• December 4, 2014

    This is not be an item, or something you can purchase, but it’s a look that seems pretty addictive. The glossy Blue Library.

    Kind of thinking of this look for the TV room in our new house. But of course I like black, coral and aqua libraries too. There is just too much to like.

    What’s you favorite color for a Library/ TV room?


    via House Beautiful


    interior design by Caitlin Wilson


    via House Beautiful


    Design by Holly Hollingsworth Phillips


    via House & Home

    Chicago Residence designed by Steven Gambrel.

    Interior design by Steven Gambrel

    Have a great weekend!





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  • December 3, 2014

    Decisions, decisions, decisions, and lots of floorplan drawings.

    Before the renovations can start I want at the basic ideas of what we are going to do to be finalized.  Since this is pretty much a gut renovation in parts of the house there are just so many decisions and so many options, it makes your head literally spin sometimes. And when you are doing it for yourself and not for a client, it can spin out of control.

    This week the tricky decision is do we add another study/small guest bedroom in the living room? Or leave it to be one big open hotel lobby type area? And even trickier, to connect the planned open kitchen/dining area with the TV room…do we remove the pretty old wine cellar that can be a bar, or the existing fireplace?

    photo 2(6)

    So I’ve been doing a lot of this…

    Screen shot 2014-12-02 at 11.05.39 PM

    …and my contractor Javier has been doing lot of this.

    Measuring and taking notes. And discussing ideas.

    I finally decided to wait until the hallways by the living room come down so I can see the big open space in real life, before making the decision about a den/study addition.  So that leaves me with the tricky TV room decision.

    To create that open modern California lifestyle I want, the opening needs to widen from the kitchen into the TV room.

    Right now its connected by a narrow door. But that means I either have to remove this pretty old wine cellar from the dining/kitchen area…


    …or the fireplace in the TV room.


    The wine cellar eats up 6 feet of space in the corner and we don’t have a wine collection. But it’s pretty and could be turned in to a double bar that serves the TV room and dining. Definitely a fun feature!

    I had made plans to remove fireplace, since it was not centered in the room, and if it stayed the TV would go above it so is was not ideal. But the last two days here in LA we finally have had lots of rain and a fireplace suddenly feels so cozy.


    Then I started looking at these double sided fireplaces and that would then give us a fireplace in the kitchen area too.

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    We would have a wall dividing as well, but could be cozy with a double sided fireplace. I’ve never had installed one before.

    Have you?


    Could be really pretty with some kind of white tile fireplace in the kitchen.


    Here is another pretty double sided fireplace.


    And here is a modern one.

    Could work well with this inspiration picture for the TV room.

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    But then the bar idea is fun…


    There is something festive about bars.

    And by removing the fireplace it would allow us to do built ins on the opposing wall for TV, since we wouldn’t have to work a fireplace in to seating plan.

    Aaaarrgh… again.

    But it’s fun. Just need a few days where I don’t need to do anything else but work on this. But I know it will more likely be some late nights.

    What would you keep?

    Fire place or wine cellar?


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  • November 30, 2014

    I hope you had  a great Thanksgiving.

    We drove up north to Santa Barbara and stayed at a beach hotel with our dogs for a couple of days.  Seeing the big blue ocean and that magnificent sunset every night its hard not to believe that there is something so much bigger than you out there. It’s my favorite place to think of all the things I have to be grateful for and realign myself with my own truth.  It’s far too easy to take things in our daily lives for granted, and worry about unnecessary things, so I’m on a mission to practice gratitude.

    (Here is a fun video on how to become the happiest person by writing your gratitude journal the right way.)

    If I had forgotten what real gratitude looked like, our dog Lucky reminded us. We brought her to the ocean to swim and run free for the first time.  (Dogs are not allowed on the beach in LA ) When she saw that great big ocean, she ran in happy circles, dove in the water, chased waves, and looked like she smiled from ear to ear.

    We all had a great stay, but agreed the best of it was watching this rescue dog have so much joy and gratitude.


    Lucky’s first visit with the ocean.


    Tasting salty water.



    Happy runs.


    Chasing her friend.


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    We stayed until the sun was completely gone.



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  • November 25, 2014

    I can’t wait to move in to our new place. I want to wake up on a chilly but sunny California morning with a cup of coffee in hand and enjoy that beautiful view.

    But first we need to renovate!

    Although the house was lovingly cared for by the previous owners it hasn’t been renovated since -67.  And the way people lived in the 60′s is not the way we live today. There was a hidden away kitchen with a separate dining room and the formal living room.  The cook slaved away alone in the kitchen, the family ate in the dining room, and if they had a party they entertained in the living room.  Today we live a more causal lifestyle and most people, including myself, prefer an open floor plan.

    So this week I’m reworking the floor plans to create that irresistible southern California indoor/outdoor open floor plan living I’ve been swooning over. With the sunny 70 degree weather year around it’s a must! And more than anything I love to enter a house when I can see straight out to the view.

    photo 1(7)

    The goal is:





    photo 3(1)


    The house is shaped like a boomerang, long and narrow, with all the rooms facing the pool. But a hallway goes along the entire back of the house kind of like a hotel corridor or railroad apartment.

    So to change that, we need to remove a lot of walls!!!

    Screen shot 2014-11-21 at 9.04.55 PM

    Hallways can be pretty, but they are just there to transfer you from one place to another in a house. So to gain useable square footage that we can actually live in, most of the long hallways will be removed.


    By removing the hallway we’ll also be able to immediately enjoy the mountain view as soon as you enter the house.


    This is what we get to see:


    This is what we are planning for the kitchen area:


    Kurt Gibbs my architect friend drew up some plans from my sketches- (the latest version not in here widens the hall.)  The existing kitchen, dining and Den will become one open area.

    While not exactly the style we are doing, I love that open hotel lobby floor plan look in the pictures below.


    I’ve been doing some serious MLS real estate stalking this last year and have seen that a lot in LA.

    The open space makes a home feel bigger, and it brings the people in the home together in a nice way.  The best part is you will actually USE every area of your home.


    And this is what the plan is for the master bath area….


    The his and her bathrooms will become one large space with a big tub, and the sauna becomes a double shower. The dropped 60′s ceiling will be removed to expose beams and gain height. The rest of the space will be used for a his and her closet. Because I really believe every woman wants a walk in closet and not have to share it with her man!!  And the woman of course needs a much bigger closet…



    I hope I didn’t bore you with all those floor plans, but I just love figuring those out, like solving a puzzle.

    It’s so much fun to take the design from scratch, think about how you want to live, what lifestyle suits you, and figure out how to get the most out of the existing foot print of the house.  I also love the challenge of seeing how cost effective you can do it, and how to gain the most value for your home.  You don’t want renovate yourself out of the area, instead do improvements that add value to your property.

    photo 2

    When we left Virginia we dreamed of finding a house with lemon trees. We had not see any here first, but behind the house hidden up on the hill there they were… two lemon trees FILLED with lemons.

    Guess we don’t need to by lemons anymore. I’m sorry but that really excites me!

    I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebrating with people you love.




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