California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living

Monday, March 26, 2012

Room Service Delivers in Granite Bay

One of my Granite Bay clients received a six hour home makeover this week.  Of all the design services I offer, Room Service is one of the most gratifying because I get to transform an ordinary space into something completely wonderful in a matter of a day.

Using the client's existing furniture and accessories we rearranged and re-purposed furnishings from throughout the home, and completely re-styled her living room in four hours.  This is how it was done:

Positioned sofa in front of fireplace.
Moved big chair to face the wall of glass door and windows, and the pool beyond.
Added a small end table that I took from the upstairs guest room.
Added a lamp from the dining room.
Exchanged lamp shades.
Moved a canvas from another room to over the fireplace.
Accessorized the mantel.
Styled the book case.
Removed old coffee table and replaced with rattan chest.  Accessorized with coffee table books, a round tray, and a glass hurricane filled with pine cones.
Hung tree of life and a pair of bronze sconces over piano, accessorized with framed family images.
Added small armless chair from guest room.
Tidied all television cords.
Hung a large mirror over the big chair and flanked with two favorite black and white images.
Added previously unused baskets, vases, florals, and plants from the "pantry".
Added two primitive horse prints that were not being used.

The trick to doing a makeover is to always visualize from the entrance to the room first.  Standing in the entrance, find the very best floor plan or furniture arrangement you can.  You do this by identifying the best focal point in the room and playing it up.  Place the rug first, then the sofa, then the cocktail table or chest in this case, then the biggest chair/s.  Once you have the floor plan down, you start adding wall accessories and ambient lighting.  Then last, the remaining accessories.  Play with the tablescapes until you get them right.

What initially inspired me in Paula's living room was the green velvet sofa and chair.  Everything else I did in the room, enhanced their texture and color.

Here is what my client had to say in a letter to me the next day:  "WOW!!! The place looks AMAZING!!  My husband could hardly believe his eyes, and loves it so much!! I cannot believe what a difference it made...Literally."

Thank you Paula.  I think you practically made my month.  I love that you love it.

Now I'm looking for a couple of covered Parson's end chairs in a special fabric, a sideboard, a trendy mirror, and paint for her formal dining room.  We are also going to add some floor length drapery panels to go under the existing cornice which needed a little pick me up.  And a bench for a portion of her entry.

I love my job.  Sigh.  

All photography Shiree Hanson Segerstrom.

Monday, March 19, 2012


This weekend it was snowing at my Sonora place.  David and I holed up for the weekend, going out only for a few essentials and a coffee break.  I made my favorite lasagna recipe in honor of my son Christian who just landed a job selling tickets to the San Francisco Symphony.  It's his favorite dish.

I also made a batch of home made biscuits and I have a favorite recipe I've been using since the early 80's when Christian was born.  It's called Sour Cream Biscuits and it comes from the Palo Alto Junior League Private Collection 2.  I think it's one of the best biscuit recipes I've ever used.

Sour Cream Biscuits

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2 C. unbleached flour
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. sugar
1/2 C vegetable shortening
1/3 C. sour cream
1/3 C. milk

Stir together dry ingredients into a food processor with a steel blade.  Process a minute or so till blended.  Add shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Transfer ingredients to a large mixing bowl.  Add sour cream and milk all at once.  Stir with a fork only until dough follows it around bowl.

Turn dough out onto a floured board.  Lightly knead for only a few seconds.  The secret is to handle the dough as gently as possibly!

Pat or roll dough out to a 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.   Bake 10 minutes, till lightly golden on top.  Allow to cool slightly before eating so they won't be doughy.  Enjoy with a little sweet butter or your favorite jam, but I love my with just butter.   

Note: You may use the dough to make one big shortcake by increasing the sugar to 1 1/2 T.  Absolutely fabulous with strawberries and lightly sweetened cream.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Table...THE END

Great looking, affordable end tables are hard to find.  I love the following choices currently being recommended to long time design clients for their weekend home.

The one above has a British colonial vibe.

This one is perfect for keeping magazines, books, and papers tidied up and off the floor.  It also is based on British colonial style.

This table is light weight and can be moved around easily and put to use in a variety of spaces.

This is rather art deco or French Moderne.  I love the lines.

I love this end table that I ran across at the San Francisco Design Center.  It has a marquetry top and is surprisingly affordable.

This is a sturdy little table.  Perfect for lamps, drinks, and a few books.  All tables available through Shiree Hanson Segerstrom.  Prices range from $546 to $1400.  Ship times varies.  If in stock, two weeks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Neutral Sofas and Chairs with Colorful Accents

These images are being used as visual aids in a lakeside residential project I'm currently working on.  My client requested neutral toned pieces with splashes of color in the pillows and accessories.

Her style is traditional and elegant but comfortable.  Picking out the fabrics for this project, or any project is where the real challenge lies.  I believe fabric choices and finishes lend to the quality of a room as much as art and antiques.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


A 1920's San Francisco architectural gem is getting a great makeover with these wonderful fabrics.  The above print is one of the fabric options for the new sofa.  The color scheme, designed to work around the client's wonderful Aubusson silk rug is light turquoise, oxblood, and light taupe.  The colors, along with her dark brown stained woodwork are very painterly together, very striking.

This great red velvet is the welt and banding on the valances and roman shades in the living room.

The gorgeous taupe colored linen with red calligraphy above will be the slipcovers for the wonderful high back wing chairs the client already has.  It will also be an extra long down filled kidney pillow with welts in the red velvet.

This light weight textured fabric will be the valances and Romans.  Fabric treatments are one of the most challenging things designers do and putting together smashing fabric combinations that work with the architecture, the client's existing furnishings, and their personal likes and dislikes takes a lot of thought and aesthetic sense.


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