Argus Kitchen Remodel

I am elated to be working with the coolest clients on their kitchen and laundry room remodel in Eaglerock. We are gutting the space, knocking out walls, reworking doorways, tearing up the floor and relocating major components for optimal flow and function. The highlights include new built-in window seating, a working island and a space plan that draws the eyes to the backyard and frames the bay window as the focal point.  The design concept combines the warmth and artistry of a Craftsman, with

clean modern lines

and a dash of mid-century. This active family will have 3x more storage and a cozy sun filled space they will never want to leave (unless they sell the house later for a



This kitchen and I could live happily ever after, if I wasn't already happily married, and if marrying kitchens were legal. Instead, I'll settle by naming my first born Argus, that will be sufficient.

Here are the initial vibe board and drawings...


Another IKEA Bookcase Hack

To say this blog has awakened from hibernation is an overstatement. Let us call it what it is, half asleep, with one eyelid open just long enough post this DIY, and get a snack. 

We converted our detached garage into an office space. We built up the base of this bookcase so the whole unit fits pretty snug underneath our posh garage door.  Unfortunately, the garage door must remain in tact for city permit purposes.  Tutorials of this DIY can be found on Bliss at Home & Little Green Notebook.

Just tweak it to suit your needs and style!  The standard 10" deep Billy Bookcase is too shallow for loads of fabric samples, so we opted for the Pax wardrobe, which is 13.75" depth.  The paint color is Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist. 

Step 1

Sand, prime and paint your white Ikea Bookcases. Using the right primer for laminate surfaces will make or break your project. Only use Zinsser Shellac-Based Primer, it smells like death, but it's the only product that has a true bond, and will keep your paint from peeling.  

Step 2

Build a base and assemble the cabinets.  We built a box frame for the bookcase using 2 x 4’s, to lift the bottom shelf off the ground; giving it a nice tall base.  Make sure the width and length of the box frame are perfectly flush with the face and sides of the bookcase.  While assembling the bookcases, we tossed out the flimsy backer boards, and replaced them with sturdy ¼” plywood from Lowes. This was a more reliable surface for the applying the wallpaper paste and grasscloth.

Step 3

Position bookcases on top of box frame. Align and tighten bookcases to each other using Ikea provided hardware.

Step 4

Before applying your wood trims, earthquake-proof your hard work by anchoring the top of each bookcase to studs in the wall.

Step 5

Apply wood base facia and trim to box frame and lower portion of bookcase, covering all seams for a built-in look. Countersink the nails to secure for a smooth surface, necessary for puttying and painting.

Step 6

Using joint compound, putty over all nail holes, seams and those pre-drilled mounting holes, let dry overnight, then sand. Repeat until surfaces are buttery smooth, then paint 2-3 coats for full coverage.

Step 7

Style your shelves. 


Bellini Bedroom

Well friends, Sunday is over, let's pour a glass of wine and talk about Monday… 

The latest project is a bedroom remodel for a lovely fem.  We’re recalling memories of parisian hotels and embracing femininity in hues of a heavenly bellini sunset.

I had to think outside the womb, in other words: DON'T DESIGN A GIANT WOMB.

Replusing male visitors would be grounds for immediate termination. So, I balanced the fem hues with soft grey walls, incorporating modern lines, layering linens with silks, natural washed wood furniture, brass accents and plush textures like feathers and fur. 

The space is restful with a dose of sexy. If you entered this room, wouldn't you immediately get a toothy-grin and sway your hips?

Walls: Benjamin Moore Lacey Pearl & Ceiling: AbaloneDrapes: Custom silk jacquard

Art Chandelier Leather Rocker Mirror Pillows Rug

The dresser is from a sample sale, somewhere in the armpit of armpits of Los Angeles.

Restful, feminine Inspiration Bedrooms:

 (Angie Hranowsky)

 (Celerie Kemble)


master's thesis

The final Thesis as required by Cal State Poly Pomona’s Master of Interior Architecture department, is a grueling 2-part project that involves a sacrificial spring lamb, or a young wild goat of your choice. Oh wait, that’s the Old Testament. But I guarantee you’ll be sacrificing something, like your soul, for the most unforgiving 6 months of your life.

After 600 hours of blood sweat & tears, I finally presented the hypothetical project to a board of architects and my highly competitive peers. It was like the Hunger Games for designers, but without the teenage love triangle. I stood there, sweating through my silk blouse like some sort of farm animal. 

The outcome? Let’s just say I gave the professor a crotch chop with a “booyah” on my way out. Now I’m going to dangle this project out on the inter-webs like bait. 

Commune LA

Commune LA is a multi-use commercial compound that embraces a local approach to products, services and design. Everything from the design concept down to the cocktail menu is rooted in local based resources and inspired by the Los Angeles entrepreneurial spirit.  

The appeal of Commune LA is anchored by the farm-to-table restaurant located on the ground level. The compound is supplemented with a one of a kind shopping experience where start up manufacturers and artisans are able to afford their own individual retail environments. Essentially they support one another by collectively sharing communal space, customers and resources.  The property also features a backyard green space for community-focused events, making Commune LA a platform for being socially beneficial. 

The design of the space has an industrial and masculine vibe, which is representative of the garment factories that came to Los Angeles during the early part of the 20th century.  The objective of Commune LA is to collaborate with local professionals in an effort to raise awareness of the relationship between consumer and product and to support the diversity of the Los Angeles community.

Commune LA - Renderings  (for a higher resolution, click "download") 

Commune LA - Construction Docs (for a higher resolution, click "download")

48 Occasional Chairs

Welcome to 2013! I hope this year embraces you, bear hug style.

A lot has happened this month: Smooch went to work in Australia and left me home with just Momo and a glock; gained an awesome new client in Culver City; did some side work for a new reality show called "Rock My RV," starring Bret Michaels, yep I said it, so keep your eye on the Travel Channel in 2013!

Let's discuss material objects, because we have to get our life priorities in order...

A sensational design is basically a room made up of a few highly unique and special moments that work in unity with one another. You don't need 20 great ideas, you only need 3. So take risks on items that are necessary to your space, such as an occasional chair or two. They have loads of personality because they mimic the human body. First and foremost, choose comfort. I will never opt for the cliche Barcelona chair, even though I respect its place in history, my six foot self cannot climb out of it. It's uncomfortable and thighs look unflattering and huge because of it's acute angle, and you might as well be nude because everyone can see up your skirt anyway. Dum

The only thing worse than a cliché, is a style cliché. So your chair should be an extension of you! Follow this down to the smallest detail: composition, fiber content, texture, shape and character should all be justifiable to your 'inner chi.'

Here are 48 fabulous occasional chairs that are so gorgeous, they will make you want to put down that potato chip. 

  • 1 Handsome and confident in tobacco brown
  • 2 The Lawyer, a masculine sharp shooter
  • 3 The Mad Men Seater
  • 4 Mini Swooper, the skirted leather feminizes this piece
  • 5 Mt. Swoopty, great as head dining chairs
  • 6 Scallop back Ochre beauty, perf for a Spanish home  
  • 7 The place to enjoy a cigar after your long day on horseback
  • 8 Like Michael Fastbender this just keeps getting better with age
  • 9 Wearstler’s Luscious Souffle Chair
  • 10 Bruno Chair - All-over tufting and Mini wings
  • 11 Over Stuffed Louis in Faded Safflower & Ultra Fe
  • 12 Eames Lounger “is and always will be”
  • 13 Native Americana Rug Chair
  • 14 Multi-Culti Style in Olive Green Velvet
  • 15 Bread and Butter
  • 16 Modest & Sophisticated
  • 17 Whoever doesn’t love a stripe is a liar!
  • 18 Ranch House Cube
  • 19 The Caboose Snuggler
  • 20 Slipcovered Barrel Back
  • 21. Finger Print Winger 
  • 22. Kilim Rug Square Back 
  • 23 Melon Velvet Tufted Classic
  • 24. Sublte hourglass Wingback
  • 25 The bearded lumberjack’s flannel shirt
  • 26 The Happiest Cane cube chair
  • 27 Paul McCobb, revived in true white boucle.
  • 28. Serape Chair 
  • 29 Nathan Turner's Mid Century revival in Fig Leaf print
  • 30 Most hipster rocking chair ever in Pendelton blanket
  • 31 Small patterns look killer on small furniture
  • 32 Channel Chair by Cuff Home
  • 33 Milo Baughman sexy Brass & Smoke velvet cube chair
  • 34 Baughman’s Fuschia barrel back swivel  
  • 35 Watercolor print in watery colors
  • 36 Wing w/claw feet in Indian Tribal print
  • 37 Atlantic Blue Ravenna $229  
  • 38 Thomas Paul “Arboretum” Club Chair $449
  • 39 Chartreuse & Nailheads for only $169! 
  • 40 Navy Square w/Peg legs $299
  • 41 Diamond Medi Turq Ikat Slipper $399
  • 42 Button Back Slope Arm $379
  • 43 Black n’ White Flamestitch $499
  • 44 Light n’ Airy Rattan Chair $119
  • 45 Multi Color Chunky Yarn Texture $699
  • 46 Modern Smartee $319
  • 47 Neutral & Elegant $399
  • 48 Safavieh Colin Tufted Sage Club Chair w/Castors $399

Gimme them Sparkles

A little bling goes a long way with disco balls, mirrored tiles, or accessories and is especially gorgeous around the holidays.

Every lady needs a piece of jewelry, the same goes for interiors, even a barn. This works especially well when there is an organic/natural element in the room to offset the shine. That's how I like to work metallics into a space, like these designers did below; paired with imperfect woods.

Here's a vignette shot of the wall niches in our bathroom... I used vintage brass votives to bring in warmth and counter the contemporary mosaic tile. Also, my shower tile is not actually "mirrored," the glass is distorted, thank goodness.

The tile is "Vitro Platino" by Dune. 

I am overwhelmed with the holidays and it's time to "simma down now..."


Fall Palette

Fall is the best season.

I am at home in my cardigans, tobacco boots, and wool hats, saddling up to an amber beer. The warm colors are flattering and inviting so I was compelled to do a Fall Palette Vibe board. Featuring colors of camel, persimmon, saffron and gold with textures of feathers, velvets, petrified woods, pussy willows, antique brass finishes, ceramics and a pillow cocktail.

It’s easy to rotate out a few pillows and hang different artwork as the seasons change. It enhances our experiences. Why not? We do it with our wardrobes. I know there are a lot of hot button topics to go around the dinner table this year. Just get yourself into some Franzia and try the jello-nut salad for once, your Aunt Bessie would appreciate it.

Ron Pippin - Acts of Grace

If you know me well, you know that I am working like a rabid squirrel on my school thesis and have been in a Cad bubble for 8 weeks. I may seem like a sensible human on the outside, but it’s only because I am smothering my inner self, screaming “HELP! SOMEBODY, ANYBoooDY!”  I may have trouble physically holding my degree on graduation day, but you bet your panties I will get it, no matter how severe the carpal tunnel is. Thanks to UCLA extension for the student debt with a floater of medical bills.

I emerged from my dark chamber to attend an art opening for “Acts of Grace” by Ron Pippin. The show premiered at Obsolete, an amazing Venice Beach gallery & supplier of authentic antique finds.  They also have amazing lighting. Below are images of the venue, as well as some favorite pieces by Pippin.

You might have been expecting some fluffy decor post about tassel matching, but part of my blogging mission is to share art that I admire, even if it is disturbing yet hauntingly beautiful, like so...
Pippin is a master of emotion and Frankenstein-ery. (This is my personal review, so I shall use my own jargon.) Entering Pippin’s world is like venturing into a dream state of fantastical creatures that are inventive, yet nostalgic, somehow familiar. His beings are born of a marriage between nature and science. They are manufactured with delicate joinery; combing everyday mundane items like tea bags, dental tools and gauze stripes with complicated skeletal forms, all while having the fine precision of a chemist. Many pieces are doll like, which have been maimed and bear prosthetic features such as a metal beak, a wing or a leg. Some are part bird, part human and part mechanical systems that only Pippin can dream up. 
Each being tells you a story of exploration into the complexity of life and death. Are these creatures oppressed souls? Are they distraught pioneers from the underworld? Do they come alive at night when the lights go off? Oh God help us, I hope not.
The artist described some of his re-occurring themes as “human’s relationship to nature”  “the betrayal of innocence” and “the discovery of beauty in all forms.” One would need to be ok with submitting themselves to a dark place, I mean that figuratively and literally - the gallery is super dark and you could misstep, roll your ankle and take down an innocent bystander all with a wine in one hand, I'm not saying that was me or anything. (wince, shudder)

For a look inside the mind of the artist, below is an incredible micro documentary directed by our good friend Stephen Schuster… 

where oatmeal goes to DIE

Ok, I am not in a pyramid marketing scheme convincing you to buy 6 ketchups from my stockpile but I am kinda planning for the Apocalypse. You are going to need to ration your mango chutney when you begin hiding in the shadows from flesh eating zombies, and the word 'Trader Joes' is just a vague memory from a world you once knew.
So I'm gonna pimp my pantry and stay organized, so actually take inventory of my nut varieties.

Why should your food storage be a dark closet where quick cooking oatmeal goes to die? 

I have a laundry/utility room off my kitchen with a 12” deep wall niche. I’ve been staring at those 12” since 2008, fantasizing about the weekend I would DIY the shiz out of this niche with floating shelves. Well that day arrived and since Smooch and I are DIY rookies, we enlisted my dad, Old Stash.  Our shelves are 56” Long x 12” Deep, so the quantity of screws and materials depends on the size of your shelf.


  • ¾” Plywood Sheets cut to the size of your niche
  • ¼” Wood Sheets, can be veneer, mdf or whatever is cheap because it’s going on the underside of the shelf and just needs to be paintable wood. Cut to the size of the niche.
  • ¾” square solid wood moldings (these will act as the ‘invisible’ brackets that will hold the weight of your shelf, they will be referred to as our “ledgers”)
  • 7 x 3” screws per shelf
  • 12 x 1 ½” screws per shelf
  • 20 x 3/8” screws per shelf
  • Dap’s Crack Shot – High Performance Spackling Paste
  • Varathane’s Polyurethane Gloss
  • Dap’s Paintable Wood Caulking
  • Sandpaper
  • 80 Grit to smooth down the spackle chunks
  • 220 Grit to prepare for painting and sand in between coats of polyurethane lacquer
  • 400 Grit to finish off the fascia, post painting
  • Stud finder
  • Level (Old Stash’s laser level was a great help)

1. MEASURE AND MARK YOUR WALL - First you’ll need to decide the spacing between your shelves; this will come down to personal preference. I made ours 15” high which is the max you should go, I did this to give our shelves a nice roomy and open-feeling. I also left our top shelf at 18” high, to allow for even taller items like vases or equipment like blenders, etc.

Your shelf will be 1 ¾” in height, and your ledgers will need to be attached to the wall ¾” below where you want the top of your shelf to sit.

Begin from your bottom shelf and work up, measuring the height for your preferred spacing of each shelf. Using a level and stud finder, basically draw your shelves along the wall with a pencil. After finding the studs, mark your screw holes for each shelf.

2. ATTACH LEDGERS - Cut the ¾” ledgers to size and pre-drill them to make sure the 3”screws don’t split the wood. Using the 3” screws, attach the ledgers to the wall based on your penciled markings . Since these will hold the weight of your shelves, when possible, these screws should be drilled directly into the studs. (If studs cannot be found, the use of drywall anchors is highly suggested.)

3. INSTALL THE SHELF - First secure the remaining wood ledger to the front of your plywood shelf. Make sure it’s as flush as possible; this will be the face of your shelf. Place the shelf on top of your wall bracket. Using the 1 ½” screws, attach the shelf to the ledgers.  For a smoother finish, you can counter sink the flat-head screws into the top of your shelf. For our shelf size, we used 4 screws along the back and front, and 2 on the sides.

4. ATTACH THE SHELF BASE - Old Stash attached the ¼” mdf sheet to the underside, by drilling 3/8” screws approximately 5” – 8” apart. Use a clamp or two to hold the sheet in place while drilling.

5. PREP FOR PAINTING - After some trial and error, we found that wood filler is dry and crumbly. Since we are painting (not staining) we used a heavy duty spackle to fill the screw holes, to fill any large gaps along the walls that were too wide for caulk, and to create a smooth front fascia.

Layering the spackle on the front of your shelves will take a number of repetitions. Spackle – let dry – sand. Tutorials I found say you only need to do this 2-3 times, but since we are amateurs, we did this 5-6 times. Continue this process until you are satisfied with the smoothness of your shelf face. Lastly, using the caulk, fill in the edges along the back and sides of each shelf, smooth away excess by wiping with your finger. Yes, I said wipe with your finger.

6. PAINTING AND FINISHING - Now prime and paint the wall and your shelves. I always use minimum 3 coats of paint to get the depth I want. I applied 4 coats of polyurethane gloss finish, with a minimum of 2 hours dry time, between coats. I did 2 coats Saturday and 2 coats Sunday. This is why it literally takes an entire weekend or two or three, depending on your patience.

7. A NOTE ON YOUR BOTTOM SHELF – This will be a bit different for everyone. We were able to rest our bottom shelf directly onto the base molding, and used scrap plywood as a toe-kick to hold up the front of the shelf. Smooch artfully filled the corners and gaps with spackle. After sanding and painting it turned out great. BUT, for your bottom shelf, you may need to use the ledgers as above.

Remember to save the scrap plywood for your toe-kick. Find containers that you like, make sure they fit the depth of your shelves.  Acrylic Airtight Jars  Striped Baskets

Happy Election Day!

Get your Red, White and Blue On!  ...or Paprika, Bone, Indigo.

This contrasting color combo is so joyous, even in ethnic style it evokes that high spirited dramatic effect. If I can figure out how to remove this gel manicure, it will be the best Tuesday ever! On the political front, I've got love for both sides of the marble aisle; I prefer blue & red working together in harmony, just see how gorge it looks!

Apple, Rugs & Gin

I am happy to report that NYC is alive and BOOMing. I wish the big apple would pass the economic gravy over to LA because we need it badly. I spent 3 days in the most liberating city ever. Sure, Culver City in nice n' all with our noteworthy Farmer's Market, decent co-ed Softball League and raw food cafes. However, it's hard to compare when you're soaking in the killer view from the High Line, shopping in Soho, doing Brunch at the Boathouse and dinner at The Breslin. I never miss a visit to ABC Carpet & Home, no matter what degree of my hangover or jet-laggedness. ABC has gorgeous gifts and furniture, but their niche of course, are the incredible carpets.

This is how I feel when in NY, "my heart beating like a hammer":

Patricia Urquiola - Modern Maven

I LOVE blogging because there's no fear in mispronouncing last names...  so here goes my ode to Patricia Urquiola. Her retro style furniture is weightless, and her candy color palette is just yummy & artful. She re-birthed the wooden spindle; what used to be old n' granny has been made fresh again. Urquiola also designed the W Hotel in Vieques Island. She's a fem force to be reckoned with. 


Paso Robles Getaway

The consensus is in... Paso Robles is fabulous!
I threw a birthday party for my big self with friends and fam in nearby wine country last weekend.  For a two nighter, Sonoma just seemed sooo far and PR is a short 2 1/2 hour jaunt from Los Angeles. My husband surprised me by flying in my friend from NY to join us for the festivities; he is polling high among women voters this week.

We rented a gorgeous 4 bedroom vacation house called "On the Vine," or as I call it "Ballard Estate."  The style was a bit one dimensional for my taste, but it was done so beautifully. The color palette was elegant, everything luxury, from the 40 sq/ft carrera marble walk in shower (which is where I tucked away for 2 hours just me and the rainfall shower head) to the $8K Thermador Oven, which is totally necessary. I highly recommend this trip! 

Here is the weekend wrap up: 

On the Vine - Vacation Rental
Calcareous Winery - For a gorgeous view.
Windward Winery- All great Pinot Noirs & Pletanque.
Paso Livo - Olive Oil Mill, like wine memberships who knew you could sign up to receive bi-annual shipments of artisan olive oils? as the newest members Paso Livo, we now know.
Peachy Canyon - For generous "pours" and best spot for a picnic under the oak trees. 
Thomas Hill Organics - Farm to table dinner in downtown, delish! And you can walk to nearby bars afterwards, and then stumble back to the house because it's that close. 

Consignage - Lastly, a cute consignment store where they renovate vintage finds, and I found these babies at a steal...