Lately I've been giving you little sneak peeks of a beautiful chinoiserie living room I'm working on.  The project began with a kitchen remodel last summer, which my sweet client (who has now become a friend) described as having "changed her entire life." :)  Hooray!  How much do we love hearing that!?

So eventually the project expanded to include to the breakfast nook, and the living room, and now it's time to make some design decisions for the dining room.  We recently purchased a stunning Milo Baughman burlwood china cabinet to sit alongside a vintage Heywood Wakefield dining set. 

The china cabinet is actually a 2-piece unit that could one day be used as a credenza like in this beautiful vignette ...
(all photos via our project pinterest board)

My client is British though, so she wants to use the full hutch to display her china of course!

The burled wood is just gorgeous.  A word of advice ... if you ever come upon some vintage burlwood furniture for a deal, buy it!  It's so special, and always a showstopper that works with almost any style of decor.  Just look!

I especially love the warm, glowing, honey wood tones paired with a restrained black and white color palette ...

See what I mean?  That leopard spot + burlwood combo is hot!

Which brings me to the classic and much-adored Brunschwig and Fils "Les Touches" fabric.  I'm thinking it might be just the thing to put on our dining room chairs.  We already have a lot of color and pattern going on in the living room and breakfast nook which adjoin the dining room on either side, so the fabric we use on the dining chairs needs to be a "bridge" fabric.  Something a bit neutral, without being boring.

Remember my last post about mixing and matching prints and patterns where I talked about leopard spots acting as a neutral when paired with other prints?  I think "Les Touches" may be my answer.  How pretty are all these leopard spot fabrics in these rooms!? 

(all photos via our project pinterest board)

In fact does anyone know what fabric this is in this dining room?  I'd love to know!

Yearning for that iconic "Les Touches" look?  It doesn't come cheap, so just for fun I rounded up a bunch of lookalikes at all different price points.

 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 
5 // 6 // 7 // 8

My fabric swatches are on the way!


One of the aspects of design that seems to befuddle my clients the most is knowing how to (and how not to) mix prints and patterns in their decor.

So I'm going to try to demystify the process a bit here and give you 3 rules to follow that should help you dare to mix, but also keep you in line!

Here are the basic rules, with a ton of examples and further explanation down below.

Scale is one of the most important things to consider when mixing prints.  Make sure that the various prints you are mixing are of noticeably different scale.

It turns out that more linear prints with a lot of structured repetition like stripes, dots, geometrics, checks, and plaids can actually be used as a grounding, neutral element when combined with looser, showier prints like florals, paisleys, or ikats.

When mixing prints and patterns you should stay within a fairly defined color palette to keep it from going all the way to crazy town.

Here's an example of scale.  The combo below works because the big, loose, floral pattern on the drapes is a much larger scale than the stylized geometric print on the chair. You'll even notice how the tiny crosshatch pattern on the lamp suits the vignette.

This pillow combo mixes scale and pattern.  The large scale floral pillow below is set off nicely by the large scale geometric behind it.  The reason we can get away with 4 entirely different prints here is that the small scale prints complement rather than compete with the large scale prints.

See how the striped pillow here provides a needed visual break (i.e. acts as a neutral) between the two botanical prints?

design by Lauren Liess
In this pulled-out shot you see that she actually throws in even more patterns because she can (she does it so well, that Lauren Liess.)  Suddenly a stripe, some geometrics, and a couple of paisleys join the party.

design by Lauren Liess
In this bedroom a floral and stripe combo look great ...

Here we have a tight paisley print,  a big, loose fig leaf print, a large-scale geometric rug, and polka dots, all working seamlessly together because if you check, it follows all 3 rules.

More floral prints combined with various geometrics ....

See how the linear quality of the chevron stripe here contrasts perfectly rather than competes with the big, loopy, stylized floral print on the settee?

Here a floral, a leopard spot, and a stripe all work harmoniously together because of the restrained blue and white color palette ...

 Same principle in effect here ...

This living room does everything right.  It varies the scale,  contrasts the types of patterns, and keeps it all within a defined color scheme ...

Same here ...

Geometric, floral, large buffalo check, and a tribal textile.  It all works!  Are you getting the picture?

A ton of pattern, but it's working!

The tight, small-scale floral wallpaper here doesn't compete with the much larger scale floral, and the stripe ties in just fine ...

So!  Did this give you a little shot of courage?  I think once you take a second to deconstruct why each of these spaces work, and realize that they're all following my 3 simple rules for mixing, you start to notice the pattern (pun intended!)

Happy Monday and Martin Luther King day to you.  May you mark it in some way by the remembrance of his life.  In fact here's a little clip of my absolute favorite Nina Simone song titled "The King of Love is Dead."  She sang it live to her audience 3 days after his assassination, and it never fails to give me chills and move me to tears.  So beautiful.
click on image to watch clip


We decided to hit the re-set button after all the decadence of the holidays with a week-long juice cleanse.  It's been both euphoric at moments and tough at times too.

Tomorrow is our last day on it and I found that today my energy and focus completely tanked.  Which is to say that I started and failed to finish no less than 3 blog posts on various topics ... and then I gave up and decided to just tell you why I'm useless at putting together coherent sentences today!

The thing about fasting on really high quality fruit and vegetables is that you don't get hungry because you're continually drinking such mega nutrient-rich juices.  You might crave a plate of food that you can sink your teeth into, but you're never technically starving.  In fact I'd definitely say I've been better-nourished on this cleanse than I am in my regular solid food routine, and I eat pretty well in general.

Which doesn't mean that cleansing is all smooth sailing.  It's also about detoxing, which can leave you feeling a bit foggy.  Days 1 through 3 I felt amazing, had great energy, noticed my skin glowing a bit more ... today I felt like lying around all day.  It's all part of it.

Just in case you're an interested Angeleno, we picked Moon Juice for our cleanse because the quality is amazing (I've frequented their shop in Silverlake a handful of times and their juices stand out...cold-pressed, certified organic and totally unpasteurized), their prices are on par with all the other pressed juiceries around here, and they deliver to our doorstep each morning for free!  That last part sealed the deal.  It just makes the whole thing so easy.

So that's what's up here.  I hope you have a great holiday weekend.  Monday being MLK Day I'm hoping to get to see the new film "Selma," which I've heard is amazing.  I'll be back next week talking about mixing prints and patterns, and how leopard is really a neutral!


Just a quick shopping tip for you today.  I blogged last week about a great tribal-style wool rug I used in my Little Tokyo loft project, and I told you I had a couple Moroccan rug sources up my sleeve as well, so here ya go!

Awhile ago I worked up an e-design mood board for a client in the Bay Area, on which I sourced a colorful 100% wool shaggy Moroccan-style rug from Cost Plus World Market.  I thought it looked great with the navy blue sofa in their mocked-up living room ...

When I went to see it in person to check out the quality I was really happy with it!  I love the orange and magenta color combo and the pattern is great.  It's $600 for a 6x9 which isn't nothing, but it's actually pretty affordable in the world of Moroccan-style rugs.

Alas, come to find out (just now) that this rug is no longer for sale online, but I happen to know that stores still have stock because I just saw it there 2 days ago, so if it's up your alley then get thee to a World Market stat!

The other shaggy wool rug from World Market that I'm liking right now is this flokati number with a kilim border.

Again, $600 for a 6x9 so not too bad, and these things tend to go on sale frequently at World Market.  Remember that you can always layer a smaller rug over a large jute rug if you're looking for size!

Design bloggers have written volumes about the classic black & white Beni Ourain rugs and where to find knock-offs, so I won't re-invent the wheel here. 

But I will lift a list straight from Apartment Therapy of some good options, all under $1000:

1. Kasbah Wool Rug, $899 for an 8x10 (other sizes available), from West Elm
2. Riad Wool Rug, $899 for an 8x10 (other sizes available), from West Elm
3. Threshold Criss Cross Fleece Rug, $249.99 for a 7x10 (other sizes available), from Target
4. Moroccan Shag Rug, $599.99 for a 8x10 (other sizes available), from World Market
5. Rashida Textured Rug, $540 for a 6x9, from Domino
6. Kita Textured Rug, $772 for a 6x9, from Domino
7. Moroccan Beige Rug, $352 for a 5x8 (other sizes available), from Rugs USA
8. Casablanca Ivory Rug, $764 for a 4'7" by 6'7", from Rugs USA



I have a lot of architectural design minutiae buzzing around in my head right now as I finalize the details of our upcoming house remodel.  One element I really love and am hoping I can incorporate into the new house is transom windows above the interior doorways (we're still figuring out our interior elevations, whether we'll have the ceiling height, etc.)

Any trick that helps spill natural light from brighter areas to more dimly-lit zones is a genius move.  Plus, they add a ton of architectural charm! 

Often times in the design and building process there are so many little details like this that don't cost a whole lot extra to do, but pack a lot of design punch.

Aren't these transoms just so pretty?  They can be done in a very classic way with lots of detailed molding, or in a more modern way with a simpler approach to the trim.

(all photos via here)

A little Monday morning inspiration for you.  And we're off and running!



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