5 Favorite Things: West Coast Edition

Last month, one of my oldest friends, Kelly and I headed west and got our tan on literally from Malibu to Laguna Beach.  Somewhere between sunbathing and trips to The Coffee Bean, I managed to squeeze in stops to a couple "design destinations".  Thanks to my iPhone and my discovery of Instagram that lead to an addiction over that weekend, I captured some fabulous design, inspiration, and some simple things I love that I have recapped in this blog I am titling, 5 Favorite Things: West Coast Edition.

Kelly, only looking sweet and innocent here.  I'm looking a bit devilish from the iPhone camera flash.  Note to self..take a Photoshop class. 
1. Design Destination: The Viceroy Hotel, Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
Since I blog constantly about designer, Kelly Wearstler and her fearless design style, I dragged Kelly on our first night to The Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica for cocktails. Of course the hotel is ultra glam with white patent leather studded wing chair style chaise lounges and a black and mirror coffered ceiling. However, I particularly loved the Ladies Room sink and faucet. The counter and sink basin were made entirely of slab carrara marble and the basin sort of extended beyond the wall to the adjoining Mens Room. Of course, as Kelly and the other women were putting on lipstick, I was studying the fabrication of the marble sink. I know, get a life.
The Viceroy Hotel Lobby, Designer, Kelly Wearstler

The Ladies Room at The Viceroy Hotel
Striking a pose at The Viceroy...in a vintage 70's Instagram style.  Thank you to my client Julie for my fab snakeskin bag. ; )
2. Design Destination: Minotti on Beverly Boulevard
Next to Holly Hunt, the Minotti style is probably my favorite modern design aesthetic.  Sleek modern sofas in solid and neutral leather, mohair or linen set against silk Tibetan rugs...love, love, love.  Edited but not sterile, this sexy modern design style perfectly blends masculine tailored design details with feminine glamour.  It's how I want to live..atleast at this moment. 
Kelly at Minotti on Beverly Boulevard

Kelly at Minotti on Beverly Boulevard

3. Inspiration: Street Style
First, I need a camera and a basic photography class because I really should capture what I see as potentially fantastic photographs in the course of my daily life.  I captured this iPhone shot of this young woman walking fast down the Street in Santa Monica while talking on her cell phone with the rollers still in her hair and carrying what appears to be an Hermes Birkin bag.  I guess if you are going to leave the house in your rollers, it is best to also wear your Birkin which kind of says, "Leave me alone.  I didn't have time to take out the rollers but atleast I have a Birkin, so screw.".  Just my interpretation.  Caption as you wish. 

This was another photo I captured on my iPhone walking down the street in Laguna Beach. 

4. Simple Things I love: White Orchids
White Orchids may be my favorite flower.  I favor tons of them in a bed of green moss on a round entry table.    I just think white orchids exude exotic elegance.  This image of a table of white orchids under the white tent at the Farmer's Market caught my eye.

 5. Simple Things I love: The Beach
I love the quote from author Isak Dinensen, "The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears or the sea.".   So true...so true.   
I'm definitely a coastal girl.  I love the beach, the sun and anything on the ocean.  I think I'm going to try out that stand up paddle boarding next month.   Kelly will probably not be joining me for that outing since she has some crazy fear of water.  I think she just watched Jaws too many times. ; )

Laguna Beach

Design Moods

I believe one of the goals of design is to capture a mood.  Although my current projects are varied from Modern to Glam, my mood in design now is decidedly modern and neutral with an edited and pure sense of beauty and luxury.  I'm drawn to the simplicity of UK designer, Kelly Hoppen's interiors, the chain link and sexy yet hard edge of the Litter SF jewelry, bold over scaled black and white portrait photography in interiors and beautiful simple black and gray body art and as always music.   

Cindy Crawford, Vogue Espana 2009 via

Designer, Kelly Hoppen

Designer, Kelly Hoppen
Designer, Kelly Hoppen

Litter SF via stylelist.com

Designer, Kelly Hoppen
Designer, Kelly Hoppen

Designer, Kelly Hoppen
Adam Levine Vogue Russia via

L.A. Design Recap

This past week was a whirlwind.  Boston to L.A. then back again.  I flew in Sunday afternoon to attend the Design Blogger's Conference at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel this week.  It was my first time back to L.A. since returning home to Boston eight years ago.  L.A. and I have a brief history in my design career.  Naive optimism and frankly, momentary insanity is what I experienced last time I was in L.A.  This time was no exception.  There is a great Sex and The City episode where the ladies head to L.A. that is especially hilarious.  Sunshine, green tea infusions and the "Brazilian" end up causing the typically hard edge and powerful New York girls to act like completely different women.  I'm always amused by the surreal quality of L.A.. Where else but L.A. would you run into Charro while putting on lipstick in the ladies room?  As always, even amongst the sunshine and ultra chic design, I find the amusement wears off, leaving me with a sense of the ever present all just on the surface quality that L.A. holds.  Possibly it was the ice cold puddle I ended up standing in wearing flip flops while waiting for my ride at Logan Wednesday night that snapped me back to reality.  Anyway, I'm back.
Sex and the City: Sex and Another City Episode

The Design Bloggers Conference had some great takeaways.  My iPhone is filled with notes and quotes and some behind the scenes celebrity dish from Martyn Lawrence Bullard.  Here are just a handful of my favorites.

1. "70's and 80's is the new black." says celebrity designer, Martyn Lawrence Bullard referring to what is on trend in decor.  I love the sleek onyx and chrome coffee table covered in fabulous collected luxe objects in Martyn's design of Elton John's Penthouse featured below.  The space has a 70's sexy Halston vibe. 

2. "Cher said, "I think I want to be the first wife of a Maharaja.".... Take that for a design direction." - Martyn Lawrence Bullard  From now on, I am going to encourage my clients to give me over the top design direction such as this.  How fabulous.  Martyn described that his celebrity clients as creative people use interior design to live out their fantasies.  Referring to working with Jimmy Choo founder, Tamara Mellon, Martyn also said that fashion people "want to live their brand.". 
Designer, Martyn Lawrence Bullard Cher's Home

3. "We are known for wallpapering the shit out of a room." - Jason Oliver Nixon of Madcap Cottage and Demystifying Design.  I think this is the coolest elevator pitch.  I could have listened to Jason speak all day.  He is super talented, adorable and entertaining.  I almost hit the floor when he gave out a prize to someone in the audience for wearing blue eyeshadow.  He and I could totally hang. 

4. "Today's peacock, tomorrow's feather duster."  Jason shared this quote, one of his mother's favorites with the group.  Isn't that the best?! ....and  he also shared, "It's better to be looked over than overlooked." - Mae West. I couldn't agree more.

Designer, Jason Oliver Nixon

4. "It's how we put together what we see that makes us unique."  - Bunny Williams  Ponder that.  This statement really blew me away.  Truly, it simply is our unique point of view that differentiates one designer from another.  It's fascinating to me that we all walk this same world and yet see things through our own unique lens.  I find this really beautiful and a great takeaway for designers, photographers, all creative types.

5. "My soul as a designer..." a term that Bunny Williams said that grabbed me.  Each of us, any creative person, artist or designer, can reflect and ask oneself, "What is my soul as a designer?".  She explained that her soul as a designer is to create home. She explained this in detail and it resonated with me.  This is really beautiful since design is about living, where we connect, love and our relationships with each other.  
Designer, Bunny Williams

Designer, Bunny Williams

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