joy of nesting

joy of nesting
Shiree Hanson Segerstrom Design and Wellness for Women with Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain.

Sacramento Junior League Showcase

A few years ago I worked on a designer showcase home benefitting the Sacramento Junior League. This showcase was particularly challenging but I felt good about being involved. My man's den was met with very good response.

The sofa above, from Haute House was one of the most sumptuous, high quality sofas I've ever used. If you look at the legs, you'll see a cute little "bobbin" fringe.

Lamps from Shears and Window. Small table from Wroolie and Company. Accessories from Barreveld International.

This chair below is amazing, also from Haute House. The pillows and curtains were custom designs from Shiree Hanson Segerstrom, in a Fabricut faded red striped silk. Artillery basket filled with faux olive branches.

Floor lamp from Shears and Window. Side bar from Wroolie and Company. Mirror HomArt. Art Suzie Slaussen Thomas and Mildred Shoob.

The showcase house was somewhere around six thousand square feet located near Loehman's Plaza in Sacramento. It featured some 30 design firms. The main challenge was that the owners and builder wanted all design time comped and the furniture offered to them at wholesale pricing. It was new construction and they utilized the designers for free services and treated them quite poorly.

The highlights were getting to know each of the other designers involved and meeting the lovely women at Sacramento Junior League. They made the whole experience worthwhile.

"The Sacramento Junior League is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and to improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers."

Simple Christmas Decorations with a Rustic Twist

Among my favorite jobs is helping with the Christmas decorations for my ongoing clients. It is such a joy spending time in the homes I've done, and visiting with clients who have become good friends over the course of many years of working together.  It makes my life very rich and fills me with gratitude.

Enjoy a few of the decorations from last year's AAUW's annual Christmas home tour.

Above, a fluted ceramic bowl filled with sugared fruits. The table cloth is a beautiful memento from the client's trip to Italy a few years back.

This is an amazing antique oil jar, also found on the trip to Italy. The hubby humored me long enough to let me photograph it with a pine cone on top but he wasn't keen on this particular decorative touch. Thankfully he normally likes what we do.

Olive branches in the adorable guest bath.

The decorations were kept simple and natural. Mostly just clippings from the client's and my own yard. The sofa is slip covered in robin's egg blue soft but sturdy cotton.

Above, an original oil by Leslie Hurst. Olive clippings adorn the rough hewn mantel. The walls are plaster.

My buddy Mac in the entry. Mac is a sweet shelter dog the family adopted a year or two ago. This area rug is completely gorgeous. All the rugs are lovely and they soften the tile nicely.

One more holiday post to go before Christmas. I hope you are enjoying the season as much as I am.

Best Room of the House

The living room is my favorite place in the home. I don't like "great rooms". And I don't think you can replace a formal living room with a family room. I like formality and would never be happy in a frumpy, dark space no matter how comfortable it purported itself to be.

Above, Christopher Maya.

I'm not sure why these rooms jump out at me. Some are a bit busy and some are a bit sterile. But each had a lot of thought put into them. Enjoy a little home tour of some of my favorite living rooms.

Above Daniel Sachs.

Above. The late Albert Hadley.

Charlotte Moss.

Eric Cohler.
Jay Griffith.

Jeffrey Bilhuber.
Kathryn Scott.


Ken Fulk.
Miles Redd.
Susan Zises Green.
What makes a living room inviting? It's different things to different people but all these rooms have some things in common. Each has a strong focal point and anchor, quality seating, texture, and a place to set a drink. Each space is well lit. They all have fresh plants or flowers and throw pillows. Why do so many people fight the pillow thing? If you haven't tried feather pillows, you are missing out on one of life's little luxuries. 
Victoria Pearson.

It's my personal (and professional) wish that every house have a stand alone living room, not one that's attached to the kitchen. Living well at home means having a room that is comfortable and well stocked for reading, entertaining, enjoying a fire in the fireplace, and listening to music. Not just a place designed around a television.

William Turnbull Home becomes Hospice Showcase

The designer showcase is a concept introduced years ago to raise funds for charities ranging from Hospice to AIDS relief to educational institutions. Designers, artisans, and builders donate their time and materials for some very good causes and promote their industries in the process. The public will pay anyway from $35 to $150 for tickets to tour homes that have been renovated, remodeled, and redecorated by various designers and artisans.

I worked on this showcase back in 2006. The room I had to work with wasn't really a room at all. Being the new kid on the block they gave me a space without walls, flooring, or windows. The good news is that it was a William Turnbull home. Turnbull is the noted architect/developer who developed Sea Ranch in northern California back in the early seventies. Because the room was removed from the rest of the house, I did the style I wanted which ended up being transitional. It turned out to be a very cozy spot after it was finished.

I had some great French antiques to work with and some fabulous original Chuck Waldman and Jack Cassinetto oil paintings. As well, Kravet, Sheers and Window, and Lee Jofa were kind enough to loan me some of their outstanding pieces.

I had a built in sideboard installed by one of my workrooms, and custom cut mirror above it. We did up some great fabric treatments I designed: a custom zebra throw with bullion trim, a great slipcover for a tall bookcase, and a matching custom fitted skirt for the sideboard.

We did some high quality sisal carpet and a contemporary railing for the stairs.

I called the room "Mary Jo's Retreat" for one of my best clients and dearest friends.

Neverlasting Scones


Christian brought his girlfriend Alexa home for the weekend and I made us all my favorite scone recipe Sunday morning. I served them with butter, apricot preserves, fresh raspberries and Peet's Major Dickason's Blend, an old family favorite.

I originally found this recipe in the Sunset Cookbook II. My late mother in law gave me a dozen of the kitchen tested books. It's entitled Buttermilk Heart Scones but I altered the recipe slightly. Photo courtesy Christian Segerstrom.

Here is my rendition.

3 C. flour
1/3 C. sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 cubes butter (12 T.)
1 1/4 C. buttermilk
1 egg yolk
splash water
sugar and cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 and place two oven trays on the top two rungs. In the bowl of your food processor place flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and soda. Add butter one table spoon at a time. Don't over blend.

Pour contents in a large mixing bowl and make a well. Pour in buttermilk and blend with a fork gently scraping sides of the bowl till you have a dough.

Transfer dough to a floured counter top and roll into two round cylinders, about 1 inch thick. Cut each cylinder into six pieces. Set pieces onto two baking sheets.

In a ramekin or small bowl, put the egg yolk and splash of water and mix with a pastry brush. Brush the tops and sides of the scones then sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 12 minutes, rotating trays midway to brown scones evenly. Scones should not be over baked. Cool slightly before serving with butter and jams or preserves of your choices.

Serve with jam and sweet butter, unsweetened whipped cream or clotted cream. Enjoy.

Home Makeover with over One Hundred Yards of Silk Ticking

I was going through some old files recently and found this project. It was a beautiful custom house and I was called in to do the window treatments, throw pillows and one piece of custom upholstery.

All pinch pleated draperies and box pleated valances were done in silk ticking on custom iron rods and rings. They were absolutely exquisitie. We ordered over 100 yards of silk in subtle, neutral shades of caramel and taupe.

For the throw pillows we did a sweet little basket print trimmed in brushed fringe.

This mahogany "balloon" chair was done in a sunny yellow silk with a bee motif. The chair and the clock behind it were family antiques.

Roasted Vegetable Terrine

Terrines with roasted red bell peppers or sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese are dishes I find very appealing. Since becoming vegetarian about six months ago, I haven't missed meat one bit mainly due to the fact that I adore this type of meal. Since it's quite rich I like to pair this with a big green salad with pears and toasted pecans or a bowl of black bean soup topped with sharp cheddar cheese and minced yellow onion. It might work well with Polenta and it's a hearty appetizer for parties.

Terrines make a "meaty" statement much like a meat loaf or lasagna and that's especially helpful if you're the only vegetarian at the table. I'm often cooking for two hungry men who like meat. I enjoy exposing  them to kinder, healthier, and much more delicious ways of eating.

Here is one recipe I found recently for advanced cooks. Keep in mind terrines  require a lot of prep time.

Roasted Vegetable Terrine


1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
1/2 C. olive oil, plus more for brushing vegetables
1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
1 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
freshly ground sea salt and pepper
2 lb. fresh spinach
4 oz. goat cheese softened
1/3 C. minced basil
2 T. minced oregano
2 T. minced parsley (I like the flat leafed variety)
1 T. minced thyme
1/2 t. crushed red Chile flakes
1 C. sun dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 C. walnuts, chopped
1/2 C. grated Parmesan
2 T. balsamic vinegar


Position a rack 4 " from broiler, and heat to high. Slice peppers in half, remove seeds, place on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil SKIN SIDE UP until charred evenly, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a plastic bag and let cool for 20 minutes. When cool, peel and set aside. 

Heat oven to 450. Brush two foil-lined baking sheets with oil. Place eggplant slices on one baking sheet and zucchini slices on second baking sheet; brush with more oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables turning as needed until tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool.

Saute spinach in a large skillet until wilted, about ten to fifteen minutes. Drain well in a colander then pat dry with a paper towel., set aside. Combine 1/4 cup oil, goat cheese, half the basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and half the Chile flakes in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and mix until smooth; set goat cheese mixture aside. Place sun dried tomatoes and garlic in a bowl, and cover with two cups boiling water; let sit for ten minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor along with 1/4 cup of oil, remaining basil and Chile flakes, walnuts, Parmesan, vinegar; salt and pepper. Puree till well blended and set aside.

Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting about 4 " hang over the edges. Use 2/3 of the spinach to line the four sides of the pan. Place eggplant slices on bottom, and then cover with half the basil; top with zucchini slices, then the goat cheese mixture. Spread peppers over goat cheese mixture, and then top with remaining pesto; top with squash, and then the remaining spinach. Fold excess plastic wrap over the top of terrine and cover with a piece of cardboard cut to fit the inside of the loaf pan. Place a few canned food items or something heavy on the cardboard to weigh the terrine down and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. 

Unwrap terrine and invert onto a nice serving platter and slice into 1 inch thick slices to serve.

It's a delicious recipe. Enjoy. Recipe courtesy Saveur.

Christmas Home Tour Pictures plus...a Special News 10 Appearance

Thanksgiving is next week and everyone is looking forward to family gatherings and fabulous food. The day after Thanksgiving whoever is staying at my home in Sonora always accompanies us to the annual Christmas parade on our little historic main street. We usually grab a bite to eat and a glass of wine at the Diamondback Grill then head outside for the spectacle. Truly, it's not your usual type of parade. I'll say no more. Anyway...

Sacramento News 10 has invited me to share some of my Thanksgiving decorating  ideas so I hope you'll join us Saturday morning at 6:00 and 8:00 for some tips and tricks I've learned over the years.

In the meantime, peruse these pictures of last year's AAUW Christmas Home Tour. It's my own home decorated up with my Christmas books, Spode china, pine cones, moss, and lots of fresh greenery. Enjoy.

Right Sizing with British Style

I just put the final touches on a project for clients who moved from a larger home to a smaller one. I had done their other residence so when they asked me to help with the new one, I was very pleased.

This little chair and armoire are adorable together. I ordered the chair from North Caroline. Its covered in warm white quilted fabric with yellow welts.

Most of the furnishings moved over beautifully without much change. All we did was alter the draperies and recover two arm chairs. The little dining area  is open to the entry and there are blue drapery panels to match the slipcovers.

I have a special announcement to make on Friday...I'll be making a television appearance.  More later.


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