Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

Greystone Design House 2014: color and FUN!

November 10, 2013

It’s rare that I take to the ol’ blog format, Facebook and other forms of social media being more to my taste. But as I want to share this across allllll those lovely social media outlets, here I am.  It’ll be short but sweet.

So my message to you about the 2014 Greystone Mansion’s Design House International is…. GO!      (runs thru 11/24)

OK, that’s it, I said short and sweet.

Ha!  Just kidding…a bit more.  I was so pleased to attend the press preview and had allocated an hour for this…which turned into 2 hours-plus. Seeing all the familiar faces was just lovely, but I especially enjoyed having a smile put on my face in many of the rooms I entered. Autumn sun streaming through the beautiful old house didn’t hurt the experience.

Overall, there is a sense this year throughout the house of fun and lightness–from the Muppets to white feathers, from the stunning white upstairs office to live goldfish-in-a-bowl centerpieces in the formal dining.  And OHHHH, just wait til you get to the bowling alley inspired by Valentino and his “Valentino red”…surprise awaits!

The designers’ direction was based on their choice of a ‘titan of business’, ranging from Phyllis Morris to Robert Greenblatt (Chair of NBC Entertainment), from Halston to Stevie Wonder, from William Randolph Hearst to Betty Jane France (queen of NASCAR racing!).

Since a picture tells a 1000 words, I’d like to share some snippets of design (we were limited to vignette photography, but that was just fine to give some great teasers!).  Enjoy…

Image One of the most eclectic rooms, but filled with things you’ll want to take home is the Living room Ballroom.  Loved this cardboard seat, but don’t miss the ART in this room (main living room) — the art / wall hangings caught my eye first thing!  Designer: Francois Jantzen for Modoo Modoo.

ImageWallpaper, you think?  Think again! Lace stencil based on a pattern by Solstiss Lace, with detail filled in by hand via a decorative artist…incredible.  This West hallway is to die for.  Designer: Francois Jantzen for Modoo Modoo.

Image Celebrate Stevie Wonder in all his collecting and musical glory! (Lisa Turner, designer, with historic African art provided by Joshua Dimondstein of Los Angeles Tribal association)

ImageYes, you enter looking at this reception hall by Maya Williams…if you aren’t immediately giving in to being transported into beauty, please exit and reenter.

ImageDesigner Fernando Diaz is just too fun…I mean, really!  Sense of humor along WITH incredible taste (ohhhh the chairs are so elegant, but guess you have to go there to see ’em!).

ImageCheery breakfast room features pieces by Vladimir Kagan and Kelly Wearstler, and this wonderful banquet. Rosie Dulbandzhyan, designer.

ImageSimple, I want this Scrabble armoir (via JF Chen, but of course).

ImageFABULOUS tub and wallpaper too!  And oooohhhh, the faucets.  Calgon, take me away (ok, actually please use your choice of French brand to match this bathroom, but you get the idea).  And again…Designer: Francois Jantzen for Modoo Modoo.

ImageIt’s fashion all the way in this room, from the BAZAAR magazine collection to the wonderful photos, and chaise, etc.  You just want to be ALL WOMAN in this room and the adjoining dream office…both by Sue Firestone/SFA Design.

ImageJust darn cool and fun, wouldn’t you agree?

ImageAs I said at the start, sense of fun and lightness.  Here is my proof.

ImageAre you Ernie or Bert?  Two beds in this fabulous boys’ room by Eric Brand give you JUST that choice! Tons of fantastic Muppet moments throughout the room.

ImagePUCCI pillow made from online-sourced scarves…I need say no more.  Yummmm.  Room by Grace Home, kudos!

ImageWho wouldn’t want to curl up and read or stare and daydream in this corner?

ImageOne of my favorite chandeliers EVER…Swarovski.

Image Well, I COULD give away the surprise downstairs, but then I’d hate myself, and you’d hate me, too.  Thanks, designer Alissa Sutton, for your great creativity and love for Valentino rolled into one (and you know you have a 2nd career now!).

I leave you now, and simply encourage you to attend, enjoy, fantasize!

Make Your Own Experience…a New Year’s Promise

December 21, 2011

2011 was, for me, a year of much volunteerism, all of which I greatly value and appreciate.  The people I’ve met, the groups I’ve learned about…all of it.  And it came from being open to invitations and trusting people, but then carefully selecting.  As we near the eve of 2012, a fresh year, with fresh perspective, I thought I’d share something about being involved in something greater than ourselves.  And yes, it always take a bit of effort.  But that’s what also makes it worthwhile…


I believe that you make your own experience….and your own community.

So I admit it would annoy me when some high school friends would come home from college for their breaks and say to me, “How can you really get anything out of such a big school?”  You see, many of them were attending Ivy League universities (smaller classes, smaller campus) and I was attending UCLA (with a mere 35,000 students).

My response?  “Do you go visit your professors’ office hours and get to know them? Have you sought out an activity that you can embrace that gives you satisfaction in return?”  Often the answer to the first question was “uh, no”, but I had, and that made the school ‘smaller’ to me.  Some had done the latter.  For me, the latter was what made my college experience and played a major role in forming my approach to life.

My major was fantastic and I use every day what I learned.  But as it was more theoretical, I found the perfect practical complement, the college radio station at UCLA, where I became an on-air personality, head of the mobile DJ unit, and most importantly, the Director of Operations.  I ingrained myself, learning how things ran, how we worked with the administration to get funding, hiring/firing, and creating an alumni fundraiser…and I made a handful of lifelong friends.  Also key to my life (and to this discussion):  we were the underdog media outlet on campus, and we all banded together with a determination that everyone else should know about and respect what we offered.

Fast forward to today…

Those of us involved in the world of sustainability like to think that everyone around us is, too, and that everyone in the country is at least aware of the concept or the importance.  Of course, that is so not true, and we are certainly ‘the underdog’.  Just walk to your local convenience store, or go to a school meeting or art show, and see what the level of awareness is in displays or in talking to fellow attendees.

So become an active underdog and find a community that resonates with YOU (not your friends, not your spouse, but YOU first) and ingrain yourself.

My special focus happens to be green building.  I discovered that the Los Angeles Chapter of the US Green Building Council was opening a Westside branch (where I live) by wandering into a presentation.  I then offered to come and help where I can.  Now, not only am I fully ingrained in our branch and help create programming and support our team, but I’m more active in the overall Chapter and have met some of the smartest and nicest people I know.

A+D Museum

I attend events through Green Drinks or Women of the Green Generation, and support Global Green, Rock the Boat film and Pipe Dreams film, but committing myself to one group solidly that resonates with me daily has served me (and hopefully them) well.  This has lead me also to involvement with the great A+D Museum, and even aligns with some of my clients.

Find a group that resonates with you to walk in to or go online and get involved with?  Some ideas…

  • Get involved with the Charlotte Green Team – go-to source on sustainability efforts within the Charlotte, NC, community.  What’s your town’s equivalent?
  • Help toward expanding the green workforce through Green for All.
  • Fight the Tar Sands.  Here is a link with a wonderful list of resources from Burbank Green Alliance and Wilder Utopia.
  • Do a search in your community for green organizations and pick one.  Detroit, MI, has Greening Detroit, for instance.
  • Help a person or community rebuild with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Engage kids in learning and advocating for a sustainable economy and education: Teens Turning Green or Green Works in Kansas City.
  • Industry specific?  The furnishings industry has formed the Sustainable Furnishings Council.
  • Get active on your school’s PTA and if remodeling is being done, help guide it sustainably; or help initiate an organic garden on campus.  Become the green voice for your kids.
  • Understand and learn to work with native flora at the Theodore Payne Foundation; start with a class, and you might find you do more!
  • Help organize locally worldwide through  

I met a recent college graduate a few months ago at a LOHAS event and he was overwhelmed with the green group choices in Los Angeles alone.  I bet you can imagine my response…

Would love to here from everyone about your local opportunities, YOUR interests…please share!  What will YOU get involved in and try out for 2012?

New ‘Community & Co.’ to Provide Salon-Style Home Interiors Experience; Charles Hollis Jones Selects Showroom as Exclusive L.A. Retailer

August 25, 2011

Grand Opening Event Oct. 6 with Entra Magazine

Los Angeles, CA (August 2011) – The new Community & Co. bears its mission in its name. Founder and interior designer Jennifer Ridel believes that a more perfect community transpires from a group effort, and she plans to have her Melrose Ave. interiors showroom be an inviting ‘salon’ to all.  With a Grand Opening event on Thursday, October 6th, Community & Co. (8259 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90046) is comprised of a collection of carefully curated new and vintage furniture pieces, with a mix of home accessories, select fabric lines, as well as art and events.

The Grand Opening event, by invitation, is in partnership with new stylish online Entra Magazine, whose team of print-media veterans brings the best in international design and architecture to the Web. Please contact or for invitation.

Ridel is the heart, soul and businesswoman behind this endeavor that focuses on creating a “community” space where art meets home. She draws people in to her sphere with her uplifting attitude. Infusing humor and fun into her serious passion for quality modern and elegant design has paid off. After meeting Charles Hollis Jones and having what Ridel describes as “jam session-like” conversations with him where ideas just flew, the pioneering American artist and furniture designer selected the entrepreneur’s showroom to be the sanctioned Los Angeles retailer for his new and vintage pieces. They are the cornerstone of Community & Co.’s floor. Hollis Jones crafted the award-winning Edison Lamp, is recognized by the Smithsonian for his groundbreaking use of acrylic and Lucite, and has supplied Frank Sinatra to President Barack Obama with custom pieces.

“Original handcrafted, heirloom quality furnishings, decorative objects and art—each of which has a story—are paramount to the eclectic showroom,” says Ridel. “A chair is not just a chair, it’s a chair with a past, a history, and a soul.”

Community & Co. also has an exclusive deal with noted Brooklyn, NY, based design studio Eskayel, which uses imagery from owner/designer Shanan Campanaro’s paintings as primary source material for fantastically patterned bespoke wall coverings, textiles, pillows, and ceramics, all sourced/made in the Northeastern U.S. The showroom is also the exclusive retail outlet for the new sleek and modern outdoor fireplaces, Modfire, created by designer-artist Brandon Williams and fabricated by steel artisans. Modfire was named ‘Best Furniture and Accessory Design’ at the 2011 Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles.

Two other lines offered will be Fenix and Foundation. The eclectic Fenix line of functional art pieces has a sculptural feel and is designed by owner Ridel, who has long admired the work of Gio Ponti, Antoni Gaudi, Tony Duquette and Marcel Wanders. Foundation is Community & Co.’s line of stylish upholstery staples, manufactured in Southern California. Plus a well-curated, globally-sourced selection of additional designers and product will be represented throughout the showroom on an ongoing basis.

Hollis Jones, Campanaro and Modfire owners Williams and Marty Young will be in attendance on Oct. 6th.

Reflecting this diverse crossroad where individual ideas, stories, culture and design meet, Community & Co. features a space dedicated to events that will range from art shows to book signings, surprise musical events and community gatherings. The goal of the space is an effortless atmosphere where knowledge of design and the arts will inspire and influence.

In the end, says Ridel, “It really is the ability to manipulate space and curate environments with design and the overall atmosphere that changes your mood immediately. It is my goal that each person feels that change when they walk in to the space, and then wants to transfer that to their home.”

Community & Co. also offers in-house design for residential, hospitality and commercial projects.

Media Partner:

Lindeman/Stevens Landscape Design Offers Vision of an “American” Garden Combined with “afterC.A.R.E.” Program for Longevity of Design

March 9, 2011

Los Angeles, CA (February 2011) – The recently formed Lindeman/Stevens Landscape Design unites respected landscape designer Dennis Stevens and business partner Karla Lindeman. The two have worked together in the past, but decided the time was ripe for their new firm which pairs Stevens’ vast, 20+ year experience in landscape design and his artistic vision towards exteriors with Lindeman’s strong horticultural knowledge and business experience.  A significant and timely part of their vision is also focused on the logic of an “American” garden: creating beautiful, smart design that will look as good in 10 or 20 years as when it is installed, and utilizing their unique “afterC.A.R.E.” program.

“We like to bring this perspective to as many clients as possible,” states Stevens.  “Using the right plant materials in the right places so that the end result looks just as good in 20 years with a minimal maintenance after-care program is the sustainable dream. It’s even easy to create ‘eco-friendly’ landscaping that is sophisticated and beautiful—not dry and barren—if it is well designed.”

Stevens notes that our traditional vision in America of the perfect landscape is what we copied from European architecture, which often includes symmetry and lushness.  While Stevens is proud of his work on many projects that have such a classic tenor, he hopes to provide confidence in creating an “American” garden which uses what makes sense for where we live, creates a haven uniquely our own, and also cleans the air as one important benefit.

But it’s the financial and time savings that Lindeman/Stevens sees as maybe the most timely benefits of choosing an “American” garden.  Using appropriate and beautiful regional plants results in longevity of survival and simplicity of maintenance.  These are certainly sustainable concepts, both for the environment and for people’s personal finances. Sophistication, cohesion and yes, symmetry, with the surroundings are the corresponding, positive visual results.

After installation, Lindeman/Stevens offers an “afterC.A.R.E.” (Create A Responsible Environment) plan that is uniquely prepared for the client and their design, especially smart if a large investment has been made.  This can include scheduled visits by the team, working with the client (or their gardener) to ensure proper maintenance—from specialty pruning, feeding schedules, water conservation, to professional pest and disease inspections. Stevens’ high-end clients who have used the “afterC.A.R.E.” services since installation have seen that with minimal, yet knowledgeable, service they have attained the longevity of their investment. Others have realized the program’s benefits later, after not paying attention to their original design investment, and then having to spend unnecessary time and money to return it to its proper state.

“We like to find the alternatives to what people are used to seeing,” says Lindeman.  “Dennis’ eye as a working artist has helped him look at and combine plants in a different way, one that others wouldn’t initially think of until he shows them the big picture.  And if he turns their garden more eco-friendly in the process, that’s a wonderful plus.”


Dennis Stevens serves as the principal designer, with longtime business partner Karla Lindeman, for Los Angeles based Lindeman/Stevens Landscape Design.  In the landscape design profession for over 20 years, Stevens specializes in contemporary California-inspired landscapes, as well as traditional and modernist exteriors.  The partners believe in providing truly great design that will look just as good in 10 or 20 years as when it is installed.

An accomplished painter as well as landscape designer, Stevens is passionate about translating his artistic skills into sophisticated, timeless outdoor environments that also incorporate a sustainable outlook toward minimal maintenance.  His global work has been recognized by magazines from Architectural Digest and Garden Design to Variety, and featured in many film and television programs. His client list includes Hollywood celebrities, CEOs, noted architects and designers. Lindeman is a longtime collaborator of Stevens, with a history in landscape architecture, real estate development, business ownership, and a passion and ability for working with a wide variety of plants.

Combining an artistic approach with in-depth horticultural knowledge, Lindeman/Stevens achieves distinctive outdoor designs worth talking about.  Lindeman/Stevens is a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, and involved with the Los Angeles Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy. (

Green Roundtable’s new “green” certification for design and construction firms

February 7, 2011

“Through its Sustainable Performance Institute (SPI), the Boston-based Green Roundtable (GRT) has produced a new “green” certification for design and construction firms. The program recognizes firms that have the institutional capacity to deliver consistent, high-quality sustainability services and projects. Recently piloted in the Boston area and now available nationally, it includes 64 required credits and 15 optional credits that provide a roadmap for further improvement.”

For rest of article from EBN:

Thanks for sending me this, Tova Greenberg of Nexus Green Building Resource Center (!


October 25, 2010


Albuquerque, NM (October 2010) – American Clay Enterprises, Inc. has created a game-changer in cost and durability for commercial interior wall finishes. Our new PlasterPlus™  binder is added to the American Clay earthen plasters, resulting in a hard, yet repairable, No-VOC finish for the cost of a high quality, Zero-VOC paint job.  PlasterPlus™  is sold dry in 27 lb. lots through select commercial distributors, and is intended for commercial projects—such as healthcare, hospitality, universities—and big build residential.  The polymer binder has No-VOCs, is mold resistant, extremely easy-to-apply, and still can contribute up to eight (8) LEED points—along with singularity and timeless beauty—to any project. No wonder the field response has been ardently positive thus far.

American Clay has been used for numerous commercial / industrial jobs to date—from hotels (including Disney) and retail to schools, colleges, spas and churches. (Partial list attached.)  Now with PlasterPlus™ , American Clay can replace paint more equitably:  for 80,000 sq. ft. projects, the cost can come in as low as $1.00 per sq. ft., including labor and product.  Adding the completely repairable binder to the single-coat commercial Enjarre™, as well as to any of the color-integral American Clay premier Legacy products, results in the easiest, hardest surface application of American Clay to date, and at the cost of both your texture and your “Zero-VOC paint”.

PlasterPlus™-enhanced American Clay provides big project builders and developers the following benefits:

∗∗ Product cost as low as $.38 per sq. ft. for Enjarre™  one-coat application system.
Added hardness and increased ease of application.
∗∗ Longevity outlasting a painted wall, creating cost, labor and time savings. It does not need to be repainted for the life of the walls because the clay itself resists dirt and grime.
∗∗ Resistance to fading due to he natural mineral pigments.
∗∗ Highly suitable for economical spray-on application in one- or two-coat systems.
∗∗ Creates less than 5% on-site waste of material during application.
∗∗ Unlike other acrylic, gypsum or lime specialty finishes, walls coated with American Clay plaster with PlasterPlus™  can be wetted and reworked after application (without adding additional binder) to achieve desired results and yet is hard and durable.
∗∗ Cleanup is much quicker and easier than with paint, since there is no thick latex binder involved.
∗∗ As with the Legacy products, this new binder is a No-VOC, Zero Formaldehyde choice for your walls, bringing humidity and temperature moderating qualities to your project’s interior environment.
∗∗ As with the Legacy products, unlimited visual and textural possibilities.

American Clay CEO and co-Founder Croft Elsaesser has been working hard toward this product development.  “It took us a year of rigorous in-house testing and third party verification on VOC and formaldehyde levels to assure our team that we had a superior material to provide to large-scale builders and developers. Our goal is always to maintain a healthy indoor air quality to both applicator and the end-user.”

Just like American Clay’s existing product line, PlasterPlus™ is suitable for most substrates.  It will be sold in dry 27 lb. lots.  PlasterPlus™  is available through select commercial distributors; please contact for a list.  Our countrywide system of approved applicators will be able to purchase this product in bulk for their projects.

Responses to the product thus far provide real world reaction:

“American Clay’s Enjarre Product with the PlasterPlus binder surprised us.  Here at Escondido we have a strong focus on the quality of the materials we use.  The quality of this product was what we would expect from a venetian plaster. The biggest difference was being able to get the quality we insist on without the budgetary considerations that a premium finish would typically require.” – Steve Markham, Escondido Vice President (model homes plus 65,000 square feet of Clubhouse and Spa)

“Our crew worked with PlasterPlus for the first time last week. They texted me from the project site to say how awesome the product is. The workability made the install easier and they were pleased with the look. They found compression to be “like a dream” and loved the result. The clients were delighted.
…We’ve been working on getting American Clay specified for a commercial building in downtown Denver, for about 3 years. The designer is innovative and wants to specify the clay, but recently the developer was concerned about “hardness” so it looked like we would lose the project. I made up some sample boards with the new PlasterPlus. The designer …called me and said that they were “really impressed” with the hardness of Enjarre with PlasterPlus and they intend to use it in the project.” – Deborah Hall, PhD, LEED AP; Owner, Hall’s Walls

American Clay is also posting today on under “Professional –> Commercial Projects” page:  the PlasterPlusTM  sellsheet, MSDS sheet, application instructions and a FAQ.

American Clay Enterprises, Inc., based in Albuquerque, NM, produces patented, award-winning, all-natural interior wall finishing products.  Their Earth Plasters, the commercial ENJARRE™  single coat plaster, and its new PlasterPlus™  binder offer a unique combination of clays, aggregates and natural pigments that offer builders and consumers a natural, durable and unique option. There is no off-gassing nor inherent waste on-site.  The plasters contain no VOCs, are non-flammable, are mold resistant (without toxic fungicides), absorb odors, provide temperature and humidity buffering, repair/clean easily and come in recyclable packaging.  American Clay, with an extremely low carbon footprint, is uniquely manufactured in the U.S. and made of materials found in the U.S.  The products and various workshops are available through their New Mexico office or through their retailers and distributors across the U.S. For information on products, ordering, technical specifications, product application and additional resources and links:
U.S. PAT No. 7,485,186 B2

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