Monday, May 16, 2011

INSPIRING INTERESTS: Design and Art Happenings & Events You Should Check Out

As Spring has sprung and Summer is just around the corner, we are all looking for great inspiring events to attend.  Here are some wonderful design and art events in California, and beyond in some cases, that you may not want to miss.  Some are ongoing and some begin this week, May 16, 2011.

San Francisco Decorator Showcase House @ 2950 Vallejo Street in San Francisco.  Runs until May 30, 2011.  "The San Francisco Decorator Showcase is widely considered to be the West Coast's premiere design showhouse event, renowned for featuring the work of the region's top interior and landscape designers."  Visit for more information.

Kips Bay Decorator Show House @ 163 E. 63rd Street in New York City.  Runs until May 26, 2011.  "Year after year, the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Decorator Show House consistently attracts renowned interior designers .  Each designer has the opportunity to transform a space according to his or her own vision and unbridled creatively.  The results are innovative, inspiring, luxurious designs that set trends and are remembered for years to come."  Visit for more information.

Rodarte: States of Matter @ Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles at The Pacific Design Center.  Runs until June 5, 2011.  The exhibit presents recent work in fashion and costume design by Kate and Laura Mulleavy or Rodarte.  Visit for more information.

Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories @ The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.  Runs until September 6, 2011.  "Comprising numerous formal portraits, photographs of her at home, clothing, domestic objects from her life with her longtime partner Alice B. Toklas, rare film footage, books, theater posters and more, the show explores what co-curator Wanda M. Corn calls "the complexity of Gertrude Stein as a personage.""  Visit for more information.

Balenciaga and Spain @ The De Young Museum in San Francisco.  Runs until July 4, 2011.  The exhibit "examines the profound and enduring influence of Spain on the work of haute couture master Cristóbal Balenciaga. The impact of Spanish culture, history, and traditions is explored through the recurring themes in Balenciaga’s oeuvre and organized in the exhibition in six sections: Spanish Art, Regional Dress, the Spanish Court, Religious Life and Ceremony, the Bullfight, and Dance."  Visit for more information.

Elizabeth Taylor in Iran: Photographs by Firooz Zahedi @ Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Runs until June 12, 2011.  "Though Zahedi was to photograph Taylor many times in the years following their Iran trip, none are as personal, candid, or creative as these unique images."  Visit for more information.

Supercars:  When Too Much Is Almost Enough @ The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.  Runs until October 16, 2011.  View a history of the supercar from beginning to today.  Visit for more information.

Art in the Streets @ Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles.  Runs until August 8, 2011.  "Art in the Streets is the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art.".  Visit for more information.

San Francisco International Arts Festival @ various locations throughout San Francisco.  Runs May 18 to June 5.  More than 40 performances presented by 23 arts organizations.  Visit for more information.

artMRKT @ The San Francisco Design Center Concourse Exhibition Center.  Runs May 19 to 22.  A selection of highly relevant and engaging art programs.  Visit for more information.

SF Fine Art Fair @ Fort Mason in San Francisco.  Runs May 19 to 22.  One of the top new fairs in America for museum quality post-war and contemporary art.  Visit for more information.

Marin Living: Home Tours @ various homes throughout Marin County.  May 21, 2011.  An exclusive opportunity to see some of Marin County's most cutting-edge residential projects from the inside out.  Visit for more information. 

Arroyo Terrace Walking Tours @ various homes in Pasadena.  May 21, June 18 & July 16, 2011.  Enjoy a guided walk around the historic Arroyo Terrace neighborhood, a National Register historic district that is home to 9 Greene & Greene houses as well as the works of other noted architects such as Myron Hunt, Edwin Bergstrom, Elmer Grey, and D. M. Renton. Among these are the personal residences of Myron Hunt and of Charles Greene, who added to his house over a number of years as his design ideas evolved. The tour will also visit to the elegant gates of Westmoreland Place.  Visit for more information.

The Steins Collection @ SF Museum of Modern Art.  May 21 to September 6, 2011.  American expatriates in bohemian Paris when the 20th century was young, the Steins — writer Gertrude, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael's wife, Sarah — were among the first to recognize the talents of avant-garde painters like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Through their friendship and patronage, they helped spark an artistic revolution.  Visit for more information.

The Caltech Architectural Tour Service @ California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.  May 26 & June 23, 2011.  The Caltech Architectural Tour Service (CATS),  a special service of the Caltech Women’s Club, is pleased to announce architectural tours of the campus.  Visit for more information.

Glass Show @ Public Glass in San Francisco.  Running May 28 to TBD.  Featuring the works of Anne Hughes, Eric White, Herb Dang, Kelly Burlingham, Linda Bassett, Rene Hendrix, Renee Henderson, Robin Humphreys, Sarah Cadwalleder and Terri Ow-Wing.  Visit for more information.

Modern Fever @ San Francisco Design Center Galleria, Suite 442.  May 31, 2011.  Jeff Greenwald, travel speaker, author, and performer will speak at Modern Fever on May 31st at 5:15 PM and you are invited! One Bay Area traveler described Jeff as “the best travel speaker she has ever heard, bar none.”  Visit for more information.

New Park Design in Los Angeles; Part 1 Exhibition @ WUHO in Los Angeles.  June 2 to July 8, 2011.   This exhibition will survey six major parks that are currently being designed, that are in construction, or have been completed recently.  Visit for more information.
Picasso: Masterpieces from the Museo National Picasso, Paris @ The De Young Museum in San Francisco.  Runs June 11 to October 9, 2011.  The de Young hosts an extraordinary exhibition of more than 100 masterpieces by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) from the permanent collection of Paris’s world-renowned Musée National Picasso. Visit for more information.

Know Your Architectural Styles Walking Tour @ various locations in New York City.  June 18, 2011.  Don't ever confuse Doric, Ionic and Corinthian again!  Visit New York's famed Financial District and have fun reviewing historic architectural style.  Visit for more information.

Dwell on Design @ The Los Angeles Convention Center.  June 24 to 26.  From home tours to exhibits to educational seminars for both design professionals and consumers, attend this event centered around modern design.  Visit for more information.

Whether you are in Northern California or Los Angeles, we've got you covered.  We hope that these events inspire you just as they will inspire us.

We'll be adding more and updating this list in the near future.  Stay tuned.

Friday, March 25, 2011

PRODUCT PICKS: Artemide Lighting Inc; Continuing Italy's History of Progressive Design

Culturally beginning back in the 9th Century BC and flourishing historically, militarily, architecturally and artistically in 5th Century BC with the rise of the Roman Empire, Italy has, throughout time, set high standards for the Western civilized world.  Today, traveling thoughout the country, one will see examples of eduring Italian craftsmanship, artistry and design innovation, in different medias, that span over 2,000 years of history including: 
  • The Roman Aqueducts of Segovia built in 312 BC. 
  • The Colosseum in Rome built in the First Century AD. 
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa completed in 1372. 
  • The painting entitled The Mona Lisa painted by renowned renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci circa 1519. 
  • St. Peter's Basilica completed in 1626 in Vatican City. 
  • The mix of Baroque and Italian Rococo interior design at the Palace of Caserta built completed in 1780.
  • In Florence one can visit the corporate office for luxury brand Gucci that was established in 1921. 
  • The corporate offices of Ferrari S.p.A., founded in 1929, located in Maranello.
The legacy does not stop there.  As part of the modern contribution to the history of Italian innovative design and quality craftsmanship is Artemide Lighting ( based in Pregnana Milanese, a suburb of Milan.  Since 1958, this award winning company has set the pace for modern lighting design and has grown into an international powerhouse with 16 subsidiaries and affiliated companies, 35 exclusive distributors and production centers in Italy, France, Germany, the USA, Hungary and the Czech Republic.  So innovative and important contributions to design, pieces have been included in permanent museum collections at Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Montreal, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Museum of Modern Art in New York and The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome.

Artemide's most iconic and famous designs are the Tizio table lamp designed by Richard Sapper in 1972 and the Tolomeo table lamp designed by Michele De Lucchi and Giancarlo Fassina in 1986 (both pictured below).  

 As time marches forward, so does Artemide.  The company continues to develop new pieces that are forward thinking in aesthetic design.  Like these new designs:

Cosmic Leaf Suspended Ceiling designed by Ross Lovegrove in chrome steel & light grey brushed aluminum.
Cadmo Floor Lamp designed by Karim Rashid in aluminum available in 3 different colors and wall fixture.

Egle Table Lamp designed by Michel Boucquillon.  Aluminum LED table lamp.

Soffione Wall/Ceiling Fixture designed by Michele De Lucchi in white handblown glass.

 As a leader in the lighting industry, Artemide directly addresses the concern about the environment by using technology.   Over the last 10 years, all industries throughout the world have made the protection of the planet a top priority with energy consumption one of the most discussed areas.  The most recent major development relates to an item that we come into contact everyday, the lightbuld.  In 2007 George W Bush's signed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which phases out the use of traditional, incandescent light bulbs between 40 watts and 150 watts over a two-year period.  California enacted this law on January 1, 2011.  The rest of the country will start this program in 2012 with many other countries following suit.  Artemide's response was almost immideate.  Within 2 and a half years, the company turned to LED technology as a new alternative to traditional bulbs.  New and existing lines, like the Tizio and Tolomeo collections, are designed and manufactured in both LED or standard incandscent versions.

For thousands of years, Italy has made great impressions on the material world by creating  amazing works of art, timeless and grand architecture and innovative goods all with a consistant level of craftsmanship.  Artemide Lighting continues this legacy in a truly progressive way.  So the next time you are in the market to purchase modern lighting, turn to Artemide Lighting because you can not go wrong with Italian design. 

Monday, February 21, 2011


For those who don't know, I love to cook.  Growing up, the men were usually the ones slaving away over a hot stove, grilling choice cuts of meat and whipping up delicious desserts.  It all started with my Grandpa Pete, my dad's father, who, after immigrating to the United States from the Philippines, was a cook in the army and a chef for Will Rogers.  I remember as a kid, excited to head to my grandparent's house for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I learned to love our native food but also appreciated a well cooked steak.  As time went on my father did much the same in our house.  We, including my mom, became spoiled when it came to meals.  But after watching two generations of men create memorable meals, I learned how to experiment with cooking.  Now I am not a chef my any means, but I seem to get alot of requests from friends and family for my recipes.
This is the first of many recipes I will be sharing.

This recipe will serve 2 to 4 people.

4    6.5 oz canned chopped clams separated from the juice.  Reserve juice*
2    lbs of freshly shucked clams
1    8 oz clam juice
3    Large russet potatoes cubed into 2" pieces
1/3 lbs baby carrots whole
4    large stalks of celery, cleaned and sliced into 1" pieces
1    8 oz can corn, drained
1    large garlic clove, minced
2    sprigs of fresh dill, minced
1    tablespoon of unsalted butter
2    tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1    small yellow onion, minced
1    tablespoon of all purpose flour
2    cups of whole milk AND
1    cup of heavy cream**
1    pinch of cayenne pepper OR dried red pepper flakes (optional)
      salt and pepper to taste

*Substitute canned clams with 2 lbs freshly shucked clams and increase the clam juice to 12 oz
**Substitute the whole milk and cream with 3 cups of 2% or 1% milk

  • Heat a large pot, nothing smaller than a 5 quart, over medium-high heat
  • Add the butter and olive oil.
  • Once the butter has melted and the two have combined, add in the onions and garlic.  Cook until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add in a pinch of both salt and pepper.
  • Add the potatoes and cook until they are almost soft.  Don't overcook them.
  • Add in the carrots and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add celery and cook until they become soft.
  • Slowly add in the flour, about half a teaspoon at a time.  Make sure to incorporate the flour with the rest of the ingredients and eliminating any chunks of lumps of flour. 
  • Add in the clams and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add about half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add in the reserved clam juice from the can and the additional 8 oz.  Bring to a simmer.
  • Add in the milk and heavy cream.  Bring to a full boil.
  • Add in a pinch each of salt, ground black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Stir.
  • Add in most of the minced dill.  Reserve some for garnish. 
  • Add in corn
  • Lower the burner to low heat and cover.
  • Slowly cook for 45 minutes to an hour.  Checking every 10 to 15 minutes.
  • The longer it sits the better so you can actually leave it on the stove longer.
  • Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the reserved dill.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

INTERIOR IDEAS. Penny Pinching is a Good Thing: Inexpensive Ways to Fill Your Home

Craigslist.  Ebay.  Antique Stores.  Sidewalks.
From the internet to street corners, it's not very hard to find bargains.  But I'm not talking about airfares or designer bags.  Instead I am referring to chairs, floor lamps and yes even crystal glasses, all at rock bottom prices or better yet, many people's favorite word, FREE.  In today's economic climate we are all finding ways to save or stretch a buck.  We buy combo meals because it's cheaper than buying each item individually.  We go to Happy Hour for cheaper drinks.  But our homes are the places we try to save the most:  Lowering the utility bills by turning off electronics when we leave the house, saving water by sweeping the driveway or switching to mobile service only and ditching the landline. 

What happens when you want that floor lamp you saw on DWR's website or a new coffee table and you just paid PG&E, AT&T and other acronyms you write a check to every month?  The first place you should hit, and we all know this, is Craigslist (  You never know what you'll find.  If you dig long enough you'll find some great pieces and my partner and I can attest to that.  Our best find was the Artemide Mega Tolomeo floor lamp (sold at DWR for upwards of $775 we randomly found one day a few blocks from our place.  The seller had just gotten it, didn't like it (God knows why) and didn't want to go through the hassel of returning it.  Instead he posted it on CL and we ran right over.  Why?  He was selling it for $100.  SCORE!  It was in great condition and looked great in our living room (pictured).  Of course there is the ever popular Ebay where we found the Kartell white ghost chair that we won for $200, there was no tax and shipping was included (DWR sells the chair for $410). 

But if you don't have the patience to sit in front of a computer for hours on end or hate venturing into thrift stores with its mix of used jeans merchandised next to grandma's old sofa with that musty, weird smell that lingers even after you've left the store, there is an alternative:  a hotel liquidation center.  When hotels, motels and resorts renovate, the existing furniture just can't be sent to landfills.  That's a waste.  Instead, the pieces are sold to stores who then resell them at great prices.  For example to stage a home in Los Angeles last year, we found Hotel Surplus Outlet ( that sells furniture from properties like The Peninsula Hotel of Beverly Hills.  After finding them online, we ventured out to the San Fernando Valley where we found a huge warehouse of furnishings of all types.  With a limited budget, we found it cheaper to purchase pieces from them than trying to rent the furniture.  For the living room (pictured below) we were able to find a $200 microfiber sofa, 2 lounge chairs for $80, a wall mirror for $75, a glass and chrome coffee table for $75 and 2 chrome floor lamps for $150.  The drapery panels and hardware were picked up from Target for around $45 and the bookcase in the corner was a discard from another client.  In total $625 (plus tax) for a new living room.

The outlet came in handy for the dining area also where we found the table for $150 and splurged on 4 chairs for $500.  The chandelier was $150 from Lamps Plus ( and again the bookcase was a discard from another client.  The result wasn't bad at all for $800.

Speaking of staging, many staging companies turn their inventory when they need or want to.  If you head back to Craigslist in any city, click on "furniture" under "for sale" and type in the word "staging", you'll find these companies.  The up side to this is that since the pieces were used for staging, chances are they would be pretty near new condition.  You can also visit and click "Directory" to find the closest staging company to you.

Yet another place to find slightly used furniture are consignment stores, which sells merchandise for people of which the store gets a percentage of each sale.  Pieces can include designer and high-end furniture from an estate where a couple is getting divorced or someone who has decided to redecorate their home and doesn't want to use sites like Craigslist.  In Chicago, Berry Hill Home Furniture Consignment ( sells designer sofas for half or more off of retail prices.

If you don't have a hotel liquidation place near you or you prefer brand new furniture, then don't discount retailers that have outlet stores like Crate & Barrel ( who has outlets in 8 states and Restoration Hardware that has 11 outlet stores nationwide (  Just like clothing outlets, these stores have an array of merchandise of outlet only type items or slightly damaged pieces discounted from 20% to 50% or more.  Another great tip about retail stores is at the end of year they perform inventory and the less to count the better.  So at "end of year sales" or "after Christmas sales", you can pick up furnishings at outlet prices, mostly in the stores but retailers sometimes post them on their sites. 

When it all comes down to it, our homes are our castles.  But we don't have to spend a king's ransom to furnish them.