Did you say, DIY?

In my post about The Rammed Earth House , I said you could take workshops and learn to do this yourself.  I got a lot of funny emails from people doubting:  A. I would ever do it  (which of course is true) and B. that someone could build a home, any kind of home, without experience.  Let me introduce you to Michael Parks' modern 3b 3ba cliffside house in the Hollywood Hills

After consulting with several architects and builders, all of whom came in over budget, Michael decided to tackle the remodel himself, undaunted by the fact that he had no experience whatsoever.

Michael looked past the myriad of problems and just saw possibility.  With nothing but passion and a zest to learn how to create a clean, modern, eco-friendly home, a new career emerged. Working through budgets, permits, materials and labor, Michael took on this project just like he took on Mt. Everest in 2002.

 Sustainable materials were used throughout, including the wood and metal cladding, along with recycled concrete and slate.  The biggest challenge was "finding the large, energy efficient, double paned window glass so you could look out onto the canopy of trees", Parks said.

The Michael Parks House (as it is now known) stands as a testament to airy, sleek modern architecture and accomplishes the rare feat of combining a minimalist aesthetic with comfort and hip, understated luxury. 

 Michael said, "I remodeled the house and the house remodeled me"

photos & credits: Afro Chic, contemporist, Billy Marchese, Michael Parks

ENOUGH, already

With 52 days till Spring and a ski trip planned, all I want to do is ~
Grab a passport and a brightly colored Balenciaga handbag

A new wardrobe chock full of color blocked clothing

And head out of town. To Mexico maybe?

Or the romantic Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia perhaps?

This sure beats the view I am looking at now- a foot of new snow

Something more exotic would not be out of the question

But where ever it is, it will most definitely include this

Ahhh, take me away!

 My last post was not sent because (and I am guessing here) it included a video and the file was too big.
Be sure to check out Tom Ford's  fashion show below.

Tom Ford: Bringing Sexy Back

I may be a little late to the party, but, I am in love with Tom Ford, his showmanship, creativity and charisma.  When he announced he was re-entering the woman's market with a 2011 collection, the fashion world was abuzz.  

So secretive was the show, the artists, models, celebrities, and muses did not even know why they had been summoned.  Apparently, you do not say no to Tom when he rings you.  He wanted to create a cocktail party-cum-fashion show with the likes of Julianne Moore, Beyonce, Rita Wilson, Amber Valletta, Lauren Hutton, Liya Kebede, and Marisa Berenson among others.  Tom was in a 70's frame of mind.  He wanted to harken back to when women looked like women:  touchable, kissable, "real".  He loves the female form, no matter the age or shape, which I applaud!

Love the song as well, Pretty Babies, written and sung by model Karen Elson, wife of Jack White from the White Stripes.

credits; Terry Richardson, Bazaar, youtube, Tom Ford

Gnomeo, Gnomeo...

While partying with the Travelocity gnome, he was in town on a PR mission and showed up at a club after a day of skiing **(literally, on skis, see below), I was struck my unexpected attraction to this funny little man.  Do I need a likeness in my home?  While pondering this question, I noticed there is a movie coming out starring a similar character.  That sealed the deal- gnomes are IN!  I don't want any "garden variety" gnome; he must be cute and fashion forward.  Here are the contenders; what do you think?

Philippe Starck for Kartell is really what I have in mind,

Gnomes work equally as well in a traditional space as they do in a contemporary one; the same holds true for a kids room vs. a living room, outdoors or in.  I never realized how practical he can be.

Myron Wolman via Kravet

The little fella's back is to us on the  rocks

A giant sculpture perhaps?  I could see one in a clean, contemporary space.

A lamp might be a consideration,  or not
Jukka Hakanen

What do you think?  Kitschy or cute?

**gnome skiing

Photos: decorator.net, ohdeedoh, flickr, unicahome, designweek,co.uk

Lovin La Cienega

After leaving JF Chen I headed to the design quarter on La Cienega Blvd.  
The beauty of the ivy covered stores beckoned. 
 I headed into Susanne Rheinsteins' store, Hollyhock.  Susanne is known for her sophisticated mix of antiques and decorative arts.  She has created beautiful vignettes within the store where she often hosts book signings and gatherings.

You can see Susanne's designs in her beautiful new book

 Dragonette is where I fell for this clock and it's mysterious history.  

Designed by James Mont, who became known as "the designer to the mafia".   He was a favorite of crime bosses in the 40's and 50's because he made furniture that concealed illegal activities of the day (music?)  His creativity was only matched by his violence which landed him in prison for a time.  I loved that it was a working clock, radio and record player.   I love objects that multi task!

Kristen Buckingham's  (Lindsey's wife, of Fleetwood Mac fame) studio attracted me because of the beautiful exterior similar to that of Hollyhock's.  She has a beautiful portfolio and I like her boho chic aesthetic.

picture via Stylecourt

Downtown, carries something for everyone with it's mix of Italian, French and American design.

Hollywood at Home did not disappoint.  Peter Dunham's showroom carries several beautiful lines of fabric and furnishings besides his own, all with a similar design aesthetic.  His European sensibility was shaped by his International upbringing paired with his American practicality which translates into a easy, global elegance .  You may remember the post I did on Peter's design of The Skaist-Levy House.

picture via Peter  Dunham

Alas, there were not enough hours in the day to see everything.  I will just have to go back because I still have not crossed off several showrooms on my list!

photos: CLI unless otherwise noted

Eye Candy Everywhere!

I have long known about Joel Chen.  He's a little bit of a legend in the design business.  When I was making plans to go LA, the JF Chen showroom was a "must see" on my list of things to do.  Joel travels the globe filling his showroom with virtually EVERYTHING!  His collections span centuries.  I was completely overwhelmed.


Like a kid in a candy store, I swooned over everything, asking question after question.  Top designers like Kelly Wearstler and Michael S. Smith to celebrities and prop stylists stop by JF Chen for a WOW piece or a bit of inspiration.  I understand many of the props that fill the Ralph Lauren stores come from here.  


I wanted that inlaid box, but Richard Hallberg (who is quickly becoming a favorite designer of mine) got to it first.

There is a heavy accent on mid century modern there, which makes sense in LA and now I know who to call when I am scouting for a piece.  They kept reassuring me that they are only a phone call away.

I died over the faux bois and real 18th C. Chinese root planters as well as the ikat covered chairs.  In some cases you can't tell the authentic antiques from the reproductions.

These are the pieces I want for a client:


A gorgeous antiqued mirror side table

White murano glass wall pockets.  We'll see about the smaller accessories when we get a little further along, but I have lots of ideas!

Thank you Mr. Chen for the enjoyable afternoon and your graciousness ~ I'll be back!