End of Summer Makeover: Home Edition

In late February my husband and I finally bought our first home. We live in San Francisco, which is not only known for its ultra competitive housing market, but also its extraordinary and diverse architecture. Being a design buff I yearned to find a home that had “character” in addition to a suitable floor plan for us and our son, Liam. That did not take a minute to find, that’s for sure. But finally…


I walked into our soon to be new home and was the very first one to arrive at the open house . The moment I walked in the door, I knew it was “the one”. Full of light, a great floor plan and above all else gorgeous architectural detail and a pretty great kitchen, I knew we had to have it somehow. By some miracle, our offer was accepted and the place was ours. Ironically, our new condo is about five blocks from our old apartment in the Marina district of San Francisco- an area built in the 1920’s and 30’s. I didn’t have to do much to transform the dining room, but I recently bought this wood beaded chandelier that really gave this room a finish and casual elegance that complemented all of the moldings.


From the living/dining room you enter the kitchen. . I immediately noticed the empty space in the corner of the kitchen that would be perfect for a built in breakfast nook/ banquette.  I found a design that would work well with the cabinetry and function as more storage (which you can never have enough of). Lucky me, one of my father in law’s talents happens to be carpentry and he was dying to build the banquette himself. After sixty plus hours of work, violà! a breakfast nook appeared as if it had lived here all along. As if that isn’t lucky enough, my mother in law happens to be an incredibly talented seamstress and loves sewing, knitting and making anything she can for her only grandson. She is in the process of making the banquette cushions, which we chose to cover in a solid indoor/outdoor fabric (taking our 14 month old and potential flinging of food into account).


She also made the Roman shades for Liam’s room from scratch. I decided on white linen shades with a peacock blue grosgrain ribbon accent and could not have been happier with the outcome. The shades are not only beautiful but lined with black out fabric and provide the darkness we needed at nap time. His room was transformed from a grayish green to a fresher blue color from a line of paint I love called Ann Hall. The color is Chalcedony and is  a great choice for a boy’s room. With enough of a hint of grey, the color makes the white moldings pop and provides a great backdrop for Liam’s toys, artwork and books. With all of those moldings that paint job was a tedious one. Thank goodness for Tina and again my multi-talented in-laws who came to save the day : ).


In line with freshening up Liam’s room, I decided why not repaint our bedroom as well? I am in love with Benjamin Moore’s Coventry Grey. For me it’s always been the “perfect” grey- not too green, not too dark or drab but rather a perfect light grey that in the right room is stunning. Again with all of the white moldings and dark wood floors I knew this color would look great in our bedroom. Next on my to do list is to buy a new chandelier for this room. I am looking for a fixture that is a bit rustic and bohemian.


I have really enjoyed writing this post and recapping the things we have accomplished in the last 6 months since we moved in. I have such fun sharing creative (non bank breaking) ways to add  personality to your space- that is one of my passions. After all, home is supposed to be your happy place and where your heart is. One of my little tips is to occasionally treat yourself to fresh flowers in the house. For me there is nothing easier than a beautiful, fresh bouquet to add happiness and great scent instantly into a space. Throw in some great pillows in a variety of fabrics. Every space could use those as they add comfort, texture and character. Here I am featuring one from Proud Mary made in Guatemala and one Otomi pillow from Mexico.


Happy decorating! Alexis

Madeline Weinrib, fellow textile aficionado and dog lover

Tina and I took a trip to the San Francisco Design Center last week for one of our semi annual shopping trips to get inspiration and ideas for upcoming collections of dog beds and other doggie attire. We were very excited to come upon Madeline Weinrib’s stunning new showroom which opened just a couple months back.


We have always admired the designer and fellow dog lover’s textiles and use of color and pattern. A former fine artist and great granddaughter of the founder of ABC Carpet and Home in NYC (another favorite of Tina’s and mine),  Madeline finally designed her very own collection for the store twelve years ago and since then has become a huge success and name in the design world. Her products are extremely pricey but people are willing to pay for her fresh interpretations of centuries old patterns, juicy color combinations and lush fabrics. Her background as a fine artist and world traveler gave her the eye to create dynamic fresh designs from rugs to fashion, wallpaper to textiles.



I love these postcards highlighting all of Madeline’s prints and patterns! They look great featured together on this single wall.


For me the most exciting discovery is that Madeline is now designing wallpaper. Given that we just bought our first home and I have been dying to wallpaper our mini powder room, I was swooning over this new hand blocked blue and white pattern, “Moroc”.  At $325 a roll that’s a tough pill to swallow, but I’ll just have to sell some more dog collars and save up for this one : )!