Half Baked: Quirky Fab or Quirky F’ed?

Keeping in line with all things Design Dish,  I’m launching a new series called Half Baked. This series is dedicated to that gray area where sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it’s fixable (like a design flub) or sometimes it just needs to be burned donated!  Either way, it’s always fun to peer at products that either make their mark or miss it.

Today I’m discussing all things quirky. There is however a fine line between quirky fab or quirky WTF. Tastemakers of the jury, I present to you:

Exhibit A7d7cba74d97f4c12965b2ce3a4815a60

Verdict: FAB- This thing-a-ma-bird is one rockin’ cock!


Exhibit B

 Here is a very beautiful decorative lamp designed by Whatshisname representing a very elegant dog in action. To turn the lamps on or off, one must step on a fake dog turd.


Verdict: WTF. I gag just looking at the dog’s stance, never mind the turd on/off switch. I’ll bet that it’s a floor lamp just so you’re forced to step on it and surely your guests will get a kick out of stepping in dog poo. And why does it have to be coiled like a garlic knot? Just gross.

If you’re going to do quirky, the goal is to catch your house guests by surprise, make them laugh, ask questions or want to know more about how something this spectacularly bizarre made it’s way into your home in the first place. This is usually the part where I get blamed… “it was my looney tunes designer’s idea…. but it’s kinda fab right?” The answer is yes. It’s always fab if it evokes a conversation (and not the dry heaves).

So in honor of beloved and quirky things, I’ve rounded up a selection of finds that push the boundaries of design and are inspiringly outrageous, in a way that is Quirky Fab.

Jonathan Adler’s convo inducing ceramics make him the King of Quirky. Look closely, what are we really seeing here??? Yep, it’s T&A turned into abstract awesomeness.



Kiki's Derriere

Then there’s this goofy gorilla, looking half fierce in hot pants and half bronzed…

gorilla golden// the strange planet


….and this silly sweatered kitty….



… and this vintage pink poodle with a spaghetti style coat and rhinestone necklace!



And finally, if you’re willing to take it from subtle shock value to a full on funny (funny haha and maybe also funny weird), I leave you with a duck table, a creative addition to any children’s room.

The Portuguese design duo at Galula Studio created a line of furniture that is meant to elevate your mood. How can a table with duck feet not cheer you up? The Tio is a two drawer end table with quirky little webbed feet that make you do a double take after first glance.


NOW, please note there is a MAJOR difference between something that is quirky and something that is well…. a WTF. Fine line people, fine line. But since that line is often blurred, here are some WTF pieces I found while putting together this post. You’ll know the difference immediately! I can’t believe some of it is actually out there being sold.

First up: #1 Body Parts Gone Wrong

They are nearly always out there. Case in point, what on earth do you do with this spread eagled mess on top of a lucite table?



Dorothy, we are definitely not in Kansas anymore. Party is over, let’s turn those ruby slippers right side up, mmm’k?

No-no #2:  ceramic, plastic or wax baby or severed baby appendage

Beeswax Candle: Rose O'Neill Kewpie Doll Candle

Baby Legs Ceramic Salt and Pepper Shakers - Still Kickin' - i think this says it all!

NEVER! Babies are best served up swaddled, not with a candle wick! Why would you ever want to burn a baby? This is on par with displaying a voodoo doll as home art. It’s not cool, it’s not hipster and it’s certainly not funny…. it’s straight up funny farm.

Moving onto #3: Creepster Chic

This octopus chair. I can’t help but picture Davy Jones, or possibly the Adams Family reclining in this eight legged number.
octopus chair by Maximus Rieraoctopus chair by Maximus Riera



I could just see version 2.0 of this knob shaking your hand back. Not happening.

Ahhh!!! I would have have have to get this on one of my doors just to freak people out!!
And finally, crazy chairs. This one is just inappropriate as all get out and the one below is straight out of the movie Beetlejuice. Weird, weird, weird.
Crazy chair














Ok so now that the rules are clear on good use of quirk and not so good, I hope you will go out and find something unusually inspiring! If you have something already, tell me about it!

Things that make you go hmmm...Me too ladies, me too.


Cravings: Lulu DK

This week I am craving a little color inspiration… ok fine, every week, I crave color. This is nothing new. It’s like having a chocolate craving, only it’s calorie free, and thank goodness because I could really pack on the pudge going on a color binge! Truth.

Color aside, I also happen to have a big appetite for original art. I came across a handful of original pieces from artist and textile designer, Lulu deKwiatkowski, owner of the lifestyle brand LuluDK. Her style often mixes bold color palettes with a slightly vintage vibe. It has a very painterly quality and best of all, it’s affordable original art. I also love that it translates well to textiles with great patterns. So yeah-it’s.muh.favorite.

Here are a few pieces that really spoke to me….

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I absolutely love her floral compositions. They are not too refined, but not too messy either. They have a slightly mid-century vibe too, and self-admittedly, I will pig out on all things mid-century. So in spirit of feeding my addiction, more is more…. I will have a second helping or ten. Again, no calories people, I know you’re with me so let’s saddle up our bellies, loosen our belts a notch and ingest this bountiful buffet of endless color.  Try to get full on fab, it will never happen, not ever!


And since we’re not getting full, I left plenty of room for dessert, because kids art should always be sweet! The plane would be a hit with my son and reminds me of the time my grandparents took us kids up up and away on a high flying adventure to a lakeside retreat in central california. More on that story later. It involves a teeny prop plane and hillbilly hand fishing… ok not exactly, but trout was involved and it was delicious.


This sweeter than cotton candy pink elephant just takes you down memory lane to a day at the circus. It would fit perfectly into a girl’s room or even a play room.


What I love best about Lulu’s work is the unity of color combinations within each piece. I love that she often uses 5 or more colors and works them together harmoniously which allows you to pull various colors featured in the work throughout your living space.  Working with original art can be the central focal point of a room, and you can use the piece to define the color palette for your space.

As for my two cents on art buying- invest in an original and buy what you love, you will always find a space for it!






Many of you know, I am hardly color shy. Life is too short to be boredinary! Lately, I have been absolutely obsessed with the colorful cuteness from Poppin. They make the most cheery office furniture and organization accessories, that would brighten anyone’s case of the Mondays.

Ordering office supplies used to be about as fun as organizing my Quickbooks… until now. Poppin has this fun and fabulous Design a Desk feature on their site which allows you to play with color combinations and add a little zest to your ideal work station.  And when it comes to DIY design online, tinkering is a must for moi! Since I really wanted to taste the rainbow I put together this delightful little outfit:


I went for it and paired orange, aqua, yellow, white and pink. Ta-dah! It’s like a vacay at my work station. Who needs the teasing screen saver of some unnaturally blue beach-scape that whispers “keep dreaming” when you can actually escape with a world of organized color? The organizational nut in me (yes, that is a profession), screams “HELLS YES”! These gorgeous goods help compartmentalize my life which keeps my OCD at bay. I kid you not, a clean desk helps me sleep at night… seriously. And who knew possessing a colored stapler could be so much fun?

Anyway, since the Design Dojo is, like the rest of the house, in progresshere are a few of my faves that I would love to order to complete my work space.


I love this whole set up. Yellow just makes you smile, you can’t help it. That must be why they are the color choice for happy face emojis… duh. But since I can’t commit to one color, I would change the file cabinet to this hot pink one, add a blue chair and an orange storage basket. Voila! And who can resist some punchy little pink paper clips?

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And finally, the piece de la resistance. I think the boardroom has met it’s match with a conference table that doubles for ping pong. At long last, the boardroom is no longer boring! It definitely epitomizes the work hard, play hard mentality, and rightfully so.



It’s no secret that your environment can uplift your mood so why not liven things up at work? After all, if you love your work, then you are living the dream… not just staring at it on your screen saver!




Our Home & The Pasadena Home Tour

In honor of participating in this year’s Pasadena Kitchen and Home Tour, I thought I’d give some background on the tour and how I got involved, along with how we turned a mid-century home into the perfect space for our family.

I have been a fan and attendee of the Pasadena Kitchen and Home Tour since I first discovered it when I was still in design school. It’s a one-day version of the exclusive, yearly Pasadena Showcase House. The Kitchen and Home Tour started as a small self-guided, kitchen tour 28 years ago, and it has grown to include the whole home. What could be better than being invited into people’s homes to ogle their personal spaces? As a personal organizer and interior designer, going through gorgeous homes is borderline thrilling. And, yes, if you’re thinking I should probably get out more, at least it’s better than crashing a high end open house (which I know you’ve done at least once, so please)! But truth be told, house hunting is all we did while we dreamed of finding a perfect space to call our own.

When hubby D and I moved back to California (post 2 year stint living in Philly while my husband attended Wharton… and I subsequently froze to death), we had to find a home in literally 2 days. We knew we eventually wanted to buy a home for our growing family, but the real estate pickings were slim. We managed to find a great townhome to rent, and it was the place where we welcomed our little man home. Meanwhile, I had been scouring Redfin at all hours of the day and night nearing the end of my pregnancy when I couldn’t comfortably sleep any longer.

I longed to find the perfect mid-century fixer, that we could get for a great price, put in a little elbow grease and create a perfect home of our own. I stumbled across this amazing post-and-beam Buff and Hensman mid-century fixer. Yes, it’s rough around the edges, but so much potential!!


I knew right then and there I was in love with mid-century modern style and this home delivered it in the form of great lines and huge glass windows. But, I was two weeks from my due date and it needed a MAJOR overhaul. I knew I was getting ready for a life overhaul, and since I was both nesting and working full-time, whatever leftover logic that hadn’t been devoured by prego hormones told me ‘no-way Jose’.

Fast forward 9 months. I’d had a chance to finish some client projects and enjoy life as a new mom. My mom asked me to check out an open house since she was also looking to buy. So I dragged poor Hub to the D with me again, along for yet another house hunting ride. Little did we know that we had found the home and wound up writing an offer that day! Thank goodness my mom didn’t want it too, could you imagine that bidding war?! We had to beat four other offers until we finally were in escrow.


The house was in pristine original condition, which is basically an elevated term for dated. It was built in 1959, so dated as it may have been, for me that meant blank slate, and everyone knows that’s a designers dream!

It’s smaller that I had hoped for with a growing family, which made the project a great exercise in efficient living. But it is in a fabulous neighborhood, the budget was beyond right for us, and it’s a short walk to the Rose Bowl Flea Market once a month so I can regularly get my scavenge and salvage fix! Woohoo! I think the true selling point was the incredible old oak tree that shelters and shades our back yard. It’s truly magical.


So we got to work on our blank slate, and with a lot of time, determination and creative improvising, we finally have a home worthy of being featured on the tour! I am beyond excited to have been selected. And what’s even better is that all four homes on the tour celebrate the beauty of small spaces. Not everyone needs to dwell in a McMansion or a cookie-cutter flip. Less can definitely be more!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the back story. Since I won’t leave you hanging entirely, here are few before pictures.




Stay tuned to learn and hear more about my remodeling process, my neuroses of selecting finishes and furnishings for myself and the agonizing process of designing my own home – efficiently. Final pictures will be revealed all in good time…. like a good meal, we have to slow cook this thang and let all the juicy stuff simmer! And you were wondering why I call my blog Design Dish?



Haute Links

Get ’em while they’re still sizzlin’! Here is a round up of this week’s Haute Links, a mix of my favorite things cooked up on the internet…

1) This stylish little dude needs a play date with Quinny, and by play date I mean a wardrobe intervention. I already know how this showdown will go down…. “Oh yeah tough guy?? I’ll see your rainbow sunnies from Cabo and raise you a pair of Junior Ray Ban’s“….((gulp)) fold! Kudos to mama for keeping his clothes so fresh and oxyclean… ours are usually ankle dipped in mud, carefully adorned with grains of flattened rice, accompanied by a collection of “priceless” rocks in the pockets with the occasional half a crayon. I’m cool with it. Pocket rocks are how we roll!


2) In other mom related news, there’s this humor piece on what’s typically swirling through a mom’s brain at any given time. Ridiculously on point, here’s a snippet…

“I wish I could be more like my sister-in-law. She’s so organized. My house looks like an outlet mall threw up in here and then lay down and made vomit angels in the vomit. Today is definitely a mopping day. Last night I think I saw a dust bunny roll across the family room like a tumbleweed in those old Western films. But first I have to go to the store and get some vinegar. I should throw out all of the harsh cleaners. Those chemicals are probably hurting the baby. It’ll be my fault if there’s ever something wrong with him. Me and my stupid love of Fresh Scent. What is Fresh Scent anyway? Wouldn’t Fresh Scent technically be odorless? It’s just that Fresh Scent makes me feel accomplished. Like I did something. They should call it “Progress Scent” or “I Tried Scent.”‘

3) DIY Father’s Day gifts for the dad who loves all things golf, bacon, fire and Dirty Harry, all wrapped up in a flank steak.



Or perhaps he’s a man of simple tastes that can only be quenched by whisky and wood


Ok, digressing from Dad…..

4) At long last, a tile company that knows how to creatively market their product lines! I definitely plan on ordering something from the Kiss My Big Fat Glass collection from Alyse Edwards for my client’s master bath. Deliberating between H8 2 C U Go Butt Luv 2 Watch U Leave and Smack that Glass. Yep, these are no joke and they are actually quite bootyful!


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5) And finally 10 Problems Only the Interior Design Obsessed Understand. I share these afflictions as well as everything contained in #2.

Happy reading and happy weekend!