Category: luxury interiors

The Top Ten Interior Design Books of 2009

By , December 11, 2009

It has been a remarkable year for interior design books. It was hard to pick just ten books, as every month produces beautiful tomes that require hours of lingering. I based my results on the books that inspired and influenced me to grow as a designer, and to dream the dreams of love, beauty and art!

A few of the books are from the archives of designers who are no longer living. Still, their work resonates across the years and seems possibly more relevant than when it was first done. Or perhaps it is just me being too young to catch on!

So here they are, in alphabetical order:

1. An Affair with a House; by Bunny Williams- A Charming story of her 30 year affair with a farmhouse, a barn and 12 acres in a New England village.

2. David Hicks-A life of Design; by Ashley Hicks. This is a book written by Hicks son, Ashley. It is chock full of dishy stories about Hicks glamourous, celebrity filled life, but also contains hundreds of illustrations showing the most chic applications of the 70’s asthetic.

3. Defining Luxury; by Jeffrey Bilhuber. Jeffrey’s style is one of courageous color and highly customized furnishings mixed with flea market finds. He defines luxury as finding joy in the ever present abundance of life. Beautiful, fun and very livable rooms.

 4.  Glamour: Making it Modern; by Michael Lassell.  This is a collection from the archives of Metropolitan Home magazine.  Since the magazine has closed and December 2009 will be their last issue, this book showcases a collection of some of their most sophisticated designs and shows how glamour has nothing to do with the size of a home and everything to do with the style in which it was created.

5. Glamorous Rooms; by Jan Showers and Michael Kors. Showers is a designer from Dallas with a showroom and a product line. Check out her great lamps at She also goes elegant classical interiors with a fresh look for today.

6. Michael Taylor Interior Design; by Stephen M. Salny. This wonderful book showcases the work of San Francisco designer Michael Taylor. His work began in the 1950’s and continued through his death in 1986. Looking at the photos throughout his career, it is a reminder how classic interiors never look dated because they are not trendy. These could be shown in magazines today and receive rave reviews! His work is always inspiring.

7. More is More—Tony Duquette; by Hutton Wilkinson. This is the second book about Duquette, the California interior designer, that was written by Wilkinson. The first book was filled with wonderful photographs of Duquette work and this one is also. He was a designer of jewelry, fashion, stage sets, interiors, lighting, fabrics, and the list goes on and on. As an extraordinary artist with a unique vision, inspiration comes with every page. He is the man who would use egg cartons and plastic nursery pots and make them look fabulous, architectural and DIVINE!

8. The Private world of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge; by Robert Murphy. The photos in this book are enough to make you slip into a dream for a week! These gentlemen shared 8 different homes and filled each of them with the finest of art and antiques. Every piece in the collection is amazing for its rarity and for the quality of the execution of the artist. Although the rooms are overfilled with objects and drama, each piece in each room is exquisite and worth examining. Too bad most of it was sold at auction this year and not kept together in a museum that we all could visit.

9. Style and Substance: the Best of Elle Decor; by Margaret Russell, editor. Gleaned from the archives of the sophisticated magazine, this is a beautiful book that spans the 20 years the magazine has been in business. Since it is probably my favorite magazine, I adore every page.

10. Villa; by John Saladino. Alphabetically last, but not the least of my favorites, this is the story of Saladino’s love affair with a classic Santa Barbara house. He found and purchased the home in 2001 and painstakingly restored and renovated it. A gorgeous home of classic style, Saladino, who is both an acclaimed architect and an interior designer, has created a home of impossible beauty and has filled it with a profound collection of antiques, artifacts and his own line of custom furnishings. He is definitely on the short list of architects who I will consider to build my dream home in my next life!

Art Underfoot

By , September 8, 2009

I am interested in products that are created using new technologies but that still have strong ties to the traditional origins of the craft. I love it when the product has a contemporary edge, yet still retains the warmth and refined sensibility of the classics. Looking at the latest Italian Architectural Digest, I noticed an unusual hardwood floor inlaid with marble.  Continue reading 'Art Underfoot'»

Jane on

By , June 30, 2009

I’m so pleased to share with you our newest press coverage at, the #1 decorating blog in the country. The site offers a wealth of great information, such as “shop this picture,” where one click lets you shop the online stores that carry all of the items in the photographed room. When I am looking for a special item at a low price I check out the sample sale where I often get lucky enough to find it! Continue reading 'Jane on'»

Our New “One Day Makeovers” For The Home

By , April 7, 2009

Early in December of last year, my team and I were installing new family room furniture in a client’s primary residence. I had finished their second home the previous year, so they knew the capabilities of the firm, but I hadn’t done much for them in this house. She asked me to “take a look at the dining room and living room” to see what the rooms might need to make them look better for the big party she was planning.

The first thing I noticed was that there was a lot of nice art, but it was hung in a way that was not very effective. I knew that by rehanging the existing art, we could help the areas to be much more dramatic and engaging. So I had our art installer come by and help us hang the work that I had reorganized and placed into groups. The groups are much more powerful than the pieces scattered about, which you can see here:

Before and After Art Placement

Before and After Art Placement

Then, I noticed the furniture in the living room was not showing the room to its best advantage. I Pushed the furniture around a bit, opening the room up more to the fireplace and suddenly theroom appeared larger! I noticed an area by the window that was not furnished with much of anything. We moved an antique sofa table into the window area and decided that it would benefit from some new lamps and accessories. With that, an area that was once dead was now alive and interesting, both from outside the house viewed on the way to the front door and from the inside as well.

Window View Before and After

Window View Before and After

I inventoried the lamps. There were not enough to create the warm glow I had in mind. So with the clients permission, we brought in some new lamps and lampshades, some new pillows for the sofa and other accessories for the room.

The book case in the living room had a few items on it, but needed help. I picked the raspberry accent color that was in her fabrics and had the painters who were working in the family room paint the back of the bookcase that color. The client had a few pieces of blue and white Chinese Export Style ceramics. So we filled the bookcase with more of the blue and white ceramics, interesting wooden boxes and beautiful old books. And a couple of small pictures that we took down from the walls and hung inside the bookcases added drama, scale and perspective to the shelves. The shelves went from drab to dynamite!

Bookcase Before and After

Bookcase Before and After

The living room was looking very good by now, so on to the other rooms!

When we had started the re-do, I put all the clients accessories from the three areas in one area of the floor so I could see them all at the same time. This allowed me to notice patterns of items that worked well together, small collections we could place and also let me know what was missing. I brought in a carload of accessories to add to the group and then everything began to sing. We were able to restyle the bookshelves, tabletops, kitchen counters and desks. We also brought in some containers for plantings and orchids to make the rooms feel really alive!

Mantel View Before and After

Mantel View Before and After

We then raided the clients other rooms and found a wonderful antique Italian leather stool that we placed next to center table in the central foyer. We added large branches to her beautiful Chinese planter, found a lovely antique chinoiserie sewing box for the table and removed the rug from underneath the table. You can see below what a spectacular difference that made.

Entry Before and After

Entry Before and After

The chest of drawers, and the rug beneath it, that were in the entry area was off center in the hall. I centered the piece, hung an antique gilt wood mirror above it, placed candlestick lamps with charming shades, and refreshed the planter that the client had placed there. Now there was a space next to the chest that cried out for a chair. My favorite vintage store had an old Michael Taylor style chair that would fit the bill. We placed a small oil painting above it and the entire area felt warm and inviting, instead of a bit “off”.

Chest of Drawers Before and After

Chest of Drawers Before and After

In the dining room, we rearranged the display areas on her antique French buffet and the sideboard by using her silver tea set and other family pieces. We found a new mirror that was painted in just the right shade of blue and rehung the art there as well. Again, one of the clients beautiful containers was repurposed for just the right touch in the dining room. The room felt fresh and completely revived!

The clients were so thrilled with their new look. They just loved it. They told me over and over how delighted they were with everything. And of course, the joy that our clients feel when the project is complete is what we live and work so hard for!

Living Room View Before and After

Living Room View Before and After

As we were considering our marketing plans for the new year, I remembered how much we enjoyed doing that small project in a short amount of time and how incredibly happy my clients were with the dramatic results. They couldn’t have been more pleased! I thought others might be interested in “refreshing the nest” also. And we enjoyed providing that small service so much. I decided to put together a special offering of packaged services that would allow us to have some fun from time to time by doing a small service for a client, instead of the very large estates we are used to working on. Those are usually 3-5 year projects that take quite a bit of stamina! So our new offering is going out to a few selected homes this spring.

That was the birth of the “One Day Makeover” idea. It is nice to know that we really can help families feel like their homes are refreshed, fluffed up and looking their best, without breaking the bank this year!

Please read my earlier blog called “Spa Packages for Spring,” – the original name of our special services – for more information on our offerings. Our “Total Bliss” package even includes a treatment at La Belle Day Spa on the day we are working in your home!

If you or any of your friends are ready for a makeover for your home, let them know about our special offers for Spring!

All the best to you,


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Spa Packages for Spring

By , April 6, 2009

Announcing a new service at JAID!

We at JAID have been known for 25 years for providing interior architecture and interior design services on large and complex estates and vacation properties.

We are pleased to offer some new, smaller service packages to a selected group of our neighborhood friends. See our blog “The Birth of the Spa Packages” to see how we came up with this idea for a special offering and some photos of the difference it makes in a home. As happens so often, we got the idea from one of our dear clients. Continue reading 'Spa Packages for Spring'»

The Art Sale of the Century!

By , February 10, 2009


Yves Saint Laurent in the grand salon of his apartment on Rue de Babylone with model Sibyl Buck, October 27, 1995. They are surrounded by the Surrealist-period Léger painting The Black Profile (1928), sold by the artist’s widow, and Jean Dunand’s 1925 Art Deco brass-and-lacquer vase, among the treasures to be auctioned at the Grand Palais, in Paris, February 23 to 25. By Jean-Marie Perier/From Photos12/Polaris.

The Yves Saint Laurent auction at Christie’s will present one of the premiere art collections of the 20th century. The auction collection has over 700 items and is estimated to be between $300-400 million in value. The photos I have seen of the apartments that Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge lived in are filled with amazing pieces that are rarely available to purchase. The items could create their own museum, but instead will go,scattered over the world item by item, to be loved and enjoyed by a lucky few individuals. This auction is destined to heavily influence furnishings and interiors for the next 10 years. Continue reading 'The Art Sale of the Century!'»

Frances Elkins, Michael Taylor, and me…

By , September 24, 2008

Let me introduce you to my extremely talented Senior Designer, Stuart Gilchrist. Here’s what he’s writing about….

Actually, what led me to write about Frances Elkins, who influenced countless 20th century designers, is my excited anticipation of Stephen Salny’s upcoming book about Michael Taylor, the renowned San Francisco designer. Taylor was profoundly influenced by Frances Elkins, and I by both of them. So it makes perfect sense that Stephen Salny, who wrote a beautiful book about Elkins in 2005 called Frances Elkins: Interior Design is following it up with a book about Taylor.

My first experience learning about Elkins occurred in my childhood when my mother hired an interior designer, Sue Gilpatric to decorate our home in Northern California. Gilpatric, who followed Elkins’ lead, inspired me to become a designer and a follower of Elkins’ work. And in fact, like Elkins herself, I would go to friends homes and rearrange the furniture to my liking, sometimes to the joy and sometimes to the dismay of its occupants. Unfortunately, unlike her, they were not my clients (until much later)!

As Mr. Salny so eloquently states, “ Frances Elkins was a chic arbiter of taste. Her contributions to interior decoration spanned over three decades and influenced interiors from New York to Hawaii.”


© Jess Smith/Photosmith

Luis Medina/Architectural Digest ©Conde' Nast Publications, Inc.

Luis Medina/Architectural Digest ©Conde' Nast Publications, Inc.

As you can see from these photos of Mr. and Mrs. Kersey Coates Reeds’ tennis house sitting area and living room done in 1929; she has a wonderful sense of scale and proportion that she learned from her brother, David Adler, the renowned Chicago architect. This, along with her ability to mix modern pieces with antiques, is a big part of what set her apart and helped create her dedicated following of designers still to this day.Elkins was considered avant-garde. She took risks when others would not.


Photo Louis Median, © Peter S. Reed

Photo Louis Median, © Peter S. Reed

Again, as you can see in this photo of the Reed Library, she mixed modern furniture by her friend and collaborator, the French interior designer, Jean-Michel Frank, with more traditional furnishings to create a unique, minimal, and fabulous room. Frances Elkins’ work from the 1930’s to the 1950’s has withstood the test of time. In fact, some rooms that she designed during those years still stand the same today with minimal changes. Elkins was a force to be reckoned with. I’d like to think that I am too (in a good way!) I am thrilled that I’ve had a chance to learn so much from her and Michael Taylor’s work. She helped me determine my career path at a very early age – and it was the right choice! I will forever be grateful for that, and her.



Jane Antonacci

Bay Area’s Best Stone Carver

By , August 25, 2008

One of my favorite vendors in the SF Bay Area is a stone carver by the name of Nathan Hunt, of Hunt Studios. Nathan grew up in Southwest England. He started his career as a stonemason at the Exeter cathedral when he was only 15. His apprenticeship in the churches and cathedrals of England taught him not only the technical skills required to cut stone, but showed him the very important ideas about classical architecture, scale and proportion. He eventually worked on castles and palaces and also on Princess Diana’s memorial. Continue reading 'Bay Area’s Best Stone Carver'»

“Not Your Momma’s Wicker!”

By , August 11, 2008

That’s what he says about his outdoor furniture. That’s his tag line. And that’s a point of view I agree with.

A friend recently sent me an email update. She was at a party, and a young man was there who was an outdoor furniture designer. He had brought several pieces along with him for the crowd to enjoy. She loved them so much that she sent the catalog to me since she knows I love messing with traditional furnishings to make them fresh. Continue reading '“Not Your Momma’s Wicker!”'»

Reclaimed Elegance

By , June 16, 2008

I was contacted recently to bid on the interior design and decorating of a new European chateau style estate that is being built here in California. Thinking about the possibility of the project, I began formulating ideas to create the perfect space. Where would I begin? Then I remembered a set of beautiful carved panels that I had seen at an antique show.jantonacci1 Continue reading 'Reclaimed Elegance'»

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