One of my favorite pastimes is planning vacations. Before I was a part of a family, I would corral friends far in advance and plot out adventures in remote places, hunting down unusual hotels and quintessential experiences — like a cave hotel in Andalucia or a tree house in Kauai. Now that we have a little one, the idea of plopping down in a gorgeous spot for a week is what we crave — and one hotel room just doesn’t cut it: The kid falls asleep around 8:30 and then me and the hubs are left watching tv very, very quietly. It’s special kind of torture. Sooooo, for our next trip we’re renting a house in Florida that we found through homeaway.com. I swear their recent sardonic Super Bowl ad had nothing to do with that decision. But suddenly I feel empowered. Where else can we rent houses … Maine? Costa Rica? Italy? I love the idea of digging in, shopping locally and exploring my domestic side in far away lands. Browsing the site shows that many of the houses for rent are, to put it mildly, decorating cliches (think seashells and an rope anchors). Somehow those things are always charming when you’re in the place. The key is to not get seduced and bring any of it home with you!
Btw, the above paradise is in St. Lucia, just $600 a night. Click here to make it yours (and please, write about it here so we can live vicariously through you).
Do you rent houses when you go away? What have your experiences been? Do you know of other sites besides homeaway.com?
We spent a lovely day in Charleston, SC last week, admiring its historic churchyards, cobble stoned streets and shuttered row houses. Little did we expect to find such a mod decor idea there. At Kaminsky‘s downtown, the smell of wafting french roast mixed with baking cupcakes, while our eyes soaked in the these clever wall coverings. From across the dining room, they had a undulating texture that cast soft shadows in the morning sun glow. On closer inspection, we realized that this expensive looking treatment was really just rows of wall trim. The moulding that most homes use around the base or in decorative accents was glued onto the walls row after row, in creating a texture that was both organic and organized. Replicating the same effect in your home would not be too difficult; the hard part might be deciding your level of commitment. If you glued them on, it would be impossible to remove without destroying the wall. Another option would be to drill them on, and then spackle over the holes before painting. We’re thinking it’d be fun in a small room (like a half bath) or perhaps on just an accent wall. The white color used in Kaminsky’s allowed the shadows to take center stage, but it also might be interesting in a pale clay or grey. If you’re ever in Charleston, but sure to stop by 78 N. Market Street for a piece of red velvet cake and a look around. – Angela M.
As mentioned the other day, we seem to spending a bit too much time fantasizing about remodeling our bathroom. Mostly our dreams hover around a claw-foot tub and double sinks. But then I spotted this story in The New York Times the other day, and it’s given a whole new meaning to the term ‘bathroom luxury.’ It’s about the Kohler Numi toilet, which costs $6400, and is much more than a cold porcelain commode. It warms your feet, plays your favorite music, opens automatically and of course, washes and dries all your bits. It might sounds silly, but until you’ve tried it (as Sam Grobart writes in the Times) you don’t know what you’re missing. I had the pleasure of sitting down on Toto toilet once, and believe me, it’s a great way to start a day. If you are ever in New York City, you can try the luxury for yourself simply by having a meal at Morimoto , where a trip to the ladies room could very well be the highlight of your visit (not that the black cod isn’t also divine). I highly recommend it! Though the Numi is well beyond our current budget, it will remain on my lottery-dream-house list. — Angela M.
What do you think? If money was no object, you want an “intelligent” toilet in your bathroom?
I was lucky enough to spend a few days at the Huntington Hotel in San Francisco last month, and it was an amazing experience. The property is still family-owned (it belongs to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group) so it has that boutique hotel feel, but with all of the luxury amenities you’d expect from a large property (and then some!).
One of the things I was particularly struck by was the decor in the rooms. I’m so used to hotel rooms all looking exactly the same: white bed linens, white or cream walls, generic Impressionist art prints on the walls, and wood furniture in a dark cherry finish. But when I stepped into my room at the Huntington, I was shocked – the room was actually decorated. With thought, and attention, and individuality. So impressive!
The centerpiece of the room (aside from the amazing view) was a huge canvas photography print by Thomas Seawell. I was in love with it…and even more so when I realized it had been the color inspiration for the entire room.Using one multicolored piece to pull the color scheme of a room is a classic decorator’s trick, and it worked perfectly in this case. By using the palette in the photo, the designer was able to pull together a group of colors that wouldn’t have worked without the art to anchor the room, and the final result was flawless. The walls were painted a pale chartreuse, the armchairs and lamps were a warm, bright orange, and there were hints of creamy linen, black and gold throughout the room to add a luxe, cohesive touch.
Have you tried using a single piece of art, upholstery fabric, a rug or some other statement piece to define the color scheme of a room? –Becki S.
Among the pile of September catalogs ready to launch us into the fall is Anthropologie’s stunning Issue 9. We’re not entirely sure where it was shot, but a story from Stylist last year hints that creative director Trevor Lunn and his crew were heading towards Mongolia. Judging from the vibrant textiles and textures sprinkled throughout, we’re guessing that’s right. If you’ve ever seen a story about a Mongolian Yurt (like this one on Flickr) or the movie Babies you will recognize the gorgeous patterns and embroidery. We’re keeping our eyes open for more behind-the-scenes info on this catalog (let us know if you find any), but in the meantime, we’re gonna drool over this one till it gets sloppy.