Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Last April I blogged about BIG. BOLD. STRIPES.  Well, I'm still obsessing over them, so here is part 2 of my black and white striped infatuation.

1, 2

3, 4

5, 6

7, 8

9, 10

Monday, November 28, 2011


Last week as I was browsing the Sleepy Squirrel etsy shop I came across this adorable 1960's glass bubble basket for $8. Since I'm going through a bit of a "mad men" phase, I thought it would be a great accessory on top of my new Broyhill Brazilla door chest from Distinctive Decor which matches my living room credenza. The day after purchasing the glass bubble basket, I came across a matching bubble vase for $3 from On A Whim Consignment in Northampton {I think that's still the name of the store}. As I arranged my new accessories, I couldn't help but noticed how well these silly glass bubble pieces complimented our "Bird Bus" print by local artist Nate Duval

I'll always love national chains such as West Elm, Pier 1, Z Gallerie {to name a few}, but I love supporting local businesses and artists. If I could find, and afford all things local or handmade, I would do just that!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Last year we bought the cutest little Christmas tree for our apartment and covered it with silver and blue ornaments. I loved having a simple color scheme for our holiday decor, so I thought I would continue this new tradition and search for inspiring color combinations for the upcoming holiday. My search ended as fast as it began after taking one look at this elegant emerald green room with gold wainscot and bright pops of hot pink. It looks like it's going to be a very emerald, pink and gold Christmas in the new house!

{images via Pinterest}

Are you decorating for the holidays, and if so, what are your decorating ideas?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TUESDAY'S {thanksgiving} TREAT

If only this New England fall weather allowed adorable little outfits like this striped mini and layered sweater...but I'm happy to settle for a lovely layered dessert such as this pumpkin praline trifle from Bakers Royal. 

Or how about layering rich colors, patterns and textures such as this luscious living room or dramatic dining room? The color pallets are fairly simple, only 3-4 colors, but the way they are used add depth and drama. 

Gold, tan and black look great together for a festive holiday table setting. Keeping a color palette to a minimum can sometimes have a bigger impact then going over the top with too much color.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

{what's in a name} SOLO THAIS

WHY SOLO THAIS? Here is the short{ish} version:

Part 1 {solo} Almost two years ago as the blog wheels began to turn, I had to come up with a title or a name for my soon-to-be creative outlet. I wanted a catchy name that meant something special to me, and because I wasn't sure if blog was going to be solely devoted to interior design, I thought I should leave those two words out of it {but really, who am I kidding}. My name, Solana, had never been shortened into a nickname until moving to Portland in 2001, in fact, after a few months at my new restaurant job, Solana was a name of the past, and Solan, Solio, and Sol all became a part of my new life out on the west coast. I found it very endearing {although I still love my real name}. 

At this restaurant job I met my good friend and fellow designer, Crystal of Chic Antique.  While working together we discovered we were both attending the same school, majoring in interior design. We'd discuss school projects, quiz each other for upcoming exams and dream about future goals all while frantically typing drink orders into the computer, trying to make it through another hectic "happy hour" rush. As our friendship grew, the nickname Solo was born. 

Part 2 {thais} I'm so honored to share a name with my late Grandmother, Thais {Thais being her first name and my middle name}. I'm inspired every day by people who surround me, but she was someone who influenced me from the beginning. She was also that special, long-distance grandparent we visited once a year, so our week together was dear. From the moment I'd pick up that crayon, she'd admire my color selection and gush over my ability to stay in the lines {even if all the faces in my coloring book ended up green}. She never stopped complimenting my attention to detail, and true or not, hearing those words of encouragement as a little girl can really make you want to continue to create beautiful things. 

When I began taking dance classes at the age of 4, she shared with me her love for the ballet and took me to see the San Francisco Ballet perform the Nutcracker. She would tell me stories about her ballet classes as a young girl...her arms gracefully flowing around her while seated in her leather chair, elegantly describing the beautiful movements of dance with her little white Ked tapping away to the beat of Swan Lake in the background. Her passionate stories always ended with a tear in her eyes and a smile on her face. It felt only natural to dedicate the title of my inspirational blog to someone who encouraged my many creative expressions. 

San Francisco, 1985



Friday, November 18, 2011

KITCHEN OF THE WEEK {serene & simple}

This week's kitchen is one I had the pleasure of designing last year. It was a collaborative effort between the homeowners, architect and myself, and the end result is beautiful...I just wish I had before pictures so you could see the amazing transformation. Imagine taking away that left corner window, shrinking the width of the kitchen by 6 feet and adding dark kitchen cabinets to the narrow space. Now it's a large open space with tons of natural light and a gorgeous view of the back yard. In addition to the kitchen I also designed the powder bath, laundry room and had my hands on a few other projects throughout the renovation. This project is up there among my favorites. Everyone I worked with {architect, homeowners, contractors, landscapers, tile installers, upholsterer, etc} was so creative and SO pleasant to work with. Kitchen renovations can be stressful, but it's all what you make of it. I can gladly say I made some great friends and contacts on this job!

Sorry for the fish-eye view...saving up for a true wide-angle lens soon!

I designed a floating cabinet box just big enough for the microwave to fit. The top of the microwave box acts as a shelf, and above that is a smaller floating shelf which adds an interesting architectural detail to the space. 

This island is my baby. It's simple, but it went through a lot of revisions...and when we couldn't decide if legs or brackets looked better supporting the countertop overhang, I design a combination of the two. Since this was a custom design, I had to figure out exactly how I wanted these leg to be built. 

The bracket/leg combos support the right end of the island and two of them on the corner create a "tree affect" {or so I call it}, where simple square legs support the other side where there is not a countertop overhang. 

Aren't they pretty!?!

This right corner also went through a lot of revisions. Our goal was to create storage, but we didn't want to block the light from the new window. Although a cabinet wouldn't have blocked the light, having floating shelves tucked in the corner does create an airier feel. 

These double oven ranges are big right now. My clients love it...do any of you have one?

Another little detail...see where the molding almost meets the ceiling? We held the molding down from the ceiling by 1/4" creating a shadow line. It's a subtle detail, but it hides the fact that the ceiling is not perfectly flat. I'm obsessed with the shadow line design!

Oh...and this faucet! The Pilar Touch2-0 faucet by Delta...just a slight tap of the finger and it turns on and off. Perfect for when you are preparing raw food, but don't want to get the handle dirty. 

Although I didn't have anything to do with the tile design, I just wanted to share how well it compliments the kitchen and those bar stool. Where I would be standing in the above photo, there used to be a wall separating the den from the kitchen. Now it is wide open with two half walls {which I did help design} and the den is the perfect place to cuddle up on the sofa and dive into a new book. 

{images via Solo Thais}

Stay tuned for pictures the adorable powder bath. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

GUEST POST: WEAR IT + LIVE IN IT {mustard yellow & gray}

Today's guest post is from the talented blogger and design guru, Erin of Graceful Whimsy. You've seen her here before when she first introduced her WEAR IT + LIVE IN IT, fashion vs interiors inspirations boards. In June she shared how to wear navy, camel and elephant gray in the warm summer months, and how to decorate a living room with the same color palette. For the chilly months ahead we now have a warmer take on mixing shades of gray with mustard yellow and a touch of black. Just as before, I want this entire outfit, and I'm loving the living room selections especially those mirrored tables. They would be the perfect touch of glam to my eclectic living room. For more of Erin's fashion and decorating ideas, and even some wedding inspiration, visit her site Graceful Whimsy and say hello. 

How to WEAR IT
Mustard and Gray

Mustard and Sidewalk Gray

If you are a Polyvore user, look for more of Graceful Whimsy's inspiration boards there. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

LIVING ROOM UPDATE {we're almost there!}

Remember this lovely picture? We've worked very hard on our house the last 2 months and I'm excited to say that our living room is almost finished! Here is what it looked like when we first moved in...

{see more before pics here and here}

And here is what it looks like now!

The process wasn't easy, but it was well worth it...and we couldn't have tackled those floors without help from our families. Thank you everyone! 

There are just a few things to finish up...

{images via Solo Thais}

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

TUESDAY'S TREAT {berry sorbet}

I'm a chocolate girl all the way. I'd choose snickers over skittles, torte over taffy and fudge over fruit crisps...or I thought. After stumbling across this very berry sorbet display, I'm suddenly drooling over the vibrant color and wishing I had a little sorbet in my life {and in my freezer}. 

{images via The Awkward Bird and Pinterest}

I usually gravitate towards fuchsia colored flowers at the market when I'm ready for a fresh bouquet, and that berry colored chair is the perfect compliment to the gray, industrial inspired living room. How about that house and that car?! I'm not sure my neighbors would appreciate this color, but if I lived off the beaten path I would have no problem painting my house a deep fuchsia with bright orange trim.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

{high-contrast} KITCHEN OF THE WEEK

My clients are always curious about what my kitchen looks like. When they find out I do not have my dream kitchen, the next question is, what would I design for myself? It's not always an easy answer, but I try to simplify my ideas and I do have some favorite products. Because I know the many different styles and products that are out there, I tend to want them all! I know I could mix my vintage/bohemian-chic/glam/sleek/modern/industrial/salvaged look, but would the end result be as stunning as sticking to one or two of those styles? I guess that's for me to find out...someday. One of the many design styles I'm attracted to is the high-contrast, modern kitchen; dark stained cabinets, white quartz counter tops and stainless steel in all directions. I'd most likely add a little more color or vintage touches to any of these spaces, but there is something so straight-forward about these kitchens, like they are saying...here, this is where you cook.  

I love the idea of introducing a sofa in the kitchen, probably because that's where you would find me, but it does create an inviting atmosphere for guests to relax while dinner is being prepared. 

I love stainless and glass range hoods. Hoods can take up a lot of space so introducing one with glass immediately makes the room more open. 

This galley kitchen is excellent for preparing large meals, and open shelves filled with books and accessories makes it feel a little more lived-in. 

Having said that...{Seinfeld episode anyone?}...I think I would miss the bold, colorful accents and patterns I'm typically drawn to. This is why I'm in the right business...I can express my attraction to many different styles through other people!

{images via Pinterest}