Saša Antić

: : the styling of .Saša Antić. always amazes me! Love the outdoor settings, especially the same scenery in different seasons.

New Concept House Plans Unveiled!

Simply Elegant Home Designs has added a new Concept Plans gallery page at Concept Plans and Custom Home Design.  The page has a flash gallery of home designs that we have started, but are just waiting for the right client to fully develop.  These concept plans basically represent a starting point towards the design of a new custom home.

A shingled cottage home design that could serve as a great mountain cabin plan or beach house.  

A modern cottage with an open floor plan and a beautiful front porch.  The roof lines are simple, yet dramatic.

A mountain lodge with wrap around porch!

Simple yet unique farmhouse plan with a wrap around porch and a main floor master bedroom.  Classic Midwest Living

An elegant cottage home design with a welcoming front porch.
You can check out more of the gallery at  Concept Plans and Custom Home Design

Modern Cottage House Plan Update - The Afton

Simply Elegant Home Designs has updated the design of our Modern Cottage House Plan - The Afton.  We liked the old design for it's modern simplicity, but wanted to provide a fresh version for those with a bit more traditional sensibilities.  I've highlighted some of the changes below.

Here is our previous design.  Nice - so we just wanted to add a few touches to make it a bit more traditional.

The new front elevation.  We added a an "eyebrow roof" above the wrap around porch, added muntins to the windows and changed the color tones of the exterior.  These changes give the home design a more soothing feeling and give it more of a beach cottage aesthetic.  By the way you can check out an exterior animation at Modern Cottage Exterior Video
View from rear yard.  We added a wrap around porch that connects to the screen porch.  This is a great home plan for outdoor living

Interior image from dining area through kitchen to living room.  We updated materials and color tones.   And we have added a great video that walks you through the main floor spaces.  You can check that out at Modern Cottage Interior Video
 All in all I think you can see that a few subtle changes can make a significant difference in a home design.  So let us know if you think.  Do you like the "before" or the "after"?

By the way - you can see more information on this plan at Modern Cottage House Plan! 

Home Design Ideas - Crazy with Tile!

I recently ran into a photo of a simple bathroom design that I wanted to share with you.  It's a really skinny, small, simple, unique and fantastic powder room within a 1910 Georgian Mansion in San Francisco.  Check it out below.
This powder room is a contrast of the very modern and the very ornate.  It starts off as a very spare space with almost awkward proportions.  Add to that the modern wood vanity, vessel sink and faucet.  This is contrasted by the "crazy" - but well designed tile pattern, reinforced by the stained glass window and the ornate mirror. 
Detail view of the tile pattern.  I cannot imagine the man-hours that went into this.   But you have to admit it's very cool.
All in all a very quirky but beautiful powder room.  So todays lesson is this:
  1. Keep it simple but pay attention to the details.
  2. A contrast of styles can be very dramatic.

If you want to learn more about this bathroom you can check out the link where I found it:

10 Things to do in Palm Springs

1.  Visit Old Town La Quinta
Old Town La Quinta is beautiful! The archways, the Saltillo tiles, the flowers, the mountains, every building is lovely to look at. It is an experience, not just pulling up to some strip center on the highway. The bogenvilia was beautiful climbing up the columns.  I love Saltillo tiles, especially on star risers.

Old Town La Quinta 
Old Town La Quinta Palm Springs
Old Town La Quinta Porsche
This is definitely my car of choice to drive in Palm Springs
Old Town La Quinta Saltillo Tiles 
Old Town La Quinta Saltillo tiles on stair risers

Carthusia Note Fiori di Capri Room Spray 
Carthusia Note Fiori di Capri Home fragrance left /Caldi Caldi Boutique Old Town La Quinta Palm Springs

Check-out the wonderful boutique Caldi Caldi. I was lured into this home furnishings store by the most delicious smelling scent from Capri called Note Fiori di Capri, which apparently was the home fragrance used by Jackie O when she was in Capri. Now every time I spray this scent I am transported to another world and time.

2.  Go on a Palm Springs Windmill Tour
When driving or flying into Palm Springs, one of the most striking sights you will see in the Coachella valley is the vast array of wind turbines that sprout from the desert floor. The words "wind turbine" have evolved into what the locals call windmills. My curiosity was piqued so we arranged a tour which was excellent.  Our tour guide Ken Huskey was very knowledgeable, with a lot of the facts and figures that went right over my head. But what did stick with me was how huge the windmills were close up.  To give you a perspective of the scale of these windmills (in the picture below on the left) if you look closely you can see the small figure of a maintenance person dangling from a wire.

Palm Springs WindmillsPalm Springs Windmills
Palm Springs Windmill Tour Coachella Valley
Palm Springs Windmill Tour at the Spa Resort & Casino.

3.  See a rainbow over the Palm Springs Desert mountains
It was unfortunate on this trip to Palm Springs that there were heavy rainfalls which resulted in flooding and the closure of many roads, but I was fortunate to see this beautiful rainbow one afternoon when the rain had stopped.

Rainbow over the Little San Bernardino Mountains Palm Springs
Rainbow over the Little San Bernardino Mountains Palm Springs

4.  Richard Avedon Photography Exhibit at the Palm Springs Art Museum

The Richard Avedon photography exhibit at the Palm Springs Art Museum runs through January 30, 2011 and showcases 90 black and white images of notable Avedon subjects including Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan and, of course, some of the Richard Avedon’s iconic shots of Dior’s early work.  I went to the Museum with friends not knowing what was showing. I have long admired Avedon’s photography from afar, so you can imagine my delight in being able to see his iconic photographs up close. His photography is mesmerizing and I had to be dragged out of the exhibit.  I quickly rushed into the Gift Shop and bought Avedon postcards and the Richard Avedon book Women in the Mirror, so I could continue to feast my eyes on his work.

Richard Avedon Palm Springs Art Museum Richard Avedon Palm Springs Art Museum
           Richard Avedon, Self Portrait 1980 / Amazon Book: Women in the Mirror
 Richard Avedon Palm Springs Art Museum Richard Avedon Palm Springs Art Museum
Richard Avedon, Twiggy 1968, gelatin silver print
   Richard Avedon Palm Springs Art Museum    
Richard Avedon, Dovima with elephants 1955, Evening dress by Dior

5. Look at Mid Century Modern Real Estate in Palm Springs

Mid Century Modern Real Estate Palm Springs
Mid Century Modern Real Estate Palm Springs

 Mid Century Modern Real Estate Palm Springs
Mid Century Modern Real Estate Palm Springs

6.  Shop at the Cabazon Outlet Mall

The prices and selection are fantastic!!  Some of my favourite stores are Tod’s, Gucci, Prada, Elie Tahari, Michael Kors, Dior, Ralph Lauren. 

Cabazon Outlet Mall Cabazon Outlet Mall Cabazon Outlet Mall

Cabazon Outlet MallCabazon Outlet Mall  
Cabazon Outlet Mall  Cabazon Outlet Mall

7.  Have supper at Jillian’s Restaurant on El Paseo Drive, Palm Desert

Jillian’s Restaurant is housed in a historic 1946 hacienda style building.  The building was originally built as Fort.  It is still intact complete with the artillery room in the rear.  At the front entrance at Jillian’s you can look at interesting pictures of it in the 40’s.  I found it amazing that when it was was built it was the middle of the desert with nothing around it.  That is hard to imagine today, as it is in the center of the busy and thriving Palm Dessert El Paseo Drive shopping area. Below is what I had for Supper at Jillian’s, which was absolutely delicious.  I think the Apple Dumpling has to be the best desert I have ever tasted!

Jillian's Restaurant El Paseo Dive Palm Desert

 Jillian's Restaurant El Paseo Dive Palm Desert

Tower of Fresh Crab 
Fresh Dungeness crab meat layered between diced avocado,
sweet tomatoes and toasted brioche

Rack of Lamb
Rack of Colorado Lamb rolled in Dijon herb crust,
roasted and presented on a fresh Rosemary scented demi glace

Apple Dumpling
A tart apple cored and filled with cinnamon and pecans, encased in puff pastry,
baked then drizzled with a luscious caramel sauce and served with vanilla bean ice cream

8. Visit the Salton Sea & Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve

Palm Springs Salton Sea 
Salton Sea

Thousand Palms Oasis Coachella Valley Preserve 
Thousand Palms Oasis Coachella Valley Preserve

9. Pick an orange from the tree

Palm Springs Fresh Oranges
Picking fresh, juicy, sweet oranges right from the tree.

10. Swim in Palm Springs Natural Hot Mineral pools
The pool I swam in had water that flows from springs 300 feet deep in the earth and comes out of the ground at 115 degrees Fahrenheit. These Palm Springs therapeutic pools claim to be beneficial for arthritis and back pain, heart and diabetes, weight loss and insomnia. What I like best is that the water is odorless and tasteless.  It is a treat to swim in water that doesn’t smell like chlorine. Palm Springs Natural Hot Mineral Pool

PATRICIA GRAY INC is an award winning interior design firm writing about lifestyle and
WHAT'S HOT in the world of interior design, architecture, art and travel.
2011 © Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

blood orange caipirinhas

: : since I was born in Brazil I was brought up on Brazilian caipirinhas, I remember drinking them with water instead of sugar cane rum when I was a kid. It's always been the favorite drink in my family and it didn't take long for Iz to pick up the caipirinha making skills (it was sort of a requirement or he probably would have been kicked out of the family), today he makes mean caipirinhas. Last weekend he was experimenting with a mix of blood orange and lime and it came out amazing.

here's how he did it: muddle 1 lime, 1 blood orange and super fine sugar. then add cachaca (some sparkling water if you like) and ice, shake and pour into glasses. enjoy!

Home Design Ideas - Drop the Ceiling!

My design philosophy is all about getting big design impact from simple ideas.  After all good design ought not to be expensive.  So here is a simple trick that I have been using for years - "Drop the Ceiling".  Take a look at the examples below and I think you will agree.  Simple Idea - Big Impact!

Here I added a gypsum board "bulkhead" to help define the spaces on either side of the kitchen.  Making the walls extra thick allowed space for ductwork in this otherwise wide open floor plan.
This home design offered for sale at Deephaven Modern Cottage
Here is the same bulkhead idea as seen from the dining area.
This home design offered for sale at Deephaven Modern Cottage

In this home I again utilized the dropped ceiling theme to define the space between kitchen and dining.  Here the client wanted a little more segregation of the spaces, so we crafted a beautiful buffet cabinet and anchored it at the bulkhead.

Here you can see a subtle drop in ceiling above the foyer.  The crown molding and color tone differences help to emphasize the edges of the space.
This home design offered for sale at Lakeland Cape Cod

Similar to above we positioned dropped "soffits"along the circulation lines between rooms.  Simple gypsum board "columns" marked the corners of the spaces.  We took advantage of the soffits by placing the main ductwork runs within.
This home design offered for sale at Apple Valley Foursquare

DIY Grace Kelly Hermes Bag


Kelly Bag

What woman hasn’t lusted after a Kelly handbag from Hermes. I know I have, but with a price tag over $10,000.00 I think twice. Even though the price tag is so high there is a waiting list to own one of these bags. Last time I was in New York I dropped into the Hermes store and enquired about purchasing  and was told that there was a several month wait and it was on a first come first serve basis. They were very vague about timing, color choices etc. and I was informed that they would not accept enquiries over the phone. Apparently you have to check in person in the store for the privilege of being able to buy one. Fine if you live in New York, have the time to hang around the store, and have the money to spend. The distinctive closure on the Kelly bag is what makes it so recognizable. I thought this DIY project was quite clever and could be fun to make if you are lusting after your own Kelly bag or know someone who is.

image image

DIY Kelly Bag

Download the pattern and instructions from Paper Monkey. Please let me know if you decide to make one, or better yet send me a photo and I will post it.   Thanks to Content in a Cottage who suggests that this origami Kelly bag would be make fabulous place cards for your holiday table or fancy dinner party with a small gift inside for each guest.

Patricia Gray Inc is an award winning Interior Design firm in Vancouver who blogs about Lifestyle and WHAT'S HOT in the world of Interior Design.
2011 © Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™