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Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Holiday Weekends: Fun Places to Stay


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

As we gear up for those precious three day weekends this summer, we design lovers love to find fun places to stay that give us inspiration for our own homes (or at least  relief from the projects on our lists!) Here’s a list of places I’ve admired or that are on my “I Want To Go To There” list around the U.S.A. Please add any from your wish list to the Comments section – we’d love to know about them.

The Surf Lodge

The Surf Lodge

The Surf Lodge, Montauk, New York. This groovy spot made quite a splash after its full remodel several years ago. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the end of the south fork of Long Island.

The Attwater

The Attwater, Newport Rhode Island. The chic and relaxing interiors were carefully put together by interior designer Rachel Reider. Enjoy a nosh on lemon ginger scones while picking up ideas on mixing patterns. They even have a discount for guest purchases at Vineyard Vines.

Tides South Beach

King and Groove Tides South Beach, Miami. Get your Kelly Wearstler style on at this Bravura Modern meets Miami Art Deco chic hotel.

Sea Ranch Lodge, photo by Payne Photographic

Sea Ranch Lodge, Sea Ranch, California. After spending the day hiking the wild beauty of the Northern California coast and admiring the way its iconic designers created architecture that yielded to the landscape,  cozy up in groovy and comfy modern rooms at this stunning lodge.

1887 Mackinac Island

1887 Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan.  If you are craving something more traditional and ornate, check out the Carleton Varney-designed rooms at The 1887 Grand Hotel. The room above is the Jacqueline Kennedy Suite.


Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

A Little Moroccan Inspiration


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As I perused a Moroccan style house last night, it got me thinking about what a wealth of inspiration this far-off land has to offer. I thought I’d share a few ways Morocco’s style can inspire you at home.

One of the very first design blogs I ever started following was My Marrakesh, and it’s been such a joy to watch its creator, Maryam Montague, touted by major trendsetters and media outlets. While Moroccan inspiration has been a style influence around the world for a long time, I believe she was a major factor in making it so popular for the past few years.It’s also been exciting to see Maryam land her book deal. If you want a tome of Moroccan inspiration, pick up Marrakesh By Design stat!

It’s also been fun to follow her and her architect husband build their boutique hotel, Peacock Pavilions:

Peacock Pavilions, Morocco

Use bold colors and layers of textiles. Moroccan details you may pick up for your own home are the rich textures of kilim textiles and Beni Ouarain and groups of perforated hammered metal lanterns. Exuberant colors stand out against white walls, and one can never have too many layers of rugs, pillows and other textiles.

Borrow Morocco’s deep and electric blue. When I think of Morocco, it’s all about Yves for me. Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge bought his Moorish villa from French painter Jacques Majorelle. To learn more about the joint, Jardin Majorelle, I recommend this excellent post, Chic in Morocco, over at Habitually Chic. This electric shade of blue is seen in many images of Morocco.

3. Make your courtyard a peaceful retreat. While gardens as lush as those at Jardin Majorelle are rare, Morocco is full of gorgeous outdoor spaces. Many houses are riads, which have interior courtyards. While some are full of intricate tile and fountains, others, like Riad Tarabel (another private guest house where you can stay), are more subdued.

Another iconic Moroccan image is of original sixties boho queen Talitha Getty (taken by Patrick Lichfield). Minarets are a common sight from Morocco’s rooftops.

4. Stop with all that boring white and tan tile and go bold. Life is shore. Handcrafted tiles in bold color combinations and intricate patterns are the way to go sometimes.

5. You can never have too many layers of textiles, or throw and floor pillows. Just ask Yves.


Monday, May 20th, 2013

Guest Post: Contemporary Venetian Style


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Please welcome to architect, interior designer and blogger Elisabetta Rizzato, who will be taking us on a trip to her hometown of Venice, Italy, where we’ll stop by some of her favorite haunts to check out contemporary Ventian style.

In the eyes of a careless observer, the city of Venice might seem like a place that has remained unchanged over the centuries: waterways, streets (“calli”), ancient buildings, everything seems to be indifferent to the passage of time.

But there are many examples of how Venice shows its link with contemporary times: In new architectures, places, commercial activities, art, design and in the people who live and study there. In particular, I would like to talk about some shops in Venice that either demonstrate modernity while maintaining continuity with the past or that have a clear break with the past.

The first category includes numerous examples of how old products or new interpretations of old forms are reproduced and sold in our times; one of the most interesting examples is certainly Venetia Studium, whose main store is located a few steps from San Marco square. Venetia Studium speaks the ancient language of elegance and good taste – rich fabrics, high craftsmanship and attention to detail are the characteristics of the products sold in the store, with a wide range of home furnishings and clothing accessories .

The store also contains the famous Fortuny lamp. A timeless design object, it’s a floor lamp that turned 100 years old in 2007. It was designed by Marià Fortuny Madrazo, also known by the name Mariano Fortuny (Granada, May 11, 1871 – Venice, May 3, 1949), a Spanish painter, designer and set designer. The lamp is considered as one of the most interesting products in the history of industrial design and it has revolutionized the world of lighting, thanks to the special lighting effect it produces – the bulb is turned inward and is projected on a fabric used for reflection. More than a lamp it is a great light projector, which in its dynamic lines evokes a confidence in the future and modernity that make it contemporary.

I stumbled by chance in an upcoming opening of the new store, located on a street side to the Peggy Guggenheim museum:

A shop that always attracts my attention for its clean cut from the past is called Fiorella Gallery and is located at the corner of Campo Santo Stefano, a short walk from the Accademia Bridge. From its windows you can perceive the huge contrast with the surrounding environment: – bright colors, neon and works of irreverent art appear from the traditional architectures of plaster and brick of the field.

Inside, there are unique pieces from contemporary artists and irreverent designers, including works by Gaetano Pesce, Ettore Sottsass, Rod Dudley, Still and works of the owner, Fiorella Mancini. The store has been around since the 1960s and has a very interesting history.

To see more of Elisabetta’s beautiful inspirations and learn more about her work, be sure to visit er interior design.


Friday, November 9th, 2012

Around the Web This Week


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What a week! Personally I ruined my fall back extra hour of sleep by staying up late for election results and speeches and never caught back up; it’s like a week-long political hangover and I’m just glad there aren’t 6 billion dollars worth of annoying ads assaulting us anymore. It’s been fun to think about other things; here are a few fun virtual design stops I’ve made this week.

First, let’s get serious. Victims of Hurricane Sandy need help. A lot of helpful tips have been posted all over the web this week; I’m finding first-hand accounts from friends on Facebook have some of the most useful information. Bottom line, these people don’t need your worn-out clothing right now, what they do need includes warm outerwear (coats, scarves, mittens, hats, wool socks, etc.), cash, hand sanitizer, batteries, wipes, cans of soup and can openers, diapers, warm blankets, power cords and more. An easy way to help is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Another charity that is doing great work and makes it easy to donate online is Family-to-Family.

If you need to lighten your mood, I highly recommend a viewing of Moonrise Kingdom from the comfort of your living room. If you’ve already checked out Wes Anderson’s latest visual feast but can’t get enough, check out the behind the scenes tours, particularly Bill Murray’s guided set tour.

I loved this post from Tablet about great spots for what they call “the annual man trip” but I have decided to call mancations, dudescursions and/or bro-jurns. While I’m not a man and I don’t really care to go fishing or smoke cigars, I would happily cozy up in any of these awesome spots around the world.

I finally had time to sit down and savor the latest issue of Anthology magazine. The theme is Rhythm and Hues and it’s a great look at the homes of music-industry types. I love that during a time when so many home glossies were going out of business, this talented group had the guts create a fresh and original print magazine. I treat each one like I would a book, and they will never be making their way to my recycling bin.

By the way, if you got too caught up in the fray and forgot to shop our Blu Dot sale, don’t fret. It’s been extended through November 19th. Click here to start browsing and saving.


Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Mini Chicago Architecture Tour


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The last time I went to Chicago I saw Desperately Seeking Susan in the theater, and it was a new release at the time. Also, I was at an age where getting to see Desperately Seeking Susan was the coolest, and I spent my allowance on a bunch of Madonna-inspired rubber and silver bracelets at Contempo Casuals at Water Tower Place, oblivious to the amazing city around me. Luckily this past weekend, I returned to Chicago more mature and appreciative of architecture, and I found myself cruising Trulia for Chicago housing as soon as I had to leave. Here are just a few of the sites that make up the amazing city.

One of the most fun things you can do in Chicago is rent a bike and take it up or down the coast of Lake Michigan; we opted to go North. It was worth the horrendous customer service and outrageous prices at the bike rental place on the Navy Pier.

One of the great things about the architecture of Chicago is all of those little details on the buildings that came before Mies stripped everything down. The detail above is from what is currently a Bloomingdale’s Home store, formerly the Medinah Temple, designed by Huehl and Schmid, built in 1912.

While I knew a bit about the 1922 Chicago Tribune building/contest (in architecture school you learn that the second-place entry is the one everyone is still talking about, by Eliel Saarninen). What I didn’t realize is that the existing neo-gothic architecture  has all of these little fragments from other buildings around the world stuck in it, from castles in England to the Great Wall of China.

Okay, so I was not coordinated enough to ride my bike and snap a picture of 860-880 Lake Shore Drive at the same time, so they are missing from this photo essay, as well as a slew of other iconic buildings. Sorry! Anyway, Marnia City  (1959) by a.k.a. the honeycomb buildings, was built by one of Mies’ proteges, Bertrand Goldberg.

He also designed the Prentice Women’s Hospital, a Brutalist building that is currently in danger of being demolished (last I heard  Northwestern University was still pushing to tear it down; sign a petition to help it get landmark status here). This building is a feat of engineering and was one of the first designs to use CAD, which was cutting edge technology at the time. The building was completed in 1975.

I think I like this view of Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (2004) the best. He sure knows how to make you want to go check out what the rest of it looks like with a big metal tease. Here’s what the rest of it looks like.

Obligatory shot of Cloud Gate (2004), a.k.a. “The Bean,” by Anish Kapoor.

Last picture I took before I got super tired and picture quality got even worse – Yvonne Domenge Sculpture at Millennium Park.