Michael Paranyo's birdie bungalows and avian mansions, handcrafted from recycled materials, have caught the attention of human eyes by being featured on HGTV and Bay Area Backroads. Rakish cuts of distinctive wood imbue the houses with a rustic feel, and roofs made of copper sheets lend a ramshackle charm to the domiciles. The town and country birdhouse ($99.95) evokes the appealing simplicity of the Great Plains, and themed pieces such as the chez noir birdfeeder and restaurant ($99.95) flaunts fashion with its dual-story design, ladder, and glass doorknob. Placate feuding families of lovebirds with two smaller birdhouses, such as the townhouse-style south Berkeley starter home ($49.95) and the Rustic A-frame outfitted with fig branches and a perch for romantic balcony scenes in which fowl lovers long for the ability to fly away like a human.
The home is the biggest purchase people make, with the exception of those who bought limited-edition Beanie Babies in 1997. Because it's such a large investment, it's important to keep it looking its best. That's where interior decorators and the Dream House Company steps in. They meet with home sellers to stage homes, making rooms look their best to attract buyers. They also consult with new owners, or those simply looking for a change, helping them decorate and taking them on shopping trips to use her professional discount at several major homewares retailers.
Through Studio+One:Design, professional abode beautifier Susan Hershman enlivens home interiors by drawing from her expertise in interior architecture and bathroom and kitchen renovations. Color consultations guide customers through thousands of paint-color options and enlists a medium to consult the restless spirit of Van Gogh. Susan can ensure walls are dressed in modern palettes, match an established decor, or evoke desired interior looks and feels. An interior-architecture consultation helps beautify and maximize the space inside kitchens, hallways, and underground racquetball arenas. Those who would like to read more about the aesthetic and financial benefits of proper color coordination can check out Susan’s book, House Colors: Exterior Color by Style of Architecture, which includes detailed information on how great exterior design can impact property value and which windowsill colors make you look the slimmest.
From the cabernet-hued curlicues on the carpets to the gilded columns and soaring ceilings, the Alameda Theatre is steeped in history. During the Second World War, soldiers crowded in to watch films in the auditorium, which also has spent stints as a practice area for rock bands and as a skating rink. The theater was recently brought out of dormancy with an extensive renovation project that restored the glow to its art-deco façades and towering neon sign. Gold leaf, some still intact from the building’s construction in 1932, leads eyes up to a screen 50 feet in width.
A packed schedule of first-run films flickers to life on the big screen, with showings in 3-D letting audiences see explosions leap from the flat surface or watch pieces of the Hulk’s hard-to-program VCR fly past. The historic theater also showcases classic films such as The Graduate or The Wild One every week, and hosts a talent show every Friday and Saturday evening.
Since 1994, when the first iteration of Terra Mia Ceramic Studio opened, Christine Simmons and her team have been helping kids and adults get creative. The studio eventually relocated to its current site, a large space full of natural light and color splashing from finished ceramic pieces. The wide variety of paintable pottery the space contains, as well as the helpful input of friendly staffers, earned the studio SF Weekly's award for the best DIY ceramics shop in 2012.
After adding finishing touches to pottery, guests can sit for spells on an outdoor patio loaded up with plants. The patio leads to a cozy, sunny-walled room that's ideal for birthday parties, girls' nights out, or private gatherings of people born with brushes for fingers.
For 15 years, the friendly and knowledgeable staff at locally-owned-and-operated Framed and Cornered have been helping people preserve precious memories and fine art. Patrons browse thousands of framing samples and hundreds of mat colors while getting valuable input from art-degreed team members. The crew specializes in archival framing, using modern conservation techniques such as acid-free mats and UV-protective glass to guard keepsakes against damage.
The talented technicians also perform custom framing to preserve diplomas, sports jerseys, and other collectibles.