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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Great Trips: Colorful Collioure, France

Becky

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I promised you a few more pictures of my wonderful trip to France’s Ruby Coast. We stayed at a wonderful apartment in Collioure, a town so beautiful that it inspired artists like Matisse and Derain to be incredibly prolific when they summered there, and inspired them to create Fauvism. The area continues to inspire artists, who flock there and sell their work in the many galleries and on the streets.

The town is on the Mediterranean Sea and has the usual history of being visited by the Greeks and Romans and having a fort and all that good crazy Euro seaside stuff. This is the Eglise Notre Dame des Anges and you can see it in many paintings, like this Matisse:

There are reproductions of paintings by famous artists right at the vistas that inspired them so many years ago all over the village.

One of the most fun things about this village are unexpected architectural details like this ceramic drainpipe …

… colorful pot attached to a wall …

… and amazing hand-painted ceramic tile details.

You can see here how the amazing colors of this town have always inspired artists.

Also colorful are the locals. One of the coolest things about Collioure is that American visitors are a rarity, so the locals were friendly and somewhat fascinated by us. This street musician sat right down, serenaded us with his friends, then looked into his bag of tricks and gave us each crazy instruments like thumb cymbals so we could join in the music making.

When my friend Heather needed a screwdriver, she popped into a bar (a bar where Picasso used to hang out) and asked if there was somewhere to buy one. One of the patrons ran home to apartment and gave her one to borrow.

A gallery announces itself with bright mosaic pots, petunias and a painted door. While you can drive into the village, most of its narrow streets are pedestrian only.

You can walk the rocky coast along this amazing path.

One end of the bay is the perfect spot for a hotel.

One of the most amazing things about this village is that its a microclimate. Tropical plants thrive, yet you can see the snow-covered mountains of the Pyrenees off in the distance beyond the palm trees. The hillsides leading down to the village are vineyards, best known for Banyuls, a sweet wine.

Collioure is about a 2 hour drive from the Barcelona airport on the highway, about 2.5 to three hours if you opt for the incredible coastline route for the last half of the trip. We visited in late April and while it was windy and we weren’t inspired to jump in the ocean, there were very few crowds. I hear that in the summer it can get more crowded than Edgartown, so I recommend going in the just-off season. Also, prices are lower then. If you have any more questions about a visit, please ask them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to find out the answers for you.

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Friday, January 21st, 2011

Flickr Faves of the Week: Hotel OTTO in Berlin

Becky

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This week a group of images in our Fresh New Spaces Group on Flickr caught my attention. They were the minimalist spaces from a boutique hotel in Berlin called Hotel OTTO. Here, the neutral color palette and restrained furnishings let you enjoy the view, the photography and the warm hardwood floors:

Schöne Aussicht von der Frühstücks Lounge im Hotel Otto in Charlottenburg

This simple bedroom contains lots of space saving tips, including using thin but colorful upholstered canvases in lieu of a clunky headboard, and utilizing swing arm sconces to save nightstand space (and of course, when you don’t have room to cram in a nightstand, these are a great solution as well).

Moderne Zimmer im Hotel Otto in der Nähe der Oper Berlin

The palette is kept very simple, letting this iconic Eames fabric get the attention it deserves:

Zimmer im Boutique Hotel Otto in der Nähe vom Savignyplatz in Berlin

However, if a subtle blue, gray and black palette is not for you, they’ve got some electric preppy pink and green options for you. Note the extra shelf on the nightstand, which is great for tucking away books, magazines, and even that annoying glow from a digital clock that can exacerbate an insomniac. They’ve also scooped up some of the floor space with this piece so that you can take some of that stuff out of your suitcase and really get comfortable:

Standard Zimmer im 4 Sterne Hotel Otto in der Nähe vom Kurfürstendamm

Daybed zum Entspannen im Boutique Hotel Otto am Savignyplatz

Thanks so much to Hotel OTTO for sharing these shots with the group! More information about Hotel OTTO

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Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Adding Interest to Your Home’s Facade

Becky

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I’m still downloading my Tuscany pictures, so I figured I’d share a few here. If you want to give your house a little curb appeal, why not try some of the following tricks?

How about some peek-a-boo squares for a few busts?

Or a crazy light fixture invoving poultry?

A statement doorknocker?

Some potted blooms?

or some Wisteria?

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