Posts Tagged ‘Modern art’

Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging Center Reveal!

I love words (also known as being a “logophile” from the Greek “logos” meaning “speech”, but since this particular word calls to mind–for me, anyway–logos or strangely logs with little mushrooms on them, and hence log cabins and thus unshaven men in Pendelton attire and/or the word “loco”–which all seem so far removed from the intended meaning–I’ll stick with ‘I love words’).


Favorite words: “crepuscular” (of or relating to twilight); “avuncular” (uncle like); “unctuous” (excessively flattering); crapulous (drunk).


Most charming string of words I may never use for fear of social exile and/or severe eye rolling and subtle throat clearing: “a postprandial confabulation” (an after dinner chat).


But sometimes, when photos say so much, words aren’t necessary. The Before and Afters tell you everything. But just in case this is not one of those times, and you are someone who enjoys a little backstory, I’ll be here, narrating along–you know, in case words are your thing, too!  (If not, you have my blessing to scroll at will. 🙂 )



Welcome to the Before of the Santa Barbara Women’s Imaging Center:  Santa Barbara’s medical center for mammograms.




Left side Before.



I was asked to create a space that was modern, but still soft and serene. Actually, the first thing I was asked to do was to help pick a paint color for the areas that did not have wainscotting and new fabric to reupholster the existing furniture, but–as often happens on projects–one thing led to another and the next thing I knew, the space looked like this…






Which of course made for a design job that was worlds more interesting; we moved walls and doors, eliminated some soffits that made the ceiling feel far too low, removed an archway that wasn’t working with the modern look we were after, added a clerestory window to one wall to allow more natural light to stream into the waiting room, and moved the reception counter from the far right of the room to directly across from the entry door so it would be the first thing you would seen upon entering.





The former view when you first walked in.






Ta da! The redesigned view when you walk in.




It’s just the timing of this project was also very interesting because I knew I was pregnant, but it was too soon to share. But as more time went on, and it became time to share, my belly wasn’t just full of a growing fetus; it was overrun with butterflies. How does one announce, “I’m so happy you approved that flooring. It will add just the right amount of warmth while still tying in with the wall color. And did you know there’s a human kicking my ribs, from the inside, as we speak?”


It all felt a bit non-sequitur and I was so focused on the design that sometimes I myself forgot I was pregnant, so why remind (or announce it to) anybody? It was only when it got to the point where I was sure the baggy, ill-fitting tops I was wearing were making me look like I was really starting to let myself go and had perhaps shunned all sartorial sophistication, when the words came tumbling out: “I’m not just gaining weight, well, I am–but it’s because I’m going to have a baby!” Thankfully, everyone was extremely understanding and the only reaction appeared to be one of shared excitement.




Right side Before.



My goal was to design a space that not only looked good, but could help a potentially nervous patient who was about to get a mammogram feel good. I wanted the space to be as soothing and spa-like as possible–I know, high hopes for a medical office! 🙂





Right side Before.



My direct contact was very instrumental in the design process and a pleasure to work with. He and the doctors trusted my vision of custom tufted settees and white modern chairs in the waiting room and modern art throughout.





Right side view After.





Detail of right side After. Original diptych painting by Rebecca Claussen. If that painting were a locale, I’d book a trip. It looks so restful!








One of the “details” was a suggestion to replace images of brain and body scans that might induce a few shudders to something happier like…HGTV. During the project I was having many appointments at my OB/GYN’s office and I noticed they always had the TV tuned to HGTV and 1) patients (women, sometimes accompanied by male mates) actually watched the screen and 2) the content was so neutral (isn’t watching someone demolish a kitchen mindless fun for all?) that it felt very calming.





Left side After.





Left side After, up close.




Real greenery was added. What space would be complete without the “It” plant, the Fiddle Leaf Fig, right?






After. Original painting by Rebecca Claussen.



I am crazy for this painting by Rebecca Claussen. She is an artist out of LA and when I saw this piece I knew it would be perfect for the space. It is modern without being harsh or primary-colored modern. The use of light and blending and soft pastels just made me think, “Ahh, breathe,” which was really the gist of the entire design concept.





Dressing room Before.



I subscribe to the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” design maxim and never encourage clients to get rid of something if I think it has good bones and we can work with it. That was the case with these chairs. While they weren’t as modern as we wanted for the reception room, they had good feminine lines for the dressing rooms and they were well made and just the right size.





Dressing room After.




So with some new fabric (it’s hard to see in the photo, but it’s a Kravet vinyl that is both wipe-able and looks like fancy ostrich skin) and the addition of nail heads, the chairs were completely revamped.






A Lyn Gianni print.



For the dressing rooms, I placed art from Lyn Gianni (hey, mom!).  Each dressing room has a print that is similar to the one above, but with a different color combination to make each room have its own individual look.





Dressing rooms After.



Like so. I used Kravet fabric (Bansuri; color: Slate) for the dressing room drapes. I’m so into this fabric, I’d like to wrap my body in it and call it a dress. I really liked how it united the brownish/grey floors with the grey walls and added just enough pattern to hide potential marks from dirty fingers.




ADA dressing room After.




This is the ADA dressing room with a custom upholstered drop-down bench. That little metal and wood-topped side table on the right is actually from Target and is a great little dual-function piece that looks good and added some much-needed storage (the lid is removable).





Exterior Before.



I refreshed the exterior as much as I could without being able to change the paint color (the shot you see here is part of a two-story building and we were only redoing a portion of the building). We removed the awning, the sign to the left, the suite numerals and word “Suite” to the right which were black plastic, updated the door mat, changed the front door and door handle and added a new plant and bench (which wasn’t in place the day of the photo shoot, darn it!).




Exterior After.



I enlisted my mom (Lyn Gianni) to design the new logo and it was used on everything from the signs to the pens and letterhead to the scrubs and dressing gowns. (Go, mom!)





Exterior After.



New brushed aluminum suite numbers. So much better than black plastic!





Exterior sign After.



The sign looks even better in real life because each part of the brushed aluminum is laser-cut and projects out from the dark charcoal background so you have a level of depth that you, unfortunately, can’t quite get from the photo.





New interior sign.



The interior sign was also made using laser-cut brushed aluminum, but adhered to a frosted resin background.








I would be remiss if I didn’t shout TAKE NOTE OF THE CARVED STONE TILE ON THE FRONT OF THE RECEPTION DESK. Some have interpreted the pattern as waves, others as leaves. Each piece was very hefty which didn’t make for the easiest installation, but it is the first thing you see when you walk in the door and it is so stunning and worth it!





Counseling Room After.






Cabinet detail After.







One of my favorite details were these photo images we used as lenses for the fluorescent lights. Instead of looking up and seeing the typical rectangular light with a bumpy plastic covering, we used smooth photo lenses of images that you might see if you looked up in nature (blossoms, a canopy of trees, clouds) in each exam room to give the illusion of a skylight.










“Swimmers” print by Lyn Gianni.






Hall After.



This painting is giant and amazing and by the talented Ryan Wells. The more I look at it, the more I see. Right now I’m seeing a horse on the right. The wall behind it (despite the color in these photos) is a light grey, Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl, which was the winner after I agonized over four other gray paint contenders (all by Benjamin Moore) that were so close in color someone actually asked, “Are those all the same color?” Gray can go gloomy very fast if you don’t cut it with a lot of white (i.e., on baseboard, doors and window casing), but this one didn’t need much white. It was that good and it stayed gray without going brown or green (again, despite the photo–you’ll have to trust me!) or blue.





Original painting by Ryan Wells.



Before all these beautiful finishes were added, there were months of demo and rebuilding and meetings and more meetings and as time went by so did my pregnancy and before I knew it, it was winter and I was having a baby. Thankfully since Kai’s birth coincided with the holidays, construction screeched to a halt which gave me a chance to catch up with myself and figure out this New Mom stuff.





Pairing samples of the flooring in the main areas with a fun tile selected for one of the bathrooms.



The week after Kai was born we needed to take him in for his first checkup which meant JB and I were forced to ditch our pajama attire for something more civilized, shower, comb our hair, and confront the outside world again. After the doctor’s visit, we felt like we were on such a roll and on a high from being out in the fresh air again, we decided to really push it and make a trip to CVS and Trader Joe’s. I ran into CVS (sans baby which, I have to say, was kind of a treat after a week of non-stop baby-holding), which completely tuckered me out and left me out of commission for the Trader Joe’s stop so Kai and I stayed in the car where I tried to ignore my throbbing pain and nurse a crying Kai into submission.


I remember reading an US magazine balanced on my leg, while balancing Kai on my lap, and checking my voicemail–a trifecta of modern mom tasks–ha ha! There was a message about a design decision that I can’t recall now, but at the time it seemed hugely important, and I thought, “If I can’t even go grocery shopping like a normal person, how am I going to pull this project off?”


I think it was stubbornness and an insane passion for what I do, but I somehow rallied and by the time Kai was five-weeks-old I had just enough sleep in me (four hours average per night, ugh!!!) to tuck my still-squishy self into a blazer and meet with the architects and get back to work. I attribute avoiding the dreaded postpartum depression to the magnitude of this project: there wasn’t time to be depressed between taking care of a newborn and selecting things like door styles and cabinet hardware and for that I feel eternally grateful!








Here is the flooring, in situ.








Bathroom tile floor in the second bathroom. (And some cute leopard ballet flats, ha ha 🙂 .)




Bathroom After.







Some feminine flourishes!



I find most design projects rewarding because I get to improve the spaces people live in and I believe beautiful surroundings can boost your mood. But the best part of this project is when I imagine the patients. I like to think the women are having a relaxing experience, that they are feeling calm and good and if that is the case, it makes me feel one simple word: joy.



As Luck Would Have it: The La Jolla House Reveal

Happy New Year!



I hope your New Year’s Eve was all that you hoped it would be! We stayed home and toggled between Carson Daly’s NYE and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve until the ball dropped. Then we reflected upon how much we have to be thankful for (our family and friends, our first year as a married couple, our second year in our house, the first holiday for our new puppy, Mokie) and sealed our joy with a kiss.



 Mokie in front of fireplace Mokie just stared.






Cat drinking from vaseEllie was preoccupied.







Lilo in bedLilo was already tucked into bed.





But that was last week. Back in November, my design partner and I finished a house in La Jolla that I would have shared earlier if the holidays hadn’t swept away every spare moment.




It was an amazing house, perched on a hill with ocean and city (the good, green parts) views.



La Jolla yard



I mean washing your dishes from this vantage point, would be…dare I say it, pleasurable?




La Jolla Kitchen 2




More good views…(with a cute doggie-in-the-background bonus).




La Jolla desk



And one more shot.


La Jolla deck



But the real story is this…


Because our clients live in La Jolla, and we live five hours away, in Santa Barbara, we did all our design work based on ONE TRIP to the house. One measurement-taking, note-scribbling, photo-snapping visit…


so we could remember what the place looked like!




La Jolla Kitchen



HGTV, this could be your next hit show:  “See the house once, now redesign it!”



We only had our memories, iPad photos, and a few notes to go on before we had to start conceptualizing and ordering.



 La Jolla Art 2Art by Lyn Gianni.



And then we waited,


and waited…


and waited some more–grrrr–because when you go the custom route, things can take what seems like forever. Add to that the workers at the Long Beach port went on strike which meant Customs screeched to a halt.


Double grrrr.



La Jolla Dining Room



We had to use a loaner table, above, while the real one made of glass, walnut, and steel shipped–in, apparently, slow motion–from Italy.




Mini pumkin plate setting




It seemed nearly everything was behind schedule. We were frustrated, our clients were frustrated.  Just when we were dreading sending our next, “It looks like it will be another month,” email, production dates shortened and delivery dates came into view.





La Jolla Living Room




We scheduled an installation date. We made the pilgrimage from SB to SD with a vehicle stuffed so full we had the visibility of a moving truck. We had coffee, conversation, and celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter to fuel us until we arrived at the house, near midnight.




La Jolla



The next morning, a succession of small (big to us!) miracles seemed to take place as delivery after delivery arrived in perfect order (rugs before furniture, that sort of thing). We found the one grocery store that carried white mini pumpkins (we were setting the table pre-Thanskgiving) and when the million pound mirror arrived, see below, Lizz Lang Art Services stopped what they were doing and magically materialized at the door with more power tools and brute strength than we were equipped with.




La Jolla Master Bedroom



They hung nine other pieces which meant we could keep going…





La Jolla paintingCustom art by Lyn Gianni.





La Jolla EntryArt also by Lyn Gianni.



…at our, “They clients will be here any minute!” pace. (They were on vacation and were due to arrive home at 4 pm.)




At 4:03 pm, as we were literally tossing on a throw blanket and adjusting throw pillows on the sectional, the delivery driver of the sectional announced, “I think the owners just pulled up.”




La Jolla Bathroom



The clients walked in and squealed with joy; we squealed with relief and it was wonderful. We made our graceful exit (marred only by the awkwardness of the fifteen minute search to find my missing phone that had mistakenly been thrown into the bottom of a bag of pillows during our extreme haste). And, giddily, we drove home with tired feet, growling bellies, and spirits soaring because so many things worked out when they could, just as easily, have gone the other way.



PS, My mom and I saw The Theory of Everything over the holidays. I highly, highly recommend it.  Stephen Hawking has certainly been through a sort of hell most of us are lucky enough to never endure, and yet…here are his words:



“However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”


 –Stephen Hawking



Here’s to making those words ring true as we enter 2015.




Happy New Year!

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Design Inspiration from La Jolla


My circumference is not that big. (No, I’m not talking about my waistline which, in preparation for fitting into a wedding dress in less than a month–yikes!–has been put on caloric restriction and is hopefully shrinking as we speak.) I mean, I tend to move in tiny circles.



Like a dog who’s chasing its tail….





MPLA doorDoor outside MPLA Associates in La Jolla, CA.



Like a professional hula hooper…




A hamster stuck on its wheel….





Kravet Monkey wallpaperMonkey wallpaper (and free Nespresso!) at Kravet Fabric in La Jolla, CA.




Or like a person who is comfortable in her own backyard (and by backyard, I mean a 20 mile radius, not my actual backyard).





Abstract painting two chairsAre you noticing modern art everywhere, too? I think the red glow of the single, dangling interrogation-style bulb just adds a little sumpthin-sumpthin, no?




For instance, I live in Santa Barbara which is only 1.5 hours from LA (times two if you hit rush hour traffic), yet I almost never go there.




I just circle and repeat.






Abstract art flowersAh modern art. Sometimes you work (see closeup agave leaf painting to the right) and sometimes you don’t (see–flowers?–scaling the wall to the left).





But not lately. Lately I have moved outside my maze and boy does it feel good. The other week I was lucky enough to attend the Las Vegas Design Market (for a refresher, please click here).  And I recently had the pleasure of traveling to La Jolla (5 hours away–woop woop!) with another designer to begin the interior design of a house we’re collaborating on.





Abstract flowers at MPLAWoo wee: more abstract flowers.






So, of course, I took pictures of everything interesting that we saw–so I could share it with you!




Side of flower sculptureWorkin’ the side angle.



The best thing, by far, was this store entrance that had the most whimsical and wacky wall treatment. (Note: somebody did this–so you could, too! It’s just grey paint with white loopy chalk circles drawn on top. I’d suggest sealing the swirls with a clear aerosol spray paint–unless you want them to rub off so you can adjust them from time to time.)




Chalkboard wallMPLA Design Associates, La Jolla, CA.




Here’s a closeup so you can see the design was kind of like a Calder mobile goes 2D. Note the actual mobile in the far right hand corner.





Chalkboard swirls





Kravet had this neat wallpaper in their entry.





Kravet Wallpaper




But MPLA had this terrazzo floor in their bathroom.





Terrazzo floorThis floor had me thinking this might be a neat alternative to tile for a residential bathroom.  No grout = kinda brilliant!






Bon Bon OttomanAnd we couldn’t leave before ordering one of these poufs for our clients. The poufs are 100% wool, they can roll across the floor and they’re named “Bon Bons”–we were defenseless.




How about you? Have you been discovering sometimes you have to go outside your own backyard to find the grass that’s greener?


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Art Inspiration: meow or woof?

Growing up, my artist mom taught me to notice design in the unlikeliest of places. Odd places like the marks grass makes on a bare knee; the stretched shadow of a chain link fence; or the intricate pattern that traces the rind of any melon. The idea was inspiration is everywhere. All you had to do was look.




Toilet paper roll artToilet paper rolls by Studio Zerbey Architecture + Design Image via Houzz




So I started looking and, over the years, I developed a thing for off-beat art.





Donut paintingThis painting of doughnuts hangs, in all its gilded frame glory, in our kitchen. Unconventional subject matter for an oil painting to be sure; but to me, that’s its appeal.





I gravitated towards quirky art.






Paper bag painting40″ x 50″ (in other words, very big) abstract acrylic of a paper bag. It was given to me by a generous friend and now hangs center stage in our living room.






And irreverent art–and, apparently, art with food as its subject–gets me every time.






Bacon paintingLarge acrylic bacon painting in our living room by the talented Lyn Gianni (but I call her Mom”).





I think one of the most important things about a piece of art is it should speak to you.






You Only Live OnceEclectic Bedroom by Los Angeles Photographers Alex Amend Photography Image via Houzz






And the other day, I thought perhaps it should say, “Meow.”





Here’s the part where I need to tell you I’m nearing the finish line on the living room design for a client who adores her cat. That this client thinks her cat is wonderful and I think my client is wonderful and I need to find her art that is as neat as she is. Ho-hum won’t cut it. And that the other day, while I was brainstorming what piece we should hang over her sofa, I had an idea.



Brace yourself. It’s a wild one.



We could take a photo of her cat in black and white, enlarge the image until it was huge (as in ginormously, jaw-droppingly large), frame it and hang it above said sofa.




I know. Weird right? Crazy? Maybe. Admittedly, I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea myself until a few days later my mom and I happened to be strolling down Main street in Ventura and we spotted this window display outside a thrift store that raises money for pets in need.





Black and white dog and chair





It was my wacky idea come to life.






Black and white dog and cat behind counter




And I loved it! Unfortunately, the owners of the thrift store felt the exact same way so they weren’t willing to part with any of the photographs but they did tell me a local artist took them and that the images were processed locally. And that’s where the information stopped. Neither owner could remember the who or the where. But that’s what the internet is for. If my client decides she likes this idea, I’ll let my fingers do the…typing.




Note: Costco will enlarge a photo of your choice and print it on stretched canvas for a nominal charge so there’s always that option. (See below.)





Costco art




But back to that black and white photography.




This is a case of “You had to be there” because no matter how I tried to position my body or angle my lens, I could not capture the scale of these pet photos. This is frustrating because it’s their overblown–well beyond life-size–largesse that took them from ordinary pet portraits to something so fun it verged on pop art.





Black and white pug





Later the same day, we ate at a Thai food restaurant that featured this large design on one wall.





Bottles on wall




I think this ideas has some major potential. I’m not saying it’s perfect–far from. The scale of the fake flowers is off and the faux flora is beyond dreadful and someone should tell them to put the Christmas balls away in May–and possibly until the end of time. But, what if, for example, they used some realistic looking faux succulents at the top? I think whoever created this brilliantly devised an inexpensive way to give a large wall some major impact and I’m filing this idea under, “Maybe–with some tweaking.”





Don’t worry, I’m not even close to considering painting large bottles on my client’s wall. Or incorporating a Cat-zilla sized image as shown below. But notice how the scale is what takes this image from cute to imposing. For better or worse, in this example.






Cat-zilla muralAce Hotel, Portland




If my client does decide to go in this direction, I’m proposing a scale similar to this…





Large dog photo green wallModern Dining Room by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Jennifer Kesteloot Image via Houzz





Minus the lime green. I prefer a white wall as a backdrop for art.






Large cat muralContemporary Home Office by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Duane Kaschak, ID Image via Houzz




Definitely not purple. 🙂



How about you? Are you willing to call out, “Say Tuna!” or “Say beef bone!” to get Whiskers or Fido to pose for a larger-than-life-sized portrait? If so, do share the results!




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