New Territory

June 3, 2010 - Leave a Response

Hi everyone! If you’re still checking this blog, don’t–Mikhael has taken a great job as the editor of Travel Oregon, and I’ve moved over to A Ruffled Feather. I’m still the contributing home + design editor at 7×7 Magazine and I’m also blogging weekly about design on ReadyMade‘s website. So, come visit us. We’d love it if you did.

See you soon,

Leilani & Mikhael


what if i was a languorous lady?

November 4, 2009 - 2 Responses

As a woman with a very low glamour quotient, “languorous” translates to “lazy”, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t appreciate the paraphernalia suited to my more sophisticated counterparts: a slippery silk caftan, an ever-replenishing tray of salted caramels and a luxurious lounging apparatus. With the ultimate goal of becoming an apathetic enchantress, I’m entertaining the thought of commissioning Molly Worth of Chairloom to refurbish this vintage Danish daybed…

Picture 1

…in this indigo ikat print.


As for my own transformation, I’ve got the apathetic part on lock, but somehow I think that becoming an enchantress is going to require a little more than some new padding and wardrobe change. —LML

what if i was a wonder woman?

October 26, 2009 - Leave a Response
The "Wonderwall" on Wonderwall Inc.'s website

The "Wonderwall" on Wonderwall Inc.'s website

In addition to such humanitarian feats as finding kidnap victims with my internal echo-locator, foiling conspiracy plots and rescuing women and children from fiery buildings, my role as Wonder Woman would include the innate ability to write code for groundbreaking websites like the one belonging to Japanese interior design firm, Wonderwall. Moving your cursor over the company’s colorful wall of fame not only reveals its impressive clientele (Dean and Deluca, APC and Marc Jacobs, among many others), it also awakens a beautiful and amazing, beeping, hiccuping, living, breathing entity that mesmerizes me to no end. But alas, a mere mortal am I, possessing a limited number of mediocre talents (none of which lend themselves to writing even one inch of code, much less echo-locating) and lots and lots of faults: a Blunder Woman. —LML

what if I could cook?

October 20, 2009 - One Response
Mismatch Plates

Mismatched Plates

thrift store finds

thrift store finds

Well, I can’t. But I can arrange a good-looking table setting, even on a lowly editor’s salary. My tableware is a mismatched collection of hand-me-down plates, flea-market stemware, vintage linens and glasses and flatware from Bed, Bath & Beyond. It’s no Missoni China (a girl can dream) but it can look just as good. The secret is to use two-parts existing items, add a dash of vintage finds and mix in a smartly edited combination. Second-hand shops like Goodwill, or garage sales and flea markets are undoubtedly stocked with gems. A porcelain salad plate dotted with roses in shades of yellow and pink may scream “Grandma’s Sunday dinner,” but paired with a gold-rimmed, scallop-edged, round plate it’s very modern, albeit girly. Or alternate different patterned or colored plates paired with fun, oversized wine glasses. My marinara sauce may come from a can, but the table setting is all from scratch.—MR

what if i was a craigslist “missed connection”?

October 13, 2009 - One Response

In the name of good art and star-crossed possibilities, Brooklyn illustrator Sophie Blackall combs Craigslist New York’s Missed Connections listings for its endlessly entertaining and heartfelt subject matter. Her whimsical illustrations give permanence to these otherwise fleeting dispatches, interpreting the words of the seeker in an artfully literal way. I’m sure no one has ever honored me with a Missed Connection in San Francisco’s Craigslist, but on the off chance my presence has captivated someone from afar, I imagine the listing would read as such: “To the scowling Asian girl trying hard not to touch anything on the 31 Balboa bus this morning: You’d be so much more attractive with a smile, but I like a challenge. Call me.” What would yours say? —LML

what if i owned a quilted chanel bag?

October 7, 2009 - Leave a Response

In honor of last night’s episode of The City in which Olivia Palermo‘s field trip to Canal Street to gather knock-off accessories for Elle magazine failed miserably due to the uppity socialite’s sheer embarrassment for the task at hand, may I present this humorous Chanel fake, brought to my attention via a Nicole Richie re-tweet. An accurate representation of what I’d be able to afford, to say the least. —LML


what if i was a winner? (oh, i am!)

October 3, 2009 - 4 Responses

Picture 4

I’m the kind of girl that comes in second. As a kid, I came in second in every spelling bee and times-table contest; as an adult, I’ve fallen second to even the uglier, less-talented girls in matters of love and career. Would I, for example, much rather have wedded the gorgeous college boyfriend with the wandering eye and overestimated intelligence? Or am I glad I’m not the girl he knocked up, and subsequently married, shot-gun style, at the tender age of 25? Hand me this new ceramic trophy by Yellow Owl Workshop, filled with a nice flower arrangement by Studio Choo, and say with a smile, “Congratulations! You’re the first-runner up. Aren’t you lucky?”

Picture 1

Would I much rather have not been one of the select few laid off from my job as a magazine editor? Considering the state of print media these days, pin me instead with a hand-pleated, hand-sewn decorative award ribbon from Small Stump and say, “Congratulations! You’ve just dodged a bullet.”


Would I much rather have been the beauty queen in high school—instead of the unpopular girl with the bad skin—if it meant that I’d suffer the fate of most early-to-peak tarts (now overweight housewives)? Let me prance around for a few days crowned with this breathtaking tiara by Tjep, made of layers of silver-plated brass and diamonds, and I promise to give it some really deep thought. —LML

the boy next door

October 1, 2009 - One Response
Grant Gibson at home

Grant Gibson at home

Today my San Francisco apartment building is featured in the New York Times Home & Garden section, and while I make my career in design, the story has nothing to do with me. Instead, my neighbor, fantastic interior designer and dear friend Grant K. Gibson, steals the show. In his Presidio Heights flat, Paris flea market antiques meet Pottery Barn furnishings, while bold color choices and rich fabrics like caramel-colored mohair add a luxe element. Our apartments are merely an arm’s length away, and many evenings have been spent gossiping in the doorways about our crazy landlord or providing detailed reviews from the latest dating disaster (of late, two thumbs way, way down).

Check out Grant’s digs here. My favorite room is the bedroom with indigo walls and salon-style art. I really admire his ability to find beauty in the most unexpected (and sometimes most inexpensive) places. His work is timeless. Congratulations, Grant! —MR

working girls

September 29, 2009 - Leave a Response

Picture 1 Cover

Leilani and I first met at a San Francisco publishing house in early 2008, but our creative collaboration truly began when Sydney-based home + design magazine, Real Living, hired us to produce a story on San Francisco artist Rex Ray‘s avant-garde live/work space in the Mission District. Leilani provided the words, I did the room styling. I loved the organized chaos of Rex’s loft and art studio; everything had a specific place and purpose, even if it was an unassuming stack of records.

A year later, for the magazine’s October 2009 issue, editor Deborah Bibby (follow her quick design musings on Twitter: @reallivingmag) asked us to work our magic again on the modern and eclectic San Francisco home of Pottery Barn Teen designer, Melodie Froment, and her husband, artist Jerome Doran. My favorite part of that project was scouring through Melodie’s tableware, her collections of porcelain tea cups, Moroccan glass decanters and super-colorful linens—the best evidence of a life well traveled. Click on each story below and let us know what you think! We think we make a pretty good team. —MR

Tiny space, big ideas

Tiny space, big ideas

Laid-back Living

Laid-back Living

what’s your type?

September 24, 2009 - 3 Responses


When I worked in Kyoto teaching English, the Japanese high school students would ask any English-speaking foreigner that crossed their paths three questions: What do you like to eat? What’s your hobby? What’s your type? To that last question, I’d usually provide a flippant “tall, dark and handsome,” but now—a decade later—my design career has put a different twist on that inquiry: What’s your typography? According to Lars Willem Veldkampf’s Typocalypse project, which appoints personality traits to 40 different fonts, my affection for the high-impact Arial implies that “I am the devil.” (My boyfriend, Mark, can attest to the accuracy of  this designation!)


My friend and fellow design editor, Lydia Lee, once told me that she had thing for Bembo. (Although, given her talent as an eagle-eyed copyeditor, I would have picked VAG Rounded for her.)


Using this font to write your boss that 15th “I have food poisoning” email is the surest way to find yourself in the unemployment line with the rest of California.


The official font of Oz, a magical land somewhere over the rainbow.


The script for Neil Patrick Harris’ Emmy-hosting gig must have been written in this font.


Works for me, too. —LML