Monday, 31 January 2011

2011 DC Design House

After almost completely convincing myself that I wouldn't make it in the Washington DC Design House, (I tend to do that when it gets down to the wire & I get really nervous) I got a call today from one of the Design House Committee members letting me know I'd been accepted.  I was kind of in shock and just so insanely happy when I listened to her voicemail.
I can't even express how truly honored & grateful I am to be able to participate in the Design House.  Here's a photo from the DC Design House facbooke page of the outside of the 2011 home:

The DC Design House benefites The Childrens National Medical Center which is "the largest non-governmental provider of pediatric care in the District of Columbia and treats all patients regardless of their families' ability to pay. Each year Children's provides more than $50 million in uncompensated care.   As a nonprofit hospital, Children's National relies on the generous support of individuals, corporations, and foundations to meet the health needs of children..."

I'll keep you posted as the date nears, but it's set to run April 9th - May8th.
The address is 3134 Ellicott St, NW

 Do you remember this succulent that had me all excited a while back?

It was growing in the garden room of the design house. 
It completely embodies the feeling I'm after for the space I have (an upstair bedroom/ sitting room) and I just love how fresh and luminous it is.  I'll definitely keep you posted on everything and if you're in the area, hopefully you'll be able to make it to see for yourself!  I'm teaming up with some amazing people including local artist John Matthew Moore

I'm thrilled & honored to be joining a super-talented group of designers for this year's Design House: 

James Rill (Rill Architects), Liz Levin, Patrick Sutton, Erin Paige Pitts, Nadia Subaran (Aidan Design), Whitney Stewart, Gary Lovejoy, Nancy Colbert, Camille Saum, Denise Willard, Barbara Franceski, Samantha Friedman, Jason Hodges, Cindy McClure, David Mitchell and Iantha Carley

A huge congratulations to the other designers selected and cheers to the 2011 House!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.


Interior designer Kelli Ford has a strong affinity for blue as you will see.  Throughout this Beverly Hills vacation home that Kelli shares with husband Jerry, blue is in some form present in the rooms.  ENJOY!

Love, love this home!  Hope that you have enjoyed this tour.  Pick up your copy of this month's Veranda magazine.

See you soon,


{new cubbies in my office studio...  "studio" sounds so much better, doesn't it?}

Just enjoying the last spec of the loooong snow-filled weekend before bed. Last week was such a nutty week that I totally forgot to post that I was a guest blogger/ designer over at Room Remix! PK's going a great series on paint with some of my favorite blog friends so check it out if you have a minute:


Many of you asked about the driftwood hanging above the cubbies.  My dad found it 20 or so years ago while fishing in Georgia.  It's a cypress tree root.  There used to be bass mounted on it but he gave it to me  so they're gone :)  It used to be in the shape of a star but a piece of it fell off over the years.  He's wants me to reattach it but then I wouldn't have room for my cubbies!

Also, you might have noticed a few changes around here. My blog's been getting a few tweaks including a some new buttons on the sidebar. I haven't linked everything up yet but as soon as I do, I'll be sure to give you a little tour.

Is anyone going to the design bloggers' conference in LA? I'm all signed up so let me know if you're in!

And... I find out tomorrow yes or no for the design house. Am so nervous and can't wait for the pit in my stomach to leave. ( it has to go away whether we get it or not, right?? ;). I might be in need of virtual hugs so I'll keep you posted. Finger crossed.

xoxo, Lauren
If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Sunday, 30 January 2011


Interior designer Darryl Carter worked closely with this Austin, Texas couple while designing their interior. Parents of two children, the couple visited antique shops with Carter before making choices of furniture. Carter also used reclaimed wood where possible to finish this gorgeous home. ENJOY!

I hope that you have enjoyed this post. Pick up your copy of this month's Veranda.

See you soon,

Veranda 2011

Stage Music Decoration

On Stage Tonight

A Model Village Decoration

An Icy Weekend

Hello all, I'm back from freezing Haerbin (don't ask

me to tell you how to pronounce it), and I have lots

to  tell (pictures will be provided soon).

We (4 Israelis, a Tahitian and an American) all went

to Haerbin in the far north east of China to see the

famous ice lantern festival.

So a bit of background about Haerbin - a 6 million

people city near the border with Russia, that has

changed hands between China, Russia and the Japanese.

During winter the temperatures range between -30 - -20

c which is about -10 to -20 F (yeap that means now).

Packed to the brim with clothes and munchees for the

road, we boarded a hard sleeper train, which consists

of a really narrow hallway and triple bunk-beds (not

very big either). After 12 hours of uneventful

traveling we got to Haerbin and were confronted for

the first time with the cold - wasn't so bad, or at

least that's what we thought.

After trying quite a few hotels that said they had no

rooms left (apparently many hotels except for the

expensive ones won't accept foreigners) we finally

settled in a decent one.

The next day we set off to the ice festival compound,

along the pretty wide river (150-200m wide or about

500-700 feet) that's frozen solid. The place was

called  the ice and snow world and had famous

buildings from across the world (gate of triumph, a

church, a mosque, a pagoda and many other buildings

and ice statues) build of ice blocks and sculpted from

ice. At night evrything is illuminated from the inside

which gives the place a really "groovy" 70's

psychodelic (sp?) feel. I'll let the pictures do the

talking when they come.

At night we went to city's Russian quarter and visited

a "blues  bar" full of russians dancing to Russian pop

music (ah - just like home). It was nuts. Oh yeah- and

all the girls were 6 foot (1.80m) blondes or


Notice the douoble gap I made, there's a reason for

that. This is where the real adventure begins. The

next day we decided to go visit the Siberian tiger

park, where you can watch - tigers, but also lions

panthers etc... and also see an innocent chicken or

duck thrown to the open ground and watch as they

devour it. Sounded like great fun.

So, armed with a lonely planet, we left looking for

the bus station that leads there (we were too stingy

for a cab - a fatal mistake). We got to the spot where

the station was supposed to be and - no station. So we

go and ask a bus driver how to get there (sounds

reasonable enough doesn't it?) and after thinking for

a bit he said hop on, change a bus when I tell you,

and you'll get there. We hop on, change busses after a

really long ride and find out that the new bus

doesn't get there and that we have to switch another

bus. We take another bus which, again, takes us to a

long ride and... we end up where we started. Finally

we give up and decide to take a cab. So we walk

towards the road  and a guy approaches us and asks

where. We answer the tiger park and somehow (don't ask

me how), after a lot of negotiating using a 3 year

old's chinese, we  find ourselves stepping off a horse

and carriage in the middle of the frozen lake I

mentioned before, and starting to cross it by foot (I

remind you, it's -25c at this time). Finally we get to

the other side catch a cab and find out that the place

is about to close.

There was a bit more to the story, but this has become

long enough. So we saw some magestic tigers, but

didn't get to see them feast, but at least it was for

free (because there was no one there).

The way back was pretty uneventful, just another 12

hour train ride.

This is the short version of Amit's adventures in


Sorry for not posting for so long (if there are any people left that actually read it), I had both technnical difficulties and motivational ones.

School is going ahead as planned, i.e. pretty monotonous, but my Chinese is imroving, bit by bit.

This time I'll talk about a school trip we had to a small, perfect village called HanCunHe (read: HanTsuenHe).

Out teachers didn't tell us much about this trip, besides it was supposed to be a "language practice day with the "locals", whatever that meant.

However when we arrived, it was a completely different story. Apparently, the whole place was once a mud hut village, with a dirt road crossing it. Now, after the party spiced up the place a bit, It's practically a twilight zone perfect village. At first we visited the village's greenhouse, which was built with the help of Israeli Engineers and Farming experts (we're still on the map), and that uses the for front of agricultural technology, rendering the place self-sufficient. Then we went on to a tour of the village itself, and the museum dedicated to all the work that was done here.

I'll start with the village. The village is built from different housing blocks or quarters, with each quarter consisting of the exact same type of houses in perfect square rows, but with each quarter/block having different types of houses. The houses themsleves are quite large, both in Chinese standards and Western standards, and have even a small yard infront of them. The streets are very clean, very organised (organized?) and very very empty. Besides from the ocassional stray dog, I personally, saw no one, and other people swore they saw at least 3 people. Everybody were away for work, and that means everybody. The number of people who are not between 20-40 in this village isn't very high apparently.

After touring the genuine streets, we entered the museum, dedicated to the commemoration(sp?) of the village, before and after, the leaders who led this project, and all the honours bestowed on this place by foreigners and dignitaries.

We concluded with a not bad lunch in the big hotel at the entrance to the village.

What can I say, This village can tell us a lot about the transformations China is going through.

Bollywood Buzz Decoration

Indian filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, director of the Bollywood mega-hit "Devdas", is to stage an opera in Paris next year, the Theatre du Chatelet said on Wednesday.

From March 14 to 24 next year, Bhansali will present six performances of "Padmavati", a rarely-performed opera-ballet written in 1923 by French composer Albert Roussel and inspired by Indian legend.

Leading a mainly-French cast, Marie-Nicole Lemieux from the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec will play the title role of a woman who falls prey to a vile bargain, in a lyrical tale set in 13th-century India.

Bhansali's 2002 movie "Devdas" a tragic musical tale of two childhood sweethearts whose love is thwarted by their families was the most expensive Hindi film ever made, reaping international success and a host of awards.

The Theatre du Chatelet- Paris' second largest opera house- will also host an adaptation of David Cronenberg's science-fiction hit "The Fly" brought to the stage by the director in partnership with Spain's tenor Placido Domingo.

Rahul is one young man with dreams working as a call centre executive in a BPO in Mumbai. He silently loves his boss, Neha. A smart young woman who has made it up the ranks in a very short time. And hard work is not her only secret. Because her boss, Ranjeet loves her and is willing to shower her with gifts and opportunities… only if she is willing.

In his 30s, Ranjeet is married to Shikha with a 6 year old son. Shikha is very well educated and was a better student than Ranjeet. But they decided that she should stay back at home and take care of the house and the kid. So Ranjeet ventured out on his quest for money and success… and forgot his family somewhere on the way. And bitterness and boredom crept into their relationship. Soon he found solace and a fresh lease of life in Neha. An exciting, non-committal relationship based on sex.

Neglected by an indifferent husband and bogged down by family chores, Shikha is soon attracted to a maverick in Akash. A loser and a rebel without a cause, Akash is a struggling theatre artist whose wife divorces him… because she cannot stand his failures anymore. Akash and Shikha’s love blossoms and she almost crosses her limits that she has so fervently guarded all these years.

Amol is a 70 year old man who’s returned to India after 40 years. To spend last few years of his life with his first love, Vaijanti. This lady lives in an old age home and is Shikha’s aunty who gives moral strength to Shikha.

Shikha’s sister and Neha’s room-mate, Shruti works in at Radio Mirchi. A producer. In her 30’s and still a virgin, she’s desperate to get married. She is dreamy eyed about her RJ, Wishy K. Her boss hooks her up with Wishy K. While she also meets Debu through a matrimonial site, she hates him. But Debu, an ordinary man, is ready to marry her. However..her affair with Wishy K blossoms.

Rahul is extremely ambitiously and discovers the easiest way to success.. rather the key to success. The key to his uncle’s opulent apartment where he stays while his uncle is away. Most of the men in his office look for places to take their mistresses, girlfriends or prostitutes. He provides the perfect place to release their libido. His apartment. The cost? A recommendation for his out of turn promotion. Even Ranjeet gets the key and takes Neha to the apartment.

Amidst one of their escapades Neha asks Ranjeet about their future. A commitment? Ranjeet makes it clear that she should not even think of a commitment. He insults her and leaves. She tries to commit suicide. Rahul discovers her in his apartment and takes care of her. They share some loving moments… come closer but still she’s unsure about him.

Ram Gopal Varma’s Sholay is almost complete, save for some patchwork scenes, and it seems that talk about the film will not subside until it finally hits the big screen.

The latest tongue-teaser from the film is the sensuous song, Chaa Raha (picturised on Ajay Devgan and Nisha Kothari), which was shot only recently. It has a bare-chested Devgan in the most intimate poses with Kothari, which is probably a first for the brooding actor!

Says Ramu, “It’s one of the most arresting songs of my career as the concept is so different. I have tried to capture different images with each image creating a different emotion. Each shot is different and has a certain intensity, the most intense being love. The way the characters in Sholay, including that of Veeru (Devgan) and Ghungroo (Kothari), have been designed has brought certain changes in the context of relationships. Veeru and Ghungroo’s love story is much stronger in my Sholay.”

Ramu says Ajay wasn’t uncomfortable when told about the bare-chested scenes. Though this is probably the first time Ajay is attempting such an intimate song sequence,

Ramu chuckles, “I explained the concept to him and he was absolutely cool. We have worked together in Company and Bhoot and Ajay trusts me as a director. I told him that I’d had enough of shooting barely-clad women. For a change, I wanted to shoot a barely-clad man!”

It was the big moment SRK fans were waiting for, as the undisputed Badshaah of Bollywood officially unveiled his wax model at Maddam Tussauds in London amongst much fanfare.

The sheer hysteria outside the Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London was palpable as hordes of SRK fans gathered to catch a glimpse of their favourite star, some who had specially flown down for the grand occasion.

Apart from the unveiling of the statue, a book chronicling the life of SRK right from his childhood to his superstar days, ‘Still Reading Khan’ by Mushtaq Shaikh, was also introduced to the Tussaud’s library.

Tussaud’s has changed the characteristic Shah Rukh Khan pose for the statue with both hands up and open replacing it with one whose arms are folded.

Shah Rukh Khan is the third celebrity from Bollywood to have his replica in the museum. He joins Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai who made their wax presence in the Museum earlier.

They still stage opera

We arrived in Athens early Sunday morning and were greeted by Kevin at the airport for the ride home.

The basic reason for our visit here was not to do more touring but, rather, to visit with our old friends. Kevin and Valerie had lived in DC in the early 1990s, while we were all getting started in our careers and married lives. We sort of grew up together as couples. We knew each other before we had kids and we had big dreams and ambitions.

Somehow, the big dreams and ambitions worked out. By the mid-90s Kevin and Valerie had moved to Germany to purse their dream of a life in Europe. Morgane came into the world just a bit after that. Killian, a few years later. Meanwhile, Jen and I remained in DC pursuing our dream of repairing the world. For Jen, this means repairing it person-by-person. For me, it means repairing government. Sam came into the world about a year after Morgane. Ella followed about a year or so after Killian. And so, we all had these babies that needed attention.

The Copps and Shermans stayed in contact over the years but didnt' see much of each other. But the bond had been established and the fates were sealed.

In 2009, the Copps moved to Athens. So, sensing an opportunity because we were already going to be in Israel -- not terribly far from Greece -- we created the Athens excursion.

The priority, therefore, has been on reconnecting with our friends and we've accomplished that goal in a big way. We've done a fair amount of just hanging out over the past couple of days, eating, drinking, laughing, remembering. Letting the kids get to know each other better. On Sunday, we chilled at the Copp villa in Kifissia, partaking of the pool and Valerie's exquisite eggplant parmesan and stuffed tomatoes.


As always, I enjoyed my trip to Birmingham to see my daughter!  Such a beautiful campus and city.

We went to Cocina * Superior for lunch.  The Mexican food here is the best I have ever eaten, and I have eaten my share, including the food in Mexico.

We later went shopping around and stopped in at Barnes and Noble, my favorite book store.  We had a coffee drink and sat on the garden deck!  It was in the 70's and sunny.  Such a gorgeous day!  ENJOY!

Have a great Sunday!  We are having another beautiful day.  I took these photographs with my new Panasonic Lumix.  Love it so far, although I haven't learned much of what the camera is capable of doing.

See you soon,