Spring Forward

  • Panelled walls and cofferred ceiling, were designed and installed to satisfy the clients’ craving for architecture more commonplace in stately east coast homes. The sunburst mirror is a “placeholder” to enjoy until a large scale piece of artwork is purchased.
  • Art: Oil painting by artist Michelle Armas provides a counterbalance to the geometric prints on the furniture and pillows.
  • Kitchen: The all-white kitchen gets its drama from dark stained 5” wide rift cut white oak floors, with a Rubio Monocoat oil finish. The table and Navy chairs are Restoration Hardware.
  • Dining Room: White panelled wainscotting is handsomely paired with a Phillip Jeffries grass cloth (Manila Hemp Graphite 3444). The head chairs, backed in raspberry, create a flow of colour from room to room.
  • Children's Bedroom: Fiorella likes to take her colour cues from the clients—pink and green are obviously a favourite combination for the girls (age 4 and 6) in residence.
  • Family Room: “We rotated the kitchen and removed walls so all the rooms face the back yard and pool area.”

When clients moved from Connecticut to sunny Menlo Park, it didn’t take them long to shed those extra layers required for warmth back home and embrace their new lighter California lifestyle.

The designer created a blend of east coast-west coast that would respect her client’s love for architecture with a pedigree and inject a more playful west coast palette.

The result? Springtime, year round.

Photography by Frank Paul Perez

Shopping in Santa Monica

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Main Street

Main Street’s motto, ‘a world away from ordinary, a block away from the beach’ lures us on day one. First stop: fashion/design store, Hip’tique. Down the block we scan Weego Baby, hoping to spot Pink who’s rumoured to be on a spree. We miss the pop star but gets a big hello from ‘that bald guy from Lost’ en route to sister shop Weego Home. After purchasing some wall decals she’s off to Urban Country and Obsolete for jaw dropping one-of-a-kind design objects with price tags to match.

To keep up stamina, make a one-handed snack of Sunny Blue’s omusubi (triangular sushi ball) or pizza from the open window at Wildflour.

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Brentwood Country Mart

Since 1948 Brentwood Country Mart—the rambling red barn and its upscale shops—have been a go-to location for celebs and yummy mummies alike. Turpan specializes in exceptionally designed housewares. Calypso Home St. Barth prompts design envy with its funky mix of earthy, organic textiles and globally influenced furnishings. Roberta Roller Rabbit carries block print home and body fashions. Don’t go home without fresh flowers from Botany.

Dabble’s BCM experience is perhaps most memorable thanks to her chance encounter (modest collision really) with The Mentalist star, Simon Baker.

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Montana Avenue

Upscale shoppers flock to trendy Montana Ave to rub elbows with local celebs like Marcia Cross and Adam Sandler or to design drool at shops from 7th to 17th. Fuel up with coffee from Caffé Luxxe, then head to Stephanie Grace for table top accessories. Whimsical Jonathan Adler never disappoints and neither does Mary Steenburgen’s Rooms & Gardens with its cozy global furnishings. Euro chic from Shabby Chic, Pom Pom and Rosemarie McCaffrey Antiques complete the day.

At lunchtime, snag a sidewalk table and order the shrimp tacos from Babalu or chill out with a frozen Pinkberry. 

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3rd Street Promenade

People watching and shopping are equal draws at the pedestrian friendly outdoor mall known as 3rd Street Promenade. Big name brands such as Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie, Restoration Hardware, and Anthropologie anchor the shopping, which starts at Wilshire Blvd. Walk towards Broadway for more shopping in the recently revamped Santa Monica Place with its signature Nordstrom and Kitson stores.

The Promenade has abundant food choices. Splurge on trendy Sushi-Roku or find a comfy seat on the outdoor patio at Sonoma Wine Garden.