Starphire Glass

I recently finished a bathroom project which I’ve referred to as “(bath)room with a view.” I’m hoping to get pictures of the finished project soon but in the meantime I wanted to share some insight on glass options that we decided on during the design process. In designing and specifying the frameless shower enclosure, I informed my client that he had an option between “starphire” and regular glass. Starphire glass is a lead free, low iron product that although not clear enough to be called “crystal” is much less green than regular glass. This clarity comes at a premium but for some like my client who have already invested in gorgeous marble for the shower walls, it’s worth it. See the difference for yourself below (photos courtesy of google).


Daisy, one of my client’s dogs clearly prefers the starphire. She’s pictured here with the starphire that’s just been installed, (the duct tape is temporary!). Another option to consider is the “clamps” as shown here vs. channels to hold the glass in place. I feel that the clamps help with the “frameless look” so I prefer them.

daisyWe choose a shower door pull with a very square look to coordinate with the rest of our “Italian modern” aesthetic including square style hardware from Top Knobs (shown below). The shower door handle is combined with a towel bar since this bath is mostly windows with little wall space for towel bars.


What would you choose? Do you think it’s worth paying extra for the starphire?

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.

sandra_3 sandra_2 sandra    sandra_espinet

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.

bloggergirls lunchparty

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?

KBIS 2013 Trends



I was so lucky to be able to attend this year’s KBIS show as one of the “30 Under 30.” Above is a picture of me with a few of the others chosen, I’m right under the nostril of the joker 😉 One of our responsibilities in being chosen was to collaborate with 9 others and create a 30 minute presentation at the show’s center stage on Sunday. My group presented on “Kitchens and Bath Innovations and Trends.” Working in a group can be difficult with so many different personalities and strengths but I really enjoyed walking the show with a few of the members of my group that also worked at or owned Kitchen and Bath showrooms similar to HSK. I was able to get their take on industry trends and we could compare notes on how design trends vary regionally. Here are some highlights from the trend spotting portion of our presentation.

Products like this passage door set from Keeler allow you to lock and unlock your exterior doors remotely with your smartphone. We saw that touch faucets are becoming more common in residential use not just in commercial applications. This technology is in line with universal design principals (designing for people of any age and ability) and is a good product option for the aging baby boomer.


Besides bidet type cleaning features, the latest TOTO Neorest toilet is made of a material that in conjunction with special integrated lighting actually does a type of self-cleaning.

IMG_4844Calacatta and Carrara marble are so popular right now in kitchens and baths. Both materials are beautiful but neither one is stain-resistant, non-porous or easy to care for long-term. The new Caesarstone colors, “Frosty Carrina” and “London Grey” made of a Quartz composite offer a solution. The have the organic veining and coloring of real marble but without the maintenance issues.



At the Caesarstone booth two of my new friends from my 30 Under 30 Team (Courtney Foster of Atlanta and Ashley Avery of Chicago) and I had the pleasure of chatting with the famed Kitchen Designer, Mick de Giulio. His book, “Kitchen Centric” is a fantastic design book full of inspirational Kitchens. I had the pleasure of attending the Subzero Wolf Westye F. Bakke Center in Wisconsin a few years back for product training and I got to experience a few working Mick de Giulio Kitchens. Below is the one of their demonstration kitchens designed by Mick, that I got to cook in. This picture really doesn’t do it justice, it was gorgeous in person with the over-sized stainless steel hood statement and calming contrast of the natural limestone and dark stained wood. The back-splash featured sliding slab panels which are one of my favorite design elements that I see him do over and over. It’s so slick looking while still being functional, I can’t wait to incorporate one in one of my designs.

swBack to trends, my group members and I noticed a lot of faceted details at the show, in hardware, bathroom sinks, lighting and faucets. Below is a new faucet by Perrin & Rowe and some decorative knobs by Richelieu.



Kallista also had some nice faceted designs like an octagonal sink and a circular sconce. Below are a few other faceted hardware options from Richelieu. I can’t wait to use these on a project, they are so unique.



The 30 Under 30 group became rather close over the course of the 4 days we were at the show together. We even made it out to Bourbon street together 😉 Great times!

IMG_4917Did you go to KBIS too? What were your favorite trends?