October 11, 2012
I really only need three things to live happily in Los Angles… a beautiful Spanish Mediterranean house with a tile roof and interesting windows, iron work and maybe a pool. Any of these will do:
A beautiful car (vintage please with a soft top because it’s always warm in LA). I love all things Mercedes but put me behind the wheel of a vintage 280 and there would be NO STOPPING me.
October 7, 2012
I thought about it on the plane and realized that I hadn’t been to Los Angeles for seven years, that’s a long time… But after being here just one day I’ve realized that while shops, clubs and restaurants have come and gone and others have taken their place the city is largely the same. It still has beautiful weather, beautiful people wearing carefully crafted outfits, there is beautiful architecture – both old and new – and yes, still lots of glam if you know where to look.
This first image is part of Chateau Marmont – a haunt of the rich and famous and now me. The old world glamour is really perfect, modeled after an infamous royal residence in France’s Loire Valley, it is a fantastical folly in the land of make believe. The bungalows, pool area and hotel are all well perserved and are a total throwback to the glam days of Hollywood. I had a delicious lunch in the outdoor courtyard with great great friends, had a star sighting: Toby Mcguire, and loved walking the grounds and pool.
West Hollywood doesn’t suck either. West Hollywood is bordered on the north by the Hollywood Hills, on the east by the Hollywood district, on the south by the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, and on the west by the city of Beverly Hills… so its a great location and the walkable neighborhood is a great mix of residential & commercial. The architecture is largely extreme Art Deco, Spanish Colonial Revival, Monterey Revival, elaborate Italianate monsters – and fountains and statues, hidden gardens and fantastic ironwork and detailing. The most famous building in the general area is the Art Deco Sunset Tower Hotel up there on the Sunset Strip (8358 Sunset Boulevard), back to its original name after being the Argyle for a bit – 1929, architect Leland A. Bryant. It’s very famous, in a good number of films, and once home to Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and that famous gangster with the great name, Bugsy Siegel. It seems everyone lived there. If you’re really in the know – or if you’re lucky enough to have close friends in the know – the SOHO house is a private club on the top two floors of the 14-story, 9200 Sunset Boulevard. Opened in spring 2010, Soho House West Hollywood has a bar and dining room that offers spectacular views LA. The terrace garden dining area is lined with olive trees and covered by a retractable roof. There is also a comfortable sitting room and a private dining and bar area for members’ events and screenings. Devine!
Red velvet club chairs in the screening room, whats not to love?
September 26, 2012
If you find yourself in Boston you have no excuse to not stop at the South End Buttery. If you only have 20 minutes in the morning house made pastries are to die for and the selection, limitless. Free for brunch? …Saturdays and Sundays the kitchen is cooking up eggs, pastries, sandwiches, salads and the like from 10 AM to 3PM. Regular cafe hours are 6:30 to 8PM daily and the cozy restaurant serves dinner 7 nights a week. I had the pleasure of stopping in more than once this last weekend while I was in Boston. Friends and I had dinner in the downstairs dining room, its beautiful. Thick stone walls and dark upholstery make the dining room sexy and very atmospheric. The service is professional but personable and the food was interesting without being precious, filling without being heavy and dessert was simply out of this world.
I wrote all of the above waiting for as long as I could to tell you that my second trip to the South End Buttery was to the on site bakery and the prepared food “market” …the icing on the (cup)cake! The Buttery is pretty well-known for the cupcakes, cookies, tarts and other confections and they are amazing but on this second trip I was blown away by the cases of prepared foods – everything from glazed carrots to ham and butter sandwiches (yum!) to pork chops that were brined and melt in your mouth delicious. Everything I (we) tried was very, very good and I have to say being a picky virgo decorator motivated by aesthetics the “market” and prepared foods area was FLAWLESS. Beautifully appointed, clean and photo-shoot worthy, just look at my iphone images. The young lady at the counter was helpful, nice and intelligent and I loved being able to see into the bakery (clean as could be) as they made biscuits, cookies and cupcakes.
If the weather is nice you can sit outside in the charming neighborhood of Boston’s South End, sip a latte and enjoy a baked treat… But if you have the chance make a reservation for dinner and enjoy the talent of the chef and the easiness of the pretty but not stuffy interiors and leave room for dessert! I had the salted chocolate chip cookies and they were worth every calorie! Friends got the mixed “sampler” of mini cupcakes, yes I ate some too… Diet be damned. The surprise take away (pun intended) was the prepared food section. You could self-cater an entire dinner party (they even have a small “grocery” section with crackers, spreads, pastas and other items) from their beautiful food cases. Run don’t walk to the South End Buttery for any meal of the day, eat it there or bring it home… just don’t miss this treasure!
I only regret… not taking more pictures, this is truly the tip of the iceberg!
August 18, 2012
Darn it, I’ve been a day (or two) behind for as long as I can remember getting a blog post up… sorry, life has been full to say the least! I’m not complaining mind you. The amount of travel and social events this summer has been staggering and I’m off to Provincetown today for a two-week stay – lucky for me I have family that stays with our dogs. But I digress, I’m behind by two days and I’m feeling the same pinch in life so the vacation couldn’t come at a better ( or depending on how you look at it worse ) time. I need to regenerate and build up the creative juice it will take to get me through a productive fall and a long cold winter. What better place to relax and unwind than Provincetown? It’s an easy hour plus drive, countless friends will all be there, the beaches, restaurants, shops, bars, shows and the like can keep me busy all day and all night if I choose, or I can stay on the wharf and watch the beautiful cape light chance throughout the day and simply read, draw, sunbathe and of course eat.
I’m not a cyclist per say, what I mean is i don’t do long bike rides for exercise but I have to say one of most favorite parts of a Provincetown vacation is not getting in a car for two weeks. And, I love my old-fashioned olive-green bike, bell and all. It’s really not a good bike for long treks out to the dunes, Herring Cove or hatches harbor but I make it work. And no, that’s no one I know in the picture above… it’s just a very cute ( and very vintage ) image of the camaraderie and playful nature of people drawn to Provincetown. I guess it is a bit surprising to think that the community has been so accepting for so many years, what a wonderful tradition and what a wonderful spot to feel so safe, included and equal.
What does all of this have to do with design? ..not much really. But, it is a magical place where everyone – for the most part – is happy and pleasant, creative and smart, or at least silly and fun. A guilty pleasure for me in the next few weeks is the Provincetown pool at the Provincetown Inn. It is literally at the very tip of Cape Cod, the end of the continent and I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I love going there. Surrounded by natural beauty, the most amazing beaches, and I’m happy to sit in a plastic lounge chair listening to loud dance music and being served burgers n the hot sun all surrounded by a safety fence and attache to a motor inn that frankly could use a facelift. Why? well because it’s sorta fun to relax into the casualness of the place, it’s not the type of resort where you have to mind your maners, think too much about your outfit, or have the right pool bag… it simply is what it is… thats what Provincetown really is for me. Simply put it’s a place where everyone is accepted, they are who they are, and we all coexist, beautiful right? I think so.
Of course seeing friends from all over the world is priceless. There is always a gang willing to go out, beach it, hit the pool, take a walk, sit for hours at the coffee shop or to swim with off the wharf. I was going to take two weeks off from blogging, but the truth is I think I’d miss it… so if it’s ok with you, I’ll post throughout my vacation when time and WiFi allow. I can’t say that the posts won’t influenced by where I am and what I’m doing, because they probably will. But I’ll continue to troll Pinterest, and the great blogs I read daily and sometimes share with you. Thanks, as always, for reading Billblog… Hope the remainder of your summer is filled with fun and laughter. xo
August 5, 2012
We were on Martha’s Vineyard for an overnight to see my sister and her family and friends, that’s why this post is so late. Rewind 48 hours ago.. After scoring an early 1970’s Hobie long board for our hosts on Martha’s Vineyard off of Craig’s List it was a quick one hour ride from State Pier in historic New Bedford (a mile from my house) to one of my most favorite places, Edgartown. The town is so well maintained, the shopping is great, the beaches are beautiful and it’s only an hour away! This beautiful view was our backyard for two very relaxing days. The sun was out, the water was warm and we had a great time splashing around, and eating, and shopping… did I mention shopping?We managed to get invite to a wonderful garden party. You wouldn’t have believed the brightly colored outfits! Lilly, Tory, Trina… they were all there ( their clothes anyway ) and would you believe the men were just as into it?
At the opposite end of the spectrum from the cocktail party there was a great bike ride to Morning Glory Farms and the wonderful grocery store full of fresh produce, healthy food, flowers and delicious prepared foods. Go there! next time your on Martha’s Vineyard.
I could have taken 1000 pictures of the lovely gardens on the island alone and 5000 of the houses and the architecture. As a matter of fact I took so many that I’m going to do a part 2 blog tomorrow on the houses and history. This yard was most definitely worth getting off my bike for.
I almost forgot to post a picture of the beach, well one of the many, but the one I was lucky enough to hang out on today! Warm water with a slide into the ocean – yep, a slide! – a shady spot for lobster salad lunch, and of course charming beach umbrellas and Adirondack chairs for lolling.
…And just incase all this charm isn’t making your teeth hurt, this was the view on our way home from the beach today. Seriously this isn’t a postcard, I took this shot – along with all the others – with my iPhone. Gorgeous!
July 28, 2012
Well as you can probably tell fro my late and nonexistent posts that Summer is getting the best of me! Friends are here for the weekend and instead of catching up on blogs from the back yard, we drove them out to the charming town of Westport for a clambake and lobster feed. Nothing says summer like a clambake.. well bug bites and a sunburn say summer too but not quite as nicely.
The homemade chowder was served under the tent in the yard of the Westport Point church and it was really quite yummy… of course I’ve been dieting and avoiding diary so the diet flood gates were flung wide open, all bets were off and I ate with abandon. The folks couldn’t have been more welcoming and sitting at communal tables inside the meeting hall was quite fun and it was nice to escape the heat of the day.
A real clambake involves making a large fire to heat stones that are smothered with wet seaweed creating the steam that cooks the clams. The crowd gathers round the clambake before the mounds of hot seaweed are pulled back exposing the cooked clams. My lobster that got boiled with sausage, potatoes and corn in giant pots was delish.
June 22, 2012
Well here I am in the outskirts of Baltimore MD at the farm of good friends and I could not be more relaxed, or better fed. So far it has been a culinary extravaganza… home-made fried chicken, herb’d corn and coleslaw for dinner last night and oven pancakes with fresh berries and warm maple syrup for breakfast, and lunch today was at Petite Louis.
The massive barn ( the biggest of its type in the County ) is impressive to say the least. Dating from the 1700’s and once a dairy barn the structure is now home to lama, sheep, goats, chickens as well as geese. The inside is equally impressive as the outside, three stories high, open to the rafters, gorgeous!
We are close to the Pennsylvania state line, and the topography has wonderful rolling hills, wide green pastures and giant oaks, maples and pines. A summer storm just passed through and cut the humidity – thank goodness – and the rivers are high and full of clay, they were clear just an hour ago.
The house dates to pre 1850 and faces the river and road. Beautiful period details live in harmony with tasteful details and modern day upgrades ( like the biggest master bath and walk-in closet you’ve ever seen). The long driveway takes you over the river, through the fields, around the barn and animals to the charming house, for real. I’m serious.
Thank you to my wonderful hosts B & A, three more days and I’m already so content, relaxed and happy.