Talking Turkey about the Tabletop

via The Glitter Guide

Most of us like to do a different variation on a Thanksgiving tabletop theme from year to year.  Chances are we can't completely change the look (financially speaking), but what can we do?  What can we add to our collection?  What do you have around the house that you can bring into your vignette?   Is there a color that has newly inspired you?  Can you fold a napkin differently?  Seat people unpredictably?

via The Decoist

If you are accustomed to going BIG, go simple.  If you are accustomed to simplicity, create an abundantly over the top arrangement.

via Coco and Kelly

I never thought to pull my hide off the floor, but between that and the Baccarat crystal, I'm swooning!

It doesn't have to scream Thanksgiving or be Fall like at all if that's not what you're feeling.  It just has to look like you thought enough of your guests to pull something festive together.

via Trelliage

via Always a Blogsmaid

via Camille Styles

Kelly Wearstler has a bevy of new tabletop beauties that are inspiring me of late.  Gold always gets me and agates and diamonds too, while we're at it! 

All white tabletops always look elegant, even if you use organic materials!
Throwing in a deer antler for good measure never hurts in my book ; )

via Cote de Texas

Whatever part of the country you're in, whatever look you're going for  ~ gathering together and being grateful is ALWAYS the ultimate goal.

                                                                     ~ ENJOY ~

Zephyr: Visionaries in Ventilation

Since 1997, the San Francisco based leader in ventilation design and technology has challenged the perception of what hood ventilation means to kitchen design.  An awareness was stirred by visionaries, reimagining and creating cutting edge residential range hoods.

From the simple and sleek to artistic and highly individualized, there is something for everyone.  Again, seeing a need for elegant fashion forward hoods (they can be sexy too), Zephyr set out to prove high style should extend above the range!

The more impressive, slightly less glamorous, but truly important "inner workings" of the ventilation system is what sets Zephyr apart.  They are performance driven but aesthetically pleasing!  The best of both worlds.  Zephyr, along with their collaborators, raised the bar when it came to designing high end kitchen hoods that were not only energy efficient, filter free, and LED lit, but were quiet, as in silent.  I witnessed it firsthand.  I hate when my hood is on in my own kitchen and I can't hear myself think, it's so loud!

Energy Star certification on selected hoods translates into a cost effective way for consumers to lower their carbon footprint while taking advantage of great design and the latest technology.

There is a wide range of stainless hoods.  These are some uniques standouts ~  The Padova hood designed by Fu Tung Cheng, provides a virtual plaster canvas for full customization.  It was inspired by Italy's timeless architectural design.

I died over this hand painted hood.  I see it in an Asian inspired, clean lined kitchen.  It becomes an unexpected focal point, a work of art.

The Plane Arc and Tilt hoods are elevated to sculptural status by designer Robert Brunner.  He challenges what we think a hood should look like while giving us all the bells and whistles we demand.  Each is available in black, white, and red glass and stainless steel.  Etchings are also available ~ there are infinite possibilities.

Fu Tung was on hand and gave us a rundown of one of his projects.  He's an innovator in the use of concrete and described for us how he conceived of and executed a rounded water feature bookcase for one of his clients.  Nothing like it has ever been done before (to my knowledge)  Truly unique!

Mr. Cheng shared his fabulous book with us, Concrete At Home, where he illustrates his love and use of this ancient material in innovative ways, forging new techniques along the way.

Thank you Zephyr for introducing me to your remarkable ventilation hoods.  These are not necessarily things you think of first when designing a kitchen, but they become not only the workhorse of the room like any of your major appliances, they do it elegantly and efficiently.  Isn't that what great design is all about ?

Zephry ~ tini's for everyone!

* ph: Cheng Designs

A Santa Barbara Beauty


I had the pleasure of meeting Sheryl Lowe at Neiman's recently.  She has been creating the most beautiful jewelry for the past 9 years.  Not one to pass up a trunk show of a designer that I admire, I headed on over with my fingers crossed that I wouldn't get myself into too much trouble.

Sheryl shops the world; beads from Yemen, coral from Tangier, rare Peruvian opals.  Antique jewelry is reworked, all gracing her one of a kind pieces.

She obviously works very hard and has a deep passion for what she does.  Her company is very successful, which is no small feat in today's economy.  She is also fortunate enough to lead a privileged life with her perennially handsome husband, Rob.  That affords her the opportunity to give back, which she does, generously.  As a working mother of two boys I, like Sheryl, believe that's an important lesson to pass on.  We spoke for a bit about her business.  She employs 20, and a portion of the proceeds go to women's and children's charities.

Sheryl could not have been lovelier.  When I asked her if she minded taking a picture, the glasses came off, the lipstick went on, and she posed like a rock star (or top model.)  I am going to need a lesson or two!

We also talked about her house.  I had remembered seeing it in AD and loved it!  It will be featured in a book that Ellen Degeneres is doing.  Let's revisit ~

"Sheryl loves beautiful things and is definitely a collector," says interior designer David Phoenix.  Who doesn't love beautiful things (we have much in common)??  Sheryl and Rob Lowe were lucky enough to build their dream home inspired by grand Georgian homes.

The couple walked the property for weeks to make sure the house would sit perfectly on the plot, as if it had always been there.  Sheryl wanted the home to reflect her "nonconformity" and love of travel.  The team, including a feng shui specialist, looked at everything from studying Mount Vernon to what the best possible furniture layout might be to maximize "wealth, wellness, and charisma."

It is neutral but richly layered, grand in size, but intimate in feel.

The Lowe's wanted their house to be THE house that everyone comes to.  Entertaining is a priority as is conveying the feeling of comfort, graciousness, and the idea that wonderful memories are being created.

Driving up the tree lined drive is dramatic in and of itself, but the home opens itself up in exquisite fashion on it's four beautifully landscaped acres, with the double height Portico, sweeping veranda, and view to the ocean.

Oprah is a neighbor and this house is down the street from their beach house.  How convenient!

I mentioned I would be in the area but I did not get an invitation over, maybe next time??

Photos via AD by Mary E. Nichols

DXV ~ Raising the Standard of Beauty

We had some fun with the nice folks at DXV.  They sponsored a beautiful get together at a restaurant nestled in the Hollywood Hills where we spoke about the American Standard brand and came to the realization that almost all of us had an American Standard product in our home.


"DXV by American Standard is a new luxury bath and kitchen brand celebrating the storied plumbing company's rich history, now in its 15th decade."  The company believes if you design with a purpose along with performance and strive for perfection of product, you are raising the standard of beauty.  Therefore, well designed products become beautiful, and beauty becomes timeless.

The DXV collections, 70 carefully curated products in all, are distinguished by what would be considered the most influential design movements throughout the company's long history beginning in 1872.  They used this as a framework to give relevance to each period.

The Classic Movement (1890-1920) is stately, sculptural and well rounded.  Utilitarian objects were adorned with flowing lines and fanciful details as the industrial age landscape was changing.

The Golden Era (1920-1950), defined by a period of peace and prosperity, centers around a collection that has a subtle  attitude with a refined organic simplicity.  It reflects a modern society on the move in a time of prolific growth in art, design, and invention .

The Modern Movement (1950-1990) is all about artful forms and angular planes, displaying a playfulness and joy that this country was feeling.  Experimentation and growth in technology created contrasts that helped pave a path for the future.

The Contemporary Movement (1990-present) is represented by more of an individualistic approach. Pure form and a minimalist aesthetic, rich texture, and natural material.  The aesthetic is ever changing, the juxtaposition eclectic, and has a global appeal to reflect our fast paced lifestyle.

Fixtures, both kitchen and bath, are the cornerstone of the company's brand.  Like accessories or jewels that accompany the little black dress, these fixtures convey a design message when paired with the more utilitarian tub and toilet (but no less design driven).  These collections can certainly be mixed and matched for a look as individual as each of us.

DXV ~ stands for Decade 15 (clever, right?), is a brand that has artisanal character with a forward thinking, technology driven, performance powered sensibility.

I wonder what period the next collection will be called as we take stock of the fast paced, tech savvy world we are living in now.  Futuristic?

Miele: A Leap of Innovation

As one of our generous sponsors on Blogtourcali, Miele spoiled us rotten.  They generously wined and dined us incorporating their new "state of the art" generation 6000 technology.

The Miele team and celebrity guest chef  David Shalleck honored us with another scrumptious meal.

Years in the making, Miele's innovative, user friendly appliances continue to be built on the foundation of beauty and functionality, keeping in mind the need for ease in today's lifestyle.  The Miele brand imbues a sense of passion for product with purposeful design and energy efficiency.  A family owned and operated company since 1899, they operate on the single promise of "forever better."

When I first saw their built in coffee maker at a trade show some years ago, it was love at first sight!  I remember thinking, this is genius!  Why hasn't anyone thought of this sooner?  Their new feature incorporates a cup sensor.  This recognizes the size of the rim of your cup and alters the position of the spout accordingly.  A milk system clicks in and out of place, then rinses itself after use.  That is a well thought out design feature!

Minimalists will love the new brilliant white design that is chic and cool.  I, myself, love the truffle brown color.  It would be at home in a transitional or contemporary kitchen, as would the pure line or contour line handles.  Either of these new designs are so timelessly elegant and simple that any combination looks perfectly balanced.


Some of the incredible features of the Generation 6000 are ~ their exclusive moisture plus oven sensor  technology with 100+ presets and your own programmable ones.  The easy touch, user friendly touch pad with wifi capability makes preheating the oven when you are away from a home a blessing.

We became familiar with convection ovens that have a fan in the back to help uniformly circulate hot air and cook evenly.  The steam or combo steam technology goes further by raising the humidity in the oven ~  you optimize the outcome and healthy benefits of your food!

Meats are more succulent, baked goods are incredibly moist.  I LOVE banana bread.  When I tasted theirs after being made in the new 6000 series oven, I swore I had never in my life tasted anything so moist and delicious!  Everything is at the peak of flavor with the addition of steam technology!


Miele strives to improve upon their own innovative technology and assures us this is only the beginning.  I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves.  Oh, and I am gonna need a need kitchen now….

*photo: Chasen West