Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here’s to a Fabulous 2010!

My friend Mica, of Business Bombshell recently sent me a fun survey about 2010 and I thought it would be fun to share it with you. I have changed some of the questions so that the survey is better suited for a design blog like LDV. It is a less formal version of a resolutions list.
In the past, I have made to-do lists for each year, which have actually yielded a pretty good success rate for me. However, this year, I have been racking my brain for resolutions for 2010 and haven’t come up with anything monumental. I think the goals and aspirations in this survey are probably about as close as I’ll get to making full-blown resolutions this year. I hope you’ll take the time to share your answers some of these questions! Happy New Year!
resolutions Image via Tobi Fairley
1. Design Trend to Embrace in 2010: I’d like to incorporate more rustic and antique pieces into my home. I love the new Belgian-inspired pieces that Restoration Hardware debuted in 2009. I don’t think it would be very “me” to decorate entirely this way, but I think it would be nice to incorporate some rustic, neutral pieces into a more eclectic look a la Sally Wheat.
wheat new Image via Cote de Texas

I would love to have Restoration Hardware’s swoon-worthy Brickmaker’s Table in my living room!

2. NEW Style Icon I love Olivia Palermo's style, though any interpretation of mine would be on a much more modest budget than hers! I would also prefer to purchase more classic pieces as opposed to trendy ones and mix up my accessories.
3. 2010 Signature Look: I suppose it will continue to be mostly casual as that is what my job and lifestyle dictate. I don't think my overall look will really change from this year into next.
I really like Reese Witherspoon’s approach to casual elegance. I tend to favor a more classic look, especially when dressing up. I like feminine details, like the ruffles on Reese’s blouse…
but I usually fancy jeans and a casual top paired with cute accessories on most days. Needless to say, I don’t have throngs of paparazzi surrounding me everyday!

4. NEW Favorite Pair of Shoes: I am craving a good pair of flat, black boots, maybe with some nice hardware.

I like these boots from J.Crew, but I would prefer some with hardware. Let me know if you have any recommendations for a nice pair under $200!

5. 2010 Hair Style Preference: I doubt that I will change the way I wear my hair in 2010. I will most likely keep it the same...long and straight. I might try the Olivia Palermo / Kardashian (don't care for them, but they have such gorgeous hair!) waves sometime, but I think it would look best with my bangs pinned. I debated if I should grow out my bangs, but I think I will keep them since my hair looks more "done" with them.
olivia palermo hair
6. NEW Décor Color to Try in 2010: Pantone officially declared turquoise as the color of 2010. It happens to be one of my favorites, so I am excited about it. I still have a big crush on peacock blue and Hermes Orange, which I may try to infuse into my décor a bit more.

7. 2010 Design Inspiration: Rustic elegance inspired by European country houses and charming California Spanish architecture. This may have a little to do with the fact that I just saw It’s Complicated and fell in love with Meryl’s house in the movie. Plus, I visited my friend, Jeni in October in Northern California. Her home is gorgeous and she and her family are the embodiment of laid-back, California elegance.
Image via Cote de Texas

8. NEW Personal Goal: I plan to continue to work diligently on La Dolce Vita. I hope to find the continual inspiration to write refreshing posts with quality content to keep my readers engaged on a daily basis. A part of me would like to write a novel, but we’ll see if that happens!
paris_elle_decorImage Credit: ELLE DECOR
9. 2010 Milestones: July 1st will mark our fifth wedding anniversary! We plan to celebrate with another big trip to Europe. We are currently trying to figure out where we want to go and it seems the Andalucía region of Spain is in the lead. We also plan to start trying for a baby after our anniversary!
baby legs you are my fave
10. 2010 Aspirations To be the best wife, mom to Tate (and hopefully to a baby), daughter, sister, friend, tutor, and blogger that I can be.

Thank you so much for your continued support of La Dolce Vita. 2009 was a very exciting year for the blog, as well as for me personally. La Dolce Vita has definitely grown in both readership and quality of content over the past year and I have you to thank for both inspiring and motivating me. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see more or less of on the blog in the coming year. I hope that 2010 has great things in store for everyone!
“May the best of the past be the worst of the future.” – Irish Blessing

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ryan Brown’s “Flip-Out-worthy” Pad

<i>By David A. Keeps</i>
Ryan Brown’s design sensibility has appealed to me since the first season of Flipping Out. His aesthetic mixes laidback California elegance with Los Angeles Regency and Asian influences. His chic projects usually feature a mix of styles, which I love. The home Ryan shares with his partner, Dale and daughter, Chloe was featured in the Los Angeles Times a few months ago and was recently named one of their top 10 stories of the year.
The living room is furnished in a sophisticated mix of vintage and contemporary pieces: A white-lacquered Art Deco side table sits next to a minimalist Italian sofa. A wooden-topped factory stool flanks a Danish armchair covered in a bold floral. Matching high-backed chairs sit across from an embossed leather ottoman on casters. Above it is Jonathan Adler's three-tier Ventana chandelier. On the small wall to the right of the bay window, another Brown touch: wooden paddles from European bakeries hung as art.
Ryan’s living room features Kelly Wearstler Trellis drapes, Jonathan Adler’s Ventana Chandelier, and a pair of high back chairs.
The opposite view: Daughter Chloe crosses the living room, with the elevated dining area in the background. Note how the crown molding at the ceiling juts out at the window and serves as curtain valances. "Molding adds instant warmth and character to a room," says Brown, who also connected baseboards and chair rails to vertical trim pieces, creating the appearance of paneled walls. "You can get it at a hardware store and just nail it up. It doesn't need to be real wood since it's going to be painted." Although Brown splurged on high-priced designer fabrics by Lulu DK and Kelly Wearstler elsewhere in the house, when it came to larger jobs such as curtains and Roman shades, he went to the Fashion District in downtown L.A. and shopped discount stores.
Ryan often uses rich neutral colors. I love the elegant warmth in this room. Little Chloe is certainly the cutest thing in the room!
On a vintage bar cart from <a href=""> Lawson-Fenning</a> in Los Angeles, Brown creates a display that mixes a Buddha head, a branch of coral and two oversized lacquer candlesticks from West Elm that frame what appears to be a glass mosaic tile work. It's actually a painting by <a href=""> artist Brian Wills</a>. The walls are painted with Sherwin Williams' Gauntlet Gray.
I love these West Elm Candlesticks! The coral adds nice texture, as well.
In the dining room, Brown covered the ceiling in bead board, which makes the space feel intimate yet casual, he says. The horizontal lines also echo the wall of cabinetry, which Brown created from three matching Chinese pieces, an eye-catching alternative to a built-in unit. He designed the table, which can seat 12. It's built on a base of reclaimed Douglas fir with a distressed walnut top by Ian Ferguson of [<a href="">Dig It Furniture</a> in Venice. "I always tell him to beat up table tops so I don't have to worry about them," Brown says. Though they look like antiques, the dining chairs are a cheat, Brown admits. "I was running out of budget so I got them from <a href=""> Anthropologie</a> and recovered the seats."
The dining room features an amazing Sputnik chandelier and beautiful, rich cabinetry.
The Sputnik lamp hanging over the dining table was purchased at <a href=""> Downtown</a> in Los Angeles. "There's a bulb missing and people always notice," the designer says. "But I think that's part of its charm."
The family's chocolate Lab, Jordan, cruises through the kitchen. Brown designed a fretwork pattern for cupboard doors, giving the room the Chinese Chippendale look associated with Hollywood Regency style. The work also was done by <a href="">Dig It Furniture</a> in Venice. Note the top portion of the walls, which are covered in bead board running horizontally, coordinating with the marble subway tiles above the countertop.
I must say that my favorite rooms that Ryan designs are always his kitchens! I love the open shelving and beautiful finishes. Notice the fretwork on the cabinets.
A banquette style sofa from <a href="">Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams</a> in a kid-friendly floral print anchors the space adjoining the kitchen. Monchamp says the home nicely balances formal spaces with family areas. "We couldn't do anything too precious," he says. "We are not 'No, don't touch that' people."
Brown's improvements included new hardwood floor, doors and windows, which brighten the master bedroom upstairs. And the mix of décor? "The world is an art gallery," Brown says. "You can learn something new at every turn."
The Zen-Like Master Bedroom
The master bath gets the glam spa treatment with a <a href="">Piedmont skirted tub</a> purchased at <a href="">Living Square</a> in Los Angeles. Hexagonal Mist limestone floor tiles are from <a href="">Ann Sacks</a>. The chandelier, which Brown repainted white, was 60 bucks. "A lot of the lamps in the house cost under a hundred dollars at flea markets and garage sales," Brown says.
This is such a great spot for a tub!
In the stairwell, he hung the 30-bulb Meurice chandelier, a Jonathan Adler design that can be found <a href=""> online</a> for  $750.
A Fabulous Jonathan Adler Chandelier Hangs in the Stairwell
Chloe plays chef in her bright and cheery room, furnished from catalog resources such as <a href="">Pottery Barn Kids</a>. Brown and Monchamp wanted a beautiful house that was still kid-friendly. The living room sofa may be B&B Italia, but that doesn’t mean Chloe and her playmates are impressed. "They'll take every cushion and pillow off and throw them on the floor, then they'll jump on them," Brown says, nonplussed.
Miss Chloe’s room is cute and sassy.
The yard was relandscaped to include a mosaic tile pool, an organic vegetable garden and a lawn with a concrete paver path from <a href=""> Arto Brick</a> in Gardena. With extensive changes inside and out, the tab for renovations came to about $700,000. "I did it as inexpensively as possible to use the materials I wanted," Brown says, adding that without his industry sources the cost would have run $1 million.
So relaxing! I wish I were hanging out in this beautiful backyard today instead of taking harbor from this cold, rainy day.
Under a wood-framed arbor, Brown created an outdoor dining area with a 13.5-foot-long table and four teak benches for seating. A zinc planter and an aged metal votive holder add a touch of French country charm.
I adore the items Ryan chose for the outdoor dining area. The long, farmhouse style table, zinc planter, and candleholder look fantastic and add a bit of French charm.

Image Credit: The Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

10 Things I Can’t Live Without: Caitlin Creer

Caitlin Creer is a doll. Her personal blog was one of the first I read before becoming a blogger myself. She was a friend of a friend and I was always drawn to the fabulous do-it-yourself projects she completed in the apartment that she and her husband shared.
Fast forward a couple of years and Caitlin has left New York, has a beautiful son named Winston, and an interior design business that is accompanied by her wonderful design blog. Caitlin’s preppy design sensibility is sort of Kate Spade-meets-J.Crew at the most incredible vintage furnishings store you can imagine. The girl has quite an eye! She is always finding the most amazing thrift store pieces and turning them into something beautiful with a fresh coat of paint and a fun fabric. Aside from her fab taste, the thing that I find most appealing to Caitlin is how genuine she is. Unpretentious, sweet, and super talented, she is the type of girl you’d want to be friends with. Thanks for sharing your “10 Things” list with us, Caitlin!
  1. My family and friends: I have been so lucky in my life to have wonderful people by my side. In every new stage of life I seem to be fortunate enough to collect amazing friends that enrich my life so much, and my blog friends are no exception. I'm also lucky enough to have a big family who is so wonderful and supportive and gives me so many reasons to be thankful.

Kelly Wearstler

2. Children, specifically my son Winston: There is nothing quite like the imagination and discovery of a child. I think having children around keeps you young at heart and creative. My son is constantly inspiring me to look at things in new ways and experience the joy in each moment. He inspires my creativity as much as any design magazine or beautiful room.
3. The Internet and my trusty Mac: My business pretty much revolves around my computer and the Internet. Whether it's researching ideas for a client, do invoices, or reading some of my favorite blogs like La Dolce Vita, I spend a lot of time with my lap top. I also do a lot of e-decorating so I'm always working on design plans and sourcing pieces on the Internet.

Erinn Valencich

Carla Lane

Anne Coyle
4. Designers/magazines/blogs: I love being part of this amazing online community of bloggers, designers, and of course wonderful readers. I am so inspired by what so many out there are doing in their every day lives. It helps keep me going when I feel overwhelmed. I just got a handful of new design books for Christmas that I have literally spent hours just pouring through. The more inspiration I have around, the better my work is and the more creatively I'm able to approach projects. Some of my favorite designers right now include Anne Coyle, Carla Lane, and Erinn Valencich.
David Jimenez

Ruthie Sommers
5. Vintage accessories/furniture: I think every room should have a little bit of vintage, just to keep it grounded. I love shopping for one of a kind pieces and accessories. Believe it or not, Salt Lake City where I live has quite a few wonderful vintage/consignment stores where I often find wonderful pieces and it is a mecca for thrift store finds. Luckily my husband shares this hobby so we often make it a family affair on weekends. There is nothing like bringing new life to an old cast off piece of furniture and I love the sense of history that vintage pieces can add to a space. David Jimenez and Ruthie Sommers are masters of achieving just the right mix in this area. I literally study their rooms to absorb all the little details.

all images above by CC Interiors
6. Fun Fabrics: I don't think I've been doing this long enough to have a signature look, but I will say that in almost every project I look to incorporate fabulous fabrics. Keep in mind that fabulous doesn't have to mean expensive. I love using vibrant and colorful patterns to inject personality in to my rooms. When I'm working on a budget I always use premier prints as a go to. You can often find really great fabric options or throw pillows on etsy as well.
7. New York City: I lived in New York for four years (twice, two year stints with a break in between) and I just moved back to Utah a year ago. I miss the city every day, and I have to say that when it comes to learning and defining style, New York City is the best classroom. I've been working on a shopping guide to NYC for budget decorating sources and it should be done and debut on my blog some time this year. Every time I go to New York it feels like home. There is nothing quite like the wealth of interesting shops and showrooms that New York has to offer. Especially when you are seeking inspiration. I kind of grew up in New York since I moved there the first time as a college freshman at NYU. It will always be a big part of my identity.
8. My Collections: I've moved 7 times in the past 5 years. This has made me really good at 2 things, packing and learning how to efficiently set up a home and help my life and furniture translate from one space to another. One thing that really helps me feel at home wherever I am are my collections, which I have way too many of. I collect among other things, vintage children's books, milk glass, ginger jars. I love the impact a collection can have when it is artfully displayed.
9. Storage Boxes and Bins: I think I learned the importance of being organized from living in small New York City apartments. I have to confess that I have a lot of clutter but if you set up your house properly, no one ever has to know. I have little bowls, baskets, and boxes in and on almost every piece of furniture in my home. Among all the storage boxes I have, my vintage locker baskets, storage ottomans, and ikea metal bins have to be among my favorites.
Thomas Smythe from House & Home 10. A good down pillow: I am a busy girl so by the end of the day I am totally spent. I could sleep 12 hours a night if my schedule permitted, which it definitely doesn't and I'm usually lucky to get 7 hours. I sleep with 3 fluffy pillows every night and it makes all the difference to me. I often bring a pillow with me when I travel just so I know I'll be covered. It is so worth it to splurge on down bedding, it's like sleeping in a cloud.

Monday, December 28, 2009

This Week’s Quote

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday filled with laughter, family fun, and good food. How about a little positive thinking as we wrap up 2009 this week?
emerson opportunities

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

CHRISTMAS  2009 058
{My Little Christmas Cockapoo, Tate, 9 months}
I am officially signing off for the next couple of days in order to get everything ready for tomorrow’s Christmas dinner. 2009 has been a very good year for La Dolce Vita. Thank you for your continued support!
May the Christmas Season fill your home with joy, your heart with love, and your life with laughter. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Christmas Card 09 {Our 2009 Christmas Card}
I’ll see you Monday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Get Carried Away Again

Entertainment Tonight premiered the official trailer for the Sex and the City sequel last night and had me squealing with delight! Here it is in case you missed it:

Thanks to everyone who has voted for La Dolce Vita for Apartment Therapy’s 2009 Homies Awards. The competition is fierce, so your votes are much appreciated!
To vote for La Dolce Vita, click here.

Hey, Homies!

It’s time for Apartment Therapy’s Homies 2009! A ton of amazing blogs are nominated, but if you are so inclined, I would love for you to nominate La Dolce Vita.
flowers debby treloar
Merci Beaucoup!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

10 Things I Can’t Live Without: Pure Style Home

Today, the wonderful and super-talented, Lauren of Pure Style Home shares her “10 Things” list with us. I am so happy that she was able to find the time to put this list together for us. Not only is she a busy interior designer, she is also a wife and mom to a toddler and a baby who will be here any minute! Lauren’s list is sweet and warm, just like she is.

1. My business: I just love having the creative outlet of my own interior design business. It's so satisfying to help people become happy with & take pride in their homes.

2. My Friends--> There's not much better to me than a night with friends that ends in a dance party. (and they usually do) Singing into pretend microphones & using the sofa for a stage are a must! (2 of my best friends with me on right, below)
3. A yard: I love being outside and I love having a big private back yard. We just recently moved and I think playing in the backyard with my family is the best thing about our new house.
4. The Seasons: I get excited about each & every season change. I love all of the news smells in the air and I'm crazy about re-accessorizing my home seasonally. (Below, we painted our front door orange this past Halloween.)

5. Good food: I love eating &/or making a great meal. I just get so excited when a good one's coming!!
6. Magazines & Blogs: I just can't get enough of photos & articles & musings on pretty spaces!!! Every day there's something new to look at & being relatively new to blog world, I'm just so amazed at how many talented, kind & generous people there are out there!! I've met a slew of great friends & it's a place I really feel comfortable being a "design junky"- I hate the thought of boring my friends & family with design mumbo jumbo- and it's been so awesome to connect with people like me!

7. My house: I love coming home. It's our haven & I thank God for it every day. It was a tough run for us to get here & we treasure it. Sometimes my husband & I still just stop what we're doing & look at each other & say "I can't believe it's ours." We work on our house all the time & love making it special.

8. Greenery: I love to have something alive in almost every room of the house if possible and nothing's prettier to me than a simple arrangement: Ferns, topiaries or even weeds from my yard will do. ( I HAD to use this picture of them in my set of lab beakers because I overuse them in photos to the point of ridiculousness!! :)

9. Feelings of" Excitement/ Adventure/ Hope- I love feeling like there are good things to come. At home, my family & I try really hard to enjoy every day & take pleasure in the small things, but I also love feeling the anticipation of something new & exciting coming our way... that we have our whole lives ahead of us & we're going to get to do so much. Experiencing everything again- from holidays to the beach to the snow to pony rides- with our son is just so much fun! I love getting excited (and often am, hence the use of way too many exclamation posts in my writing ;) and it can be about something big or small... but it always makes me happy.
10. My family: They're my life. I couldn't do any of it without them. (with one more on the way any day now...)

Thanks so much to Paloma for inviting me to be a part of this!!! It was so much fun & really eye-opening my priorities & passions. Happy holidays!!