ralph and rita rudin_Reviving Charm Blog


I didn’t want to post back-to-back pieces about modern design but there has been a lot of buzz in Southern California with the start of Modernism Week in Palm Springs. (In fact, I know someone whose weekend home will be on the tour next weekend.) And since I’ve had both mid-century design and Palm Springs on the mind (they almost go hand-in-hand),  I thought it would be a great time to feature the beautiful home of Ralph and Rita Rudin. Ralph is the 3rd generation owner of the L.A. furniture company A.Rudin so naturally many of the furnishings are custom pieces. What I like most about the renovation is that they were able to capture the essence of midcentury modern design but keep it fresh, sophisticated and elegant while maintaining indoor/outdoor living that is quintessential Palm Springs (Indian Wells, to be exact). You can read more about their weekend retreat here. rudin home palm springs_Reviving Charm blog 4

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georgia tapert howe on Reviving Charm blog


I absolutely love the color green and have been thinking about using it as an accent color in our family room. So naturally, the current issue of Elle Decor piqued my interest with this dramatic green and black dining room of Georgia Tapert Howe splashed across its cover. A few years ago, Howe and her husband moved from New York to this beautiful home in the exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood of Hancock Park. Howe, an interior designer and former home accessories store owner, updated a circa 1921 traditional style home in a modern mix of California cool for her and her family (which also includes two young children). I’m loving every bit of it…do you love it as much as I do?

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global style


A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of taking an advanced painting techniques class at Peinture Studios located in Costa Mesa, California. Peinture Studios is a boutique paint studio that sells a full range of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, offers painting workshops and provides inspiration on updating vintage furniture. I was hooked on chalk paint after taking only one class. If you have never used chalk paint, I highly recommend it. Little to no prep is needed, it is very forgiving to use and clean up is a breeze. What can be better than that? I’ve even shared a few of my projects and techniques here, here and here. But if you are located in California, I highly recommend taking a class at Peinture Studios.

The owner of Peinture Studios is Deborah Waltz and I was happy to discover pictures of her home in the current issue of Orange Coast Magazine. The design of her home was inspired by her travels to Morrocco.


Deborah transformed her Southern California, three-story tract home into something uniquely her own, including stenciled walls featuring chalk paint colors available in her shop. By looking at these pictures you’d never know that Deborah started with a cookie-cutter blank slate. You can read more about her home heredebrorah-waltz-via-reviving-charm-1

day in the life of Reviiving Charm january 2017


A few weeks ago I starting thinking about surprising Mr. B with a weekend getaway. I wanted a destination that was within easy driving distance to take advantage of and make the most of this past three-day holiday weekend. I ended up booking a suite at the Bacara Resort and Spa located approximately 20 minutes north of Santa Barbara, California. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few images from our trip taken in real time.

Today I am sharing a “day in the life” of Reviving Charm while on vacation this past Sunday, January 15.  Other than a morning massage, nothing else was scheduled. Sometimes the best days are those you don’t plan! We took advantage of the mild California weather by driving through the beautiful neighborhoods of Montecito and Santa Barbara to admire the lush landscaping, Spanish architecture, and gorgeous estates. Stay tuned for a future post featuring more of the resort and our spacious hotel suite.


7:00 am. Rise and shine. This is the bedroom of our hotel suite.


7:20 am. I headed out the door and down the path that leads directly from the resort to the beach. Being up early allowed me to take advantage of seeing the sunrise over the water and enjoy a nice peaceful walk along the rocks and sand. I felt like I had the entire beach to myself.


8:45 am. I checked into the spa for a 9:00 am massage appointment. I indulged myself with an 80-minute aromatherapy massage and enjoyed the other spa amenities offered, such as the eucalyptus steam shower and sauna.


12:45 pm. After driving around Montecito we stopped for an impromptu lunch at Tydes Restaurant located directly across the street from The Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel in Santa Barbara. The restaurant is waterfront overlooking the beautiful Butterfly Beach, inside the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club.

1:45 pm. We explored the grounds of The Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel. We stayed here many years ago and is hotel I highly recommend.

1:45 pm. We explored the grounds of The Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel. We stayed here many years ago over New Year’s weekend and were asking ourselves why we haven’t been back. I highly recommend this hotel for a romantic getaway. If you are looking for a Valentine’s Day getaway, I definitely recommend a stay here.


2:30 pm. After lunch Mr. B and I strolled the neighborhood surrounding The Biltmore Four Seasons Hotel. The neighborhood is filled with beautiful multi-million dollar estates.

Another beautiful Santa Barbara estate.

Another beautiful Santa Barbara estate.

3:30 pm. Mr. B and I sat on a bench overlooking Butterfly Beach to enjoy the outdoors before heading back to our hotel.


4:00 pm. Shortly after arriving back at our hotel, we enjoyed a scoop of ice cream while having a fireside conversation in the lobby.


4:50 pm. After an ice cream break I headed to the spa gift shop to pick up a few skin care items.


7:00 pm. Staying in for the evening allowed me to relax and catch up on reading material.


10:00 pm. Sweet dreams…buona notte…good night!


I thought it was ironic when a Connecticut couple moved to Brentwood, California and decided to purchase a traditional colonial home. The home is beautiful and, architecturally speaking, is something that is very classic New England…the very place they moved from. The couple enlisted designer Marie Turner Carson of M. Elle Design to design the interiors with the help of Candace Worth, the art consultant who helped curate the couple’s personal art collection. One of the guiding design principles they used in approaching this project is a philosophy that I have always believed in:


The homeowners sought “a house to retain the essence of tradition, but in a very edited way. I loved the idea of these contemporary art pieces juxtaposed with the more classic architectural elements.” While the architecture is clearly an enduring classic New England design, the interiors are California cool. East coast meets West coast. I think they married the two styles successfully.

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Images via Architectural Digest


In yesterday’s post I shared a picture of a lovely home located in the quaint, yet exclusive, community of Montecito, California. If you are not familiar with Montecito then I must tell you that it is a beautiful enclave with a small community of under 10,000 residents, probably most of which live there part time. It is ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the wealthiest communities in America and since it is a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles it is a very attractive to many notable Hollywood types, as well as other wealthy/uber-wealth folks. I once worked in Los Angeles (West Hollywood to be exact) and had a coworker who would commute from Montecito to L.A. on a weekly basis. He lived in an apartment in L.A. during the week and would drive to Montecito on Friday night to be with his wife and kids. He would drive back to L.A. for the work week on Sunday night or Monday morning. Go, figure…

Little did you know that the single image in yesterday’s post was a sneak peak of what was to come today as we take a look inside the legendary Montecito estate known as Los Suenos (“The Dreams”). The house was built in 1929 by American architect George Washington Smith and measures over 10,000 square feet and is situated over 3.3 acres of land. It even has a water tower that has since been converted into a four-story guest house.


When researching a post, you never know what you’ll come across. I found the website of journalist Isaac Hernandez who had the most intriguing insight regarding the history of the current ownership.

Robert Lieff bought this home with his then-wife, Carole Lieff, in 2004 for $4.5 million, spending another $2 million in renovations. They say home remodels are very tough on relationships. A year later the marriage ended in divorce, and Robert’s ex-wife kept the house. Robert went on to marry Gretchen, a supporter of UCSB Arts & Lectures, and one of my personal mentors. When the house went on the market, Robert knew he had to have it. He bought it back from his ex-wife in July 2012 for $10.5 million. And then it was many months of work to bring it back to its original beauty, investing $300,000 just to clean the grounds alone.  (Source: Isaac Hernandez, journalist)

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These original floors of the bathroom were designed by Lutah Maria Riggs, Santa Barbara's first female architect, who worked closely with George Washington Smith on the design of Los Suenos.

These original floors of the bathroom were designed by Lutah Maria Riggs, Santa Barbara’s first female architect, who worked closely with George Washington Smith on the design of Los Suenos.

I must admit that I don’t particularly love most of the furniture choices for the home but I think the owners did a fine job on the restoration of the gardens and architectural style and details. I commend the Lieff’s for scouring through original drawings and historical documents to lovingly restore their property making sure each detail was just right. And just for that, I give them a thumbs up!

Images via Santa Barbara Magazine.