Spring Rush Dinnerware Inspired Dining Room

Beekman 1802 Tabletop at Target!

Unfortunately my Spring Rush Dinnerware settings are on back-order because I didn’t pounce quickly enough. This pattern is just enough whimsy for the contemporary farmhouse in Winters. I’ll pair it with an old Dansk set I’ve had stored away for years to create a perfect tabletop for this home.

Josh and Brent built their business, Beekman 1802, from nothing but lack of other options. When they were knocked to their knees (recession) the duo pushed up their sleeves and got to work. Earlier this year I spent a week in Cuba with Josh and Brent on Beekman’s Trip of Lifetime. I love these guys and love it when I’m able to incorporate their creations in my projects.

Glassware: New Artland Artland Savanah Bubble DOF, 11 oz.Plum // Table: Belle Maison francaise // Claymore Bistro Chair

I’ll have no choice but to be patient awaiting my Spring Rush Dinnerware. That doesn’t mean I can’t collect a few more vintage transferware pieces while I wait!


Posted in CURRENT PROJECTS, INSPIRATIONS, INTERIOR DESIGN Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bonny Doon

I recommend creating an entry tower by painting this façade in the mid tone similar to the overall roof color. This will add some needed definition as well as weight down the entrance.

A deeper color should be used for gutters, rafters, and the soffit (underside of roof). This color should be the deepest color found in the roof.

The first floor and trim should be lightest color. This means the trim around the patio doors would be the same color as the siding.

The colors I’ve selected may need to be tweaked slightly based on the actual roof color. As long as your colors are kept neutral (relate well to your roof) can put just about any color on the front door.

Benjamin Moore Horizon – First floor (body and trim) trim around front door and second story window.

Benjamin Moore Gothic Arch – Front door tower façade, second story (including first and second story sides), and chimney. This should blend in with the overall color of your roof.

Benjamin Moore Windy City – Gutters, rafter tails, soffits

BM Douglas Fir – Front door and sidelights

Swap out scones with oil rubbed bronze (similar to garage sconces but larger) to match door hardware.

Add missing/continue trim piece on left side of front door. These vertical “trim” pieces should be painted the same mid-tone color and NOT accented.

Roof trim, gutters, and soffits.

Garage door surface only.

Body of garage and trim.


6026 Acacia Ave, Oakland, CA

curb appeal oakland

Curb Appeal

Repaint all trim, windows, and painted exterior doors in Benjamin Moore HC-96 Richmond Grey. This will limestone hue will provide for a subtle and elegant look that will warm the grey. This hue also blends in with the weathering on the pigmented stucco.

Replace dead shrub to right of garage door with Butterfly Iris (Dietes) to match planing bed on the other side of the garage. Cluster three 1-gallon plants in this triangular bed to fill up the space.

Replace garage door with a Carriage house styled door. Paint door in Benjamin Moore HC-94 Old Salem Grey. This will brighten the homes façade without being too committal or specific.


Repaint all iron work in Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

Power wash all exterior paved surfaces including driveway. Lightly wash caps on fence piers but leave fig ivy.

Move garden bench to patio area where the flagstone path ends.

Trim up shoots on cherry trees along the sidewalk as well as plum at entry gate.

Remove television antenna from roof.


Dress all planting beds with dark mulch like “Forest Floor” from American soil products. This is cost-effective mulch that should be used around all plantings with emphasis on the front sidewalk, left side of driveway and the courtyard. American Soil Products 510-292-3000 will deliver ½ yard to driveway.

Add grasses and some color spots.


Rubrum, Verbena, and Salvia will blend in nicely $4.99-16.00 Orchard Supply Hardware.


Trim vines back to allow for a clearer/more direct route to the front door.

Add an over sized front door mat to create a runway entrance to front door. Picture Frame Doormat from Pottery Barn in black $79.00.

Refinish front door with light sanding (220 grit), then clean with mineral spirits, and then apply 1-2 coats of MINWAX Tung Oil.

Add a trellis to right side of kitchen window to balance rose on left side. Orchard Supply Hardware $54.99.

Plant a Yellow Lady Banks Rose (Rosa Banksiae Lutea) with trellis to front corner right of kitchen window.

Master Bedroom

Replace closet door knobs in north bedroom and master bedroom. Total of 8 knobs needed and recommend matching to door hardware throughout the home.

Home Depot – Liberty Model PN2001-OB3-C Internet #202023599 Store SKU #526497 1-1/4 in. Dark Oil Ribbed Bronze Builders Hollow Cabinet Knob $1.49.

Master Bathroom

Use a marble restorer kit (Home Depot $69.00) to address master bath shower walls and flooring.


Replace all soffit florescent tubes in kitchen in warm white. Replace damaged refrigerator with another counter depth stainless model.

Add panels to freshen up dishwasher. Clean stove top with oven cleaner then stainless polish.

Replace veneer trim on island.

Clean all cabinetry with Murphy’s Oil Soap. This cleans, conditions, and will leave the kitchen smelling great.

Dining Room

Replace burned out bulbs and remove window covering.


In the interest of saving time and money, I recommend color matching the trim white. This will allow the painters to cover in a single coat only where needed and avoids cutting in to the glass.

Use Benjamin Moore Chamois BM-969 in eggshell on Walls and ceilings throughout the home. This hue will provide a warm neutral background for staging and new home owners.

Remind painters to keep box beams in trim white but use the Chamois color on the ceiling panels/just the flat ceiling surface.

Rear Patio

Power wash patio, decking and pergola posts as discussed.

Trim back butterfly bush and add mulch under plantings in this area.

Clear weeds and grass from area around storage shed.

Clear out dead cattails and trim back ivy to expose stone outcropping and water feature.

Keep fountain pump running while property is on the market.


Buyers for this home want clean, done, and ready to move in.

Use Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean wood banister and hardwood flooring throughout the home. This is a simple to use product that works wonders on hardwood.

Make sure all burned out light bulbs are replaced with warm hue bulbs. While your home is on the market, lights may be left on for many hours. Keep replacement bulbs in a closet.

Keep blinds open and/or pulled up in every room.

Ensure kitchen and bathroom cabinets are completely cleared out and clean.

Painters must remember to paint inside closets.

Posted in COLOR, PAST PROJECTS, SELLING Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Warm or Cool with Accessories and Paint



Loloi Carpet c/o rugs-direct.com, Lantau Faux Shareen Chest of Drawers and pillows c/o OKA, side tables c/o Clayton Gray Home, and paint from Benjamin Moore.


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Mottled Color Powder Room

Updating or adding a powder room is an ideal way to add value and function to most homes. Typically small, powder rooms are ideal spaces for homeowners to personalize and use high-end materials. I like using images and objects from travel as a design jumping off point. This image was taken on the road to Vinales, Cuba.



Hand Forged Metal Mirror c/o christmascentral.com // Backsplash mossaic c/o newravenna.com // Tempered glass basin by Y-Décor c/o Overstock.com // Petrified Wood Sink by Luca from Natural Stone Sinks

Bronze leaf paper ceiling

Kohler Persuade in Dune c/o faucetdirect.com

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Collecting Art Abroad

Artist – Eduardo Santana Navarro


Bring art home is great way to keep your important travel experiences alive. Look for original works of art and know how you are going to get the piece home… with you or shipped.

I asked the artist of this piece to remove the canvas from the stretcher and roll it. This made it much easier for me to transport home and left a valuable art supply with the artist.

When shopping in a gallery and dealing with a broker it not uncommon for a little price or terms haggling. I do not haggle over price when dealing directly with the artist in their studio. If you don’t want to pay the price, ask them to show you something within your budget. Your boss doesn’t come into your office and challenge your worth or expect you to take a pay cut. A little respect and courtesy goes far with most artists.

When selecting a piece of art, think about the size and options for where placement once home. I have more art than walls so I swap out some pieces every six months. When you stop noticing your art, it’s time to move things around.

Be certain to keep a bio of the artist and details about the transaction attached to the back of the piece. Records for especially valuable works should be kept separate from the piece should it be stolen, damaged, or destroyed. Homeowner insurance policies typically cover a small amount for art as these policies are designed for structures and basic contents.


Artist – Eduardo Santana Navarro

Born on October 24, 1966 in the municipality of San Miguel del Padron, Havana, Cuba. He began studying Fine Arts in 1980, in the workshop of Plastic Arts of San Miguel del Padron municipality, located at that time in the Ernest Hemingway House Museum in San Francisco de Paula and directed by the painter and sculptor Orestes Vergel. From that experience and context Watcher group which participates in several group exhibitions was born. Part of their training is self-taught. He is a member of the ACAA and Muraleando Community Art Project in Havana, Cuba.

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Orange Inspired

I’m glad I got a shot of this fence before another repaint. Adding complimentary hues when using a saturated/strong solid color helps to emphasize that color.




Designer Emily Severinsen. Image c/o HGTV.com



Design by Barry Dixon // Vintage Cigar Ribbon Quilt



Design by Christian Leone c/o Lonny

Posted in COLOR, INSPIRATIONS, INTERIOR DESIGN Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Cuban Tobacco Farm – Function Over Form?

Post and beam tobacco drying barns are dotted throughout the agricultural region of Vinales in Cuba. The tobacco market is quite lucrative but building materials are scare. Decades of Cuban resourcefulness has resulted in a landscape filled with these simple beauties.




Vintage Ribbed Metal Pendant c/o grandinroad.com // Papa Bear Lounge Chair by Hans J. Wegner, Produced by AP Stolen c/o 1stdibs.com // Tilia CL Ebony Reversible Upholstery Fabric by P Kaufmann c/o Overstock Fabrics // Malila Grey Stool and Horizon Bookcase 1 Drawer c/o bizzotto.com

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Are You Fixed On A Fixer?

Even though I’ve bought and sold numerous fixer-uppers I still do not claim to be an expert. This is because the cost and time factors vary dramatically from one property to the next. The property owner needs to ask themselves critical questions such as: Do you plan to stay in the home for several years? Will your marriage survive a renovation? Are you sure about that?

Big red flags for me with any home renovation which includes partially completed previous attempts at renovation, as depicted in the photo above. Investors frequently walk away from properties with half done projects. Most often when a buyer sees a half done project they will assume that it will often need to be done all over again. However, investors are not as likely to walk away from a property if the work to done may be completed quickly and inexpensively.

In my experience, it costs more and takes more time to renovate older homes. This is especially true when you are trying to maintain period character and details in the home. Updating older homes with new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) adds true value but the older home may remain uncomfortable and expensive to heat and ventilate without the additional costs of including properly installed insulation as part of your project.

Fixers often come ” as-is ” but that doesn’t mean you should ever buy a home without first bringing your own personal home inspector through the entire property. Local home inspectors who are available for hire will be familiar with homes in that area and will usually be equipped to identify hidden or less-obvious problems. Always know the exact status of what you are buying and be financially prepared to take on any major costs before making any offer.

You must obtain proper permits from your local governing agencies and subsequently make their Building Inspector your partner in the renovation process. City and/or County Building Inspectors can be a pain, but their job is to protect you by ensuring that your contractor’s work meets all local rules, regulations and codes. You don’t want to pay for a contractor’s work which may eventually be rejected by the Inspectors. If you are performing any major work on your home you may expect an Official Inspector to knock on the door sometime during that process. Be prepared.


An overgrown backyard and overall lack of garden upkeep can be a back-breaker to correct. For me, the work required to clear and create a fresh landscape is extremely rewarding and all of that sweat equity really helps keep costs down when that is a factor. If you do not experience this same sense of reward in gardening I recommend that you hire a local landscaping expert to create a professional design for your garden space. Utilizing those professional skill sets should provide you with a beautiful garden planted with lovely specimens, appropriate for your local area, and which complement the space. Great landscaping will add immediate value and provide years of enjoyment to your property.

It’s easy to fall in love with a property that may be begging you bring it back to a good state of life, but remember that not all love affairs end well. I’ve made some property project mistakes (some big ones) But, I always obtain such joy with them that the headaches, heartaches, and inevitable surprises are manageable and are soon forgotten once the project is successfully completed.

So is a fixer a good fit for you?


Posted in BUYING, INSPIRATIONS, INTERIOR DESIGN Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Broadway Grand, Oakland, CA

Pre-Sale Recommendations

 Office/Music/Upper Guest Room Alcove

  • Remove keyboard and “float” the chaise out from the wall at a slight angle toward the window. This will help the room feel a little more spacious and less personalized.
  • Any items that are of huge value should be removed from the vitrine and and put away. Theft during open houses is rare but priceless items should not be on display.
  • Use banker’s boxes (Office Depot, etc.) to neatly pack away personal items in closet. This is a great way to hide personal items as well as reducing any visual clutter.
  • This room needs a large potted (basket fine) leafy green plant. This will play nicely off the art and colors in the space. I like Arboricola or anything with a rounded leaf. Avoid pointy sharp leaves as these are less welcoming.

Upper Guest Bath

  • Fluffy new white towels on towel bars/stacked on counter.
  • Medium sized orchid and little else on the counter.
  • Shower stall should be clear of any personal items.
  • Make sure top vanity drawers are empty and clean.
  • We may want to remove the rug. The scale is fine, and I think it might brighten the room up a bit, but this should be tried both ways.
  • Leave lights on in this bathroom during any showings.

Living Room

  • This is a lovely and comfortably furnished room. The seating area should be tightened/cozied up a bit.
  • Remove the drink table between the club chairs, pull together, and in toward the coffee tables. A little more air between the back of chairs the wall typically makes the room feel larger.
  • Add a couple of lumbar pillows to the club chairs for pop and luxury. (Etsy Gold Velvet cases 12×18 $25 each plus shipping. Esty.com)

    • Rotating images of the unit interspersed with images of Oakland/Uptown playing on the television will really help reinforce buyer’s decision to live in this home.
    • Add four gold pillows on the sofas. I love the current tone-on- tone and a deep greenish-gold will blend beautifully with the carpets while adding a needed pop for the photo shoot. (Etsy Gold Velvet 18″ Pillowcases $50 set of two. Esty.com

  • Coffee table books of Oakland displayed on the coffee table.
  • Orchids on library table.
  • Beautiful arrangement on the dining table.

  • The two bar stools look very lonely. As it is not realistic to add more for the purpose of selling, I suggest setting up a dining vignette with placemats, china, silver, and glassware for two on one end of the bar. Then use an elongated container to display fresh citrus on the other end.
  • Remove all highly valuable/valued collectibles.


  • Clear most items from countertops and keep up cabinet lighting on during all possible showing hours.
  • Buyers open upper cupboards and drawers but often just the top drawers. Make sure that top drawers are tidy and ½ empty. Upper cupboards should be tidy. This is a good time to spring clean.
  • Buyers often open the oven and refrigerator…these should be clean and refrigerator/freezer mostly empty. Keep a few bottles of Perrier on hand and use to block anything messy.

Entry Closet

  • Eliminate most items from this closet.
  • If necessary, use banker’s boxes to de-clutter.
  • Rod should be 50%+ free with plenty of room for more coats.

Lower Den

  • Remove the television console.
  • Add two open legged chairs (IKEA 199.00) and coffee table or poufs with a board game out on display. A cocktail cart (West Elm $249.99) would make a nice addition to this space as well.

  • The gold mirror near the entrance to the master is out of place. It’s the wrong size and shape for that space. This is my “go to” mirror at IKEA. Hung in this exact spot, it will act to pull more light into the den, create more visual space as you come down the stairs, and help set off the entrance to the master. (Hovet $129.00 30 3/4×77 1/8 “)

  • Another green leafy plant in this space will add some life.

Master Bedroom

  • Ensure personal items and valuables put away.
  • Add a leafy green plant.
  • Closets are very organized. Again, use banker’s boxes to stow loose items, personal items, and reduce visual clutter. Keep as much floor space open as possible.
  • Master bath should be cleared of personal items. Some sellers will keep these items in banker’s boxes below their sinks so that drawers are largely empty.
  • Put away shampoos, conditioners and soap after using the shower. It’s a turn off for buyers and prevents them from visualizing living in the space.
  • Put all medications away.

Master II

  • Add leafy green plant.
  • Remove shampoo, etc. from shower.
  • Fluffy new white towels on rods and/or on countertop
  • Orchid on vanity.

Selling Tips

  • Use banker’s boxes to stow items away. Filled bankers boxes neatly stacked inside closets give the illusion of more space.
  • Buyers open top drawers in the bathrooms and kitchens. Keep these orderly and mostly empty. Personal items and medications should be removed.
  • Kitchen and bathrooms should be spotless.
  • Keep lids on any laundry hampers.
  • Washer and Dryer should be clean.
  • Avoid cooking odorous foods.
  • Keep window coverings open during the day and during showings.
  • Put away personal/family photos.
  • Keep laundry hampers closed tightly.
  • Serious buyers will come back to tour your home with their agents. It’s important to keep your home ‘show’ ready.

It is very difficult for any seller to see their home through the eyes of a new buyer. The more you can disassociate yourself from your home the better.

The number one feature buyers are looking for is space and they will pay for it. Keep as much open floor space (including inside closets) as possible.

This home is very well maintained and it will show beautifully.

Posted in INTERIOR DESIGN, PAST PROJECTS, SELLING Tagged with: , , , , , ,
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