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.

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

The Simple Life

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.


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
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.