Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Santa Barbara Beauty


I had the pleasure of meeting Sheryl Lowe at Neiman's recently.  She has been creating the most beautiful jewelry for the past 9 years.  Not one to pass up a trunk show of a designer that I admire, I headed on over with my fingers crossed that I wouldn't get myself into too much trouble.

Sheryl shops the world; beads from Yemen, coral from Tangier, rare Peruvian opals.  Antique jewelry is reworked, all gracing her one of a kind pieces.

She obviously works very hard and has a deep passion for what she does.  Her company is very successful, which is no small feat in today's economy.  She is also fortunate enough to lead a privileged life with her perennially handsome husband, Rob.  That affords her the opportunity to give back, which she does, generously.  As a working mother of two boys I, like Sheryl, believe that's an important lesson to pass on.  We spoke for a bit about her business.  She employs 20, and a portion of the proceeds go to women's and children's charities.

Sheryl could not have been lovelier.  When I asked her if she minded taking a picture, the glasses came off, the lipstick went on, and she posed like a rock star (or top model.)  I am going to need a lesson or two!

We also talked about her house.  I had remembered seeing it in AD and loved it!  It will be featured in a book that Ellen Degeneres is doing.  Let's revisit ~

"Sheryl loves beautiful things and is definitely a collector," says interior designer David Phoenix.  Who doesn't love beautiful things (we have much in common)??  Sheryl and Rob Lowe were lucky enough to build their dream home inspired by grand Georgian homes.

The couple walked the property for weeks to make sure the house would sit perfectly on the plot, as if it had always been there.  Sheryl wanted the home to reflect her "nonconformity" and love of travel.  The team, including a feng shui specialist, looked at everything from studying Mount Vernon to what the best possible furniture layout might be to maximize "wealth, wellness, and charisma."

It is neutral but richly layered, grand in size, but intimate in feel.

The Lowe's wanted their house to be THE house that everyone comes to.  Entertaining is a priority as is conveying the feeling of comfort, graciousness, and the idea that wonderful memories are being created.

Driving up the tree lined drive is dramatic in and of itself, but the home opens itself up in exquisite fashion on it's four beautifully landscaped acres, with the double height Portico, sweeping veranda, and view to the ocean.

Oprah is a neighbor and this house is down the street from their beach house.  How convenient!

I mentioned I would be in the area but I did not get an invitation over, maybe next time??

Photos via AD by Mary E. Nichols

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DXV ~ Raising the Standard of Beauty

We had some fun with the nice folks at DXV.  They sponsored a beautiful get together at a restaurant nestled in the Hollywood Hills where we spoke about the American Standard brand and came to the realization that almost all of us had an American Standard product in our home.


"DXV by American Standard is a new luxury bath and kitchen brand celebrating the storied plumbing company's rich history, now in its 15th decade."  The company believes if you design with a purpose along with performance and strive for perfection of product, you are raising the standard of beauty.  Therefore, well designed products become beautiful, and beauty becomes timeless.

The DXV collections, 70 carefully curated products in all, are distinguished by what would be considered the most influential design movements throughout the company's long history beginning in 1872.  They used this as a framework to give relevance to each period.

The Classic Movement (1890-1920) is stately, sculptural and well rounded.  Utilitarian objects were adorned with flowing lines and fanciful details as the industrial age landscape was changing.

The Golden Era (1920-1950), defined by a period of peace and prosperity, centers around a collection that has a subtle  attitude with a refined organic simplicity.  It reflects a modern society on the move in a time of prolific growth in art, design, and invention .

The Modern Movement (1950-1990) is all about artful forms and angular planes, displaying a playfulness and joy that this country was feeling.  Experimentation and growth in technology created contrasts that helped pave a path for the future.

The Contemporary Movement (1990-present) is represented by more of an individualistic approach. Pure form and a minimalist aesthetic, rich texture, and natural material.  The aesthetic is ever changing, the juxtaposition eclectic, and has a global appeal to reflect our fast paced lifestyle.

Fixtures, both kitchen and bath, are the cornerstone of the company's brand.  Like accessories or jewels that accompany the little black dress, these fixtures convey a design message when paired with the more utilitarian tub and toilet (but no less design driven).  These collections can certainly be mixed and matched for a look as individual as each of us.

DXV ~ stands for Decade 15 (clever, right?), is a brand that has artisanal character with a forward thinking, technology driven, performance powered sensibility.

I wonder what period the next collection will be called as we take stock of the fast paced, tech savvy world we are living in now.  Futuristic?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Miele: A Leap of Innovation

As one of our generous sponsors on Blogtourcali, Miele spoiled us rotten.  They generously wined and dined us incorporating their new "state of the art" generation 6000 technology.

The Miele team and celebrity guest chef  David Shalleck honored us with another scrumptious meal.

Years in the making, Miele's innovative, user friendly appliances continue to be built on the foundation of beauty and functionality, keeping in mind the need for ease in today's lifestyle.  The Miele brand imbues a sense of passion for product with purposeful design and energy efficiency.  A family owned and operated company since 1899, they operate on the single promise of "forever better."

When I first saw their built in coffee maker at a trade show some years ago, it was love at first sight!  I remember thinking, this is genius!  Why hasn't anyone thought of this sooner?  Their new feature incorporates a cup sensor.  This recognizes the size of the rim of your cup and alters the position of the spout accordingly.  A milk system clicks in and out of place, then rinses itself after use.  That is a well thought out design feature!

Minimalists will love the new brilliant white design that is chic and cool.  I, myself, love the truffle brown color.  It would be at home in a transitional or contemporary kitchen, as would the pure line or contour line handles.  Either of these new designs are so timelessly elegant and simple that any combination looks perfectly balanced.


Some of the incredible features of the Generation 6000 are ~ their exclusive moisture plus oven sensor  technology with 100+ presets and your own programmable ones.  The easy touch, user friendly touch pad with wifi capability makes preheating the oven when you are away from a home a blessing.

We became familiar with convection ovens that have a fan in the back to help uniformly circulate hot air and cook evenly.  The steam or combo steam technology goes further by raising the humidity in the oven ~  you optimize the outcome and healthy benefits of your food!

Meats are more succulent, baked goods are incredibly moist.  I LOVE banana bread.  When I tasted theirs after being made in the new 6000 series oven, I swore I had never in my life tasted anything so moist and delicious!  Everything is at the peak of flavor with the addition of steam technology!


Miele strives to improve upon their own innovative technology and assures us this is only the beginning.  I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves.  Oh, and I am gonna need a need kitchen now….

*photo: Chasen West