Searching For The Perfect Neutral Sandals

I am currently searching for the perfect neutral sandal for this summer.  Living in the Bay Area, I need my sandals to do double-duty.  They need to work all summer, but also transition into the “Indian Summer” (a.k.a. fall or autumn, in other parts of the country) because I often wear them through October when the weather finally gets warm.  So, when I’m looking for a neutral, I usually steer toward the caramel or cognac colors instead of some of the lighter browns like vachetta or beige.
When I say perfect sandals, what I really mean is two pairs – one heeled, one flat.  After all, they need to work with dresses/skirts, jeans (my typical San Francisco summer uniform), and shorts.  I also need them to be comfortable enough to be worn while walking around (sometimes up and down hills) all day – that means no stillettos.  Thankfully, there seem to be a ton of great options out there.  (I have to admit, I couldn’t resist ordering a pair while writing this post.)
cole haan, kate spade, gucci

Shopping List
1.  Michael Kors Kristen Sandal 
2.  Gucci Suede-Trim Leather Sandals 
3.  Kate Spade Bowdon Espadrille Wedge 
4.  VC City Sandal 
5.  Kate Spade Irvine Sandal 
6.  Cole Haan Cambon Sandal 

manolo blahnik, madewell, cole haan

Shopping List
1.  Steve Madden Aintso Sandal 
2.  Madewell Sightseer Crisscross Sandal  
3.  Joie Socoa Strappy Leather Sandal 
4.  Cole Haan Mesi Slide 
5.  Manolo Blahnik Crisscross Sandals 
6.  Chloe Leather Cutout Sandals  

Inevitably, I came across a few things that were not quite what I was looking for but would be fun to have.  Here are a few examples, just in case you have a summer shoe budget that is bigger than mine.
madewell, chloe, birkenstock

Shopping List
1.  Splendid Crete Sandal
2.  Madewell Veronique Sandal
3.  Chloe Curve Heel Sandal 
4.  Joie Buenaventura Slip On 
5.  Silver Birkenstock 


Renovation: Phase One Update, Demolition and Framing

As I reported at the beginning of the month, phase one of my home renovation has begun.  At this point, it is well underway.  In the past few weeks we have been through demolition, added structural support and plumbing, and started some basic framing.  (If you don’t remember where we started, take a look at my April 6 post, here.)  It is loud, dusty and there have been one or two surprises.  But, it is nice to see progress.  Even though it is still rough, there is enough framing that we can walk the rooms and start to get a feel for the space.  Take a look for yourself.
Future Garden Room
Future Garden Room Bathroom
Future Stairway
Future Guest Room
Future Guest Room Bathroom
Of course, when you renovate a home that is almost 90 years old, there are always surprises.  It has happened in all of our past projects and this time is no different.  First, we had to close off part of the kitchen (originally not to be touched until Phase Two begins) to facilitate some structural work.  Then, when we demolished the guest room it became apparent that a prior owner had removed PART OF THE FOUNDATION of the house when doing a prior renovation.  So, as a result, we have been digging an unplanned trench to replace the segment of the foundation that had been removed and add additional support to the space.  (See below.)  There is never a dull moment around here, that is for sure.
The next step is to start ordering tile and fixtures in the next couple of weeks.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted on our progress.

Dining In Style: Octavia Restaurant

On Thursday night I had the pleasure of dining at Octavia Restaurant, the latest restaurant by chef Melissa Perello.  It was fantastic.
I loved the space as Baker & Banker, and Quince before that.  Perello’s design team did a great job opening up the space.  The wood finishes have been lightened and somehow the windows feel larger, though I am not certain that the size actually changed.
The Octavia space is not large, however, the design team did a nice job segregating the kitchen while still keeping it open to the restaurant.
Finally, the Octavia space has a bit of a rustic feel that makes you want to get comfortable and stay a while.  From the reclaimed wood tables to the leather ties attached to the water bottles, no detail was ignored.
Perhaps most importantly, Octavia’s food was amazing.   We tried the oysters, deviled egg, mushrooms “a la grecque,” paccheri with baccala & fennel, spring vegetable panade, and dry aged beef rib-eye (pictured below in order).  All were delicious, and I believe that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so here you go.
As an aside, the whole experience started out a bit uncertain.  I made a reservation using OpenTable, input my credit card information, and thought we were good to go.  Then, randomly, I looked for my email confirmation to verify the reservation time and couldn’t find the email.  It occurred to me that the reservation might not have gone through, but I did not want to presume that was the case because if I was a no-show I had agreed that the restaurant could charge me $25 per person.  So, I emailed Octavia’s information email address in search of my reservation.  The manager emailed me back right away, but she also could not find it.  I figured I was doomed but then, out of the blue, she offered me a reservation at a slightly different time.  I was very impressed that a new restaurant by one of hottest chefs in town would go out of their way to accommodate us, especially because the error was clearly OpenTable’s error, not theirs.  Great food, a beautiful space, and amazing customer service – I can’t wait to go back!

Weekend Inspiration: Time To Shop The Sample Sales

This weekend appears to be all about amazing sample sales.  As we mentioned last week, Madeline Weinrib has amazing deals at there sample sale going on now at the SF Design Center (more info here).  And, the Restoration Hardware Sample Sale is going on this weekend – details below.  Need we say more?

Restoration Hardware

Did you miss a post this week?   Not to worry, we have a round up.
Celebrate Earth Day everyday with our stylish, eco-conscious finds here.
We are always on the hunt for affordable art.  If you are too, you’ll love these sites.
Not sure what to do with Pantone’s color of the year?  Check out our faves, here.
Things a little dim around your house these days?  Take a look a these affordable, brand-new Restoration Hardware sconces featured this week.


Color Crush: Marsala

color of the year
Image courtesy of
As everyone knows, “marsala” is the Pantone color of the year for 2015.  I have to admit, I had a little trouble embracing this one at first.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the color.  I love it for nail polish, a beautiful sweater, and a lipstick.  I love it for flowers.  At first, though, I wasn’t sure if I loved it for home decor.  The more I have seen it, the more it has grown on me.  The round up below is particularly inspiring.
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If you are willing to make a big commitment, you cannot go wrong with these pieces.
myoldcountryhouse sofa
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At the end of the day, I probably would not make a large commitment to marsala.  I prefer it as more of an accent color than the main focus.  It is used nicely here by designer Sarah Richardson.
Sarah Richardson
Image courtesy of
If you like the “less is more” approach too, here are a few low-commitment pieces that won’t break the bank.
cb bottle vases
Crate & Barrel Bottle Vases
Wayfair throw pillow
Wayfair Throw Pillow
Lamps Plus
32″ Brezza Mirror
Etsy, Kravet
Kravet Pillow, 20″ Square (Etsy)
Dot & Bo
Dot & Bo Wall Clock 

Featured Item: Restoration Hardware Sconces

Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware

We have a pair of beautiful, in-the-box, Restoration Hardware sconces for sale on the site this week.   At $100 for the pair, they are a steal.


They would work well in a variety of rooms, but we like them best for a living room.  If you need lighting, but you are not sure what you would pair with these two, here is a little inspiration along with our shopping list.

West Elm, Serena & Lily, Restoration hardware, LaceField Designs

Shopping List
1.  Brahms Serena & Lily Herringbone Throw
2.  Round Chandelier
3.  Lacefield Designs Quince Velvet Pillow
4.  Lacefield Designs Calypso Pillow
5.  West Elm Low Bone Coffee Table
6.  West Elm Zig Zag Rug
7.  Restoration Hardware Linen Sofa


Spring Blooms

Purple Lilacs
Image courtesy of
When it comes to flowers, I’m a less is more kind of girl.  I like arrangements that involve one color and, when feasible, one type of flower.  (Hence, the gorgeous purple lilacs above.)  I love the simplicity of the look but, let’s face it, I also love that it is easy.  Now that Spring has sprung, I’ve been noticing flowers everywhere.  Here are some of my favorites.  I can’t wait to pull a few looks together this weekend.
Pink Blooms
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Sunset Flowers Image courtesy of
Yellow flowers
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cherry blossoms
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Sites We Love:

lecartsf logo
I recently had a chance to sit down with Jenny Moore and Mary Graf, the founders of LeCartSF is one of our favorite websites for unique flea market finds and revamped vintage décor.   Jenny and Mary comb flea markets, estate sales, and second hand shops for furniture and accessories that they think deserve a second life (sometimes with a little TLC in the form or new paint/finishing, reupholstering, and/or repurposing). Their results are gorgeous and sell out quickly.

Jenny and Mary are not only business partners, but they have also been best friends since age 2, when then met at St. George’s Preschool in Nashville, Tennessee.   Whoever said that friends should not do business together never met these two amazing women. They manage to juggle homes, children, the website, Jenny’s interior design business, and volunteer work, all the while keeping their sense of humor and friendship intact.
LeCart Mary Jenny
There is no doubt that design is in their blood. Both remember appreciating it from a young age. As teenagers they were sponge-painting, rearranging their bedroom furniture, and tackling their college dorm rooms. They have always been interested in repurposing items that may have been forgotten or were simply in need of some sprucing up. Long before launching LeCartSF, they were distressing beds and case goods, and adding trim to lampshades. Many of those pieces have stood the test of time and still remain in their homes. We are thrilled that Jenny and Mary could take time out of their jam-packed schedules to share their resources, inspiration, and future plans with us.
What are your favorite resources for finding products for your site?  
We are always on the hunt. Locally, we find many things at the Alameda Flea Market, Treasure Island Market, Marin County Antique Faire, consignment stores, and Estate sales. We have traveled to the Rose Bowl flea market as well as flea markets in Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida. Currently we’re planning a summer inventory-buying road trip, but the itinerary is not yet set. Our dream is taking an inventory trip to Paris flea markets.
What inspires you?
We love it all! But we both have our niches.
Jenny: I follow my favorite designers and fabric manufacturers on Instagram.   I am inspired by beautiful fabric and I read a ton of print magazines including House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Traditional Home. My favorite designers are Ruthie Sommers, Celerie Kemball, Ashley Whitaker, Miles Redd (NY), though the list goes on. These days I feel like I am inspired by the “cozy” – I want to be able to sink into a room.
Mary: I am a magazine reader – House Beautiful, Elle Décor, Town & Country, Architectural Digest and I read them in print (not online). I’m inspired by interior designers, but also by fashion – I follow Rachel Zoe, Olivia Palermo, and Aerin Lauder on Instagram. I love seeing things that are over the top, Miles Redd comes to mind, but I also love the traditional (i.e. Bunny Williams, Charlotte Moss).
Is there anything about your childhoods that inspired you to follow this path?
We both grew up in “girly,” southern homes.
Mary: my mother loved beautiful antiques. They were gorgeous but fragile and not necessarily kid-friendly. I don’t think I appreciated the beauty then, but I do now. As mother to three small girls, I try to use beautiful antiques in a livable, modern way.
Jenny: I also remember having a beautiful home growing up but I think the thing that influenced me the most having the freedom to explore with my design taste. At some point I was repainting our bathroom ONCE A WEEK. It was great to have the opportunity to experiment then.
How did you get the idea for
After finishing design school Jenny was working in the field and we started talking about the idea. We always went to the Alameda flea market together and knew we had similar aesthetics. Originally the idea was to open a brick & mortar store – but we needed more manpower, more money, and really and truly we are moms we wanted more flexibility. So, we decided that a website was the way to go. We talked about it for over a year before launching and built the website ourselves. We launched in 2012.
What is the most difficult part of running an on-line retail shop?
For us, it is having enough time to put into the business consistently. There are never enough hours in the day and months fly by. Because we are also creating the product, we worry about staying relevant.
How do you attract buyers to your site?
Initially we received some great press. We also have been fortunate to hold successful shows (5 in the last two years) and rely a lot on word of mouth. Sometimes, we are not sure how people find us. We have had buyers from Ohio, New Jersey and Australia. One person told us they found the site through a Google search.
Do you have any favorite pieces?
Yes, we both LOVED a bench with roll arms and pretty cabriolets and gold on them. We reupholstered in a blue and white Schummacher chinoiserie fabric. It was gorgeous.
Do you have any upcoming events?
Yes, we have a show coming up on May 5-6, 2015 where we plan to debut some fun, new custom items. It is at the Edgewood Fair at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio (website here). We are excited because this is the 49th year of the show, which is a fundraiser for the Edgewood Center for Children & Families.  We will be donating 25% of revenue to the Edgewood Center
If our readers can’t make it to the Edgewood Fair, how can they find you?
If you want to see our most recent fun finds, Instagram is the best source.  We try to keep the website up to date, but sometimes inventory sells off Instagram before it ever makes it on to the website.   You can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook as lecartsf.

Weekend Inspiration: Try Something New

We are always looking for something new to do on the weekend.  Here are a few things that we would like to try.  What are your plans?
vintners market 2
Taste A New Wine
The SF Vintner’s Market is happening at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion this weekend.  It is being billed by 7×7 Magazine as “the ultimate opportunity to discover new wines from top local wineries and boutique producers from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles, Medocino, San Luis Opisbo, Russian River Valley, and more.”   Since we love tasting (and buying) wine, this one sounds like it is right up our alley. $80-$150. Saturday/Sunday April 11-12: 12-4pm. Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center.  To buy tickets, click here.
Eat Someplace New
We have heard great things about the food and cocktails, especially the cocktails, at BDK. It is in the old Grand Cafe space at the Hotel Monaco in Union Square. It is an American Tavern with “enhanced comfort food,” according to the website.  Some of the fare includes:  Thai coconut red curry popcorn, pickle-brined fried chicken thighs with coleslaw and mini buttermilk biscuits, and dark chocolate fudge cake with salted pretzel crumble.  Based on that snapshot, something tells me that it doesn’t suck.  Book now on the Website or Opentable.
Presidio 10
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Do Something Good
After all the eating and drinking above, a little exercise couldn’t hurt. The Presidio 10 is a 10 Mile/10K/5K race in the Presidio. The 10 mile and 10 kilometer courses go over and back on the Golden Gate Bridge. The 5 Kilometer fun run goes to Fort Point and back. The finish line expo include awards for age divisions, hot breakfast, party tents from multiple sponsors, and live music.  The Presidio 10 is one of San Francisco’s longest standing running races and celebrates its 31st year on Sunday April 12th 2015. All net proceeds benefit The Guardsmen, a 501 (c)(3) charity which supports At-Risk Bay Area Youth.  Sign up here.


  • We were pleasantly surprised to find some of our favorite shops in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village.  Take a trip down, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Planning a renovation?  We’re sharing phase one of our most recent project.  Take a peak if you are curious and stay tuned for updates.
  • Trying to enjoy the great outdoors in a small space?  One of our bistro sets might be just the thing to help you do that.
  • Need to light up your life?  Peruse our top ten chandeliers; they are certain to make a dim space dazzling.


Small Outdoor Spaces: Our Favorite Bistro Sets

If you live in San Francisco, you know that outdoor space is at a premium.  If you are lucky, you might have a small patio or deck with room for a bistro set.  It is certainly a luxury to have more space than that.
Despite this week’s rain, we have a feeling that sunshine is in our immediate future.  So, we have been thinking about how to outfit our own outdoor spaces.  We would like to have a place to sit down, enjoy the sun, and maybe have a glass of wine or cup of coffee.  Even though our spaces are small, we definitely don’t want to sacrifice style.  So, we went on a hunt for bistro sets.  Here is a round up of our four favorites with links.  Time to start shopping!
Crate and Barrel, outdoor
Mosaic Blue Bistro Table & Turkish Tile Dining Chair
Home Decorators Collection, outdoor
Follie Outdoor Bistro Set
Ikea, outdoor
Malaro Table & Chairs
Crate & Barrel, outdoor
Sabrina Chair & Penelope Table