Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Love of Window Seats

I was interviewed last week by a writer from about windows and the questions turned to how I use window seats. I LOVE window seats. I believe they add comfort and character to any room.

The window seat pictured is from my very own kitchen. I love to entertain, as many of you know well, and everyone ALWAYS ends up in my kitchen. Since I added the cushioned seating area people end up gathering there allowing me to prep, cook, and make cocktails without tripping over my guests.

You would be amazed how many people(and dogs) have squeezed on that seat at once. Also, you may be surprised that at least 4 people have slept there, including myself. It is remarkably comfortable.

The second best part of my built-in window seat is it gives me two deep file drawers and one huge middle drawer where I store extra large serving platters, the blender, the hand mixer, and grill utensils. I love it. Everything gets tucked into place.

Oh, and it sure makes a great dog bed for Oliver!



I will keep you posted about when the article in is online.

All images taken by BBS

Some Follow Ups

Ta-Da.....My clients that I referenced in my post "Wallpaper Rescue" have chosen this fabulous paper for their Foyer. It almost looks hand painted and has the richness of being printed on English paper which is more matte than US wallcoverings. I can't wait to see it installed.

Several people have mentioned to me that my post of color coded bookshelves, called "Dewey Who???", inspired them to re-think how their own bookcases were organized. I have only received one photo so far, but I hope this will inspire you to send your images my way. The bookcase above has been delightfully re-shelved by Brooke Slater of . If you are ever in need a landscape designer, she is the best. Look her up.

After blasted us with their "Most Miserable City 2010" list, I was inspired to write the author Kurt Badenhausen an e-mail and my post "I Heart Cleveland". I am proud to say that I did receive a response from Kurt. It was identical to the one a friend received, but it still felt good.

He eluded to a managing editor of Forbes Magazine coming to Cleveland this week to meet with our city leaders. Possibly something good will come of this ridiculous article.



Image of wallcovering taken from, image of bookcase provided, kindly, by Brooke Slater of and image of Kurt Badenhausen credited to


I am back from a quick trip to Boca Grande and while it was on the chilly side, I was able to get a bit of sun and have lots of fun. I have many must see and do's when I am on BG, but BZ's is a favorite for the decor. It is tropical and bright in all the right ways, but still classy.

BZ's is the "watering-hole" of the The Gasparilla Inn and was freshened up a few years ago by Mimi McMakin (Celerie Kemble's mum) and Brooke Huttig of Kemble Interiors in Palm Beach.

I love the way this mural exudes the feeling of some of the inlet waterways on the island. It is behind the bar and really adds depth to the room.

Most of the furnishings, fabrics, casegoods, lighting and accessories are from Mimi and Brooke's collection for Lane Venture and can be purchased through designers (like me!)
If you have plans to be on Boca be sure to stop by for a look. If it is warmer than when I was there this time, enjoy their lovely attached and covered porch. It it great for an after dinner cocktail.
Information about the Gasparilla Inn can be found at and Lane Venture at
Top two images from Gasparilla Inn's website and taken from Google image. Bottom two images are from my camera.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I am off to Boca Grande for a little R & R. If you need me I will be the one on the chaise with a great book, my ipod, and a cocktail in hand.

See you next week!



image from BBS

Wallpaper Rescue

Last week one of my favorite clients called and said, "Help! I hate my Foyer. It really needs a lift. What should we do ?" I gleefully replied, "Wallpaper".

I skipped back to our library at the studio and I knew this hunt would be fun. These clients are a hip and young family of 5+dog. He is in fashion, she has a background in art. They like funky, yet classic. They are not afraid to make a statement.

We have used navys, greys, chocolates, beiges, silvers, and golds throughout the rest of the house. It is time for a little pop. Something unexpected. They have limestone floors and an ivory and chocolate geometric wool runner on the stairs. We could get away with just about any color.

Everything I sent her has movement and pattern. Depth and texture you can only get from a wallcovering.

These are just a few of the dozen samples I sent her and I can't wait to see what we end up using. They would all look amazing. I will post pictures when it is complete.



top image is from Osbourne and Little, Second image is Romo Fabrics UK, Third photo is Harlequin Lucido venezio, and the Fourth image is Prestigous Textiles.

I Heart Cleveland!

Forbes Magazine has named us top of their list twice this month! We were #1 two times. We aren't #1 often, so let us bask in this for a bit.....

Oh wait, we are "The Worst Weather City" and "The Most Miserable City"??????? Really?????

As you might expect, Clevelanders are outraged. I am.

I really didn't care when we were named "Worst Weather". I found it funny. We live in North East Ohio on Lake Erie. What do you expect? There is a long standing joke in Cleveland that there are only two seasons; Winter and Orange Barrel. I question if we are really the worst weather city, but the weather can be bad here. I thought The Cleveland Plain Dealer did a nice job of spoofing it and gave us great options of fun things to do in our "Worst Weather".

Then "The Most Miserable City" title hit. And it hit hard. Who do they think they are? What do they have against us? Why would they do this to us? Twice in one month? Why are they kicking us when we are down?

People have started FB pages against Forbes magazine (I have become a Fan), written blogs, (check out Cleveland's A Plum's post. It is great), written letters (myself included), dropped subscriptions(myself included). It is all anyone was talking about last night in the restaurant where I was enjoying Happy Hour. It hit a nerve.

So I have to ask myself why? Why are we taking this one so personally. I mean Clevelanders are seasoned at being the butt of jokes, the laughing stock of the sports world, and always on the defense of our city. Why did this list get under our skin?

It feels like an attack. An attack from some journalist in a towering office of NYC. An attack from someone who has most likely never been here. Never been to the Rock Hall, The CMA, or to the Palace Theater. Someone who has never walked the aisles of the West Side Market, shed a tear when they took the Browns away, cheered for Michael Symon when he became an Iron Chef, or taken a boat ride at sunset on Lake Erie.

I e-mailed and invited Mr. Kurt Badenhausen, said "journalist" of the miserable list, to a VIP tour of Cleveland. I invited him with the best intentions of showing him my Cleveland, our Cleveland. I also invited him knowing he would never read or respond to my e-mail, let alone come. But it felt good.

Be on the lookout for Kurt's follow up article to his "most miserable" list. It could be titled, "Forbes travels to The Most Miserable City and Survives". You will have to let me know when that article comes out.

I have cancelled my subscription.


(A very happy and not at all miserable person in a wonderful city)

The beautiful picture of Cleveland was lifted from Google.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Bookshelves: vol.2

A few months ago while I was reading one of the ever shrinking trade magazines I get on a monthly basis, I stumbled upon a charming story about Persephone Books in London. They are an independent publisher that "reprints neglected classics by 20th century (mostly women) writers" in the most fabulous way.

All of the books in their fascinating catalog (86 and growing) are wrapped in their trademark stunning dove grey and cream cover.

Each book has a different wonderful pattern on the inside cover that is selected specifically for the story.

And every book comes with a matching bookmark.

Persephone Books has a fab website where you can order all of their titles. They also have 6 and 12 month book clubs, where they will send you a different title each month, or you can, of course, order their entire catalog.

Oh, if I could just win that lotto....How I fantasize about a bookcase of dove grey books. For now I will have to start one title at a time.



Images taken from Google Image and Flicker.

Dewey Who?????

Ever since I began preparing for my presentation on Color that I gave a few weeks ago, I have been mad about color-coded bookshelves. I stumbled upon the image below a few years ago and incorporated it in to my talk as an example of an easy way to work color into your home.
All of those colors were always there, but they are far more powerful and become a focal point when they are presented this way.

I found these images of people who tried this concept themselves and I think it is brilliant! It has been a theme running through blogs and flicker for some time now.

I even tried to get a client of mine to allow me to color code her 3 massive bookshelves last Spring. She is a former elementary school teacher and tutors children. She has the most amazing children's book collection and I thought it would look charming by color. We organized by genre instead.

I couldn't get client to do it, but maybe I can inspire you.
So I say Dewey who? Let's get to organizing our bookshelves and add a bit of color to our dreary, snowy February days.
All images borrowed from Google image. I will give them back I promise.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine Blues?

As Valentine's Day 2010 fades into the past, I find myself feeling a little blue. Not because the mushy, greeting card company driven holiday is over, but because I am forced to take down the pops of red and pink that are my Valentine's decorations.
I find I am experiencing the same feeling of "decorative void" that I felt after taking down my Christmas decorations. My house feels a little blah, I feel a little blah.....

So today, while I sniffle and sneeze my way through being home from work with a cold, I am dreaming of all things red, fuchsia, and pink that I would like to add to my house....

And my wardrobe......A girl can dream, right????

All images taken from Google Image. Top image is credited to AP, Ikat pillow, Lamp is from Christopher Spitzmiller, more on him later as I am mildly obsessed, and the fabulous bag is Hermes Extra Large Birkin in red, ahhhhh perfection.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Olympics Are Here...

I live for the Olympics. I love the patriotism, the competition, and the unknown athletes who become household names before our eyes.

Last night's Opening Ceremonies were not with out controversy; Many felt they should have been cancelled due to the tragic death of the 21 year luger from Georgia. Or comparison; Was Bob Costas driving anyone else nuts with his constant chatter about Beijing???

But I thought they were magical. I loved the entrance of the snow boarder through the Olympic rings in to the arena. So dramatic.

I thought David Atkins, the producer, did an amazing job of turning an indoor arena into a winter wonderland. You got the sensation that everything was cold and icy. The way they used different materials to create that feeling was brilliant.

My favorite part were the 3-dimensional whales that came swimming through the stadium floor. I was mesmerized by them.

Didn't the podium the IOC president, Jacques Rogge, use to address the crowd appear to be craved from a block of ice? It looked like something the witch in C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe would use to address Narnia. There was so much speculation surrounding the lighting of the torch. Who was going to be the person honored with doing the lighting? Gretzky? Michael J. Fox? Steve Nash? I heard many the theory around the proverbial water cooler, so I thought it was great that they chose 4 people to do it. So unexpected. It was a nice twist.

I know there was a snafu with the 4th arm of the indoor torch, but to be honest I don't think I would have even noticed if Bob Costas (I am not a fan in case you haven't gotten that undertone yet) hadn't harped on it the entire time they were scrambling to raise it up.

To be honest, I think the outdoor, four legged, cauldron looks a little clumsy compared to the indoor three post version. What do you think?

I get my love of the Olympics from my mom. She was such a fan and would watch all the coverage, no matter the sport. These are the first Olympic games without her and I was struck by the sadness I felt last night.

I hope she was watching right along with me....



All images were taken from Google image. The snowboarder image is credited to Pinto/Getty; The Arena pic is by Mark J. Terrill/AP, and the outside torch picture is AP Photo/Canadian Post. I would have used my own had I been lucky enough to be there.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Alexander McQueen

I was struck yesterday by the shocking and untimely death of McQueen. RIP....



Image taken from Google image. No photo credit noticed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Bookshelves: vol.1

From time to time, I will share with you great interior design books that I own, have read, or are looking forward to their publishing date. These posts will always be titled My Bookshelves, so you will know their content.

The Great Lady Decorators: The women who defined Interior Design 1870-1950, is a book I have been eagerly anticipating for some time now. It was written by Adam Lewis and the great Bunny Williams wrote the foreword. The book covers the story of Elsie de Wolfe and the society ladies who were nicknamed, "Lady Decorators". It discusses the history of interior design and highlights such well known female designers as Dorthy Draper, one of my personal favs as she loved to throw a good party, and Sister Parish.

The book is being published by Rizzoli and is being released on April 16, 2010. You can pre-order it on for a discounted price. I just did!

Happy Reading!



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Can We Be Friends????

The buzz around the studio yesterday was, "Have you seen Jennifer Aniston's new house?" I quickly perked up, as I am obsessed with most things Aniston. I actually think that we could (would) be friends if our paths would just cross.

Jen and I like most of the same things; trips to Cabo, designer clothes and bags, living in beautiful surroundings, Brad Pitt, margaritas....You get the point.

The chatter at the studio was about her being on the cover of the March 2010 Architectural Digest and how great her new house is. I rushed home to see if my issue was in my mailbox. Sadly no, but one of my co-workers was kind to share her copy with me today.

Her home is stunning. It has the feel of a sophisticated, luxury hotel in some remote location, yet is still comfortable and inviting. I began imagining myself hanging out in the Kitchen gathered around the wood burning pizza oven or shooting pool in the game room over-looking the LA skyline. I know, don't you worry, that I will never be hanging with Jen and her pals, but it is fun to dream on this snowy day.

I fell for the fruit wood piano pictured above. The simplicity of the light wood against the dark wood paneling on the wall is fantastic. To see a piano in something other than glossy black or mahogany is such an unexpected pop. The lamp in the foreground of the picture is also amazing. It appears that everything in the house has a story and a place. It doesn't feel staged or put together.

The house was designed by Stephen Shadley, who has done many homes for Diane Keaton and was named to AD's top 100 in 2009. His look seemed very familiar to me when I discovered that he had designed the AD Green Room for the 2009 Oscars. It is pictured above.
Last year when the images of the Green Room were released I thought it to be perfection. The space was actually an interior room with no windows. Shadley created the feeling of being in a highrise looking over the city by using murals.

One item I kept returning to over and over again while I was reading the article on Jennifer's house was her fabulous Hermes watch. Isn't divine? Maybe she will let me borrow it when we become friends.

The image of Jennifer Aniston on the cover of AD was taken from Google image and photo credits to Peggy Sirota. Image of her home scanned from AD issue and photo credit goes to Scott Frances. Image of AD Green Room taken from Google Image. Image of Jennifer Aniston at her home scanned from AD and photo credit to Peggy Sirota.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tom Ford, You Are A Genius!

I saw Tom Ford's, A Single Man, this weekend and absolutely loved it. To quote my friend Brooke, "Now that is an Academy Award worthy movie". Why this did not get a Best Picture nod I will never understand.
Ford not only directed this movie, but wrote the screenplay from Christopher Ishewood's novel.

I have considered Ford a genius ever since he transformed Gucci from my grandmother's label into something that was hip and amazing. A brand my friends and I drooled over each season. Even being a huge Tom Ford fan, I have to admit I was sceptical when I read that he was trying his hand in the movie business. It just seemed to be such a stretch. Boy was I wrong. He did an incredible job.

Beyond the story, which was equally insightful and jarring, and the fabulous costumes (of course, it is a Tom Ford movie), are these incredible sets. The main character George lives in the proverbial "glass house"and it is as much a character in the story as he is. The movie takes place in 1962 and he is suppose to be in suburban Santa Monica.

In reality the house is a 1949 John Lautner designed residence that is in Glendale, CA. It is the perfect Mid-Century modern home that is actually currently for sale for $ 1,495,000.00 according to the MLS listing sheet. (the address is 527 Whiting Woods, Glendale, CA if you are in the market)

My favorite sets from the movie are in Charly's home. Charly (Charlotte) is George's best friend and resides in a home dripping in Hollywood Regency. It is as fantastic as she is. Just look at that Flokati upholstered vanity chair and those fabulous fabrics.

This is Charly's Living Room and I spent this entire scene trying to look around the characters to get a better glimpse of that pair of mirrors and chests. The colors are superb. Almost like peaches on vanilla ice cream.

Julianne Moore is stunning and is dressed to perfection. I could not find a better picture of it, but please notice her purple colored cigarette in the bottom right of this picture. Just Fab! The perfect dramatic touch for this eccentric character.

Keep a watch out for Nicholas Hoult. He is breathtaking in this movie. Almost pretty. He does a tremendous job in this role and I bet we see a lot of him in the future. He looked so familiar and it was driving me crazy while I was watching the movie. I, of course, went home and googled him and found he was the child in the 2002 movie, About A Boy, opposite Hugh Grant. I thought he was great in that movie and fantastic in this one.
Try to catch this before it leaves the theaters.

All of the images were taken from Google Image. The address of the house was found on Google.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oliver's Twist vol.1

From time to time I, Oliver Twist Spang, will be making guest posts on mummie's (BBS) blog. I will be short and sweet as I have lots of napping to do. I really don't have time for all this blogging stuff, but she is insisting.

Mummie has found these new dog beds she is all excited about. They are made by Crypton Fabrics and they look super comfy. They are water and stain resistant. She says best part is they will actually look good in the house. I don't really get that part....
She was going crazy for this one....Something about water proof damask and she could cover a sofa in it??????

We don't have ours yet, so until we do I will stay right here on "my" sofa and sleep.
Sloppy Kisses,

Pictures of dog beds are from Google Image and of Crypton Fabrics. They can be found at Image of Oliver was taken by BBS.