{introducing} | urban matters : a design firm

Drum roll please!! I'm super excited about this introduction. Introducing....Urban Matters Design Lab! A design firm who defines themselves as creative change agents, dedicated to improving the social fabric of cities. WHAT THEY DO : empower communities. WHY THEY DO IT : to build communities.


Meet: Stephanie Houston. Smarty pants, graphic designer, and an uber talented, in-training architect (currently sitting for exams) with a passion in life: building communities. This introduction is special not only because she is my talented twin sister, but because since we were kids, she's aspired to making a change in our world, and she's doing it, in San Francisco. Founder and creative director of Urban Matters Design Lab and Nomad Gardens, Stephanie brings passion to an entirely new level. She truly is an inspiration. Those looking for a designer or looking to be a part Nomad Gardens via the garden, events, creatives or workshop, you should meet. I'm so proud of you sis. I knew you would do it some day. Here's to my biggest fan, dreaming big, and keeping passion alive. Keep rockin' it!

{remembering sf} | victorian flat

I have been doing a lot of photo updates and ran across some images I took of our old place in SF, which I LOVED. It's fun looking back at how your furniture is rearranged in different places, and how your place transforms due to life's changes. Toy filled baskets, kid library, cluster of unreachable frames, the joy of parenthood. :) 

I've posted more photos in my portfolio section here. Of course, it was sad leaving behind the nursery, but it went to a good home of some soon to be parents. I hope everyone had a great weekend!



{noe valley remodel} | update

I am super excited to finally share with you some progress photos of the Noe Valley Mid-Century home that has consumed the majority of my design time these days! First off, my client is pregnant and decisive. Don't believe me? I was hired on June 16th to pick out the entire finish package for this remodel: tile, counters, cabinets, paint, flooring, plumbing fixtures, lighting, hardware and bathroom accessories for the 3/2 remodel. Everything is purchased and has arrived and is waiting to be installed. We even managed to get window treatments in by the time she moves in. Move-in Date: September 10th, three weeks from today...and she is supposed to have her baby girl two weeks later. ;) I guess you have to be decisive when a baby is on the way! 

I had to share photos of the Waterworks and AnnSacks boxes, two of my favorite places to shop for decorative and suprisingly affordable tile. I can't wait to show you what is in them! Island pendants, pennyround tile, glass tile, and statuary marble tile. Additional finishes include: a custom red lacquer desk, custom navy slatted island with calcutta oro counter, white shaker perimeter cabinets with soapstone counters, splashes of walnut, rockymountain hardware inspired pulls, and a groutless fireplace tile.

Needless to say, it has been an absolutely amazing and fun project. The team: architect Mason Miller, owner of Mason Miller Architecture (the one responsible for the amazing transformation of the home) and contractor John Fannon, owner of Green Home Construction, have been a delight to work with on this project. I would highly suggest using them if you are a home owner interested in a mid-century modern or modern remodel, and are on a tight deadline. Very professional and even keyed guys, exactly what you want for a tight schedule.

Next steps: Installing cabinets, setting counters, building the custom island, tiling, and installing carpet and baseboards. Exciting!!

Stay tuned for more progress photos. Can't wait! 


{wowza wednesday} | 2011 Design SF

My first weekday away from work and kids was delightful! I headed over to the premier annual event at San Francisco's Design Center. I met new faces, old faces, and I was fortunate enough to meet a few very inspirational people. My day began with a ton of laughs listening to Jeff Lewis and Jenni Pulos from the Bravo TV series "Flipping Out". I LOVE this show! My first picture ever with a celebrity. As for content, I couldn't agree more with Sarah Lynch of California Home + Design's article describing the skepticism and interview. He truly was an inspiration. BTW...he has a new line of home goods out. Check it out here.

My next stop was the Robert Allen|Beacon Hill showroom to hear Christaine Lumiex's, founder of DwellStudio (my newest resource for fabrics and wallpaper), presentation on Building a Design Business in the Modern Landscape. Truly an inspirational woman and a wealth of knowledge. She cleared any dismay I had about my decision to stay home from this years Alt Summit. What a delightful and beautiful person. She's so fun, laid back, fashionable, passionate, and truly wants others to have the same success. My kind of lady. Christaine gave us a sneak peek into the DwellStudio furniture line which showcases DwellStudio's fabric line now exclusively available to the trade. I've included a couple fabrics I'm loving below.


And last, but definitely not least, while picking up fabric and wallpaper samples for a project at the Lee Jofa showroom, I was thrilled to introduce myself to Carrie Miller of Massucco Warner Miller. I featured the firm on my blog months ago, as my first choice of firms to work for if I ever was to head back to the corporate world. She was so sweet, and might I say, a stunningly beautiful lady. PS..they just started an a la carte offering as well as launched a pillow line! I'm in LOVE!

I'm feeling so inspired these days, thanks to all the blogs and tweets I follow. Who do you follow, what inspires you!? I'd love to hear! 

Headed to see my friend Crystal speak tomorrow AM at the Design Center and then off to Tahoe with the family and friends! Can't wait for Everett and Amelia to see their first snow! 

Back soon!!

San Francisco Designers

Working in San Francisco is excellent for any designer. Talk about a plethora of resources and talent. Currently inspiring me is Massucco Warner Miller. My taste pretty much aligns with this firm. You can find most of the wall papers used on the projects in my library. If I were to work for a firm again it would definitely be here. You can also read about the firm in their recent feature in San Francisco Magazine.  Matthew Leverone is also a favorite.

Rue Magazine is headed to SF!!

Crystal Gentilello, a friend I met while my husband attended business school at Kellogg, followed her dream and started her own online magazine! The design industry also knows her for her wonderful blog Plush Palate. I'm so excited to hear that she is moving Rue's headquarters to San Francisco!  If you haven't already heard of the online magazine, check it out here