Saturday, May 29, 2010

Exotic Floral Arrangements

Even if you want to make a statement, a simple arrangement can do the trick. Just a few stems of cymbidium orchids (in a low glass vase filled with rocks) looks more elaborate than it is. Remember to use stems with more than one bloom, and if you keep the water clean, this arrangement should last from four to six weeks.

Ideal spot: Place it on the table where the cocktails are served, surrounded by votive candles.

Small arrangements of one kind of flower are ideal for the novice. If you are seeking a more dramatic effect, try a grouping of them in similar hues. These range from pink to red and are all in silver containers to create a cohesive feeling.
Ideal spot: A dramatic mass of a single color is perfect for a dinner party when you know guests will linger. Keep the display low so the conversation isn’t inhibited.

This elegantly simple combination uses just three varieties, but adding stems of kumquats to the ‘Coral Charm’ peonies and hyacinths is an exciting and unexpected touch. In a footed urn with a wide mouth, it’s best to let the flowers spill over.

Ideal spot: Placed on a stack of books, this arrangement will lend a stylish, collected feel to your living room.

 Sometimes just two or three blooms are all you need to create something sweet, simple, and fragrant. And it doesn’t get much easier than making a cut at the base of the flower and floating it in a pretty bowl filled with water. Try camellias, gardenias, magnolias, or even carnations in glass, ceramic, or silver bowls.

Ideal spot: You’ll want to view this one from above, but since the bowl will be filled with water, make sure it’s safe from being jostled and spilled.

Article published by My Home Ideas.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vintage Modern/New Fabric Line

Featured Designer

Blu Girl Art

Suzanne Meyer Pistorius

Eco-friendly chairs

Suzanne believes in reincarnation.
The only thing all of the chairs in her constantly changing collection have in common is...they have a past.
She's given them a new life, a fresh look. They've told one story, and now it's time for them to tell another.
Her original's are as original as the people who fall in love with them. As colourful and vivacious, as captivating and complicated.
Blending vibrant colours and bold patterns, with the classic lines of timeless design - these are pieces that don't so much make a statement about their owners, as a declaration
They are strange, beautiful, worn, resilient, and dynamic as the human spirit
Not all of them will speak to you , but one may just shout.

Hand Painted Custom Designed Fabrics

Suzanne showcases some of her custom designs as apparel, she does not make or sell apparel, the fabrics are draped to give a suggestion of how they can be used to make your one of a kind designer gown.

Custom Jewlery



Upholstery fabrics

Any of Suzanne's designs can be used in various places in the home from upholstery to drapes and cushions. She displays some designs as clothing but they could be used in many different areas.


Custom hand painted fabric for upholstery and home furnishings - Prints for the surface industy - paper goods, packaging or home fabrics.

Areas Served:

Suzanne has partnered with Betsy Sweat of Jia Moderne at the Boston Design Center, her chair, Annisette armchair, is currently on display in her showroom.

Featured In:

Serenity In Design online magazine, Designhole online, Design Milk, Addicted 2decorating. Vintage and Modern, Design Syrup blogs. The chair Alabaster rouge is featured as an editors choice in the May/June issue of New England Home Magazine.

Current Projects:

Suzanne is pleased to announce that after the Print source show - a few of her prints were selected as TRENDS to watch for Fall 10-11 by a major UK trend forecasting firm.

I love Suzanne's style of displaying her fabrics, as well as her creativity creating them, I look forward to more articles about her future new lines.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Expensive Homes in America

America's most expensive homes

By Francesca Levy of Forbes

$150 million

The Manor

Holmby Hills, Calif.

The home that Candy Spelling, widow of television producer Aaron, put on the market in 2008 outprices every other property in the U.S. The 56,500-square-foot English-style mansion has a bowling alley, wine cellar, rooms for gift-wrapping and silver and china display, a library, gym and media room. Its 4.6 acres include pools, a spa, landscaped gardens, a waterfall and parking for more than 100 cars. Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland Real Estate and Sally Forster Jones of Coldwell Banker Previews International have the listing.

$125 million
Fleur de Lys

Beverly Hills, Calif.

This 35,000-square-foot home, listed in 2007, is said to be modeled after Versailles, and the mansion makes no attempt at understatement. Its 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, 50-seat screening room, Italian marble and gold-embossed leather walls ooze wealth. Owner Suzanne Saperstein hasn't compromised on the price in three years. After all, it's a relative bargain compared with the manor, just a few blocks away. Shari Chase of Chase International has the listing.

$100 million

Tranquility Estate

Lake Tahoe, Nev.

Tommy Hilfiger co-founder Joel Horowitz's 210-acre spread features the third-highest price tag in America. The 20,000-square-foot main house has extras like a cigar lounge, art studio and sports gym, while its grounds feature a golf course, boathouse and views of Lake Tahoe. A staircase in the home replicates the stairs of the S.S. Titanic. The home has been on the market for almost four years. Shari Chase of Chase International has the listing.

$80 million

Kaiser Estate


Separately, the three coastal parcels that comprise the former estate of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser wouldn't make this year's list, but together, the 5.5-acre property becomes one of the country's most expensive. The island getaway offers coastal views and a sleek, midcentury-style 15,000-square-foot home, extensively landscaped tropical grounds and a 12,000-square-foot boathouse and marina. Tech tycoon Fred Chan and his wife, Annie, put the home on the market in January 2009. Mary Worell of Sotheby's International Realty has the listing.

$75 million

Humming Bird Nest Ranch

Simi Valley, Calif.

Though it's named after the tiniest of birds, this property spans 123 acres. In addition to a 17,000-square-foot Spanish-Revival-style main house, six guest homes and 10 town houses grace the estate, as do a fully equipped equestrian center and parking for 200 vehicles. If driving doesn't suit you, there's also a helicopter pad. It has been on the market since late 2007; Joyce Rey of Sotheby's International Realty has the listing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Small Backyard Solutions

These are a few ideas for small yard makeovers. A stone path leads to an elevated stone patio and tranquil water feature.


This artful design creates an English cottage garden and effectively doubles the living space. The bluestone pavers form the foundation of a new patio, then alternate with bricks to create a meandering path to the back wall, where a simple pergola shades a bench.

Granite pavers laid on the diagonal make the space seem larger. The design called for a trellis atop the brick wall, but the wall wasn't strong enough for the bolts, so planters filled with boxwoods were installed to furnish the necessary privacy.

Want to increase the attractiveness of your veggie garden? Pitch out the concept of straight rows. Curved beds, stonework and a decorative piece turn the garden into an ornamental display.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hillside Home in San Francisco

We are happy to introduce you today to Scott Lee from SB Architecture.

The site is a very steep uphill slope that is nearly 50%. The site had been previously developed. The street is narrow and steep and access and staging are limited. The site affords views of San Francisco from all levels. The house is oriented to the South/West. Walking to the center of Mill Valley takes 4.5 minutes. Many houses on the street date back to the 20's and 30's and the lots are relatively small. The neighbors are lovely and have been both supportive and patient with us. We know more people on our street in Mill Valley after only living here for a few months than we ever know on our street in San Francisco where we lived for 20 years. The entire city is heavily wooded and we are blessed with a large heritage oak that frames views, provides shade, and gives the house a sense of permanence and maturity.

When I look at this house, I see all kinds of geometric play. My eyes break it down into blocks, yet at the same time I see the house as a unified whole. I'm so curious, what is your process when you are determining this kind of balanced massing? I'm imagining small model blocks and constantly changing collages - how do you do it?

As an architect I am concerned about classical relationships of order and symmetry and balance. We wanted to be sympathetic to those classical values, yet not replicate a house from last century. We wanted to make a house that respected the neighborhood and the context yet celebrated today's technology and 21st century architectural expression - - while not being cold and sterile. It was our intention to step the house back into the hillside and to break the massing with multiple roof forms and planes. The contrast between shade and shadow gives the house depth and dimension. The heritage oak presented massing challenges that ultimately worked in our favor as it has become the central feature around which the house has been sculpted.

Besides sustainability, what other considerations went into choosing the materials? How do they relate to the site?

We wanted to make a sustainable house but we did not want sustainability to define the aesthetic. We chose natural materials and colors that would age gracefully and patina over time. The Western Red Cedar siding is a modern interpretation of traditional shingles or clapboard siding. The dark grey and black of the trim and windows and doors gives the house an elegance familiar in the shingle style. We wanted a warm home that would comfortable to raise children and did not aspire to museum quality finishes. Erin Martin added quirky interior design elements that made the house less serious and more playful and inviting.

At risk of sounding a bit wackadoo, as I browsed the images of this house I thought of an REM T-shirt I have from the '80s that says "EARTH AIR FIRE WATER". I kept seeing these elements indoors and out and in

between. Were you playing with these elements or was I listening to REM while looking at your images?

I love REM! We love the outdoors and nature is what makes Marin so appealing. We wanted to bring to the house elements of nature such as the warmth of fire (three types - - fireplace, fire pit, and EcoSmart), the coolness of breezes, the thrill of showering and bathing outdoors, and the natural coolness that comes from being nestled against the earth.

Speaking of indoors and out, the lines between the two are certainly blurred with this house. How did you approach the relationship between the two?

We wanted to provide a variety of places to enjoy the elements in different ways. Covered porches, outside rooms, and sunny terraces allow our family and guests to take advantage of Marin weather in a variety of settings, most with views of San Francisco. Pocketing multi-sliders at both the Master and the Living Room extend those important spaces to adjacent terraces that are furnished for comfort and activity.

When designing residences, what kinds of features do you feel make a house a home?

It's the quirky things that are unique to the family and that may not appeal to everyone - - but that's OK. A home is a place that has been crafted to allow a family to enjoy each other and live a lifestyle all their own. Places for

interaction are the most exciting to design. At the Hillside House we designed the upper level to be the great room. The kitchen, dining, living, family rooms and terraces are all connected to each other physically and visually so that we can entertain and lounge and cook and eat together. Erin Martin was great at helping us furnish the house with found objects that reflect our sensibilities. Everything in not new - - there are many garage sale and flea market pieces that are mixed with fine and polished new things and I think that the juxtaposition between old and new, light and dark, soft and hard, rough and smooth are the things that add texture and

Please tell those attending the tour some of your favorite details and/or features that they should take notice of while on the tour.

The connection between the garage and the upper levels of the house was difficult to design and build but well worth it in terms of functionality.

The separation between the guestroom and the main house makes both guest and resident feel a sense of privacy.

The exterior entry foyer and the salvaged wood and chain swing are fun.

The sculptural staircase and chandelier connect all levels.

Salvaged wood at the stairs and ceilings add warmth and reinforce the notion of the modern cabin.

The synthetic lawn is the perfect no maintenance view terrace.

Brian Kennedy is an artist and a friend who fabricated the black steel and grout master armoires, the fireplace surround and the entry door knob.

Guests love the outdoor shower with a view of SF.

The master shower with the NANA wall with open view make it function like an outdoor shower.

The master tub is outside and custom made by Concreteworks.

The kitchen is small but very efficient with concealed appliances and nooks and crannies.

Rope cabinet pulls are a clever Erin Martin invention.

The kids room ceiling wallpaper is unique and playful.

Heath Ceramics installed by TEAM TED TILE is amazing and makes all the baths and laundry rooms exude a hand crafted sensibility.

The master headboard is cow fur from Kyle Bunting.

The outdoor family room at the upper level is playful and durable.

Laundry chute connecting all levels was tough to work in, but functional.

The elevator functions more like a dumb-waiter and is very utilitarian and makes vertical living with kids a little easier.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us Scott!

The AIASF is giving away a ticket to the Marin home tour to one of the lucky readers that will share their thoughts about this house and interview. via