DIY: A Sea Catcher

August 12, 2014

While camping in Mendocino over the past weekend (more on that adventure later), we collected driftwood and dried seaweed to add to our seaside mementos.  The foraged shore finds found themselves in box where I recently threw in some vintage buttons, chandelier crystals and a mix of feathers.  Together they all looked so pretty that the kids and I decided to make something with them, and voila, the “Sea Catcher” was born.  Using twine, leather cording, a little glue and my drill we simply arranged the collection and attached a few of our other favorites.  Take a look:

This Sea Catcher was made of Maine driftwood, dried Mendocino seaweed, vintage buttons and glass crystals from a chandelier we used to own.  All remind us of beautiful places and happy times.  Can’t wait to see how our next one comes together…


Mid-Morning Dance Party

August 8, 2014

Realizing that when September comes along, we’ll all be busy with school and work again, I’ve decided to take an untethered approach to summer’s end.  With no real routine in place, we find ourselves enjoying JUST being home.  There are, of course, the occasional outings to Lake Anza for a swim, spontaneous gatherings with friends and our legendary mid-morning dance parties.   Given the time and the opportunity to find something to do on their own, our kids have been pulling out their board games, matchbox cars, old books and  even building blocks.  There’s often a request for screen time but we’ve been comprising on when and just how much.  My relaxed attitude toward it seems to have lessened its focus.

Within the next few weeks we’ll be receiving lots of guests and even hosting a wedding party!  Things will pick up around here and we’ll have plenty of dance partners to go around.  I guess we’ll have to take the dancing outdoors when our dining room table arrives…

How are you spending the remainder of  this summer?  


Each time we visit our dear friend Vera (of Vera Abud Interiors) and her family, I’m not only excited to catch up with them, but also to be around her creative energy.  She happens to be one who is too modest about her multiple talents that reflect a beautiful, sophisticated elegance and an amazing discerning eye.  While our children and husbands do their thing (mostly play soccer and drink beer–in that order) we talk design.  Sharing our work, the inspirations that fuel it and even the struggles that come with it, we often chat late into the evening.  Our visits are always inspiring but sadly brief, since they usually take place in transit during our summer travels.  With the hope of extending their visual gratification, I attempt to capture Vera’s aesthetic with my camera.  Last year I shared her home office with you, this time we decided that her recently renovated master bath would be the focus of my camera lens.  This latest project, very true to her style, is a visual extension of the rest of the house and blends classic appeal and vintage accents with modern comfort.  Take a look at her work and see Vera’s list of favorite places to shop below:

In pursuit of her laid back luxury signature style, Vera’s favorite places to shop are: Bungalow (Westport CT), Terrain, Anthropologie, and Lillian August.  Her online sources are One Kings Lane and Second Shout Out.

Vera, thank you so much for sharing your work with my CHD blog readers and many, many thanks for yet another amazing visit!



Over the weekend I played around with the pillow shams I bought in Cambridge at my favorite rug shop last month.  Using inserts I already owned, I stuffed the kilim covers and placed them on our age old Ikea sectional (to be replaced someday).  Our prior pillow collection was a mix of kilim, cotton and shag in light natural tones, but I’m really liking the way the deep pink hues look with the dark brown sofa and the brick wall.  The plan is to get a few more to balance out the large seating area and to purchase art for the brick wall.  Take a look at our renewed sofa.

I love mixing things up every once and while around the house.  The kids take notice and the space suddenly feels revived.  Here’s a few more ideas to freshen up your space with little or no money spent.

1.  Remove curtains or replace them with a patterned fabric that is appropriate for the season.

2. If space allows, re-arrange your furniture.  

3. Add plants or repot the ones you have in coordinating containers for focal interest. 

4.  Give your sofa or chair a new look by draping a throw on it. 

5.  Rehang your art or find wall space for pieces you haven’t hung yet.

6.  Rearrange your coffee table accessories; add books and magazines that you may not have read in while.  Keep books open to a page you find inspiring. 

7. Let your kids change things around for a day.  You’ll either be completely mortified or pleasantly intrigued by how they see the space.  It’s only for a day!

If you recently made some changes around your house, I would love to hear about them.


1. muted color palettes and patterns

2. refined botanical displays

3. coffee making rituals

4. interesting ingredient pairings

5. touches of glamour and stylized accessories

6. sophisticated boho interiors

7. softly hued pattern combinations

8. mid-century appeal with modern accents

Images:  1./2./3./4./5./6./7./8.


I have this reputation as “the salad queen” that I haven’t been living up to lately.  My obsession with kale (which I only like sautéed) may just be the reason.  While visiting family and friends back East, I was reminded of my once salad greatness.  When the first few people we visited asked if we were going to have one of “Debra’s salads”, I realized I needed to begin preparing them again.

Here’s one that combines all my favorite summertime ingredients:  figs, tomatoes, peaches and fresh mozzarella.  Drizzled with honey and chives the salad takes on the fresh, sweet flavor of the season.  Ingredients and instructions below.


Figs, peaches, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, honey, chives, olive oil,  rice vinegar and sea salt.


This salad holds its pretty appearance best if prepared in individual bowls.

Cut the figs, peaches and tomatoes into generous slices.  Lightly salt the tomatoes prior to adding them to the rest of the fruit in the bowls.  Using your hands tear chunks of mozzarella into each bowl.  Drizzle all the ingredients with honey and lightly dress with olive oil and rice vinegar.  Top it off with chopped chives.


Do YOU have a favorite salad?  If so, do share.

Many, many thanks to LB for her Cambridge hives honey!



Over the weekend I flew to LA to work on my Social Media skills with Justina Blakeney and Dabito of the The Creative Residency.   This Social Media Practicum was held at Room Forty,  where 13 other creatives and I shared professional goals, critiqued each other’s web presence,  advanced our camera skills and learned of ways to hone our brands and maximize our social media platforms.

I left feeling totally inspired!  With both short and long term goals in place, be ready for some changes around here (all good).    Take a look at a few images from the day:

Being a part of The Creative Residency was an invigorating experience and one that I highly recommend.  Be sure to check out all of their offered seminars here.

Many thanks to Justina and Dabito for lending themselves full heartedly to us, the folks at Room Forty for feeding us so well and to Kelly Cuadra of Brown Paper Designs for providing the beautiful botanical arrangements.




Arriving at the Maine cottage we’ve stayed in for the past three summers felt like seeing an old friend again.  There is a comforting ease in visiting a place you’re familiar with and I like that.  What I noticed this time, more than during previous stays, is how we always manage to make it our own.  Sheer necessities, like a favorite pillow, a brand of coffee, sea salt flakes and even a sharp knife now travel with us.  Certain things are moved around to our liking and others stay put to remind us of just why we love this space as much as we do. As the beds get slept on and the morning and evening rituals are established, the rented cottage suddenly feels like a second home.

Even the familiarity of the landscape surrounding the cottage lends itself to exploration, whether one goes at it alone or with others.  Many thanks to JG for yet another unforgettable Maine adventure.

Today we leave Boston and head back home to the Bay Area.  We’ve had an amazing month visiting friends and family.  I’m very grateful for the opportunity to stay connected and remain part of so many people’s lives regardless of the distance between us.


The Gropius House

July 22, 2014

Sometimes it takes becoming a visitor to a familiar place to do and see things you never had the chance to do before.  The Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts, was a place I always wanted to tour while living in New England.  Often times, on my trips to Walden Pond or the deCordova Museum with my children (toddlers at that time) I would slow down to check it out.  On one occasion, I actually stopped only to find it closed, which by the way, didn’t stop me from walking its grounds.  Now, years later, I enjoyed an afternoon tour of the home of Walter Gropius:  architect, art educator and founder of the Bauhaus School of Design.

Having founded the Bauhaus School of Design and appointed to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1937, Walter Groupius and his wife Ise were friends to many celebrated artists and craftsmen.  Most of them were frequent guests at their Lincoln, Ma. home.  Besides the amazing architectural features of this house, hearing about the people who visited it was one of my favorite segments of the tour.  I saw the room where Frank Lloyd Wright spent the night, gifts given to the Gropiuses by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and museum quality art and textiles created by other notable artists adorning the walls of the historic residence.

Unable to take photos on the inside I managed to snap a few from the outside.  Take a look:

Another favorite part of the tour was the roof deck off the Gropiuses’ daughter’s bedroom, which is stunning both by its color and its design (which casts the most perfect shadows on the privacy wall).

Ise Gropius on the roof deck 1948



For the past 2+ weeks, we’ve been visiting family and friends on the East coast, some of whom we haven’t seen for an entire year.  Regardless of how much time goes by, reconnecting with them is always easy, a true testament to good and lasting friendships.  Today we’re off to Maine for a few days, where we’ll spend time with two dear friends:  JG and Henry (our bestie canine friend).  I can’t wait to share images of the things we’ve been up to, like touring the Gropious House, swimming in Walden Pond and working (yes, working!) on a CHD project.

I hope everyone is enjoying a “Happy Summer”.  Do share your escapades with me!

Follow along here to view daily snapshots of our summer adventures in the making.