Cozy Chic: Banishing Winter Blues

Many people don’t realize that it does get cold here in Newport Beach (though lately the gorgeous weather has made me forget that it was grey and below 70 degrees). While there may not be snow on the ground, we still look for ways to make our homes cozy when the temperature drops outside. Here are some tips bring in warmth to your home—whether you live in Orange County, CA or Orange County, NY.

Fuzzy and furry throws look cozy
and are warm.

1) Go Under Cover: Blankets and throws placed on sofas, chairs and beds don’t just look cozy—they ARE cozy. They come in so many textures, patterns and price points. We love ones in golden or red hues that give the feeling of the glow of a fire. Furry throws, or even the faux sheepskin rugs IKEA has, are great on the back of an occasional chair. Placed at the head, you will feel cozy as you snuggle up against it.

2) Bring the Outside In: Living things need warmth to grow, so when you have plants or flowers inside there is an immediate association of warmth. They are available year round and you can get a dozen roses for like $15 at the grocery store. Cut two dozen level and bunch tightly in a vase for a very professional look. Small plants are great additions to side or cocktail tables.

3) Fragrance and Radiance
: Scent and light are huge for creating a cozy home because they engage so many senses. The fire on the wick does, of course, actually give off heat, but when you choose a warm or spicy scent it will also tell your nose that you are warm. My rule is that you need at least two candles, usually in odd numbers, burning and bunched together. This gives a mini fireplace feel in different areas of your home and gives a lot of cozy ambiance.

4) “Shoe” Away the Cold: In your entry or mud room keep fuzzy slippers and fur-lined boots (like Uggs) close by. When you come in from the cold, slip off your cold and wet shoes for something comfy and warm. Grab the throw from off a nearby chair and you’ll instantly feel cozy down to your toes!

Great Comforter Debate

Did you know there’s a debate raging about whether down is out? It’s gotten so “heated” the Wall Street Journal has even “covered” it. Okay, enough with the puns. Whether or not you use a duvet or pile high with blankets, we know there are passionate opinions on both sides. My personal bed? Covered in a summer weight duvet with a blanket folded at the end of the bed. We make beds all the time as designers, so here’s my two cents.
Hurray for the Duvet

Down doesn’t have to be messy. If you’re committed to keeping your down comforter, I suggest tucking it in to make it neater. Another way to address it is use a blanket over the top of the duvet like a spread. You can also fold the duvet at the foot of the bed… put the top sheet on then the blanket. Fold both down a little below the pillows at the head of the bed. Then take the duvet and put it on the bed covering the pillows. Fold down to the foot of the bed so its folded in half. If that doesn’t look right fold it in half again. This especially helps the problem of the comforter peeping out of where it gets inserted in the duvet. I like the duvets that have square quilting on them so the down doesn’t move around. They get lumpy if you don’t choose this option.

Also, if you find yourself fussing with feathers, there are lots of great down alternatives on the market (which are helpful with allergies and when washing). Many of them also have different weights if you know you run hot or cold. If you find yourself changing temperatures with the seasons, I suggest also changing your comforter. Keep a heavier, toasty one around in winter and a cool, light one in the summer. Keep different duvets covers on them so you are also changing the look of your bed with the season!

The Beauty of Blankets
What’s great about using blankets is that you can layer for the seasons. Pile them high in winter and strip down to one or two in the summer. This will always keep your bedroom looking fresh and seasonally appropriate!

What I also love is that blankets give you so many more choices with patterns and textures. You can have plaid mixed with floral with a solid color in between. Just make sure it all coordinates, but it doesn’t have to be matchy matchy.

If you do keep a bed with blankets, I love the WSJ’s step-by-step guide to making a bed.

Refresh Your Home for a New Year!

Happy New Year! This is the time of year when we think about what we want to do, i.e. New Years resolutions. I am into doing more entertaining this year. So it’s time to update and refresh my home! The holiday decorations are down and I can see that I need to get to work! Here are some of the things I will be doing myself. I invite you to join me.

Stephanie Han Windham’s “Halcyon 1” would
look great above a bed.


Love it? Use it? Need it? Go through your home and start sorting, pitching and storing. It doesn’t have to be a huge overhaul—even organizing your desk can make you feel better. Purging and creating a clean slate generates positive energy.

Breath of Fresh Air
Live plants detoxify and who couldn’t use that after all the holiday partying?

Plan to Entertain
Entertaining more is at the top of my list. Create a decorating or remodeling budget so that you know how much you are comfortable spending—then double it! Everything costs more than you think.

Banish Boudoir (and Bathroom) Blues

Nothing changes a bedroom faster than new linens and new art over the bed. We have some great art by fantastic California artists at Studio Chameleon. Also try a refresh with the bathroom—new towels and mirror will work wonders!

A Fresh Coat
A new coat of paint does wonders to walls. Use one of the new neutrals, smoky grays and taupes. Try accenting walls with deeper shades for a dramatic effect.

What to Get the Hostess With the Mostess

There’s still a lot of holiday partying left to do and as a guest you can let your host or hostess know how grateful you are for all of their hard work with a gift. When someone opens their home to you, that is a very personal act and you will want to show your gratitude.

1. Lift Your Spirits: A nice bottle of wine or liqueur is a classic hostess gift. Make it a little more special and memorable by adding an ornament to it. We have these great seashell ornaments for $8 that can be used well past the holidays.

Seashell Ornament adds extra touch
to wine or liqueur gifts

2. Coast Along: Agate slices as coasters ($6 each) and antique teak wood coasters ($8.50 each) are a perfect place to set holiday libations. They bring in a natural element and a great organic feel. Wrap with a bow and present to your host or hostess.

3. Seaside Treasures: Polished Turbo Shells are great placed at individual table settings as guest gifts. Its reflective, mother of pearl surface can enhance any holiday table.

4. About Vase: Present the host or hostess with a holly berry stem or flower you’ve picked from your garden in a crystal Aphrodite Bud Vase ($40).

5. Common Scents: My favorite is the Maura Peters candles we carry at Studio Chameleon. They are soy-based candles in tiny tins for only $10 and they burn for 12 hours. I love the “Twigg n Berry” scent for the holidays.

Holiday 2010 Gift Guide

Unique and Special Gifts for Everyone and Every Price!

Find the perfect gifts to complete your holiday shopping list at Studio Chameleon. We have a great selection of beautiful and one-of-a-kind items. If you’re stuck, our knowledgeable and friendly staff has great ideas for creating the perfect present.

HolidayGiftGuide copy

Guys gift wrapping workshop shows it’s not just the thought that counts… it’s the whole package!

Studio Chameleon Invites Men to Learn the Art of Gift Wrapping, with Proceeds from Sales Benefiting Charity
It is no secret that the burden of holiday gift wrapping usually falls on women. Studio Chameleon is hoping to break through the gift wrap “glass ceiling” by offering workshops for men on several upcoming Saturdays—December 4, 11 and 18 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The workshops are FREE, plus 15% of proceeds on any store purchases by participants will be given to charity.
Nearly 71% of adults believe that women are better gift wrappers than men, based on the overall appearance of the gift (Source: Scotch Tape Survery 2009). It’s time for men to give women a run for their money and blow the significant women in their life away with their beautiful and thoughtful gift wrapping!
“We think this will be a fun event,” said Studio Chameleon owner Eve Lowey. “We’re creating an environment where men can learn to gift wrap that won’t be stressful and they won’t be judged. We know that some men can pay to have this done, but when you wrap it yourself it makes it so much more meaningful and personal.”
Participants are encouraged to bring a gift to wrap or they can purchase one from Studio Chameleon. Cheryl Steffen of Details Design Studio, also located in the Westcliff Court shopping center, will be the featured guest instructor for the gift-wrapping series. Details Design Studio offers gift-wrapping services for those who might not feel like they have quite mastered wrapping yet or for especially hard to wrap items.
When asked what they would be most likely to give their spouse or significant other in return for wrapping all the holiday gifts, men say that they would buy them an extra gift (33%), watch the latest chick flick or action movie (18%) or take out the trash for a week (9%). Half of women (49%) claim, “It wouldn’t matter because they would never agree to it.”
74% of adults say that the female head of household is most likely to wrap the majority of holiday gifts in their home, while just 19% say the male head of household wraps the majority of the gifts.
While the average number of presents wrapped by adults in a typical December holiday season is about 15, women wrap an average of 10 more gifts than men (women: 20, men: 10).
Source: Scotch Tape Survey 2009
We hope you can join us for this fun event! Men, we hope you’ll take our challenge to create beautifully packaged gifts for your loved ones. Ladies, you can shop and support charity (and nosh on refreshments) while the men go through gift wrap boot camp. Studio Chameleon is located at 1733 Westcliff Drive, Newport Beach.

Eve Lowey’s 10 tips to Get Your Home Holiday Ready

There are so many things that can make the holidays overwhelming, especially when entertaining company. Eve has put together some tips to help make hostessing easier.
Tip #1: Prep so you can have fun! The holiday season is a time for family and friends. We open up our homes for visiting relatives and festive parties. Did I say complicated? No it can be easy. Remember that the host or hostess having fun is mandatory for the guests to have fun. Prep ahead of time so that you have fun too! I mean it; if you aren’t having fun your party wont be fun.
Tip #2: Make it easier on yourself and call in a professional. In many cases holiday entertaining means making room for additional guests and that 10′ Christmas tree. Think about having a professional designer come over and do a quick rearrange and editing of your rooms that are accommodating Christmas decorations and guests. Most designers only charge a $100 per hour (give or take) and it is well worth it to get some sound advice! Once the designer has seen the space you can call on them for advice lickety split!
Tip #3: Clean (even though you don’t want to). Ok, I know you don’t want to hear it but I have to advise to clean, clean, clean! Moving furniture and bringing in extra chairs for parties uncovers dust bunnies and cleaning up thoroughly makes you feel GOOD and ready for guests.
Tip #4: It should also smell like the holidays. Wash your home with a fresh scent, not something overwhelming. My favorite is the Maura Peters candles we carry at Studio Chameleon. They are soy-based candles in tiny tins for only $10. I love the “Twigs and Berry” scent for the holidays.
Tip# 5: Divide and rotate your ornaments each year. You are under no obligation to put every single ornament you have out every year. This will not just lead to a second tree, but also a third and fourth. As a mother, I have lots of kid ornaments like Sponge Bob and Disney characters. As an interior designer, I have some very glamorous and elegant pieces. These do not always mesh well together. So I divided up the ornaments with one set of fun and whimsical items and another that is more sophisticated. I rotate these groupings each year and it adds a lot of variety within the existing items you have.
Tip #6: Light up the night. One of the neglected areas of holiday parties, or parties of any kind, is the lighting. Use votives and tealights to light stairs, dining tables tops, consoles, bookcases, guestrooms, bathrooms, anywhere! Don’t forget to use candles outside at the entry on the stairs or at the front door. It makes the guest know you are thinking about them before they even hit the door. Many options are available at Studio Chameleon, including succulent and flower tealights that are $9 for a set of six.
Tip #7: Just-in-case gifts. Don’t forget to have a few extra gifts around for unexpected guests or a last minute party invitation. We have beautiful shell ornaments for only $10 that can be draped on a wine bottle, polished agate slices that can be used as coasters ($6), and small ammonite matching halves ($14). These gifts are fun for kids and adults alike. Because they are so unique they look less like an after thought than buying chocolate.
Tip #8: Guest gifts. Everyone loves gifts and playful party favors are great as table settings. Wrap a small gift like an aragonite star ($8). It’s good for procrastination, a holiday issue for many. What a great conversation piece at the table. For those of us less imaginative, chocolate or fun Christmas ornament works too! Don’t forget the guest room—even folded towels with a ribbon tying them can feel like a gift.
Tip #9: Personalize photos for guests. Have framed photos in a drawer so that you can pull them out and display them specific to whoever is coming over. Nothing makes a person feel more welcome than a photo of them in your home. Having photos of every single family member out can be too much, so keep them stored for special occasions and then roll them out when you know they are coming! I am telling you, this really works! Studio Chameleon offers custom framing to make your photos even more special.
Tip #10: Top it off with a few flowers. If you have a garden, cut a few flowers or just pick up a bunch at the grocery store when you are getting snacks for your guests. I would suggest two small arrangements, one on the kitchen island or breakfast nook and one in the restroom that most people will be using. Add crystal holly berry sprays ($8) or sparkly garland sticks ($8) that we sell to give a holiday touch.

Newport Beach Style Makers

“When interior designer Eve Lowey moved to Newport Coast in 2001, she faced a design dilemma: How could she design her home to reflect Newport Beach’s renowned elegance and luxury, yet still create a place where she and her husband could kick back and their three children could have friends over, create messy art projects and rough house with the dogs?”
Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 3.22.09 PM