Super Snuggly

I know this is supposed to be an interior design blog…but every once in a while, I too have to submit to ultra cuteness. I mean look at this photo. Can you believe it? It’s inspiring how nature can coexist. This is LOVE in a big way! I found the image on Pictory magazine’s website—they do a great job of curating captivating photography, paired with great stories.

Here’s the description of the photo “A livestock protection dog pup has sought the comfort of a group of young lambs on a western Wyoming sheep ranch – an event that happens on numerous occasions each year, throughout the world where livestock are raised with guardian animals. The bond begins early but the unconditional love they show each other lasts lifetimes.”

Photo and description by Cat Urbigkit

Royal Spade Chair

The evolution of this chair stemmed from my client’s desire to hold onto its bones but to give it an aesthetic lift. I really felt like the lines of the chair were quite beautiful and that the body was unique and elegant. With its tall arms and high back, I opted for a fabric with a large print for the exterior and mixed things up with two separate patterns of indigo dyed textiles on the interior—complimenting the colors of the Oriental rug. The chair was a nod to the client’s love of ethnic furniture and accessories. I am currently working on some throw pillows to tie it all in. More to come in a future post!

Holiday Gifts 2012

I know that the holidays can be a mixed bag for some, but I’m really into the festive nature of it all! This year I’ve pulled together a handful of eclectic picks from across the web. Enjoy!

1) Hovering Hot Air Balloon • $58.00 |Basket: 7″ square & Height from balloon: 25″L; Height from hook: 47″ L | Photo courtesy of BHLDN

2) Radio City Clutch • $250.00 | 6″H, 10″W. Silk with glass beading | Photo courtesy of BHLDN
3) Winter Wonderland Tree 4′ • $65.00
| Photo courtesy of Restoration Hardware
4) Andreas Sofa • $3698 | 32″H, 83″W, 34.5″D &vSeat: 19″H | Photo courtesy of Anthropologie
5) Birch Bark Straws • $8.00 (144 straws) | Biodegradable and compostable | Photo courtesy of Terrain
6) Ash Wood Cutting Board • 56.00 | 15″ Diameter | Photo courtesy of Terrain
7) Olivella Virgin Olive Oil Hand Cream • $18.00 | Photo courtesy of Olivella
8) Martha Stewart Pets Fair Aisle Sweater • $15.99 | Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart

Sketch

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Sketch ice cream in the East Bay but if you haven’t, it’s an absolute must! I sometimes think that I’m one of the luckiest people I know because they moved from down the street, to a location that’s literally right outside my front door, located at 2080 4th Street. I had to do a double take when I first saw signs of them moving next door. The lovely duo of Ruthie and Eric are the founders of Sketch and possess a sensibility that’s pure in every way.

They make their ice cream fresh every morning using Straus organic milk, coupled with seasonal fruits  and all natural ingredients. In their own words, “Sketch celebrates our interpretation of ice cream slow churned and undisguised by colors, additives, artificial flavors, stabilizers or extracts other than pure vanilla in every bite.”

Guess what other yummy sweets and treats they make?
• Ice cream cakes
• Dairy free options including sorbets and sketchsicles
• Olive oil cakes
• Coconut macaroons
• Marshmallows

If you get a chance, stop by Sketch. I’m pretty sure you’ll be back as often as you can!

Monday — Friday  8:00-10:30 am & 11:30-4:30pm
Saturday —  11:00-7:00pm
Sunday closed

Well Done

I overheard my mother at her weekly game of mah jong responding to a friend’s question, ” What does your daughter do for living?”  My mother replied, “She’s a professional shopper!” Earlier in my career, I was a clothing buyer, so I suppose that role has somewhat stuck in her mind. To this day, she still worries about when I’m going to get a serious job that offers health benefits.

Tops, bottoms, dresses I suppose it’s all the same. My mother is quite ambiguous as to what an interior designer’s job encompasses. She’s correct in that I shop for my clients. However, it’s not at my whim and without a framework and ample research that are inherently part of the process.

It tends to run the gamut from choosing fabrics and trim, to door hardware, knobs and pulls, tiles or even one of my favorite areas that includes lighting. And this is just a short list of some of the things that I do for my clients.

Recently I worked on a job for a client where I specified the materials and finishes for a high end spec house in Marin County. It recently sold—fetching the asking price, which was deeply satisfying.

Indeed, selecting tile, hardware and lighting for this project was a shopper’s delight. Every wee bit of detail came into play. Especially as it related to maintaining a nod to mid-century design. Shopping for lighting is hands down one of my favorite things to do on a project. So many components to consider. There is a vision to carry out, paint colors and metal finishes to be mindful of and a budget to comply with. Space, volume and architectural elements in a room or space also play an important role in the selection process.

If mother’s reading…yes I will shop til I drop of old age…..

 

Credits  |  Photos courtesy of openhomesphotography
Visionary developer Lisa Park, Two Seeds LLC
Contractor, Lee Flint Construction
Architect, Fran Halperin
Lighting by City Lights
Custom concrete fireplace by Bohemian Stoneworks
Tile by Innovative Tile
Custom banquette by Raphael Helguera

Alabama Chanin

Have you ever heard of Alabama Chanin? Sounds kinda like an awesome country music group. They’re not musicians but rather, makers of all manner of gorgeousness with an approach towards textiles that emphasize slow design and sustainability. What is slow design all about? It translates into handmade limited editions of products made for individuals and the home using new, organic and recycled materials.

The prices are steep but these are handcrafted pieces of art versus ready-to-wear garments produced in mass overseas. Pay a visit to their site to see more of the beautiful details for yourself. (Click here)

 
All photos courtesy of Alabama Chanin

Boiserie

Doesn’t boiserie sound like a place where fine cheese and breads are crafted? I thought so when in fact it translates to carved-wood paneling. Paneled rooms were all the rage during Louis XIV’s reign at Versailles but luckily the craftsmanship of these decorative panels continues on through the creations of Guillaume Féau. He sources antique boiseries and either restores or duplicates them in his Paris atelier called Feau & Cie.

If you recall how lavishly Louis XIV lived, it’s no surprise that woodwork of this caliber comes at a steep price point. A small room starts at $25,000 while a larger more “important,” room could run into the millions. Wow! An interesting bit of boiserie history tells us that gilding was both an expression of wealth and beauty. However, during difficult economic times, the French would paint over the gilding with a dull gray to mask their wealth.

These particular panels were influenced by Louis XVI’s library at Versailles. The combination of white and gold was reflective of 18th century aesthetics but looks just as relevant and opulent today.

All images are courtesy of House and Garden magazine

Marble-tastic

Move over Four Seasons… my delightful client in gastronomical indulgence from Belvedere, CA is finally enjoying her pristine, 4 star hotel master bathroom. After a year of patience, she can enjoy a glamorous soak in her spacious tub, warming her tootsies on the radiant heated marble floor.

The elegant polished nickel, crystal faucet handles, shower and bath accessories are by THG – Purchased through DJ Mehler Plumbing & Bath, San Francisco (Art Deco Cristal Collection).

Custom designed marble stone mats and shower wall accent by Sharon Low & Architect Fran Halperin. Center waterjet mosaic panels in a damask pattern consisting of Crema Marfil with Calacatta Gold marble framed with Palissandro Bluette marble 1″ x 1″ tiles by Artistic Tile. Kudos to Ali Haas from the SF Showroom for all her help in sourcing the materials. Modern torchier bath sconces ( Style = Metro 2) are by AYRE Lighting from City Lights, San Francisco.

Thanks to the construction team = CDK Builders and their dynamo sub-contractors, exquisite tile installation by 25 Company in Novato and Shawn Man Roland- Fine Finisher.

Branding Part 2

Back in March I had done a post about an update to my branding and here’s the latest. Once again I worked with my friend Laila who’s a graphic designer to come up with a larger more standard business card than the mini one that we’d previously printed.

We also created a new batch of stickers using parts of images that were rich in colors, subject matter and textures to mix and match with my stationery. What I love about this modular approach towards branding is that it’s similar to the way I approach design for my clients. It often involves bringing together lots of disparate colors, patterns, finishes and textures to create an interesting space.

Drive by Design

Architect with pencil in hand = Fran Halperin
Monkey mind churning out design finishes & materials = Sharon Low

The design duo was served tasty snacks and fragrant green tea by our gracious clients. Working on this project meant that the footprint of the original space didn’t change at all. We brought in some fun with the Marmoleum flooring to tie in the Asian aesthetic.

The wall of built-in cabinetry provided much needed hidden storage for the client’s kitchen supplies and pantry items.

• Cabinetry =  Clear stained bamboo
• Countertop Material = Caesarstone
• Island Countertop Material = limestone
• Light Fixture = Hubbardton Forge
• Custom Shoji sliding door =
• Flooring Material = Marmoleum with floating bamboo plank accents
• Flooring Installer = Naturlich Flooring
• Co-Contractor = Homeowner (kudos to her – job well done!)