Modern Ceiling Fans

By Kate Riley June 29, 2017

Last week we had a big heat wave here in Northern California with temperatures in the 100s. No doubt you heard about the soaring temperatures in the Southwest as well, airplanes were unable to take off! I don’t have air conditioning in my California home because there are only about 10 days of the year where it gets hot enough to “need” it. On those days, I suffer through it with fans and it makes me grateful for the ceiling fan in my family room, I lay down cotton sheets on the sectional and lay still under the cool breeze.

I discovered a few years ago that I had come full circle on ceiling fans, no longer hating them but actually loving them, especially the newer versions in more modern shapes. I installed this koa wood finish fan in the master bedroom in the Vegas house and when the house is sold at the end of the summer, it will be one of the decorative elements I miss the most. The curvy blades and koa wood make it an attractive option for multiple spaces from coastal to contemporary like the lightless one shown below. (This is a republication of a post from two years ago, with a roundup of attractive modern ceiling fans to cool your indoor spaces.)

coastal living room with wood ceiling fan

allee design

Like a chandelier, a good looking ceiling fan can be a focal point in a room. Introduce contrast with a metal and wood combination suspended from a white ceiling; twisted nickel blades pop against the stained wood tray ceiling in the bedroom below; nickel is always a goes-with-everything option.

wood and black bedroom ceiling fan

apd architects

aluminum fan pitched ceiling

clayton and little

You could go big and bold, I love the design of this customizable Essence fan, it reminds me of thin petal flowers, like the stenopetala plumeria that blooms in Hawaii. I’ve seen it used in several commercial establishments but I love it in a residential interior too.

essence fan

big ass fans

If your preference is the opposite and you want your ceiling fan to escape attention, choose one that blends in with the ceiling. In these spaces the airy white blades recede into the background which allows for other accents to take the spotlight.

coastal living room

ashley gilbreath

modern white ceiling fan

white ceiling fan

baxter design group

Another option is to use directional fans, like pendants they are smaller and can be installed as a single or used as multiples to create breezes in different directions.

morgante wilson

If you’re looking for something a bit more contemporary for use in warmer weather and different than the basic five blade, consider these fans, most of them come in multiple finishes from white to wood to metal.

modern ceiling fans

cirque / minka aluminum roto / black twisted blade / fanimation zonix / pancake / fanimation levon / minka aire aviation / nickel lapa / bronze directional / nickel directional

Have you found a ceiling fan you love?


Sonoma Plaza Stroll

By Kate Riley June 26, 2017

One of my favorite things to do when visitors come to town is take them on a stroll around the Sonoma Plaza, it’s always a good time and no one is ever disappointed. I haven’t photographed it in quite a few years since I posted about some stops on a day trip to Sonoma from San Francisco. I still recommend the wineries in that older post as a place to get a view of the vineyards, but the Plaza is the place to spend and afternoon and it’s where you’ll get a little taste of everything.

Out-of-towners always ask, “Napa or Sonoma?” and I always say “Both”. You’ll get a totally different experience wherever you go. I love to visit Napa, it’s sophisticated and stunning to see, but I grew up in Sonoma County so I’m biased and I like our more casual vibe. Sonoma is home to me and I so love to play tour guide right here in my backyard.

I shot all of these pictures with my go to favorite lens, the 35mm Nikkor f2 that I mentioned years ago in this Yosemite post. I love this lens because of its small size and versatility for walkabout shooting. Its range is f/2 to f/22 so you can get crisp shots from far away for landscapes, or shallow depth of field at a wide aperture when needed.

Start wherever you park your car but be sure to walk the entire square, it’s worth it.


On the north side of the Plaza you’ll find the famous Girl & the Fig restaurant and a gorgeous home store called Summervine. Dine at the old time Swiss Hotel, or pick up a picnic at the Sonoma Cheese Shop.
















On the east side of the Plaza you’ll find several shops, bars, and art galleries, as well as several cool alleys to duck down and explore. You’ll pass the famous Basque Cafe (amazing breads and salads), also the Sebastiani Theater and the Ledson tasting room. Stop in to the Sonoma Wine Shop, they know their stuff and sell only boutique wines, it’s a nice contrast to the high volume commercial wines from the Sonoma valley.














The south side offers various shops, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms. I love the vibe of the Pangloss Cellars wine lounge.















On the west side you’ll find a great bar, olive oil tasting room, art gallery, the Sunflower Caffe and my favorite place to splurge on lunch, the courtyard of the El Dorado Hotel.











Note there are grandfathered alcohol consumption laws in the Plaza so you can bring or buy a bottle of wine and food, and picnic in the park without a care. Two playgrounds means you can bring the kids along too. :) Or pop into a variety of other tasting rooms you’ll find just off the Plaza there are so many.






Hope you enjoyed the stroll, come and visit us sometime in the Sonoma Plaza, it won’t disappoint!