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


salad psd

bar -1


laughing psd

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






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.


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.

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, and


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.)


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.







A Family Photo Session

September 16, 2014


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.




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.



Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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…

cactus psd



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.

study before

before and after


desk psd


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.


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



Botanical Inspiration: Dahlias

September 5, 2014


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:

counter psd


up close




What To Wear: Autumnal Updates

September 3, 2014


What To Wear psd

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!!


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



Off The Counter: The ABC Salad

September 1, 2014


Before the last long weekend of the summer comes to an end,  I’d like to share with you the avocado, beet and cucumber salad I’ve been obsessed with lately.  Combining salty cucumbers, boiled golden beets and firm avocados with a bit of fresh mint, this salad transitions perfectly from this season to the next.  Ingredients and instructions below.


IMG_1986 Ingredients:

Golden beets, California avocados, Persian cucumbers, mint, salt, pepper, olive oil and seasoned rice vinegar.


Chop the cucumbers (peeled or not), salt and let stand while you prepare the remaining ingredients.  Trim the stems and leaves off the beets and boil till they’re just slightly soft.  Run the beets under cool water and peel.  Once the beets are completely cooled, dice them and put in a salad bowl.  Add cucumbers and diced avocados.  Sprinkle in some fresh mint leaves.  Season with olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper.




Slow Parenting


Summer has officially ended.  With the start of school this week, our calendar is quickly filling up with volunteering obligations, after school activities and doctor appointments.  While I enjoyed  our  non-scheduled summer, I must confess experiencing a moment of panic a few days ago.  This happened as I was learning all about the amazing camps my children’s friends attended this summer.  Our children didn’t go to any!  Granted we did travel up and down the New England coast during July, but for the rest of the summer we stayed pretty local and took each day as it came.  We camped out some, hiked some, we ventured into the city some, went swimming some and entertained friends some.  Some days we just stayed home and enjoyed being lazy. Granted, my work allows for a flexible schedule, but l still prefer to keep our days as free of routine as I do during the school year.  I limit sports and other activities to the degree that the kids don’t feel over-scheduled and I am not running/driving around like a harried maniac.  At times, I wonder if my “slow it down” approach to parenting is inhibiting my kids’ experiences, and whether they are able to keep up socially and physically with the children that are involved in more activities.  I guess time will tell.

Managing time and maintaining a feasible routine no matter how many children in one’s family, can be challenging and difficult for any parent.  How much is too much and how little is too little.  I would love to hear how other parents handle the demands of a “routined world”.

This could be the beginning of an interesting dialogue, don’t you think?


Lately I’ve been loving the look of round mirrors.  So much so, that I just ordered one for the kids’ bathroom.  The soft curves of the reflecting glass soften a space while expanding it.  Take a look at a few examples on how the circular shape can make any wall look more interesting:


Stay tuned to see how a new round mirror transforms our children’s bathroom!

Images: 1./2./3./4./5./6./7.

{ 1 comment }