One of our favorite places to shop is ZARA, and now the retail genius is bringing its long awaited home collection to the United States. ZARA Home is launching online on October 9, 2012 and we are so excited! As always, ZARA’s home decor line is stylish yet reasonably priced and covers a vast variety of products including bedding, kitchen ware, bath ware, and decorative pieces. Check out

Zara Home

Zara Home

Zara Home

Zara Home

Zara Home


Lentil Soup served with Rustic Bread

Nothing pairs better with fall than a delicious, hearty soup.  This lentil soup is inspired by  Israel and the surrounding Mediterranean Middle Eastern countries with it’s ingredients of lemon and mint.  I found this recipe on and it’s even better than I imagined.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 cups canned vegetable broth
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed, picked over
  • 8 ounces red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 ounces torn fresh spinach leaves (about 8 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • Crumbled feta cheese (optional)


Heat olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add vegetable broth and lentils; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add potatoes; cook uncovered until potatoes and lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, grate 1/2 teaspoon peel from lemon; squeeze enough juice from lemon to measure 2 tablespoons. Add lemon peel, lemon juice, spinach and cayenne to stew. Cover and simmer stew until spinach wilts and is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Mix in mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over low heat before serving.)

Spoon stew into large soup bowls. Sprinkle feta cheese over, if desired.



West Elm has recently collaborated with artists and designers from South Africa for a new collection. The colors are bright, the furniture whimsical, and the craftsmanship phenomenal.

Here are a few of my faves from the collection:

Porky Hefer Wooden Pendants

Ceramic Matters Aloe Candleholder

Helen Vaughan Pillar Candle Holders

Source Bench

Shirley Fintz Stoneware - Lion

Gemma Orkin Gardenia Silk Pillow Cover


One of my very favorite people, Brad Bloom, is the VP of Sales of Pollack Fabrics. We had dinner with him this week as he and his colleague were on tour to present Pollack’s latest collection. He is a world traveler, loves his fabs, is hilarious and has a passion for design like no other.

Brad and Francie

He has an amazing blog that you must check out: On the Road With Brad
His next stop is Bali…the most beautiful place on earth!


Mio Seafood Market

If you enjoy seafood….
If you live in-or-close-to Portland….
If you like to cook….
If you’ve seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi and became inspired to become a sushi artist….

…you must try Mio Seafood Market.

Mio has the freshest seafood and they will cut it any way you’d like.
They have fish + chips (cod, shrimp, salmon, halibut or a daily special), sashimi, a few of the salads they serve in their Mio Sushi restaurants, rolls made-to-order, and many wonderful items that will save you a trip to a large Asian-market. Enjoy!

1703 NW 16th Ave.
Portland, Oregon


The Living Room features art from the Carnes's young daughter

Working with a nearly-blank slate is a blast – you can transform the feeling of the room in any direction based on the items selected. The Carnes were a joy to work with and wanted to bring in the aesthetic of the neighborhood they are a part of. They live in Oak Hills where many Rummers and Mid-Century homes can be found (and where last year’s Modern Home Tour was located).

We replaced everything but the fireplace stone starting with the warm-gray carpet that has a textural, organic grid pattern. We then added chocolate silk drapery panels from floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall and can lighting with a chandelier over the cocktail table. Built-ins flank the fireplace asymmetrically; the left side is open shelving for display while the right side is enclosed for board games (this also conceals a depth variance between the two sides). The Carnes wanted to add wallcovering behind the built-ins for a contrasting texture to the wall color. The resident artist, their young daughter, hangs her photography above the sofa as the room’s focal point. A table sits in front of the window for chess games and there is plenty of seating for what they designed the room for: entertaining their friends and family. The furniture is simple and reminiscent of mid-century designs. A chaise is set between the two seating groups so guests can sit facing either direction or recline while watching a chess game.

Built-ins flank the fireplace - beautiful form and function

Luminescent wallcovering behind the built-in bookcase highlight the decorative items placed on display

The custom coffee table has a smokey-gray glass top (a nice alternative to clear)

Accessories on the cocktail table tie in the blue from the bookshelf and throw pillows

And a few before…

Facing the fireplace

Facing the Window

Large Back Wall

As things heat up in July, residents of Portland, Oregon have a cool event to look forward to. On Saturday, July 21, Modern Home Tours will visit The City of Roses, offering residents a fun-filled day of local exploration and Modern architecture and interior design.

The self-guided driving tour, just days away, will feature six to ten architecturally progressive and contemporary homes in the Portland area that exemplify modern living. Ingrid Spencer, former managing editor and current contributing editor for Architectural Record magazine in New York City, is curating and selecting the homes for the 2012 Portland Modern Home Tour.

The current list of confirmed architects and neighborhoods featured in the
2012 Portland Modern Home Tour includes:

• A houseboat (a first for Modern Home Tours!) on the Columbia River
designed by Emily Réfi, Architect
• The Treehouse designed by Ellen Fortin and Michael Tingley in
• Harpoon House by Design for Occupancy in Buckman
• Interchange House (recognized by the American Institute of
Architects), designed by William Kaven in Overlook
• The Park Box designed by PATH Architecture in North Portland
• The Hamilton Residence, a recently-renovated home designed by Gary
Hartill in the Island Station section of Milwaukie
• A mid-century classic modern home designed by Pollard Hosmar
Associates and currently available for sale in West Lin

“Portland has long been a hub of Modernist residential, from the Eichleresque developments of Robert Rummer, John Yeon’s work, and that of Saul Zaik,” says Spencer. “Now, as the city that loves to celebrate Modernism is seeing a fresh crop of enthusiasts renovate those mid century houses with care, a forward-thinking and very sustainably aware group of architects is taking the Modernist ideals from the past and evolving them with their own creative and inspired ideas. It is craft, science, and talent all coming together to create a dwelling that completely fits a modern lifestyle.”

Participating homes will open their doors for viewing from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM on Saturday, July 21, in and around Portland, Oregon. Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 on the days of the tour, available at designated locations.
Partial proceeds of the tour will benefit a local non-profit (to be announced).


I met the Horaks when they were ready to remodel their kitchen after living in their home for over twenty years. They had discussed remodeling for quite awhile and the time had finally come. During our first meeting, they explained that they wanted to keep the general footprint of their existing kitchen. I drew the kitchen the way we discussed during the initial meeting and also designed an option to open the kitchen up to the dining room. During my presentation, I showed them both plans and they instantly decided to open up the kitchen.

It took removing a recently installed window, leveling the floor by removing a concrete slab, adding support to increase the kitchen opening and allowing the kitchen ceiling to be flat – all executed by contractor Mark Urban of Urban Restoration. The Horaks have a great sense of their home’s architectural style and were very detailed about what features they wanted to incorporate. From hand-selecting the Pental Granite Slab because it looked like the “ocean’s floor” to having a stained-glass window custom designed for them, their personal touches are seen throughout their kitchen.

They were an absolute joy to work with and they love to entertain in their new kitchen!
Photos by Parallel Photography

View into the Kitchen from Dining Room

View through Kitchen - Expansive Sliding Doors open Kitchen to their tranquil backyard, landscape designed by the owner's brother

Island encompasses many features that create a highly-efficient kitchen such as a Kitchen-Aid cabinet lift

Lighting Guru Cheryl Beasley of Globe Lighting helped with the layout and specification of the can lights, the LED undercabinet lights, upper cabinet LED lights, and suggested indirect lighting for their built-in pantry

The Horaks selected these pendants over their sink for beautiful ambient lighting

We used a "Duplex Strip" under the cabinets so to not interfere with the seamless glass tile backsplash


This built-in dining room buffet houses a beverage refrigerator in the center and has enough storage for linens and entertainment serveware

The upper cabinets are lit behind antiqued glass - perfect to display their many treasures from world travels

A few before photos….

The old layout had an L-Shaped bar area just to the right of the window. We removed the window in the background to continue the cabinets in a straight run all the way to the sliding window wall

Kitchen's old layout - view to backyard

We removed this wall of appliances and two doors to dining room to open everything up

Their old kitchen's storage wall became their new kitchen's refrigerator + storage wall - adding additional height for display


As I mentioned in my post last week, wallcovering was the overwhelming trend at NeoCon. Often we think of wallcovering as single-purpose, but there are many nontraditional ways to implement it that can create a unique space…here are a few concepts that will have you rethink wallcovering.

Wallcovering on the ceiling creates a textural surface

Textural wallcovering on ceiling - detail

Wallcovering installed behind bookshelves allows objects to pop

Wallcovering behind pantry shelves

Wallcovering framed for an Art Work application

Wallcovering as Art

Wallcovering used above work surface as an Accent Wall


Last week I traveled to NeoCon in Chicago and I am excited to post my favorite finds from the show.

What is NeoCon?

Since 1969, the Merchandise Mart has been home to the annual National Exposition of Contract Furnishings, known as NeoCon. With over 1,000 exhibitors of contract and commercial furnishings, and 50,000 attendees, it is the largest trade show of its kind in North America. (Thank you Wikipedia)

The Merchandise Mart

When opened in 1930, the Merchandise Mart, located in the Near North Side, Chicago, Illinois, was the largest building in the world with 4,000,000 square feet of floor space. Previously owned by the Marshall Field Family, the Mart centralized Chicago’s wholesale goods business by consolidating vendors and trade under a single roof. Massive in its construction, and serving as a monument to early 20th century merchandising and architecture, the art deco landmark anchors the daytime skyline at the junction of the Chicago River branches. (Thank you again Wikipedia)

The Merchandise Mart

The vendors show all of their latest and greatest designs. I’ve posted my favorites from the show below.
The overwhelming trend was in wall-treatments and bold colors.

BuzziSpace Felted Acoustic Wall Tiles (many colors.many patterns available) + Sound-absorbent private seating area

BuzziSpace Phone Booth + Acoustical Wall

Momentum's space featured a semi-privacy screen using various colors of string

Edelman Leather showcased the capability of "burning" designs onto their Hair-on-Hide

Maharam's custom wallcovering capabilities

Barbara Barry's showroom featured this beautiful wallcovering on a wall spanning two floors

Weitzner's "Cinema Posters" wallcovering - use all recycled Bollywood posters from India for the face (and a little nylon for the paper backing)

Joel Berman Glass Studio's gorgeous patterns

Knoll Seating

(My favorite textile company) Pollack's latest collection features this beautiful drapery " Squirt Sheer" in Graphite

Showrooms started pouring around 3:00 everyday to keep designers happy after walking the many floors...the most relaxing part of the day!

Francie, Jr. Designer, in tote

Chicago Skyline from the Architectural Boat Tour Line

Francie + I enjoying the cool river on a 95 degree day