• Gentleman on the Move

    Literally been moving.  Forgive me for  not posting.

    I am happy to report that we are settling into our new digs and more importantly we are out of boxes!  I still have not kitchen counter…therefore no kitchen but what is life without a few bumps in the road.  I do have hot water now which is so nice after three days of cold…very cold showers. 

    The micro cottage is a concept in small space living measuring in at a whopping six hundred square feet.  Yes you read correctly.  It is a surprisingly efficient space.  We have found ourselves making quick decisions of what is really necessary and what we can let go.  Interesting how easy it is to simply your life this way.  What you quickly learn to do in a small space is make your daily life tools objets d’ art.  From plates to towels these are the elements that count the most because they are the things you connect with on an intimate level….a great closet is also important. 

    The home, built in the 1940’s by an architect for the park service also has a wonderful garden space which our dogs are enjoying exploring and making their own.  We intend to do some gardening and make it an extension of our living space.

    I’ve also just returned from a trip to Los Angeles having designed and installed an exhibit for the California Gift Show called “California Bespoke”.  I will share the details in an upcoming post.  So stay tuned and I will share some pictures as our space comes together. 

    Bye for now.

  • Gentleman On The Go: The de Young Museum

    I had the pleasure of spending a delightful afternoon at the Golden Gate Park,  touring the de Young museum which currently has two exhibits of giants in art and fashion, Pablo Picasso and Cristobal Balenciaga.  I remembered to take my camera so here are a few fun images from the day.

    The museum itself, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron is both monolithic and intimate.  Located in the music concourse of the park, the juxtaposition of the de Young against the classically designed Spreckels Temple of Music made for a memorable afternoon of people watching.

    Don’t miss these shows.  The Balenciaga exhibit was particularly inspiring for all of its attention to detail.

    For you fashion junkies, be sure to check out the site for the new Balenciaga museum located in Balenciaga’s home town of Getaria, Spain. The museum opened this month.

    Bye for now.

    de Young Museum


    de Young – Main Lobby


    Music Concourse


  • Icon: Alberto Pinto

    Known for his sumptuous and harmonious interiors, Alberto Pinto is certainly at the top of my icon list.  A native of Morocco, studied at the l’ecole du Louvre and began his career photgraphing interiors.  With the trained eye of a photographer, he became further focused and informed through his travels leading to the exhuberantly eclectic interiors he continues to create along with his fifty five person Alberto Pinto Agency, established in Paris, France in 1968.

    In addition to beautiful interiors, Mr. Pinto has designed among other things, several lines of textiles for Pierre Frey, jewel like faucets for THG, silverware, china, the list goes on.
    The prolific Pinto among his many influences credits Luis Barragan, the Mexican architect and designer for his bold use of color and David Hicks, the English decorator and designer for his practical know how.  However, make no mistake, Alberto Pinto is a true original and whether he is designing an apartment, villa, palace, corporate interior, hotel, jet, yacht, china or fabrics the look is timeless, sophisticated and elegant.
    For more on the work of this remarkable designer visit
    Bye for now.
  • The Spaces of Our Lives

    I am working on a new residential project for a family of five…and two dogs.  A family whose main project objective is to have a home where they can entertain and have a well worn comfortable feel. 


    Dining Room
    Interior: Christopher Gaona, Inc.


    Interior:  Christopher Gaona, Inc.


    As I worked out the details of their living room space plan I was listening to some Shirley Horn.  At some point Here’s To Life queued up.
    The craft of design has always been something I have cherished and make every effort to bring my clients along for the ride.  As a craftsman, you are always looking to improve, to build on past projects, and gain a deeper understanding of the rituals of our lives.  As such, I enjoy making sure every detail is set in a home and exiting the party before it starts.  Part of that is a selfish desire to keep my imagination actively engaged in the space.
    Outdoor Dining Space
    Design: Christopher Gaona, Inc.


    My most successful client relationships has been those in which I have been afforded the ability to live in the imagination of my clients and have them live in mine for a while.  That’s a small often overlooked pleasure of working with clients.  To see life, not necessarily through rose colored lenses, but optimistically, full of hope and share in their dreams of a happy home bustling with festive occasions for family and friends. 
    A good friend gone to soon
    Interior:  Christopher Gaona, Inc.


    Interior:  Christopher Gaona, Inc.


    I always remind my clients that the interior should also be an intensely personal reflection of themselves.  If photography is an interest incorporate it.  If your dogs have run of the house we will make sure your furntiure is dog friendly.  I can’t do anything about the hair…yet.  Fill your home with photos of friends…even the  ones you no longer speak to.

    I also always remind my clients not to cut corners in the areas that really matter…bedrooms, closets, bathrooms and the like.  In fact I have often encouraged clients to begin their decoratingin the bedrooms, so that the areas they enjoy the most are completed first…private luxuries.  After all, those are the luxuries that matter.  What good is it to have a beautiful living room, if your closet is a mess and you don’t have a comfortable and inviting bedroom. 

    Master bedroom
    Interior: Christopher Gaona, Inc.
    Mrs. make-up vanity
    Interior:  Christopher Gaona, Inc.


    Mrs. Dressing Room
    Interior: Christopher Gaona, Inc.


    Friends at home.

    So here’s to life…and here’s to you.

    Bye for now.

  • The Goods: Le Deun Luminaries

    Much has been written about the transformative power of lighting in a room.  We have all heard that good lighiting is key to good design.  But as with most things, not all lights are created equal.  Some lights transfix the eye and become an object of art wholly unto themselves. Le Deun Luminaries is just such a light and I had to share them with you.

    In production since 1997 in France this young company designs and produces both a collection of LED lighting and collaborates frequently with designers, and architects on bespoke installations.

    Rewired for the 21st Century with LED lights


    The lamps are not only a source of light but have a sculptural quality that is both sophisticated and casual.  The quality of the components and the refinement of the metal is superb.  These lights would work equally well in a contemporary or traditional setting.

    Nothing creates a more stirring sensation in an interior as when a modern element blends effortlessly into a contrasting period environment.  My favorite example is the dining room of Waddeson Manor with it’s Ingo Maurer chandelier, Le Deun certainly captures an inevitability reminiscent of the Rothschild style.

    Waddesdon Manor
    The Rothschild Collection
    Dining Room
    Chandelier:  Porca Miseria by Ingo Maurer


    Le Deun: Bespoke installations

    For more information on Le Deun, visit
    For more information of Waddesdon Manor, visit

    Bye for now.


  • Color Theory: Yellow


    Year after year yellow remains one of my favorite colors.  It is always warm and inviting and inevitably plays well with other colors from white to black, lavender to green.  Be it a paler calmer tone or more acidic tone.  I love all of its electric and muddy variations.
    I will never forget the first time I layed eyes on  the yellow/black and limestone boutique of designer Bijan with his ever present yellow Bentley parked out front.  Slightly over the top, of course,  but unforgettable and quintessentially Beverly Hills.
    Whether in nature, fashion, food or interiors something about yellow makes me smile.  Perhaps it speaks to our constant need for a little sunshine?
    Long live yellow!
    Balenciaga Couture.  Spring 2011
    Interior Design:  Christopher Gaona, Inc.
    Designer: Bijan


    Florsheim by Duckie Brown
    Architecture:  Studio KO
    Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guanajuato


    Interior Design:  Christopher Gaona, Inc.

    Lego Art
    Artist:  Nathan Sawaya

    Interior Design:  Christopher Gaona, Inc.
    Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  Las Vegas


    Yellow room

    Armani. Spring 2011

    Bye for now.
  • Singing In The Rain

    As a native son of Southern California, the wet weather here in Northern California has certainly provided a change of pace not to mention required a change in wardrobe.  While not exactly Gene Kelly you can’t help but want to get outside and splash around a bit.

    Gene Kelly

    One of the triggers of inspiration for me is the natural world and it’s seasonal changes.  The colors and textures provided by mother nature along with seasonal fashion all arouse palettes and shapes for spaces in my mind.  One minute the sky is dark and gray, then calm, suddenly momentarily brilliant and blue.   The flair of a coat, the sheen on a pair of rubber boots.  Inspiration hides in plain sight.


    San Francisco Bay
    Artist: Joel Shapiro


    Umbrella Stand Detail
    Designer:  Oswaldo Borsani



    Wallpaper:  Cole & Son
    Woven Fabric: Pierre Frey
    Hamish Bowles
    Silk Moire Wallpaper:  Holland & Sherry
    Racing Green Velvet: Holland & Sherry


    Fabric:  Lee Jofa


    Gilt Console Table
    C. 1975
    Courtesy:  1st Dibs


    Brian Hirst
    Platinum Votive Bowl
    Courtesy: 1st Dibs


    Le Grande Voliere Pendant Shade
    Design:  Mathieu Challiere
    Courtesy: The Conrad Shop


    I’m leaving you tonight with a little more Gene Kelly.
    Bye for now.


  • Icon: Frank Gehry

    “You’ve got to bumble forward into the unknown.”
    -Frank Gehry
    If ever there was a quote that summed up the feeling of designing, that is it.  One must be confident in one’s own talent, strengths, and weaknesses, but move forward fearless nonetheless.  For all of us who aspire to grow in the visual arts, losing the fear and coming to the realization that there are no rules, we look to icons like Gehry as a beacon.
    On this his 82nd birthday I thought I would  send out some eye candy of Mr. Gehry’s better known projects:
    Marques de Riscal Hotel
    Elciego, Spain


    Bilbao, Spain
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    Los Angeles, California
    Fred and Ginger Building
    The Dancing House
    Prague, Czech Republic


    Love him or hate him, one thing is without question,  Frank Gehry has impacted an entire generation of architects and designers with his progressive, sweeping, epic designs that have stirred us, moved us, and caused us to stop and reassess the real meaning of architecture and furniture in our lives.  He has challenged our traditional notions of beauty and at the same time defined it.
    While I am sure he has many many more years of designing ahead of him, this gentleman sends him many happy birthday wishes.
    Never relent, never surrender, never compromise.
    Bye for now.


  • Color Theory: Brown

    Some where between yellow and eggplant on the color wheel is that most magical of colors, brown.
    Warm, inviting and decidely NOT black.  Amongst my favorite combinations are brown with gray, brown with eggplant, brown with ochre, brown with cream, brown with camel.
    1963 Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso (From the estate of Steve McQueen..who had the car custom painted to these specifications no less)
    (Image Courtesy: Christie’s)


    The 584/g table lamp by Gino Sarfatti for Arteluce with brown Perspex shade
    (Image Courtesy: 1st dibs)
    Classic combinations.  Gray/Brown/Black


    I often use brown in projects and am certainly partial to it at home. Here are a few favorites:


    Chocolate stained custom walnut cabinetry with chocolate wall to wall carpeting.
    The gray walls:  Pratt & Lambert / Gossamer
    Interior Design: Christopher Gaona, Inc.


    LA Mart Design Center Lobby
    Palette:  Black/Brown/Taupe/Charcoal Gray
    Interior Design: Christopher Gaona, Inc.
    Palette at home:  Cream/Brown/Mustard Yellow/Red
    Interior Deisgn: Chrsitopher Gaona, Inc.


    Brown accents typical at home.
    Interior Design: Christopher Gaona, Inc.


    Guest Bedroom
    Brown Linen Headboard with Red Lulu DK coverlet
    Interior Design: Christopher Gaona, Inc.
    Walls in my first apartment.  Brown of course.
    Interior Design: Christopher Gaona, Inc.

    A few more chocolate baubles….

    Alexandar McQueen  Fall 2007 Leather, Brocade and Fur Dress.
    All the best colors.  Even the back drop is perfect.
    (Image Courtesy:  1st dibs)
    1970’s signed Verdura, platinum, diamond and brown zircon earings.
    (Image Courtesy:  1st dibs)


    As my friend Marty might say of the dress or earings…perfect for a day of grocery shopping.

    So go ahead throw on some black and brown and don’t feel ashamed.

    Bye for now.





  • What Lies Underfoot

    One of my favorite elements in a room is a rug.  Bold and sleek or neutral and textured, there is an intangible change that happens in a room both accoustically and just in how it feels when a beautiful rug is underfoot.

    Serratura. Designed by Piero Fornasetti for Roubini Rugs
    Tai Ping Carpets
    While I certainly appreciate the beauty of a well crafted floor, a room does not feel completly liveable without rugs to me.  I have been a fan of the bespoke rugs offered by The Rug Company for many years and continue to find great inspiration in their collection after first becoming aware of their product while living in Los Angeles.  In the living room shown below we engaged the atelier to produce an emerald green silk chettah motif rug originally designed by Diane Von Furstenburg as a runner and customized it into a full scale living room rug layered over wall to wall seagrass.  A bold decision but one that instantly energized this apartment’s living room.
    Apartment Living Room with rug from The Rug Company
    Interior Design:  Christopher Gaona, Inc.

    Much is made of the design advise to select your rug before starting a project and build the palette from their.  While in many instances this is sound advise, I am not convinced that this is necessary.  In many cases you can make the rug the final accent to a room often times resulting in something totally unexpected.  When you build a room up from the rug the result is often a very prudent and safe room.

    Interior Design: Christopher Gaona, Inc.
    Rug:  The Rug Company

    Other client’s I have had look to rugs as an investment.  A reputable dealer can assist a designer and client in sourcing a rug that is both appropriate visually and is an element that the client can purchase confidently knowing that with proper care the piece will appreciate in value.  This is definitely not always the case with other elements in the home.


    Antique Caucasian rug anchoring entry of historical craftsman home.
    Interior Design: Christopher Gaona, Inc.
    Simple and crisp.  Wool sisal.
    Interior Design: Christopher Gaona, Inc.

    Bye for now.