Monday, May 25, 2015

Scenes from a Showcase

As San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2015 draws to a close this long Memorial Day weekend, a brief look back at some memorable spaces...

The Entry by Katherine Webster, Inc, San Francisco 

Writings of home's architect Julia Morgan on Grand Entry Staircase, 
Candace Barnes Design Studio, San Francisco

The Powder Room by Julie Rootes Interiors, San Rafael

The Dining Room by Cecilie Starin Design, Inc., Tiburon

 The Living Room by Phillip Silver Design, Inc., San Francisco

The Family Room off the Kitchen by Kathleen Navarra, San Francisco

The Pet Suite in the Kitchen by Kathleen Navarra, San Francisco

Master Suite by Wick Design, San Francisco

Sitting Area of Master Suite by Wick Design, San Francisco

Her Dressing Room by Heather Hilliard Design, San Francisco

Gentlemen's Bathroom by Evars + Anderson Interior Design, San Francisco

Girl's Bedroom by Weaver Design Group, San Francisco

Gift-wrapped closet by Weaver Design Group, San Francisco

Upstairs Bathroom, with Voutsa wallpaper, by Nest Design Co., Inc., Sausalito

Laundry Room by Evars + Anderson Interior Design, San Francisco

Christian Lacroix wallpaper close up in Laundry Room by Evars + Anderson Interior Design

Wine Cellar by Jane Richardson Mack and John Romaidis, Fairfax

Garden by SIOL, San Francisco

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter in The City

Easter brunch, at the venerable - and much re-built -  Cliff House.

It sits perched above the City's popular Ocean Beach where even on this day surfers, looking like black seals in the choppy surf, waited belly-side down on their boards for the perfect wave.

Seabirds hovered, landed, then took to the skies again from their perches on Seal Rock just outside the window.

While champagne flowed freely into our glasses amid the gentle strains of a harp, a tray of fresh popovers passed by our table.

We quickly claimed then, delaying our trip to the buffet table and allowing us to settle into the warm rays of the sun through the window.  Slathering on butter and strawberry jam,  the Cliff House's famous popovers melted in a sweet obsession.

The butterscoth pots de creme-in-eggshell are a newer sweet obsession.  A deep creamy butterscotch, richer than a pudding, is topped with a dollop of whipped cream and crystallized ginger



Could you resist?

Peter, the Cliff House's Cuban-born pastry chef, handcrafted each one of the 300 pots de creme, using a  special tool to cut the shell which is then drained of the egg, washed, baked and filled with dessert.  (The eggs are sent upstairs for use in omelets.)

After lunch, a stop downstairs at the lookout to watch a pod of whales spout and play in the surf, just yards away from the surfers.   The Pacific's cold water is always a delight for some.

Then a leisurely drive through an unusually uncrowded Golden Gate Park where roses were not yet ready to make their first bloom bonanza but the rhododendrons were.

There were Easter Sunday picnickers waiting for the sunset....

And  brilliant yellow irises along the banks of a lakeside pagoda

California may be in drought but this waterfall,  that flows under a stepping-stone pathway, is a pleasant reminder of wetter winters.

A tourist reads a plaque denoting that this set of marble columns was once the portal of the residence of the A.N. Towne before it burned in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake.  A. N. Towne was the general superintendent of the Central Pacific Railroad and a California senator.

A newer resident seems to have taken up house in the Towne Portal.

Just in time to see the "calla lily" lights in front of the De Young Museum lend boomerangs of light into the dimming sky.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Giveaway Results

Congratulations Pixforyou2 and Orchid Cathy!

We loved your secrets.  Thank you so much for sharing them.

And, are the winners of the latest garden giveaway so you split all the prizes - yay!

Look for our email in your inbox so we can get your address.

Again, thanks for sharing!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Garden Goodies

We found some wonderful garden products at Sloat Garden Center's "vendor night" last week and asked the companies if you could try them. So, we're having a contest.

Simple rules:  The contest closes at midnight on Wednesday, March 4.  To enter, tell us what is your favorite uncommon gardening secret.  That's it.  We'll choose the winners and announce them in the next post.  (If you experience any trouble logging in your answer, try switching browsers, e.g. Firefox or Safari).

Mark your calendars because you must check back by Saturday March 7 to see if your name is listed as a winner so we can send you your prize.  If not, your prize will be awarded to a new winner.

Ready? Set? Go! And,  good luck!

What we love about American-made Smart Pots? They're portable and reusable.  They warm the soil quickly in the spring and cool the roots when it's hot.  They air prune roots for a more efficient root system and prevent roots from "circling" and, instead, force them to set lateral roots.    Just unfold the bags, fill them with soil, drop in your plants, and water. So easy!

There are  two sizes in the giveaway:

One Big Bag Bed, Jr. that offers 7 square feet of of "raised bed" gardening for vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruits.


One Smart Pot (the 20 gallon size) for growing melons, pumpkins, winter squash and sweet potatoes.

What we love about Tappin' Roots: It's vegan and not tested on animals.  Three cheers for that!
It's handcrafted on an organic Sonoma County farm and relies on willow tree extract, sea kelp and a non-animal derived calcium.  These ingredients are used to build strong root systems and stems, lush foliage and dense flowering.  It can be used as an all-in-one fertlizer on any plant, any size and at any lifestage and also great for cuttings and transplanting.

There is one bottle in the giveaway.

What we love about Maxsea: Besides featuring their five-member "Canine Crew" on their website's staff page?   Definitely, its long history of pleasing fussy gardeners including garden club members who swear by it.

There are three fertilizer containers  (All-purpose, Bloom and Acid Plant) in each set and there are two sets in the giveaway.

Now, let's dish the dirt on garden secrets.  We'll start! 

With fragrant plants, try to plant "near the nose", so to speak.

A lush standard, or tree, such as a gardenia or rose at your front entrance greets guests before you even open the door.   We adore Fragrant Cloud, Mr. Lincoln,  Jude the Obscure,  and Souvenir Claudius de Nouyel.  For gardenias, try "August".  It's very reliable and fragrant.

The best orange tree for fragrance? Hands down, "Bouquets des Fleurs"

We plant low-growing prolific honeysuckle in large drifts around seating areas and pathways,  and always include marigolds, mint, lavender and rosemary in potagers.  That way, when we accidentally brush up against them while tending the beds, we are awash in their sweet scent.

We can't even tell you how many secrets we just gave away!  Your turn....