l o v e l y t h i n g s


Company's coming . . .

Have you ever arrived for a dinner party and wondered if you had the right night? When people arrive at our front door...they never have to wonder.  From the moment our guests arrive we want people to feel relaxed and know they are going to have a wonderful evening.  There are only 14 Saturday nights between Memorial Day and Labor Day...so we want to make it worth their evening.  We may start our evening by having drinks on the bluff to catch the sun setting over Catalina then come back to our house for dinner.  If we are going to be having drinks on the bluff, that means everything from the house to the menu has to be completely thought out and organized so no one is waiting too long for dinner.  We usually bring a cheese or antipasta platter down to the bluff.  Dinner is served back at the house and it needs to be something that is ready to go.  
Doors are open and candles are lit . . .

This is what our guests see when they arrive and this is what they might be listening to. . .  It may seem a little cliche, but even when we lived back east we would play the Beach Boys.  This music just gets the party started. Have a great weekend!


Boy's Room

Patrick's room....not the suite that his sister has, but boys need more space than the confines of  bedroom.  We have a three car garage that accommodates lots of boys and activities like ping pong and of course a big screen TV (which came with the house).  How convenient is that?    Bed is from West Elm, Saarinen night table and IKEA lamp.

His closet doors open out...I hate sliding doors because you lose that space in the middle.  His bathroom is painted almost black (the 2nd to the darkest shade at Restoration Hardware) and the floor is black and white.
Part of keeping everything organized is having a place for everything.  Behind his door there are shelves and drawers.  He has a mini monument collection...what kid doesn't, right?  We added an outlet for the shelf which holds his Yankee Stadium.

We've had these IKEA locker cabinets forever and I just can't bring myself to get rid of them because they provide a lot of storage.  Under his window seat are three deep drawers.  One for school uniforms, one for sports clothing and one for t-shirts and shorts.  No need for a dresser.
I chose an old fashioned sink, all white subway tile and hooks.  I always go with hooks over towel bars.  I found the biggest ones I could in hopes I would find his towel on it and not the floor.  These are the Sophia hooks from Pottery Barn. 

Yep...that's a urinal.


Small But Charming . . . flowers in the house

Jane at Small But Charming is having another Flowers in the "Hot" House Party.   I love bringing flowers into the house and Jane always has me thinking beyond the assortment at Trader Joe's.  This is what I've come up with in the last couple of weeks.  What about you?
I made this arrangement as I was cutting back all of my herbs. . . Everything was flowering at the same time. 

I love hydrangeas at any stage and any color.

I must admit it's not very "hot" here in Southern California along the coast.  It seems to be hot just about everywhere else.  Hope you are someplace cool!



a sweet suite

This is our daughter, Madeline's room.  It's actually a suite combining two little rooms, a bathroom and a walk-in closet.  Her friends call it her "doll house" and my husband refers to it as her NYC apartment, only in California.

This sitting room is using space above the garage.  It has three windows on the side and three windows in front which is her closet.  You can see the space here on House Exterior - Before and After.
This little corner of her room is a great spot to keep her magazines.  She loves magazines as much as I do! 
Looking into her sitting room from her bedroom.  There are two steps down which provides extra seating for her friends.
This little hutch is from Room and Board.  It's great for storage, but she never liked that you could see what was inside before we added the fabric on the inside of the doors.  We have yet to make pillows with all the beautiful fabrics we found at http://maisonnetteoceanside.com/We cut two pieces of fabric and attached them inside with bright pink tape.  No sewing involved, but problem solved!
Her desk is from West Elm, chair is from IKEA.  When I started to photograph her room I took a look around and hardly changed a thing.  This is how her room looks most of the time...she's amazingly neat for a teenager.
She loves her inspiration board and keeps finding little spots for new things she finds.
Her bed is tucked into the corner.  I had given measurements to our contractor, but when the furniture was moved in we had a bit of a problem.  The bed did not fit the space.  We tried to move the furniture around, but there was no place large enough for the bed.   The contractor had to add wheels to the bed so that it can be pulled out to make.  There is a little cubby that holds a small lamp, book and glass of water.
My husband built this piece when we were first married.  It has been painted a creamy white distressed finish in the shabby chic days.  Then it was in our living room painted black as a bar for years.  Now it has found its way into Madeline's room and holds her books, perfume bottles and inside the drawer, her jewelry.
We lined the drawer with pink construction paper and placed all her little bowls and plates to keep her jewelry safe and free from tangles.  Each has a story of where it's from and why it's special.  The blue stripe one is from her 8th grade Latin trip to Rome, the one next to it with the pink rose is from Melissa's adorable shop, Bixby & Ball.
Her bathroom is tiny too...so impossible to photograph.  We added white painted brick on one wall to give it an old feeling.    She has some storage to the left of the toilet with pullout drawers.  The tub/shower is all white subway tile.
I designed board and batten walls for each room in the house.  I love the texture and warmth it adds.  The photo was taken with a cheap underwater camera when Madeline, age 10 was snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.  I almost didn't process the film thinking it would not be worth it!  I was so surprised!

Some day I will have a painting made like this by Jane Mount for each of my kids.  I know Madeline's list of favorites will include a few of these.


summer colors at home

Lemon lime has always made me think of hot summer days.  This beautiful lime green hydrangea was hiding, just waiting to be picked and brought into the house.

I adore Glassybaby votives for a million reasons.  I wrote about them here.  They come in so many colors and to see them is one thing, but to have them in your home lit by a votive or by the natural light...they are truly amazing in any color.  These just happen to go well with my summer color theme. 
Nothing says summer more than fresh guacamole.  I make it the simplest way possible with few ingredients and it's sooooo good!

2 ripe avocados
about one TBSP small diced red onion
1 garlic clove minced
a squeeze of fresh lemon & lime
about 5 or 6 splashes of Tobasco
salt &pepper
Mash the avocados with a fork and add the other ingredients and serve!  Enjoy!


perfect summer salad

My sister made this delicious watermelon salad last night and to us, it is the perfect summer salad to accompany just about any meal. 

Two Handfuls baby arugula, washed and spun dry
One small, seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler

For the dressing:
Juice of one or two lemons
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
whisk together and pour over salad to moisten and serve immediately. 



Summertime + red and white

I loved the red and white napkins from my last post.  I wish I could find a source where to buy them, but the decor of Heirloom restaurant reminded me of how much I love the combination of red and white and not just at the holidays.
There's something about indoor chairs outside that just make it a little more special. 

I think my friend Lisa just rolled her eyes at my selection of wine.  We love Columbia Crest wine...is that terrible?  It's  only $6.99 a bottle.   Lisa lived in France for a few years and she gave us this linen towel on one of our visits to Paris.   And since it went with my red and white theme...I guess I should have picked up a few bottles of French wine.

I usually use lanterns...now I remember why....we had to constantly light these from the breeze, but it was a beautiful night.  We served a grilled tri-tip steak, Amber's slaw, Parmesan smashed potatoes and freshly baked bread.
I always love red geraniums.

Staying with my summer red and white theme, we had strawberry shortcake for dessert.

 A new little baking dish from Gelson's.
I filled it with lemons and the ceramic one in front was made by daughter in art class.  My kids always notice when I bring something they've made out and find a new place for it.  The older I get the more cherished these little things are to me.


Noshing in New Haven

I think it's safe to say we found one of the hippest spots to have a bite to eat in New Haven, Connecticut on our trip to the East Coast.  We took Metro North to the New Haven station, toured the Yale campus and found ourselves to be quite hungry and by this time it was close to 3 o'clock.  We stumbled upon The Study at Yale  and inside the hotel was the restaurant, Heirloom.  We missed the lunch menu by seconds, but were happy with the bar menu.  On a trip like this, we walked for miles so we did not feel the least bit guilty in the amount of calories we were about to consume...at least not at that moment. 
I have to admit I kind of love that she still orders a Shirley Temple.  
Heirloom  is a beautiful restaurant that serves "coastal farm cooking" according to the website.  The hotel has amazing summer rates, so if you find yourself passing through New Haven on I-95 I would highly recommend checking it out.
We took Metro North from Grand Central.  The trip is a bit longer than we expected, but the New Haven train station is small and lovely.  It was a pretty easy walk to campus.  It looked like rain so on the way back we grabbed a cab from the hotel to catch our train to NYC.
The Yale campus on a summer day.


Happy 4th of July!

It's all red, white and blue....are you showing your colors?

I love these little ikat bowls from Anthopologie.

NY Cheesecake at Grand Central Market.

Can you think of a better lunch than fresh guacamole and an ice cold beer?
I'm loving these chips from Trader Joe's.

Ready for the beach...

I loved the Martha Stewart Living cover this month...it has been on top of the magazine pile ever since it arrived.