Tag Archives: decor

The Right Stuff

Decorator Joe Nye’s Beverly Hills apartment is featured in this month’s House Beautiful.  The answer to the question posed on this month’s cover, “What Makes A Room Look Great?” in Joe Nye’s case is stuff–but not just stuff–glorious stuff–colorful stuff–the right stuff.

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Meanwhile back in Rockridge I’m trying to get rid of all my stuff.  But Joe’s apartment inspired an epiphany–I’m not only getting rid of stuff–I’m making room for the right stuff.

Click here to see the full spread (if you like flowers the apartment/photos are filled with them).

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Blatant Advertising

It’s been kind of quiet on the blog because I’ve been spending most of my time doing a major overhaul of the house.  I’m organizing, and in order to get organized I’m getting rid of a lot of “stuff.”  I’ve sold books, CDs, and DVDs to Pendragon and Amoeba, clothes to Pretty Penny and Crossroads etc. etc.  Now I’m at the furniture stage.  Anyone interested in my DWR bookcases?  You can check out my enticing Craigslist ad here. SOLD

DWR says: “When fully loaded, the bookcase virtually disappears behind the books.”

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Just watch the Sapien bookcase disappear!

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Lace Windows

In many windows, both in France and Spain, you’ll see the insides lined with lace curtains.  Many are floral patterns, or highly repetitive designs, but some have complete scenes with people and places.  Here are two of my favorites from my walks around little towns.

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A window in Apt

balloons

Hot air ballons over town

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A window in Bonnieux

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Angel

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We Made It To Spain

Of course between Paris, Marseille, Lourmarin, Guéthary, and Hondarribia (Hondarribia is the Basque, but the town is also known as Fuenterrabía in Spanish and Fontarabie in French), much is missing from my typically daily entries here.  That noted, we are very happy to be in Spain.  This part of Europe is especially striking due to the stark constrast in food, language, and terrain found just across the border from one country to another.  A twenty or thirty minute drive from Biarritz and we’re in a whole other world.  We landed in Hondarribia, in the old quarter of town at an amazing hotel called Obispo, housed in what was a 15th century palace.  I love this place.  It’s charming–old yet comfortable, and impeccably kept including all the amenities a modern girl could want (WiFi!  while it was fun to be liberated, it is fun to reconnect too).

We arrived slightly exhausted from all the fun we had with our friends, the vacationing Parisians, in Guéthary (is it possible to have too much fun?) so we did the unthinkable and sat down to dinner at 8:30 (does it count that it hasn’t been before 10PM or finished before 12AM for the last week?).  The Hotel Obispo recommended Sebastián, which happens to be just around the corner (no walk or drive to the new part of town necessary).  It looks beautiful from the outside, so it wasn’t hard to draw us in.  Here is our meal in pictures and a few words (I was too relaxed to remember to take any establishing shots, but the restaurant’s website has a good virtual tour and great historical photographs too).

sebastian window

The restaurant’s website states that “[the space] was a grocery shop several centuries ago [and] the most representative elements of the shop are still conserved, such as the window displays and glass cases once displaying the groceries which supplied numerous generations of residents of Hondarribia.”  Here are various bottles (age unknown) in the window display case.

our view

We ate upstairs.  This was our view; a window box planted with purple amaranth and ivy.  Across the street are window boxes with red and white geraniums.

upstairs

The upstairs dining area.  Note that we are among the first present for dinner…there was one other couple across from us.  The benefit of the early hour is great photographs.  I loved the alternating colors between the beams on the ceiling.  Only a Spanish chef/restaranteur could pull that off.  Honestly.

chefs suggestions

These are the beautiful cards containing the chef’s suggestions for the evening.  Qué bonita!  Las ilustraciones sólo!

tablecloth

An essential component of any fine dining experience: fine linens for the table.  I found Sebastián’s particularly soothing due to a delicate pique.

txacoli

Txacoli: it has become as essential to my existence as Almodóvar.  Sin txacoli lo que es la vida?  These tall cups (unlike the shorter versions I am used to drinking Spanish wine in) are very cool.  It is like drinking liquid ambrosia, the liquid of life.  The wine is produced in the countryside outisde of Hondarribia.

txacoli autentico

Don’t be fooled by any imitations; the “Getariako Txacolina” sticker across the foil is as essential as any Bordeaux A.O.C.  It is an extremely limited area in which these special grapes are grown, and the special wine produced.

gazpacho

Ah gazpacho, con una anchoa y algún aceite de oliva bueno

monkfish

Monkfish and shrimp–preparation unknown, rather forgotten, in a good bottle of Txacoli

tuna

The “taco de atun rojo de Hondarribia a la parilla.”  With my limited Spanish I have little clue what I ate (sorry).  I half expected some tuna in a corn tortilla.  Wrong.  What came was 1,000 times better.  It tasted like the most beautiful tuna steak seared in a deep seasoned pan of pork fat–there was surely a strong bacon-ish element that was delicious.  On the side are some crispy onions and a drizzle of parsely-seasoned olive oil.  Amazing.

brick of chocolate

I can’t be sure because I forgot to photograph the menu, but I am fairly certain that this dessert was advertised as the “chocolate brick.”  It delivered as advertised.

Overall an extremely successful first night in Spain.  We will indubitably return to Sebastián–did I mention the service is impeccable?  If, for nothing else, the fine pique linens!  Salut!

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Guest Room Flowers

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Flower of the Day: Peony

Peonies are sort of always my flower of the day.  They are just amazing.  I wonder if there are those out there who don’t like peonies?

I was perusing this month’s House Beautiful, which features their favorites of everything.  To give those favorites a personal touch, HB included profiles of fifteen or so notable designers, many of whom name peonies as their favorite flower.  While many like pink Sarah Bernhardt, I like the ones that open so that you can see all the yellow stamens, which always make a nice contrast to the color of the petals.

While trying to find out more about one of my favorite peonies, Coral Charm, I came across a chart that explains the different types of peonies, ranging from “single” blooms to “Japanese” and “bomb,” all of which describe the flower’s style of opening.  The chart can be found at the bottom of this page here. These beautiful Coral Charm peonies are “semi-double.”  Semi-double style peonies “contain filaments which have widened irregularly, making petaloids of varying widths throughout which stamens are mixed. The guard petals may or may not be clearly differentiated.” Exciting stuff right?

peony fullFor more luscious pictures of Coral Charm Continue reading

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A Dangerous Link

Harvey Clars is a small auction house just a hope skip and a jump from Rockridge on Telegraph underneath the 24 (the fact that I call it the 24 as opposed to “24” reveals my Southern California roots apparently).  I’ve heard that one can cultivate a serious addiction between the random, “fun,” and odd items in their catalogs and the extremely low prices.   Honestly I’m a little scared to step foot in the place lest I succumb to the addiction and turn my house in the Rockridge version of the Winchester Mystery House stocked with memorabilia from Clars, but I may not be able to resist the temptation of the spectacle much longer.  What’s catching my eye in this weekend’s catalog (buyers beware!):

marotte folie

Lot 15: Marotte Folie German bisque head doll

Marotte Folie German bisque head and shoulder plate with a curly blonde wig and hand-painted features with fixed blue paperweight eyes, and an open mouth revealing four teeth, the head sitting atop a music box concealed within a drum shaped torso on a celluloid handle that also serves as a whistle, dressed in a jester’s costume, impressed 3200 AM (Armand Marseille) 12/0 DEP, with origninal box, 11” to hat

Pretty psychotic looking I know, but there’s something about the combination of heavy eyebrows, big earrings, and prominent chompers that makes this girl my totem and taboo all rolled into one.  You must read the description carefully–the celluloid handle also serves as a whistle!

blue and white

Lot 106: Chinese Underglazed Blue Porcelain Vases/Lamps

(lot of 2) Chinese blue-and-white porcelain vases, now mounted as lamps, the first encircled by stiff leaves to the neck, with the body further decorated with stylized patterns on a leiwen ground, vase 17.75”h; the other painted with mock animal head handles to the neck above dissolving archaistic mythical beasts, vase: 17.5”h

There is only one bedside lamp in I.’s and my marital bedroom.  A year and a half later we are still married, but two moderately matching bedside lamps would be a welcome addition to the family.

bookshelf

Lot 519: Multi-tiered, sectional circular bookshelf

Mahogany multi-tiered, sectional circular bookshelf having shaped finial, faux classic literary selection dividers, rotating top, with lion bask ring pull handles and paw feet, 66”h x 34”d

Either so wrong it’s right or simply wrong wrong wrong!  I’m still fascinated by it either way.  I can’t imagine where in the world it would go, either in my home or any other, but the fact that Clars has it has me tickled.  The strange lion’s head at the base–is that a door knocker?  Is this bookcase in actuality a vortex to another world?  Will C.S. Lewis meet me on the other side with a tray of Turkish Delight?

Happy bidding!

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