On the way home from the airport after landing in Los Angeles, our driver said to us at the end of a particular conversation, “Don’t worry, the reality and stress will soon set in”. Although said jokingly, he wasn’t far off base. It’s hard coming home to see news coverage about the devastating wildfires occurring in my state. There are fires burning in both Northern and Southern California with deadly, devastating results. “California is on fire”, is some something I made mention of yesterday to a colleague. While we are not in the path of any of the current fires, I came home to find layers of ash covering our property spread by the heavy Santa Ana winds. I had also being alerted by our city to stay indoors due to poor air quality. Having a home destroyed in a matter of minutes is a frightening thought but is the reality for so many living it in the moment. There are many who will deal with the aftermath of the destruction. Some will be rebuilding lives after the loss of life of friends and family; others will deal with construction efforts of rebuilding physical structures. This all reminded me of a post I did last year about a Santa Barbara home that was rebuilt after a fire. The owner took some extra precautions to design a new home with safety in mind. The results are lovely and in case you missed that post, you can check it out HERE.

When we rebuild a house, we are rebuilding a home. When we recover from disaster, we are rebuilding lives and livelihoods. –Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Economist

If you want to help with disaster relief aid, contact Red Cross.

Micheal Smith at Home in Madrid

When I was in line at Los Angeles International Airport buying a bottle of water I happened to look down at the heap of magazines on the shelf below. What caught my eye was the current issue of Galerie Magazine with its beautiful cover and headline reading “Michael Smith at Home in Madrid”. I’ve been a fan of Michael Smith’s work since meeting him in the early 1990s in L.A. I follow him on Instagram and have previously featured his work, specifically covering his renovation of the White House during the Obama administration (featured here). Michael Smith’s partner, James Costos, served as Obama’s Ambassador to Madrid and Andorra for nearly four years during which time they were able to transform the official Ambassador residence. However, after the change in administration and exiting the diplomatic arena Costos and Smith found themselves wanting to maintain a residence in Spain (in addition to their home in Los Angeles). They moved their belongings to a 5,000 square foot apartment in Madrid which turned out to be a blend of classic, elegant style with bit a of modernity to it. According to Costos “Michael’s work in the apartment is perfection. I think he hit all the right notes. It has modern formality, yet it’s bright and comfortable.”

Style & Grace in Martha’s Vineyard

This charming white clapboard home with its black shutters and white picket fence was featured in the current New England Home Magazine. The architecture exudes a certain sense of graceful elegance that continues throughout the interiors of the home. The house was originally built in 1840 but an addition started in the late 1990’s with painstaking efforts to make it look as if it were always part of the original home. Along with the addition came a complete renovation of the rest of the home that even involved raising the floor level by 3 feet to accommodate living area in the basement and to comply with FEMA guidelines. The couple resides splits their time between their homes in Florida and Martha’s Vineyard. With Hurricane Irma cutting through Florida, I sure hope the couple is safe and sound.

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Tuesday Tip No. 6

As I was putting this post together I realized that several of my Tuesday Tips involve the use of fresh flowers. I guess that’s because flowers can create instant impact, often on the cheap and easy. With Spring officially here, I am already starting to see blooms appear on the trees in our front yard. A recent article in Victoria Magazine (that includes the photos highlighted in this post) reminded me that twigs and branches shouldn’t be overlooked as a decorating touch. Those with beautiful blooms can be particularly stunning when brought indoors. With very little effort you can create a stylish arrangement using something readily available right outside your own door. decorating with branches via Reviving Charmtuesday tip no 6 via Reviving Charmdecorating with branchesdecorating with branches via Reviving Charm 4decorating with branches 3decorating with branches via Reviving Charm 2


I am starting this post with a confession: I started a website in 2007 (it’s no longer active, by the way) and one of my favorite posts was what I now like to call “Color Stories”. It’s a feature highlighting a variety of things, such as fashion and design, with a particular color being the unifying element.  It was something not wildly done back then when blogging first started so it was a feature that my readers truly enjoyed. It’s a popular post format these days but frankly, Color Story posts were and are still some of those that I enjoy working on the most. It’s what I like to consider a virtual inspiration board. And I love, love, love a good inspiration board (some call them “mood boards”). I’ve posted a few Color Story features on Reviving Charm but realize that I haven’t done one in a while. Let’s take a look at the color brown…beauty-of-brown-via-reviving-charmbrown-sweater-fashion-via-reviving-charmbrown-eyes-quote-via-revivingcharmvintage-cars-via-reviving-charmbrown-restaurant-bar-interior-via-reviving-charmbrown-flower-close-up-via-revivingcharmbrow-restaurant-interior-via-reviving-charmchocolate-dessert-via-reviving-charmcooking-quotes-via-reviving-charm-blogchair-collection-via-reviving-charmbrown-hat-via-reviving-charmhades-of-brown-via-reviving-charmcolor-story-brown-via-reviving-charmmark-d-sikes-via-reviving-charm-1country-kitchen-via-reviving-charm

By the way, in case you are curious about how I came up with the color brown to focus on today then here is the back story. I recently put on an outfit that was head to toe black. (If you are curious…I wore black riding boots, black skinny jeans, a black sweater with a floppy turtleneck and a black peacoat. An oversized black Ferragamo tote bag adorned my arm). While putting together my outfit, I came across a pair of brown leather shoes I forgot I had. At that moment I realized that my wardrobe really lacks shades of brown. I might need to fix that. But the color stuck in my head and this is how today’s post came to be. Take it for what it’s worth…that’s just how my mind works…


My Sunday television line-up includes watching the show Shameless airing on Showtime. Have you seen it? The show is in its 7th season and I was thrilled that the season premiere aired this past weekend. I was even happier that Elle Decor posted pictures on their website yesterday of actress Emmy Rossum’s real life renovated New York apartment. Emmy’s character on Shameless is Fiona Gallagher, the oldest of six children, who takes on the responsibility of raising her siblings due to an absent mother and druggie/alcoholic father. They live in a dump that is a far cry from her real life New York apartment, which is a gorgeous 800 square foot space in a building originally constructed in 1928.


Emmy Rossum is shown gazing out the windows of her New York apartment that was renovated from top to bottom. Although it would have been more cost effective to replace the windows, Emmy chose to restore and retain the original iron framed windows. A wise choice.


The beautiful living room fireplace was purchased by Rossum on a trip to Paris with her mother at the Marché aux Puces flea market. I laughed when I learned that she had it sent home via FedEx since Mr. B and I have been known to do that on our travels…. although not with anything that large, heavy or as fragile.


The picture above is the dining area before the renovation. With the exception of the floors and windows, everything in this one bedroom apartment is new including the molding details throughout. The beautiful original herringbone floors remained in place but were stained a much darker color. Another wise choice.



Emmy wanted a dark kitchen and the design was perfectly executed with all appliances hidden out of sight blending in as cabinetry.





The closet is beautiful and efficient for a small space but I would like to know where the rest of her clothes are really kept.


What I failed to mention early on in this post is that the Actress called upon Elle Decor for guidance on her renovations. They steered her in the direction of a few designers before selecting designer Antonino Buzzetta. What I found intriguing is that the magazine also arranged for several home decor businesses to sponsor bits of the renovation. I only wish I had that kind of influence! For a list of resources used on this project, check this out.



In the United States, Labor Day weekend has always been considered the unofficial end to Summer. I am sure many will be taking advantage of the long weekend to head out of town for their last Summer vacation before Fall rolls around. Mr. B and I had a crazy week so we have planned to stay home and stay local. Living in Southern California means having access to lots within a short driving distance from just about anywhere. I plan to do a little bit of shopping to take advantage of all the Labor Day sales. I am also looking forward to finishing a couple of DIY projects. If all is successful I will be sure to share them with you in the future. Wish me luck! What are your plans for this lovely weekend?

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If you live in Southern California and have an affinity for antiques then a trip to Old Towne Orange is definitely a must. Countless number of shops fill historic buildings, dating back to the 1880’s-1920’s. It feels like a trip back in time and It’s hard to imagine that a quaint, old town like this exists in Southern California. 

While visiting Old Towne Orange a few months ago, Mr. B and I stumbled upon Cristana Home. If you happen to visit Old Town Orange, you will find Cristana Home a welcome break from antique shopping filled with home decor and personal accessories. The inventory spans a wide range to include items such as furniture, lighting, decorative accessories, candles and home fragrance, stationery, books, bath and body products, and jewelry. I was visiting the City of Orange last week for work and didn’t want to head home without first making a pitstop into Cristana Home. Let me take you on a shopping trip today. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the weekend…

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Cristana Home is located of “Alley Plaza”, accessible from a parking lot behind many shops that line the main street. Don’t let the tricky location deter you because a visit to the shop is well worth it. The storefront, with it’s cute chalkboard signs and fresh flower planters, are what caught my attention when I first discovered the shop and is what lured me in. Don’t let the size of the storefront window fool you either. This shop is actually much larger than it appears.


I was giddy when I saw that they were having 30% off the entire shop to make room for the Christmas items already on order. They sale is still in progress so why not get a jump start on your holiday shopping?

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When you walk into the store you are led into a small space (above) that leads you into the large open room below that is filled with small home accessories, bath and body products and jewelry.cristana home shopping orange via RevivingCharm_com

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Cristana Home also provides interior design services. At the back of this first room is the shop owner’s office space. The owner’s personal design library is quite impressive, although off-limits to the public. It makes for a great backdrop and I am intrigued with owner’s working space just as much as the retail floor.

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There were several area rugs displayed in wire baskets throughout the store that I had my eye on. I should have bought one…

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Cristana Home offers lots of beautiful home accessories that would be great to take home or to purchase as gifts. There is something in every price range so there really is something for everyone. You won’t have to worry about leaving empty handed!

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The shop offers a good collection of bath and body products. I really loved these striped makeup bags. I especially like using small bags like this to organize things in my purse. Plus, it makes it easier when switching between handbags when all you have to do is transfer small bags and pouches from one purse to the next. That’s my tip of the day!

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I couldn’t leave without buying a couple of items, including a Voluspa reed diffuser that I have been coveting for a few weeks. I was at Bloomindale’s recently and fell in love with Volupsa’s “Laguna” fragrance but was distracted and left without buying it. It must have been meant to be because I was able to buy it at Cristana Home for 30% off during their sale. I immediately came home to unwrap the diffuser and placed it in my bathroom (above right). It has a fresh, light scent that works perfectly for the bathroom in our seaside ranch home.

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Just when you think you’ve seen it all, one room leads you into the next space. It is a much larger room filled with more home accessories, furniture and stationery products.
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There is even a loft space from where you can survey the first level of a good portion of the store. As you can see, there is lots to discover!
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I love to support local businesses so be sure to visit Cristana Home and Old Towne Orange on your next trip to Southern California. If you are in the area, be sure to check out their 30% off sale running through this weekend.

Cristana Home
143 1/2 South Olive Street (in Alley Plaza)
Orange, California 92866

(714) 997-2977

All photos by Reviving Charm & iPhone6. This is not a sponsored post.