Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Baby = New Room for Big-Sister!

A few months ago I started working with a friend of mine on her house. The primary focal point for our efforts was her guest room that was to be converted to her daughter's new room. Her husband and her were expecting their second child in the beginning of August. The little one arrived on-time and will soon be in her big sister's nursery.

Even though I know my friend and her style I still took her through the design process and worked to pin-point exactly what she liked and didn't like as far as interior design is concerned. We also spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not her daughter, who is currently 2, would be better off switching to a toddler bed, a twin-sized bed or a queen...in the end she made the decision to stick with the crib for now and make the call when her daughter got older. I would definitely be interested in hearing people's stories about when they switched their toddler to a bed and the size you bought and in hind-sight, what you wish you would have done.

Anyway, we went with a lavender/green theme and incorporated a lot of the items from the couple's travels to add meaning to the space.

Of course there was a budget and we ended up coming in below that number by repurposing some existing items. There is a side table of drawers that her mom is refinishing that isn't shown here. She also has a great set of parents that were willing to lend a hand, to also reduce the cost of the overall project. Her parents and herself placed the decal on the back wall - they did a tremendous job!

Before I left the last time we went through and moved some pictures around and rearranged some items to pull the house together a little more and give it a fresh look. It was a lot of fun and really wonderful to work with her and her family on this project! Thank you!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Barbara Barry

On September 14th, as a part of Fashion Week/Fall Into Fabrics at the Design Center, I had the great pleasure of listening to Barbara Barry’s talk about her new line for Kravet. She is quite petite, poised, and funny! During her intro she informed us that she had drank way too much wine the night before at Michael Mina’s restaurant in the St. Francis, Bourbon Steak. She said she found delight in her discovery of “Melt” to help with her hangover. Definitely a different way to start out a talk on her new line.

Here are some of the things that resonated with me.

“You don’t have to be wealthy to lead an elegant life.” - Barbara Barry.
I think this quote fits so well with my slogan: attainable design, with you in mind.

She shared with us a slideshow of her trips to Asia, her line for Kravet is IndoChine and it is 2.5 years in the making. Some of the primary colors: Gold, purple, grey. She sprinkled in greens and blues. Here is her slide show, with her narrating. (The music in the background is kinda cheesy, sorry Ms. Barry...)

One of my favorite pictures - the Chinese Tea Egg.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Here is what the place looked like after the last visit (we aren't 100% done yet)...My mom taught me how to rewire lamps so I rewired three of their lamps in their living room. Their lamps (unbeknownst to them at the time) are worth a lot of money...they're vintage lamps, the sea green lamp has a particular pedigree.


A few months back a designer friend of mine, Jason Wong of Retrograde, introduced me to a family (friends of his) in need of design assistance. At the time, Jason’s plate was too full to help them out. I was flattered for the referral and the confidence he bestowed in me, to help out his friends. He had worked with them previously, check out his post here. Jason had made a lot of great changes but this time the couple was ready to do a little more and wanted a ‘project manager’ to keep on them to ensure that all of the proposed changes were implemented. Upon meeting them, I instantly liked them and identified with their situation. I really believe that a well-designed space is available at nearly any price point. It’s about using your creativity and design-eye to find the right pieces at an attainable price-point. For those of us that live in SF, where we pay way more in rent for a 2 bedroom apartment than the average person living in say…my native Oregon, pays in mortgage for a 3 bedroom home; finding well-priced items for the home is an even more daunting task. BUT, I love a good challenge. The budget that I was presented with was $3-5k, to work on the formal living room, dining room, curtains in the playroom off of the kitchen, the TV room, guest room and as much as we could do in the master bedroom. The dining room and master bedroom are still in progress. The dining room needs a new rug and we need to rearrange some art on the walls.

 Here is what the place looked like when I met with them for the first time…
Next up...what the place looked like after my most recent visit

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mary McDonald

I had a fun time meeting Mary McDonald today at the SF Design Center. She's just as funny (and kinda quirky) as she is on Bravo's "Million Dollar Decorator". I signed up initially because I thought she was going to give a talk but today we found out she was doing a book signing
for her new book, "Interiors: The Allure of Style".
It was also fun because I ran into one of my girlfriends from FIDM, Jill Williams, and was able to learn all about her success since leaving FIDM. Really excited for her. She was with Kerrie Kelly (who she's currently working with) and a number of other people she works with. They were all sweet enough to include me in a picture with them and Mary.
Too bad about the flash, right!? Kerrie is really great - sad that her pretty face was obscured by the flast as well.
When it came to be my turn to have my book signed Mary started it off with singing Dolly Parton's "Jolene" to me - I had to laugh, so funny! I asked her to also include Ava's name so she said, "Ava, such a pretty name. I've always love the name Ava. My dog's name is Ava." I said, "Oh really? How do you spell it?" To which she replied, " E-V-A, everyone always tells me I spelled it wrong and that it's supposed to be A-V-A." We continued talking for a bit about her dogs/spelling and sweet little 18 mo-old, Ava. I left with the following dedication, written in my copy of her book, "To Jolene & Ava, May you have years of design success together! Mary McDonald." Mary has picked Ava's future career for her. ;~)
I had some time to do some shopping between that event and the next event at the SFDC, which was a talk given by Barbara Barry, "The Power of Design". It was truly inspirational! More on that tomorrow!
Good night!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I swear this is Ava's most favorite thing to talk about and say over & over again...funny enough, it's also Nike's and thanks to Weiden & Kennedy, also Michael J. Fox's most recent focus. I read this article today on LinkedIn about the shoes that have been years in the making - in the likeness of the shoes warn by Michael J. Fox in Back 2 the Future...I love that the proceeds benefit Parkinson's.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Power of Color...

I think most people realize that the color of your walls makes one of the largest impacts on a room. However, just in case you're still not convinced, see the images below. These are pictures of my parent's house in Portland.

When Ava and I arrived in March...

Furniture was rearranged to facilitate conversation...the piano was previously blocking the natural conversation circle but she was adamant that the red should stay...

Here are the pictures she sent via text message yesterday, with the new wall color. I love it! I also like that she has listened to me about removing a lot of the family photos - again creating a space for people to imagine themselves living in.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review from a Client

Tonight when I got on Facebook, I saw this most recent review from one of my clients. Working with this family was enjoyable every step of the way.

Here's what Debra had to say:
"With a second baby on the way, I looked around our house and knew I wanted to spend my maternity leave in more comfortable surroundings. We had resisted investing much money previously for a couple of reasons, mostly because we're in a rental and also because we were nervous we'd spend a lot of money and just buy something that we or our kids would ruin anyway.

On a friend's recommendation, we asked Jolene for help and she blew me away at every step. First, she talked to us about what we hoped to improve in our house and she was really listened to us. Then she scouted out some incredibly budget-friendly options in everything from rugs to curtains to furniture, and suggested ways to use what we already had in different parts of the house. She tracked down really interesting items from a whole range of sources, and actually installed a lot of them personally. She has a particular strength in lighting, and not only advised us on (and acquired) different light bulbs that would work best in old fixtures, but also rewired some old lamps for us as well. She was sensitive throughout to the challenge of making the house safe for kids.

Ultimately, Jolene helped us maximize a relatively small budget to improve the whole house. I know without her we would have spent way more money and gotten a lot less for that money. Most importantly, though, she really helped us create the house we were looking for. I'm home all day with my baby now and I couldn't be happier with the place!"

Thankfully, work and life in general, has been busy but nonetheless, I feel bad that I haven't had the opportunity to write about this review. The Firestone family is one of the sweetest, most generous families and working with them has been SO WONDERFUL! Reading what they had to write and Shazia as a comment made my month! I love knowing that people are happier in their home, because of what I helped them achieve.
Andrew Ivana Firestone
"Jolene has created three amazing rooms for us to date, and we plan on adding more. She has an amazing vision that allows for both design and function, and we couldn't be happier with the result.
"3 people like this."
-Shazia Pascal I saw the result, absolutely beautiful! The rooms feel good to be in and not a detail missed! Good job Jolene!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ava - Inspiration for tonight's creativity break

I always thought my need for a creative break was due to my work in Finance...I never imagined that when I switched careers to Interior Design that I would need a creative release.
This week I took advantage of Aaron Brothers One Cent Sale (thank you Miranda for that incredible tip!) and purchased a bunch of canvases. Tonight I painted three of these canvases in a variety of blues - inspired by no other, than Ava. Ava has an affinity to water that is hard to beat. (Yes, that is a nappy, old, sheer-silk curtain under the paintings, against our rug, as my 'drop cloth'...)
One of my favorite parts of the process tonight was my new brush: a 6" wide, Liquitex, Freestyle, brush.
There is something, almost magical, about the way a nice brush feels against a canvas, with just the right amount of paint. Each stroke relaxes you - I definitely understand why art is "therapy" for so many. Which reminds me, if you haven't checked out Creativity Explored, please do so. "...a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art."
One of my most favorite things I've read, over the past few months (& I may be miss-quoting this, but this is how I remember & think of it) : creativity is a wave - if you miss it, it passes right through you but if you catch it - it's an amazing ride...thank you, tonight, for the great ride.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A personal challenge...

Recently our friends, Carey & Renaud, returned from a 6-week+ stint in Paris. After they returned they did a juice cleanse, provided by Juice to You. Carey did a 5 day cleanse and Renaud a 3-day cleanse...thus began Tony's interest...http://juicetoyou.net/ Next thing I know, I'm talking to Charlie, one of the co-owners of the company, on behalf of Tony & I, and we're doing a 3-day juice cleanse.
This past Monday - at 8am, our first day's worth of juice arrived.
The juice is clearly labeled and actually tastes really good. You have 1 juice, every 2 hours...but you start they day with an elixir of algae and end the day with an equal amount of aloe.
One of the biggest surprises to me was how much I use food as a crutch to get me through the tough mental moments of the day. It also surprised me how much I don't get enough of the right foods in my diet...and that I can make it through the day without caffeine. I felt energized throughout the cleanse - a weird sort of body buzz...I highly recommend this cleanse!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Hotbead of Portland, OR - Pink Martini

I had the pleasure of seeing Pink Martini (from Portland, OR) perform last night with the SF Symphony. Unfortunately, the main singer, China Forbes,
was unable to perform due to throat surgery. There is a 98% success rate with the surgery she received...in her place was the very talented Lucy Woodward.
However, as incredible as she was - she learned no less than 5 languages in as many days, to perform with Pink Martini - she was no China. China has a stage presence that is hard to replicate...
Even still, watching Pink Martini perform with the SF Symphony is incredible. If a show can be measured by the amount of times it sends shivers up your spine and down your arms then this show cannot be topped.
I am forever grateful that my good friend, Amber, gets tickets annually for this event. This year, we had the pleasure of enjoying box seats with her wonderful parents.
So, how does this tie into design? I've sat in many different spots throughout the Davies Symphony Hall and every seat results in pretty near to perfect acoustics...how does one design that??? I know that Dolby had a lot to do with the design of Davies but it really is a joy to see a show there. I can only begin to imagine the amount of detail that went into the construction documents!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trimming a shade

Here are a set of before and after pictures showing the effect a simple detail like trim on a shade can have on the overall look of a room...and a few other decorative touches...
(Yes, I know I should have had the light either on or off in both pics - well, I know that now. I'm still working on my before & after. I believe they took pics of the room before we converted from a gender neutral nursery to what you see today.)

This is one of the rooms for a client in Santa Barbara. This room is nearly complete - just one more detail (changing out the hardware on the dresser) to be added to the room.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice - Family Style

Growing up in Portland, OR, the summer solstice (9:03pm sunset) was always a pretty exciting day...the longest day of the year. When I was in London, during college - the day was even longer (9:22pm), then in Seattle, WA(9:22pm), it seemed to last forever. In Minneapolis, MN, also - a sunset of 9:03pm. However, it (the day) is not as exciting in SF. I think part of the reason is because people aren't exiting "the tunnel" as James Michener said. When you live in a place that is dark, more than not, you truly welcome the longest day of the year. However, true to my Portland roots - I made the most of the day...5am wake-up followed by Starbucks, Ava at daycare, meeting at 7:30am (3 lamps to re-wire for a client & couch color/fabric consult), 8-10am kitchen remodel - as-built measurements, a visit to Roche Bobois, lunch with a design colleague, a visit with a friend and meeting her new baby, and a definite highlight - picking up Ava, with Tony, to take her to Fort Mason and enjoy the heat and sunshine! We've had such a long winter, this week is incredible.
Happy Summer Solstice!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!!

To all the dads out there - I hope you had a very special day!
A seriously involved daddy, Tony!
Family time at the zoo:
And a dinner courtesy of another great dad, in addition to Tony...it tasted even better than it looks! Thanks Andrew!