Friday, February 26, 2010

Moving On

Another weekend of hard labor (husband, son, daughter in law and me) and things are progressing. The boys worked on the bar in the kitchen & installing the master tub. I worked on the aforementioned cabinets flanking the fireplace. I wanted to paint them a gray washed white but it wasn’t meant to be. Instead I sanded and distressed the existing dark walnut finish and applied a briwax finish (in ebony) on top to tone it down and add depth. Colin replaced the ply board backs with tongue and groove boards which did wonders for the overall appearance. This is what they looked like before:

This is what they look like after finishing and a little staging (with what we had available)

The living area is not overly spacious so in order to maximize the seating I ordered two of these chairs from Dovetail Furniture. They are only 25 x 24 x 36. I will replace the cushions with thicker down envelope cushions for comfort.

Rachel Slip covered sofas have been ordered from Best Slipcover Company in Glynn Linen English Green

Fabulous coffee table by Dovetail Furniture

Parquet reclaimed wood top console also by Dovetail Furniture

I am pondering the idea of this rug under the coffee table from ebay. What do you think?

You can buy it here:

You may have noticed a similar one in the home that had the blog world ablaze, the home of Jill Brinson, stylist for Ballard Designs. You can view her home in the House Beautiful Dec/Jan issue, or listen to the ladies of the Skirted Roundtable chat with Stephen Drucker Editor-In-Chief of House Beautiful here:

Or read the tete a tete between Joni Webb, and Valorie, of the Visual Vamp,

I think this rug would look great with the cowtan & tout livingstone fabric

What do you think?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Progress and Diversion

In my last post I promised to highlight some of the finishes and details that we would have to live with and those that we could afford to change. Even though we have been working like dogs, I am not sure there is anything really camera ready as of yet. I would really rather be here.....

(photo courtesy of Terry Hoage vineyards website)
photo courtesy Terry Hoage Vineyards

...sampling one of the fabulous Rhone Varietals they have to offer

“Terry Hoage Vineyards is a small family owned and operated vineyard and boutique winery focusing exclusively on Rhone varietals. Located in the western hills of Paso Robles, our special climate, terroir, fastidious, sustainable farming practices and low yields produce exceptional fruit that is forward and focused. Terry and Jennifer's winemaking approach is to produce minimally processed wines. The 2100 case production includes estate red and white Rhone style wines. Varietals planted on our estate include Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, Cinsault, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc and Roussanne”.

photo courtesy Terry Hoage Vineyards

If you google Terry Hoage you will find that he’s an NFF College Hall of Fame inductee and was a standout Georgia defensive back. He went on to become a 13 year veteran of the NFL. All of this is interesting fodder since the names of the wines he and his wife Jennifer produce reflect his football background. That tidbit aside the quality of the wines are amazing.

Here is a picture of my family Harvest Weekend in front of the winery (consequently a barn that was dismantled in Texas & reconstructed on site). For more information about Harvest Weekend go here:

Now that we are all dreaming of great wine...back to the progress at Villa Cantina...

When we purchased the home this is what the kitchen and dining area looked like

As I stated previously I am not loving the kitchen cabinetry. They are what they are for now however. Since they have sort of an industrial feel to them I thought these fabulous cooper draftsman stools from Wisteria might give it a more current industrial/chic look

You can find these at:

The light fixture was another bone of contention. I was hoping for a nice French/European looking lantern but most were out of my price range for this project. Pottery Barn had these great table top lanterns

I consulted my electrician/contractor/artisan husband and son team to see if we could turn the large one into a light fixture for above the dining room table. They gave me “the look” but I knew they could do it. I salvaged some old parts from a hanging light fixture from another job and they worked their magic and created this:

The dining area previously had a square table & chairs which repeated the ceiling and floor pattern but made the dining area appear smaller than it actually is. I purchased the rectangular table and chairs from Dovetail Furniture( and I think the space is looking more “spacious”!

Hopefully in my next post I will add a picture of the completed concrete counter top that was to mirror limestone (that’s another story). In the meantime here is my latest source of inspiration from one of my favorite bloggers, Brook Giannetti of Velvet and Linen ( We have these overly manufactured looking cabinets flanking the fireplace. Brooke recently posted this picture of her cabinets flanking her fireplace in her recently updated family room. Is this lovely or what? I wonder if I could paint the backs of these awful cabinets and come up with something that would mimic her fabulous cabinets?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

From The Balcony

When nature plays a starring role in a project, I love to see the colors and materials of nature reflected in the interior as well as the exterior. Like a beach house that mirrors the colors of sand and sea...

As in this lovely Hamptons home by Stephen Gambrel

Or a Mountain Retreat that echoes the trees and hills. See the colors and materials bind the interior to the out of doors.
Bobby McAlpine "cabin" courtesy of British House and Garden

In Winter (provided it rains in California), the view from the balcony of Villa Cantina is a blanket of velvety greens. The landscape is dotted with the gray greens of the moss draped

If the project started from scratch and the budget were unlimited, I would like Villa Cantina
to look more like this

Interiors by the fabulous Suzanne Kasler

But the challenge of working with existing finishes and a limited budget can be just as rewarding.
Cowtan & Tout Livingstone, Covington Glynn Linen Hemp, Old Bank Bag Pillow Cindy Hattersley Design

Here is a peak at Villa Cantina as she cureently is from the outside. In the days ahead I will show you some of the existing finishes and materials that we will keep and the ones we can afford to change.

In the meantime go to
for a recent article about the area in the San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Animals and an Animal Print for Inspiration

Villa Cantina has great bones but there are a few things that I am not crazy about. The kitchen cabinetry is not very interesting. She (Villa Cantina) is for the most part a traditional meditteranean, with a few tweaks here and there. Hence in choosing finishes, furniture, art and fabrics...the tweeks (ie cabinets) had to be taken into account when considering the overall design. Perhaps they will get a painted finish at some point but for now the have to be dealt with as they are. We are trying to accomplish a beautiful design on a budget. When I begin a project I start with a source of inspiration. It might be a beautiful antique piece, a rug, a great fabric, or even a finish. For Villa Cantina it was a painting that was a gift from our children, and a memo sample from one of my favorite fabric houses Cowtan & Tout.
Painting purchased at: Wisteria Antiques ( one of my favorite local haunts)

Cowtan & Tout # F1406-04 Livingstone (Brown)
The Cowtan fabric has to be my splurge fabric on this project, all other fabrics need to have a great look but be economical as well.
Villa Cantinas stronges virtue is the amazing vista off the main balcony. In my next post I will show the importance of bringing the outside in by incorporating the colors of the neighboring landscape.