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The roses in our backyard are almost finished (although we sometimes get some as late as September when things warm up again in San Francisco). There’s one particular rose bush that was here when we moved in and has the most extraordinary coloring. The buds start out a deep coral color, then turn dark orange, fade to peach and eventually end up pale pink with a yellow center. It’s quite amazing. They’re at my favorite stage right now – they’ve just turned pink and are getting paler by the day.



There’s something so Victorian about an overblown rose. I like that these ones are a little weathered and battered too. So much nicer than the shop-perfect sort. Makes me think of teatime table settings like this…

Roses and tea

Roses and tea

Last two photos by Joanna Henderson.


Living in San Francisco, we’re surrounded by excellent Asian restaurants. And where there are Asian restaurants, there are Asian restaurant supply stores. There’s one in particular that I love foraging in. It’s a veritable treasure trove. There are literally hundreds of diminutive bowls, multi-colored dishes, china tea glasses, lacquered boxes, silk-embroidered napkins, chopstick holders…. If I’m planning a party I’ll go there and stock up on plates, knives, forks and glasses for next to nothing.

On my last trip there (for a pre-Memorial Day BBQ party) I picked up a few pieces – the most expensive of which was less than $5. They make a rather attractive display so I thought I’d show you.

Green tea cups

These little cups are for green tea, I think. They are chocolate brown on the bottom and the palest pink lustreware on the top. They remind me of shells. No idea what I’ll use them for (serving mini chocolate mousses, perhaps?) but they look nice and, at $1 each, I couldn’t resist! The square plates were $1.50 so I bought 16 of them. I know – when will I ever need 16 little square plates – but they’re perfect as cake plates at a birthday party.

Bud vases

The two bud vases are actually meant for soy sauce. But I think they work really well for single flowers. Each was less than $2 so you could have a whole row of them for an unusual Asian-themed centrepiece. The bowl was $4.50 and has little black flowers all over the inside.

I could fill a whole kitchen with these but I tore myself away eventually. Now I just need to throw another party so I can go back…

Oh, and if you like pretty Asian-inspired designs, check out Chinoiserie Chic – it even has a post about setting the Chinoiserie table.

I thought I’d provide a quick round-up of some of the pics that most inspired me this week from some of my favorite design blogs. Enjoy.

This is from Apartment Therapy‘s post on Paul Raeside‘s interiors photography. I love the colors and the tiled wall.

Paul Raeside

Door Sixteen has a great post on designer Frederic Mechiche’s loft. She’s absolutely right, this loft is stunning from every angle.


Casapinka has a hilarious post on her two year-old son’s pole dancing habit (you need to read it). But the pics she chooses to accompany it are great too. I love these two in particular. Look at that chandelier in the first one. And the colors in the second are just so fresh and cheerful.

Living room

Living room

Decorology is always a fabulous source of interiors inspiration. I like the warm, sunny hallway in the photo below.


Craft and Creativity‘s photostream in Flickr has some really pretty interior shots. I like the way this vase looks against the floral wallpaper.


Finally, A Room Somewhere posts about Ruby + Stella‘s pillows. I love this shot – great choice of colors. I’d love this in our bedroom.

Stella + Ruby

After much searching, I’m closing in on the makeover plan for our living and dining rooms. As I mentioned in this earlier post, I just want to update the look and inject some fresh energy into the house. No major furniture purchases and no painting allowed.

So, here was my action plan:

– (Finally) buy a rug for the living room – we’ve been looking for one for almost three years, time for a decision, I think.

– Replace the ugly chandelier in our dining room that came with the house.

– Make a photo wall with the various family photos we have scattered around.

– Clear some of the surfaces and re-arrange some of the accessories.

– Introduce some plants.

I struggled to reconcile several different design aesthetics currently buzzing around my head. For example, I’m loving the apartment of sfgirlbybay blogger, Victoria Smith.

sfgirlbybay apartment

But I am also inspired by Remodelista blogger, Julie’s, house in Mill Valley (although obviously don’t have those stunning cathedral ceilings to work with!)

Remodelista house

Finally, I found my inspiration in this picture, originally from Domino magazine, but found via Room Lust blogger, Javi’s, Flickr photostream.


This look checks all the boxes for me: neutral colors, clean simple lines, organic shapes, with a bit of vintage.

I started with the rug. We’re almost settled on this design from Schumacher. It’s a very pale creamy-white looped wool carpet which we’ll have made into an area rug (I know, with a toddler I must be crazy but bear with me…) and it has a light blue-gray pattern. Because of the pattern, stains are going to show up less.


Then a bought this long lusted-after white bird bowl from Jonathan Adler.

bird bowl

I also have the vase I posted about here.

Then, for the dining room, we went all out and chose this pendant from Room & Board. It’s the Nelson Bubble Saucer Lamp. It’s pretty big (36″ in diameter!) so there will be no escaping its presence! But I love the organic shape. It wasn’t easy to get home though. I don’t think the sales associate appreciated the ten minutes spent trying to cram it into the back of my Ford Focus. That was after he allowed me 20 minutes in Room & Board’s stockroom hunting out different sizes so I could compare them. Being down there was like being in the world’s best flea market – every shelf had something cool to gawp at.

Nelson Bubble Lamp

I am still looking for the right mirror. It needs to be round, with a black frame and very simple. A front-runner is this one from Restoration Hardware, apparently made from a Polish train wheel (?!).

train wheel

Another option is the Channing Mirror from Pottery Barn.

Channing Mirror

I love this one seen in Domino but don’t know where it is from:

Round mirror

I’m not sure any of them are completely right. Any other suggestions?

I’ve also bought some frames ready to make our photo wall. We already have the photos so that will be a project for the next cloudy day…

Finally, the plants. We’ve chosen one: it’s called a Rhapis Palm. Now just got to source it at a reasonable price and get it home.

So, some progress made. I’ll post pictures once it’s all in place. I can’t wait to see it all come together.

Hurray! I have made my first purchase in the planned four-day makeover of our living and dining room. Yes, I am a little behind schedule. A lot of research has happened but very few decisions.

So what did I get? A rug? A mirror? A stunning new floor lamp? Ahem, no, I got a vase. Here’s a picture of it.

Wingard white vase

It’s from Kenneth Wingard in San Francisco. Wingard is a designer and pretty much everything in the store is by him. He also has a new store in LA. His stuff is very reasonably-priced and pretty good quality. It’s rather Jonathan Adler-esque. Here are some other examples of his work.

Wingard Mo-bil-os

These brass disks, which Wingard calls ‘mo-bi-le-os’ are $89 for a set of three. The picture above has four sets. I think they’d look fantastic above a sideboard. I was seriously tempted but we just have too much silver and pewter – the bronze wouldn’t work.

Wingard Starburst mirror

This is the large Sunburst Mirror.

Wingard vases

Wingard has lots of beautiful ceramics. These glossy Brentwood vases also come in white, chocolate brown and aqua.

So, back to the vase I bought. It checks all the boxes: organic shape, retro modern feel, white to fit with the other ceramics on my mantlepiece. So I was pretty happy with it.

But, on getting it home, I realized something. You can’t actually put any flowers in it. Look at it. No flower, except perhaps something with an extremely bendy stem, is going to wiggle its way down that thing and survive. Now, I know we don’t always have to put flowers in our vases, but it would be nice to have the option…

Anyway, I don’t really care. I like it as it is. My son also likes it because it looks like a toy (I just have to follow him round, hands hovering underneath it, in case he drops it). So, flowerless, it’s here to stay.

Birds have been an interior design trend for some time, but still have appeal. Now I’m spotting butterflies on everything from wallpaper to bedlinen. When incorporating them into an interior, you want to capture the charm of these winged creatures without being too cute. No ducks flying up the wall, that is… Here are a few examples where bird and butterfly motifs work beautifully.


This paperweight from Graham & Green is adorable. And, it’s functional too…


These butterfly mirrors are from Graham & Green too. They’d be cute in a bedroom or bathroom, especially against an intense color.


I can’t say enough positive things about this bed linen from House of Fraser in the UK. You wouldn’t need any other decoration really in a bedroom with this bed. The ultimate in romantic style.


It’s pretty obvious that I’m a fan of Jonathan Adler. His bird ‘bowls’ now come in this stunning jade green. I could happily buy a flock of them…


I first saw the Elli Pop range of wallpapers on Decorology so flew over to the Elli Pop site where there are stunning repeat prints, murals and borders in a variety of bird, flower and butterfly designs. I love this mural with the heron below and the little bird above in the tree.


Here’s how to do the bird motif without being over the top. Allie Bruch’s house (via Apartment Therapy) has this cute understated owl.


If you want to take the bird motif in a whole different direction, this is a good way to go. The ‘hungry’ message adds a humorous note to a kitchen.

Michael Aram

Michael Aram, home of stunning accessories in silver, nickel and bronze, has these pretty butterfly drawer/door handles.

Pottery Barn

Finally, for fans of the understated look, this butterfly vase from Pottery Barn is a find.

The design discoveries and dilemmas of a Brit in San Francisco as she turns a house into a home.
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