Monday, March 21, 2011

Miami Heat

It was hard to come back last week from Miami. Between the warm weather, sun, palm trees and salty ocean air coupled with the time change, it took me about a day and a half to get readjusted to DC. However, I'm grateful for the short stint down south, and I have a few memories to share!

I rented a car so I could explore the city while the Mister was working away, and my first destination was Miami's Design District. This area consisted of just a few blocks of showrooms and retail stores, and I stumbled upon some fantastic pieces of furniture and inspiration.

My first stop was the Christian Louboutin boutique - you couldn't miss this place as the exterior garden growing on the facade stops you in your tracks! I was first introduced to the store's exterior when I read about Habitually Chic's trip to Miami, and I knew I had to check it out for myself.

This is an interior wall of the boutique!

I immediately thought that the idea of growing a garden of orchids vertically would look incredible inside a hotel spa or even in a residential courtyard.

Next on my stop was the Ligne Roset showroom. Again, this showroom had an impressive exterior with its beautiful light blue tile work, Moroccan lanterns, and graphic balcony railing. This facade could easily translate to a personal home's beautiful loggia overlooking the ocean.

I love the painted blue ceiling to match the tile work.

One of my favorite stores I discovered was Monica James & Co. The owner has an amazing eye for selecting eclectic European antiques mixed with modern, fresh pieces. There wasn't much I didn't covet while perusing through the shop.

I spy some art from Natural Curiosities, one of my favorite art resources.
I love the color in these paintings by Paule Marrot.

Fabulous high-back love seat.

I love these fun side tables with the inlaid ivory sunbursts.

The manipulation of the wood on this mirror is stunning.

I also noticed as I traveled around Miami the abundance of flowering bougainvillea. The color was electric against the bright blue sky and vivid colors of Miami culture. You can never go wrong with hot pink. I loved how they created a wall using potted bougainvillea alongside this restaurant.

This was my first trip to Miami, and what I love about the city along with the amazing architecture was the international flavor. You are literally surrounded by all languages and rarely hear English. It happened to be spring break while we were there, which resulted in fun "people watching," but it also made us want to find the quaint streets. We stumbled on EspaƱola Way, a beautiful side street off of Washington Avenue, a few blocks over from the beach. This street was a haven in the midst of the skimpy bikini-and-stiletto-wearing-riding-moped types.

EspaƱola Way

We found a fabulous French cafe called A La Follie, and it is a must if you are in the South Beach area. The cafe atmosphere and food is pretty much straight from Paris. We ordered a savory and sweet crepe to share, and their fresh squeezed orange juice was topped with a bit of froth.

We decided to come back for one last breakfast before we flew out, and we spent the last few hours over our coffee, the NY Times and basking in the sun.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fruits of Labor

One of my favorite parts of my job besides creating the design plan for a space is picking up items from the workroom and delivering them to the client. It's like Christmas for me and I hope the same for my clients. I thought I'd share a few fun things I delivered to a couple of my clients today.

*I apologize for the poor quality on the photos - I just had my iPhone on me.

I've been working on a condo for the past year, and today I delivered a few more finishing touches.

I had this small secretary (utilized as a side table/desk) painted. It's a fun, whimsical addition to the room. Something to note - when having furniture professionally painted, it is best to use an oil-base paint as it creates a hardened layer and it is more difficult to chip than acrylic paint.

I purchased these coral velvet pillows a while back but added some tassel trim to make them a bit more exciting.

I had some lumbar pillows made in the same fabric that is on a club chair in the condo. The pillows add more color/print to the room and provides a comfortable seat for the window seats.

Last, I found this beautiful star burst mirror at Moss & Co. in Georgetown for another client. We are going to hang it over the headboard in a bedroom. I'll have to share a photo of it's final resting place once we get it hung.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yes, I'm one of those...

I watch the Bachelor. I've watched almost every season since it began when I was in college. I have fond memories of my best friends/roommates from college gathering around the television with wine and junk food anticipating the antics we would observe from this ridiculous show - and every year, we would yell at the t.v. at the insane girls who go on this show, throwing out our criticisms and opinions, and every year we would watch. I recall one year, my friend Kelly either had too much wine or just got too heated over the controversies that she broke a wine glass. We were loyal fans.

I just got in from Miami late last night, so I have lots to catch up on today. However, I will make sure by 8 pm that I will be situated in front of the t.v. to see who Brad picks. I think I can talk the Mister into joining me. He secretly likes to watch too:)

For now, enjoy this insightful graphic The Washington Post included today about the incredibly sad success rate this show has had in producing marriages. Still, despite statistics, I still watch.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bienvenido a Miami

I"m headed down to Miami tomorrow for a bit of sun and R&R for the rest of week. I hope to find some design inspiration to share with you when I return. Until then, I leave you with some Will "Fresh Prince" Smith lyrics as I'll be "jiggin it out" with the surf and sand:

Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah
Miami, uh, uh
Southbeach, bringin the heat, uh
Haha, can y'all feel that
Can y'all feel that
Jig it out, uh

Here I am in the place where I come let go
In Miami the base and the sunset low
Everyday like a mardi gras everybody party all day
No work all play okay
So we sip a little something leave the rest to spill
Bein' jolly at the bar running up a high hill
Nothin less than nil, we're addressed to kill
Everytime the ladies pass, they be like (Hi Will)
Can y'all feel me, all ages and races
Real sweet faces
Every different nation, Spanish, Haitian, Indian, Jamaican
Black, White, Cuban, and Asian
I only came for two days of playing
But every time I come I always wind up staying
This the type of town I could spend a few days in
Miami the city that keeps the roof blazing

Party in the city where the heat is on
All night on the beach till the break of dawn
Welcome to Miami (bienvenido a Miami)
Bouncing in the club where the heat is on
All night on the beach till the break of dawn
I'm going to Miami
Welcome to Miami

Yo I heard the rainstorms ain't nothin to mess with
But I can't feel a drip on the strip, it's a trip
Ladies half-dressed, fully equipped
And they be screaming out, (Will we loved your last hit)
So I'm thinking I'm a scoot me something hot
In this south-sea meringue melting pot
Hottest club in the city and it's right on the beach
Temperature get to ya it's about to reach
Five-hundred degrees
In the carribean seas, with the hot mommies
Screamin (ay, papi)
Every time I come to town, they be spotting me
In the drop top, there ain't no stopping me
So, cash in your dough
And flow to this fashion show
Pound for pound anywhere you go
Yo ain't no city in the world like this
An if you ask how I know I gots to plead the fifth

Party in the city where the heat is on
All night on the beach till the break of dawn
Welcome to Miami (bienvenido a miami)
Bouncing in the club where the heat is on
All night on the beach till the break of dawn
I'm going to Miami
Welcome to Miami

Don't get me wrong, Chi-town got it going on
And New York is the city that we know don't sleep
And we all know that L.A. and Philly stay jiggy
But on the sneak, Miami bringing heat for real
Y'all don't understand
I never seen so many Dominican women with cinnamon tans
MIRA this is the plan
Take a walk on the beach draw a heart in the sand
Gimmie your hand
Damn you look sexy
Let's go to my yacht in the West Keys
Ride my jet skis
loungin in the palm trees
Cause you gotta have cheese for the summerhouse piece on South Beach
Water's so clear you can see to the bottom
Hundred thousand dollar cars, every body got em
Ain't no surprise in the club to see Sly Stallone
Miami my second home

Party in the city where the heat is on
All night on the beach till the break of dawn
Welcome to Miami (bienvenido a miami)
Bouncing in the club where the heat is on
All night on the beach till the break of dawn
I'm going to Miami
Welcome to Miami

Party in the city where the heat is on!

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Lose Count"

(designed by Penelope Bianchi)

I attended a designer's seminar last week at the fabulous shop, Timothy Paul Bedding + Home, on 14th Street. Grace, and the ladies, hosted a rep. from SFERRA to come speak about sheets and share some bedding tips and tricks. I walked away thinking, "who knew!?," and I had a whole new outlook on sheets and bedding, which I look forward to sharing with my clients.

SFERRA is a leading manufacturer in luxury bedding and they know their stuff! They currently have a campaign called "Lose Count," which challenges the philosophy that the higher the thread count, the better the sheets. Yes, my dears, that is actually incorrect! The rep. explained that the thread count is only part of the equation to luxury bedding, but the part that is of utmost importance is the quality of the thread. Makes sense, right?

You could buy 500 thread count sheets at Target, but if the thread is crappy, the sheets will feel crappy. SFERRA's sheets are made from the highest quality cotton, which is found along the Nile River in Egypt. This cotton is considered the best because the cotton fiber is one of the longest in the world, and the longer fiber produces a smoother, stronger, finer yarn when it is spun.

(designed by Alessandra Branca)

The other interesting tid-bits I took away is how you should select sheets. Again, it's not about the thread count, but what type of feel you want. Some people love crisp, ironed sheets and others loves soft, silky sheets. Both can have the same thread count and be made from the same quality cotton, but the difference in feel comes from the way the yarn is spun. There are percale sheets which gives you that crisp feel, then there is sateen, which provides an extremely soft finish and jacquard that creates a fine, subtle weave pattern. Another option is linen woven sheets. This type is more popular in Europe, and because it's a breathable fabric, it will acclimate to your body temperature. How divine! But they do get wrinkled really easy.

(designed by Michael Smith)

Last, the way you care for sheets is extremely important in maintaining the feel and longevity of the sheets. I'm sure most of you throw them in the washer and then dry them regularly in the dryer. I do! Apparently, the best way to care for your sheets is to wash them in warm water on a gentle cycle with a cold water rinse. Then to dry, put them in the dryer on low for only 3-4 minutes. Take them out and hang them either over a door, a banister, etc. and let them finish drying. I actually tried this out with my cheap sheets, and I could tell a difference. Plus, it helps with them not getting extremely wrinkled. If you choose, you can iron them. The SFERRA rep actually said he puts the fitted sheet on the bed, and then runs an iron over the sheets while on the bed. Brilliant!

So, bottom line is - a little bit of elbow grease makes a difference!