Funky chair delight

Has anyone been watching the new Ellen’s Design Challenge on HGTV?  If you are a lover of unique and true one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, you will not only love this show but be amazed by the talent out there, as I am.  And if you have ever worked with me you probably questioned at some point why I was trying to convince you to find a “funky” chair for some area of your home.  The answer is that, as a designer, I try to make sure all my clients’ homes feature a statement piece that is not only unique but representative of “them”;  and I love the unexpected in furniture design, in particular chairs, so the combination of a funky chair in a client’s home seems like a natural fit.

“Funky” can mean different things to different people.  To me it simply means a chair that is distinctive or unusual–maybe even a little offbeat, in form, color, material, fabric etc.  It can be fully functional or simply a piece of functional art.  Here are a few samples of what I would refer to as funky:

Mackenzie Childs has cornered the market on funky as seen here with her Freckle Fish side chair

Mackenzie Childs has cornered the market on funky as seen here with her Freckle Fish side chair.  The perfect unique touch for a beach house.

Tall and lean, funky chair in the entry is a nice counterpart to all the traditional furnishings in this beautiful home. via south coast blog

Tall and lean, the unexpected chair in the entry is a nice counterpart to all the traditional furnishings in this beautiful home.
via south coast blog

A true one of a kind chair from ad espana magazine via jason mowen blog

A true one of a kind chair from ad espana magazine via jason mowen blog

Metal peacock chair source unknown

Certainly would not curl up with a good book but funky does not always mean comfy! Metal peacock chair source unknown

Easy to accomplish with just the right amount of funky fabric via the painted house

Easy to accomplish with just the right amount of funky fabric via the painted house

Alligator chair certainly falls into the funkychair category via south shore decorating blog

Alligator chair certainly falls into the funky chair category–a little creepy, I will admit but certainly makes a statement. via south shore decorating blog

Skirted chair looks like it has feet.  Not large enough to sit on but provides a convenient spot for guests coats etc via atlanta homes

Skirted chair looks like it has little feet. Not large enough to sit on but provides a convenient spot for guests coats etc via atlanta homes

Is a nice compliment to the other unique furniture in the space

The distinctive design of this modern chair is a nice compliment to the other unique furniture in the space

And I follow my own advice with this funky chair that sits in my den.  Lovingly named the “Cat” chair by the artist, Jerry, (if only I could remember his last name), we purchased this chair from the Design in Wood exhibit at the San Diego Fair.

"Cat" chair in my den DH Design San Diego CA  92111

“Cat” chair in my den
DH Design
San Diego CA 92111

If you are in the market for that one special piece I highly recommend you take the time to tour this exhibit.  And remember, the hunt is part of the fun!

How do you define funky and what piece of funk do you have in your home?

If you are interested in more funky chairs check out this article in the latest edition of GOOP.



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Ten things that made me happy in January.

Truth be told, this was a tough one.  January is probably my least favorite month; not much going on and it has no real “identity” as a month like most other months do.  No holidays to celebrate or even prepare for, no real color scheme associated with it, no change of season etc., etc.  But I worked hard at staying positive and finding ten things, pitiful as some of them may seem:

  1. Celebrating my amazingly yummy granddaughter’s 3rd birthday.  She spent it at Disneyland so I was not there but the sheer joy on her face was enough for me.
  2. ella and jeff in car at disneyland jan 2015Gas prices that continue to drop even though California, in its own imitable way, added more road taxes that became effective Jan 1, 2015 that immediately bumped the price up by 10 cents a gallon.  But these lower prices make life so much easier for young people in southern California who need a car to get to work, get their kids to school, buy groceries etc.  We do not have a mass transit system to fall back on.
  3. Mid-week Home Goods buying trip with one of my besties, Sandy.  She recently retired so we have the freedom to go whenever we want, thereby avoiding the greedy crowds! We definitely made a deposit there and brought home some goodies that I am certain we did not need, but if you only buy what you need, where’s the fun?
  4. My new eye glasses.  I have had reading glasses for several years now but never needed them for distance–that is until now.  Aging sucks!!  I was absolutely amazed at how much clearer the TV was now that I could properly see.  Ah, the wonders of modern medicine.
  5. Blooming daffodils for only $2.95 a bunch in the grocery store.  They only last a few days once they open but they sure add a bright spot of sunshine to the room.
  6. Resuming our group dinner parties.  We have a group of 6 couples who routinely meet up at a restaurant every couple of months to catch up with each other’s lives, enjoy a great meal etc.  For many reasons we have not been able to do this for several months now but we all managed to get together this month.
  7. Pottery Barn’s washed velvet pillows.  I love the luscious new colors that include a soft coral that I think will compliment my new dining room chair fabric and my current obsession with any shade of orange.  What do you think?
  8. Washed velvet pillows from Pottery Barn

    Washed velvet pillows from Pottery Barn

    New dining room chair seat fabric


    Reaction Haze fabric from Vanguard

    Reaction Haze fabric from Vanguard

    I told you January was tough—I am short three items.  I guess I will make it up and have a super happy February!  How was your January?

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Help–I’m downsizing



Have you arrived at “that time of life”?  Time to move from the old homestead into something smaller and more manageable?  If so you have already discovered that this can be a very scary time.  But think waaaaaay back to when you were moving out of your parent’s home for the very first time…it was both scary and exciting at the same time with promises of unknown adventures ahead.  Emptynesting or downsizing is no different—scary and exciting with promises of many pleasant changes ahead that include:

  • More time to spend on those activities you enjoy vs. time spent maintaining a large yard, cleaning a large house etc.
  • More $ to spend on those activities you enjoy vs. spending those $ on home repair, taxes etc.
  • An opportunity to rid your home, and life, of all the clutter that accumulates over the years.  This can be very liberating.
  • An opportunity to decorate your home in a new style and color that was not possible in the old house without undertaking an entire redecorating project for which you had no $ because of all the expense and maintenance..yada, yada, yada.

If you are a sentimentalist like me it will take some time to get over the crying jags every time you run across a box of the kids childhood artwork or the bag that stores that adorable little outfit she wore home from the hospital….(I need a break to wipe away the tears right now!)  But then reality sets in and you actually begin to enjoy the peace and quiet, the clean floors, the food that remains in the refrigerator for more than a day, having to do laundry a couple of times a week vs. a couple of times a day and other pleasures you can enjoy when there are no kids in the house happy face winking

Now that you know how to enjoy your empty nest space, here are some decorating ideas that will help you make the most of your new, smaller home:

  • Use multi-tasking furniture.  Anything with drawers is a good idea and that includes not only the obvious chests for the bedroom but think about media units, coffee and end tables, bookcases and hutches with drawers to hide and store all of the “stuff” you could not part with or that is simply part of our modern lives.  You know what I’m talking about–remotes, DVD’s, chargers, ear buds and those all-important how-to manuals.  This unique storage coffee table does double duty as a desktop or TV tray while “hiding” your stuff and is going into my small den as we speak.
  • West Elm storage coffee table

    West Elm storage coffee table

  • Multi-tasking also includes items like sleeper sofas that can provide a bed for guests, side chairs that can be pulled up to the dining room table during dinner parties, ottomans that can be used as a table, footrest or additional seating, trunks that can store games or magazines when not being used as an end table.  The ideas are limitless.
  • One tip is to select a color scheme that flows throughout the house.  This means a chair in the living room, for example, will work just as well if moved to the master bedroom or a piece of artwork, throw pillows or a rug can be moved from room to room.  This is a good idea regardless of whether you live in a large home or small apartment.

I look forward to hearing your empty nest/downsizing stories and how you decorated your new, smaller home.

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10 things that made me happy in December




December is one of those months where you just expect it to be filled with nothing but happy days.  Well if you are six years old that is probably true but we, as adults, have come to know that often times you have to search for something that made a day “happy”.  Fortunately for me, that was not difficult as this was a good month.

  1. The Coronado Christmas parade. Few things are better than a small hometown parade with bicycles decorated with lights, police cars and fire engines as the main attraction.  The streets were closed off and stores were giving away cookies and hot chocolate and two of my besties and I sat on the center grass median and sipped chardonnay and talked the night away.  A perfect holiday evening.
  2. Gloomy rainy days.  We do not get many of these in San Diego so when they come, especially during the holidays, everyone puts on their uggs and thick sweaters and fixes a pot of chili.  Mind you the temp is only 64 degrees but it sure feels cold to us!
  3. Taking my scrumpdillyicious granddaughter to see Traditions of Christmas, a local holiday variety show of sorts that was a family tradition when our own kids were young.  To see her eyes light up and to watch her sit enraptured is worth more money than I could ever have…best present ever!ella jen and I at traditions of christmas 2014
  4. Quiet evenings spent with friends.  We had our share of many years of black tie events and a December calendar stuffed to the gills but find we now prefer to spend our time in a casual environment with good friends.  There is still no shortage of good food, fine wine and good entertainment…we just make it all ourselves instead of paying big bucks to attend a corporate or political event.
  5. Navy’s football team coming to San Diego to play in the Poinsettia bowl.  As I have mentioned often on this blog, my father was a career naval officer so it is in my blood.  My most fervent wish would be that he is here to share the excitement but I am sure he is watching.  And what a nail biter it was!
  6. Participating in my grown kid’s own holiday traditions that they are creating for their own young families.  At first it seems sad to let go of our traditions but there is something so rewarding, not to mention stress free, about spending Christmas in someone’s else’s home.  One of the newfound joys of empty nesting.
  7. Receiving boxes of homemade cookies from my very talented friends who are great cooks.  This is one tradition I love and am glad many of our friends continue to deliver their homemade goodies in pretty containers.  And so is Rick!!
  8. Quiet days spent with my husband.  Another one of the joys of empty nesting, once you get used to it, is learning to enjoy the peace and quiet and the freedom to drop everything and head to the gym, go to an afternoon movie or just run errands with each other.  It helps that we like each other!
  9. Babies in holiday sweaters…..
    my three month old grandson

    my three month old grandson

    Need I say more?

  10. Snow in the local mountains.  The temps have dropped quite a bit and we rang in the new year with very cold temperatures that brought snow to San Diego County.  Ski season here we come!

What made you happy in December?

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Merry Christmas and looking forward to 2015

Arlington Cemetery at Christmastime

Arlington Cemetery at Christmastime

This year has been one of continued change and adjustments for us during this transition to empty nesting but we are getting there and getting better at it every single day.  We are looking forward to Christmas and sharing and reliving all the excitement and wonder through an almost 3 year old’s eyes.  I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

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Big Surprise in Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2015

Wow…Pantone did it again and caught us all off guard by announcing this years Color of the Year as…..(wait for it)  MARSALA!

Pantone color of the Year for 2015--Marsala

Pantone color of the Year for 2015–Marsala


This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.Leatrice EisemanExecutive Director, Pantone Color Institute®

I, personally, am thrilled with this choice.  As everyone in the design industry was expecting to see some shade of blue, I am not a real lover of blue.  But I am a BIG lover of red in any shade and this earthy red with a hint of brown will be such fun to use in upcoming interiors.  Think about it—it can be combined with many colors to create different looks.  For example:

  1. Navy blue and Marsala will update those traditional interiors and really highlight beautiful wood tones.
  2. Gorgeous with mustard yellow (my current fave)
  3. Crisp and modern when combined with shades of gray and will warm up all those metals.  Throw in a few men’s suiting fabrics and you have a very masculine den or library.
  4. Pink grows up when it is placed next to Marsala and that combination will result in a very sophisticated nursery or little girl’s room.
  5. For a moody look consider a combination of black and marsala with a touch of cream to lighten the mood.  Might make a very romantic master bedroom….I’m just sayin’

So what do you think?  Was this a good choice and/or how would you use it in your home or project?

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10 things that made me happy in November


Or should I say 10 things that made me “thankful” since it is, after all, Thanksgiving.

  1. Gas prices dropping below $3!!!!  I cannot remember the last time we saw these prices.  My real question now is whether we as consumers will begin to see lower prices because transportation fees are less and/or lower air fares?   Somehow the cynic in me doubts those savings will be passed down.  Oh well….it is nice while it lasts.
  2. Christmas movies all day and all night on The Hallmark Channel!!  I am in heaven, especially on those nights when I wake up at 3:00 a.m. and cannot get back to sleep.  It”s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..
  3. A thank you card from my daughter.  Just a quick email while she was waiting to catch a plane but it made my day, my week and my month.  When we are raising our kids there are years (think teens and early 20’s) when we wonder if we have done it right.  But I am here to assure you that there is nothing more wonderful than to have your 20 something “child” begin to live his/her life reflecting things you taught her and, even better, actually voice their appreciation for no reason, just because they want to tell you what they are thinking.  Melted my heart, brought tears to my eyes and all those other things Moms do when they are just so damn proud of their kids!!!!
  4. Design always makes me happy and this month was full of it.  I updated a master bedroom and rescued it from the outdated eggplant and gold and into a softer sage, purple and cream color scheme just in time for my client to undergo knee surgery and rehab in her new bedroom.  I also made a few small changes to my own dining room with a new rug and I love this understated but oh so comfy border rug in neutral shades from Pottery Barn.  Really brightens the space and I like the unusual square shape.
  5. A hint of rain in San Diego, with more to come.  California is suffering a major drought but, believe it or not, too much sunshine can get awfully boring.  Our temps have been warmer than usual and you can hear mumblings from people, especially women, that we are very tired of wearing our summer clothes!
  6. The San Diego Chargers!!!  Their games are truly never over until that final second ticks off the game clock.  Can you spell Super Bowl?
  7. Gymnastics class with my delicious Ella Bella.  Our almost 3 year old granddaughter has started gymnastics class and while she is no Olga Korbut (yet) just to witness her unharnassed joy in running around on rubber mats and cross bridges and balance bars with no fear brings joy to me.
  8. An organized garage.  We finally emptied out a storage unit that we have had for over 20 years.  Not only a big monthly $ savings but there is something fulfilling about reducing the amount of “stuff” we own.
  9. The opportunity to get to know our nephew who has recently moved here from Arizona.  My how they change over a 20 year period!  As we get older we are reminded more often of the importance of extended family.
  10. Attending a Toys for Tots fundraiser at Camp Pendleton.  I am always happy when I am on a military base.  Not only am I so proud of our service men and women but being raised as a Navy junior (as opposed to an Army brat) it brings back so many childhood memories and I am so grateful to be included in this annual event.

So what made you happy in November?

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