Friday, September 28, 2007

Movers and (Martini) Shakers in Palm Springs

I attended a great little mixer last night at the newest hotel gem in Palm Springs: The Colony Palm Hotel, at their restaurant, The Purple Palm. They served up a mean Sidecar for me, and left me wanting more. It was a great mix of familiar faces from the valley as well as a lot of "new blood" for the hotel/restaurant/bar scene, which hasn't had much new going on since The Parker opened up a few years ago. In the case of The Colony Palms, it's all glam and on the pool. It's a beautiful location, and they have done a great job of keeping the historic attributes of this once mobster-owned 1936 structure, which once had the multiple functions of being a brothel and a speakeasy. At a later time, Sea Biscuit's owner purchased this building, functioning as a Hollywood starlet respite for several years. It's great to see that some property owners in Palm Springs have the vision to keep a village identity intact, rather than to tear down and build huge buildings where once-historic places stood (such as the loss of the Doll House, the Biltmore). We are looking forward to attending the Palm Springs Preservation Foundation's party at The Willows, another venerable institution which has hosted such notables as Albert Einstein, Marion Davies, Clark Gable, and Carole Lombard.

Pillows: The Life of the Party!

Pillows are not only functional; they can also be decorative. While we use them at our interior design firm in Palm Desert for accents, we use them at our home in Rancho Mirage for relaxing on the sofa while watching movies or reading. There are so many shapes and sizes that pillows are available ready made in stores and with a creative eye, interior designers can create endless combinations of shapes, sizes and designs to add accent through use of decorative pillows for bedding accents and companions for sofas, chairs and even built- in seating in commercial spaces. Above, we see some of the fantastic offerings from Smith and Noble, one of our favorite picks for commerically-made pillows that would compliment not only desert interiors, but just about anywhere.

With the huge variety of trims and embellishments available to the interior designer today, decorative pillows take on a whole new life of their own! Bolsters, down-filled Euro shams, ball pillows, cording, braid, fringe trim, bullion fringe, hand tied silk fringe- the options are as limitless for trims as are the options for fabrics.
In retail stores there are so many choices available. Among some of the limitless styles are: old-world elegance with pillows that are hand-done in wool on needlepoint canvas;
tapestry reproductions in jacquard with a backing made of cotton-velvet; embroidered arabesques with sequined mirrors; pillows crafted with paisley chenille; with tassel fringes. You can get pillows with a faux suede covering. Or you can get them in luxurious silk and satin.
More modern versions include pillows in retro patterned fabrics with fabulous fringes and trims. Whatever happened to the plain, old rectangular solid color accent pillows of 1950 and 1960’s?

Those days of pillows being in the background are gone! Today’s pillows are the life of the party, especially when the party is here in Palm Desert! Just as a sidenote: the pillow above is NOT from one of our parties, we're just checking to see if you're really reading the text as well as looking at the pretty photos!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Magic of Motorized Window Shades

A current trend in contemporary interior design is for more simple architectural window coverings. An example of this would be the use of motorized shades. In Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Rancho Mirage, we are often building in pockets above windows with electrical outlets in today's contemporary homes to provide for the many options in motorized window treatments.

With advancing technology, anything is possible in interior design; You can have window treatments controlled by a switch on the wall, a remote control, or both. You can have the window treatments communicate with an automated system controlled by a main computer in your home. The shades can be grouped according to rooms, areas, or individually.

Another advantage of motorized window treatments is that they can make hard to reach windows much more accessible and easy to cover. A window over a bathtub is always a challenge, especially when privacy is an issue. Now with motorized technology, the problem of light control for windows in difficult areas is solved. This is especially important here in the desert, where owners may be away from there desert home for several months at a time.

Motorized shades (especially great with shades
from Smith & Noble) come in a variety of materials and colors and can provide full sun protection (a major issue for luxury home interiors here in the desert) and room darkening (also an interior design issue in the desert) or filtered light in a room. With advances in home automation technology continually changing, motorized window treatments are fast becoming a necessity in interior design rather than a luxury in todays homes in Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Rancho Mirage.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rufus Wainwright, Judy Garland, and the Hollywood Bowl

Bill and I went to an fantastically odd concert at the great Hollywood Bowl last night. Rufus Wainwright preformed Judy Garland's 1961 Carnegie Hall set from beginning to end with the Bowl's orchestra and hand-picked quartet. He was also joined on stage by his mother, Kate, and sister, Martha, both performers as well. A suprise during the last set was Lorna Luft, Judy Garland's daughter, who sang a duet with him. Lorna seemed delighted as she declared onstage: "Isn't this wonderful? I'd like to thank Rufus for celebrating my mother's musical legacy." I especially enjoyed seeing Rufus come out during "Get Happy" in a Miss Garland's signature outfit: a black fedora, a tuxedo jacket, fishnet stockings, and a set of heels. It was quite a sight!

It was a very special evening. After the concert, we joined Rufus backstage, where I told him it was great to see him doing what he wanted to do. Also joining us backstage were Judith Light and Rebecca
Rominj, (from Ugly Betty), Hillary Swank, Debbie Reynolds, and Bruce Vilanch for champagne and pastries.

I really can't say enough about how cool the Hollywood Bowl is and what a fantastic place it is to be at night, especially one as beautiful as last night. The lights of the Bowl, a beautiful moon, and the stars (yes, sometimes you can see them in L.A.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Final Word on Finials!

What Are Drapery Finials?
Finials are the decorative fixing at the end of the poles. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some simple, some complex, from the traditional fleur de lys, and arrowhead to the fruity pomegranate and pineapple, and back to nature with acorns, scallop shells, along with the simple colonial turned wood balls. Finials can be Iron, stainless steel, wood, just about anything- we'd love to use them in our office in Palm Desert as well as our home in Rancho Mirage. They serve a practical function as well as they keep drapery panels from falling off the rod itself and also offer an opportunity for a decorative accent to any room.
We love these art glass finials from Jessit Gold, inspired by precious stones and contemporary art glass. These are available at

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Lamps: They're Illuminating!


Did you think lamps just provided light? , lamps are the “jewelry” of a room. Lamps provide warm and cozy ambience to any setting and be a great accent to any room. Lamps also provide a “finishing touch” to an interior scheme like nothing else can do. I always try to incorporate table lamps in addition to any overhead lighting that may be present in a room for a few reasons.
lamps put light down at a level where it is useable
Lamps provide a warm glow that soften a room
Lamps provide an opportunity to add some texture, accent and interest to any room. Lamps come in all shapes and sizes and we have illustrated a few of our favorites here from Palecek and Seascapes lighting (all available through William Miller Design
in Palm Desert, California).

When chosing a lamp it is important to consider a few basic rules:

Where is the lamp going? - on what kind of surface and beside what?

How is the lamp being used ? Is the lamp for function or for accent light?

How does the lamp relate to the objects and or furniture placed next to it?

How tall should the lamp be ?

What proportions should the base have to the shade?

When selecting a lamp consider the area that you have available to accommodate the lamp. For example if the lamp is going on a small side table or nightstand the diameter or depth and width of the base of the lamp should not be too large or too small for the table

surface. A general rule would be to leave at least a border of 3 to 4 inches all around the base of the lamp but not more than 6”.

Will your lamp be used for reading? Computer or desk work? Grooming? Or just as accent lighting? A reading lamp, for example should provide enough light that all tasks are easily completed without straining or squinting. An accent light on the other hand can be as soft and dim as desired.

The height of the lamp is important for a couple of reasons. A lamp next to a bed for example should be tall enough to be able to read a book comfortably, but not so tall that it looks out of proportion with the headboard or nightstand that it is placed on. A good general height for a bedside lamp is about 28 ½” to 30 “ tall depending on the height of the nightstand.

Lamp proportions are subjective these days particularly with the resurgence of the mid-century modern craze that dictates a larger shade to base proportion. Most conventional lamps, however can fall in line with a lamp to shade proportion of 2/3 base height to 1/3” lamp shade height.

Finally, the most versatile feature about lamps is that they come in all shapes and sizes,
Textures, finishes, base styles, shade styles and types. Lamps are a perfect opportunity to express your individuality and creative spirit.
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