Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Staycation Day: Empire State of Mind

Today's my day out in the city. No destination in mind. We'll see what happens. 

high style on the brooklyn bridge
Source: Anne & Stiil magazine
Photo: Stine Kase

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Color Texture Pattern: My Fantasy Made Real

So, I was flipping through a magazine called Living, which I think is published in Uruguay, when I discovered that my dream home already exists. In fact, someone else built it and has been living in it, beautifully, for some time now. This is what happens when you don't open the mail every day. 

The homeowner's name is Nuria Cobeaga and she designs wonderful South American blouses and bags like these. Her (my) home is a crystal-clear translation of that same style. It combines a mix of rich colors, folksy patterns, handmade textiles, and aged surfaces into a showstopping family home. Were I the boss of this casa, no one would ever cross the threshold. Probably wouldn't even let you sit in any of the wonderful outdoor rooms either. Sorry.

Let the pictures speak for themselves...

color play: reds, oranges, blues, aged wood and patchwork pillow

Monday, August 15, 2011

Far-Flung Fashion: Dressing for Distant Shores

It has been a few years since my last vacation and I'm starting to yearn from some place else again. (To be fair, Paris did hit the spot in a big way.) Sadly, circumstances leave me taking this week off from work and remaining quite local. Thank goodness New York City is one place where a 'staycation' can really count for something! My to-do list includes some of those 'roundtuit items that are so easy to put off, plus a few dashes of fun that life just seems too exhausting for in a normal week. Even sadder? Most of these activities will be attended in assorted denim-and-cotton ensembles.

Of course, glamming it up seems like the ultimate day off. But that's only for people who can afford lots of taxi rides to ease their stillettoed feet, and frankly, for people who don't venture outside the better-heeled parts of town where they're somewhat less likely to run into trouble. (Remember: Carrie Bradshaw's pink tutu was all good 'til the bus splashed mud on it. Reality, folks. Reality.)

So, while my jeans, sneakers and airy tank tops are doing their job keeping me on the go, I'll fantasize about high style in exotic ports of call.

sizzling hot pink against an earthy backdrop of orange and grey

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rooms on Film: Diario de Una Ninfomana

If you follow my Flickr stream, you know I developed a minor obsession with the sets in this film last year. In particular, the leading lady's apartment in the beginning of the film, where her pursuit of pleasure is firmly established.

Based on the book (bio) by Valerie Tasso, the film is set in Barcelona where we follow Valerie through the ups and downs of finding the right man to match her appetites, maintaining steady employment and taking advice from her elderly French grandmother. Later, things gets dizzily better and then tragically worse. 

This movie is so frank and randy that people find it rather scandalous. But I broke down and ordered the dvd and I have to say... it ain't so bad. She's just a woman with a very strong libido who really does want the fantasy of a prince to sweep her off her feet and give her a family. Val goes down some taboo paths to find her way, but she comes to understand the dark side of some her fantasies.

But, oh, that apartment...

the eclectic hallway of val's barcelona apartment

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Single-Girl Style: Bohemian Bourgeois

In the suburbs of Johannesburg lurks the nifty apartment of Ariane Besson. Her style is heavily Art Deco and heavily thrifted. Her walls are an airy sky blue that sets off the salon wall of old frames, as well as all the display cabinets chock full of ceramic kitsch. The most envious detail are those bookshelves with the rolling ladder. Wouldn't say 'no' to that. The eclectic bedroom proves Besson is a woman after my own heart. Colorful bedding, mixed patterns, and those quatrefoil window shutters. 

Bet her cocktail parties are jam-packed!

well-curated livingroom: all sorts of kitsch on display

All Summer in a Room

Now this is what I'm talkin' about. A cozy space to relax, enjoy music, get some Vitamin D and, perhaps manage to look "effortlessly chic" at the same time.

Source: Cosmopolitan  Photo: Diego Uchitel

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Color Texture Pattern: Soothing Blues

So, apparently it is now mid-August and a lot of us are wondering where the summer went. Consensus is that the various heatwaves drove us all indoors seeking air-conditioned relief. While we were burrowing, June and July slipped away. All I know is that I want my 39th summer back! 

Since it is unlikely summers will get milder in the years to come, here's to homes that are built for this sort of thing. Where you can linger indoors and enjoy the feel of cool tiles, in soothing shades of green and blue, arranged in orderly patterns of squares and rectangles. Calm, soothing relief...

timeless kitchen in brussels: high ceilings, shimmering tile, sconces that fade into the walls, rustic wood floors and the slate blue ceiling and chimney wall
source: maison francaise  photo: francis amiand

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Color Story: Ice Pink & Mocha Revisited

The sight of the new House Beautiful cover both thrilled me and threw me for a loop. On one hand, it sizzles (as do all their covers, am I right?). The earthy tones jibe so well from the salmon pink title and throw pillows, to the cool brown wallpaper and that wonderful pink painting. On the other hand, this cover took me back about ten years to when I first started thinking about decorating my apartment properly. 

After visiting for the first time, a friend suggested my little studio was juvenile and in need of a full upgrade. Her plans were too much for me at the time, but that discussion did pique my interest. I started looking at design magazines and considering furnishings. For a few months it looked like some lovely Oriental silk bolsters from ABC Home store were going to be the inspiration. (If you're a New Yorker, you know that quite often they carry very affordable items and have great sales.) The shiny cool shades I deemed "ice pink" and "mocha."

Since that color scheme was never put in place, who's to say if it would have been right for me? But man was it pretty in my imagination. And now House Beautiful not only brings it back, but breaks it down! 

Source: House Beautiful

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dream Palace: Time Enough at Last

One of the key reasons I decided to move from Flickr to a proper blog is that I got a little tired of seeing the same rooms come around time and again. Don't misunderstand, a lot of those rooms from domino, Livingetc, Better Homes & Gardens, etc are my faves too. But they've been circulating and recycling for several years and a new room is more of a surprise now. 

So I started fishing around for other publications we don't normally see in North America. Bless the internet for closing the divide between hither and yon. Not only can you grab a look at mags from almost every continent, I now subscribe to House & Leisure South Africa! (And uh, they seem to be livin' pretty swell down there.)

So, you will be seeing some gorgeous, familiar rooms, but also you will be seeing some new stuff (depending on where you live) like this room. The homeowner's name is Mario Fortunato and he's a writer of many sorts. This house is his retreat and this room is Everything I can dream of to be happy writing is in this room (except maybe a jar of homemade sour cream cookies). Daylight, a fantastic view of lush greenery + open sky, books books books, huge work surface, cushy furniture, bright accessories and a stereo system within arm's reach. 

What is not to love? I ask you!
writing retreat of mario fortunato (pictured)

Source: Io Donna magazine  Photo: Barbara Corsica

Friday, August 5, 2011

Color Story: Jewel-Toned Walls

When Kimhas7cats from Desire to Inspire first painted her kitchen cabinets pink, it was like a revelation. Not only was the independence and ownership of that choice inspiring, it reminded me of a long-ago visit to a classmate's home in grade school. I was struck by the fact that the kitchen was done in white and sage green, right down to the linoleum tile. It was airy and fresh and...the sage complemented the red-haired family. 

Since Kim's bold move, I am somewhat drawn to similar spaces where they're just putting it out there, allowing that color choice to lead to more bold and stylish choices that elevate the whole home beyond basic functions. 

It really is your thing. Do what you wanna do!

kitchen cabinets in a deep rich, pink! the windows keep the room so light that it can bear this level of saturated color

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Exotic Beds: Light, Bright & Darn-Near White

White bedding is not my friend. Historically, it has leeched color from colorfast blankets, the mattress and drawn the ink from uncapped pens with the gravitational pull of a black hole. But most annoyingly, my white bedding tends to get dingy. What in the world causes white cotton to take on a grayish cast? My incredibly handy mother suggests simply using something called "blueing" to put an end to this nonsense. 

Maybe when I'm 40 I will have finally matured enough to simply take Mom's advice without question. She is always right... Until then, here's to airy, exotic, white bedrooms...(with a pop of color).

embroidered paisley overhead, that gorgeous carved headboard and the cool, silky silver-gray quilt