Cali Part 1: Redondo Beach

In case you hadn't heard NYC was hit with the largest snowfall in January since 1925, totaling 19 inches.  Not to mention, last week we had the most below-frigid day of 7 degrees, and now with another snow storm brewing tonight/ tomorrow I am in dire need of some very warm thoughts!   With that said, I decided to pull up my travel pics from a trip to California this past summer.  I love looking back at trip pictures, especially to see what I was most interested in and what caught my eye at the time....like the below piece, which I'll explain further in a bit.
For the most part after viewing all my inspiration pics, I would say 99% of the time always still like everything that I had found too.  This actually is a great test if you are a person who constantly buys trend-driven pieces...next time snap a photo of the item and sit with it for a week or two.  Let it marinate, then decide if you can really live without it.  The pictures always rejog my memory and then without fail, spike the creative juices for any project I'm currently working on.  That's why I'm loving this blog so much too, because in a way I'm composing a photo journal of inspiration.

Now finally to Redondo Beach!  To give you a little geographical perspective Redondo Beach is south of Santa Monica but north of San Diego.  It's a small little beach town right near Hermosa and Manhattan beach.  

So the first stop was called Le Garage and they were having an amazing sale when I popped in.  It doesn't look like much from the outside but sometimes those are the ones with the best stuff and in this case it was true!

They had tons of great farm tables (like the one below).  I loved the tin-like sheet metal top to it with hammered studs around the perimter.

They also had a large selection of Parisian-inspired clocks clustered together on a Wainscoting wall.  These were really good imitations of vintage clocks.  Normally I tend to stray away from reproductions and prefer to go for old and authentic but these were really tastefully done, excellent quality and all under $60!

I was hired by a friend to consult on some pieces for her new apartment so it was a lot of fun to keep her in mind when I was shopping during this trip.  She had mentioned wanting a large wall clock for the kitchen and a rustic farm table (appropriately sized for a NY apt though).  I thought I had hit the jackpot in this store.  The below table was perfect!  Very rustic but new, painted and hand sanded to look a bit worn, in a perfect washed-out grey hue.  It was on sale from $375 to $224 and then with the clock and shipping & handling for both from CA->BK it was going to cost less than $450!  I don't think my client ever pulled the trigger on these pieces and a part of me regrets not buying them myself for resale or a future project.  Times like these really make me wish I had a warehouse space so I could unleash my inner hoarder ;).

And last but definitely not least, check out the beautiful apothecary cabinet they had...you know what a sucker I am for these!  I went ga-ga for the faux finish it had in the washed-out robins egg color with rubbed out spots made to look aged and a touch rusty.  It is awesome!

The next shop shop I ventured in was called Fringe.  It was a street off the beach right in Redondo- such a prime location!
It had a very 'beachy glam' feel to it- lots of shells and sea-inspired finds from furniture & home accessories to jewelry and gift items.  They also sells sofas with custom slipcovers; prices start at $975 and rise depending on fabric and fill. The floor sample pictured here was on sale for $895. The store also had a large selction of really unique pillows as you can see below. The embroidered linen octopus one was $48 (insert included) and the larger red coral one was $58 (insert included). 

They have beautiful natural bedding but my favorite finds were the decor and accesories.

This was one of my favorite finds...a drippy glass chandelier.

I love when weathered items are re-purposed.  This is a wall candelabra that looks like it's made from an banister pole split in half- such a great statement piece!  

I can't stay away from glass base lamps with natural shades.  Lots of companies make them and I haven't found one I don't like!

Again here, this is re-purposing at it's best.  This was an old intricate iron gate that would make a stunning headboard to a bed or for a huge impact as a hi-back decorative element to a bench seat in an entryway.

I'll end on that note and hope it'll keep you wanting more :).  Be on the lookout for "Part 2: Venice Beach" in the next couple of days!


Mixing whites...

Everyone loves white in the home but it isn't always so practical.  It dirties so easily and sometimes reads way too stark...at least until now!  Here's some stylish & effective ways to incorporate white in the home...

1) Mix your neutrals!

If you are a white lover make sure to choose different shades of whites, creams, and ivorys.  You will never be able to match whites perfectly- every one is so different so be sure to layer them all.  Don't be afraid to mix your neutrals!

2) Apply Scotch Gard!

It's my #1 trick!  I have had a light cream chair for about 5 years now and have sprayed it with Scotch Gard only once or twice and I swear it's kept it practically as new as the day I bought it.  It's a dream tool... you can spray pillows, chairs, sofas, rugs, etc!  It helps prevent spills from penetrating and color and dirt on clothes from rubbing off onto the surface.  I know I sound like an infomercial right now but trust me, it's a must-have to keep on hand in your home if you have any light colored textiles.  I highly recommend getting-down with your inner-granny and purchasing a can asap! :)

3) Mix whites w/ earth tones

Mixing white with earth tones can seriously up the chic-factor.  Especially those in the grey, clay and putty families.  The earth tones help add a warm factor to the white, which can sometimes can come off with a very sterile feel, especially if there's not enough soft-scaping going on.  

4) Add a pop color with white

Adding a pop color really sets off the white.  It makes the white feel very stark, almost like a blank canvas.  This really conveys a feeling of playfulness and can up the young factor.  This is great if you love modern design or are decorating a child's room.

And here are some of my favorite white furniture & decor pieces out in the market today (*note, each is a different shade of white)...

Here's to longer lasting whites and lots of mixing & matching!



Agate is quite popular these days, especially in home decor.  It's a type of quartz, characterized by it's grain, found in rocks.  I remember flying home from Las Vegas two years ago and on the way to the airport there was this random science & geology shop, I'm sure you've seen similar ones in kiosks in your local mall.  And through the window there were these large half-moon shaped rocks calling out to me.  I ducked in to check them out and realized they were a pair of bookends made from agate and I had to have a set.  They were so reasonable, something ridiculous, like $30 for the pair.  James thought they were weird and immediately nixed :(.

A year later I vividly remember sending him the link to an exact pair (like the one's below) on Anthropologie's website for somewhere around $300!  I could have killed him, lol!

Since that trip I have managed quite well to find myself amongst an agate or two in my own home.

The first thing that has long since replaced my need for agate bookends was from my brother as house-warming gift when we first moved into our 1 bedroom, "the mansion".  It's a beautiful piece of amethyst dipped in silver which created the base-like stand for it.    He found it at an antique shop in PA and it's absolutely one of my most favorite pieces of decor we own.

Also found in PA, at a local gift shop is this small piece of agate that I have in a bell jar on my entryway table.  I love how every piece of agate is so different in color and the grain.  I think putting anything unexpected under a bell jar automatically makes it seem more interesting too. 

Found at the same small gift shop in PA as the piece of agate, also was this small ring holder.  Made by a local craftsman, it is pieces of glass melted to create this kaleidoscope-looking tiny bowl.  I picked up one for my design-bestie that complimented her gorgeous yellow sapphire engagement ring and it always warms my heart to see it sitting on her bathroom vanity.  Her husband even puts his wedding band in it too! :)

Next I need to give my momma a more than well deserved shout-out now!  If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have nearly even a quarter of the inspiration and creative spirit I do today.  My mom's an avid flea market and thrift store shopper, at this point she really is a pro.  The finds she picks up are incredible.  To name a few as of late, she's found a Cynthia Vincent dress for $10, Justin boots for $10 and a tailored super chic long black blazer for $10 which later she found a $10 bill in the pocket!  She recently told me she had watched an episode of 'What Not To Wear' and Stacy London, our fave, was wearing this neat large statement necklace made out of three black agate stones.    She remembered that she had purchased a handful of agate pieces just like the ones in Stacy's necklace at a thrift shop for a $0.99 a piece!  She had bought them to resell in her booth at the local antique mall, figuring someone might be creative enough to use them as coasters.

But after seeing Stacy's necklace she immediately jumped in her car and drove to the mall in hopes they were still there.  She grabbed the 3 brown ones she had bought (she knows I wear way more brown than black) and then took them to her local jeweler where she selected a vintage gold chain and worked with him to create a necklace just like Stacy's on TV.  It's seriously my absolute favorite Xmas present to date and most favorite piece of jewelry I own.  It's so me, I love the story and creativity behind it and every time I wear it I feel like I'm wearing a piece of home decor and have a constant reminder around my neck to keep focused and to have patience while pursuing my dream.

Isn't it cool?...cost a total of $28 too!

I've found lots of other beautiful home accessories made from agate and precious stones lately.  Check 'em out!


 Picture frames...
Quartz and crystal bottle stoppers...

Crystal and gold/ silver serving trays...
 And glass & agate napkin rings...

Unfortunately I think I've reached my quota for these in my own home but am excited at all the possibilities I now have for upcoming projects!  Be on the lookout for these for your own home, they really can be found everywhere from antique and thrift stores to shopping malls and even Vegas hotel shops!