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Jaimee vs. The Dandelions

I wake early on these spring mornings, slip on black sandals, and creep outside in my pajamas.

From the safety of the front porch, I survey the enemy’s nighttime progress. I check the stronghold by Palm Tree # 1, and then Palm Tree # 2.

I cast a frown at the house across the street, where the enemy has clearly won the battle with a full-scale invasion, a veritable forest of flags flying high.

Such carnage will not happen on my watch, I declare, and then I charge out onto the grass with gloves and a sack, swiping up any new enemies and stuffing them into a sack.

I am a conqueror. I am in an episode of Game of Thrones. I am at war.

These damn dandelions.

They have me in battle three times a day. I sweep the lawn at 6 a.m., and by noon, three new flowers have sprouted from nowhere, grown 6″ and opened.

I carefully pluck them, trying desperately not to spread the seeds. If I swipe a dandelion bud that’s just about to open, I’m even more excited. I’ve stopped the enemy before it’s hatched.

After, I come inside and show my husband the casualties. I suspect that he thinks I’m insane.

I’ve always had a weed-pulling compulsion, but it’s simple Psych 101. My life is overwhelming, almost all of the time. There are looming deadlines, paperwork, subcontractors and staffers to manage, late shipments stuck in snow, and many things I cannot control.

I can control the weeds.

As any girl in battle would do, I call upon my father for help. When he was young, he owned a landscape company and always has the prettiest yard on the street.

“Dad,” I say, “What can I do about the dandelions? They’re killing me.”

“You need a healthy lawn,” he tells me. “It will choke them out.”

He is right, but this is not really helpful. At Camp Sterling, the “lawn” is some kind of strange antique scrub grass. It is not healthy. And get this: the sprinkler system is powered by a cord that goes through a drilled hole in the front wall of the house and plugs into the only outlet in my office.

Ohhhhhh, Bunny.

We aren’t replacing the sprinklers or the lawn until the renovation is completed, so I research and learn that you can kill dandelions with boiling water, with lawn-safe chemical sprays, and with vinegar.

Oooh, I think, maybe that will keep the dogs away too. (Oh, and a PS: Our lawn recently received a truly revolting non-liquid deposit from a dog. I figured it was karma for this. The dog’s owner left it, by the way.)

I consider my dandelion weapons and decide against them.

I want to continue my highly satisfying war.

This morning there were only 2 yellow flowers. Zero white puffs.

This is my first such victory.

Score 1 for Jaimee the Conqueror.

By | 2015-04-13T02:59:24+00:00 March 18th, 2015|Jaimee's Home Renovation|0 Comments

A weekend of white roses

On Friday night, our friends Mark and Angela came to see our new house.  They lived in our neighborhood when they were newlyweds, too. In preparation for their visit, I piled cheese straws high on a plate, filled bowls in the kitchen with lemons, and clipped a few of the trailing white roses that spill over our fence for an arrangement on my nightstand.

We gave them a house tour. There was dinner at Tarbell’s. And after they left, their incredibly personal housewarming gift presided over the rest of our weekend.

Behold, the most glorious arrangement ever:

Mark and Angela are own the event company Angelic Grove — and Mark created this vase for me. The roses even mimic my bridal bouquet. Thank you, sweet friends, for such a thoughtful and personal gift.

And the white roses I cut from the fence are still going strong on the nightstand. Happy Spring. And Happy Monday, everyone.

By | 2015-03-16T07:57:09+00:00 March 16th, 2015|Style|0 Comments

Palm Springs: A Mini Vacation Guide

At Camp Sterling, occupied by one tennis NUT of a husband, all attentions are currently focused on the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Palm Springs. We attended last year, and since I’m not up for 24-7 tennis,  I spent much of the week trolling the shops, spas and restaurants of Palm Springs.

I have some intense spring break fever, and Tyson and I are both tempted to hop in the car this weekend for a Bridget Jones-esque mini-break. If we head to Palm Springs, this will be our itinerary:

STAY – BEST CHOICE: I would drive to The Parker Palm Springs this weekend just for the Blueberry Pancakes at Norma’s. They are evil, ethereal, orange-laced creations and when we were in Palm Springs, I ate them almost every day.

The Parker was designed by Jonathan Adler, who is in the midst of a design refresh here as well. There are hammocks on the lawn, cute bars by the pool, and JA pottery in each witty little room. The grounds just feel like a vacation. And don’t miss the yacht club-themed spa. I swam laps and felt like I was in a Slim Aarons photo.

 

STAY – BUDGET: The Ace Hotel, Palm Springs

You’ve heard it’s sooooo cool. And here’s my review: it is — if you’re in your 20s or early 30s and budget and clout matter most.

You can’t beat the rates. The atmosphere is hipster-chic. The rooms are clean and look stylish. But our air conditioner didn’t cool the room well, even after they “fixed” it, and we were told this is a consistent problem at the Ace. It’s hot in Palm Springs, people. I also didn’t love the hard floors and futon sofa.

Bottom line: get a room on the first floor and adjust your expectations, or visit in the winter.

SHOP: In downtown Palm Springs, make a beeline to Palm Canyon Drive, where midcentury temples make friends with kitschy boutiques. My don’t-miss pick: Trina Turk. There’s a clothing boutique adjoined to a home shop, and the entire place is themed around pools, pink cocktails, and joy.

I also really loved The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five — many mini boutiques, all housed under one roof. This is where I was tempted to load my car and never look back.

I’m still mad I didn’t buy these — made by a Los Angeles artist.

EAT: Norma’s, Norma’s Norma’s. Got that? Good.

I also flipped over Workshop Kitchen + Bar. Dinner was delicious, but I really remember how I felt in this space: low candlelight, so much texture, hushed laughter, and sexiness for days.

Oh, and there’s also a certain outlet mall — you know the one. Gucci, YSL, Prada, Valentino, DVF, Vince, et. al. I didn’t spend any time there at all. (Sssshhhhh.)

What are your favorite stops in Palm Springs?

By | 2015-03-13T08:52:04+00:00 March 13th, 2015|Travel|2 Comments

That new gold laptop is messing with my faucets and my mind

On Monday, Apple announced a new MacBook Air – in gold, glorious gold, and the heavens opened, gilded angels came down from the sky, women across the United States suddenly became a lot more interested in buying new computers, and I went a little insane.

My thought process: Oh, I want that. I’ve been thinking about getting a new computer. My assistant  needs to use my old laptop all the time anyway. And then my computer will match my new iPhone. And my office ceiling light. And the brass knobs on my office cabinets.

Maybe I should do gold plumbing fixtures in the new house. Or maybe in just the powder room. But gold looks so beautiful with the marble I love. Maybe I should have a marble desk in my office to show off my new computer.

I wonder how fast I can get the gold laptop? Oh, shipping begins April 10. It costs $1,299.

I cannot buy a new computer because I have to buy marble and plumbing fixtures.

But should they be gold? I love the gold faucets in my clients’ homes. They make my heart do flip-flops.

I’ve had regular chrome faucets plated in gold, for heaven’s sake, and it changes everything. You take a simple but tasteful room, add gold, and then Oh baby, baby. You’re . . . golden.

Gosh, that was a bad pun.

But gosh, this is a pretty bathroom. And look at those gold cabinet pulls.

Say, if I had gold fixtures, I could maybe set a sink in my powder room into this Bungalow 5 cabinet, which I’ve used for clients and always loved.

Ooh – and maybe with my favorite Philip Jeffries Rivets wallpaper – which is grass cloth that looks like it’s been studded with nailheads.

I used that paper in a client’s office — black with gold rivets, and it’s glorious. Especially with her lighting fixture. Ooooh gold lighting fixtures.

Maybe a pair of these:

Or these:

Gosh, that’s a pretty bathroom.

But what I think I really want is polished nickel fixtures. And that new laptop – in gold.

 

By | 2015-04-13T02:59:43+00:00 March 10th, 2015|Jaimee's Home Renovation|0 Comments

Lemon Cake, Lemon Bars, and Love

The doorbell rang a Sunday or two ago. I opened it to find our new neighbors smiling, wearing white linen, and holding a plate of lemon bars.

We’d been told we had inherited the dream neighbors – which was welcome, since we adored our previous neighbors, too. (Tom and Lou: Xoxo.) We’d also been told how much our neighbors loved Betty and Bunny — and so I already loved them back.

Love Bunny = Love me.

The lemon bars were diabolically good, and they came with a large bag of lemons from our neighbors’ tree. The next Sunday, I turned those lemons into cake to take to our friends’ house for dinner, and to share with our new neighbors, who made us feel so welcome and good.

Find the lemon yogurt cake recipe here. I always double it and tuck an extra cake into the freezer for “emergencies,” like when company comes over, or a sweet tooth strikes on a Wednesday night. It tastes really good while frozen. Oink.

My favorite lemon bar recipe is here — and I also suspect it was the one used by my neighbor, because I can tell she’s an Ina Garten kind of girl.

Meanwhile, what’s your favorite lemon recipe? There are lemons everywhere in our new neighborhood and I want them to have happy fates.

By | 2015-03-09T07:27:40+00:00 March 9th, 2015|Recipes|0 Comments

Installpalooza 2015

This week has been madness leading up to two big installs that wrap today. Install is the best part of design. The moment install is finished is the best part of design.

Install means we start with an empty house, arrive with a semi-truck filled with furniture, accessories and a full install team, and end with every book and picture frame in place. All of the furniture the clients selected and ordered is arranged, their wallpaper is hung, rugs cover the floors, and every shelf and end table is styled with the things they love. There are lamps glowing, candles twinkling, and fresh flowers just waiting for the clients to walk in and have their Nate Berkus-Oprah-OMG-tears moment.

It means crazy exhausting long days (yesterday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. culminating in my sweet sister meeting me for a late-night duvet-cover search and much moral support), about a thousand trips to West Elm-Bungalow-etcetera, and a lot of Kind bars as meals.

Confession: much to my team’s protestations, I love install — the running about, the yoga pants, and that last  “client is coming home in 30 minutes” dash. I’ve always been a girl who feeds on deadline.

Depending on the scope of a project, install happens in a single day or in 3-4 days.  Come follow along today on Instagram (@jaimeerosestyle) or Facebook for a few sneak peeks. I’ll show more of the finished spaces when they are photographed by someone not using an iPhone while totally hopped up on Coke Zero.

Above: the wallpaper in my client Marci’s master bedroom. It’s insanely beautiful gold map paper by Christian Lacroix for Designer’s Guild, and we got the last few rolls in existence. Also – that nightstand is a new favorite.

And don’t you love this rug and ottoman? Talk about texture! The rug is actually strips of metallic leather woven together.

Alright, I’m off to the flower market. Come follow along!

(And if you’re not on Instagram, you can see my feed online here.)

P.S. I’ve been posting all week – make sure you didn’t miss anything!

Monday: A secret source for budget tile

Tuesday: Book Report – Design-Obsessed Diane Keaton comes to AZ

Thursday: The best chocolaterie in Paris

 

By | 2015-03-06T07:22:48+00:00 March 6th, 2015|House Renovation|0 Comments

The most stylish chocolaterie in Paris

One of my dearest friends arrived in Paris last night, for fashion week. She invited me to go last-minute (!@#$$%) and I squealed and said “yes!” and then looked at my calendar, which was piled with immovable and important client events over each day we’d be in France  (!#$%^$).

So today I want to lie on my sofa and shovel chocolates and cheese into my mouth while wiping away tears with a scented French hankie.

Adulthood rocks.

And so, chocolate. I came upon this image nigh about the time I was invited to go to France, and when I realized that the photo was of a Parisian chocolaterie, I stood up, went into the kitchen, and ate a slice of cake.

Not going to Paris is making me fat.

Just look at this:

Le Chocolat is the creation of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, which means the confections will be as glorious as the case that holds them. Can we pause a moment for the brass trim? And the knobs? And those fantastic industrial pendants hanging above?

This is industrial design at its best.

I’d be a happy girl visiting this place without any chocolate at all.

My friend promises to go, and I hope she brings me back a chocolate — or a brass knob. Both would be equally welcome.

And I hope she has the house specialty, which is a piece of chocolate wrapped in bread. French bread. Howl.

When my husband and I were in Paris for our wedding, we spent an afternoon on a chocolate crawl, which is an excellent thing to do in Paris, where the chocolateries look like high-fashion boutiques and the candies are encased under glass like Chanel pearls.

Our list included Jacques Genin — where the chocolates are so exquisitely careful I don’t know how anyone can eat them.

 

And Patisserie des Reves, which feels like Willy Wonka’s Factory and is home to the best versions of classic French pastries like the Paris Brest and St. Honore.

 

You actually lift those glass cases and point to what you’d like to have — and then walk away with your mouth full of lemon meringue and your mind dancing with inspiration.

Only in Paris, mon amour.

Le sob.

By | 2015-03-05T07:00:28+00:00 March 5th, 2015|Travel|0 Comments

Book Report: Design-Obsessed Diane Keaton comes to AZ

Did you know that actress Diane Keaton is a complete house nut? She’s written two design books, is a Los Angeles real estate impresario who collects property gems (a Lloyd Wright home among them), and she has designed product lines for One Kings Lane and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

She has gooooood taste. I’ve long been inspired by her carefully edited style – both in fashion and at home. So when I heard over the weekend that our local Changing Hands Bookstore is bringing her to town to speak and sign books in April, I bought my ticket that minute. (Really, I did. What if they sold out? What if I missed Diane? What if she wore the best vest and tie ever and I didn’t get to see it?)

I couldn’t take it. And so, I’m going, and you can, too, and in the meantime let us have a quick Diane worship session.

This is her house in Los Angeles, which she restored. Note the killer ironwork on the address plaque.

This is her kitchen in that house. Those custom whipstitched lampshade pendants are stunning.

This is coffee table book #1: California Romantica — which I recommend most happily for your coffee tables. It’s a beautiful, fascinating book.

And this is coffee table book #2, House, featuring iconic houses across the globe.

This house is included in the book.

And now, she’s written a new memoir about beauty — personal beauty, and the beauty all around us. Let’s Just Say it Wasn’t Pretty also includes an account of the time she went to Victoria’s Secret with her teenaged daughter, who had a $200 gift card to spend.

The price of a ticket to see Diane at Changing Hands includes a copy of the book — and admission for two guests.

The event is April 11 at Dobson High School in Mesa. Order your book and ticket here.

P.S. This Remodelista interview with Diane is a fun read. And I was thrilled to see two of my most favorite home-shopping haunts on Diane’s list — Juxtaposition Home in Newport Beach and Big Daddy’s in LA. Both are must-visits if you’re in the hood.

 

By | 2015-03-03T08:05:52+00:00 March 3rd, 2015|Stories|1 Comment

A Secret Source for Budget Tile

I heard a rumor the other day about a secret budget source offering some of the high-end and high-style tile that I specify for my clients’ homes.

Tile like this:

And this:

The super-hot cement encaustic tile, as well:

Penny tile, even (and note to yourself: a black penny tile floor with black grout looks INCREDIBLE in real life – I just did it in a client’s bathroom):

Also this Greek Key action:

Ready for me to give up the goods? I’m being such a tease . . .

It’s Overstock. Yes, I know. Such a fantastic surprise — and the prices are a huge savings, especially on things like the cement encaustic tile and the penny tile. I’m just starting work on a new Arcadia renovation (in addition to my own) and this Overstock discovery just might come into play. (Tip: order a sample first — even if it means buying one box of tile just to check the color.)

Some of my favorites:

Black and white hex tile in a flower pattern:

Black granite hex tile:

Greek Key:

 

 

 

 

Pennies here:

Cement tile (available in many  patterns and colors):

Even oh-so-trendy chevron-patterned marble:

Which is your favorite? Happy Monday!

By | 2015-03-02T07:01:59+00:00 March 2nd, 2015|House Renovation|1 Comment

Obsessive Compulsive White Laundry

Interior design is a really personal business. We not only choose the nightstand (and, ideally, help to build and finish the wall that nightstand rests against), but we talk about what’s on top of the nightstand, and what’s inside the nightstand, and all that jazz.

Well, not all of it. But you get the idea.

The other day, my client Barb and I got to discussing white laundry, and how to keep it bright.

“What do you do?” she asked.

“You really want to know?” I replied. “It’s kind of insane.”

“Yes,” she said, and so I told her.

And she got excited. And took notes. And then texted me from the grocery store whilst buying supplies. And then went home and tried it.

I decided that it would be a shame to keep my crazy white laundry shenanigans a secret any longer.

Tip 1: GEAR

When you have the opportunity, buy a top-loading machine with an agitator. That tip comes from my mother, and my mother-in-law, and my husband, who insisted upon it, and my clients, and myself. When we ditched the front-loader, our whites came out brighter.

Tip 2: SUDS

I use Tide, and not too much. Using more detergent acts as an attractant and actually can make things dirtier. I use chlorine bleach for cotton only — and only on specific cycles (keep reading). I also use 1/4 cup of Borax – a natural detergent booster and brightener, in every load. And OxiClean — at least two scoops.

When my towels start to get stiff, it means there’s a detergent build-up, so I’ll soak them in hot water, 3-4 cups of vinegar, and a cup of OxiClean for a day or two, and then wash with just a tablespoon of detergent. I do this maybe once a year.

Tip 3: THE DOUBLE WASH

This is my mother’s epic trick. Double-wash your whites. Hot water sets stains, so wash whites first in cold with Tide, Borax and OxiClean to release the heavy stuff, and then wash them again in hot water with all of the above and chlorine bleach. I do this every time I wash whites.

Tip 4: THE LONG SOAK

When your husband’s favorite white button-up gets those telltale yellow marks beneath the arms, or your white sheets start looking a little sad, then it’s time for the long soak. In your bathtub or a large deep sink, soak the laundry in lots of hot water, 1/4 C Tide, and 3-4 Cups of OxiClean. Weigh the items down with heavy bowls to keep them submerged. I do this for 48 hours, stirring things around once or twice, and then launder as usual —  with more OxiClean and chlorine bleach.

(This post NOT sponsored by OxiClean — and darn it.)

Tip 5: SHAKE YOUR TOWELS

Before you place wet towels in the dryer, give them a shake. This is supposed to keep them fluffier over time. I don’t know if it really works, but I do it. And my towels are lofty and great. (Again, the Macy’s Hotel Collection MicroCotton Towels are my favorite. I’ve been hoarding them for 12 years.)

Tip 6: KITCHEN CLOTHS

I wish I could tell you about my secret tip for removing cocoa powder stains,  tomato sauce stains, and all that manner of mess. But here’s what I do: I buy affordable kitchen bar mops, use them and wash them and bleach them until they’re past help, and then I throw them all away and start over.

A package of bar mops is $5. I might spend $10-$15 per year on towels. And I’m OK with that. (Try these. I’m not picky. I buy them wherever I happen to be when it occurs to me that I can’t look at mine a second longer.)

P.S. My friend Linda Cobb, also known as the famous Queen of Clean (yes, her!) has more genius white laundry tips in her books, and also online here. I think she’s fantastic. And now I want to try dishwashing powder on my kitchen cloths.

By | 2015-04-13T03:00:40+00:00 February 27th, 2015|Jaimee's Home Renovation|0 Comments