Feminine Edgy Glamour

Feminine Edgy Glamour
Take two for the contest, which do you prefer?

Edgy Glamour

Edgy Glamour
I’m having fun with the new Polyvore for home creating “sets”. Right now one of my favorite design bloggers, Bijou and Boheme is having a contest to see who can come up with the best “edgy glamour” set based on items they’ve added to a “collection” with a strong Kelly Wearstler theme (another one of my favorites). This is my entry above.

Teenage Girl’s Room

Teenage Girl's Room

Over the summer I worked with a fantastic young client and her mother to restyle her bedroom in their Los Angeles home using some existing pieces and mostly new pieces. The sparkly bronze wallpaper on the bed wall, the capiz shell pendants, the vintage aqua typewriter and rotary phone, bronze fox dresser hardware and the flokati rug give an otherwise sophisticated room some young fun flair. She has a rather large room so we were able to incorporate a small desk area, sitting area and piano/music corner as well as her dresser and bed. I’m so excited to see how everything turns out!

Ventilation Tips

A few weeks ago I attended my first Washington/Baltimore National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Chapter meeting since moving to the area. The speaker was from BEST Range Hoods, who inspired me to share a few simple yet important tips on proper ventilation in the Kitchen. Here goes!

duoDuo hood by Zephyr, one of my favorites since you can add a piece of wood for a stacked look that ties in with your cabinetry and finishes.

IMPORTANCE – Ventilation systems keep grease off your cabinets and countertops and out of your home. They also remove smells, moisture, smoke, dust, bacteria and heat. They replenish oxygen, remove carbon dioxide and improve indoor air circulation.

WIDTH – Use a hood that is at least as wide as the cooktop, I like to oversize it 6″ to 12″ to make it more functional and give the area more visual importance.

DEPTH – The hood should be deep enough to completely cover the rear burners and half of the front burners. I usually specify 21″ or 22″ for custom hoods, standard pro style hoods depths are 22″ to 27″.

This is a custom hood I helped to design in the front of the Hollywood Sierra Kitchens showroom in West Hollywood (where I used to work before the big move). This hood is 48″ wide, over-sized 12″ from the 36″ Miele induction cooktop. It is 21″ deep, made of brushed stainless steel with polished straps.


ISLAND HOODS – Should be over-sized 3″ on all sides of the cooking surface.

DUCTING – Always duct the hood to the outdoors with an internal or external blower. Allow for proper make-up air to eliminate backdrafting. Round ducts are more effective than rectangular ducts.

CFM – Stands for “cubic feet per minute” a unit of measuring air flow. To calculate how many you need for your hood, divide the number of BTUs of your cooking surface by 100. If you have a griddle or grill with your range add 200 CFM’s to the total. For example, this 6 burner Wolf dual fuel range that many of my clients use has 84,200 BTUs, that divided by 100 is 842. So you would need to use a 900CFM ventilation hood with that range.

DOWNDRAFTS – Avoid them when possible, since they are located behind the back burners where many don’t cook. They also aren’t very powerful or effective since heat rises.

MICRO HOODS – Since these aren’t ducted they should be avoided. (Plus they are usually loud and ugly)

TECHNOLOGY – Hoods are “smart” and getting smarter. Certain hoods by BEST have a setting where they turn themselves on automatically when needed and also have a light that tells you when to change the filter and how well it’s working.


This is the Cirrus hood from the Sorpresa collection by BEST, it’s installed in the ceiling so it’s intended for installations like this with the cooking surface on an island or peninsula. Since it’s installed in the ceiling or in a soffit area it doesn’t obstruct the view, whether that’s into your Family Room or onto a lovely ocean view like this.

*Photo from Wood-Mode Fine Cabinetry and BEST

Here’s a Youtube video of the Cirrus hood in action installed in an 8ft ceiling.

I <3 Architectural Details, Portland Edition


Last month I got to visit Portland for the first time to attend my cousin’s wedding. Staying in the city center I had a chance to walk around with my family and see the city’s beautiful architecture.


There were some great historic Art Deco buildings near our hotel. On the left is 1000 Broadway, an old theater and on the right is the Charles F. Berg Building with inlays of 14 Karat gold.


I saw really unique and intricate door and window metal work details throughout the city. I especially liked these gold doors and the spiky sconces on the US National Bank Building built in 1917.



I’m kind of obsessed with all the details on this building. I didn’t get to go inside but I’m sure that was gorgeous as well.


Another beautiful building with gold doors was the historic Bank of California Building. I especially like the quatrefoil detail on the metal doors and sconces.



We walked to Waterfront Park Saturday morning for the weekly “Saturday Market” where local artists sell their creations. On the way we passed the Old Town Chinatown, shown bottom right.

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I also visited the Portland Art Museum while there and got to see an exhibit on bicycle design called Cyclepedia. To celebrate that exhibit there was an installation above the entrance of bicycle helmets creating the museum’s logo.


These two bikes were my favorite, a bike made to be ridden on the icy streets of Austria in the 60’s and a Parisian bike from the 30’s with a beveled frame and unique gear design.



They also had some great stainless steel sculptures. On the left is “Bolt” by British artist Tony Cragg and on the right “Forest Devil” by Kenneth Snelson.


I like abstract paintings and “Number Six” by Peter Young reminded me of a Rorschach mixed with an Ikat print.


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?

Where have I been, where am I going?

Big questions I know but here’s the simple answer – it’s been just over a month since my last post and a lot is happening. I am preparing to move to Northern Virginia in just under 6 weeks. I’ve been traveling a lot – visiting family including my new niece in Michigan, house hunting in Virginia and sightseeing in the Eastern Sierras. Here’s a short recap of what I’ve been up to design wise as well.

We at HSK have been working on some interesting projects this month including, a “color” display for one of our cabinetry manufacturer’s Quality Custom Cabinetry that will debut in Pennsylvania where they are located in October. Below are some of the finishes we’re considering, the objective is to work with a palette of new “hot” colors that have been forecasted for 2014. Since we’re the “west coast” design firm that’s participating along with other designers in Chicago and New Jersey we wanted our design to feel “California cool.” We’ve chosen a palette of cool toned colors and beachy feeling materials that create a subtle richness and sophistication inspired by elements that are popular here in LA. The deep blue countertop material is “dumortierite,” a semi-precious stone called “Concetto” made by Caesarstone. The cabinetry shown is a wire brushed rift cut oak, along with porcelain tile that looks like driftwood and a Knoll wallcovering.

IMG_6133We’re also working on a Spanish meets Glam kitchen in Bel Air. The perimeter cabinets will be in the off-white painted finish with glazing and brush strokes shown below by Crystal Cabinets. The island and peninsula will be in a stained cherry with a black glaze accented with pewter hardware and countertops. The perimeter will feature antique mirror inserts, circle mullion accent doors and the new piatra grey marble look-a-like countertops by Caesarstone.

IMG_5983Peter and I stopped by a jobsite yesterday in the Hollywood Hills to decide the best look for a built-in wood and gas pizza oven in a kitchen we designed. While there I took some photos of a gorgeous ceiling design in the client’s living room and metal passage doors throughout the first floor. Since this is new construction the clients are working with an architect and interior designer as well as their contractor and HSK. The house has European, Mediterranean and Moroccan influences.


Below on the left are the main entry doors into the kitchen. The doors left and right of the range wall lead into the wine cellar on the right and the pantry on the left. The butler’s pantry we also designed is on the far left across the hall. To the right is the breakfast room which will get a custom designed hand carved hutch. The picture on the right shows the large skylight over where the island will be.

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I am very excited to see these projects finished, but I’m afraid with my move I won’t be able to see them in person. I am sad that after many many months of working on projects like these I won’t be able to see them to completion. I have loved working at Hollywood Sierra Kitchens for the past seven years and will be very sad to leave my clients, family and friends. I look forward though to the opportunities and challenges that living and designing in Northern Virginia will bring 🙂