Horizontal Shower


Last week I got to check out an innovation in shower design, the new horizontal shower by Dornbracht. It features six shower heads that are installed equidistant in a lowered soffit. The soffit is parallel above a bench that creates a bed for the user. The six heads each release 2.5 gallons of water per minute, which is a standard volume although you usually have one head and not six. The unit has a keypad that controls the volume, temperature and “scenarios.” The scenarios are three different setting options that provide a unique multi-temperature and pressure experience for the user. There’s “balancing,” which is similar water pressures and warm temperatures, “energizing,” which is a mix of hot and cold and “de-stressing,” which is mostly hot. The mix of temperature and pressure in the six shower heads all working together is touted for its hydrotherapy benefits.

This particular installation I saw at Snyder Diamond’s Santa Monica showroom includes a large rainforest shower head and a hand shower. The L- shaped marble bench and floor are heated for added comfort. The large rainforest shower head offers the user the option of a standard “vertical” shower as well. It releases 12 gallons of water per minute, so this is definitely not a water conserving fixture. Watching the model lather up, I’m not sure how comfortable it would be to shower in that position but I’m sure it’s extremely relaxing to be able to lay on the heated bench and have all those shower heads going. This shower installation could offer the disabled better useability since it not only includes a bench and hand shower, but a larger space to sit or lay on and closer access to an overhead shower head. However the price tag on these units is rather high, so it’s not a unit most could afford.


Here I am with the guys who made this possible: Russ (top right) owner of Snyder Diamond; Jim, (left) the plumber; and Larry, (right) the contractor. Jim went to the Dornbracht headquarters in Atlanta to learn how to install this shower, he is currently one of very few that know how to install such a detailed system.


What do you think about the horizontal shower? Would you want one in your home?

*Top photo by Dornbracht*


Pasadena Showcase House

Last weekend I went to the 49th Annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design with Peter from HSK and some clients of ours. Our clients were very sweet to bring us, they were hoping to share some of their favorite design elements with us since we’re in the process of designing their kitchen, bar, butler’s pantry, laundry room, master bathroom and their daughter’s room. I wanted to share a few of my favorite rooms/design elements, so here we go.

The Library was designed by Michael Fullen Design Group, Inc. It featured high gloss gray cabinetry with contrasting grasscloth on the back of the bookcases. The pattern and texture of the custom lacquered grasscloth ceiling was exceptionally beautiful and unique.

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The College Men’s Suite was designed by JTID, Inc. The room featured muted jewel tone colors and the Ironies furniture pieces (which are my favorite, if only I could afford them). The abstract paintings and the striped wallpaper gave the room an elegant yet avant garde feeling. The modern/retro looking gold table lamp was really unique, shown right.


This bathroom was very over done in my opinion. It had a lot of really cool elements, just too many together in one small space. The vanity countertop featured steamline moderne detailing juxtaposed with the use of linear marble to make it more current. The metallic tiles in the shower were very striking, they created another layer of stripes with the linear marble tiles. The floor was black marble with white marble strips cut into it to create an abstract linear pattern. The frameless glass shower panels were also etched with stripes and the wallcovering in the room was also striped. It was basically an explosion of lines/stripes and this is coming off a room that also had striped wallpaper.



This floor was really cool and inventive. I liked the use of the tile-in channel drain, however I would have liked to have seen it made from a white piece of tile, aligned on an angle so it really disappeared into the floor.

IMG_5312In the Bedroom Suite, L2 Interiors turned a reach-in closet into a reading nook. It was really cute and cozy looking, perfect for a young/teenage child. I appreciated that they covered the backs of the bookcases –  just like in the library. The contrasting grasscloth added color and texture to otherwise plain white shelving.

IMG_5300The Master Suite was designed by Reaume Construction & Design, Inc. The ceiling detail in light blue and ivory was soft and pretty, framed out in a geometric lattice pattern with applied molding. The writing desk in the corner of the room with curved legs made an elegant statement.

IMG_5324 IMG_5325The passage doors with the circle panel detail that separated the closet from the bedroom were really beautiful. The circular design element was repeated in the sparkling globe pendant fixture. They brought fun, glamour and light to the space that featured mirror panel doors and crystal knob hardware. It also had the same handles I saw and loved at KBIS on the built-in drawers.

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The master bathroom was amazing. That’s Peter on the left in front of one of the double vanities that featured a tv screen in the mirror! The sconces, sink, countertop, cabinets, faucet everything was really elegant and well put together.

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The bathroom had lots of design details such as the lattice mullion doors with mirror inserts for the linen storage cabinetry. The tub area featured a lattice pattern marble mosaic wainscot.

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The oval tray ceiling over the free-standing tub may have been my favorite part of the whole house. The entire thing was covered in silver leaf and embedded into it were LED lights that pulsated to give the effect of watching the stars at night. The glass chandelier centered over the tub gave the bathroom a very dramatic, grandiose feel.

IMG_5336The Kitchen was designed by Saxony Design Build. The islands are bleached walnut with pewter countertops. We have yet to use pewter countertops on a project, however we have two coming where we are using it in a section of the Kitchen. I’m excited to see it as part of our designs. The finish is living so although it is impervious to heat and cold it does patina over time. The floor was a checkerboard pattern of marble which looked both timeless and sharp. The pilaster detail they used on the islands is so classic, we use that design detail often as well. The faceted decorative hardware in polished nickel from Baldwin was also very beautiful. The design featured two islands identical in length and finish stacked in line behind the range wall. When using two islands in a kitchen, I prefer them to be different either in positioning or in function/style so that they don’t overwhelm the space.

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Here are the samples of the materials we’re using for the client’s master bathroom project in Studio City. Off white painted flat panel cabinetry, geometric marble mosaic floor, calcutta marble slab on the tub deck and shower walls and polished nickel hardware (red shoes not included). Beautiful and classic, right? What were your favorite elements of the Showcase House?


DesignLAb May 2013

I once again made it to the Pacific Design Center for the opening of the latest DesignLAb gallery exhibits with my dear friend Peter and my assistant Christina from HSK. That’s Peter and me below in front of the newest (red) building at the Pacific Design Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art’s West Hollywood location.

IMG_5243Chair sculpture in front of the Blue Building on the corner of Melrose and San Vicente.


As in previous visits, we saw a lot of great pieces.  But here are a few that stood out:

Photographs of dresses by contemporary Korean artist, Yeonju Sung. The dresses are made from fruits and vegetables. The top left I think is mushrooms, the top right is tomatoes, the bottom left is leeks and the bottom right is papaya.



Left is a mixed media piece made of found metal by David Buckingham called “Color Study #59 ( Diamond Dogs ).” Right is a neon sculpture by Cathy Stone, “Ascension in Limbo.”


A photograph by Victorville artist, William Berry called “Bottles.” This photo made you feel like you were standing in the middle of a forest of these “trees” with glass bottles for branches.


At the Art Merge Lab, “Gestural Geometry” was a two-artist exhibition that showcased geometric abstract paintings by Chris Trueman and Joe Lloyd. Below are “Chrome” and “BC” by Chris Trueman. I love the stenciled, graffiti effect of “Chrome” and the way that “BC” draws you in with the diagonal lines and gives a strong sense of movement.


More bright abstracts by Joe Lloyd, top left is “Blue Pattern,” top right is “Blue Wing.” Bottom left is “Light Blue” and right is Christina posing with “Pink,” also her favorite color 🙂



Below are two of the 175 piece installation of pen line drawings by Eli Langer. The drawings seem to have been done with a multi-head pen that are popular with children. The multiple line and color effect made you feel like you were impaired since they were hard to focus in on. That was part of the appeal though, you had to really look at them to figure out what the form was through the scribbles.


This is a very interesting exhibit by artist (and commercial realtor by day) Mary Younakof.


Mary was working downtown LA as a relator and was inspired by all the brightly colored buildings she came across. She then started making dresses with fabric scraps she bought in the garment district downtown. The fabrics make up a rainbow of colors, they are all different and she organized them in color order. The pattern is the same for all the dresses and she sewed them all herself, she said it took her three years. She displays the dresses different ways, on mannequins, splayed out on the floor like a color fan deck or she wears them herself in photos, videos and installations. She describes this project called, “343 DRESSES: The Chromatic Convergence Project,” as an ongoing art project that explores color through fashion, installation, photography, performance, and video. Below is a shot of her video installation which combines videos of building exteriors in downtown that are brightly colored. Shown together they create a moving patchwork quilt of color.


Another part of the project is the photos and videos that she’s taken at colorful sites around LA that she’s discovered. In the photos and video, she makes the color of her dress match exactly to the building exterior in the shot. I find the photos humorous and fresh. She said she never asks permission to photograph outside these buildings and no one seems to care.


Here is a link to the video that was produced for Sherwin Williams Paint. They also created a feature on her work in their ipad magazine called STIR.

stir(Mary Younakof photos courtesy of her facebook page)

Which artist/piece was your favorite and why?

Legends 2013

One of the perks of working on La Cienega is that I am able to partake in the annual Legends of La Cienega design event. This is the fifth year and I’ve been lucky enough to attend every year so far. “LCDQ,” which stands for the “La Cienega Design Quarter” is a group of interior design showrooms on La Cienega Blvd. and Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood that make up a unique design district that Hollywood Sierra Kitchens is a part of. My uncle Gerry, who is one of the owners is also one of the board members for LCDQ that helps to plan and put on the event every year.

This year’s theme was “Time Capsule: The Past, Present and Future of Design.” Here were my favorite windows this year in no particular order;

Working with Andrea Michaelson on a Kitchen in a historic LA home, I know first hand her attention to detail and her devotion to her projects. Her window at Marge Carson is no exception, she found antique pieces and styled them to look as though they were coming out of crates which is about as literal a time capsule as you can get. The chair in particular was so destroyed and ancient looking that it really gave you the feeling that you were there as something old and special was being discovered.


Mary McDonald (Mums), my favorite of the “Million Dollar Decorators,” was not at the event as she was in Atlanta for an Atlanta Decorative Arts Center event. However she left a cardboard cutout of herself at Dragonette’s showroom where her window was displayed. So what does my assistant Christina do? Give Mary that hand of course, “We only do the real thing Mary.”


Seriously though, Mary is one of my favorite designers and I love watching her on the show. Her window definitely had her personality with the old lady astronaut manikin complete with baubles and her signature look with the blue and white Chinese vases and graphic elements.


This window at Mehraban Rugs by designer, Sandra Espinet was very arresting in person. You don’t often see furniture floating like that. The fishing wire illusion was an interesting way to imply time travel.

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I have admired Molly Luetkemeyer’s handiwork at previous Legend’s events and this year was no exception. Her window at George Smith felt very modern without being clean lined and sparse. Her use of color and pattern created a space that felt fresh and very futuristic to me. I loved the paint splattered upholstery on the chair and the geometric bust with the crystal mohawk. I don’t always love eclectic spaces but her mix of the black wall with the abstract painting, pops of color set off by the geometric rug and curtains felt so right.



The use of color in the Lee Stanton window by Harte Brownlee & Associates was reminiscent of Miro and Dali to me. It had a conceptually abstract and surrealist feel with the clocks both melted and un-melted and the use of bright primary colors and circular elements. I was intrigued by the texture and symbolism of the red “Mike & Ike” candy that filled the chair crate instead of the standard “packing peanuts.”


This window at Downtown by Jeff Andrews – Design was simple in its color and objects but complex in its layered patterns and shapes. Jeff’s window featured a circular outer covering and focused in on a smaller circular mirror. This shape repetition along with the graphic fingerprint patterned wallpaper gives a sense of movement and perhaps time travel. Positioning the chairs as the only objects in the window gives it a modern feel, which is repeated thru their unique shape. It reminds me of looking into the cockpit of a U.S.S. Enterprise type space ship.


Jane Hallworth’s window at Fuller + Roberts Co. was very arresting in its simplicity and message. The mushroom cloud and the spiky lighted piece in the foreground create a landscape that is very foreboding. The red words on the glass demand that the viewer be aware, inquisitive and peaceful.


This window by Lawrence J. Rizkowski at Compas gave me the feeling of looking forward maybe 100 years. The background thru the “window” of the room appears like a “Starwars: Episode 1” type city. The juxtaposition of the futuristic backdrop with the stripes and Art Deco influenced pieces created a unique space that brings to mind how those in the future may continue to look to the past for interior inspiration as we do today.


Brian Patrick Flynn’s window at Jamal’s Rug Collection was very 60’s with the wall covering, furnishings and family photo type art on the wall. It was very “time capsule” in the sense that you felt transported back into a traditional 60’s family room. That being said many of the pieces in the space are still in fashion today. Not necessarily styled together as shown but the star-burst design, the graphic pillows, colors like the yellow, teal, chartreuse and mint along with the brass are all very trendy today.


Below are photos from the “Blogger Breakfast,” the “Luxe Magazine Lunch,” and the “Traditional Home Party.” That’s me in the top right photo on the left with our neighbor Katie from Marge Carson and Christina on the right.

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The event ended with a beautiful sunset after a brief sprinkle. Did you attend this year’s “Legends” event as well? What did you think?


(Daytime photos were taken by me, nighttime window photos are courtsey of LCDQ.)

Crystal Design Awards

One of the cabinet lines we sell at Hollywood Sierra Kitchens is Crystal Cabinet Works out of Minnesota. They have an annual design contest for their dealers all over the country and this year one of our Kitchens was picked as a “Crystal Choice” winner. Here are some photos of the winning Kitchen located in the “Little Holmby” section of Los Angeles.


The cabinetry finish is an off white paint on maple with a brown brushing. The door style is a mortise and tenon raised panel door with a raised slab drawer design. The decorative hardware, lighting and plumbing fixtures are polished nickel. The countertops are Winter Cloud marble, which is very tense and non-porous (which is unusual for marble). The hood is custom, in a Dunn Edwards paint color that is powder coated onto the metal surface. The Kitchen features sconces on pilasters, decorative bracket details, posts and mullion doors.


The pilaster looking cabinets left and right of the Wolf dual fuel range are actually pull-out cabinets that house spices, oils and vinegars for convenient point of use storage.


The drawers left and right of the range were appointed with inserts like a knife block, drawer dividers for cooking utensil organization and a spice tier insert. The center drawer in the three drawer base to the right of the range houses a paneled warming drawer also by Wolf. This location is convenient for warming things that are coming out of the oven and the height in also convenient so the user doesn’t need to bend down so far.


The appliance garage cabinets on the far left and right of the range elevation give the client storage for countertop appliances like a toaster, tv and coffee maker at a convenient location but still hidden so the countertop looks cleaner.


The paneled refrigerator is a Subzero built-in series which we installed flush so that the panels don’t stick out and look more integrated into the cabinetry. The client opted for a finished opening for her microwave instead of having it built-in which gives her future flexibility for that cabinet. The side of the island has an integrated wainscot panel with no seams. The top rail of the wainscot has held down slightly to incorporate a convenience outlet.


The back side of the Kitchen features tall storage pantries which conceal an angled wall. The wall and base cabinetry in the middle give the elevation a focal point and a countertop space to set things down. The client used the drawer storage below for her tablecloths and place mats. The wall cabinet above displays her beautiful stemware and vases. We opted to have the two piece crown molding wrap all the way around the room including the convex breakfast room wall which required a custom piece of flex crown.

This was the Kitchen our client found as an inspiration online that was from the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles 2008 Christmas House. It was designed by Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio in Atlanta. How do you think the Kitchen turned out?

I <3 Architectural Details, New Orleans Edition

I got to see New Orleans for the first time a few weeks ago when I was in town for KBIS 2013. My husband and I have started house hunting and two of my must haves are a front porch and a back deck (a wrap around porch would be even better). So it’s no surprise that balconies in the French Quarter that many times wrapped around the whole corner of the buildings caught my eye. Many restaurants used them as outdoor seating areas and of course on Bourbon Street the balconies are used to throw beads down to the pedestrians below.


Here are some more photos of balcony architecture that caught my eye. I loved the ornate metal railings and the flowers that punctuated the balconies around town. Other details I noticed were dental molding and decorative ironwork grates near the top of the buildings.


Many of the buildings besides having red brick exteriors had green shutters and white mullions windows, as shown below.


I noticed lots of arched top windows and doorways and intricate awnings.


I saw some beautiful exterior light fixtures like the lantern style sconces and pendant (bottom right) and metal sconces with globe shades (bottom left).


I especially love this building below in sage green with french doors with side lights and transoms above. I love the scroll detail on the wrought iron columns and the brackets. The hanging plants and window boxes in front of every set of doors is a nice touch.

IMG_4767I saw some lovely architecture in Jackson Square as well. St. Louis Cathedral first built in 1794 was very impressive. I took a friend’s advice and stopped by Cafe Du Monde for beignets and then walked across to a bench in the garden to devour them, yum!


Along with the lovely buildings nearby like the Cabildo and the Presbytere, I enjoyed seeing the variety of horse drawn carriages lined up outside the square and listening to local street musicians.


Aside from all the traditional French architecture I did see a lovely modern hotel garage area with a horn chandelier and alien looking globe pendants with blue lights. Cresent City Brewhouse also had some interesting jellyfish pendants above their bar area that were very hip and Avant-garde.


I got to check out a variety of great restaurants including Mr. B’s Bistro, Tomas Bistro and Galatoire’s 33 Bar and Steak. I tried gumbo, po boys, crawfish etouffee and fried oysters for the first time. Of course I had try local beverages too like the hurricane and pecan beer. I also got to hear live jazz my last night in town which was a real treat.


I am obsessed with the green that 33 Bar and Steak painted their dining room. The beveled mirror panels and gold chandeliers and sconces made the room so pretty and elegant. I love the French Blue Dining Room I have now but this strongly makes me consider green for the dining room in my new house. What do you think?

A (bath)room with a view – Update

My bathroom project in the Hollywood Hills has been coming together nicely, I first mentioned this project a month ago here. Since then the composite wenge cabinetry and plumbing rough-ins were installed as well as the roughtop for the countertop. The contractor built the framing for the Jacuzzi tub and installed LED lighting below the vanity cabinet and above and below a built-out for a “floating” mirror above the vanity. Then our fabricator came to template for the under-mount tub deck, shower walls and vanity countertop with waterfall edge detail.

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Last week the countertops were installed including the tub deck and marble slab shower wall. The slab was selected by my client and I from a stoneyard in Van Nuys. It is a statuary marble and the veining is incredible, like a work of art. The dark grey veining will tie in with the honed basalt tile that’s going on the bathroom and sunken shower floor as well as the vanity and side window wall. The white background of the stone coordinates with the Pure White Caesarstone we selected for the vanity and tub deck.

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I helped my client decide the best positioning for the tub filler, hot and cold handles, hand shower and diverter control in the tub deck so the fabricator would know the exact locations for the drillings.

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The tub deck was fabricated with four separate pieces of Pure White Caesarstone to create a “box” installation for the under-mounted tub. Our fabricator did a fantastic job, the corner is so square and barely rounded so that the seam is completely invisible.

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The waterfall edge detail was installed last, the next step is to install the decorative hardware on the cabinets, the Caesarstone pieces into the shower and tub window, the basalt tile on the floor and two of the walls, the plumbing fixtures and the “floating” mirror. I’m so excited to see the room finished!

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