Tag Archives: home interiors

Cerused Oak


On my most recent trip to San Francisco, I was able to take some time to walk through the Galleria in search of materials for a returning client. I always make a stop at Wroolie and Company who are known for their high end furniture and lighting which range from custom reproductions, original designs, to contemporary. I was delighted to see several cerused oak side tables near the front window of the showroom. I’ve been fond of this finish for years and am very pleased to see that it is being used in new and interesting ways. These pieces by Mario Grimaldi International were in a variety of rich stains and finished with a high gloss finish.

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With my interest piqued, I did a bit of research on cerused oak and learned a few interesting facts. The technique of cerused oak, known as limed oak in Britain, began back in the 16th century.  Carpenters rubbed a material containing lime into the grain of the wood to fill it, then the wood was stained and finished giving you a two toned effect. Cerused oak became popular again in the age of Art Deco and is having a  comeback in our decade as well.

Mario Grimaldi International London Dining Table

Mario Grimaldi International London Dining Table

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Best Book to Buy While in Paris- International Design Magazine’s 2013 Paris Design Guide

On my most recent trip to Paris I came upon the essential guide for any designer or lover of art to have during their time in Paris. International Design Magazine’s 2013 Paris Design Guide beautifully describes the newest and best designed showrooms, hotels, cafes, shops, galleries, and bookshops that Paris has to offer. With over 300 places you can visit, it’s hard to even scratch the surface. The book is separated into chapters by Paris’ 20 districts making it very user friendly. Each district has its own chapter that begins with a map showing the exact location of the showroom, hotel, etc. The information given about each designed space tells you just enough about the space to make you want to go visit for yourself.

557I visited two locations in the 1st arrondissement with the help of this guide. The first was Le Café Marly which is nestled into the north end of the Louvre museum, with outdoor seating under the arcade of the Louvre. The space boasts not only beautiful design, but a splendid view of the Ming Pei’s Pyramid. The design of this space was inspired by Napoleonic interiors, featuring Empire colours on the walls, ceiling, and furniture detailing.





208The second place I had the opportunity to visit in the 1st arrondissement was Hotel Lumen. Designed by Claudio Colucci, this space has a unique mixture of elegance and quirk. The designer incorporated the baroque look with a modern twist by choosing whimsical furniture and unexpected finishes. As its name suggests, Hotel Lumen incorporates light in a soft while contrasting way that warmly draws guests into the space.




1201Another amazing place that I was able to see with direction from this book was located in the 5th arrondissement. La quinacaillerie is a handle and knob boutique located just down the street from Notre-Dame. Featuring the best international suppliers of door and window handles and furniture knobs, it’s hard not to fall in love with them all. The store displays the best and most functional handle designs of the world. The white walls and simple wood floors makes the space feel more like an art gallery than a showroom.1202

236The last place I was able to visit thanks to the help of this book was in Paris’ 7th arrondissement. Café Campana located in the Museum D’Orsay has a beautifully modern design. The Campana Brezilian brothers have incorporated whimsical modern design into a Parisian architecture shell. Gold pendants made of gold shards, textured turquoise methacrylate panels, and twisted orange metal partitions give many layers to a fun design. The design of Café Campana seems to give a nod to the impressionist artists who greatly influenced Paris and the world.




The design continues even into the menu graphics


I highly recommend the 2013 Paris Design Guide to any designer or lover of the arts. It allows you to feel the pulse of creativity in Paris in a user friendly way. I will never go to Paris without it again! Happy travels.

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I’d Like to Thank…

Award Winning Kitchen

Award season is nearly over; we’ve made it through the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the Oscars and, of course, the Annual Design National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). I’m thrilled to report that StoneWood Design was awarded 1st place for “Open Design Kitchen.”   

 Established in 1963 as a network of kitchen dealers, NKBA today boasts more than 40,000 professional members.  And while I’ve been a member for years, and have won several awards from them along the way, I’m particularly proud of this year’s recognition.  Winning this year’s “Open Design Kitchen” award after 25 years in the business is acknowledgement from my peers and other professionals that says, “Your design and work is noteworthy.”  It means a great deal to me. Plus, it’s such a joy to be noticed for something that you love to do as much as I love interior design.  As long as I continue to feel excited and confident in the work I do for my clients, and gain the recognition of my peers, I can’t see myself ever stopping, so here’s to another 25 years!

Fobes Laundry

Also, beyond this most recent recognition from NKBA, I’m pleased to share that a laundry room designed by StoneWood Design is featured in this month’s edition of Sacramento Magazine.  If you have a copy of the magazine, flip to pages 70 and 71 to see the functional, airy and delightful space I created for the Fobes family.  I love seeing the pictures of my client, Cathy, enjoying the space with her three daughters, Kate, Allison, and Emily.  It’s always a pleasure to see clients using the space you’ve designed for them.  If you don’t have a copy of the magazine handy, you can check out the online edition at www.sagmag.com

 Finally, in addition to liking what I do, I’m blessed to work with many, many wonderful clients.  For the “Open Design Kitchen” I’d like to thank my clients, the Plumlee/van den Akker family for the opportunity to work on this amazing and fun project.   Not only are they the perfect clients, whom I have been privileged to work with on a number of projects, but we also make a good team.  They know what they like and expect from their space, and it’s my job to execute that for them.  I’m hopeful that we’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with each other again in the near future.


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London Calling – Travel Entry #5

One of the most breathtaking and beautiful accessories I saw while visiting the Maison & Objet show last week in Paris were  colored vases and bowls that were cut in such a manner that they made dynamic and illuminating patterns on and around any nearby surface.  Some of the pieces I saw sparkled so brilliantly that I could have sworn they were gemstones.  The colors were fantastic and I adored them for their beauty and purpose.

To my amazement, as I moved onto London earlier this week, and continued to tour multiple stops around the city, including a museum or two, I came across a display that essentially mirrored the pieces I had seen the week before in Paris.  On display in London, an ancient, incrusted bowl, and right next to it,  a modern-day re-creation of what the piece would have looked like when it was newly minted–thousands of years ago–before it became a victim of time.  The craftmanship on the replica gave me a good idea of how the piece would have appeared in the home of someone who lived in ancient times.  All I could image was how treasured and admired such a piece much have been to its owner.

Having seen the beautiful glass in Paris, and now standing in front of this display in London, reminded me of the old adage: everything old is new again.  And of course it proves to all you pack rats out there that if you hold onto something long enough, in this case thousands of years, you are likely to see it come back into vogue like the pieces seen in the picture below. 

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London Calling – Travel Entry #4

We recently arrived in London, and took a stroll down the Portobello Road. The pastel colors on the buildings seem to make this gloomy day a little brighter.

We recently said “a bientot” (see you soon) to the “City of Lights.”  We had such a beautiful time that I hope we will get to see Paris again soon.  I love all the inspiration and ideas I got while exploring the sights, landmarks, and of course, the Maison & Objet trade show, which I posted and shared about in my earlier travel entries.  My mind is swimming with so many fabulous ideas for my clients back home that part of me wants to rush back home now and start working immediately, but alas, we have a quick stop over in London.

While Paris was inspirational, as only Paris can be, London holds equal appeal for me.  Yes, it’s a totally different culture, ambiance and design scene when compared to Paris, but it’s still London and I’m looking forward to soaking in all the sites and sounds of another European experience.  During our first day walking through the damp and chilly streets, we visited many shops on the well-travelled Portotbello Road.  While meandering from store to store, I gleefully came across Cath Kidston’s Shop.  Ms. Kidston is a British designer who specializes in many things one of them being in retro-print fabrics.  I found all her design charming, colorful and whimsical.  Most of her prints consisted of  flowers and polka dots, which in this designer’s mind is a can’t miss when you are attempting to create a lasting and timeless style statement.   While we were visiting the shop, I was elated to learn that Ms. Kidston’s retro fabrics recently have been released as furnishing fabrics for upholstery.  Are you interested in seeing more of her designs including wallpaper, fabric, oil cloth and cushions?  Visit her website at www.CathKidston.com.

In the meantime, for a quick view of her work, here’s a picture I snapped of one of the displays in her shop.  

Cheerio from London! I hope to share more photos and design inspirations throughout the week, and then it’s back home to put all these design ideas to work.  What a field trip this has been!

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The Power of Pictures

Have you ever flipped through an edition of a House Beautiful magazine or the latest Pottery Barn catalogue and been mesmerized by the picture of a particular space?  Did it start you daydreaming about how you would design or decorate such a room in your own home? Well I can assure you that you are not alone in your daydreaming.  Many people, including myself, gain inspiration from beautiful photos of well-appointed homes.

Having worked on multiple photo shoots during the past 30 years, I thought it would be interesting to give you a “behind the scenes” look at the collaboration that happens between an interior designer and photographer in order to achieve the picture perfect photos that you see.

As an interior designer I’m most interested in working with a photographer who can appreciate the vision that my client and I had for the space.  By sharing our vision and inspiration with the photographer, he gains a better sense of where to focus his lens and how best to tell the story of the room.

After we reach an understanding of the functionality of the space, we begin brainstorming about what we’ll need to dress the room.  This means preparing the room for “photo day.”  For example, if we are shooting photos of a dining room (like we did for my most recent client shoot) then we need to decide how we will set the table, what flowers or natural elements we’ll use in the room and whether we need any other elements that will help bring the room, and the pictures to life.   Once we decide how the room will be dressed we begin purchasing the elements we need and working on any other details that will ensure that the room will be picture-perfect ready for photo day.

Not surprisingly, photo day is usually the busiest, longest day for everyone involved—designer, photographer, and client.  We often start early in the morning dressing the room, and we can work well into the evening depending on lightening.  Waiting for the sun to be in just the right spot so we can fully capture the warmth of the room is something we’ve done many times.    But photo day is also the most rewarding because it is the day I get to see my design come to life and I almost always gain a better understanding of how the room will look and feel to others as they enter the space.  It also often turns out to be an entertaining and fun day for my clients who get to see their space look its very best.


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