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I’ve been searching for a runner for our 9′ long kitchen island for quite some time with little luck.  I’m not sure if it’s a matter of not having found the right one yet or if it’s a matter of ‘less is more’.  For practical reasons, I like having something soft underfoot while cooking while giving the floor some extra protection, but now I’m really wondering if my search should quietly end.
I need your feedback as to whether or not you like the kitchen floor better with or without a runner.  Also, if you happen to come across a rug/runner that you think may work, PLEASE let me know.  Take a look at some of my attempts below and give me your honest opinion.
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IMG_0282-e1401897930606 The challenge is finding the right colors and patterns to coexist with the current area rug in front of the refrigerator and pantry (the only one I truly love).   HELP!!

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Looking forward to your suggestions.

 

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tile

1. Commune’s Native Tile collection.

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2.  This poncho coat!

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3.  Unique lighting in unexpected places.

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4.  Because I love pointy flats

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5. An energizing and interesting cocktail.

 

 

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Before And After: Round Mirror

September 24, 2014

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Our Mid-Century home is perfect for the way we live.  It seamlessly blends the indoors with the outdoors, combines many textures and has an effortless flow to it.  It’s also in need of many updates.  Having just renovated our kitchen, other wish-list projects are temporarily on hold, but that hasn’t stopped me from tweaking here and there.  Adding something as plain as a round mirror to the kids’ bathroom has made quite thedifference.  It expands the space and speaks to the style of the home better than the frosted square one that  it replaced.  See the before and afters below:

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One of the first things done to the bathroom was a bamboo mural painted by our neighbor, who is a very talented artist.  I love the ethereal quality it brings to the space.

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Post cards around the mirror serve a double purpose.  They hide scratches and holes in the wall (from the previous mirror) while providing daily inspirational messages.

Because I needed a specifically sized, unframed mirror, I had a local glass company custom make one.  It turned out to be relatively inexpensive and very easy to install.  Eventually, the entire bath will be redone, but for now even the slightest of changes keeps my design cravings at bay.  At least for a while…

 If you’ve made small improvements to your place I’d love to know about them.

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Over the weekend we had the pleasure of hosting a wedding reception for a couple of dear friends from Cambridge, Ma.  Having already celebrated their marriage on the East Coast and in their respective home countries of Germany and Malaysia, this latest party was for their many West Coast friends.  We were happy to meet new people and to reunite with old friends.  The couple, true culinary enthusiasts, prepared the majority of the food, while the rest contributed some of their favorite dishes.  The meal was delicious and pretty, the company delightful, and the couple radiant!   pears psd

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Bodo and Vik, we congratulate you and wish you many happy years together!

 

 

 

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While pinning I most often select images that I are within my realm of comfort and familiarity. Creating boards that I can refer back to for personal inspiration or for client projects.  Sometimes there are images that may not relate to me personally or professionally, but that intrigue and challenge me visually.   For instance, this amazing embroidery art that I came across on my friend Jen’s Pinboard “In Stitches”.  I’m not at all handy with a needle and thread but I admire the patience to detail it requires to create such intricate work in a non-traditional way.  Since I’ve become mildly obsessed with today’s take on an old art form, I decided to ask Jen to share with us why and when she began pinning embroidery images.

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What prompted you to create the Pinboard “In Stitches”?  Do you do embroidery and if not, why are you pinning the images?

I can’t remember the exact genesis. I bought this pattern on Etsy, just because I like beets. (And it’s just exactly my kind of humor.) So, at first I started pinning from a very practical place. I was looking for cross stitch patterns that I wanted to try, or images that I might try to interpret into my own patterns. I think you can see that it quickly evolved beyond cross stitch, though. (In Stitches is mostly embroidery, but there are also some weaving, crocheting, knitting, quilting and sewing pins.) Then I went down the rabbit hole. I started following the pinners who pinned things I liked and it started to snowball.

I’m a very visual person and I found myself drawn to, not just the beauty, but the craft and precision of the embroidery I was finding. There’s so much out there that breaks the mold of what you might expect when you think of embroidery. It’s not all “country kitchen.” A lot of the pieces I’m attracted to are an embodiment of the kind of patience I sometimes wish I had. Some of them are technique related. Most of them hit the perfect pitch on what I’m drawn to aesthetically.

I’m not embroidering at the moment. But I have a project in mind. Something more ambitious and more artistic than I’ve tried before.  The things I’m pinning, the embroidered photographs and Toile, are informing that idea. I know I’ll get around to it eventually.
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How do you find images to pin?

It’s pretty rare (I won’t say never, but it’s pretty rare) that I go into Pinterest and use the search function to find something like: “embroidery” or “cross stitch.” Maybe I might search for a specific subject: fox embroidery. But that’s pretty infrequent too. I follow lots of embroidery boards, and I’m constantly adding to them, so I’m always getting interesting pins in my feed. If I find a pin I particularly like, beyond just pinning it, I scroll down and take a look at the “Also on these boards“ suggestions. Chances are, if someone pinned one pin that I like, they probably pinned others I will like as well. Below that are “Related Pins” and I like to peruse them too. Often, it’s like opening up a whole new vein of needlework gold. The next thing I know, ten minutes are gone.

Recently, I’ve also found things I like outside of Pinterest on sites like:  This Is ColossalTalenthouse, tumblr.com and flickr.com.

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You’ve pinned quite a few avant garde embroidery artists’ works.  How do feel about the techniques being used on elements other than decorative shirts or monogrammed pillows?

Ok. So here’s where we get deep. After doing this in earnest for more than a year, I’ve had time to think about it more than I might have.

I love the idea of taking something so traditional and making it modern. These are beautiful things. Art. Embroidery floss as paint. No rules or patterns. Someone exploring the medium, beyond counting stitches and worrying about how messy the back is. And I just love it.

I’m no needlework scholar, but the history of embroidery is another facet to this that I find fascinating. I’ve pinned quite a bit of traditional embroidery from around the world, including clothing and pillows. It’s gorgeous and honors those cultures. But through all this pinning and exploration I’ve had time to consider embroidery as it relates to women and their role in society. If you’ve read Bronte or Austen, you know what I’m talking about. It was one of those things that was taught to young girls of privilege as a way of preparing them for society. They were assessed as potential wives by the qualities that things like needlework exhibited. Were you domestic, obedient? Did you know how to hold your tongue? Above all, were you chaste? Some of the things I’ve pinned really turn that on it’s head. These embroidered photos do. But I really do love the exploration that goes beyond that, like the work by Meghan Willis or Marloes Duyker. Women using embroidery to express themselves as individuals, rather than qualify themselves as ideal models. There’s something subversive about that that really entertains me. (Although, I should note that not all the artists I enjoy are women.)

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How much time do you spend pinning a particular subject?

I should be embarrassed. Sometimes, a lot. Like. A. Lot. But there are times I’ll go days without. There’s no pattern, really. I’ve heard people say that Pinterest is bad for some people. That it taunts them with perfection that they can’t obtain. (You’ve seen those “Nailed It!” memes, I’m sure.) For me it’s not like that at all. I do use it as a visual organizer, for recipes, DIYs, dream bathroooms, etc., some of which I’ve followed through and done, others that I just like to dream about. But I also use it as a release and a way to stoke my own creativity. When I’m stressed at work, fighting insomnia or just feeling like I need to check out, I go and pin for five minutes (or more…). Whatever catches my fancy. Sometimes that’s 20 pins to In Stitches. Sometimes it’s writing inspiration, what I might make for dinner or tattoos.

Jen, thank you for sharing  your “In Stitches”  Pinboard and the history and inspiration behind it.  We look forward to seeing more of your pins!

Images:  1./2./3./4./5./6.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Family Photo Session

September 16, 2014

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During our stay in Cambridge this summer, I had the chance to catch up with my photographer friend Kristen of Kristen Joy Emack Photography.  Having always admired her personal style of portrait photography, I asked Kristen to take pictures of our family.  She accepted and invited us to a spot that she chose very carefully.  Her ease with the lens and the people in front of it shows through the realness of her approach to photography.   Here are a few images from our morning session with Kristen.  I’m so pleased with the results.
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debra-9 Over the summer, Kristen was named best photographer by Scout Cambridge Magazine.  To see more of Kristen’s work check out her website here.

Thank you Kristen for capturing the essence of our family.

 

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I’ve admired this cactus from my car window for some time.  Yesterday, I finally decided to stop and take a closer look.  With many years behind it, there are signs of times when it struggled to grow and also of times when growth seemed effortless.  I was taken by the strength of its massive trunk, the calluses on some paddles and the vibrant green of others.  This week has been a bit challenging both personally and professionally.  My children are fully engrossed in school and I miss them.  Work seems stagnant.  We’ve all caught colds, and I feel distant from family.  Getting up close to this cactus made me realize that there are ebbs and flows in everything we do and that patience, faith and forgiveness are vital to us all.

This weekend I’m taking note of where I am and what I need to address without forgetting who I am and what’s most important in my life.

Here’s to a weekend of accepting life’s ebbs and flows…

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study psd

 

For the past year, I’ve been working with a Boston couple on a Beacon Hill apartment renovation.  Despite the cross-country distance between us things have been progressing very well.  When we first  met to discuss the project last summer, we shared our expectations and ideas for their amazing space.  We also interviewed and hired a contractor, who not long afterwards, began gutting the entire place.  Since then, the ceilings were raised, the floors replaced, paint colors and wall treatments were decided upon and a totally redesigned kitchen was taking shape.  The rebuild was completed in June and my clients have officially moved in.  During my summer trip back East, I spent time with them working on furnishings, accessories and rug selections.  Although a few things are still needed to complete the space, I wanted to share our progress thus far.  I would like to start by showing their brand new study.  Stay tuned for more room reveals and further updates on how a house becomes a home.

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Thank you AK and BD for giving Cocoon Home Design the opportunity to work with you on your new home.  It’s been quite an exciting collaboration.

Congratulations!!

Room Inspiration Sources:

Blue Velvet Sofa: Restoration Hardware

Milo Baughman 1188 Bronze Chair:  Design Within Reach

“Michener Blue” Rug:  Horchow

Achive Marrakesh Pouf:  Clayton Grayhome

French Partner’s Desk:  Restoration Hardware

Swing Arm Wall Light:  Shades Of Light

 

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Botanical Inspiration: Dahlias

September 5, 2014

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Last week, Natalia and I ventured to the San Francisco Flower Market for a much needed botanical inspiration.  While she checked out seasonal pods and interesting objects for her Pod Art, I became immersed in the rich colors of the Dahlias that are ever so bountiful this time of year.  Although I’m most often attracted to foliage plants, I couldn’t resist the deep burgundy hue of this season’s petalled beauties.  After selecting a perfect sampling of them, I added some sedum, eucalyptus branches and weeping celosia to create a weekend arrangement for our home.  There’s something deliciously self-indulgent about creating something beautiful for oneself, and that’s precisely why I highly recommend you try it.  Here’s how:

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What To Wear: Autumnal Updates

September 3, 2014

 

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With the upcoming change of seasons, I’ve been eyeing a few fashion items for my Fall repertoire.  Not in need of much,  I thought a new handbag would update my wardrobe nicely, perhaps a cozy sweater in an unexpected color, a scarf or two for cooler temperatures, a pencil leather skirt and, of course,  a new pair of boots.  Wedges seem to be all the rage these days…

What’s your approach to dressing for the cooler days and nights ahead?  Is it an all-out shopping spree credit cards in hand or is it focused on a few key pieces that transition well from season to season?

I have a new [shared] Pinterest Board titled “What To Wear”.  Let’s get started pinning and sharing our favorite Fall fashion looks.  Can’t wait to see your pins!!

Sources:

Round Necked Knit Sweater, Rainlight Cashmere Scarf, Matisse East BootiesFaux Leather Skirt, and the Big Buddha ‘Grayson’ Hobo

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