March 24, 2010


     I love it when I open my mailbox to discover the most recent issue of Architural Digest tucked inside, just waiting for me.  Despite wanting to sit down immediately and dive right into it, I refrain from doing so because I know it will be all the more enjoyable when I can take my time and work my way from front to back while enjoying my morning coffee or even better, an evening glass of wine.  The one exception to this is when it's the "Before and After" issue - I almost always end up opening that issue to take a quick peak at the magic acts  performed by various designers.
     So, today I thought I'd share with you some before and after photos from a small project completed by LPC Designs, which was a home office remodel. 
When our client hired us for this remodel
she was working on completing her PhD
in clinical psychology. Her desire was for
a space that would be both funtional and
comfortable, representative of her personality
and could eventually be utilized as an office for
meeting with patients.
Our challenge was to provide ample storage for
a large book collection and filing system, conceal
the computer equipment to maintain a clean look
and eliminate the many exposed wires. We needed
to bring light into a very dark space and provide
access for visiting patients.

After gutting the entire space, the exterior wall was opened and the existing windows were replaced with a pair of French doors and casement windows. This allows natural light to fill the space, provides access for patients and a view to a beautiful rose garden.

     Custom designed bookcases, painted in an antiqued soft yellow, were added to store computer equipment, books, files, etc



The pallet of yellow, green, off white and burned orange work to enhance the lighting, as well as create a continuous flow from the inside to the outside.

March 18, 2010


Spring has sprung,

the grass is ris,

I wonder where the flowers is.

     Spring may not officially begin until this Saturday, but I can definitely see, feel and hear it all around me right now. We have been having the most gorgeous weather this past week and with all of the winter rain we received in Southern California, everything is so green.

The birds are definitely enjoying themselves; they’ve been singing and chirping and chasing after each other so much that I find myself drawn to the windows just to watch and vicariously take in their joy. And, despite the lack of attention my courtyard flower containers have received of late (since I refused to venture out into the cold this winter to tend to them), some of my plants are full of buds and actually have flowers growing! Isn’t Mother Nature wonderful?
     Yes, Mother Nature may be wonderful, but she hasn’t done all of my work for me – there is still plenty to do. This week-end would be the ideal time to begin revamping both my courtyard and back patio. 
     With that in mind, I’d like to take you on a mini tour of some of my favorite shops for finding not only beautiful and unique plants for both indoors and out, but also some fabulous containers, accessories, patio furniture, etc. I always leave these places feeling totally inspired.
     First stop, Roger's Gardens of Newport Beach. Let me warn you, this place is huge - 7 acres huge.  When you enter it for the first time it will take your breath away; sometimes it's difficult to focus because there is so much to take in.  Just make sure that you've set aside enough time to visit all of the different garden rooms and walk the full grounds - it's spectacular!
     If you dont' live near enough to physically visit Roger's Gardens, I suggest you visit them online.  You can't purchase online, but it's still a great source of inspiration and definitely worth your time perusing.

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

Spring is nature's way
of saying, "Let's party!"
   Robin Williams

"The earth laughs in flowers." e. e. cummings

Gardening requires lots of water -- most of it in the form of perspiration.
                 Lou Erickson

     Next stop, Inner Gardens. They have three different locations in Los Angeles, all with wonderful items.  They are not nearly as large as Rogers Gardens, but still have plenty with which to entice you and get those gardening juices flowing.

"I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face. "
  Langston Hughes

Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.
                   Elizabeth Murray

             All through the long winter, I dream of my garden.
            On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into
            the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.
                                                       Helen Hayes

Our third and final  stop is Rolling Greens Nursery.  They have two California locations, Culver City and Los Angeles, but Culver City is the only location that is a true nursery.  Their  L.A location is primarily home and garden accessory items mixed in with some great items for the bed, bath and kitchen.  
                 "Earth laughs in flower."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Kiss of the sun for pardon. Song of the birds for mirth. You're closer to God's heart in a garden than any place else on earth." --
                        Dorothy Frances Gurney

That concludes our tour for today . . . you may exit towards the left.

March 17, 2010


     In honor of St. Patrick's Day it seems only appropriate that I share with you some beautiful interiors where green is the color of the day. I think I'd prefer to drink up the beauty of these rooms and take a pass on the green beer!

From The Private House by Rose Tarlow

Interior design by Jane J. Marsden Antiques & Interiors

From Interior Color by Design by Jonathan Poore

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Interior design by Charles Faudree

Interior design by Dan Carithers

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Interior design by Rose Tarlow

March 16, 2010


     As a young child one of my favorite places to hang out was on the steps that led to the 2nd floor of the old New England home I grew up in. That was where I’d sit to read a book, or do my homework or just look out of the landing's colored glass window and dream of what life had in store for me. It was also where my older sister would create a make-believe schoolroom where I and many of our neighborhood friends would sit, one behind the other, and practice our additions or subtractions, or take in whatever she was teaching that particular day; we thought "playing school" was loads of fun.  I know it probably sounds a bit odd, but a lot of fond childhood memories have their roots in that staircase.
     So it’s not surprising that when I became an adult and was looking to purchase my first house, I naturally gravitated towards those with two stories. How could it ever be a home without a set of stairs? How could I deprive my children of a staircase?
     It’s also not surprising that as an interior designer I place a great amount of importance on the staircase and all of its components. Often a staircase is the focal point in a house and it shouldn’t be treated as simply the way to get from one floor to the next. I think you’ll see from the following photos that I’m not alone in my way of thinking.
Design by Thomas Pheasant

       From The Private House by Rose Tarlow

Source: Unknown

Courtesy of Veranda
Ballustrade by Peter Pennoyer

Design by Lorna Perez-Caster - LPC Designs

March 13, 2010


  I just finished watching Sex and The City: The Movie for the umpteenth time and every time Carrie walks into her newly remodeled closet my heart begins to race. I just LOVE that closet!
     Now, I really don’t need a closet quite this large, but it’s more than just the size that makes this a closet to die for – it's the great lighting throughout the entire closet (so you can actually see if those slacks you're about to put on are black or navy), the glass doors (so you don’t end up putting on a jacket you haven’t worn for a year, only to find that the shoulders are embedded in dust), the drawers (wouldn't it be nice to have your underwear so handy?) and the use of hard surface flooring instead of the typical carpeting (I guess this is just a personal preference).
     The one feature of Carrie’s closet that I’m not crazy about is the style of the shoe rack. I don’t know about you, but I find that shoes tend to slip off from this type of shoe rack. I’d opt for shelving instead.
Tim Clarke Interior Design
     Carrie's closet is missing a couple of important features -  like seating and a full length mirror -  but those are easily remedied.
 Below are a few more inspirational closets.

Closet design by architect Edward R. Niles

I added the next photo just for the fun of it.  It's a little outrageous, but so is its owner. Only Elton John would have a need for a closet like this. 

  Courtesy of Architectural Digest
Interior design by Monique Gibson.

     Obviously all of these closets were a bit pricey to have designed and built.  I too have designed custom closets as part of major home remodels and it was not inexpensive for my clients.  But they did end up with very nice closets!
     Let's face it, not all of us have the checkbooks of  Mr. Big or Elton John. For those individuals who don’t have that type of a budget, it often makes more sense to hire a closet design company such as Closets by Design or  Closet World.  I'm not suggesting that working with a closet design company will be cheap, but it will definitely be worth the investment.

March 8, 2010


     OK, so maybe I'm a bit spoiled living in what is normally sunny San Diego, but I am so over this cold, wet and windy weather that Mother Nature has inflicted upon Southern California all winter.  Yes, I know we are in dire need of rain, but I could sure use a few warm and sunny days interspersed here and there - I'm desperate to get outside and plant my spring flowers!  So, I've been thinking, since the warmth of spring appears to be delayed for a few more weeks, why not find ways to kick it into gear a little early within our indoor environments.
     On a recent trip to Portland, Maine (where the temperatures were in the low 30's) I happened upon a wonderful furnishings store called Company C.  Just stepping through their door made me feel like spring had arrived and I was standing in the middle of an exquisite flower garden at the peak of the season.  They have the most wonderful collections of rugs, furniture, bedding, accessories and fabrics in vivid colors guaranteed to warm you up and make you smile.  With their wide selection it would be easy to plant a few blooms throughout your home, all without even getting your hands dirty.

Above: Company C bedding, pillows and area rug.  Below: Company C 'April Blooms' area rug.

Above: Company C  'Rockport' ottoman and assorted pillows
          The bad news is that they only have retail stores in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  But the good news is they have a great online store at  Happy gardening!