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September 10, 2011 / Sarah Moore

The Fjellse didn’t think it could look this good

Combing Ikea for a little girl bed, I stumbled upon the cheap, humble, solid-pine “fjellse” and saw some serious potential; mostly because one can do just about anything with unfinished wood (I also have a deep disdain for MDF!). With a coat of flat paint, a layer of walnut stain over that (Benjamin Moore Gumdrop), a little artistic touch moving the stain around with a cloth, and finally a coat of shiny polyurethane, the results are perfect…for me… but I don’t think it’s going to be featured in Elle Decor anytime soon!

Benjamin Moore 564 Gumdrop Fjallse Ikea Bed

Benjamin Moore 564 Gumdrop Fjallse Ikea Bed

Benjamin Moore 564 Gumdrop Fjallse Ikea Bed

Fjellse Bed Ikea


April 20, 2011 / Sarah Moore

Paris in red

Apparently, judging by the pictures I’m revisiting from Paris, I was obsessing over red too…? I thought I’d take advantage of all of the photos featuring red and put them in a series for fun. I love the rich, glossy doors.

April 19, 2011 / Sarah Moore

shades of (French) gray

In Paris, I suspect most visitors are not focused on snapping pictures of the color gray, but I could not resist. The shades of gray I discovered there were endless. A warm gray, close to what many probably refer to as “french gray,” glowed in the rooms at Musee Nissim Camondo, the exquisite mansion (with an interesting and sad story) that the public can tour. This particular gray is set off with gilt details (see photo with gold rosette).

I read somewhere that European paints are much richer in pigment because things are painted less frequently and expected to endure.

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February 5, 2011 / Sarah Moore

Colors and Shapes

So, there’s good news and bad news…I’m finally coming out of the feeling of “fight or flight” syndrome which has emerged from all kinds of things including moving to a new city, buying a really old, funky house (too funky to even want to blog about it yet!), the holidays, and chasing a toddler…oh, and not really liking the new city! And I’m not even listing everything. The bad news is I’m obsessing over this particular designer and her wallpapers and fabrics, but she is temporarily not selling anything, but only temporarily. I will wait patiently. I could totally see wallpapering the inside of an armoire or a tiny powder room with one of these cheerful prints, ’cause lately some cheering is sounding pretty good. I also love her bags which are sold at Curator on Church Street in San Francisco (we used to live upstairs. Gosh, I miss it!).

click here for some eye candy: Shapes & Colors

October 19, 2010 / Sarah Moore



image from forbo website

I have samples of this eco-friendly flooring material speckled all over my kitchen at the moment and my head is spinning. Made of all-natural materials including linseed oil and wood flour, it has a vintage look which is what I like best about it, recalling the flecked linoleum you find in old houses. I love it! The colors are amazing too…but who can decide. This potentially-getting-my hands-on-an-old-house in Santa Cruz is making me a bit dizzy with ideas and excitement. I’m realizing that being an interior designer, constantly exposed to amazing new materials out there and all those choices (!), I’ve been a bit repressed as a renter all this time. Perhaps it’s like working at an ice cream shop and never being able to taste the flavors until one day you have the freedom to devour them all and have a field day, but feel like barfing afterward. The salesperson at Floorcraft in San Francisco confirmed my enthusiasm yesterday by remarking, “Wow, you are very excited by Marmoleum.” I walked away feeling a bit woosey. All those color and patterns churning through my head…

p.s. I just noticed that the floor in the Filoli kitchen (my last post) appears to be linoleum. No wonder I was so attracted to it ;-)!

click here for more info.

September 27, 2010 / Sarah Moore

fight-love-live (Filoli!)

Finally, on a whim, I visited Filoli, which is a beautiful estate in Atherton, west of Highway 280, that was given to California in the 70’s (I believe). Unfortunately, I had a wild toddler with me so instead of inspecting every detail like I would have loved to, I only skimmed the surface (the story of my life as of late), but nonetheless found this place magical. Here are some shots I took with the trusty iphone (wish I had my better camera, but no problem, because I’ll be back soon!)

Click here for Filoli’s website

hydrangea heaven

hydrangea heaven

doors to the garden


An enormous birdcage with doves and the cutest lady I've ever seen!

An enormous birdcage with doves and the cutest lady I've ever seen!

miniature garden at Filoli

yep, this would be a miniature garden depicting the larger one next to it. Have you ever seen anything cuter? I want one!

round window


carpet that belonged to Queen Victoria Filoli

can you picnic at Filoli? absolutely not! (we were scolded for picnicking on their expensive food by a grumpy docent). But walk on a carpet that once belonged to Queen Victoria? No problem!

the original kitchen at Filoli

the original kitchen at Filoli- love the wedgewood-blue cabinet interiors!

kitchen island

what I love about this kitchen island- it is no frills, totally utilitarian. And I've always loved islands with varnished wood tops (done in same way as dining tables)

September 11, 2010 / Sarah Moore

adorable in Portland

Gena and Gabe’s early 1900’s cottage in NE Portland is every bit as warm as the owners…not to mention Gena’s creative touch for organizing (which has always been there—I’ve envied her bookshelves and collages since age 13!) pouring from every corner.

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September 1, 2010 / Sarah Moore

new wellie boots

While perusing through the Sept issue of Country Living (my reading material of choice when in Montana :-)), I saw these dream rain boots! Hunter wellies with wedge heels. Excellent!

Here they are at Bloomingdales….

Hunter wellies country living

August 25, 2010 / Sarah Moore

highlights from the book “Shed Chic” by Sally Coulthard

My obsession with small structures probably started when my grandpa built a miniature house for my sister and I when we were around 6 and 8. Equipped with a tiny front door, a minuscule functional window and all the details of the main house (color and roof), it served all of the functions of a perfect playhouse. Depending on where our imaginations took us, it could be a school, shop, baby nursery or even more fun, a jail! There was something magical about having a separate little “hut” to resort to.

When I saw this book, I immediately thought of the old playhouse which later became a garden shed and then eventually went off with the new owners to their next home. To think, if I had it now, it could be an office or a teeny guest room. As the book “Shed Chic” beautifully illustrates, the possibilities are endless!

I especially love the dining pavilion (with raw wood walls and an ornate chandelier) that closes up like a cute little package.

p.s. click on images to pull up a larger version.

p.s.s. In the market for a showman’s wagon? Check out the beauties at!

August 21, 2010 / Sarah Moore

charming vintage prints

I discovered the company hprints doing a google search on Paul Iribe (an artist and interior designer well-known around 1920) and was sucked into this website for an hour ++. A stockpile of inspiration for anyone interested in illustration, type, fashion…or just some entertainment (like the big man floating in the water while smoking a cigar !). p.s. the average price for a print is $20: not bad!

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August 17, 2010 / Sarah Moore

Josie Carter’s Bernal Heights studio

Josie Carter's Shadowboxes

When I visited Josie Carter’s home studio last week (to borrow some of her shadow boxes for my client), I was stunned by the beauty of her place. Set back from the street on charming Bernal Hill, it is accessed by a winding sidewalk through a lush garden–not the typical San Francisco house entry! Upon walking in and seeing the  jewel-toned hues and layers of beautiful objects, I immediately thought of the blog and asked if I could take pictures. I also thought of Tony Duquette, legendary interior and jewelry designer known for his use of unusual color combinations.

I’m always amazed when I meet someone who is so unafraid and skilled when it comes to color. See, months ago, I was having night sweats wondering if the pale green in my client’s powder room was a hair too bright and if the beige in the stairwell would be too jarring. So, when I see something like this, and it works, I’m beyond impressed.

Her method, which is a special form of decoupage that she has developed over the years, requires 13 steps and involves meticulous selection and arrangement of images. No two are alike. And not a surprise, her pieces are equally enchanting as her home: full of life and colorful.

p.s. I’m hoping to have my boring white desk (found on the street :-)) plastered in butterflies and flowers with her incredible talents…

Click here for Josie’s website.

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August 11, 2010 / Sarah Moore

Casa de Deborah & Max {take 1}

Folk print by J.Borges,Thomas Paul throw pillows

Folk print by J.Borges,Thos Paul pillows

My amateur camera skills and the lack of light available {read: FOG, SF, worst summer in years—!} do not give this beachy Victorian justice, but I just couldn’t wait to post pictures of it, especially since Deborah and Max might be moving soon. I absolutely love the gallery wall, the creative use of space, and the charm overflowing from every nook and cranny…

surf board

surf board and pottery barn pendant

outdoor bench with pillows from Bassett Furniture

outdoor bench with pillows by Bassett Furniture

books and bouncy balls

everyone needs a stockpile of bouncy balls!

Bag from Tulum, Mexico and print by Donald Mitchell

Bag from Tulum, Mexico and print by Donald Mitchell

gallery wall 2

small mirror by Oly

bedroom side table and antique mirror

Deborah's don't-f-with-me shoes

Deborah's don't-f-with-me shoes

Living Room, small mirror by Oly

living Room, small mirror by Oly

August 10, 2010 / Sarah Moore

wish I could have you but don’t deserve you (expensive sunglasses)

Here is my wish-list of sunglasses. It’s too bad I destroy them or lose them and that is why I have to settle for $20 cheapies at Nordstrom Rack until I can get my act together.

A.R. Trapp

A.R. Trapp at J.Crew

Tom Ford Anouk

Tom Ford Anouk

Carrera Hippy

Carrera Hippy

dita sparrow

Dita Sparrow

August 9, 2010 / Sarah Moore


No, you have not misread the title ;-)…Forestiere Underground Gardens, in Fresno, CA really is a little gem and fun stop if you’re traveling down 99 or in the Fresno area and needing some relief from the heat, without the help of air conditioners. It’s also across the street from an In-n-Out which, to me, means it’s in the center of the universe.

The underground rooms are the creation Baldassare Forestiere, who came to the United States from Sicily where he grew up on a successful citrus farm (but wanted to escape his controlling father). Before landing in Fresno, he spent several years as a laborer building Subway tunnels in Boston. When he arrived in Fresno he hoped to fulfill a dream to build a citrus empire, but soon realized that he had just bought several acres of solid rock. In those times, the temperatures reached as high as 120 degrees farenheit in the summers. Suffering the heat in a little above-ground wooden house, he decided to dig a cellar for a place to cool off. The skills learned in the Subways of Boston paid off and soon he had carved out a charming 2-room cellar with a built-in stove, dining table of rock (with a citrus tree growing through the center toward a skylight) and two beds: one for the summer which was on the cool ground and the other in an alcove protected from cool drafts and moisture.

With visions of making his underground oasis into a resort for people to cool off in the summer, Forestiere chipped away at the hardpan soil for several more years, digging out an estimated 50 underground rooms (some of which were probably under where Highway 99 is today).  If I had to live in this area, I’d take a lesson from this guy. What a nice way to cool off without the monetary and environmental cost of running an air conditioner day and night. However, it’s not very likely I’ll have this problem as long as I live in San Francisco…

Click here to go to Forestiere Underground Gardens website.

underground gardens


August 8, 2010 / Sarah Moore

Sarah Jessica Parker talks about her grandma’s housedress

SJP chats to “Go Fug Yourself” about the Alexander McQueen dress she’s wearing in this photograph. Click here to read it….My favorite part would definitely have to be, “My Grandma had a housedress with a pattern that looked very much like this, which she wore while she puttered around doing important things like spying on the neighbors, or placing me in a position to spy on the neighbors for her while she watched Days of Our Lives and ate ice cream.”

p.s. after doing a search for housedress on “Go Fug Yourself” these were the results. Brutally funny, plus another mention of soap operas…

Sarah Jessica Parker talks about Grandma's housedress

August 4, 2010 / Sarah Moore

gaga for gingham

Chanel resort 2011

Chanel resort 2011

I keep seeing more and more gingham in unexpected places (Chanel Resort 2011) and just love it. It reminds me of summer and picnics, but at the same time feels crisp and modern.

Sidenote: The name originates from the Malay word ging-gang, meaning striped, which is how it first showed up to Europe in the 17th century. Starting in the mid-18th century, it was produced by Manchester mills where it was woven into the check pattern associated with it today.


Els Calderers, Majorca- World of Interiors 8/03

San Francisco Decorator's Showcase 2010

San Francisco Decorator's Showcase 2010- photo by David Livingston

Chanel resort 2011

from the book, Country Interiors by Diane Dorran Saeks- farmhouse upstate New York

from the book, Country Interiors by Diane Dorran Saeks- farmhouse upstate New York

Kitchen by Kvanum "California Home & Design Remodeler's Resource"

Kitchen by Kvanum "California Home & Design Remodeler's Resource"

from the book, Interior Transformations by Ann Grafton

from the book, Interior Transformations by Ann Grafton

jackie o - 7x7 cover


from the book, The Givenchy Style by Françoise Mohrt

christopher kane gingham

dress by Christopher Kane

dress by Christopher Kane

dress by Christopher Kane

red & white check gingham


Michael Kors

Michael Kors

from the book, Tiffany Table Settings by Bramhall House

from the book, Tiffany Table Settings by Bramhall House

Brigitte Bardot in wedding dress by Jacques Esterel 1959

last but not least...Brigitte Bardot in wedding dress by Jacques Esterel 1959

August 2, 2010 / Sarah Moore

I <3 bennington gray (too)

Here’s another tribute to a Benjamin Moore paint color: Bennington Gray (HC-82). Seen here in my client’s dining room, it seems perfectly suited with dark-stained furniture. I also felt validated to see almost the same exact color at the restaurant ‘Spruce!’ And I’m thinking this is a vast improvement over the suffocating cherry walls that we covered up… (nothing against red, but in a large, dark space a little much!). Before & afters to come soon…

July 30, 2010 / Sarah Moore

recommended films for costume design (Met exhibit)

While in NYC recently, I stopped by the exhibit “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was amazing! I wish I’d been able to take pictures but the minute I grasped my camera I received a “don’t you dare” look from the docent.

Women Fashion Met

Basically it had 5 rooms, each exploring a decade: “The Heiress/Gibson Girl” (1890’s), the “Bohemian” (early 1900’s), the “Suffragist” and “Patriot” (1910’s), the “Flappers” (1920’s), and lastly the “Screen Sirens” of the 1930’s. In the room were beautiful mannequins, no doubt custom-made just for this exhibit, wildly accessorized and gold-lamed wigs, and exquisite, painted backdrops reflecting the times. My favorites were the dresses Madame Grés and Charles James..and Worth…!

While at the exhibit, obsessed with every part of it and not wanting to leave, I grabbed a program outlining their exhibition programs. One of them involved the screening of six films, each set in a different time period, showcasing the work of “Hollywood’s finest wardrobe masters and mistresses.” While I couldn’t make it to these screenings, I was able to take note of recommended films which I’ve listed below. The only one I’ve already seen is “Somewhere in Time,” which, well, happens to be the most romantic 80’s movie ever, in my opinion of course! (if you haven’t seen it make sure some Kleenex is nearby!). I haven’t seen the others but am adding them to my Netflix account…

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray



Somewhere in Time

Somewhere in Time

Enchanted April

Enchanted April

The Women (1939)

The Women (1939)

The Lady Eve

The Lady Eve

July 28, 2010 / Sarah Moore

John Dilnot and his colorful prints

I saw John Dilnot’s “Weeds and Pests” accordion book in the Curiosity Shoppe on Valencia St. yesterday and could have stared at it for hours. I was very very tempted to bust out the credit card and seal the deal, but when I figured in the cost it would be to have it framed, I talked myself out of it. However, I WAS somehow able to convince myself that I needed a $6 “Yummy Pockets” coinpurse that resembles a taco and no, I don’t regret that purchase.

John Dilnot

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July 28, 2010 / Sarah Moore

another treasure from France (harmonie interieure)

If the walls of Baelen’s room weren’t made of exterior siding, I’d be all over these decals! I also love the watercolor effect of the walls in the rooms, especially the plum color in the first of the series…venetian plaster maybe? p.s. Thank you to Amber for telling me about these. I can’t wait to see your blog ;-)

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