Peace - ramps, docks, alleyways and vicoli

It is interesting how little empty passageways can bring us peace.  A via waiting to be chosen, explored, journeyed through.  Both of these photos are taken in places I know well and have walked through often.

The first is on the docks in Sausalito, CA on the way to my mother's houseboat with Mt. Tamalpais  elegantly tranquil in the distance.  The alleyway (vicolo in Italian) below was passed through for years, day in day out on bicycles on the way to the Elementary School for my girls.

Do you remember a beaten path from your childhood that even now to think of it brings you peace? You may have one now, in the city that you live, cutting behind buildings, a break in a fence.  A secret way to get there faster or to be seen less.  In my childhood we even had a name for our path, "Meet you at the top of the Huckleberry Trail".

Today as the hot summer winds down in Italy and in California and where ever you are.  I encourage you to find a path to travel that brings you peace, name it, walk it, bring someone with you.

With affection,

Graduates and Glass Bottles

June is actually here, the graduates are taking over the world and I am thankful  for that!  I have Lucia my big girl graduating High School and Elisa from 8th Grade.  It is a nice feeling to think of the new one's taking over and possibly doing a better run of it than we have done.

I must confess that I find myself posting to Instagram a lot more than this beloved design blog.  Come join me there also, you can easily find me on Instagram under Sette Design and you can look for the purple blue store front logo - . What I should do is post to both.

So here now is a quick review of Sette Design’s opinions, desires and work.

I am thrilled with the Glass Bottle Chandelier I made out of chain, wire, and vintage bottles . 
Gorgeous with mixed colored flowers or just white roses, to decorate as you desire.  Available on my shop here Sette Design Shop
Sette Design Shop

Sette Design Shopn

Happiness note:  A smoothie and flowers for a new garden (in the same pallet of colors no less) helps anyone feel good. Right?  Does anyone have the courage to paint a wall this berry color of the smoothie drink?  I think if the room had enough Southern facing light it could be amazing.

the simple life

Here is the view from a home I have been working on for a wonderful client who feeds me hot American coffee with cream, and a fudgesicle dunked inside, our invention.  You can imagine the job has gone splendidly.

A grouping of Vintage Green Glasses also available on Sette Design Shop.  I do love to create the feeling of a still life, that can be put under happiness note.  Make a Still Life and you don't have to paint it because we are living it.

Sette Design Shop

On my drive to work - I like this kind of "macho" gazebo in a field of wildflowers, the contrast of delicate flowers and big wooden beams is nice.

Sette Design

Cheers to all of you.

Get the Summer going right.

With affection,


Houses Covered in Vines - Napa Valley

Structures covered in vines.

Here we are in Vine City.
There is too much going on for this little simple life of mine.

Create Something Pretty- Blue Wall Heaven

Another rainy day in gorgeous Napa Valley, mustard fields glowing day glow yellow, black tar country roads with the white lines polished and wet.  I always believe when life gets crazy and overwhelming it is a good time to take 5 minutes and Create Something Pretty to look at.  Then when the house is a complete mess, like backpacks, dirty Converse sneakers in the middle of the doorway, and even my contribution an electric drills plugged in, sitting on the kitchen floor – ahhgg! It is definitely time to Create Something Pretty

Here all for you I created a glimpse at a fabulous piece of Blue Wall Heaven in my Sister’s home.  The funny thing is, this wall is actually dark Teal Blue, Not Robin’s Egg Blue or Sky Blue as we see here. It is insane how the light changes this color!  Does it make you want to paint something blue?

For this stilllie  I used, pruned and fading pomegranate branches, daffodils, and a delicate Wisteria blossom and a little Whiskey.

Sette Design Shop

Happy Weekend my darlings, go Create Something Pretty.

Mexican Aztec Goddess Coatlicue replica done in styrofoam By Artist David Garden

With affection,

Springtime and Vintage Italian Sheets

Now that it is Springtime,  I want to highlight my amazing Vintage Italian Sheets that I have for sale at Sette Design Shop.  They are made of heavy Cotton and some of Cannabis from many years back.  They can have many different uses.  I had a 8 foot long one that I used as a curtain in my paint studio in Italy.  I ran a cable from one wall to the other and use clip curtain rings, then I took the corner behind to fill with junk I didn’t want to see.  It became useful as a backdrop too for styling and photographing my designs. Here is an old post with the backdrop.

Red Italian House - Exterior Color

Wait … is it really a Red Italian House, or is it Deep Pink, Burnt Orange, Rust, Coral?  What color do you see?  I like to argue about color and the funny thing about that, is we always think that we are right because it is what we see!

The Game of Peace

Buon San Valentino.

I love stones.  You may  have heard me mention this before.  I do not love games, but today for Valentines I'm going to tell you about a Game of Peace that I have created.  It is really simple and fun (classic Sette Design stuff). Secretely and openly I'm hoping all the cousins, sisters, daughters that live on our compound here in the gorgeous Napa Valley will join in and play too.

Repetitive Behavior

I’m always saving little bits of information that I find interesting.  I like to find them again and see what effect it might have on my life.  I do this also with my journals, pick up an old book, randomly open a page and see what I might learn about my life.  This of course is emotionally risky and can run the gamut from depressing to elated joy.

This week I found this note written clearly on a square piece of paper.  It is interesting to plug this information into some sector of your life from HEALTH, MONEY - LOVE and of course DESIGN.

It takes 14 to 21 days of repetitive behavior to form a new pattern in your brain.  Once that pattern is formed it becomes an automatic behavioral response.

What would you like to change about yourself?

Inside Winter Garden

I remember when I was young and going to Art and Design School in Brooklyn, I loved to look at the bare black trees reaching for the Winter sky.  Here presently in California the spring flowers are already starting to bloom, even if the Winter rains are still here in force blowing apart the streets and trees and branches falling, rivers rising. It is nice to create a calm sanctuary inside.

Distressed Country Table

I’m very excited to show you this Distressed Country Table, my design for our kitchen table.  The boards were originally being created for a long table to be put on trestles (saw horses) that I want to wholesale to stores in my area and have my clients be able to order it in any size they want. When I put the stucco on the boards it flaked off after about a month.  Big disappointment, now I’m working with kiln dried wood and we will see if that works better.

Mid January

I like to watch inspirational videos on TedTalk.  I love all of it makes me feel smarter just to take part in it.

I also find it shocking and funny hear that by January, 15 most people have already failed to keep their New Year's Resolutions.  I think resolutions can just be picked up again at the point of failure with new resolve and that sometimes we have to force ourselves, through failing again and again to accomplish what we set out to do.


Sette Design Shop

See You Next Year!

I love to say "See You Next Year", it is something we said when we were children and it always makes me giggle.  It will be a New Year. I still can’t believe we are now almost in 2017.  Do you remember when it was 1999 and we were moving into a new century, seventeen years have past since then!

Christmas Eve -Eve Heart in Two Places

Sette Design

Happy Christmas Eve Eve
I love to say that.

My heart is in 2 places this Christmas.
It is also in some Christmases in the past and some in the future too.
It’s funny as the girls grow up, I feel nostalgic remembering back to a Christmas when they were little.  I can remember one Christmas when Elisa was still a little one, she decided to move all the presents from under the tree into the kitchen.  We would go get the tree and strap the Christmas tree on to the back of my bike and push the bike home.

A Christmas Scene

I was creating this beautiful Christmas still life, when Lucia walked by and said, “Oh it’s so pretty.” 
I said,  “It’s my Christmas Scene.”
“No it’s more fall.”
Shocked (and dismayed), I tried to look at it as an Autumn scene and it just wasn’t.  Ok, I’ll admit that I can conger Christmastime out of nothing, for example I have been known to say “Look at the headlights glowing in this rainy night – It’s Christmastime,”  boots by the fire, of course, peppermint hot chocolate, certainly it is Christmastime!

It Is Christmastime

I don’t believe in PERFECT.  It was never something that I wanted to achieve.  There are many cultures in the world that believe if you make something perfect you are trying to imitate god and that imperfection lets the soul in.  In creating art they would intentionally make one color woven off or one imperfect form.  When I look at the wall motifs in Italy, each hand painted motif is not the same as the next.  I love that.  It frees us up to have fun.

Pink Wall- Apricot Wall

Hello my darlings,

It is almost the holiday here in America.  Thanksgiving a day is a day to be thankful.  When I'm in Italy and I explain the holiday to my Italian friends (we get the whole family and friends together, eat a huge amount and fill your hearts with gratitude), they often joke - so basically like every Sunday Lunch in Italy.

Ideas for Holiday Table Settings


Today I want to show you a few high lights from my Online Shop, treasures from Napa Valley, California and Umbria, Italy.  It might give you some ideas for your table setting for Thanksgiving and there is still time to ship out these treasures before the holiday swings into full glory.

Return to the Simple Life

Today in America it is definately a day to return to the Simple Life.
I know from past experience that design can be a solice.
I think about form and function, light and color and I feel a tiny bit better.

Patina II

One photo today.  This is our courtyard floor with the rain dripping and the leaf shapes stained into the stone.  The squirrels ate the grapes that hang above the granite tiles, and the grape remnants fell and then the sun and air and dew caused the stone to patina purple-black.

Just gorgeous!



The Simple Life

It’s raining and I’m drinking hot apple juice with cinnamon.  I just made classic old fashion biscuits (out of Bisquick no less!).  It may be a crime to make biscuits from Bisquick in Napa Valley.  It certainly would be in Umbria if they only knew- the crimes of my heart. Oh the lovely starchiness of Bisquick.

Painted Stucco Box -DIY

 Distressing a Box with Stucco Paint and Wax –DIY.

Today I want to try to explain this Do It Yourself project as simple as possible..  This process is not simple, but if you take it in parts, it isn’t hard to complete.  It is a process I invented (although I understand nothing is new) Elvis Costello sings “there is not such thing as an original sin.”  You get my point?

Exciting News!
Hi everyone!

I have really exciting news.  I have been working on a secret for a long time.  I have wanted to tell you all and have held back waiting for the right moment.

Wall of Grapes - Italian Design

We returned to the Napa Valley to a wall of grapes and streaming grape vines out our kitchen window.  The courtyard glows at night with soft pink sky sunsets and the white lights that are strung above.  We eat dinners outside on our long farm table.   

DIY - Subtle Blue Sky Wall

I've been painting a brick and beam ceiling white, the work is grueling but the effect is uplifting.

For years here in Umbria I have wanted to paint these Umbrian ceilings white.  I find some of the rooms dark and heavy.  Other clients in the past have wanted me to do it too, but the project is messy, costly (pure labor and lots of paint) and time consuming.  It is hard to live in the space when the ceiling is being painted.  This is the practical part of the work.  If in fact you have a new space to paint I would suggest renting a spraying machine and spraying all the wood and brick, then you could paint the walls with roller or brush. The whitening finished effect is just stunning, to me it looks so much more Northern European.

Abandoned Garden

Do you love an Abandoned Garden, we have one right out our window here in Spello.  The view from the window is magical because it doesn’t look like Italy it feels like some other place I have never been too.
Sette Design  here are the public outter steps to get to a side enterance to the garden

Do you find that with gardens left alone you want to go and fix them up or just sit among the chaos of nature.  I find that when I look at the huge swaying palm trees I waver between wanting to trim the dead furans off and then the next moment I relish in the beauty of the neglect.   It is silly because my mind has battled with these thoughts all summer long.

Adriatic Sea

A couple quotes today to make you think.  Two serene photos of the Adriatic Sea, note the splendid blues and greens.  This is inspiration enough for me, oh how I love blues and greens.

I hope it inspires you today to do something with calm and courage.

Living in Umbria, Italy/Mixed Styled Chairs

I’m excited to show you the house of my friends and clients Jessica and Filippo here in Umbria, Italy.  I love their home because they integrate all the important elements to make a home alive and full of love, amazing food (lots of parties) books galore, art all over the walls, music hard rock, rap, jazz and classical and Filippo and their twin daughters all play musical instruments.   

My Walk to Work

The Simple Life

Recently while working in California I have been getting jobs where I need drive out of Napa Valley and into San Francisco or the county before.  It takes about an hour and a half and there is often bumper to bumper traffic.  Leaving the Valley early in the morning I drive through the vineyards and feast my eyes on spectacular views of the valley floor, sometimes I will even see a fleet of hot air balloons. I don’t mind the time driving because it is alone time when I can be in my own mind….ahhh. 

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

The Simple Life
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.