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Friday, November 9th, 2012

Around the Web This Week

Becky

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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.

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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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Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I Want To Go To There: How Do You Find Cool Lodging?

Becky

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Reading the New York Times Travel section this weekend, I stumbled across a site I hadn’t visited. Now that I have, it is sure to become a giant time-sucker in my life. It’s called DesignTripper.com, and it’s full of carefully curated, unique vacation roosts (houses, inns, B&Bs, even yurts) and restaurants that aren’t likely to earn you any Starwood rewards points.

This led me to their post about Fair Folks and a Goat, an amazing shotgun house in New Orleans that has a boutique, a coffee parlor, a gallery and one bedroom for guests with a rotating art installation inside (the one above is by local artist t Hannah Chalew), among other things. This spot can’t be summed up in a category or two; what’s so great is the way they support local artists and craftspeople. I also loved seeing local artwork (Time Out chair – so genius – is by Sarah Ashley Longshore), combined with two of my favorite items we carry, the Blu Dot Real Good Chair and Patrick Townsend’s Orbit Light, combined with classic New Orleans shotgun architecture:

UPDATE: Since posting this, I found that Fair Folks is moving their creative action north to Greenwich Village and will be opening a new a retail boutique and design emporium featuring the works of established New York designers and talented young artists in September! Learn more here.

What are some of your favorite ways to find chic vacation spots? Do you browse through Wallpaper*, drool, rip out the pages and then start saving money? Enjoy cruising through sites like airnb and vrbo, sure you’ll find that perfect needle in a haystack while looking out for scammers and the kind of homeowners who take bathroom pictures with the toilet seat up and all of their products all over the sink (I’m not talking in a Todd Selby kind of way)? Hit your local AAA? Let discount sites like Jetsetter do the searching and the discounting for you? Post what you’re looking for on Facebook and see who has good ideas? Are you laid back enough to do the CouchSurfing thing? Have you been doing the travel agent thing since long before the interwebs were invented and swear it’s still the best and only way to go?

There are so many options out there it’s really hard to keep up; while DesignTripper does NOT handle bookings and reservations, they certainly cut down on search time for the cool spots. Please share your favorite travel search methods with us as well as favorite places you’ve stayed in the comments section – I’d love to know about your experiences, good or bad!

Photos via DesignTripper.com

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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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Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

A Dreamy Rental Palazzo in Florence

Becky

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I was just flipping through Wallpaper* and caught a glimpse of Palazzo Bartolommei, a gorgeous penthouse apartment in Florence. I am getting the urge to return to Italy and this newly-redesigned space is causing serious daydreaming distraction. From what I can tell, it starts at 1000 Euros/night, but it has five bedrooms, a fully outfitted kitchen, a terrace (from which you can hear concerts at the nearby church) and marble bathrooms. Grab a bunch of friends and it can work out to 1000 Euros for the week!

Ilaria Miani has done a beautiful job on this redesign of this 17th-century space. Look closely at that steel trunk used as a nightstand in the photo above.

Find out who the freak in your group is by seeing who picks this bedroom as their first choice:

images from here.

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