28 February 2011


I'm not talking about the color (we love that too) but the brilliant design atelier from France and England with a storefront in NYC. Stunning chandeliers that captivate with their originality and the whimsical texture they bring to clean-lined interiors. Well-designed, practical and chic modern furniture, with upholstery in velvets, linens, mohairs. Cool accessories, such as the stunning large mercury-glass mirror (I want that!) and textiles from artisans in Africa. Many pieces use reclaimed materials, such as the gorgeous baskets woven in France from old paper (see below). Nothing mass produced. Perfect for a Chic Provençal look as well as Cottage Chic, Rustic Chic, and Modern Eclectic.

this very rustic reclaimed wood table contrasts
wonderfully with whimsical shape of the lights

absolutely stunning distressed steel cabinet is tres chic!

in this lidded bench you can see the quality of the fabrics and workmanship:
velvet & leather pillows, linen-lined chest

mercury glass top and shelf for this
spare iron end table

suspended "pears" of glass look stunning as curving chandelier

I love this iron-based table in walnut with mercury glass
insert (the backdrop's not too bad either!)

chain mail chandelier is drapey and atmospheric

closer view of the pear drop chandelier with two gorgeous
upholstered pieces in the background

Ochre's small "Snooze Sofa" in nubuck & velvet is fabulously chic
under another pear drop chandelier

gesso and bole framed mercury glass mirror
presides beautifully over the salon

another stunning distressed steel cabinet

linens from Africa

wine bottle basket carrier lends a great
touch of rough texture to sleek, modern rooms

I love these African baskets; they are made
in many colors

this French basket is woven from paper that
has been coiled into strips

click HERE to visit

27 February 2011

Pushing Printemps

Even though in my heart I know that winter's rains and chill are not over, today we had a little teaser of springtime to come. When our plum trees bloom and the sun shines all on the same day, who wouldn't love up an impromptu breakfast outdoors? Since we have not even ventured into the garden in months, I set this one up on a makeshift table of reclaimed redwood planks on a vintage garden cart that I found in the shed.

in June we will pick hundreds of luscious plums
from this tree, but for now, a gorgeous
canopy of blossoms over our breakfast!

dappled with sunshine under the plum tree with
mossy ground, the table is set with vintage
French hand embroidered linen, vintage pitchers,
Phillipe desHouillieres plates, Meyer lemons from
our tree, and IKEA demitasse

the plum blossoms sprinkle over the
ground like so many snowflakes; in the
background you can see the tomato cages
patiently waiting their turn
in the vegetable patch

the view of the garden earlier this week... unending
rain and gloom, wind and chill

hope your Sunday is lovely!

20 February 2011

St. Helena, Erin Martin & Mustards Grill's Pudding Cakes

Sometimes, when your inner Jack Kerouac is stirred, the highway beckons and you have to hit the road. In the last two weeks we have logged over 1500 miles, all up and down California. First, we headed north to Napa, then turned around and made it all the way to Palm Springs in the south. This is about our road trip to Napa. First stop, St. Helena:

in the countryside Napa Valley a vineyard
and old house with water tower

downtown St. Helena, Napa Valley, California

vintage truck at winery outside St. Helena

Yousef Karsh portrait of Picasso hangs as part of
the spectacular original photography collection at
Turnbull Winery tasting room


must stop into Erin Martin's
showroom in St. Helena

window display Erin Martin's
St. Helena showroom

Erin's showroom features an armoire by
fellow blogger and friend Daniel Hale
of Serendipity Rising

Erin's signature slightly edgy style

although four years ago now, I've always loved this
French country kitchen for a small hideaway in
Napa Valley designed by Erin Martin... the painted vaulted
ceiling and the soft blues make this small space feel
much larger than it is

the soft blues and whites of the kitchen are
soothing and calming for this wine country

love the tile floor, the soft blues and
the inviting symmetry of the bed


Next stop: lunch at Cindy Pawlcyn's legendary Mustard's Grill, which she opened in 1983 and helped put Napa Valley on the culinary map with her simple yet hip, elegant and unfussy style.

"Long before star chefs such as Thomas Keller discovered the culinary possibilities of wine country, Cindy was making confit of local goose and slicing heirloom tomatoes from the same backyard gardens she still uses to fuel her restaurant menus. Her authentic, seasonal, hyperlocal aesthetic—"We're talking Persian limes grown outside my bedroom window," she says—helped put the region's cuisine on par with whatever the Mondavis and others were uncorking down the road. "It was this idea that the food should be as good and local as the wine," she says of her original concept. "Nobody was really thinking that back then." Oprah.com

a must: lunch at Mustard's Grill in Yountville... here you are
in the expert hands of Cindy Pawlcyn, the brilliant chef

Mustard's Grill in Napa Valley
"American Roadside Diner meets French Country Bistro"

love this little Chinese fisherman hanging
on the wall at Mustards

early spring fava beans in Mustard's garden

greenhouse just outside Mustard's door


Pudding Cake with Chantilly Cream and Berries

a recipe by Cindy Pawlcyn from
her Napa Valley Menu

Servings: Serves 8

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter , melted
Chantilly cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
Berry topping:
  • 2 pints fresh berries (can be a mixture)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. triple sec liqueur
  • Confectioners' sugar , for garnish (optional)
To make cakes: Preheat oven to 350°. Separate egg yolks from whites; set both aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and 2/3 cup sugar. Add lemon juice, zest, and buttermilk; whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together butter and egg yolks. Stir egg yolk mixture into lemon-buttermilk mixture.

Using whisk attachment of a mixer, whip egg whites until frothy. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup sugar, and whip until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.

Fold egg whites into the yolk-and-buttermilk mixture. The batter should be smooth and thick.

Pour batter into 8 individual (4-ounce) ramekins. Arrange them in a small roasting pan; add water to pan so that it goes halfway up sides of the ramekins. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until batter is slightly brown and beginning to crack but still jiggly. Cool to room temperature.

To make chantilly cream: Start while cakes are in the oven. In a bowl, whip together heavy cream, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Keep chilled until needed.

To make berry topping: In a medium bowl, mash berries until well broken up but not pureed. Spoon them evenly onto cooled cakes in ramekins. Sprinkle each cake with sugar and drizzle with triple sec. Finish cakes with a dollop of chantilly cream and a dusting of confectioners' sugar; serve.

07 February 2011


the Japanese Magnolia Tree blooms in early spring
before it even gets its leaves, and certainly before
any other trees bloom!
this was on our walk yesterday :)

le printemps! really will come!

05 February 2011

How The Men Do Antiques: Coup d'État

If revolution is in the air, then ground zero for establishing a new order in the world of antiques and interior design is surely Coup d'État * in San Francisco. This cutting edge point of view is expressed in overscale, unlikely pieces recouped from the industrial salvage yard, given a bit of polish (maybe) and a functional lift, then placed in spaces alongside interpretations of the classical and the modern.

Visiting the Potrero Hill showroom is a bit like entering the collective movie sets of Eyes Wide Shut, all the Harry Potters, Around the World in Eighty Days, Clan of the Cave Bear, and Alice in Wonderland. You will not see the gentility of Scalamandré and deGournay fabrics and wallpapers here, not even a whiff of Minimalism, Queen Ann, French Country, nor the whites and greiges of Gustavian chic. There is nothing delicate or spare in this repertoire. There is a lot of muscle in this Industrial Antique Recoup look.

Yet the genius of this showroom are incredibly intimate settings that invite touch and lingering. I think there is a lesson here for us designers to carefully and deliberately use texture, symmetry, lighting and comfort to invite people to draw in close to each other, to gather around face to face. It's a big scary world out there! Let's cozy up together.

such talent and vision to create an Art Deco setting
from rusting industrial salvage!

a surprising and stunningly feminime
lacy Venetian mirror is found in one corner

Beowulf meets Industrial Art Deco

could you cozy up to this sculpture
in your living room :)

the San Francisco shipyard is the source for
this dining table with nailhead detailing

no simple antelope antlers adorn this wall... half of
the animal is literally leaping into your room

and yet, the huge scale of the potted ponderosa pine creates
a desire to group together beneath its boughs and gather
around the antique kilim stools and the red wine velvet linen sofa

the perennially beloved sphere above the
jewelmakers' table cut into amoeba-like shape,
surrounded by reinterpreted klismos and wing chairs

a nod to the prosaic: green and blue pottery ware... but
displayed on a grand scale

no ordinary wing chairs, these could have seated
Captain Nemo on his day off

Darin Geise, owner
111 Rhode Island Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

* A coup d'état (English: /ˌkuːdeɪˈtɑː/, French: [ku deta]; plural: coups d'état)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow


Related Posts with Thumbnails