November 28, 2011
…is what we did that today in spades. After an early morning coffee and a trek to the top of Victoria Peak, we went shopping for linens, ceramics, and furniture. a brief lunch by the pool at the Four Seasons and we were back to shopping this time for clothes – I love Shanghitang – and finally foot massages and pedicures. Thats my kind of hustle! Exhausted, I could do it all again tomorrow. One of the better websites/blogs I have found since being here is hongkonghustle.com. Young and current it has something for anyone intrested in design, food, nightlife and the whats what in Hong Kong. Even if you’re not planning on visiting Hong Kong anytime soon, it’s an interesting read with lots of pretty pictures and who knows you might just end up ahead of the curve on the next big trend.
November 25, 2011
Who knew there was another city that never sleeps? And, no. I’m not referencing my internal time-clock that is quite angry with me for traveling half way around – or over as it were – the world. Last night was or first night in this big crazy city. I was surprised at how multicultural it actually is. Young people everywhere, from every walk of life pouring out of the bars and clubs that apparently stay open all night long are fashionable and hip, and they all seem to speak english. After several drinks with friends from the states and here, we walked to a private supper club for dinner.
November 5, 2011
I love the look of Saraghina in Brooklyn. An un-decorated approach to the interiors, using salvaged furniture and a simple black and white palette makes for a relaxed and casual atmosphere. It’s as though some good friends borrowed chairs from the neighbors, opened a restaurant in their garage… In fact, the restaurant is located in a former garage/storefront, which owners Edoardo Mantelli and Massimiliano Nanni have transformed into a series of cool rooms anchored by a pizza oven at the front. Saraghina is located at 435 Halsey Street in Brooklyn. Have a look…
October 3, 2011
UM, AMAZING! Is this not unbelievable? How is it that I grew up in and lived in California for 38 years and I had never heard of the Devil’s Postpile?!? Would you believe that it is a natural occurring formation of many tall columns of basalt? The Devils Post Pile presents a textbook example of the volcanism that helped to form the Mammoth Lakes region of the Sierra Nevada mountain range but looks more like an Andy Goldsworthy installation.
The molten basalt flowed southward and poured into the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River valley, filling it to a depth of more than 400 feet. As the lava cooled and solidified, it shrank, creating cracks radiating from the center, approximately two feet apart. Eventually, the cracks joined, also growing downward. A large glacier quarried away most of the columns, leaving remnants on both sides of the valley, of which Devil’s Postpile is the largest. The tremendously heavy mass of ice created a highly polished basalt, some of which is still visible, though much of it has weathered away during the thousands of years since. Today frost-wedging and ice continue to cause the giant posts to fracture and fall.
High design in nature, gotta love it… The Devil’s Postpile is nature at its best! And, it’s important site for California visitors to experience. It offers some insight into the fascinating geologic history of the area it’s found in. Information regarding tours and hikes is available at the Mammoth Lakes Visitors’ Center, located on Highway 203 …if you’re headed that way any time soon.
October 1, 2011
Hotel Daniel is decorated in an ecletic europiean style, mixing french country, Eastern influences and beautiful bits of chinoiserie, with an updated twist. Found on the Right bank of Paris, the splendid Boutique Hotel Daniel welcomes you in one of the most prestigious locations in the city and is of course so very chic.
I know I don’t have to say it BUT are these rooms not gorgeous?! So beautifully done, rich and luxurious… i think the sophistication level is what really gets me. It doesn’t read hotel, rather private home… LOVE IT. Pillows, books, do-dads, and all the beautiful fabrics!
The attractive interiors include 26 gorgeous rooms (including 9 suites). Each well-appointed room is filled with antiques and pieces brought back from the owners travels around the world. In the bathrooms, Italian sculpture and Moroccan glazed tile elegant retreats to rejuvenate and refresh ones self before heading back out into the city of lights.
Amenities include: Limo or Town Car service, Parking, Private parking, 24-hour front desk , Concierge services, Lounge, Restaurant, Room service (24 hours), Fax machine, Tours/ticket assistance, Multilingual staff, Free Wi-fi, Telephones and laptops for rent, Shoe shine, Express service, Cleaning and laundry service, Spa treatment, Beauty services, Sauna, Fitness facilities and Swimming pool (indoor)… Rates, expensive. But what isn’t in Paris?!?
Enjoy a Kir Royale while you relax among the sumptuous satin cushions and deep seating banquette in Le Lounge bar. Perfect if you don’t have the energy to explore the city and need a good perch to watch the world from a cozy corner. Oh, I almost forgot… here is a snapshot of the beautiful bathroom.
September 24, 2011
I’m on Nantucket for an “end of season” weekend with close friends. It’s a little rainy so shopping and eating are taking up the majority of our time, when were not blogging in front of the fire on the screened in porch. Tripping around downtown yesterday we wandered into Lilly Pulitzer… Know for bold clear colors and strong prints, who knew Lilly Pulitzer is finding its way to home furnishings. Tennis skirts, sweater sets and cotton dresses weren’t enough… you can now customer order headboards, upholstered furniture, fabric by the yard and pillows.
Perfect for a beach house the playful colors even make rainy days sunny. Of course Nantucket is the perfect place to push the punch of hot pink or canary yellow. Would I want it in my full-time residence, no probably not… but it’s fun and would suit a kids room, hello princess! I think I’d love a few of these pillows on a white slipcovered sofa.
August 15, 2011
I love Butter. I love the dairy product but I’m talking about the beautiful restaurant opened about 7 to 10 years ago by Chef Alex Guarnaschelli on Lafayette. The cocoon is warm but spacious and the elegant aches that create a tunnel like diningroom are modern and unexpected… the interior holds its own and still feels unique and fresh after having been open almost a decade. I had an amazing crab cake starter followed by scallops with sausage and escargot, both were really really good.
My crab cakes (above) a friends chicken thighs (below)… I started eating my scallops so fast there was no time for a picture. The table shared whoopee pies for dessert that were to die for and I had french press coffee ( a favorite ). The server was very good, articulate educated on the menu and wine, personal without being to casual and nice. He forgot a drink or two towards the end of the evening but that would be my only complaint. The young ladies on the phone and at the front desk couldn’t have been nicer… That goes a long way with me. A Manhattan native, Guarnaschelli is the daughter of cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli and John Guarnaschelli. She is a graduate of Horace Mann School and Barnard College. Alex’ culinary experience started while watching her mother test numerous recipes at home while editing cookbooks. After becoming a chef, Alex worked at a number of restaurants in France, New York and Los Angeles, including Larry Forgione’s An American Place and Guy Savoy’s La Butte Chaillot. She also worked at Daniel Boulud’s eponymous restaurant and Joachim Splichal‘s Patina before becoming the executive chef at Butter. At this location, Alex is known for her use of seasonal greenmarket ingredients while providing unique interpretations for old favorites.
July 16, 2011
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.
In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art. His work is included in more than 200 hundred museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including ten honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
That said, I have to say the hanging “chandeliers” are his most successful work in my mind. Tonal variations found in those rather than the garish mix of colors seen above in “Mille Fleurs” work toward a more sophisticated aesthetic in my mind. I also didn’t care for the way many of the pieces were curated with baskets, blankets, and different wooden forms. Again the “chandeliers” are simply glass and largely one color allowing the medium to be appreciated to its fullest.
In 1999, Chihuly mounted a challenging exhibition, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; more than 1 million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. In 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London curated the exhibition Chihuly at the V. Chihuly’s lifelong affinity for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. His Garden Cycle began in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. Chihuly exhibited at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London, in 2005. Other major exhibition venues include the de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2008, and most recently the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2011. (Not to mention the Bellagio) That is a lot of work for one guy you might say… well it appears that he now employs a team of artisans to create the works and is one hand to guide the look and execution of each piece.
July 3, 2011
Most of us are lucky to be having a warm summer with day after day of beach weather and warm nights perfect for sleeping with the windows open. I’m not sure about Jamaica and how tourists are treated and make to feel when visiting, BUT… I was pretty impressed when I came across these images the other day of Round Hill Jamaica. Having grown-up in California I took for granted the indoor/outdoor lifestyle before I moved to the East Coast. Open living rooms, louvred doors and the like are a total turn-on for me. I could live that lifestyle 24/7. And, having a private pool right off the outdoor living room (in 80 degree weather) priceless.
The lifestyle I refer to is available at the Round Hill resort in Jamaica on Montego Bay. I’ve never been to Jamaica but I think I need to go and visit this beautiful resort. Private and resort pools, a beautiful beach, tennis and rooms that are well-appointed and beautiful with views for days! and just look at the rooms…
Chic right? Someone clearly gets the less is more mantra here. I love the white floors and the blue and fuchsia accents are perfect, they remind you of your tropical surroundings without overpowering the fresh look. The dark traditional wood furniture reminds of the british colonization that ended in 1958 (Jamaica was fully independent in 1962).
June 8, 2011
Written while on holiday, never posted. An “extra” for today. . .
There are many many places to eat in Provincetown, everything from over priced Mexican to order at the window sea food and burgers. There are also dozens of restaurants that offer a “better” dining experience including: Edwige, Devon, Victors, Jimmy’s and the Mews. All do a fine job and offer something for everyone. Compared to the eateries in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston they are simply passable, except for the Red Inn. Perhaps a few dishes are tad over done the menu items are mostly sophisticated, interesting and well portioned. Service is professional and attentive and the majority of the staff seems to know exactly what they are doing – although for so early in the season, a few were a bit more bristly than they should have been.
We all thought the newly remodeled dining room and bar of this classic Provincetown haunt was well done. With a clear East Coast vernacular and nod to the coastal setting the dining room is comfortable and most tables now have bay views. For me the only thing missing was one tiny layer, everything was nice but maybe one step short of finished. Friends felt the food needs to be simplified. Perhaps in this transient town of sophisticated city dwellers, keeping the food simple and not over-doing things would be a better approach than trying too hard to impress with complicated sauces and too many ingredients.
All in all, the Red Inn still delivers. Comfortable and pretty with a great setting I know I’ll go back, again and again.
April 11, 2011
World-renowned architect and interior designer, Michele Bonan created these beautiful rooms for the The Heidelberg Suites. He is also responsible for the exqusitly appointed JK Place Firenze in Florence and the JK Place Capri. Michele Bonan was inspired by the history of Heidelberg when creating the hotel and focused on a vision of “German Romanticism meets Italian Architecture. Bonan emphasizes this through his choice of colour and the interior design. According to the architect, an ideal synthesis has been composed of ‘Heidelberg’s historicism’, ‘Florentine elegance’ and ‘refreshing naturalness'”.
If you ask me, I’d say talent is apparent in every custom detail that make up the hotel of suites. Rugs, furniture everything was made for the hotel, and apparently you can even buy some of the furnishings if you are so inclined. Love the european mix of traditional and modern shapes, luxe fabrics and oversized accessories. I’ve never wanted to go before but I’m thinking I’d love to spend the night in Hiedelberg some day, just sayin.
March 16, 2011
As you walk by the impeccably restored exteriors, it might be hard to believe that Benefit Street ever had a dark spell. However, in the late 1950s the street was in such disrepair that the City of Providence planned to raze many of its buildings. Luckily, the city lacked the funds to go through with the demolition, and the Providence Preservation Society formed to preserve the historically important structures. Today, almost all the homes on Benefit are restored and the street is often lauded as having the highest concentration of 18th and 19th century colonial homes in the nation. If you have time for stops on your tour of Benefit Street, several buildings are worth a visit. The Providence Athenaeum at 251 Benefit St. is one of the oldest subscription libraries in the United States. Further north, the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum at 244 Benefit Street is home to a large and diverse collection. As you continue to walk north, you won’t be able to miss the First Baptist Church between Angell and Waterman Streets. Constructed in 1775, it is, unlike others that share its name, really the First Baptist church in America. The Old State House at 150 Benefit is where Rhode Island declared its independence from England on May 6th, 1776, two months earlier than the other colonies. It served as the state capitol from 1762 to 1901, and now is home to the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission.
Benefit Street’s literary history is another reason to visit. Edgar Allen Poe frequented The Athenaeum during his stays in Providence, and was said to have courted poet and Benefit Street resident Sarah Helen Whitman among the library’s shelves. Horror writer H.P. Lovecraft also had strong ties to the street, including family at number 161 (now home to Geoff’s, a good place to stop for a sandwich if all this walking gives you an appetite). Several of his stories take place in and around Benefit Street, such as “The Shunned House”, written about the then-dilapidated house at 135 Benefit Street. If you’d like more guidance on your tour of Benefit Street, several tours showcase different aspects of the street’s history. The Rhode Island Historical Society holds history- and architecture-focused tours at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday from mid-June through mid-October, starting at the John Brown House.
Benefit Street is a fairly easy and level walk, but since it lies halfway up a steep hill, you might want to park nearby if you’re not ready for a hike. If you can’t find parking on the street itself, try the south end just above its intersection with Wickenden Street, where side streets feature plenty of non-metered spots. From its brick sidewalks to its multi-colored houses, Benefit Street is quite photogenic, so don’t forget your camera!
copy by: Stephanie Obodda
March 9, 2011
Billy’s Bakery located in West Chelsea (and also TriBeCa) is a throw back to the days when things were made from scratch and times were more simple. The folks at Billy’s can do anything from cup-cakes to wedding cakes and you can bet they are some of the best around. My favorite is the carrot cake cup-cake but their refrigerator cake is to die for! Oh and the vintage tables, sweet wallpapers and homey environment at the shop will enchant you… I know I’m smitten.
February 25, 2011
There are 100’s of modernist homes in Palm Springs, one after the other… Flat roofs, deep overhangs and decorotive cement blocks are all hallmarks of midcentury dessert architecture. There are a handful of homes with a pedigree that even the most jaded person would climb over a locked gate or beg a friend to take them along to visit. Among those are the Kaufmann House designed by architectRichard Neutra in 1946. It was one of the last domestic projects conducted by the Neutra, but it is also arguably one of his most famous homes. It is “one of the most important examples of International Style architecture in the United States and the only one still in private hands.
Another heralded structure is Twin Palms built by Frank Sinatra in 1947. When in town, he would hoist a flag bearing the Jack Daniels logo to signal party time. The house that sleeps 8 rents for $7,800 a weekend… including concierge; sinatrahouse.com.
The Frey House II appears to grow from the craggy rocks of the San Jacinto mountain overlooking Palm Springs, California. Architect Albert Frey spent years measuring the movement of the sun and the contours of the rocks before he selected the site for his modernist home. The house was completed in 1963. Widely praised as a landmark example of Desert Modernism, the Frey II house is now owned by the Palm Springs Art Museum. However, to protect the structure, it is rarely open to the public.
It’s only day two, and truth be told I haven’t been to any of the before mentioned homes, yet. I have however visited several beautiful boutique hotels in Palm springs including the Colony Palms Hotel. Originally dubbed The Colonial House by reputed mobster owner Al Wertheimer, the Spanish Colonial style hotel began receiving guests in 1936 featuring plenty of sunshine, a good night’s rest, as well as a legendary underground speakeasy and brothel. The hotel was renamed The Howard Manor in the late 1940’s when Robert and Andrea Leeds Howard (owners of the champion thoroughbred Sea Biscuit) took possession. For the next 25 years the hotel was a haven for young Hollywood in Palms Springs. Having recently re-opened after an extensive renovation, The Colony Palms Hotel, has regained its swagger as a stunning four-star boutique. The hotel was designed by Los Angeles based Martyn Lawrence-Bullard. here are a few images…
The Parker … Designed by Johnathan Adler is without question one of the most chic hotels in Palm Springs. The front door is an imposing wall of formed concrete bricks. The lobby is an eclectic homage to bohemian retro artifacts and period cast-offs made cool again by Adler. The grounds are beautifully manicured but don’t feel overly groomed or inauthentic; small fountains replace fire pits nestled into the landscape and the pools are both protected by lush plantings. The Spa on the grounds (PSYC) is a whimsical nod to the great yachts of yesteryear.
February 24, 2011
Our first night in Palm Springs found us at Citron restaurant at the Viceroy Hotel. Dinner there was served under a private cabana near the pool. I had a beet salad and a big steak, cooked to perfection. We skipped dessert but their french press coffee was the perfect ending to the meal. The comfortable banquette and dimly lit gardens around the pool only added to the good meal with great friends. Since its origins in the 1930s, Viceroy Palm Springs has defined the ultimate Palm Springs experience. Luxuriously updated by Kelly Werstler to reflect the Hollywood Regency style popular during the desert’s original glamour era the hotel and restaurant have updated and fresh interiors. The pools and gardens still retain much of their old world charm but offer up enough modern glam factor too.
Nestled around three courtyards with pools and manicured gardens, Viceroy Palm Springs offers an exceptional full-service spa and luxury accommodations, including deluxe hotel rooms, suites and private villas. The Viceroy is the perfect place for banquets and romantic garden weddings and the charming setting and attention to detail will keep you coming back.
February 2, 2011
‘On the park’ goes along with ‘waterfront’ and other highly desirable adjectives when it comes to real-estate. On a recent walk through New York City ( one of my last as an official resident I might add) I found myself fascinated by so many beautiful buildings. As I began snapping pictures it dawned on me that because parks are so desirable the buildings that surround them are often better designed and built, prettier and better kept. And the scarcity of said property ensures new buildings are exceptional, like the one above. Now of course this is common sense right? I knew all of this to be true before this peticular night but it was the beauty of the buildings and the architecture, lighting and special effects that got me… The city was really “showing off” that night. Just look as these…
January 13, 2011
As the time draws near to pack up the apartment, my partner and I have been checking off “to do’s” from our NYC bucket list at a mad pace. This last weekend the sun was out and while it was cold, it was really a pretty weekend so we got out early (ish) on Sunday and took the underground up to 197th or so to see the Cloisters. The Cloisters, the branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, was assembled from architectural elements, both domestic and religious, that date from the twelfth through the fifteenth century. The building and its cloistered gardens—located in Fort Tryon Park in Northern Manhattan—are treasures in themselves, effectively part of the collection housed there. The Cloisters collection comprises approximately three thousand works of art from medieval Europe, dating from about the ninth to the sixteenth century. View selected highlights from the collection, or learn more about the curatorial department that oversees The Cloisters collection. The Treasury in the lower level of the museum had to have been my favorite part, don’t miss it if you go. There you will find tiny treasures in gold, enamel and other precious materials.
January 7, 2011
It’s snowing in New York City right now. I found this image on a friends Facebook page (thx Peter T) and I just love the way it captures the city. My partner and I took an apartment a year ago in New York City and the last year has been a blast, from decorating a small urban space to discovering restaurants, museums, and parks it has been an unforgettable year. I have to say stepping into a new dining establishment and soaking in the good design and sumptuous food is the thing i will miss the most. New York City is a dining Disneyland, imagine it and it exists somewhere on the island. Here is an image of Matsuri (I’ve blogged about Matsuri before) so, so beautiful! and food so good!
Here is a very brief of some of my “always good, always beautiful” spots in New York: Matsuri – Red Cat – Balthazar – Cafe’ Luxembourg – DBGB – Cookshop – Co. (company) – The Fat Radish – Colicchio & Sons …all of them wonderful.
The other thing I will miss is the fashion. People dress in New York, and by that don’t mean they are always formally attired, I simply men that attention is paid to the “look of the day” be it Preppy Gangster, Bohemian Banker, Yoga Momma, or “I only wear black”. New York is a parade of good and interesting fashion. Trends are definitely cultivated in the Big Apple and designers pack the skyscrapers here all hoping to be the next big thing… when they say New York is the center of the universe they really aren’t kidding. So much of what America and the world consume is designed here, maybe not all made here, but designed and then devoured by the chic masses. I have always enjoyed getting dressed but after my year in New York, I have a heightened appreciation for having the right outfit on and feeling good in my clothes.
November 15, 2010
DBGB KITCHEN AND BAR is Chef Daniel Boulud’s downtown (New York) place where the French brassiere meets the American tavern. Enjoy house-made sausage, burgers and Lyonnais inspired dishes. Wash them down with craft beers and affordable table wines in a dining room that does not disappoint!
The bar is a glass and mirrored room with the menus, drink lists an other quirky musings written (etched or printed) directly on the two materials. The effect is you feel as if you’re in a room that goes on forever, but the words stop the eye and create intimacy… candlelight is beautiful in the reflection. It’s modern meets brassiere.
The dining room is a warm darkish space, large in volume but made cozy with benches and rich dark wood tables and shelving that wraps the room. The colors are raw concrete and a cocoa colored cerused oak, it a very dark taupe brown that is so elegant… the perfect counterpoint to the concrete and the “sparkle” in the room are the beautiful copper pots and pans displayed around the top of the wrap around shelves.
Tucked behind one wall are alcove bankettes, so sexy and cool the room was overflowing the night we were there but there was an intimate calm inside these special retreats. On the other walls you can watch the kitchen at work through the displays of supplies and wine, an open kitchen sort of… interesting without being distracting. Oh and the food was GREAT too!
October 11, 2010
BIG BAMBU by Doug & Mike Starn is on the roof at the Met for a limited time. Invited by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to create a site-specific installation for The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, the twin brothers Mike and Doug Starn present their new work, Big Bambú: You Can’t, You Don’t, and You Won’t Stop. The monumental bamboo structure, ultimately measuring 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 50 feet high, takes the form of a cresting wave that bridges realms of sculpture, architecture, and performance. Set against Central Park and its urban backdrop, Big Bambú suggests the complexity and energy of an ever-changing living organism. It is the thirteenth-consecutive single-artist installation on the Roof Garden.
Big Bambú is a growing and changing sculpture―a vast network of 5,000 interlocking 30- and 40-foot-long fresh-cut bamboo poles, lashed together with 50 miles of nylon rope. It will continue to be constructed throughout the duration of the exhibition. The first phase of the structure―measuring about 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 30 feet high―was completed by opening day, April 27. The artists and rock climbers are built up the eastern portion of the sculpture to an elevation of 50 feet. By summer, the western portion of the sculpture was about 40 feet high. An internal footpath artery system grows along with the structure, facilitating its progress. The evolution of the work has been documented by the artists in photographs and videos.
Visitors are able to experience Big Bambú from the Roof Garden level, open to everyone during regular Museum hours, weather permitting, and to walk among a forest of bamboo poles that serves as the base of the sculpture. Alternatively, visitors are able to explore the artwork on brief tours led by Museum-trained guides. On the guided tours, held during regular Museum hours, weather permitting, small groups of visitors are able to walk along the elevated interior network of pathways roughly 20 to 40 feet above the Roof Garden. Tickets are required for the guided tours, and specific guidelines apply to those interested in participating. I chose to have a drink with my partner under the wonderful structure and watch the sky turn from day to night.
Born in New Jersey in 1961, the identical twins Doug and Mike Starn work collaboratively and defy categorization, combining traditionally separate disciplines such as sculpture, photography, painting, video, and installation. In spring 2009, the Arts for Transit program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York City unveiled See it split, see it change, the Starns’ first public commission. The work, which is installed permanently at the South Ferry subway station, won the Brendan Gill Prize. Their work has been exhibited internationally and is included in public and private collections worldwide. Their solo exhibitions include Gravity of Light (2004, 2008), Absorption + Transmission (2005, 2006), Behind Your Eye (2004), Sphere of Influence (1994), Mike and Doug Starn: Selected Works 1985-87 (1988), and The Christ Series (1988). The artists live and work in the New York area.