House and Life

House and Life

Monday, December 27, 2010

Out With The Old

Remember way back when what my back entry used to look like? It was really the kitchen and I cannot imagine how that ever functioned. There was a servant's kitchen way on the third floor as well (as we suspect, why else would you have a kitchen sink up there?) Anyhow, I thought I would share what it looks like today. We created a powder room to the left, removed the arch, and added french doors to the porch. We recently added a barn door slider to add a hidden pantry space. My great friend and neighbor Cathy let me dig one her terrific five panel doors out of her basement and I proceeded to have it painted with chalkboard paint. I hit Agway for the barn slide mechanicals. The nice people at the counter couldn't understand what I was doing with this inside my house, but I digress. Found an old rotary phone on Ebay and it has the BEST ring. And now James can't dump boxes of ziti every other day. Thrilling. The chair is vintage from my mother in law and found a nice seagrass runner on Overstock. Overstock saved my life this Christmas. The grasscloth repeats throughout my kitchen. I hope you like it!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to my faithful readers. I hope you have a wonderful day!!!!!

Image from Lonny Magazine

Monday, December 20, 2010

Knock, Knock, It's Bunny.

The new owners of the Falls Village Inn in Falls Village CT got a suprise visit from a neighbor while they were busy trying to renovate the worn out destination. One day in June when the couple was standing on the sagging porch, a woman walked up and put out her hand and said "I'm Bunny Williams and I would like to help you decorate the Inn", bewildering the owners as they had no idea who she was. See Bunny only lives a couple of hundred yards from the Inn and felt her weekend town needed a soul and a reason for people to visit again. So the very lucky owners got Bunny for free and the rest is history. Another reason to love her. I'm hoping Santa brings me her newest book, "A Scrapbook For Living". I've been good, right Santa???

The article can be seen here courtesy of Rural Intellegence.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Winter has set in here in the Northeast. It makes you want to settle into your house and not leave. Here are a couple of pictures to inspire you to do the same.
Just on a side note, am I crazy or is that Windsor Smith's kitchen in the last picture?

Friday, November 26, 2010

***** My Gigi would like to announce that the lucky winner of our Fabulous Beekman Boys Giveway is.......


Thanks to all who left a comment and I wish I could send you all the book. But I had so much fun with this first time giveaway I plan to do more in the near future.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

From My Thanksgiving table early this morning to yours, have a wonderful day with your family and friends. And don't forget there is still time for the giveaway posted below! Leave your comments. xx Ali

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Boys are Back and Giveaway!!!

The Fabulous Beekman Boys are back at Sharon Springs New York, at least for a holiday spread in December's Country Living! For those who haven't yet discovered the show on Planet Green, City Slickers Josh Kilmer Purcell and Brent Ridge went out and bought an bucolic Upstate New York farmhouse as a weekend house. Then lost their jobs. But their inspiring story of creating a chemical free goat soap and cheese making business on the heels of nearly losing their shirts makes for a terrific read if you haven't picked up "The Bucolic Plague" for your Christmas stockings. It was my favorite read this summer. So as a Thanksgiving gift to one of my readers, I am giving away one copy of the book! Please leave a comment and one will be picked at random Friday at 9pm November 26th. Please do not email directly. I will then mail out the next day after contacting the luck winner. Good luck Gobblers!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Well its right around the corner and I'm thinking of my Thanksgiving table.  I found finally found a great Parsons bench for a long side of my dining room table at the local Sal Val and I am going to lacquer it white while my sewer extraordinaire Tiffany is making me up a faux skin cushion and I promise to post it all when its done next week.I thought it would break up the formality of the table and give the kiddos a fun place to sit.   I really love Tastemaker Charlotte Moss's table posted today on HB's website. It's looking great so far Newell T!  I love how she gives each guest his or her own soup tureen.  Oh Charlotte, I love you!

***On a side note I really appreciate the emails I received wondering about my absence.  It was a rough year for us personally.  My brother in law John did indeed pass away from pancreatic cancer at the very young age of 51.  We also lost our 13 year old Labrador Tucker.  So posting on pretty things just did not seem so important. But I love this blog and all it has brought to my life so look for me on the radar again.  For that I am thankful.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I'm so glad! It's been a really long summer.  I never thought I would say that. But I'm ready for leggings, boots, pumpkins, fires, and so much more. You?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grant the Great!

How adorable is this little girl's room that Grant K. Gibson has designed and is installing for an Elle Decor Showcase come Fall?  And the G's are just perfect for my Gigi.  I want it all!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I love rainy Sundays.  Especially with nowhere to go.  I thought I would share a shot of my built in hutch cabinet in my kitchen.  It's filled with favorite milk glass finds, 4 jadeite dishes that I love (would like more), some julip cups I found at the thrift store, a polka dot bowl my mom got me at Ikea years ago, and a pheasant platter I got at Anthropologie, some vintage punch bowls and more.  I hope you like!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tommy Can You Hear Me?

Every time I catch Sarah's House on HGTV I always laugh at her assistant Tommy Smythe's zingers (like contractor boob lights). He posted this kitchen of his own design on Facebook. You rock Tommy.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's Not Too Late

To snag a couple things left at Grant K. Gibson's Tastemaker Sale at One King's Lane or at least gain inspiration from Grant's offerings that can be found in your nearest flea. I was happy to see we share the same pillows!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Of a swim in this pool. I'll take the converted barn too.

credit Rural Intelligence

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I hope you all have a wonderful,safe Fourth of July. A little bit of red white and blue eye candy to brighten your day.

Also great new blog here

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Happy June! I hope you haven't forgotten me.

Here are a couple of my favorite summer round-ups to get you in the mood for Summer. I've missed you all.....xo Ali

images from Domino Magazine (sniff), Vogue Living, Unknown

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thanks For the Mention!

House & Life was quoted in this month's Kansas City Spaces Magazine!

The question was how do you transition your home from Winter to Spring and this is what we had to say:

"I love to scoop up all the pillows and throws in the house and send them off to be cleaned for next year. Then I'll add some tulips from our local greenhouse. It's amazing what a little color will do. This requires a little more effort, but I also like to change out my heaview lined drapes with sheer panels. IKEA has some terrific ones, and it's totally worth it. And when the clocks spring forward, the house seems to smile."

Thank you KCS and David Jimenez. It was an honor to be in such great company as Top Design contestant Eddie Ross, Patricia Shackelford (aka Mrs. Blandlings), and many more.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I took down a large piece of poster art from my last home that I quickly stuck up when we moved here to give it some life. But it sort of just blended into the wall and I never really liked it. So over the past few months I bid on some really affordable charcoal sketches (some starting at 99 cents on Ebay!) and cruised Etsy for additional selections. I love the girl with the skirt from there. I figured I would do my usual of buying inexpensive black frames from Michael's or any craft then have mats cut at our local gallery. But here Target came out with a great line of 8 by 10 opening size with much larger surrounds giving it that fabulous gallery look. And like 16 bucks a frame! Can't beat it. Hope you like!

Be Back Soon!

Sorry for the absence but girlfriend has to work to pay the bills! I'll have some good stuff coming your way shortly. Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Designer Series: Palmer Weiss

Palmer Weiss is as chic as her name. She seems to effortlessly create beautiful rooms that exude both refinement and spontinatity at the same time. She is an interior designer from San Francisco and first caught my attention when she made Domino Magazine's coveted 10 to Watch. She runs a successful interior design business and a life full of getting two beautiful children off to school and juggling life with designs. She was kind enough to give H&L an interview. So without further ado,our interview with Palmer Weiss!

House & Life:
I first fell in love with your designs (and your name!) when I spotted you in the Domino 10 emerging designers. I still adore that red skirted table in that photo. Do you miss Domino as much as the rest of us and has anything filled the void for you?
Palmer Weiss:
Thank you for the kind words. As for Domino, honestly not a month goes by that I don’t reach for my mail and think nostalgically about the days when that yummy dose of eye candy arrived! Not only did I love the magazine as a reader, I also had the opportunity to get to know the staff as a part of the Domino 10 happenings. They are all so talented and definitely changed the game in the world of shelter editorial– I still keep in touch with a few of them. Nothing truly fills the void, but I do love the online mag Lonny by Domino alum Michelle Adams. If you have not checked it out, you should – I think it will remind you of the old fave!

Can you tell us what you've been working on?
Sure! A few of the projects that are keeping me busy these days are:
A great family home in Presidio Heights . This is the rare perfect storm of easy going clients with the vision and desire to create a phenomenal home. We have bought a lot of classic and period pieces but also kept it very child-friendly. We have not held anything back on color (can’t wait to show off the red glazed ceiling in the dining room) and it has been a ton of fun!

- I am just finishing my first commercial project – although it still feels more like a residential design. The owner of a national maternity product line hired me to decorate their new headquarters which has a very feminine color palette but with mid-century and modern furnishings. Every time I go there, I wish that my offices were ½ as cool!

- An exciting new project I am beginning is a children’s addition to an incredible property in Woodside. The main house was done by a famous designer so I am honored that the clients have chosen me for this portion of their house. The wing has 3 children’s rooms and a common area. I always enjoy doing kids spaces and think my aesthetic is pretty suited for their lairs (not sure what that says about me?!).


What color combinations have you been drawn to lately? Any that you avoid or find to be too trendy?
That is a tricky question, because every day I fall in love with a new color combo! Probably the only colors I tend to avoid are white, black and beige. For the past year, I have been on a huge lilac kick. Lilac and yellow, lilac and robin’s egg blue, lilac and pale green, lilac and grey…it still hasn’t gotten old for me. Even though I always like to use high contrast, bright colors, I continue to enjoy working in groups of colors that are closer together on the color wheel. The play of tone on tones can add a lot of depth in a more subtle way to a room. For example, I just did a bedroom with pale sea blue walls, Prussian blue lamps and moss green upholstery that I felt turned out nicely.

I love your approach to lighting! Always a bit mischievous I would say! Can you reveal how you hunt for some of your fixtures?
Thank you! I think lighting is a great place to infuse modernity into a classic room and a nice opportunity to work in a vintage object without an enormous amount of money (ie reupholstering, refinishing furniture gets very expensive.) I find a great deal on 1st Dibs – especially in the 20th Century Dealers. For new lighting, I love Urban Electric (out of hometown Charleston ), Christopher Spitzmiller (even though his designs are everywhere, his glaze colors are too special not to be included in a project) and the modern classics from Design Within Reach.

What is a typical day like for you?
6:30 – awakened by two little blondies crawling into my bed. Lots of coffee and craziness ensues as we try to get fed, dressed and out the door for school!

9:00 – in the office, where Arwen, my assistant/office manager and I set out the day’s agenda and priorities. She is incredibly competent and organized and we joke that she is my boss and tells me what I am going to do for the rest of the day! I don’t think people realize the underbelly of design which is the incredible logistics and paperwork that go along with the creative. We are constantly troubleshooting shipping damages, dye lot variations and delays in production in addition to just following up on every last detail of orders. It consumes a good part of any day.

9 – 4:30 –Outside of the office work, anything could happen. I am almost always on site at one clients for some part of the day – whether I am checking, paint colors, meeting with them to review potential schemes, or working with a vendor on site. I also do a great deal of shopping – either online or out and about. My favorite days are those when I am immersed in design and surrounded by fabrics and furniture catalogs. I can lose myself for hours. I also spend a chunk of my time on client financials and budgets as these are very important aspects of any project. And then there is the business of running a business – I often need to meet with lawyers, bookkeepers, accountants, etc to keep things moving in the right direction! I also get to work on the PR side which is fun – meeting editors, doing interviews like this or out on photo shoots.

I would love to say that I also workout, meditate and eat a healthy salad at some point each day, but I would be lying. I usually scarf down something that resembles lunch (do milkshakes count?) either at my desk or driving down 101 at 85 mph. Then, before I know it, is time to pick up kids and head home for play, dinner, bath and books. At some point, a glass (or two) of Chardonnay gets consumed and then I relax with my husband and fall into bed by 11 to rest up to do it all over again the next day!

Thank you Palmer for the insightful interview. It's so terrific to get an inside glimpse into a designer's world, especially when it involves creating career and a fufilling life. I can't wait to see what emerges from Palmer's World. It sure is beautiful.

Palmer Weiss Interior Design, Inc.
1808 Wedemeyer Street, Suite 180
San Francisco, CA 94129

phone: 415.386.2037