Author Archives: PB Editors

In the Spotlight Now: Nicole Gibbons

Decorating | | | 4 Replies

There’s a reason so many people turn to Nicole Gibbons for style advice. This tastemaker, interior designer and blogger blends classic elements with modern colors and a fresh perspective to create beautiful interiors that shine. This reason, among many others, is why we’re thrilled to announce that Gibbons is our In the Spotlight designer for February.


Keep reading to learn about some of Nicole’s best decorating and organizing tips and see her favorite Pottery Barn pieces, too.

basket 2 copy(Image by Nicole Gibbons)

Nicole’s Favorites:

This month I can’t wait to…
Get back to LA!

Currently coveting…
A Vitamix blender

My go-to color for painting a dining room is…
I love using pale shades of blue or green in a dining room.

Most prized possession…
A collection of vintage watches I inherited from my grandfather.

My best entertaining tip…
Always keep ingredients for at least one signature cocktail along with a killer playlist on deck so you’re always ready for impromptu guests.

My go-to cocktail to serve at a party is…
A sparkling elderflower cocktail made with champagne or prosecco, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and pomegranate seeds.

owen side table ngOne of Nicole’s top picks from Pottery Barn: The Owen Side Table

Q: What do you enjoy most about interior decorating?
A: I believe that having a beautiful, well-designed home can enhance your life in ways beyond measure and to know that I have the ability to impact people’s lives in a positive way by simply improving their surroundings is why I enjoy what I do so much.

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would describe my style as neo-traditional, which reflects a fresh, modern take on tradition. I like to create spaces that have timeless quality but are eclectic in terms of how I mix periods and styles of furniture together and are vibrant and fashion-forward in terms of how I use color and pattern.

Q: Which trends are you most excited about in 2014?
A: I’m starting to see more people investing in their homes, and wanting to create beautiful comfortable spaces as well as seeing more people entertaining at home — that is definitely a trend I can get behind.

pebble leather deskOne of Nicole’s top picks from Pottery Barn: Pebble Leather Desk Accessories

Q: What are your top DIY organization ideas?
A: I love using pretty glassware and tabletop dishes on a desk to hold pencils, pens, paper clips, etc. It totally beats a boring pencil cup from the office supply store!

Baskets and trays make for such stylish storage. Try using them to store stacks of magazines and other paper clutter.

Embrace wireless technology. With all of the gadgets and electronics we now have, keeping tracks of cords can be a challenge, so if you can, invest in wireless equipment. It will minimize the amount of cords to manage and free up space.

You’d be surprised by how clearing out clutter can also help clear your mind. When my home is organized, I feel more calm, think more clearly and focus better.

 See the rest of Nicole Gibbons’ In the Spotlight feature.


Behind the Design: Our Watercolor Bunny Pillows

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 5 Replies

Easter is still a couple months away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make room for these little bunnies in our homes. We love the handpainted style of our new Watercolor Bunny Pillows — it makes these special Easter items welcome in our homes year round.


Although many of our items are made at PBHQ, we worked with local fine artist and printmaker Ellen Heck (through Cathy Heck Studio) to develop the initial illustrations for these beautiful pillows. Read on to learn about Heck’s inspiration and take a sneak peek at some of her sketches.


“For this particular collection, we wanted a light feeling to go with the springtime theme,” says Heck. “So I sketched a lot of rabbits quickly and freely, applying a few loose washes.” Heck’s fine art background and emphasis on gesture and figure drawing resulted in each bunny’s unique expression — doesn’t it look like each one has a personality? Take a look at some of Heck’s in-process pencil sketches, below. “I thought these were particularly sweet and expressive,” she says.


“It’s been a lot of fun to see this group translated on different materials,” says Heck. “The choice to print a layer of white over the darker linen fabric, and then soften the images with the neutral watercolor gives the group a natural look that is both sweet and works well in the home.”


Take a look at our entire Easter collection here.
See more of Ellen Heck’s work.

Two Easy Valentine’s Day DIYs from Shop Sweet Lulu

Decorating, DIY, Holiday | | | 6 Replies

Valentine’s Day is a playful holiday by nature. With a color palette of pink and red and a theme that revolves around kisses and candy, how could it not? We love how Valentine’s Day encourage us to have a little more fun.

These two adorable DIYs from the Shop Sweet Lulu Blog certainly embody this vibe. Try your hand at one of these easy Valentine’s Day DIYs to bring a little love into your life this February.

Photography: Stevie Pattyn for Shop Sweet Lulu


Make Mini Valentine Balloon Lollies for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. All you need are a couple heart shaped balloons, balloon sticks and some basic craft supplies (streamers, ribbons or any other type of fun flair).


Put it all together for a festive trinket that will make your sweetheart’s Valentine’s Day even more special.



This Candy Ring Tutorial is the perfect DIY for jewelry lovers with a sweet tooth. Stock up on some red, pink and white candy of your choice (if you haven’t already) — we recommend the rock candy for this particular DIY.


Ring blanks and a hot glue gun are all you need to create these sweet looking baubles for the most lovey dovey day of the year. Keep in mind that they’re not edible — so you may want to keep some extra candy on hand for when that sugar craving kicks in.

You might also like: 5 Tips to Help You Throw a Classy Valentine’s Day Party

6 Ways to Set Up a Gallery Wall

Decorating, How-To | | | 12 Replies

For many of us, the road to a complete gallery wall is a long and tricky one. It often starts with a blank wall and comes to an abrupt stop with a pile of frameless art and photography.


Finding the perfect frame is often the point where many of us give up on designing a gallery wall.  Our recommendation? Stick to something simple (like our Wood Gallery Frames) and let your art shine.

Once you’ve (finally) framed your art, it’s time to move on to the hard part: hanging it.  I know, it sounds easy — just hammer a nail into the wall, right? — but prep and planning is key to a successful gallery wall. Once you start hammering away, there’s no turning back.

We’ve pulled together six of our favorite styles to setting up a gallery wall — from the simple grid to the step-by-step staircase style. Take a look at our detailed diagrams of each style, below, along with our favorite Pottery Barn examples.


Spiral: Start with a center frame, and spiral out the rest of your frames from there.


Don’t forget to maintain an even amount of space between each frame for consistency.


Centered: This simple layout requires minimal effort. Just choose one or two frames to center and align the left and right sides with one another.


We think this works particularly well if you’re trying to highlight particular pieces of art.


Outer Align: You’ll want to make sure all of the outer frames are aligned for this layout.

outer align

Note that the center frames will meet slightly closer together at the right and left sides.


Reflection: Create order out of chaos with this arrangement!


Don’t worry about arranging by size — when everything’s matched up and aligned at the center, the display makes perfect sense.


Staircase: Staircase gallery walls require a slightly different approach.


Hang your frames following the same upward angle of the staircase.


Nine Square: Don’t dismiss the simple grid.


It’s a basic arrangement, but it makes a big impact.

Read more about how to set up your gallery wall in our digital guide.

5 Tips to Help You Throw a Classy Valentine’s Day Party

Entertaining, Holiday, Parties | | | 3 Replies

red cambria

Contrary to popular belief, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for kids or sappy couples. Like any holiday, it’s an excuse to celebrate with people that you love! We talked to entertaining expert Kelly Lyden to learn how to host a classy, grown-up version of the Valentine’s Day parties we’re used to.

red napkins

Use a classic color palette. Red with crisp black and white will always feel classy, not trashy. “Mix a pop of color in with traditional menswear fabrications, like a herringbone, tweet or pinstripe,” suggests Lyden.

wine tasting

A grown up party calls for a grown up theme. Wine tasting parties are a great way to add a fun element to a Valentine’s Day get together. “You could have each couple bring a bottle of their favorite wine and do a blind tasting,” says Lyden. “It’s a great activity for the evening, and it helps provide the drinks for your guests, too.” But a grown up theme doesn’t mean you can’t have candy — turn your wine tasting into a chocolate pairing party for adults!

xoxo plate

Play with color in your table settings. Dress up basic white dishes with red and black accessories. “A fabulous red patterned napkin, a fun salad plate or colored glassware are great additions,” says Lyden.


Mood lighting is a must. Dim those lights and light every candle (yup, every single one) you own. “Instead of traditional taper candles, scatter a bunch of gorgeous votive candles down the center of the table,” says Lyden. “It’ll look like twinkle lights!”


Get creative with your florals. “I’m not a traditional red-rose-kinda-girl,” says Lyden. “I love mixing crisp white hydrangeas with red tulips for a Valentine’s Day arrangement.”

Weekly Roundup: 2/1 to 2/7

Decorating, Decorating Inspiration, Inspiration | | | Leave a comment

It still feels like winter where most of us live, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start dreaming about spring! This week on Inside & Out, we brought you a little taste of Spring photography, seasonal flowers and a favorite outdoor spot in San Francisco. Click the links below to read more.


Set Your Table for Spring: Tips from Camille Styles

Q&A: Photographer Lupen Grainne

Bring Spring Into Your Home With These Flower Arranging Tips

We Love SF: Rapha Cycle Club’s Parklet

Behind the Design: Our Cambria Collection

Behind the Design: Our Cambria Collection

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 41 Replies

Each piece of our Cambria Dinnerware, from the tiny Tidbit Plates to the spacious Serve Bowls, starts out as a simple slab of clay in a Portugal factory.  Skilled employees — many who have worked in ceramics for all of their lives — take each piece of clay through a painstaking process to produce our beautiful line of dinner and serveware.

cambria ocean

Although much of the work is done with the aid of machines, each step also requires work to be done by hand. Cleaning the clay, applying patina and finalizing the shape by hand makes each and every piece of Cambria a unique piece of art. Take a look at the amazing process, from start to finish, below.

Cambria black&white (17)

First, large pieces of clay are cut to size for the press machine. Each piece of clay is sized to the type of dish it will create.

Cambria black&white (2)

The slabs are then placed on a press machine. Specialists carefully monitor the process to make sure the pieces are molded accurately and without defect.

Cambria black&white (14)

Cambria black&white (48)

Once the clay is molded and pressed, extra clay is cut off, and the shape is fine tuned with a roller machine.

Cambria black&white (96)

Here, one of the Portugal factory’s many skilled workers finishes a shaped piece with a wet sponge to clean the edges.

Cambria black&white (152)

Then, the pieces are left to dry on racks.

Cambria black&white (118)

Once dry, patina is applied with a brush by hand to give each piece visual texture and depth.

Cambria black&white (138)

The Cambria pieces are then glazed with a machine for cohesive, continuous color and cooked in a kiln.

Cambria colour (155)

Here’s a shot of the colorfully glazed complete product. The meticulous process makes each piece just a little bit different — a true piece of art.


Every piece of Cambria is carefully inspected before its labeled, packed and shipped off to your home.

See more Behind the Design posts. 

We Love SF: Rapha Cycle Club’s Parklet

Behind the Scenes, We Love SF | | | 1 Reply

San Francisco is full of surprises. Although it’s a small city (just 7 miles by 7 miles), every nook and cranny brims with quirky people, places and things.

PBHQ is lucky to call this city our home, and we love to share our favorite finds with others. Our newest love? The Rapha Cycle Club’s Parklet.
Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.03.46 AM

What’s a parklet? As part of San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program, certain portions of the street outside restaurants, cafes and shops can be transformed into small seating areas called parklets.


The parklet outside Rapha Cycle Club is made up of a Citroën H Van, built in the early part of the 20th century. Often, these vans would serve as sweeper vans at the end of early bicycle races. “If you got caught by one of these vans, you were out of the race,” says Dante Campanile of Rapha’s San Francisco Cycle Club.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.03.38 AM

Rapha’s team found this particular van on a farm in France. Its years of hard work had left it gutted — it had no engine or working parts. But the team still loved it, and shipped it back to the US where they could decide what to do with it. After a few events and experiments, they partnered with San Francisco design firm ReBar to build a custom parklet outside the shop.


The H Van was shipped out to Treasure Island, cut in half and carefully sealed and sanded to get rid of sharp edges and loose ends. Each half came back to Rapha’s Marina location to be put together once again — this time, with a custom deck, benches, planters and tables in the middle.


“I’d say that this parklet really helps blend the cultural history of road racing with a contemporary cycling scene in San Francisco,” says Campanile. “It’s great to see it become a gathering place for group rides, cyclists passing by, and just people who live in the neighborhood.”

Visit Rapha Cycle Club and its parklet at 2198 Filbert Street, San Francisco, CA 94123.

Bring Spring Into Your Home with These Flower Arranging Tips

Decorating, Entertaining, How-To | | | 7 Replies

When everything starts to bloom and blossom outside, it only makes sense that we want to bring the same cheer into our homes. Spring is the perfect time to start experimenting with floral displays. Don’t worry — if your flower arranging experience is limited to grocery store bouquets, we’re here to help. Karen Chang Burling, owner of Northern California-based Huckleberry Karen Designs, shared some of her expert tips to help get you started.

Photography: This Love of Yours Photography


Beginners should stick to one type of flower. Sometimes simple works best! You don’t need to have every flower at the market to make a beautiful display. “Hydrangeas, peonies and ranunculus are fairly easy to work with,” says Chang-Burling. “I would also recommend that beginners start with bud vases (like these), which don’t require a lot of flowers to make a big impact.”



Take care of your flowers! Without proper care, your flowers will wilt or die quickly, throwing all of your money and time down the drain. “Once you remove flowers from their water source, always re-cut the stems when placing them back into the water, and let the flowers drink some water for a couple hours before arranging them,” says Chang-Burling. “Remove all the leaves that would be touching the water in the vase, and give your flowers fresh water daily.”


Don’t let hay fever stop you. “If you are allergic to flowers, look around for some spring time foliage. A cluster of dusty miller foliage makes quite the statement along with a bouquet of geranium leaves.”

Match your flowers to your container. The bigger the container, the bigger your flowers should be. “Choose your vase first, then decide what type and size of flowers would look best in it,” says Chang-Burling.

Get creative with your vessels. “I use wine glasses, chalices, mugs and tumblers all the time as vases,” says Chang-Burling. “I believe that anything that can hold water can also hold flowers. I have a set of these glasses at home, and they definitely hold flowers more than a glass of orange juice.”

Have fun! “There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to flower arranging so go with your instinct and enjoy yourself,” says Chang-Burling.

You might also like: Fresh Winter Flowers for Everyday Entertaining

Q&A: Photographer Lupen Grainne

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 3 Replies

Like many of the visual arts, becoming a successful photographer is no easy feat — particularly in a time where iPhone photos often steal the limelight. So California photographer Lupen Grainne, whose unique work is sold at Pottery Barn, is a true diamond in the rough — particularly since she’s self taught! “It’s all been a journey of inspiration and exploring,” she says. “And of course, some YouTube tutorials have really saved me a few times.”

Grainne’s stunning work brings nature to the home in a compelling way. Take a look at some of her newest work and learn about her process and inspiration, below.  lupen2

Q: How would you describe your approach towards photography?

A: My approach to photography is pretty random. I can be very inspired for a week solid, going on outings, having ideas for still lifes and creating lots of images. Other times, I’m more focused on other projects, like painting or music, so I won’t do any photography for a week.

I feel like all creative mediums and pursuits influence each other. Working in other mediums definitely affects my photography’s composition, color and texture.


Q: How have you honed your style over the years?

A: Over the years, my style has emerged mostly from experimenting with different ways to compose my shots and edit them. It is continually evolving. What looks or feels right to me last year might not be the same this year.

What I love about this kind of creative photography is that I don’t have to make images that I hope someone will like. Instead, I just follow what really inspires me — the possibilities are kind of endless this way.


Q: Where do you like to find inspiration?

A: I find my inspiration in many ways, but mostly finding things out in nature, like a beautiful landscape or a flowering tree or seed pods fallen from a plant for a still life. I’m also inspired by color combinations, like green and aqua, or a kind of muted monochrome palette with gradations of all the same color. So I look for certain color combinations and create images from those ideas.


Q: What is one of your new, favorite pieces?

A: The “Touch of Spring” (above)  is one of my very favorite pieces, I have this one in my house and never tire of its sort of humble cheerfulness, and of course the pink — I have a lot of pink decor in my house.

lupen grainne san francisco

Lupen Grainne (pictured above)  is a professional photographer who lives in Northern California. See more of her work at Pottery Barn.