Chapter 1: Book-Filled Spaces with Volumes of Style

For someone who blogs on the subject of Slow Luxe Living, the pace around here has been anything but slow. So… sincere apologies for the blog hiatus. I assure you I was not snoozing, although that certainly sounds appealing. I’ve been operating at warp speed the past few months.

One of the things I have been doing is working on the La Jolla view project I mentioned about a month ago. Last I posted on this project, we were in schematic design phase. Well, now we are getting close to submitting plans. One of the must-haves on this project was room for lots and lots of books.

I love that!

Books add warmth to a home–and I don’t think you can say that about any electronic reader, can you? Here’s how I see it: Books tell you a story and then they tell your story.

If you’ll allow me a brief rant, I’m just not crazy about the current trends to turn all your books spine side in on the shelf, to color coordinate books or to buy vintage books simply to merchandise a shelf. I’m simply not a fan of any design trend that feels like it’s trying too hard.  To me, books aren’t props or accessories.  But, I won’t belabor this point…..

What’s your take on this?

Anyway, it’s always a privilege when I have the chance to work with clients who value books. And, in this case, we were inspired and challenged to create some very unique spaces for books.

One of these spaces is a “glass box” library that will sit off a main hallway–a bit like that wonderful library in the first image.

Another book-filled space will be the dining room. Finding a spot for this was a challenge because of the traffic pattern and the amazing ocean views. We came up with something like the floating bookshelves in the bottom image by McAlpine Booth Ferrier. We’ll have one of these between the kitchen and dining room, with room for an existing furniture piece on the kitchen side and bookshelves on the dining side.

So tell me, have you carved out any novel spots for books in your home?  And have you read any good books this summer?  Do share!

All images via Pinterest

My Mid-Week Made-In-America Slow Luxe Design Series: Galbraith & Paul

Yesterday, my very stylish friend and nieghbor, Sue, told me she was ready for a refreshing redo in her wonderful, breezy ocean view La Jolla home.  Immediately, the subtle block printed fabrics of Galbraith & Paul sprang to mind.  They are a perfect combination of elegant handmade artistry, fresh, yet sophisticated, colors and intricate patterns that seems perfectly suited to my friend and her amazing home.  And guess what?  Galbraith & Paul is perfect for today’s Mid-Week Made-In-America Series!

Galbraith & Paul was founded in Philadelphia in 1986 by Liz Galbraith & Ephraim Paul as a hand papermaking studio specializing in lighting.  Now, this studio workshop specializes in hand block printed textiles, handmade rugs, and studio printed wallpaper available to the trade. The wall covering is a newer addition and it is designed by Liz Galbraith.  (I am definitely seeing my friend, Sue’s, powder room in one of these gorgeous papers.)

By the way, these talented artists also make a line of block printed pillows and lighting exclusively for Room & Board.

Artisans in the Galbraith & Paul Studio work together to create fabrics with a subtle and elegant spirit.  In true studio workshop tradition, designs evolve in original and unexpected ways.  In my mind, this is what truly sets the design experience of using a handcrafted product apart from a machine made product.  Galbraith & Paul studio members care about the process of making as much as the product itself–and their dedication to their craft truly shines through.

What I love about Galbraith & Paul are the wonderful tiny imperfections in the hand-blocked surface. These are the telltale signs of craft.  If you take a look at the image of the G & P artist creating this Lotus pattern below, you can see what that is about.  Aaaah, Galbraith & Paul….you’re not perfect, but you’re perfect for me. Wasn’t that a Grace Jones song back in the ’80s?

All images via Galbraith & Paul.

Driven to Abstraction with Pinterest

Dear Pinterest,

Between you and Mother Nature, I am having a hard time staying focused.  And I have a lot of work to do.

Take all these beautiful pictures I’ve found, thanks to you.  Yes, I just keep obsessively pinning them to my Color board.  As soon as I finish posting, I am going to call my cousin, who is a psychiatrist, and ask her if there is an Obsessive Compulsive Pinterest Disorder in the DSM III.

After I stop pinning.

Hey, these are nice….

You can be sure I’m never going to make a purse out of a pillowcase in three easy steps from somebody’s Pinterest board. I use my boards to gather up thought bubbles for projects. I use them to see things from other people’s points of view. I use them to “own” things I never will. I use them to go places I have never gone and see things I’ve never seen.

When I’m not distracted by Pinterest, you might find me in my garden this time of year.  The pomegranate in the photo “grows” there, right outside my office.  It is a sculpture by the wonderful team of Little and Lewis, a very special birthday gift from my husband.  It has a fantastic Slow Luxe story behind it, which I will gladly share with you soon.  It involves wild berries, the inspiring garden gallery of my friends David and George, Bainbridge Island’s best ice cream and ultimately a trip through the Washington wine country with a truck full of cement Gunnera leaves and my amazing giant pomegranate.  But, I digress…..

What do you pin and why do you pin it? Am I the only one with OCPD?!  What wonderful colorful abstract distractions are growing in your garden?

Have a wonderful weekend!

All images above via Pinterest.

Inheritability is Sustainability

It’s Earth Day, which means it’s a day to think about how our choices affect this big beautiful place we call home: our planet.

And for me, that ultimately comes down to Slow Luxe Design. Whether I’m designing for myself or for clients, I think the epitome of sustainability is inheritability.

I believe that living with fewer items of higher quality–things that are timeless and enduring–now, that is truly green design. When you have something that is worthy of passing down to a future generation–something that was carefully chosen, handcrafted, and carries a story with it–I say that’s true sustainability. I also happen to think that it’s a great luxury.

Happy Earth Day!