Monthly Archives

June 2006

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Simplemente Blanco Visits Istanbul, Turkey

June 13, 2006

Simplemente Blanco Visits Istanbul, Turkey
Let’s escape to Turkey for a moment. If you love travel + architecture, you’ll enjoy this…

Fernanda Bourlot, owner/designer of simplemente blanco in Boston’s South End, heard of my interest in Istanbul, so she sent me some wonderful photos from her recent vacation to Istanbul, along with a little ‘story’ behind each picture. Fernanda comments that Turkey was very interesting to visit because, “it has one part that belongs to Europe and the other part to Asia.” She mentioned that the people were very nice and always ready to help you out whenever you were in need of something. She said that the only challenge was the language barrier – English isn’t spoken except at the hotel where she stayed, so interacting with others was next to impossible. She thought that if she could have talked to the locals, she would have had an even richer experience.

Fernanda enjoyed visiting the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish), a prominent landmark and center of Muslim worship, from the Byzantine period, with its interior covered with tiny blue Iznik tiles (hence the name, blue mosque). It is regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of Islamic architecture. Construction began in 1609 and was completed by 1616 by order of Sultan Ahmed I. It has a very large courtyard with ablution fountains where people wash to prepare themselves before offering up Salah (Islamic prayers) in the mosque. Boasting six minarets and cascades of domes, the mosque is sibling to Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) just a few minutes’ north.
Simplemente Blanco Visits Istanbul, TurkeySimplemente Blanco Visits Istanbul, Turkey
Haghia Sophia (translated from the Greek as the Church of the Holy Wisdom of God, now known as the Ayasofya) was a former Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to the Divine Wisdom, but today serves as a museum. It’s a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture with its decorated interior of mosaics and marble pillars. Built by emperor Justinian 1 over the ruins of previous churches constructed by the Greeks on the same site after the revolt 532, then was converted into a Mosque and today as a museum. Some parts of the Haghia Sophia are quite damaged since it has suffered through several earthquakes.

Simplemente Blanco Visits Istanbul, Turkey
Has anyone reading been to Istanbul? Care to share your experience below (comments)?

I’ve not been, but our dear friends, Attila and Marie in Germany, went last year (he is part Turkish) and they really loved it – they highlighted one of their favorite experiences being at large family gatherings, everyone feasting outside around a large table, filling the air with conversations in Turkish, German, Italian, Spanish… And of course, great food, wine, and laughter. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Thank you Fernanda for sharing these lovely photos with decor8 readers!

(photos copyright fernanda bourlot 2006)

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Crafting The New American Dream

June 13, 2006

Crafting The New American Dream
The new American dream is much more entrepreneurial,” says Kamenetz. “And it’s about shaping ones own destiny: mobility, flexibility to do your own work, and the ability to have a career as an expression of who you are as a person.”

This article in today’s Boston Globe really embraces how I feel in some ways, at least when it comes to how personal fulfillment and the joy obtained by doing what you love is more important than living your life merely to support your lifestyle, performing a job you hate because it pays for your mortgage. Do what you love! I think many of you will enjoy this article…

Crafting the new American dream – It’s still about “doing better than your parents” but the focus is on fulfillment.

The American dream has changed. It used to be a college education, a steady job, a nice house (and a family to fill it), and a better financial picture than what your parents had. There is a new American dream that is still about “doing better than your parents,” but not in a financial sense. This dream is about fulfillment.

Boston-based artist Ariel Freiberg just got engaged, and she and her fianc? are gearing up for this new dream. “We were brought up to think it’s important to own a piece of property. It’s how you build your life in this country. But buying a house is not a major goal for us. It is not what will make our lives secure and it will not help us define ourselves.”

Click here to continue reading this article at boston.com.

(image from bostonworks)

Travel

Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia

June 12, 2006

By: Anh-Minh Le, decor8 Contributor
Learn more about Anh-Minh
here.

While my writing for decor8 is usually focused on the San Francisco Bay Area, I was in Savannah last week and just had to let you know about some of the wonderful shops I checked out while there.

@home Vintage General – 7 W. York Street

This is one of the sweetest stores I?ve ever seen. Owner Liz Demos, an art history graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) and regular contributor to Better Homes + Gardens and Country Homes magazine, fills her store with an eclectic mix of goods ? including pretty ribbons, antique lace, children?s toys, linens, books, kitchen tools and ceramics. And you don?t have to break the bank account to indulge here. For example, $3 will get you an adorable bud vase/napkin holder or a cute little wooden bird. Other finds that caught my eye: a pack of canvas flower stickers and the Kerri Lee scrapbooks.

@home Vintage General

Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia

Liz Demos shown below. @home Vintage General
Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia
@home Vintage General

Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia

@home Vintage General

Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia

DC2 Design, 104 W. Broughton Street

Open since October 2005, DC2 is a combination retail store/design firm/caf? owned by Barabara Rose, Dimitri Chami, and Dean Caldarelli. (If Dean’s and Dimitri’s names sound familiar, it might be because they were featured on HGTV’s “Househunter: Finding a Fixer” in March 2005.)

Upon entering DC2, you?re greeted by a comfy lounge-like area alongside a caf? counter with bar stools. Be sure you don?t just stop there ? there?s plenty to see in this shop. DC2 is unique in that you can stop by for coffee and dessert, browse their beautiful showroom, or seek design advice from their two resident designers, Dimitri and SCAD alum Chad Mabry.

I was smitten by several mirrors that would have been perfect in my entryway (priced around $100-150). Everywhere I turned, I picked up something that I would definitely have bought had shipping/lugging purchases home not been an issue. Only after I returned home to San Francisco did I learn that they actually are known for shipping goods all over the U.S. (sigh.)

By the way, business is booming so they have plans to expand into a new space across the street, a space 3 times larger! Their new space should open by Spring ’07.

DC2 Design
Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia
DC2 Design

Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia
La Paperie, 409 Whitaker Street

This brand-new shop, (open less than two weeks) offers some of the best stationery around ? including Elum letterpress cards, R. Nicholas party invitations, Neah Bay Douglas botanical-themed greetings and goodies from Russell + Hazel and Molly West Handbound, too.

Owner Debbie Lewis, who relocated to Savannah from Chicago 20 years ago, has a background in apparel (she managed stores for The Limited). Debbie knew though that she needed to make some changes and pursue her passion: to own her own boutique specializing in gorgeous stationery.

La Paperie not only has lovely papers, but a friendly staff and real hometown feel. Congrats to Debbie on her brand new adventure!


La Paperie

Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia

La Paperie

Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia

La Paperie
Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia

One Fish Two Fish, 401 Whitaker Street (sorry, no photos for this one!)

Located in the Downtown Design District (Whitaker Street between Charlton Lane and Gaston), this shop is filled with new, antique and found treasures collected by owner, Jennifer Beaufait Grayson. This quaint corner store is a must if you?re looking for a unique gift or something to spruce up your home. Rugs, bedding, beach-inspired accessories (think seashells, corals), dishes, mirrors, painted furniture, planters ? you?ll find almost everything you need to create a charming space of your own. The Bongenre melamine tableware and Toss Designs totes were especially appealing since they could easily survive the plane ride home.

ShopSCAD, 340 Bull Street

Ever since my first trip to Savannah years ago, I have been harboring a dream of someday taking classes at SCAD. It?s more than just a school here; it?s an integral part of the community. The college?s boutique, an anchor of the historic district, only carries the work of students, faculty and alumni. There were so many great things in the store, and several stood out as I walked through: Claire Sanchez?s handbags, Amelia Allen?s hand screen-printed pillows, Lacey Bronson?s tees, Kathryn Reichert?s sterling silver jewelry, and anything by Working Class Studio. (Okay, I did end up having to ship some items home after my little shopping spree here.)

ShopSCAD

Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia

The Paris Market + Brocante, 36 W. Broughton Street

Featuring all things French, if you plan on stopping by this store, be sure to block off a huge chunk of time. The Paris Market?s two floors are chock-full of amazing things ? furniture (love the hot pink dining chairs upholstered in a Pucci-esque fabric), pretty lamps and chandeliers, pillows (lots of Thomas Paul designs), handbags, dishes (straight out of your most beloved Parisian bistro)? With over 5,000 square feet of retail space, it would be hard for me describe it all; you really have to visit it for yourself (or at least visit the online shop!). To add to the French feel of this place, there?s a Metro sign at the top of the stairs and even a patisserie in the corner of the main level. (Pssst? Apparently, this store is one of FoodTV superstar Paula Deen?s favorites. Her popular restaurant, The Lady and Sons, is just a few blocks away. Did you know Deen got her start in the food business in Savannah nearly 20 years ago selling sandwiches from door-to-door to downtown office workers?)

The Paris Market + Brocante

Design + Gift Shopping in Savannah, Georgia
Thanks, Anh-Minh for this great field trip on design – southern style! Any readers in the Savannah area, or have you vacationed there recently? Comment below to highlight things you loved about the area, or to brag about your favorite store.

(images provided by stores above, a special thanks to the owners for these great photos!)

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coffee + cre8tive {june 12 ’06}

June 12, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {june 12 '06}
I’m posting a little late today, I know… It’s just that I’ve been bouncing off the walls busy and wanted to at least pop in to say hello to you and post some fresh finds for the day. Greener Grass Design sent me an email announcing their new Lotta Jansdotter goodies for baby, you have to get over there and check it out because I’m guessing it will sell out rather quickly – Lotta is hotter than ever these days, and for good reason, her designs are simple, clean, sweet and just ooze with style.

I had a wonderful weekend rummaging through antique stores, where I found the most adorable black silhouettes custom framed in vintage oval frames, a huge jar of antique buttons, and some rare antique books for my husband (one is by Jules Vern, dates back to 1918, the rest are Alfred Hitchhock with great colorful spines in autumn hues – greens, reds and golds). Afterwards, we ended up at Target where I went crazy with tons of new towels for the bath and dish towels for the kitchen from Thomas O’Brien. His towels are so yummy, very lush. I also found a great mirror for my entryway and a clock, along with new cookware and such. I had a bit of a shopping weekend, but it was for good reason, I needed to do a lot of editing in my home lately which meant getting rid of mismatched pots from our wedding and my single days and replacing them with brand new ones and trading in raggy dish towels from Germany that I purchased 6 years ago (I just loved the graphics on them, so hard to say goodbye). I have no ‘excuse’ for purchasing the silhouettes (except for the fact that I had a great chat with the store associate who was a doll!), but wait until you see them, they are really nice. I’ll post them later on.

So… Today the shopping trip was extended a bit since I needed a new business card holder, so I popped over to Kate Spade (she’s having a mega online sale – up to 75% off!) and picked up an apple green leather card holder with a raspberry interior, in leather. Then, I needed a few lamps (justified purchase, as I need more light in my space), so I headed to West Elm where I purchased the belly lamp in surf (on sale, for my bedroom) and the wavy lamp in saffron (great color and shape for the living room area).

If anyone reading this thinks I’m a bit over the top, I’m not – in fact, I rarely spoil myself with needed goods because I’m more wrapped up in clients and giving to friends and family vs. doing anything spectacular for myself. I’m not saying this to sound like Mother Theresa, I’m not, but it’s just how it is sometimes. If you’re a creative type, you must get what I’m saying. We’re often very quick to create and give to others, but slow when it comes to actually making time to do for ourselves. When I was in design school, some of the students refused to show photos of their home because they were embarrassed. When the teacher asked why, they stated very clearly that it was because it didn’t reflect their design ability and they were embarrassed of that. I found it hard to understand, until now. It’s true, when you are actually a designer or even a design writer, you find yourself seeing so many great products all the time, for one you can’t make a decision, and next – well, you fear making the wrong decision. For me, I can go into a home and quickly edit it for someone, transforming it into something fun and interesting according to the taste of the owners. But, when it comes to my space, I pause and tend to critique a little too harshly. That’s why going shopping was such a big deal to me, I actually made decisions for my space. Big deal for me, I’m healing from this design disease. Even if it is a dish towel and a few lamps. I’m proud of myself. :)

Other than that, I spent time chatting with relatives on the phone and my dear sweet grandmother, who is now in a nursing home. She misses her life at home, but she is still quick witty and very chatty, even after a heart attack and a few strokes. Her memory is great and I just love her ‘silver lining’ personality – every dark cloud has hope, every rain storm, a rainbow. She has the most positive spirit and I feel very fortunate that she is still around to at laugh with. Just a few years ago, she was dancing with me at my wedding to Abba’s Dancing Queen. Now, she’s stuck in a bed all day sharing a room with a complete stranger. It’s funny though, during our conversation this weekend I told her how it must be hard to be her age but still feel very much like a young woman on the inside, but on the outside with failing health, she is old. (Tact isn’t my strong point, but not hers either so we’re very up front with eachother.) She quickly replied, “Oh yes, I see your point, but I’m not bad on the outside either you know!”.

Maintaining positivity is such power.

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DIY Project: Button Bouquet

June 11, 2006

DIY Project: Button Bouquet
This is a nice activity, and I’m sure if you have some wonderful old buttons, you could create something quite charming to give to a friend or to perk up your workspace. I found this project on the Kiddley blog via Miss Holly over at Holly’s Plate (love that girl!) and since I wanted to file this project away, I figured it would be best if I just add it to my blog for safe keeping.

Click here to read the instructions.

DIY Project: Button Bouquet

(images from kiddley)

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