Angels Among Us
December, 2011 - Issue #86
photography by Ted Dayton

Through November 23, the Boys & Girls Club will present their annual Festival of Trees at the Westfield Valencia Town Center ( For this feature we worked with a past Festival of Trees decorator who, even before children roam around neighborhoods saying "trick or treat," creates a Christmas wonderland in her home. Here, she shares her home decorating triumphs (along with a few tragedies!) and proves that "shopping local" is the key to creating gorgeous spaces.

I chose the coffee and side table from Consumers Furniture because of the interesting shape; they really tied all the vintage pieces together. I appreciate history. These couches were gifted to me by a dear friend's mother. They are over 40 years old and they are the most comfortable couches to sit in. They have been reupholstered by Suburban Chateau but their story remains. This room was designed around these two beautiful pieces of history. The Queen Anne Chair is also a vintage piece, as is the gold leafed side table and the petite baby grand.

The painting on the wall was selected from La Via Bella (222-7006). This piece of art seemed made for this room. I love when something speaks so clearly as to where it should be hung. La Via Bella is also where I've acquired my Sid Dickens' memory blocks. Over the last eight years I have collected over 100 of them. I love the meaning of each block and that they tell their own story. I own many autographed and retired tiles. My collection grew by registering with Billie for my favorites at La Via Bella; whenever a gift-giving occasion came around my loved ones gifted me with exactly what I wanted.

Brent's Carpet One (255-3337) installed the carpeting. I love the warmth of the deep shag and it's just dramatic enough for this formal living space we actually live in.

True story: I saw this couch at Consumers Furniture
(259-9609) before we bought the house. I think subconsciously I designed the room around it. Consumers Furniture has been a Festival of Trees supporter since it's inaugural year in 2003, so it's fitting that they're featured so prominently in my home. I love Christmas and I hope everyone visits their Festival vignette this year!

My coffee table is from Suburban Chateau. The heavy, durable piece is perfect for this high-traffic room. The coffee table sometimes serves as a dining table, sometimes as a craft table, sometimes as my little boy's "racetrack" - but always looks "guest ready." I love the no-maintenance quality with the high maintenance look. The tray that tops it was purchased at Bella Venezia.

I love working with Laurie of Laurie Sachs Photography (305-5493). She not only captures the most precious moments that I never want to forget but she also keeps my home in mind when shooting. The canvas prints of my son look like they were made for my home. Our portraits were framed by Fastframe (291-1325).

Look for Design Tips by Tami Smight
This homeowner has skillfully expressed her design style. Through the generous use of warm woods, architectural molding and stunning fabrics, she has created a uniquely-designed home that is warm, romantic, and remarkable. Read on to learn more about her decorating choices, and why, in this designer's opinion, it all works!

The mirror over the fireplace was purchased at La Via Bella. I saw it and ended up designing the fireplace around it. I love the feminine, regal lines above this massive fireplace. Of course, the glass "jewels" in the fireplace make it even more incredible. From, the glass gives off a lot of heat - and always glimmers.

When I saw my favorite inspirational saying - "Life is not measured by the breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away" - on a stone at Cobblestone Cottage, I knew it was meant to be (253-0209). I bought it immediately!

Steve at SC Stair & Moulding Co. (510-8914) made my dreams of a fairytale staircase come true. After meeting with Steve and then seeing him in action I realized he is more than a carpenter - he's an artist. The intricate ironwork on the staircase is nothing less than a work of art and its beautiful scrolls and heavy iron texture are an anchored focal point from every room downstairs. Fabian at American Fine Finishing (775-2706) came in after and did what he does best; he completed the staircase with a banister finish that tied all the wood in the home together. He also did the rich finish on the built in. The work he has done throughout the house ties everything together to create a cohesive, custom look.

Our dining room table and buffet are from Suburban Chateau (775-2980). This store is a godsend for those with good taste on a budget. Kathy, the owner, has access to the most beautiful pieces from far and wide and her pricing is extraordinary. We paired this table with a custom skirted bench so, when not in use, the view into the room would be unobstructed. I love the combination of the rich dark wood with the regal tapestry and skirting on the bench. I had Fabian at American Fine Finishing (775-2706) add an outdoor varnish to this table to make it indestructible. The result is me never diving for a coaster.

Small Spaces Require Smart Design
Comfort is key when designing a dining room because it is in this space that we create happy memories with family and friends. Position your dining room chandelier at the center of the table; never swag it over with a hook. Select a fixture that is proper in scale to the size of the room. Ideally the chandelier will hang 36 inches above the table when there is a nine-foot ceiling.

Add Shimmer & Sparkle
Ordinary bar stools are transformed when dressed up with a shimmery cascade of velvet. These stools now create a layer of luxury while offering relief for the eye from the wood bar. Request a yardage quote from your upholsterer prior to shopping for your slipcover fabric to avoid wasting excess yardage.

The bar was inspired by the beautiful woodwork at one of our favorite restaurants - Sabor Cocina Mexicana - but we added details that suited our existing space. The antiqued mirror was an essential element for me but was proving to be hard to find and even harder to find in time (I needed it to be completed for my baby shower). I called Rick at B & D Glass & Windows (251-2133). Whew! Not only did he find exactly what I wanted but he arranged for me to choose my own piece of glass and had it installed in under 72 hours. That's what I call service!

I'm a big fan of home accents - especially when I can make them sentimental. I personalized a large glass container from Ma Maison by filling it with wine corks we've accumulated over (many!) years. The hollowed wine bottle and candle holder are from La Via Bella. The frame that tops the bar was selected from Macc Design Boutique.

After another DIY project gone very wrong, Nick Oz of Dannick Design (775-7430) came in and saved the most used room in the house - and my sanity. He was very kind and understanding after he saw the mess I made and he quickly came up with a plan to give me exactly what I was dreaming of. The originally white standard kitchen was transformed in a matter of weeks into a custom cooking retreat. Nick refaced the doors with maple and extended the counters, adding a drawer for waste and a space for a beverage cooler. The custom espresso finish completed the look.

I'm a woman who loves sparkle - especially in unexpected spots. I recently added mosaic glass selected from Surfaces USA (200-0080) under the kitchen Island. Surfaces USA manufacturers a huge selection, so it was easy to find the perfect color palette. I love the jeweled look this gave an otherwise uninteresting space. It was an easy and affordable project that returned a huge "wow" factor.

My collection of frames, my cake plate and chess pieces on the counter are from Ma Maison (799-7983). I think these Italian-made frames are special enough to hold some of my most treasured family photos.

I chose this framed artwork from Macc Design Boutique (295-7755). This is one of my favorite pieces of art and has had a prominent place in both my current and last home.

If I started to count the ways that I love our dark, romantic powder room, I'd run out of fingers!

Spice Up Neutrals
What makes this monochromatic seating area work is the use of texture. The stone wall, rustic wine barrels and damask draperies are paired with chenille bucket chairs to create an appealing vignette. To keep your monochromatic color palette from looking boring, vary your textures with silk pillows, chenille upholstery wood accents. The overall effect will provide more visual punch.

I had these vintage chairs reupholstered by Suburban Chateau and then set out to find the perfect table. Bella Venezia (254-2246) has an extensive selection of one-of-a-kind handpainted furniture treasures and this one seemed made for the space with charm to spare. The natural stone carries the warmth of the downstairs fireplace to the space above.

These cabinets were originally white laminate. Fabian of American Fine Finishing was able to transform them into custom-looking cabinetry in a day.

I selected this ebony maple wood flooring from Brent's Carpet One - that was not originally in my budget - but only used it in two spots upstairs. We stayed within our budget and I got exactly what I wanted. Ben coordinated the layout and it ties together seamlessly. I loved how he understood that I did not want to settle for less; he made all my flooring dreams come true!

Our upstairs hallway is accented by a side table from Suburban Chateau, candlesticks from Ma Maison and a photo of my son from Laurie Sachs Photography (framed by Fastframe).

I dreamed about this seating area before I ever saw the house. The light that filters though the sheer draperies is heavenly and it's my favorite view in the home. Mint Condition Painting & Moulding painted the space and installed the decorative framing. I'll never forget the joke John Sr. made when I first met him, it's called Mint Condition "because it's mint every time." He was right; it is.

Sensuous Style
Warm leather and wood suggest a masculine tone to this master bedroom. It is, however, expertly balanced with red velvet and silk to make the lady of the house feel at home in the space. Many SCV Homes lack a passageway door from bed to bath. "Portieres" - or door curtains - were originally designed to stop drafts and dampen sound between rooms. Today they offer a romantic, enticing transition by softening a passageway.

Earthy Delights
Brown and red create a timeless color scheme. It appears in nature with trees and leaves expressing fall color. Brown tones make us feel safe and secure. No wonder brown is so popular in decorating! The red silk Roman shades are a dramatic choice to dress the windows and add energy to the room. The cream-shaded walls and carpet keep the room from feeling closed in. In decorating, brown tones should be used when there is sufficient light in the room. If light is not available, choose deeper shades of brown for the furniture and fabric and allow the painted walls to be a lighter cream color.

All the bedroom furniture was purchased from Consumers Furniture. When we moved in, our old desk did not fit though the office doors. Since my husband works from home and had to be ready to work the next morning, we needed a desk - fast. It was a Sunday and we headed to Consumers. We had a desk and this bed in our home three hours later. I added the nightstands, dresser and ottoman - and the couch was from our old home. The bones were good so I had the cushions reupholstered and completed the look of the bedroom.

Mint Condition Painting & Moulding framed the massive windows in the room and I added inside-mount blackout-lined roman shades. Together the two added touches made a very large room feel charming, detailed and a little like Vegas during the day - meaning that sweet dreams can be had no matter what time it is.

The master bath was originally filled with white laminate. Fabian from American Fine Finishing was able to transform them affordably into custom-looking cabinetry in a day. It was a great way to not replace perfectly good cabinets just because I didn't like the color.

The mirrors in the home were massive, so rather than replace them I had Mint Condition Painting & Moulding add the decorative framing and, again, create a very custom look without replacing perfectly good material.

A Don't'Freak it's Faux blanket by Macc Design Boutique rests on the couch and on the cradle. I have these throws throughout the house; they are loved and used daily year round. The specialty frames on the dresser and the wall are also from Macc Design Boutique.

I found the four framed crown shadow boxes at Bella Venezia; they have an extraordinary wall art selection. I loved the idea of hanging them in a group. All we need is one more child and all our crowns will be in order!

My Sid Dickens memory block collection from La Via Bella is my favorite thing to wake up to, other than my husband, of course.

Large, Ornate Frames have made a Comeback
A trend towards elegance in interior design is strong, and wall decor is no exception. Fastframe offers a wide variety of choices and design options to really make a statement with the artwork or object you want framed.

According to the Art & Framing Council, carved frames are taking their place on the walls of many homes and offices, even in sleek, contemporary settings. They add stature and depth to the piece of art, and an element of decorating surprise that's very 21st century.

Fastframe offers more choices now than ever before. Choosing a larger and more ornate frame than you may have chosen in the past can add real impact. There is an extensive range of woods, colors, textures and other interesting frame designs that allow you to create an impressive piece. By working with you, Fastframe creates the look you want - something you can treasure for years to come; 291-1325

We waited and prayed for Our Little Angel and when he was finally on his way I knew his room had to be special. I commissioned these Englishman in LA pieces through Ede at Ma Maison. They were custom made to be larger in scale and lighter in weight. There was something so comforting about the idea of him sleeping while his angel watched over him from above. The Englishman in LA scripture is also from Ma Maison. It seemed fitting to hang it above his angelic Sid Dickens tile collection. This room's design was inspired by the tile on the right and left of the vignette.

Suburban Chateau helped me find the dresser and corner bookcase; the plan is to have furniture that will grow with him. These heavy, masculine pieces will last. So will the room's accents. We had an outdoor lampost wired with a plug to accentuate the whimsy of the jeweled stars on the ceiling. At night they sparkle and my son is fixated on them.

Our home's carpet was selected from Brent's Carpet One. Pretty and practical, it's perfect for our high-traffic spaces. What makes it really special, though, is what's underneath. The addition of Brent's luxe Duet carpet padding makes it heavenly to play on and walk on. It wasn't until my son started walking - and falling - that I really appreciated the "squish factor" of the Duet carpet padding. I maintain the look of the flooring by having Truly Dry (476-7775) clean the carpets every six months. The best part is the "no down time." When they leave the carpets are ready to live on.

The painting, windowsills, baseboards and moulding throughout the home are the handiwork of Mint Condition Painting & Moulding (251-5521). I originally connected with Mint Condition because some of my DIY work was not "so mint condition" - and I needed help! Jon Green Jr. came in and saw what I had accomplished. After our consultation I agreed that letting the professionals finish the paint was the best idea for me and my home and then he and Eric came up with a plan for the mouldings and baseboards. Adding crown and base to the home was the best and most affordable way to make a large space feel warm and inviting. I'll even admit after Eric started to install the moulding I kept adding rooms until it was in the entire house (even the closets!). Saying I'm addicted is an understatement. Just a few months back Eric added the windowsills and it was love at first sight.

What's Black, White & Red All Over?
Yes, this color scheme is a classic one, yet when these colors are combined as they are here, the result is playful, dramatic and modern. Clearly this is a winning color combination, yet it can be a bit challenging to work into your space. Let black and white set the stage; the red will have more impact when limited to pillows, a flower arrangement or other decorative objects in the room.
If you need help identifying and expressing your design style, help is a phone call away. Tami Smight is a full-service interior designer who has been gracing Southern California homes with warm, accessible designs since 2004; 430-0127

Mint Condition Painting & Moulding executed the color palette in our guest room. I love the impact of the black doors, moulding and sills against the soft cream paint. By painting the "headboard" and framing it with simple moulding we were able to create a very affordable focal point. It's set off nicely by the black shag that Ben tracked down for me. It's an uncommon choice but, to me, makes a luxurious impression.
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