Category: Modern design

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!

Love and Succulents

By , November 10, 2009

To me, a home isn’t complete unless it has some greenery. Interesting containers filled with even more interesting plants and/or floral arrangements softens a look and brings an organic element into any room. Few plants are as varied and well-suited  for multiple environments as succulents are. They are also exceptionally hardy, which is wonderful if you don’t consider yourself of the green thumbed variety.

In every gorgeous, glossy magazine I am seeing images or articles about succulents. It’s for good reason! They are so versatile and can inhabit just about anything they are planted in, allowing you to stretch your imagination and get creative. Most people think of them only as outdoor plants but look at how beautiful  and modern they are nestled amongst crystals in this giant clam shell!


Here is another view:


Embellishing your plants with a few well-chosen stones, shells or gems gives them an elegant edge. I can always find  gorgeous and unique crystals, containers and accessories for my plants at the Living Green Showroom in San Francisco.

 What I love most about succulents is their many shades of green and amazing textures. When combined together, the sweep of texture and colors adds a remarkable sense of the lusciousness of nature that you can use indoors.


They also make  thoughtful gifts. With so much going on in everyone’s lives, many people are returning to the art of giving gifts from the heart instead of from the mall. Potted succulent gardens are such a great way to let someone know you are thinking of them. They add a hint of drama that will grow and change for many years.


Their frequent use in high end and contemporary homes shows that they hold their own in luxury minimalist enviroments as easily as they do in eccentric, colorful interiors. As they require such minimal care, they are also perfect for eco-friendly homeowners!



And last but not least, here is the wonderful use of succulents as wall art! 


Above, Flora Grubb of Flora Grubb Gardens, has created a vertical garden of a variety of succulents that can, when properly conceived, resemble a remarkable painting.  Way to grow, Flora!

I’m hoping that you may be inspired to create your own little indoor succulents gardens.

Warm Regards,


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The Beauty and Wonder of Rainforest Baskets

By , August 18, 2009

I first read about Wounaan handmade Hösig Di™ basketry from Panama, in ARTNews. I was immediately taken with the beauty and geometry of their graphic patterns. I had been looking for something unique for a project I was finishing and I felt that the baskets could be perfect. Overall, the home was very traditional but the media room was to be a more contemporary space. I had the opportunity to bring in something more rustic and handmade. We had already done the entire estate with refined decorative arts and had used almost every type of beautiful accessory imaginable.  I was searching for something truly unique that worked well with the color scheme of red, olive and pale gold. Continue reading 'The Beauty and Wonder of Rainforest Baskets'»

JAID in Apartment Therapy!

By , July 27, 2009

Apartment Therapy recently did a piece on California Home and Design’s May 2009, Reader’s Choice Dining Room Contest. We were excited to make their list of top favorites! If you would like the opportunity to vote in any upcoming competitions that we are in, simply drop us a line and we will ensure that you stay updated on our latest happenings.

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'»

Liz Hager and the Digital MetalType Medium

By , September 16, 2008

Today, our guest blogger is my multi-talented COO, Elaine Triber. Here is what she is interested in right now:

Liz Hager is a versatile mixed media artist who often uses non-traditional materials and processes in the pursuit of artistic statement. As a result, I find her work unusual—because she prints largely on metal, it looks different from a lot of art out there. Her images are witty and imaginative and I always become engaged in the story her work is telling. Continue reading 'Liz Hager and the Digital MetalType Medium'»

“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'»

Modern “Louis Zinc”

As a professional firm, I get so much promotional mail everyday. I look forward to it, as it keeps me updated on all the latest art openings, invitations, special shows and fun new products. Today I got a card from a British furniture designer, John Reeves, showing his new collection called “Louis Zinc”.

LouisZincTable#1 Continue reading 'Modern “Louis Zinc”'»

New Indian Chic

By , June 5, 2008

A book I am currently enjoying is India Contemporary by Henry Wilson. India, with its fast rising economy and burgeoning middle class, has developed a breadth of design styles, retaining its history of arts and crafts while embracing modernity.

New Indian Chic 1

The traditional jali or pierced screen used on windows is reimagined in an ingenious “bamboo” pattern and fabricated of metalwork.

Always deeply creative in its arts, the new designs fast forward the tribal traditions to the present.

New Indian Chic 2

Here a courtyard is painted by a Madhubani tribal artist, taking ancient folk art and adapting it for today…

New Indian Chic 3

…the same tradition is made glamorous in a gold-leafed mural in this entrance.

India was never shy with its colors. As Diana Vreeland famously said, “Pink is India’s navy blue”. Rich and wonderful color combinations enliven the designs of everything from India.

New Indian Chic 4

A balcao (covered walkway) in Goa is perfectly charming due to its colors and lush greenery.

New Indian Chic 5

A very striking modern home made of concrete, stone and wood consciously focuses on indigenous contemporary arts.


Here, traditional black and white herringbone tile floors, classic furnishings in neutral colors, and old wooden doors from a private prayer room create a bold and modern look.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why the country has been known as “Mother India”, its very nature is one of creativity and a great valuing of the arts.

All the best to you,


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