So Much Goodness Going On!


It’s been a whirlwind couple of months! Yesterday my daughter and I got to tour the build site for the new wing of the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford and see the room that I’m designing as part of the Where Hope Has a Home project! It was awesome to see that the room has ample amounts of natural light and an unexpected 13 foot-high lightwell!


Miranda and her custom Apartment 46 hard hat

There is so much left to do and I am incredibly thankful for the ongoing donations to the room fund and the amazing folks who have donated pieces of furniture off of my wish list. Without the help of the community and my awesome vendors, this room wouldn’t be happening.


Timorous Beasties Merian Palm Wallpaper

Speaking of vendors, I am so excited to share that Colleen Norlander of Wall Covering Designs is sponsoring the installation of my gorgeous Timorous Beasties wallpaper that arrived a couple weeks ago from the UK! It’s critical that it be done right and  having professionals donate their talent and time to this effort fills me with joy.

I have long been obsessed with TB wall coverings and textiles and have been waiting forever to use them in one of my designs.  For me, the combination of color, artistry and fantasy was just what my room needed to make it special. I’m hoping that the children who spend time in the space will be inspired by the nature motif and will be relaxed by the calming tones. There are all sorts of hidden images in the pattern repeat and that makes it like a tiny treasure hunt!


Loloi Rugs

I’m also thrilled with the carpet that Loloi rugs has donated to the project. It’s so fantastic in person and the pattern reminds me of a forgotten Indian palace. The mostly neutral color-scheme punctuated with bits of blue is perfect for the room’s palette of blues, grays, gold and bronze. The rug fits so well because my overall aesthetic is one that focuses on global patterns and textiles mixed with classic shapes to create a kind of chic bohemian space. This room will be awash in the colors of nature and the sea – things that inform my design process and make my heart happy.

Hinkley Lighting

Hinkley Lighting

The antique bronze Hinkley ceiling lights that are happening are pretty much the icing on the cake when it comes to what’s overhead! Not only are they energy efficient, they’re beautiful and easy to clean, which is so important in a setting like the RMH. donated one of these along with so much other lovely lighting but I’m still in need of one more of these bad boys (it’s on my wish list!) and I’m hoping that I can raise enough to cover the cost of purchasing another one or that someone will “sponsor” the light. Pretty please? Anyone? :) There is much more to share, and I’ll be doing so over the next few weeks so keep checking back to join me on this journey and see what other elements I’m incorporating in to the space. The bottom line is that I am blown away by all the generosity that continues to flow our way and I hope to make all my sponsors and my community proud.

All my best,

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Where Hope Has A Home – Update!


My beautiful niece Selah

Each time I sit to down to write a post I am overwhelmed by all of the things that have happened since I last updated my blog. It’s apparent that I need to devote as much love to the blog as I do to my projects because it’s an awesome creative outlet that helps me connect with you in a way that my Facebook and Instagram posts cannot.

Having been chosen as a designer for the Where Hope Has a Home Project at the Ronald McDonald House Stanford, has been such a humbling and challenging experience. I am continually in awe of the design talent that has come together to make this very special building a beautiful, safe and comforting place for children and their families.


Building Rendering by CAH Architects

It’s been a whirlwind couple of months working on fine-tuning my room design, meeting the required deadlines and securing sponsors that are helping to make my vision a reality. I am extremely grateful to the following companies who have enthusiastically offered their support through generous contributions to my portion of the project:

  • (supplying all the beautiful lighting in the room)
  • Coyuchi (supplying all of the luxurious organic bedding, pillows, and towels for the room)
  • Crossville (supplying the stunning shower tile)
  • Houzz (donated a gift card so that I could purchase furnishings and accessories for the room)
  • Land of Nod (donating wonderful storage and furniture for the littlest members of the family)
  • Loloi Rugs (supplying my fantastic rug for the room)
  • Kohler (supplying the chic fixtures, sink and hardware for the bathroom)
  • Shane Evans Fine Woodworking (supplying an inlaid mirror and custom-built vanity for the bathroom)
  • Timorous Beasties (supplying a fantastical and whimsical wall covering for one of the walls in the room)

Knowing what sort of feeling I want my room to have and how important it is that everything in the space provides a sense of comfort, beauty, and warmth, I approached companies that I personally admire and that align with that line of thinking. Each believes that attention to detail and quality craftsmanship contribute to a more lovely interior environment and each have company values and practices that enrich the lives of so many.


Garden Clover

There is a lot left to do and on top of completing client projects it’s shaping up to be a busy summer but I look forward to keeping you updated on the status of this project as well as what I’ve been up to in the wild world of interior design!

All my best,


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Spring Has Sprung!


Flowers and table by Apartment 46

There is so much goodness to share so I’ll just dive right in! A month or so ago I was selected to be among a group of awesome and talented designers who will be donating their time and vision to help decorate rooms in the new wing of the Ronald McDonald House, Stanford. Conceived in conjunction with the San Francisco Design Center (SFDC), and titled, “Where Hope has a Home,” this amazingly worthwhile project will provide a safe, comfortable and beautiful space for families with critically ill children to be together and heal. The current RMH has had to turn away families for lack of space and this new building will enable many more to benefit from the loving environment that the home provides. My own daughter was treated at Lucile Packard for a rare heart condition. Though it was the most terrifying experience of my life, the staff and doctors at Stanford were outstanding and provided the care needed to save her life. I am so honored and humbled to be able to give back in one of the biggest ways – by providing a space in which those on a stressful journey may find a moment of peace.


One of the concept boards submitted to RMH

As the rooms are being “donated” by the designers, I have sought out sponsors to assist with the large costs of purchasing materials. I am thrilled that, Houzz, Land of Nod and Loloi rugs have all signed on to help! In addition I have a fundraising page on the RMH Stanford web site that will help purchase items for the rooms such as art, bedding, and finishing touches. If you have arrived on this post I ask that you consider donating. I’ll be posting the progress and the end results as the rooms are built and the design begins. Here’s the page link, pass it on!


Photo from our Chairish feature

In Early March our shop was featured in the Chairish newsletter highlighting San Francisco design spots. I’m excited to say we have a national feature coming up April 9 so stay tuned for that! Selling online has enabled Apartment 46 to reach more people than we ever could have done from our little location in sleepy San Mateo, CA. I’m always happy to see something I’ve chosen heading off to a new home as far away as New York or South Carolina. We want to be a secret source but not so secret that no one knows we’re here! So yeah, pass that on too!

Image courtesy of Uttermost

Image courtesy of Uttermost

It’s been a bit of a blessed whirlwind of projects ranging from a small condo redo in Mountain View to full-on e-consulting with a fantastic new client in Orlando, Florida. Using Houzz ideabooks, email, text and phone calls, we’re putting together a glamorous new master bedroom and a cozy, sweet and stylish room for my client’s two twin girls. Can’t wait to see the outcome!

Image courtesy of Serena and Lily

Image courtesy of Serena and Lily

As we’ve headed into Spring I’ve hopped back on my bandwagon preaching about clearing your clutter and redesigning your space to better suit your life, style, and dreams. It’s a lot easier to get started than you may think. Choose one room and within that room choose one area to tackle. If that feels too overwhelming, start with a drawer. I am constantly purging my makeup drawer of all sorts of freakish colors and products I was positive I needed. You will be making three piles – Keep, donate and discard. In sorting, your items must fall into three categories – Love it, need it, use it. That’s it. There aren’t subcategories when we’re clearing clutter. You have to be disciplined. If you are trying to sort your clothes and it’s 70 degrees out and you’re dealing with sweaters, well, you probably do need them in the winter so package them up in clear zipper bags (available at Home Depot or Bed Bath and Beyond) and store them in what organizers

term “deep storage” – such as a self in the garage or in a plastic bin under the bed where you don’t need to access them frequently.

The word “need” is actually really subjective so for the purposes of creating a clutter-free space the word need means that your functioning will be impaired without it. A good example would be a wine bottle opener. I NEED my wine bottle opener but I don’t NEED my melon ball maker because I hate melons and I have zero occasion in which to serve them (mostly because I hate them). You get the drift. The other trap to avoid is the “I might need it” syndrome. There’s a difference between preparing for a disaster and hoarding. Keeping 700 twist-ties because you might need to use them someday to build a zombie-proof fence is hoarding. Keeping 5 is reasonable.

Of course as you can see my blog still looks basically the same, although I have stripped out a lot of redundant info and am adding a press page to highlight who has written about us (THANK YOU FOR THAT!). Hoping to get my butt in gear and get a new look by summer  – both personally and professionally!














Last but not least, yesterday was my birthday and I’m so SO ready for the second half of my life to be full of love, joy and laughter. xx

Have a great week!


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There Are Great Things In The Works!


Gilded Protea Leaves

So I’ve been doing some soul-searching and I’ve decided I’m finally ready to tackle a TOTAL renovation of my blog. It’s been sitting here sadly waiting for quite some time and I feel like I know where I want to go with this. Writing two weekly columns for Houzz has been amazing and I’ve met so many fantastic people through my involvement with the site but I have to admit, I’ve let my own little blog kind of languish. I’m sorry for that. I regularly post missives on our shop Facebook page so you can always keep up to date with our day-to-day there, and I’m probably far too active on Instagram where I post the things that inspire me. All of this is happening, and yet, I go to sleep each night filled with stuff I want to write about and share with you. So I’m getting re-focused and will be reworking the blog over the next couple of months.


#Designcat isn’t really helping.

Since I somehow got myself on the platform instead of normal-people WordPress, I’ve found that I am unable to apply any new template or format. The theory is that I should be intelligent enough to code my own template on which is never gonna happen so…Wish me luck with this while I work on the new blog in parallel to trying to keep y’all updated on this blog. You know there will be a lot of coffee and swearing happening up in here as currently it’s is all me and I am many things but graphic designer/tech brillianaire is not one of them.


Our last meal at Kohler happened here.

Many of you know I was recently invited by Kohler to visit their phenomenal resort, The American Club spend time in their design centre, drool over their gorgeous offices (The Beacon), and tour the factory. I promise I’ll expand on that visit in my next post because really, it was incredible and I want to go back. The most important thing I took away with me from that visit was getting to meet and connect with several really fantastic, intelligent and creative women in design and photography.


Nicole Cohen of Sketch42blog and Paloma Contreras of La Dolce Vita blog.

If you haven’t checked out Sketch42 or La Dolce Vita, hurry UP! There is so much to see and experience on both sites and the women behind them are awesome human beings. You know me, it takes me a while to warm up to folks and being the always-wary girl I am, I wear my trust issues on my sleeve. These girls are the real deal and I’m blessed to have crossed paths with them.


Gilded bean pods

As usual I’ve been in the shop creating because that’s how my mind works. When I’m stressed, excited, happy, sad, or breathing (which is always thankfully), I’m creating. Sometimes I get stuck in my own head and it’s hard to come back to reality. I’ve been making loads of curious things with what nature has provided me and I can’t wait for you to stop in the shop and see what’s been going on.


Semi-precious stones hung on a piece of dried kelp.

Be patient with me while I revamp this little sugar-shack of a blog I have and hopefully I’ll do you all proud. In the meantime, go forth and get creative, it’s good for your soul. :)


Much love,


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IH-155040I am in love with this little table – the price, not so much. It’s called the “Argo” and it costs anywhere from $350-$550 depending on where you look. It’s a drink table and as the name implies, it gives you space to set a drink or two. I am obsessed with drink tables, and I think they have a place in every home, however I don’t think they need to be $500.

Anyway, for the past two weeks I have had  the “creative crazies”. I have a ton spastic energy and far too many ideas. I have also been on a mad purge, going through all of my design files and magazines in an attempt to distill it down to what inspires me most. Take last night for instance, I was sitting on the couch enthralled by a renovations episode on HGTV when I was suddenly compelled to create my own mirror-topped drink table.

I used a brushed nickel floor candle holder and a mirrored tray. The candle holder had been on my fireplace hearth for over a year and the tray was happily living at our shop, Apartment 46.

I literally got in my car and drove to my store in the middle of the night because I was obsessed with my own idea. Both items were then combined with a healthy dose of epoxy and are now celebrating their new incarnation as a drink table in someone else’s living room, (because I was talked into selling it). I loved my own idea so much I repeated it with a vintage brass table base and a papier mache Italian tray.

The old design adage is that for every chair there should be a place to easily put your drink – and I love that. A coffee table is great if you can reach it from every seat in the room but that’s not often the case. You don’t need to have a large side table to place a glass on, you need a candle base or an old table base and a sturdy tray!

Large Old World Floor Candle Holder_400-01If you want to use a candle holder as your table base, be sure it’s a floor candle holder. You want it to be tall enough to be useful. Also, ensure that it has a weighty, sturdy bottom to balance out any top-heaviness of a tray plus drinks. This stone floor candle holder is definitely weighty enough, and the spike can be removed. Many tall candle holders have a metal spike in the center to hold a candle steady. These can be broken off with a solid pair of pliers or nail/bolt cutters. Sometimes they come off easily, sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle so be careful! If you end up taking a chunk out of the candle holder that’s okay. Your tray will cover it.


I love the idea of tarnished silver trays as drink tables. There is something soulful and bittersweet about old silver and it’s fantastic when utilized in an unexpected way. Metal trays are also a great counterpoint to a wood or stone base.


Don’t feel you have to stick to round when it comes to the tabletop shape. You can use a rectangular or oval tray and create something unique and fabulous. The Italian tray I used was an exaggerated rectangle. The antique sterling tray above would be beautiful as a drink table and it would likely get much more use and admiration than if it were sitting on a shelf somewhere. I am always trying to find a way to re-purpose vintage items in fresh new ways. For me, it’s all about giving something new life in today’s world and drink tables are versatile and super convenient for space-constrained homes.


Lately I’ve been super into two-part epoxy because it holds incredibly well and is relatively easy to apply. You take off the tip and squeeze it onto a piece of cardboard or heavy duty paper and kind of mix it up and apply it. I use a paint mixing stick to smear it onto the flush part of the candle holder because it’s thick and messy. I also apply it to the bottom center of the tray I’ve chosen.

Use a generous amount and wipe off whatever seeps out once the tray and base have been connected. I like to turn my pieces upside down to cure because the weight of the bottom piece gives it a tighter seal. You could also put something heavy in the center of the tray but it may fall off or fall over. I learned the hard way that upside down works best for me.

Epoxy creates strong fumes so I recommend applying it outdoors and letting it cure before bringing your piece inside. I checked my tables after a couple hours just to be sure the tray top hadn’t shifted and brought them in fully cured the next morning.

If you end up making a drink table of your own please send me pics! I’d love to see your creations.

Happy Making!

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Creating A Sacred Space



Image courtesy of The Trinkit Hunter

Your home is where the shared space of the world ends and your private sanctuary begins. What could be more sacred than the space in which you begin and end each day? Creating a peaceful environment that honors what you love and who you are, isn’t really about four walls and some furniture. 


Tara Bliss – image courtesy of Hibiscus Moon

Whether it’s family photos, glittering crystals, or a bowl full of shells you’ve collected, you add to spirit and love to a place by adorning it with beautiful and meaningful things. The word “sacred” means different things to different people but I use the word to mean highly valued and important : deserving great respect.

You don’t need a large area to create a sacred space. If you have is a shelf on a wall, you can turn it into a Blessings altar by adding to it tiny things you are thankful for, remind you of happy times or people you love. Sacred does not have to mean religious, although you may include religious icons if that is important to you.

DSC00010In a 6 x 5 foot reading nook, I created this wall altar for a client as a private way to honor her Indian heritage. When she settles into the chair to read, she often lights the candle and uses those few seconds to think about her family. Those thoughts keep her close to important people in her life and give the nook a feeling of serenity.


Kitchen Windowsill

In my own home I have several vignettes that are ever-changing. None take up much space and all provide touch points that remind me of moments, places, people and the general beauty of the natural world. My kitchen windowsill is an unexpected place to put special objects, but I stand there multiple times a day to use the sink and am always looking at what’s there. Right now I have a small collection of things brought back from my favorite beach – a place that holds everything my heart has ever felt.

curiosity-cabinet-with-faux-coral.pngCreating a cabinet of beautiful things is also a great way to add a sense of sanctity to a room. All together it looks like a piece of art but when you stand in front of it and really see the individual objects, it becomes almost meditative. Noticing each and every thing takes time, and if all of the items have meaning, you can’t help but feel their importance.


Image courtesy of decordemon


Setting aside a small corner of a room where you sit quietly reading, taking in the sunshine and letting the day slip away doesn’t require fancy decor or objects of spiritual significance. The sense of calm, warmth and safety you feel when snuggled under a warm blanket flipping through a magazine can be sacred in the sense that it refreshes you, centers you and removes you from daily stress. That is a space worth creating!

All my best,

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Dark and Stormy Decor


Image courtesy of Indulgy

I would describe my personal design style as being a bit dark and stormy. While I can appreciate things like country cottage and shabby chic, the sweetness of it isn’t something I naturally gravitate toward. Whether a room is traditional, contemporary or completely eclectic, I’m always looking for a bit of strangeness, something that can counter-balance the perfection. To me, dark and stormy style is all about finding that thing that makes a room edgy, interesting, and mysterious. It’s a room with a sexiness that makes you feel sexy by being in it. It doesn’t have to be a Goth-themed space. I’m not talking about darkness in the context of death and scary monsters, I’m talking about darkness that evokes a naughtiness, curiosity or steaminess. Continue reading

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Sparkle and Shine! Easy Bling For Your Holiday Home


Courtesy of prsarahevans

It’s hard for me to believe that in ten short days Christmas will be upon us. By now, you’re probably done decorating, but if you’re like me, you just keep decorating until the holidays are over – and they’re not over for me until New Year’s Day. So if you’re really done (is that even possible?), then I hope this post inspires next year’s decor. However, if you’re hosting a holiday shindig, or feel like you’re lacking a little sparkle and intrigue, read on for tips on how to bring a little extra bling to your Christmas or New Year’s surroundings. Continue reading

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Creating Fabulous Fall Vignettes

CLX1006Pum012_de For so many reasons, Fall is my favorite time of year. Although we don’t really have an extreme change of seasons here in California, there’s a chill in the air, leaves on the ground and families come together to share love, laughs, and warmth. In my opinion it’s also the best ever when it comes to seasonal decor! I’m always looking for unexpected ways to evoke the feeling of Fall without going all thematic with it. You’ll never find a turkey or Pilgrim in my house but you’ll probably find a whole mess of twigs, branches and fantastic gourds in vintage urns, bowls and baskets.

wonderful-fall-decor-with-branches-1When it comes to creating gorgeous seasonal vignettes the first place you need to look for inspiration is outside your front door. Fallen branches are my go-to every year for Fall decor because they’re perfect for bringing the outside in. It’s really windy where I live and branches are all over the ground most of the time. If you like a little more bling and a little less rustic, you can spray paint the branches gold. It’s a great metallic to mix with the oranges, browns and yellows of the season.

large bunch of branches in a vaseWhether they’re blooming, studded with acorns, flame-colored leaves or bare as can be, branches add dramatic elegance. When used in a simple vase, their height and shape are all that’s needed to make a statement.

cOctober_228I’m in love with the spare simplicity of this beautiful vignette. Pulling together objects you already own and displaying them in a different way is a great way to start. You can get this chic and welcoming look by arranging a grouping that includes a rattan basket filled with dried hydrangea, metal containers, a branch or two, an old black and white portrait or an offbeat oil and the single white pumpkin. It’s welcoming and interesting and can be changed up so easily by adding elements such as pine cones, or gold objects.

creeperI was late in getting this post up but I adore this vignette. Something about the tiny bones, art and single spray vine says just enough to let you know it’s Halloween without having to try hard. I think it’s mysterious as well as melancholy. I’m always looking for beautiful natural objects to add to the mix. Found animal skulls, empty bird nests, naturally shed antlers..all of these things say “change of seasons” to me and I love the grace of things we don’t usually see, touch or understand.

white-pumpkin-decorations-1I am ALL about white pumpkins. Stacked, grouped, piled in a basket, I think they’re absolutely stunning on a Fall mantel or used as a table centerpiece. They can be romantic when mixed with dried flowers, weathered architectural finds or mercury glass. Carve a white pumpkin and use it as a vase. Mix store bought nuts still in their shells such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts with mini white pumpkins to add the sense of Fall in an unexpected way.

2c861a7f70cc7657_img43bI’m also a fool for feathers! Pheasant, Crow, spotted Chicken…When grouped loosely in a vintage container they can totally change the feel of a vignette. By themselves, the papier mache white pumpkins allude to Halloween, but adding pheasant feathers to a modern white vase is decidedly Thanksgiving. Again, it’s the simplicity of the grouping that makes me smile. So much can be said without having to be over-the-top with your displays.

A-diamond-in-the-stuff-630x421 For a little more traditional Fall display, you can add vinyl transfer letter to small gourds, pumpkins, burlap garlands or even vintage clock faces and spell out phrases and welcome guests. Empty frames layered on top of one another is an awesome way to add depth. Look for worn, chipped frames with age and patina and add in a few rustic objects to finish off the vignette.

fall-vignette-copyMilk glass is always perfect for any vignette but filled with dried wheat, grasses, or millet, as shown above, makes a perfect Fall addition. The great thing about dried elements is that you don’t have to worry about soil or water. A collection of smaller objects surrounding a milk glass urn such as dried leaves, small gourds, dried flowers and even seashells would speak to Fall warmth and wonder.

autumn-inspired-bottle-vignettesEven something as easy as a grouping of vintage glass bottles in autumn colors becomes a pretty little vignette when you add delicate branches of bitter orange.

Big-Indian-by-Percy-and-Tara-kitchen_02You definitely don’t need a lot of objects to make an impact and add beauty to your space. Think creatively, forage outdoors for found objects and make sure to use things that inspire you. Use color and shape to guide you – warm tones and soft curves – and play with different groupings until it feels right to you.

All the best,

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Catching Up With The Muses

P1030247The past several months have been filled with blessings and challenges both personally and professionally and updating the blog has fallen woefully behind. Whereas I used to send out monthly newsletters keeping folks up-to-date on our wanderings, I’ve switched over to daily musings and updates via our Facebook page. If you haven’t already visited us there, we’d love to see you! I’m also really excited about my weekly columns on Houzz. Reader response has been fantastic and I’m getting to know so many amazing people through the sharing of design expertise and experiences. To read each week’s piece, make sure to check out Apartment 46’s idea books.

In May I finished a large garden project in the San Mateo hills, as well as worked on a complete renovation in Sunnyvale (ongoing), began the master bedroom of a Hayward Park home, put more touches on a San Francisco apartment, and did a few garden and home refreshes here and there throughout the Bay Area.

I’m still working on the Sunnyvale home, have started a second Hayward Park home, a Hillsdale home, and will be starting a San Jose garden project as well as a Hayward Park backyard. The San Mateo Hills garden project has been expanded to include more of the property so that’s happening this weekend and we have a Millbrae home on deck. It’s an understatement to say I’m blessed by the work because the clients I’ve been lucky enough to design for have been some of the kindest, funniest, and most interesting people I could have hoped to meet. I know there’s a definite design rule about crossing the client-to-friend border but it can’t be helped. The folks I know are just too damn awesome!


The shop is still doing custom floral and we’ve had the opportunity to do several super huge bouquets over the past couple of months. I really don’t believe that a house is a home without fresh flowers and greenery.  Floral arrangements are something we’ll always offer because we feel it’s such an intrinsic part of making a space more lovely.

Our relationship with One Kings Lane is going strong and we’ve continued to sell unique vintage items in their weekly flash sales. If you haven’t already made an account, please click on the OKL banner on the right of our blog and make one. Registering through our page helps our small business and lets OKL where you heard of them. They never spam and they always have beautiful things on offer.


I’ve been really focused on vintage art and have so many great pieces in the shop at any given time it’s impossible to post them all. This 1970’s era black, white and gold abstract is currently for sale. Although it’s over 30 years old, it feels fresh and modern and would be gorgeous above a console, leaned against a larger piece on a mantel or even put in a guest bath as a point of interest. Every home needs “real” art and it doesn’t have to be something big and expensive to be meaningful. Art is a room-changer. Whether you’re into abstract, illustrative or oils, there are as many ways to add art to your space as there are artists. I personally think gallery walls are an exciting way to mix various smaller pieces to create an interesting tableau.


Vintage Japanese glass vase

Sometimes the smallest accents make the biggest impact. Many times I’m hired to provide the finishing touches to homes that have all the basics — sofa, tables, television — but are missing the warmth. It’s so important that a home reflect the people who live there and I am thankful every day that I get to continue doing what I love most, which is adding beauty to Bay Area homes and gardens.

I’m hoping to post photos of my recently completed projects very soon and if you haven’t been by the shop in a while, you know we’d love to see you.

Much love,


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