Is it fun, or a massive pain? A pain! But hard to stop doing. At any rate, I'm always collecting decorating information, so here it is. Our decorating approach is kindly called "eclectic," by the way, which translates into: "classical antiques, wierd primitive stuff, more books than you're ever seen, and the holes filled in by Z Gallery and Ikea. (I love furniture that I can assemble. Unfortunately, I'm getting a bit old for it.) On the other hand, as a forty-something with a three year old, I'm really not in the "let's collect expensive stuff" part of my life right now, you know? I'm in the "will it get wrecked if a fire engine is driven over it" part of my life.
I think that our favorite furniture place is Eclexion Furniture in Mill Valley. 415-381-9095. (We've got that Bobo decorating thing going)
For inexpensive chairs, try Ambiente in San Francisco. Great if you want chairs that your kids can murder and you won't mind.
My husband and I have been buying oriental rugs for about 20 years now, but we really like some of the rugs that we picked up at ... California Carpet! Makes me laugh. All that time spent in small rug stores throughout the years and heck -- we could have gone to the mall. [this is a joke, folks] But seriously. We have no shopping focus right now. Remember when you were in your twenties and/or just married and you'd go out every weekend for months looking for the perfect [insert X]? Well, forget it. We have a life to live but we want stuff that we like.
At any rate, We have a L-shaped hallway and we bought runners and had them sew the pieces together so it fits the hallway perfectly. Works great and I managed to get it done with a four month old. What's not to like?
Also, I found some really pretty rugs there. Hey, we've all got kids, don't we? Although some of us are dumb enough to put the chinese white silk rugs in the kid's playroom, there's no need to! (And we unfortunately have to be extremely careful with the playdoh and no paints, etc. in the playroom, although I personally never liked that rug.) White silk. Hmmph. Wimpy. (Came with the husband.) Did I mention this before?
For runners, the San Carlos store on 695 Industrial Road is fine. For the other rugs, go to San Francisco. They have a huge store up there.
I had Upholstery Solutions come and reupholster some chairs and an ottoman a couple of years ago, and they did an absolutely stunning job. Very expensive. I would NOT recommend that you hire them to clean your couch. I paid them $600 to clean my couch, and could have gotten it done for a lot less -- plus I had thought that they would replace some of the scrunched down pads, and that wasn't what they were talking about... not fun. But the chairs look grand. (As should they, for about $1000 apiece.) They are in San Francisco, 650-589-8004 and they come to your house in a littletruck and get yoru chairs, then deliver them again.
Since the stereo store in Palo Alto closed, a bunch of geeky audiophile types have been bummed. Well, here's another store: Future Sound on 851 California Drive, Burlingame 650-342-1476. Nice stuff.
Atherton appliance and no, we weren't impressed. The sales guy lied to us about availability and I think it took about 10 months to get our stove. Of course, that was during the boom, and warehouses are probably bursting at the seams now. Atherton appliance has the best selection (the one on Veterans),and a good display center.
Installed by PBR Appliance Installations. San Bruno, CA 650-616-8470. Did a good job.
Fanshack seems to have pretty good prices and to be a good place. On the other hand, I found the fan I wanted one day when I went to Home Expo to get some handles! They were having a fan sale (be still my heart), which is rare on Expo turf. BTW, I like the Fanimation fans.
I use California Paint. I do NOT use the paint store in Menlo park on El Camino. I have seen them use their newfangled computer to make paint which didn't match the paint chip (from the manufacturer) at all.
I'm getting a lot better at paint. We have a pretty good house and I was 8 months pregnant, I couldn't stand, and it was over 100 degrees the first time I chose paint for it. (Lots of Navaho White.) After two years of Navaho white, I figured that I'd slit my wrists if I didn't get some color into the house (no, my house gets no light, and hopefully the designer of it went to the obscure corner of hell reserved for people who design houses with absolutely no regard for the fact that people will ever live there, but that's another topic.) BTW, the remake was done by the Munsters, but that was also way before my time.
At any rate, I've gone through and am choosing (gasp!) REAL COLORS for the whole house. Uniquely painful. I have gone through three designers but have picked out the colors myself. Why can't I find someone whose taste I like? Yeah, yeah, I'm sure it's Freudian. But if someone tells me that I'll like something, um, well, I don't.
My girlfriend Ruth told me that a favorite color of hers is 949 aquavelvet by Benjamin Moore. Ruth is an excellent designer (career) (not house), but she's got a wonderful eye for color, so I have to look this up one of these days.
Personal house color notes
Sorry to do this, folks, but I'm putting this onto the internet after losing it about 400 times at home.
Note to self: NEVER let some painter guy talk you into simply adding 10% or 20% white to the wall color to make a ceiling color. I only had about four colors in my darn house and I had about twelve cans of (unlabeled) paint left over from the painter (R. E. Kloppenborg, whom I would not recommend). . To this day, I have ceilings which need touching up and it's such a major pain in the butt that they are justing sitting around.
OK, here we go: Original colors (remember, I was VERY pregnant, we'd just bought the house, and I just ... didn't care all that much).
Family room: navajo white flat
Dining and living room trim: navajo white flat plus 10% white (I mean come ON. WHAT WHITE did he add?)
Hallway: ceiling navaho white eggshell. ceiling 10% white, trim, 5% white. ugh.
Nursery: walls are an eggshell provence cream #2021 (a lovely buttery yellow that I love. Probably Benjamin Moore. )
Master bedroom. Dear Lord. The painter's receipt says "use color to the left for trim." Now THAT's handy.
Never mind. I changed all of the colors, except for the nursery. I love that yellow. And the spring green trim looks awesome with it. Too bad I lost the name of the color (sigh). Some of us probably should live in apartments.
I have the biggest trouble with window coverings (and of course live in a house with about 300 feet of windows). We finally settled on Hunter Douglas wooden blinds from Bay Area Floors in Redwood City. Their floor stuff is pretty expensive, but we really liked the salesman, Carl, and their blinds turned out just fine. Bay Area Floors, 249 El Camino Real. We'll probably either have me sew (!) or have Dreams up in San Francisco sew some drapes, although I'm having one heck of a time finding the material. Poppy Fabric in Oakland is the absolute best place for home decorating fabric, as far as I'm concerned, but this season they have a bunch of wierd material with banana leaves all over it? (jan of 2004). So ... I might get one of Dreams patterns, or I might give up and start going through those damn books. Ugh. Too bad I seem congenitally unable to get along with the decorating folks...
Ugh. Now there's a vocation for you. The more I understand about home improvement, the more I like hotels.
Home Improvement Links
Sent to me: "Try Andrea's marble and stone in (south?) San
Francisco. They are a great old time marble supplier
and fabricator with incredibly nice people. they are also
open on Saturday. Bear in mind that the marble itself is
cheap - the polishing and edging are expensive. They
made us a marble top for a piece of furniture a couple
of years ago that is about 20'' x 48'' with a simple edge for about $500."
I have also jotted down Roman marble or Artistic Marble, and then John Boos Company, 25 to 30% more. ? Also, Bay Area Countertops. Sorry if this doesn't seem very helpful to you. I'm cleaning out my office and don't want to throw away my jotted names! BTW, if you have any feedback on any of these places, feel free to email me at email@example.com and I'll happily use the information (and use you as the source, if you'd like!).
yes, hinges. Sigh.
Check out these hinges. What do you think?
Blum concealed hinges?
Windows and window hardware
We have a 45 year old house. I FINALLY found replacement hardware for the terrible windows from a place called Replacement Hardware Manufacturing, Inc, in Florida. They are wonderful. Phone: 800-780-5051. They are specialists in the manufacture and distribution of obsolute and replacement window hardware. Note: We decided to replace the windows, since they were ALSO warped, but the hardware was great.
Lights and door pulls
Oddly enough, I'm partial to Antiques Interiors West. Their selection is limited but I like the quality of their things. They are on 212 Homer, in Palo Alto, and their phone is: 650-324-1377.
I put new glass in all of the bathrooms. Provided by Tri City Glass in Mountain View. And Golden Bay Glass 1888-845277.
I like Johnston Millwork at 444 Hurlingame Avenue in Redwood City 650-361-1775. They have really neat moldings and also sell doors. Also wainscotting, chair rails, etc. Plus they are very very nice, helpful, and patient with spacey moms on the phone. Oh yes, free delivery if you buy a certain amount (I always seem to) and are close.
Sigh. Silly me. I decided that I loved butcher block. Well, the only ones available (not from, say, Paris or Tibet) were from the Countertop Store 598-9175. Certainly not heartbreakingly attractive or anything, but quite homey. Could it be that I'm searching for my seventies hippie roots? Check back later and we'll see if I have organic material for the compost pile stored in an old milk carton by the sink (shudder). Oh yes, and the ubiquitous FERN!!! Gosh, avocado is looking better and better as an accent color..
Sullivan Countertops: 621-1497 fax: 621-1690
Terry BA countertops 368-0421
Surface Technology Group Interiors 455-0109
Swimming pool stuff
Swimming pool fence
I use the Protect-a-Child fence. It was installed by Helfen, Inc., inCotati, CA. They are at 800-707-3362 and their website is: www.protectachild.com.