors.  Throw pillows and curtains will be updated more frequently than upholstered pieces and paint colors somewhere in between.  So many people are trying to figure out how to incorporate their espresso brown leather sofa into their recently painted slate gray walls (that probably used to be beige or Tuscan red).  And no matter how much you love gray right now, we are all going to be painting over our blue-gray rooms in about 7 years :).  But I bet we’ll keep that farmhouse table/metal coffee table/funky sculpture we bought because we really loved it.

Fall Garden

You may remember in the late spring/early summer I planted a butterfly garden along our newly laid brick path.  Here’s what it looked like a couple of years ago before we laid the brick path:

And here’s what it looked like in early June right after I did all the planting:


After a summer of mild temperatures and lots of fertilizer and TLC, here’s where we are now:

Checking out a hummingbird

The ground cover hasn’t done as well as I had hoped but maybe after a winter of rain it will come in full by the spring.  The Nemesia, Sage, and Penstemon have done great and I hope they will cover the fence by spring.

Besides the garden I have been busy with a lot of other house projects I am excited to share once they are finished.  Lots of painting and other updates have been happening.  I hope to have some photos soon.

Also, a couple of client projects have been really fun for me lately and one has led me to add another color to my deep rich colors list:  BM Elk Horn

If you have unpainted woodwork in a golden or oaky tone and you are wanting to go darker but stay neutral on the walls, this is the color for you!  We painted her dining room this color to accent her 1920s home with a golden colored wood trim and it is gorgeous.  When the room is finished I will share some photos because this little swatch doesn’t do it justice–seriously!


I am currently working with a client who brought up a design issue I have been trying to solve for myself for a while now.  Living in an older home with little closet space often makes it necessary for a hamper to  be out in the open in a bedroom or even bathroom, but finding an attractive hamper is not an easy task.  I love the idea of repurposing something (an old basket of some sort?) but finding one large enough is a bit difficult as well.  Here are some options I found while searching recently:

An African woven basket:


An antique basket on Etsy:


This one from West Elm is probably too small:


I do like this wicker chest from Ballard:


This woven seagrass basket from Wisteria might be tall enough:


And these are pretty good from World Market but I worry they wouldn’t be sturdy enough:


This is the one I currently have from Crate and Barrel and it’s fine but I just think there has got to be something prettier out there:


Any ideas or suggestions?  What do you use for this necessary but not always attractive item?