Saturday, February 28, 2009

lunch with the Eames

Today I got to take a little road trip to visit the 8th house in the 1940's Case Study program; the home of Charles and Ray Eames.

A little bit of history: the program was created to challenge architects and designers to build modern-day housing with materials derived from World War II (i.e., simple, industrial, economic). The couple decided to build the home for themselves rather than a hypothetical client and began designs for an efficient living space and work studio that would "make no demands for itself but would instead serve as a background for life in work, with nature as a shock-absorber."

The lot sits atop a hillside overlooking the ocean and surrounded in lush green. After scrapping the plans for a cantilevered box because it didn't do justice to the meadow, the Eames opted for a simple plan, nested into the hillside. The home was constructed with prefabricated off-the-shelf parts and was considered a conscious move in a post-war era. Charles and Ray finished the home in 1949 and lived there the rest of their lives.

the image on the left is the doorbell. so cool!

the studio loft

In design school we learned about the many talents of Charles and Ray Eames and it was amazing to see the culmination of their work in this iconic home.

For more information visit the Eames Foundation

Thursday, February 26, 2009

free {design} advice is worth every penny

I am excited to announce that beginning in March I will be doing a monthly column called stump the designer. Send me images of your most challenging spaces or furniture pieces and the reader with the biggest woes will get some free advice on how to deal.

I will include a sketch of my design solution and even some ideas on cost-effective items that will make a big difference in your space.

To Enter
2-3 photos of the space (plus 1-2 photos of any problem pieces)
a couple of images of things you like to give me an idea of your style.
email to

*Submit photos by March 6 for March challenge
*Submit photos by March 30 for April challenge

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I don't think this is anything groundbreaking, but I am addicted to layers. Layers of pattern, color, texture, you name it. So I hit on this site Polyvore where you can take images you find anywhere on the web (or in your own photo files) and create a collage of all that inspires you.

Here is what inspires me today.

the write idea

A certain number of us remember the days when the school blackboard suddenly turned white...when the boring white chalk (or sometimes pastel) was left behind for brighter shades of red, green and blue. Aah, the marker board. Standing in front of class became fun again. Okay, maybe not, but the absence of screeching chalk and the ability to fully erase that wrong math equation was pretty exciting wasn't it?

Well here is a new take on that genius. Paint. It's called Idea Paint and, you guessed it, it works like a dry erase board. You can paint it anywhere; classrooms, conference rooms, children's bedrooms, even replace the family chore board with it.

There are endless options and endless positives about this stuff. First of all it's non-toxic, a pre-requisite for anything I would suggest in your home. It can be painted over so there is no lifelong commitment and, best of all, it inspires creativity every time you pass by!
Who can resist a blank canvas?

image in a bottle

Okay, I know I am shamelessly ripping this off (it was posted front and center on Design*Sponge this morning) but it's just too cool not to share.

This is a DIY project with an eco-edge. Reusing glass bottles and jars as picture frames. I love this because it upcycles the glass and creates something that is unique and interesting.

The project is courtesy of Photojojo and you can find directions here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

global green pre-oscar party

Yesterday I got the great opportunity to be a guest at Global Green's annual Pre-Oscar party in Los Angeles. The party was at the Avalon Hollywood and we were the guests of K.L.Nicolai & Associates, my local distributor of Caroma (Yes, the toilets. If you need a refresher take a look back at the Product of the Week post in January '09) who were a sponsor of the event.

The party had a fantastic turnout and lots of energy, with A-listers and local greenies alike, mixing and mingling into a great big ball of eco-madness. At least that's what it looked like from my view, which was right in front of the stage while enjoying musical performances by Gavin Rossdale and Sheryl Crow. A supportive Gwen Stefani watched from the balcony above while her hubby did a great acoustical set.

The theme of the evening was Greening Our Schools, which is one of the fundamental goals of Global Green. Matt Peterson, the CEO of the organization, and Neil Patrick Harris urged guests to contribute what they could via the oh-so-simple text message donation, which I personally think is genius. I can only hope that the response was tremendous.

my husband and I after rockin' out

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fuel is coming to Irvine - Extended!

Based on the success of the premier last weekend, Fuel has extended their showings in Los Angeles AND it will now be showing in Irvine as a limited engagement. Hooray!

This film is fantastic, which is why I have been basically stalking it (can you stalk a movie?) and harassing everyone I know to go see it. I do realize that I am currently ranking up with the Evangelicals in terms of my insistence on spreading the word but, seriously folks, it will bring to to a higher place :)

Check it out


February 20-March 5, 2009


Edwards University Town Center 6
4245 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA, 92612
United States


Monday-Friday: 2pm, 4:45p, 7:30p, 10:50p

Saturday and Sunday: 11:20a, 2p, 4:45p, 7:30p, 10:50p

Q&A with filmmaker Josh Tickell following the 7:30pm show on 2/20

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Green Depot opening shows that consumers are ready

The Green Depot (Home Depot's eco-friendly cousin) has opened its first bricks and mortar location in New York, based on the success of the internet company The signs are all pointing to the fact that consumer interest is high enough to warrant it AND they are no longer satisfied by the eco-options given at normal retailers.

Read the article posted by the Wall Street Journal daily blog

Green Depot plans several other locations on the East Coast, but currently no plans are in the works for a California store.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I want that!

Every day it seems that there are new products coming out that will shock and amaze. Items that are so well-designed and functional that they make us think "how did I ever live without that?" And then there are the classics...

Here is what's on my wish list right now:

The Vers 1.5R is an AM/FM radio, alarm clock and ipod dock. And guess what? It's green.

This is a biodegradeable urn (with succulents), perfect for sprucing up a small apartment or windowsill

These amazing ceramic 'takeout' containers are the creations of NY based Lorena Barrezueta

The Verizon Wireless Modem allows you to access the internet from pretty much anywhere. Imagine all the work that could be done from the beach...or park...oh yeah

I just love these lunch bags!

Felt 'stone' pillows, large and small add humor (and comfort!) to any living space

Monday, February 9, 2009

Design by the Book

I just stumbled upon (using that term gives me way too much credit, since I actually just went to my new favorite blog to check out what fun stuff they have) something of a treasure amidst the chaotic information superhighway. It can be quite difficult to navigate your way to inspirational design and people when our poor brains and computers are already overloaded. So the fact that this is both genius and easy to find makes it special. Sorry, I'll cut to the chase here.

Design by the Book is a project done by the New York Public Library and Design*Sponge (the blog). The purpose was to bring some uber-creative artists to the library and inspire some magnificent new work. It doesn't need a whole lot more explanation than that. Just watch.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fuel the Film, showing in Los Angeles

I posted about this film a few weeks ago when I saw it but it is now coming to theatres in Los Angeles (and a few other cities) as a limited engagement February 13-19. I really encourage anyone who can to go see it. It is an amazing film, very honest and provocative but not harpy and it really will affect each and every person who sees it. Well worth an afternoon of your time.

visit The Fuel Film to see the trailer and for showtimes and ticket information.

not your grandmother's wallpaper

Most people have a pretty strong memory of their grandmother's house. The smell of cookies or bread and getting to stay up later than you were normally allowed brings back fond memories for many. But I'm going to venture a guess here that the design of the house didn't rank quite as high...tchochkes from floor to ceiling, faded carpet, outdated draperies. Am I on the right track? Well, some of the things from grandma's house are now finding their way back into the world of high design, and it looks like they might just stay awhile.

Wallpaper is one of these such things and I can attest to previously being on the other side of the fence. But thanks to companies like Farrow & Ball I have fully recovered from my wallpaper aversion.

Farrow & Ball is a British manufacturer of paint and wallpaper, but have showrooms all across this side of the pond.

The images here are beautiful, but even they don't do justice to the magnificence of the actual paper. The color palette is earthy and rich and the paper patterns range from funky to elegant so there are endless possibilities here. The papers are printed using traditional blocks and water based paints so they have a totally unique texture and quality. They make a bold statement no matter where they are and truly are timeless design.

Samples of both paper and paint can be ordered through the website and product can be ordered through me.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Website is Live!

Hooray! After many hours of designing and re-designing my website has officially launched. I still have a few tweaks to make (the portfolio images are a little small) but it is up and running and I'm very excited. Please check it out

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Unique Art

I can't say that I am impressed by a whole lot of what is shown on HGTV (not to mention that the design community is typically at odds with the unrealistic idea that people can remodel their own bathroom in a weekend). But as I was flipping through the channels recently this image caught my eye.

In this episode they were featuring easy upgrades that actually looked pretty easy. Such as the fireplace surround that functions as art. I thought this was great because it has a lot of texture, which is interesting, but it doesn't stand out so much that it wouldn't belong in your home a few years from now. And it can easily belong to a variety of design styles. But the best part is that it is made out of....

Shims! You know, those little wooden door-stopper looking pieces that cabinet guys use to make things level. I love this idea and I thought I would give some pointers on making a project like this more green.

First of all, shims are typically scrap pieces of wood so we are off to a good start. You ultimately are gluing these down onto an mdf platform so I suggest getting a no-added formaldehyde sheet of mdf, plywood, etc. These are readily available at wood stores and are barely more expensive than their chemical-soaked cousins. We have lots of choices for stains, finishes and glue so go with a water-based stain and laquer and a low or no voc adhesive. These will keep your new artwork from off-gassing.

Finally, my best piece of green advice- keep it! Build your artwork so that it is sturdy and hang it, don't permanently mount it, to the wall. That way you can take it with you when you move, use it in a different room or even turn it into a headboard later on. It gives you flexibility instead of making it necessary to discard in the future.

If you want directions on how to make this thing visit HGTV (can't believe I am saying that)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Environmental Sustainability Conference

Last Friday, Vanguard University in Costa Mesa put on one of the best local green events that I have been to. It's rare that an event outside of LA is so organized and brings such a great crowd in terms of speakers and exhibitors.

The event featured local green business owners who have been making waves in Orange County for the last several years. A few of them even began the movement well before OC was ready for it. As a result, their struggles have proven that not only can sustainable businesses be successful but they also create a community that thrives.

Keynote Speaker, Pierre Senizergues, is the founder of the local Sole Technology- the parent company for some of the largest action sports companies in the world. He started his environmental journey many years ago and built the first green building in Orange County as well as taking the manufacturing industry by storm when he demanded that his shoe plants go green several years ago. Pierre was also the Executive Producer of the film 'The 11th Hour.'

Pierre is somewhat of a hero in the local green business world, having recently been the 'bar' that was set for OC Metro's Green Issue. His presentation at the conference met all expectations as he described his efforts with such enthusiasm that it was hard not to just jump up and hug him.

The rest of the speakers were equally notable, though I don't think I could keep your attention if I went into detail on each of them. But I do want to note who they were because each of these people are worth checking out. It's always nice to know who the players are.

Shaheen Sadeghi, Founder of the LAB and the Camp in Costa Mesa
Spencer Brown, Owner of Earth Friendly Moving (the baby diaper boxes)
Rachel Hulan, Owner of Path Design. Rachel is a fellow Interior Designer and was my previous employer and mentor in green design!
Martin Diedrich, Owner of Kean Coffee in Costa Mesa
Christina Kull, Environmental Engineer at Northrop Grumman Corporation
Jim Woodrow, Professor at Vanguard University
Helene Kennan, Bon Apetit Restaurant