Umbria Italy, Napa Valley California





The Simple Life
We are in Umbria, Italy now.  The moment I stepped off the plane in Rome I could feel the Italian air, it was just heaven, warm and inviting, thick with possibility.  My girls are so happy to be back, Italian flying off their lips with confidence and ease.  I’ll always sound like a foreigner and I find it funny when people even women say they love my accent.

Magnolia and Tulips Inspiration

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End of May beginning of June.



I can't believe it is actually June tomorrow. This means crazy end of school activity, exams and ballet recitals and my little family heading off to Umbria for the summer.  We are all overwhelmed and thrilled.


The Perfect Blue Door


First off I would like to preemptively apologize for not showing you the inside of this barn.  Believe me I would like to see the interior.  I'm just "stalking" this art studio.  I don't know the people who own it, use it (rarely) or live here.  I visit it often and dream of how amazing it would be to have it as a place to paint furniture and do all my projects.  I love this space because the blue door is perfection.  Perfection as a design choice is rare to find, simple and decisive, this point just thrills me.


Here are my other points of inspiration.

Espresso con Panna



The Simple Life 

Once the mercury hits 80 degrees (27 Celsius) I feel the need to make espresso with whipped cream.  I even believe in having a spray can of whipped cream for a topping on the hot espresso.  Honestly the cream in a can is gross but the girls love to spray their mouths full.  In our city in Italy it is quite easy to get  homemade whipped cream at the bar and when it is a hot summer night that Panna just magnetically pulls me helplessly toward the bar.

Here in California I use this simple recipe.

A Still Life of Flowers




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Decorating

I’m quite infatuated with the trend of massive amounts of flowers displayed in a still life with many framed paintings of flowers shown behind.  To me, it evokes a past era when people studied and painted flowers.

“If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”

-Edward Hopper

What Makes You Feel Good Lately?


 
The Simple Life

Good Evening Everyone

I am excited because I am in a very creative phase in my own life and work and somehow this is translating into not much creativity for my blog.  I’m sorry about that, today’s post may not make up for this lacking either, but I’ll try to get better.  I do believe that creativity is endless and the more we use our creativity the more it grows.

Painting on Leaves - Inspiration for the Table



Happy Easter Weekend!

I have seen someone paint on dried leaves in Italy very intricately and just gorgeous.  Today I thought it would be inspirational to show how I painted on these fresh citrus leaves very simply, to use as a little touch of creativity for your table setting or just as a vase of leaves and bloosoms.

Hope





It is raining out and I’m drinking peppermint tea and I have just turned on the white lights that are strung high above the garden courtyard.

Sometimes when I’m feeling blue, it is so silly (or desperate?) how one inkling of hope can give me that jolt to the heart.  It is enough to wake me up, at least for that moment and I become utterly certain that-- to quote Prince “joy lives round the corner”.

Embellishment at Sette Design




The Simple Life
Embellish
Verb (used with object)

1.  To beautify, by or as if by ornamentation; ornament; adorn.

2.  To enhance, (a statement or narrative) with fictitious additions.

Rise Early Quotes and Mustard Fields



 
Good Morning Everyone

I’m on a new plan to try to wake up early and start to work on my business before my girls or the sun has risen. This morning for me the sun rose at 6:56 am so each day there will be a little bit more light in the sky.  Does anyone want to join me and give it a try? I already feel kick-ass and I only began this morning.  Laugh with me not at me o.k.

DIY Wire Heart




Hello my beloved readers
Buon San Valentino

Today I have a quick DIY heart.

Red Walls





Probably all of you at some point have considered painting a room in your home RED.  Maybe you already have… congratulations!  I have not, shameful as it may be.  Right now I’m obsessed with the right shade of blue.

I believe that there are many ways to make a red room work.  Here is what made it work in my opinion in this space that I painted in San Francisco.

Winter Bouquet Inspiration




I’m back in California and the rain won’t quit.  We have little breaks and the sun tries to come out, but the air and ground are always.  We are all thrilled, after 4 years of draught, the rain is a big celebration.  I like to go for long walks and then scavenge for a winter bouquet.  It is easy just to pick up Lichen, branches of Rosehips or fallen Camellia blossoms.  They are often covered in dirt or mud.  At home I rinse them off and put them in a crystal bowl and an old olive oil bottle.  Even if they faded or browned at the edges the effect is still stunning.

Guess the Photo - Italy or California



It is a rainy day somewhere in the world, now since you don’t really know for sure if I am in Umbria or California today we are NOT going to play a little game, NOR are we going to take a test.  I don’t like to do either of the above, in fact my friends and family think I should begin to like to play games.  I would rather read a book or go for a run, than play a game.

Design View Modern and Antique




I love this photo for its beauty and feeling of solitude.  It may be just that January feeling.  This is a palazzo in our main Piazza in Foligno, Italy. I know the view well.  I like the contrast of the modernity of white lights with the antique fa├žade behind.  It warms my heart.

Warming our hearts of the Holidays



I love December and the Holidays, it warms my heart.  Tomorrow we leave to go back to Umbria for Natale in Italy with my darling Alfredo and all our friends.  I still haven't packed!  It would be lovely to return dressed elegantly, instead of the painters whites that I usually bicycled around the city in.

San Francisco Colored Houses




Recently I finished painting an apartment in San Francisco.  It is a space I have worked on before, twice actually traveled from Italy to work on the interior.  Every time I return to the neighborhood of Pacific Heights, I find myself in dreamland, architectural wonder, full on cloud nine o.k. !  It is amazing. On the top of the hill with views of the Bay, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.  Then I fall in love with every single house.  Watch and see if you don’t do the same.

Pretty Festive Photos




I’m feeling excited for the festivities and to be home in America for Thanksgiving, everyone is heading out to the beach house, the whole big family together.

I have been working so hard and just finished painting an apartment in San Francisco.  Soon I’m going to show you all the amazing houses in the neighborhood I was working in, each one looking like a jewel.  

Happy Third Anniversary Sette Design Blog




Happy Anniversary Sette Design Blog

#3

To tell you the truth.  I forgot and I got the date wrong.  I'm that bad.  I actually love this blog and so I should have remembered her day. To be honest I just have too much going on right now.  It was November 5th 2012 when I took the leap and started it up.  I was living in Umbria, Italy then.  Click Here if you want to flash back and view my very first blog post.

Pendant Pomegranate



I can’t believe it is raining right now in California as I write to you.  The ground is quenching its thirst from months and years of disappointment.  It is November first and it is raining!  Happy November everyone.

These photos I took earlier in the week.  I wanted to pay tribute to this pendant pomegranate.  I have been tentatively watching it remain, consistently hanging low for weeks.  To me here at Sette Design it is poetry.

Charcoal-Grey Painted Dresser and a Bunya Cone






Here we go another week beginning.  At least it is starting to act a little Autumnal here in the Wine Country.  A few leaves have fallen.  The valley looks amazing with vivid green vineyards, ochre and yellow and golden light spotted with the shadows of the deep clouds above.

Display Empty Frame and Flowers







Oh it is almost the weekend… and today for your pleasure I have a simple display of just a single empty frame and flowers.

2 Houses I Love





Do you ever find yourself driving to work or walking around your neighborhood and falling in love with certain houses, maybe you pass a certain way just for the joy of seeing your special house.

This is how I carry on my days here at Sette Design.  

Living in the Wine Country



Sometimes in the fall in Umbria, I would make the girls stop in their tracks and smell the air of pungent fermenting grapes.  I would say that is the smell of the crush, the smell of home.  Elisa and Lucia would undoubtedly respond, “but Mama it’s GROSS”.

Love Wins






I’m sorry that I have been away for more than a hiatus.
What is more than a hiatus anyway?
My daughter recently told me that in medieval times a moment was measured as 90 seconds.

The dictionary describes a hiatus as:
 1.  A break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.
 2.  A missing part; gap or lacuna.
I like it that a hiatus refers to space and action.

Small Spaces





The Simple Life

Now since we live in our little California cottage I need to force myself to think small and organized.  The days of rambling around our huge Gothic Italian apartment are gone. Guests used to actually get lost and not find the way out.  There were a lot of doors!

I like to play with scale and so I set up this pretty scene just for YOU.

A little chest of drawers, a silly tiny ice cream swirl chair and a bunch of flowers.

A big rosemary topiary.

A Starting Place


Hello Sette Design readers,

I found this phrase the other day and it humbled me.  It is so simple and perfect.

Start where you are
Use what you have
Do what you can


I'm sure it has been said before and should be said again.  Wouldn't you just feel better if you followed that advice?

Natalie