Our Rancho: Before + After



My husband and I bought our first house in 2009. As ambitious newlyweds, we tackled a monster rehab in the Cliff May Rancho Estates of Long Beach, California. We gave this house a lot of love over six years and I'm happy to share with you some of the Before + After images here. Check out the Projects tab for more!


Photo by Peter McMenamin

Photo by Peter McMenamin

Photo by Peter McMenamin

Atomic Ranch Feature


My heart skipped a beat when I saw that Atomic Ranch had arrived in my mailbox this month.  I've been counting down the days to see the home of Kristin and Alex, clients who have lovingly restored a 1951 house by architect A. Quincy Jones in Crestwood Hills. 

Kristin and Alex put so much hard work into bringing their mid-century home back to life and they got every detail right! Check out the Fall 2013 issue and see the full spread.  



Follow Me On Instagram

Hello, one and all!  Yes, I am still alive, just insanely busy with chasing a toddler around and all the other fun (and not so fun) things that life throws my way. Blogging has sadly taken a back seat. Heck, it's not even in the back seat. If you look in the rear view mirror, you might just catch a teeny tiny glimpse of my former life as a blogger. 

So I must hit the pause button on blogging for now, but the bright side is that I've been snapping photos with Instagram these days. Communicating life through images is so much more fun than words, isn't it? Come, join me on Instagram and see what I've been up to! Find me by clicking the gallery link in the right sidebar or search for GH_Sarah. 


This Weekend in L.A.

Here are just a few of the fantastic events happening this weekend around L.A. Check one or all of them out!

The 2nd weekend of the Bauer Pottery Holiday Sale 

Saturday + Sunday, December 10th-11th, 9am-5pm

2nd Annual Renegade Craft Fair

Satuday + Sunday, December 10-11th, 10-5pm

Remodelista Holiday Market

at Big Daddy's Antiques

Saturday, December 10th, 10am-4pm

Eat My Blog Bake Sale

Saturday, December 10th, 10am-4pm

Artisanal L.A.-- Celebrate and explore LA's finest local, sustainable and handmade edibles

Sunday December 11th, 10am-6pm

...and of course

The Rose Bowl Flea Market

2nd Sunday of every month (that's this Sunday!)

Wishing you a wonderful weekend full of adventure.

Recap: Unique LA

Occasionally you get those posts that are so hard to edit and narrow down all the great people, places and products that were rolled into one event. Unique L.A. put me in that predicament. Unique is an independent design and gift show that started in L.A. back in 2008 and will expand in 2012 to include shows New York and San Francisco. Featured products are exclusively made in the U.S.A. and the event aims to help small businesses and artists grow. Considering the record breaking attendance record set on Sunday, it seems like they're accomplishing their mission. 

So, what stood out to me at the 4th annual Unique L.A. holiday show?  There were some old favorites like Rock Scissor Paper and Graf & Lantz. There were also these new-to-me companies that caught my eye: 

Textiles from Nell & MaryAppetite and a little something for the wee ones from Sass & Peril, Jewelry from Kyyote and Amirilo Designs

Some pretty amazing headpieces from Pooka Queen

A soon-to-be debuted line of furniture from Ribbit Stopit

Sustainable soaps and lotions from Further

Artists 33 Stewart Avenue and Lekkar Haus

Drink coasters and other pretty felt items from Feisty Elle

Vintage goodies from Long Beach retailer Salvage Life

Handmade pottery from Sadie & Emma

Plus, there was oh so much good artisan food to sample: Rice puddings, marshmallows, peanut brittles and of  course cupcakes -- All with cutting edge flavor combos. I can't even delve into all the examples, but for all the foodies out there check out this weekend's Artisanal L.A


All photos by Grace Hilton

Architecture + Ice Cream

What a delicious combo, right? Architecture and ice cream might be one of the happiest unions I could have imagined. Coolhaus, the ice cream truck that's been cruising around Los Angeles since 2009 opened their very first brick-and-mortar location in Culver City this week.  Stop in for a one (or two-story if you really need a sugar rush) Mies Vanilla Rohe or any one of their other delicious designer flavors.   

Photo via LA Eater

Smeg Obsessed

I've long been an admirer of the Smeg refrigerator. It's time to come clean about my obsession. What's not to love about this classic appliance? They come in a rainbow of colors and their 50s flare adds just the right touch of whimsy to kitchens in a wide variety of styles -- Just check out all these examples; From Scandinavian to Ultra Femme, the Smeg feels right at home. 


From top to bottom: Home of A Butterfly In My Hair (Photo by Ralfefarfar), Berlin apartment via Decor 8, Scandinavian kitchen via Pikkuvarpunen, Blue Smeg/ Star kitchen via Dittepigen's photostream, White kitchen via PinterestKrista Ewart Design

Rejuvenation Los Angeles

I popped into H.D. Buttercup over the weekend and was excited to see that the Rejuvenaton's new location is open. Even browsing their website, I feel the need to start collecting houses in a wide variety of architectural styles so that I can buy every light they make. So, you can imagine what happened when I stepped into the brick-and-mortar store. Joy.  

The visual merchandising is beautiful! Of course, it helps to start with such beautiful products. In addition to their gorgeous lighting, they actually offer an array of other vintage-inspired products including pressed glass cake plates

Also to note, there are somewhat limited options out there for mid-century homes in the bathroom fixture and hardware department.

Rejuvenation has a mid-century modern collection featuring products in brushed and polished nickel, in addition to their fabulous line of reproduction mid-century lighting


Cordelia Is Turning ONE!

Hello friends! It's been awhile...months fly by with the blink of an eye these days. Cordelia's first year is coming to a close (She's turning one already! How can that be?) and we're slowly starting to get into the swing of things...a little breathing room is nice...of course, it's just in time for her to start walking and the pace to change yet again! Although as crazy as it's been at times, it has been a most wonderful year and I can't fathom my life without that little girl. So, forgive me for blogging (and design in general) taking a back seat these days. My days have instead been filled with play dates, messy meals, and lots of laundry...and I'm loving every minute of it!

As we gear up for a little celebration we're having for Cordelia and her little friends in a couple of weeks, I thought I'd share some inspiration photos from my Pinterest board.  Be sure to follow me there for a peek into what I've been inspired by lately, as well as on Twitter and Facebook for more frequent updates. Enjoy! 

Smash cake from Sweet & Saucy Shop 1950s party ware via It's Your Day Vintage on Etsy Glassine bags with doilies via Sweet Lulu

Marimekko Madness

Finally! I got a chance to pop into the Crate and Barrel at the Grove late last week and couldn't be more excited to share with you these photos and the news that Marimekko has teamed with C&B to roll out shops in select stores throughout the U.S.

Crate and Barrel has had a relationship with Marimekko since the 1960s,. Sadly, in recent years at least, its been a limited selection of  products and usually in muted colors. I'm happy to report that they have not backed down on colors this time around and they're offering everything from personal accessories, like totes and coin purses, to dinnerware, kid's products and even fabric by the yard. And did I mention pillows? So many fun pillows!

Enjoy the eye candy and for a complete list of a Crate & Barrel stores that include the Marimekko shop, check it out here. Right now it's limited to CA, NY, and Chicago. There's also a great selection of products online though and C&B and is offering free shipping through August 7th


 Photos by Grace Hilton

Save Neutra!

While Grace Hilton is an interior design firm, not a preservation blog, I'm also Vice Chair of the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee and occasionally bring you preservation-related news and events. Below is a very urgent issue and if you love modern design, I encourage you to read on. 

You may have never heard of the Kronish House, but I hope the name Richard Neutra means something to you. The internationally-celebrated architect lived right here in Los Angeles and while our landscape is dotted with many structures he designed, only three homes were ever built in the City of Beverly Hills. One was torn down, one remodeled beyond recognition and the Kronish House is now threatened with demolition. It's basically being sold as a $13 million tear-down because of its location and the investment group that now owns it (following foreclosure and auction) wants to tear it down and sell an empty lot. Crazy, right? 

I won't get into the politics of preservation here, although I will say Beverly Hills is quickly gaining a rep  for this kind destruction due to their lack of preservation ordinance (A John Lautner home was demolished just a few months back and the Friars Club was lost not long before that). What it comes down to is that each and every one of you need to write a quick e-mail and help save this house! 

You don't really need to know all the ins and outs of preservation, the legalities surrounding the issue or be a Neutra expert. You simply need to speak up about why you love this era, this architect, this house and let Beverly Hills know that it's worth saving. The L.A. Conservancy has created an Advocacy Page for this issue and I did a screen grab of the bullet points they created to guide you in the comments you submit to the city. Write to mayorandcitycouncil@beverlyhills.org  Comments are due TODAY

You do not need to be a Beverly Hills or Los Angeles County resident. Ever single message makes a difference! Thanks for your help! 


Screen Team

I was instantly smitten by the 900 square foot one-bedroom Chicago apartment featured in this month's House Beautiful (right) and recalled another old favorite that used that same screen as a show-stopping backdrop, in the bedroom of actress Ione Skye (left). This little design trick, credited to the legendary Jean-Michel Frank, creates visual depth and instantly punches up the interest level. I love the way it works in Ione's California bohemian bedroom as well as it does in the casually sophisticated executive's apartment.

I drifted off to sleep last night dreaming of ways to incorporate this into one of my current projects. Have you used a screen in this way? Or seen another great example?  

P.S. To get the scale of the zig zag right on those side chairs in the Chicago apartment, they used Madeline Weinrib rugs for the upholstery. So creative!  


Left: Ione Skye feature from Domino Magazine September 2005; Photo by Paul Costello

Right: Interior Design by Richard Borries and James Shearron; Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo

Flea Market Fun: June/July Edition

I missed my June post about my flea market adventures, so this month I bring you double the fun! The following vintage treasures are a mix from Irvine and Long Beach markets. 


I scored a Hall teapot and four yellow Hall mugs all for under $10. (P.S. The tray is from West Elm, the tea towel is Crate and Barrel, and the spoon is a 1957 design by Arne Jacobsen, available here)


I had never heard the name Ernest Sohn until yesterday, but a quick web search turned up some photos of a chafing dish identical to the one I picked up yesterday. I'm now quite a fan of Mr. Sohn.


This little metal cabinet with our wedding motif was my end of the day deal. I paid next to nothing and with a couple more coats of white spray paint and it will be ready to hang in our bath, right above...


This little storage bench. Also a steal. Sure, it looks kind of funky now, but a quick upholstery job and it will be the perfect place for my toddler to stash all her bath toys.


This incredible coffee server, first mentioned in this post, turned up at an even better price at Irvine. I actually spotted it twice at Long Beach, too! In two different sizes! You can buy the smaller version here on Ebay.

There were many other appealing items, too many to show in fact. Here are some highlights:

1. Two Russel Woodard patio chairs $300

2. 70s Kitchen storage tins

3. Mahogany/Sterling ice bucket by Pyrex

4. Unused date book w/ four note pads to get you organized in retro-style

5. Vibrant silk-covered photo albums, never used

6. A sea of glassware. This booth must have had a half dozen tables of dazzling colored dishes.

7. Betty Crocker Party Book had some great illustrations and ideas that included a 'Space Age rocket party for the kids'. Check out more images and snag a copy here on Etsy

8. The cover art on this album totally had me dreaming of a future kid's party inspired by the film.

9. These three chairs needed an upholstery job, but could be made over and nestled around a round coffee table to form a conversation nook

10. Fun wall-mounted vintage spice rack. Love the bottle shape.

11. This free-standing cabinet with sliding doors was a decent price at $150 (potentially even less with a little haggling) and had nice dimensions for a hallway (only about 10" deep)

12. Catherine Holm-designed bowls always have me ready to fork over the cash, but they are a pretty penny. Check out the selection here on Ebay and I'll leave you with a lovely image by Viviana of her collection.


Photos #1- 17 by Grace Hilton

Photo #18 by Vivianna via

Emma Lamb

Child's Danish Modern Armchair at Mid-Century LA

Okay, just one more quick post about Dwell On Design and I promise I'll stop. There are just too many good things to recap it all in only three posts (Part I, Part IIPart III). 

These mid-century children's chairs are just so good, they deserve their very own post. They're not vintage (although modeled after an authentic Danish Modern design), which means they're readily available in your choice of upholstery. It's such a great option for stylish parents who want a comfy place for their tot to sit, but also want it to blend with their decor. 

Since I have a little one of my own, my eye went straight to these mini chairs, although David at Mid-Century LA had his booth set up with all kinds of goodies for adults too. Check out his website to browse his vast selection or contact him about ordering one of these adorable children's chairs.   


Dwell On Design: Wrap-Up

To wrap up my series of posts on Dwell On Design, here are a few more things that caught my eye.  No particular theme to this post or common thread between the the products, except for good design, of course! If you missed Part I and Part II of my DOD recap, check it out.

What products that I've featured are you favorite? What products were you drooling over at the show that I missed in my recap? Do tell! 

1. Donate your heart(beat) to art! For a good cause.

2. These pillows from Balanced Design are lovely and eco-friendly to boot! 

3. The pillows would actually coordinate well with this custom wallcovering from Aztek by 1960s artist, Jim Flora

4. The Charley Harper Studio booth had the dinnerware line by Todd Oldham for Fishs Eddy that I featured in this post was on display.

5. Herman Miller Eames' Aluminum Group chairs get an update in matte black and white. 

6. Stokke adds three new finishes to their Tripp Trapp chair -- Oiled oak, green, and oiled walnut; Best kid's highchair ever! 


Dwell On Design: Beyond Basic Lighting

Next up on my series of posts on Dwell On Design is lighting. I gravitated toward companies that are definitely thinking beyond just your basic lamp shade and base. There is a focus on flexibility and functionality, not just good looks. Although, these lamps look pretty great, too! 


This light is full of function. -- The arm allows it to be adjusted for reading or used as a general light and the pivoting shade means you can transform into an uplight to bounce light of the ceiling. The Fork Adjustable Table Lamp by Foscarini Lighting + Diesel Home (Yes, that Diesel...the fashion brand. Check out their other furniture and textile collaborations with Moroso and Zucchi. They call their first home collection 'Successful Living by Diesel'); The full collection including table, floor, and task lamps by Diesel + Focarini available at Lumens.


Silva table lamp was one of the many beautifully crafted designs from Cerno Group. They also offer a  unique wall sconce that allows you to quickly adjust between diffused and direct light. See it in action here.



My personal favorite was the Trapeze table lamp by Peter Stathis for Joby (the manufacturers of the popular Gorilla Pod) It was on preview at the A+R shop and will be available exclusively through their store this fall.  LED technology coupled with a sleek 3-axis design that allows it to pivot every which way. Of course when it comes to winning top honors from me, it doesn't hurt that it comes in a selection of fun colors -- Orange, yellow, blue, green, plus black and white


Two clever designs from Blu Dot include Bender (top) in black or white steel with a fabric shade and the Rook (bottom) which can be tilted and twisted as you please.  It's solid walnut and linen.  These two table top options are just $199 a pop and add a dash of fun to home or office. The Rook is a great option for next to a bed, since it's easy to manipulate the light for reading.  


If you're looking for more than just a table top upgrade, Trufig offers a full makeover for all the lights in your home and beyond.  This company is out on a mission to clear up wall acne. Outlets, switches, thermostats, even speakers can be a  bit of an eyesore. Trufig offers the option to make everything flush-mounted, so the architecture and interior design take center stage and all the bells and whistles disappear into the background.  It's not just for new construction either. They have a clever drywall patch that allows you to quickly swap out existing controls. It's fully compatible with Lutron, making it a breeze to upgrade your entire lighting, media, and HVAC system to get this sleek look.