Garden Art


I have a few of these Antique Urns in my garden at home and I love the pitted patinas that they develop over time.  If you leave them in a shaded area the porous nature of the urn will grow a beautiful green moss on them.  Whether you put globes in them or greenery they add a dimension to your landscaping similar to what a sculpture would elicit, a bit of artistry outside. You can also bring them inside and use them to accent your dining room table with Hurricane Lanterns like these shown below. Using a Linen runner on the table under the urns I’d place the Faux Topiary Containers on the table and then scatter  small 4 ”  Topiary rounds around the display.  Finish off with antique glass tea candle holders and you have a terrific table scape with romantic lighting ideal for dining.  If you want to add color to the muted tones of the table, small glass vases with the flower of your choice will make the table pop with color.

Nearly Natural Cedar Ball...Pack of 6 Outdoor Patio...

New Listing – Mt. View Townhome

Thinking about this color palette combination for the remodel of a 3 bd/3 ba town home in the Crossings neighborhood of Mt. View (Los Altos School District).  Property will be available for preview the middle of July, it will be listed at $958,000 and is 1421 square feet. Ideally located, terrific walking score!


Bay Area Home Price Sales ~ May

Drought Landscaping 2014

Bay Area Home Prices ~ Still short of 2007 highs!

money fence_sm



While April median home prices across California and the Bay Area returned to levels not seen since late 2007, they remain well short of pre-recession peaks.

But a different story emerges when comparing historical and recent median prices in our individual Bay Area counties. Indeed, some counties have actually surpassed their precrisis price highs, others are nearly there, and still others have a longer road to recovery.

Whether you’re buying or selling a home in the Bay Area, staying informed on both current and past prices can help you decide when to act. Here’s an analysis, based on California Association of Realtors data, that compares April median single-family home prices across Bay Area counties with their historical highs.

Alameda County – At $718,580 the median price in Alameda County is just 0.5 percent short of its all-time high. The Alameda County median peaked in May 2007 at $722,044.

Contra Costa County – Housing prices in Contra Costa County have been rising steadily since January and reached $755,950 in April. The current median price is 18 percent lower than it was in June 2006, when it topped out at $923,855.

Marin County – Marin is one of just two Bay Area counties where the median home price was higher than the $1 million mark in April. Still, at $1,007,580, the current median is 12 percent below its historical high of $1,149,390, set in June of 2007.

Napa County – The median price in Napa County declined from March to April to land at $523, 150. In August 2006, prices in the county hit $729,166, 28 percent above current levels.

San Francisco County – San Francisco home prices actually reached all-time highs in February 2014 but have since slightly cooled to $940,570. San Francisco is one of two local markets where prices have now surpassed their prerecession highs, currently 0.9 percent higher than they were in May 2007.

San Mateo County – San Mateo County bested its previous peak median in March before falling to $1,001,000 in April. The county median is now 2 percent below its October 2007 precrisis pinnacle of $1,020,000.

Santa Clara County – The median price in Santa Clara County reached $900,000 for the first time ever in April, buoying the market 5 percent above its previous all-time high of $865,000, achieved in October 2007.

Photo: Flickr/Tax Credits)

Pacific Union



California Road Trip!

California Gold…what do you get when you combine quintessentially creative people inspired by some of the most beautiful coastal communities in the world? A network of luxurious retreats thoughtfully designed, peppered with cuisine produced by chefs imaginatively transforming nature’s local produce and succulent meats and fresh fish into innovative plates. So with all this magnificence at our fingertips….a gastronomes road trip is in order! With a variety of culinary and hotel experiences I’ve provided recommendations from Napa to Venice.

Bardessono Resort and Spa

First stop Bardessono in Yountville, awarded one of the Top 10 Hotels in the World in 2014 also has the distinction of being one of the Greenest Luxury Hotels.  The resort features lush rooms, indulgent spa treatments and Lucy’s, a phenomenal restaurant serving innovative, garden inspired California cuisine. If you want to venture out, Thomas Kellar’s French Laundry in Yountville is celebrating their 20th year of fine cuisine. The restaurant serves the finest American cuisine with french influences, superbly presented. If it’s a sweet you are craving for breakfast, Bouchon Bakery makes the most scrumptious Brioche Doughnuts.

Wander down the coast to San Francisco’s Historic Presidio. A boutique hotel in Golden Gate National Park, the Inn at the Presidio is the elegantly renovated Pershing Hall. This Georgian Revival style building was the retreat for U. S. Army bachelor officers posted to the Presidio.  The Inn features 22 handsomely decorated rooms and suites, nestled amongst hiking and biking trails in one of our most beautiful national parks.

Inn at the Presidio Lodging

Ten minutes away, in the Old Ferry Building is the Hog Island Oyster Bar for brunch or lunch.  Exquisite oysters, shucked to perfection, perfect temperature, jewels of the sea!  Must haves: Grilled Cowgirl Creamery Three Cheese Sandwich  dunked in their freshly prepared Clam Chowder. Sheer Nirvana!

Hog Island

While in the city, food and fun are found in the colorful environment of The Cavalier Restaurant which opened it’s doors in 2013 by award winning restauranteur Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas and chef Jennifer Puccio.  Already deemed one of  Zagat’s 2013 Top 25 Restaurants The Cavalier features a terrific English Pub menu. Try the Duck Scotch Eggs.


If it’s old school San Francisco you want then the Cioppino at Tadich’s is the place to go. My favorite is the Petrale Soul but no matter what you order they’ve been preparing this cuisine since 1849. They’ve got it down and the martini’s are terrific too!

Moving down the coast to Carmel, travel up the Carmel Valley to the Bernardus Winery and Spa or nestle down at the Mission Ranch just north of downtown Carmel. No need to travel outside of either of these venues with chefs on staff known for utilizing local seasonal produce and meats the food and wine are exquisite at either venue.

Photo Courtesy of The Mission Ranch

For quintessential elegance, style and luxury the El Encanto in the Riviera section of Santa Barbara is my go to spot.  Recently renovated, the resort has been returned to it’s splendor of the 1920’s. The icon was enhanced with the addition of an expansive outdoor swimming pool and beautiful boutique spa. Serene and private the views are spectacular, the food exquisite, no need to leave.

San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito is equally as private and serene with a cottage feeling reminiscent of the Ranch it used to be. Featuring the Stonehouse Restuarant the chef utilizes the regional harvest in their culinary creations. For lunch or brunch you have to go to Jeannine’s. From the Salmon Eggs Benedict to the fresh assortment of Scones for Breakfast she also features a wonderful selection of salads and sandwiches on fresh baked bread. My favorites, Chicken Pesto Sandwich and Quiche. Outdoor dining on Coast Village Road provides sun, people watching and terrific food!

Sand, sea and surf in Ventura features Beach House Tacos. Their best, the California Taco and a locally brewed Paradise Ale. Island Brewing Company.

The Channel Road Inn located in the sea side community of Santa Monica is one of the Four Sisters Inn Group. Blending modern luxuries and sophisticated services this boutique hotel has the traditional amenities and architecture of a B & B. Within bike riding distance to the beach and town, this lovely hotel is situated in the peaceful canyon between Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica.

Guestroom 5

While in Santa Monica, Pierro Selvaggio’s Valentino restaurant is a “must dine at location”. Voted one of USA Today’s Most Heavenly Restaurants we have been enjoying the welcoming ambiance and cuisine at Valentinos for over 30 years.  Pierro is the consummate host and his devotion to his craft is only surpassed by the quality and delectable cuisine he serves. You will leave this restaurant thoroughly pleased with the beauty that life and food have to offer! His passion and dedication are present in every selection.

In Venice, fashionable and fantastic, Chaya Brasserie has a lovely bar and exquisite California grill cuisine and then there is always my favorite, Chinois, Wolfgang Puck’s Chinese cuisine restaurant that has been on Main street serving the best curried oysters for over 20 years. The Salmon with Black and Gold noodles can not be duplicated, I’ve tried.  Some things are better left to the experts!

For terrific takeaway food, Gjelina in Venice for Brisket Banh Mi, Chick Pea Kale Stew and Lamb Sausage Pizza. Gjelina is on Abbot Kinney in Venice, chic, posh and artsy this area has gone through a resurgence and is oozing creativity.   Bay Cities Deli, the best Italian deli on the West side. Located on Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica, the best sandwiches around….our family favorite…the Godmother.


Anna Weinberg (Marlowe, Park Tavern, SF Chronicle’s Restauranteur of the Year 2012 ), James Nicholas and chef Jennifer Puccio opened The Cavalier in 2013 within SoMa’s Hotel Zetta. Already deemed one of  Zagat’s 2013 Top 25 Restaurants, the Cavalier features a terrific English Pub Menu. – See more at:
Anna Weinberg (Marlowe, Park Tavern, SF Chronicle’s Restauranteur of the Year 2012 ), James Nicholas and chef Jennifer Puccio opened The Cavalier in 2013 within SoMa’s Hotel Zetta. Already deemed one of  Zagat’s 2013 Top 25 Restaurants, the Cavalier features a terrific English Pub Menu. – See more at:
Anna Weinberg (Marlowe, Park Tavern, SF Chronicle’s Restauranteur of the Year 2012 ), James Nicholas and chef Jennifer Puccio opened The Cavalier in 2013 within SoMa’s Hotel Zetta. Already deemed one of  Zagat’s 2013 Top 25 Restaurants, the Cavalier features a terrific English Pub Menu. – See more at:


Summer Chocolates…Kollar style!

The summer Kollar Chocolate Club shipment is ready next week. Not too late to join the fun! Sign up and have a selection of seasonal Kollar Chocolate delivered to your door four times a year! Edible gems of exquisite design and decadence! If you have never tried these beautiful creations they are sumptuous. Not low cal but incredibly satisfying!

How to Hide a TV ~ Fashionably!

Guess where the TV is in this small apartment? No it’s not behind the tiny picture above the mantel. The living area was originally one long room until the home owner designed the  cabinet to create two spaces out of one. Acting as a decorative focal point, the cabinet also provides a place to store essentials and best of all, at the touch of a button, voila, a flat-screen television rises from the base. How clever is that? For those of us who prefer that the TV not overtake the design of a room, hiding it until needed gives you the best of both worlds. Sophistication in design when closeted and entertainment, easily accessible on demand.

Design by Jane Taylor. Photos courtesy of Sarah Hogan.