Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter California Style -Lunch at Leasa's

The most fun day happened this week when my friend Leasa hosted a birthday lunch for our dear friend Cristina and a few of us. Birthday lunches usually mean restaurants which are nice, but often loud and a bit crazy. Having lunch at someone's home is such a treat I don't know why we don't do it more often. It was something to look forward to at Leasa's home as she is a great cook and a relaxed and fun hostess. 

Her home was decorated in anticipation of Easter and for her darling little girls, Peyton and Coco. How cute is her centerpiece? She loves putting these things together. I wish I could. Her little daughters loved that their bunnies were part of the arrangement.

When you walk in her lovely home the dining room is to the right, so her cute decor welcomed us in. I only had my IPhone, so I had to do the best I could to show how darling and happy she made her home look! I love her home which is so pretty, chic and bright. I love the paint color in here and her chandelier, window coverings and mirrors.

Her home sits on an historic street in our town and she and her husband renovated it keeping it basically the same size, but opening it up. From the front, it appears as it probably did 100 years ago which is so neat I think. Inside it's all you could want from a home. It's open warm, cozy and bright and not over-sized. If I could design a home from scratch I would use her blueprint which is brilliant.

Darling Leasa and her puppy George who thinks he's a cat. You can tell what a relaxed home this is.

Our friend Hang helping Leasa plate her home made pesto which is so healthy is includes arugula and avocados (how Californian is that?) It was delicious!

We had some fun.  The sweet birthday girl, Cristina above right.

Leasa (okay I never look this cute being hostess), finishing her salmon with fresh ginger before putting it in the broiler. It was the best salmon I have ever had and that is the truth.

I love her decor which is a mix of black and white, mercury glass and little found objects. A few snaps of how she mixes it and makes it look amazing. I think she could be a stylist.

 Who would think to decorate your cooktop, but I love this.

 Loving her counter stools too.

Her black honed granite counters are perfect with the white cabinetry and natural wood accents like her woven window coverings and floors.

I just loved the table settings and how she used a little gift for each place card.

As if this party wan't good enough, our friend Catrin (yes, that Catrin of the Swedish-California Christmas I wrote about), made the most delicious desserts for us all without any egg or dairy, since the birthday girl was allergic. This chocolate mousse was so rich and can you believe this was made with cocoa, bananas and avocados? Hey would you expect any less of us Northern California girls? Darn good too.

Hope this gives you some Easter ideas if you celebrate! Here's to more lunches at home. I plan to do this next. It really does feel like a huge treat to do this. Thank you Leasa for allowing me to show everyone your lovely California home!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

California Family Style- Amanda Pays & Corbin Bernsen

About a zillion years ago I  tore out a spread of the home of Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen from House and Garden. It was one of my very favorite homes ever with it's simple elegance. It was their first home and their children were babies. So it was fun to see their latest collaboration published this month along with their beautiful family all grown up.

C Magazine and Country Living both has spreads on their lovely family and the California home they have crafted together. I love that Corbin, (formerly on L.A. Law and now stars on USA networks, "Psych,") was a carpenter before becoming an actor and still loves doing all their home renovations along with his wife. Amanda (remember her from Max Headroom?) owned Ireland-Pays design shop with designer Kathryn Ireland. Amanda left acting to concentrate on her family and has been doing interiors along with raising their four boys. 

 The House and Garden article and their original home which I believe they sold to Steve Martin. The mix of rustic beams, white walls and English chintz made it uniquely Californian and so fresh for the time. Aren't they adorable here?

Amanda with her twins, Angus and Henry. They are now 21years old! Amanda looks the same though.

Kathryn Ireland wrote the article. I especially loved the yellow drapes pulled back and the floral sofa.

More great mixes here Bauer pottery and a simple table and chairs in the dining room.

The kitchen beams were amazing. I love this whole space. Yellow tile backsplash made this room so sunny. This was a gorgeous home and I can't imagine selling it, but redoing homes is their hobby.

Now their new home in Valley Village, which is an area in North Hollywood... You can see some similarities remain. This is a much more modest home and more green. A trend we are all moving towards..

This home is a mix of family treasures, travel finds and salvaged items given new life. Amanda recovered this flea market sofa in Ikea linen fabric and it looks amazing. Flea markets and garage sales are where they like to hunt for home things. (C Magazine)

Another version of the room. Interesting to see how each magazine styled it differently. (Country Living)

The kitchen is salvaged wood, concrete counters and appliances from Sears. A very rustic-industrial mix here. Amanda painted the lemon picture. That's a project we could all do. Loving the tile backsplash.


More views of the fabulous kitchen...

The hanging mugs and chicken wire behind the glass are two other favorites of mine. I noticed they had both in the original home's kitchen.

The bathroom is painted like a wainscoting with two tones. I like how they let the Pennsylvania bluestone floor be the star here and it's gorgeous!

They added rustic beams like this one in the bath.

The entry with their whippet. They wired that lantern to be a lamp. A great DIY project! Floors were painted Benjamin Moore's Gray Timber Wolf.

The master bedroom. The lavenders look so soothing together. Beds here and below were from Room and Board. Sunset throw is from West Elm.

Two of the brothers share a loft for painting and sleeping. Corbin built this loft in a barn space for them. Their close family has all four of the boys ages 14, 24, and 21 year old twins still at home.

A salvaged rocker gives a spot to relax.

In the yard with their four boys. Corbin and his brother built the yard furniture. I'd like to get the French park ground cover look myself. It's got to be greener than lawn and less work, more charm.

These photos, from the C Magazine spread, show how they converted the yard to all drought-tolerant  natives like olive trees, lavender and agave plants. I love this look!

According to C Magazine, Amanda's version of green living is recycling and restoring as much as possible..For a Hollywood family it's admirable in a world of Kardashians and the like. It's a goal that's attainable for us all. This family is more successful than ever, has bigger size kids and actually downsized! Why spend more when you could spend less, live stylishly and reuse what is already out there? This family is my new inspiration. Live simply and live better!

Don't forget about  a Perfect Color contest! You still have until Sunday to enter to win a custom made piece of art. See my previous post or click here! I so could see one of Bonnie's art pieces in Corbin and Amanda's current home!


photos: C Magazine,, Home and Garden.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Perfect Color and a Contest!

For the past several years, our elementary school has held an art auction at the end of the year. Each class makes an original piece of art that incorporates something about the kids and sometimes what they are learning. It also has to look like art that you would want to hang in your home and therefore bid on, which raises money for the school. I remember when one mom started helping organize and inspire these art projects. What a ton of time, but they were all gorgeous. I bid on many they were so bright and fun and what a great memory for your child. Well, that talented lady, Bonnie, now a friend of mine, ended up doing this for 5 years and was just beginning to realize this might be a path to something else...

In her own words, 

"Claireʼs elementary school needed a volunteer to head up the art auction fundraiser so when asked, I said yes. I spent five years working on art with children. I developed dozens of art projects for kids and in the process learned a great deal about design, color and technique. I also taught summer art classes to children in my garage, teaching them about the elements and principles of design. At some point, I thought to myself, why havenʼt I been doing this all my life? I am passionate about designing and drawing. I am in love with vibrant colors and the happiness they add to life. I could sit down at my desk and do this all day long! I love that with art, there is no wrong way to do it. So I decided to begin creating art of my own. But first, I needed to find a style and brand of art that I could call my own." 

The result is A Perfect Color, Bonnie's own Etsy shop featuring her very unique art. Bonnie's playful, colorful pieces are happy and bright. All pieces are original. I can think of so many spots I would love to hang one or a group of them.

A grouping in Bonnie's beautiful home...That could be another blog post!

Some works in progress at her desk.

Four more of my favorites below...

 Bonnie uses different combinations of chalk, pastels, paint and stains to create her art.

These Tuscan colored ones are some of my favorites.. I think the pop of red is perfect to liven up a white or neutral decor.

Don't you think Bonnie's art would be so perfect as we freshen up for Spring? I'm personally tired of my drab decorating. I'd love to add some of these pieces over a coat of fresh white paint and find some pillows in matching colors to bring some Spring to my rooms!

Her Etsy shop is full of inspiring pieces if you are looking to start fresh and give a more playful look to your home.

Bonnie has generously agreed to create a custom piece for one lucky reader in their perfect color!

You can enter several ways.
1. Visit Bonnie's aPerfectColor Etsy shop and pin a photo of your favorite piece of art.
2. Follow her Etsy shop on the left side of her page.
3. Follow this blog by either signing up for Bloglovin (top left of this page) or Google Friend connect.
4. Follow NorthernCalStyle on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest.
5. Leave a note on comments about which you did. Each action gets another entry! Make sure you leave you contact info so Bonnie can email you to find out what your perfect colors are for your custom made work!!

Good luck everyone!