I suspect everyone is a fan of the movie, “Casablanca,” its exotic location, its air of romance, mystery and luxuriousness. The juxtaposition of bright colors of the bazaar and soft desert light, and the combination of African, Arab and Mediterranean styles create a powerful and dreamy motif.

Natural light is part and parcel of healthy living. If you have a lot of light and windows in your home, you certainly want to take advantage of them. Better still, if you have a window with a view, you really want to preserve that! Sometimes, though, you run up against the design challenge …

A rug can anchor a room, define it, add warmth, and help layer a room’s decor.

Before you decide to remodel or redecorate, it makes great sense to consider creating a visual representation of a room layout. A floor plan is a horizontal cut of the space as viewed from above. I have had many clients say that just rearranging the furniture has given them a whole new lease…

Sometimes, I dream not just in color but about color. I know that may seem strange, but sometimes my best ideas come to me in my dreams.

By far, the most popular remodel on every homeowner’s wish list is the kitchen. Anyone who has ever done or attempted this task is familiar with the dizzying array of choices and decisions to be made, not to mention the budget-busting attributes of our most sought-after features. A kitchen r…

Spring is on the horizon, if painfully slowly. Our gardens will soon be blooming, and in addition to fresh cut flowers on our table, using floral patterns in decorating is fresh. The trick is how to use this timeless design without making it feel like your grandmother’s room.

One of the hottest trends in interior design today is blended living space. Blurring the boundaries between inside and outside is especially desirable in the beautiful Napa Valley. Most times of the year, we live in a climate that is absolutely perfect for it. We can strive to establish a st…

I am always on the lookout for cutting-edge ideas in interior design. Cutting edge is sometimes defined as “newest, most advanced version of a product or service.” But it can also mean just really great creative and innovative concepts.

Designing your space is a very personal experience. If you are thinking about hiring an interior designer, or if you are just thinking about making some changes or redesigning your space yourself, there are a number of questions you should ask the designer, or yourself.

As we turn our thoughts to the coming new year, it is time to think about refreshing and reshaping our nests and creating a tranquil and serene environment as a counterpoint to these unsettled times. We want to cocoon ourselves in inviting spaces where one can escape and relax.

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Looking for inspiration for your holiday desserts? Look to artists, says Stephen Durfee, longtime instructor in the baking and pastry program at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.

As we enter the apex of the holiday season, our thoughts are drawn to feathering our nest. Apart from holiday specific decorations, the right accessories can make the difference between a boring and an inviting home to your guests.

Women know about the power of the LBD—“Little Black Dress.” It can be relied upon for any function, casual or fancy. Many of us feel black is our best color when it comes to dressing. It’s versatile and universally flattering.

Like many recovering from this year’s national election shock, I have been thinking about the “bubbles” we live in, particularly in Napa and in California.

Sometimes, a house can have great bones, but if you are just dealing with large rectangular rooms, there is not much excitement to them. Think of walls as objects for adornment. Anyone can have blank slate of white walls to act as the backdrop for their room’s décor. But why not have the wal…

If you have ever searched through home decorating books and websites for ideas, you can easily feel overwhelmed. If you are, you are not alone. When it comes to patterns and prints specifically, there are endless possibilities. However, it might be helpful to know that there are standard and…

Julie Andrews had “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.” Oprah had “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” Now, here are a few of my favorite things:

If you live and/or work in Napa Valley, one way or another you will visit our hotels, restaurants and tasting rooms. In case you haven’t noticed, there is a flurry of new or remodeling construction going on in the hospitality industry. I find it very interesting to take stock of the new dire…

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Do women and men have different tastes in home decor? The stereotypes that women are drawn to pinks and frills and men preferring the “man cave” look, are probably no more true than the myth that leprechauns have a hidden pot of gold under the rainbow.

In my last column, I wrote about “good taste,” a somewhat elusive concept in interior design. Today, I would like to talk about “elegance” in design, a potentially equally elusive idea.

Many people think good taste is in the eye of the beholder, and to some extent that is true. But what makes “good taste,” and is “bad taste” really something to be avoided?

We all know how exciting it is to see a “showstopper” home. You know what I mean: a home, of which there are many here in the valley, that has that “wow” factor. Maybe it’s the sheer size of the residence, but sometimes it is an important attribute like a water feature, a spectacular view, a…

In interior design, we always strive to strike the perfect balance: between hard and soft, casualness and formality, form and function. Think of balance as a state of equilibrium that may be achieved in a variety of ways.

Have you ever been to a restaurant or a tasting room and you can’t hear what the person next to you is saying? Do you like to go to a loud bar or eatery for the excitement it generates, but could not imagine experiencing the same volume level in your home (or your neighbor's home)?

I recently returned from a trip to Europe. Soaking in the texture of the local sites was enriching and inspiring. It would be so great to take a little bit of the places we visit on vacation home with us, but on the other hand, you can simply borrow some of the best elements and bring them i…

The type of window treatments you use in your home can have a big impact on the interior decor of your place. They can also be a little expensive, making us put off dressing our windows. The vast choices available can be daunting as well.

I am sure we are not finished with the welcomed rains of winter, but I am looking forward to warmer weather and another spring in Napa.

Some of you may be familiar with a set of questions, popularly known as the “Proust Questionnaire,” originating from publications of the French author Marcel Proust at the end of the 19th century. It is a personality test of sorts and Proust was famous for having answered these questions at …

If you were asked “What are the top three challenges presented by a residential design project,?” what would your answers be?

In any industry, professionals must stay on top of trends, new products and changing tastes. Whether in commercial or residential settings, trends do change, and keeping up to date is essential.

I am often asked about rules of thumb and standard measurements for design layout. How high should a light fixture be hung? What is the right proportion of a rug to a couch? What is the right distance between a seating area and a TV?

Social responsibility is a term that is used in many contexts and has varied in popularity throughout history. Today, it is indeed popular, but can mean different things in different contexts.

We recently went shopping for a new mattress. Some experts say you should get a new mattress and box spring every five to seven years, others say every 10 years. Ours was 15 years old with lumps everywhere. So it was definitely time.

As 2015 comes to a close, I think we can all agree it has been a pretty tumultuous and eventful year. From war-torn refugees immigrating en masse to all parts of the globe, to the horrible tragedies of mass shootings, we could all use a little peace and serenity in 2016. On a brighter note, …

I’d like to debunk some myths about the design process. Regardless of the scope or magnitude of a project, (from demolition to furnishings), or level of complexity, the design process is not usually conducted by a lone designer sitting in a room coming up with a grand idea.

As we recover from perhaps a little too much dietary excess over Thanksgiving and turn our thoughts to other immoderations of the holiday season, it is natural to think about indulging in treating ourselves to a home décor splurge.

The holiday season has begun. No sooner did we get through Halloween than Thanksgiving is upon us. Besides the usual advice about colorful centerpieces and turkey-themed décor, what else can you do to get ready for this festive time of year?

Fabric is used in interior design in many different ways: upholstered furniture, window treatments, in bedding and linens, and even in artwork. What do the different types of fabric names you see mean, how are they used, and how well do they perform in their different roles? Do you know dama…

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Interior designers often talk about adding texture to a decorating scheme. Texture is an important aspect of design, but is often overlooked. It is also little understood, or thought about singularly, like adding one fuzzy throw. When used comprehensively and properly, ensuring a room has te…

Years ago, I read a wonderful book called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. In it, the author argued that many of us longed for but did not know how to tap into our own inspiration. If we wished we were more creative, or even if we did not think we are particularly creative, there were wa…

We may not experience the cooler temperatures that will be coming to a lot of the country in the next two months, but fall is coming to Napa. We have our own special way of decorating to mark these harvest months.

Napa is blessed with many historic homes, large and small with a multitude of periods and styles represented.

Whether we care about following fashion or marching to our own drum, there are definite trends in decorating that you will see in the year ahead. Some may appeal to you and some others, maybe not. Here is a list of what tastemakers are saying will be hot in the year ahead.

If you are in the mood for simple and easy remodeling or updating, but your pocketbook isn’t, there are inexpensive ways to get that refresh you want without breaking the bank. Here are some uncomplicated ways to enhance any space in your house.

You are unique, with your own personality, and so is your home. When remodeling or improving, don’t settle for ordinary — go for the extraordinary.

The famous interior designer, John Saladino recently said: “When you see a room for the first time, your blood pressure should go up. I like to create an emotional experience. A well-designed space doesn’t give out its secrets right away. It should never bore you or feel dated.”

Have you ever been to a restaurant or a tasting room and you can’t hear what the person next to you is saying? Do you like to go to a loud bar or eatery for the excitement it generates, but could not imagine experiencing the same volume level in your home (or your neighbor’s home)?

Every year, Pantone, the authority on color and color systems, names a color of the year. This year, the color of the year is “Marsala18-1438,” which it describes as “a naturally robust and earthy wine red. Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls… The impactful, full-bodied qualities of…

There may be a space in your home or business that may be a little small and you want to appear larger. Just because it is small, doesn’t mean the room should be without style and functionality.

Spring has come to wine country. Sun-filled days, blooming trees, flowers, and vines, hikes, events — and wine! Out with the old, in with the new? How about both?!

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