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.
This summer, I am hitting the beach whenever possible — book in hand, husband and sunscreen in tow. How nice would it be, though, to bring along some tunes for us to enjoy while basking on our favorite near-secluded beach? When I spotted the uber-tiny, USB powered I.dear speaker by MOMA at Velocity Art and Design, I knew I had to have it. Standing at less than 2 inches tall, the I.dear can pump out some seriously warm sounds, thanks to its wood construction. And at $36, I can still afford the gas to get to the sandy shore! — Megan B.
I bought my first aluminum soap case on a whim, not knowing what to do with it but liking it all the same. It sat on my desk for a month, maybe more, until I figured out it was the perfect size for my phone earbuds and a flash drive. (Since I take both with me for work, they always ended up floating around in the depths of my purse. Not anymore.) Soap cases are also the perfect size for stashing business cards, corralling coins or any number of small oddities. My latest find? A vintage Girl Scouts soap case. You can find the aluminum dishes for under $10 on Etsy or eBay. Other pressed metal cases start in the $30s, like this one on Ruby Lane. Lastly, thereâ€™s silver soap cases. Iâ€™ve seen examples starting at $100, but this $500 Gorham case takes the cake. â€” Sarah L.
I grew up going to the National Lakeshore along Lake Michigan, both on the Indiana side and the Michigan side. If youâ€™ve never been, go. It can get crowded, especially during summer, but the sight of a sand dune as tall as a 20-story building? Unforgettable, especially in the flat Midwest. While the blue water and the powdery sand still hold my interest, it was the architecture that caught my attention the last two trips.
I think both the main gatehouses and the pavilion are WPA projects. (Sadly, I canâ€™t find a list of WPA buildings by state online and did not walk around the buildings to find a telltale plaque, thinking it would be easy to confirm once home. Wrong.) If not WPA, they certainly date to the 30s and are in keeping with other WPA projects in the state. All totaled, more than 120,000 WPA buildings were constructed nationwide. Many are at National and State Parks, on college campuses or at other public places like zoos. Firehouses, courthouses, schools and post offices built under the WPA are also plentiful. While theyâ€™re not the riskiest of designs, they have a solidity combined with little design details that I find endlessly appealing. Whatâ€™s your favorite WPA building? â€” Sarah L.
Photo of sand dunes from Yelp.com