A trip to Berlin, Germany

We just got back from an European trip and it was soooo wonderful. I love Europe, it’s history, it’s old, interesting buildings, streets and I would happily travel there every year.

We travelled via a bus tour, our first time and it was really great. No worrying about schedules (someone else did that for us), traffic, directions or parking. But we had alot of time on our own, which made us very happy.  All in all, it was a very stressless holiday.

The itinerary was Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest. And with a few town/cities in between the major stops.

Today, I’m sharing Berlin, which was our first stop and where we stayed for 3 nights.

I wasn’t overly excited about visiting Berlin, but the closer it got, and the more I read about it, the more intrigued I got. I had just finished reading Ken Follett’s series on the WWII, in the summer, so that was a good history refresher for me.

We arrived after the loooonnng overnight flight and jumped on our bus to get to our hotel. We stayed on the Western side of Berlin and I loved our hotel.  Here’s a few pics from the lobby and our room. The bathroom was very funky with it’s overscaled art on the glass door.

H10 Berlin Ku'Damm       H10 Berlin Ku'Damm

H10 Berlin Ku'Damm    H10 Berlin Ku'Damm

On the way to the hotel, the history lessons started when we stopped at the Olympic Stadium where the 1936 Olympics were held.

Olympic Stadium Berlin

That night we met up with our fellow travellers for dinner and to get acquainted. The next morning we started off with a bus tour of the city for the morning. A great way to get your bearings in a new city and we saw the double row of bricks that designate where the Berlin Wall had stood.

Berlin wall

We also walked along the part of the wall that is still standing. It has been graffitied and beautified by art. The wall ran pretty much along the side of the Spree river, which divides the city in the two parts.

Berlin Wall Berlin wall

Not far from the remaining parts of the Wall is the Oberbaum Bridge which is an amazing red bricked double deck bridge that crosses the Spree (built in 1894).

Oberbaum bridge

We visited the Brandenburg Gate and saw Bellevue Palace (the residence of the German President) and also Berlin’s Konzerhaus (Concert hall) where a busker was blowing huge bubbles to the delight of many kids and adults.

Brandenburg gate

Berlin concert hall

Checkpoint Charlie was another stop and I have to recommend the museum at the checkpoint, it seemed a little small and gimmicky when we first went in, but it actually was huge, it just goes on and on, and we easily could have spent half a day there. So many stories on how German’s coped during the war and how some managed to escape East Berlin and some that didn’t.

Checkpoint charlie

We then visited the Holocaust Monument, (also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe), it is a stark and cold place. The artist did not give any explanation for the monument so we are left to interpret it on our own. I think he meant us to feel stark, cold and alone. The long tunnels and maze like structure were built to allow us to feel what it is like to be caught in a maze and to keep trying to get free and into the light.

Holocaust Monument, Berlin Holocaust Monument, Berlin

Literally a block and a half away from this monument is the site of Hitler’s bunker, where he committed suicide. There is no building or even a plaque on this site, it is a parking lot. The only way you know it was there is there is a sign describing what had lain beneath the concrete.  It felt like, Germany has vowed to not let any of these sites become a memorial to him.

Hitler's bunker site

We also went down the huge boulevards that run throughout Berlin and saw typical communist apartment buildings, that were built during the 50’s – 80’s.

Berlin

Berlin

On a lighter note, we also visited Charlottenburg Palace, the German palace that was modelled on Versailles. If you’ve been to Versailles, you’ll see the similarities in these pictures. The grounds were also beautiful but at that point, our feet were done, so we didn’t do too much exploring of it.  I’m thinking I’ll do a full post on this palace at a later date as the flooring and chandeliers were Ah Mazing!

Charlottenburg palace

Charlottenburg Palace Charlottenburg Palace Charlottenburg palace

We also stopped into the sixth floor of the KaDeWe mall that is legendary in Europe for it’s amazing selection of any type of food and drink that you could desire. We of course, bought some amazing pastry to enjoy.

KaDeWe

KaDeWe

The Sony Centre is another cool sight in a city that doesn’t stop.

Sony centre

Did I mention that the bars in Berlin have no closing hours and also you can walk along the street with your beer or alcoholic drink of choice with no issues? It’s definitely a party city for the young and the young at hearts.

We also saw these crate sofas…. crate beds??? in at least two places in the city. (I’ve blurred out the faces as best I could).

crate sofas crate beds

Bears are everywhere, sort of a Germany’s mascot, they are often standing on their heads and are always painted in interesting colours and designs. Art and creativity are everywhere in Berlin.

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There is also Museum Island, which comprises 5 different museums. We didn’t get to all five, but we did manage to get to the Pergamon which is one of the most famous ones. It houses classical antiquities, such as  archaeological treasures such as:

the Market Gate of Miletus, it has reconstructed from the ruins found in the Middle East.

Pergamon museum

And the Ishtar Gate of Babylon also reconstructed from ruins. Pergamon museum

The last day we were there we went on a boat cruise on the Spree river and it was a fabulous way to see the city. I took way, way too many pictures of the Berlin Cathedral as it was just so photogenic.

Reichstag from Spree river Boat cruise, Spree river

Boat cruise Berlin Cathedral

That night we also saw the Reichstag dome. This is the glass dome at the top of their Parliament building. After you get to the top by elevator, you read the history of their government, by circling around the centre column. Once that is done, you can walk up the long, twisting ramp to get to the outdoor viewing area and are treated to an amazing view of the city. It was pretty spectacular to do this at night.

Reichstag

Reichstag Reichstag

Reichstag

The blue seats you see below are their parliament seats.

We ate well in Berlin and enjoyed their very welcoming citizens. People were always quick to help and get us going in the right direction when we looked lost. We enjoyed a couple of hours lounging in this very casual and cool bar, right on the side of the Spree river, near the Island Museums, where we were serenaded by talented musicians. I could have happily stayed there for another few hours.

bar on the banks of the Spree river

And one last beautiful photo of the Cathedral.

Berlin Cathedral

Berlin surprised me with it’s beauty, creativity and history and I’d definitely go back in a heartbeat. So if you get the chance to visit, go.

Lisa

Kips Bay Show House 2015

The last day of my NYC trip was spent exploring the Kips Bay Show House for the Boys and Girls Club. And what a beauty it is!

Here’s just a few pics of the gorgeousness!

Starting at the Foyer (done by Drake Design Associates) I fell in love with these light fixtures that looked like clouds against the stunning polished sky blue ceiling.

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And who could forget that staircase! (Done by Ronald J. Bricke)

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THIS FLOOR! (Done by Peter J. Sinnott IV – Home Works)

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And yet another gorgeous bathroom. (Done by Clive Christian Interiors)  The wall covering was absolutely luminous!

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And yes, an exterior bath set up high! (Done by Greener by Design)

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A masculine and sexy bar tucked in a small corner. (Done by Alan Tanksley, Inc.)

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I was really taken with this bedroom. I am loving the tartan fabric on the walls.  (David Pheonix, Inc.)

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And last but definitely not least…the kitchen! (Done by Christopher Peacock)

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And a little garden retreat on the main floor. (Done by Janice Parker Landscape Architects)

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So that’s the end of my little tour.  Which room is your favourite? I have to say the bathrooms were outstanding! So hard to pick my favourite.

I have tried to be accurate with my design credits, but if I’ve made a mistake, please let me know and I’ll correct it asap!

Lisa

ICFF 2015 Inspiration

Well, I’m still recovering, after a whirlwind long weekend in NYC.  But, the TBBs and I certainly had a blast.

We spent Sunday at ICFF and here’s some highlights from that visit. Tons of inspiration to be found.  I especially noticed all the woven pieces of furniture this year.  70’s here we go again!

There was still tons of gorgeous wood around, on walls, floors and furniture.

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Walking on Wood
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Joinery

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Immersion Design

This amazingly creative design murphy style bunk bed/desk combo was so well thought and executed.  Just so you know, that desk area pulls down to reveal a double bed and the desk area also pulls out to reveal hidden storage and electrical outlets (which you can see a bit of on the left).  Just lovely!

Fabulously detailed sinks and tubs.

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Slik

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Linkasink

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Linkasink

The insert on the farmhouse style sink above is inter changeable, brilliant!

And of course, there were tiles!
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Tilebar

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Country Floors

I’m seriously lusting after these hand painted beauties above, for my cottage backsplash……pitter…patter.

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Tilebar

Some beautiful and interesting pieces of furniture.

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Umbra Shift

These may be seen soon at a TBBs’ home near you!

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Loop de Loop

These woven chairs were soooooo comfy!

And of course, how I couldn’t leave out the lighting.

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Kelos

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Daniel Latorre Cruz

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Ridgely Studio Works

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Brendan Ravenhill

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Loved these whimsical book lights below…for when books fly!

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Ali Siavoski (alialiali.com)

There was tons more of course, but this gives you an idea of what was there.

Next up, the Kips Bay Show Home – 2015.

PS. I thought I had gotten all the sources, but it appears I’ve missed some. If you know them, I’ll be happy to correct the ones I’ve missed.

Lisa

Windows to lust after

Taking a break from my European posts to talk about the necessity of great windows, especially here in our extremely variable Canadian climate.

We Canadians, also love to finish our basements so that we can utilize all that great space on our lower levels.  It really is the perfect spot to make a cosy theatre room, a work out area, children’s play space or a guest room and spa bath.  So, having a space that is warm, functional and bright is essential.  Here’s where windows, like the Boman Kemp ones that Cardel Homes are featuring in the basements of their Blackstone’s community town homes, are perfect.

These large windows bring so much natural light and ventilation into a basement!  And not to worry, they come with a safety grate for pets and people, so that no one falls in the exterior well!  There is also a safety ladder as an emergency escape from the basement.

CardelTowns-0672-XL-2 CardelTowns-0680-XL-22

What a difference a great window makes!

**Disclaimer: I’ve received no compensation for this post

*** Images courtesy of Boman Kemp

Lisa

Architecture, streets and alleys of France

So for this post, I am focusing on the streets, architecture and alleys of France.  Some of these photos are actually taken in Monaco, but I am going to put them in France for today 🙂  Warning there are a ton of photos in this post!

 

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Did you spot all the Roman buildings in this post?  The Romans were very busy when they were in France many centuries ago.  And I thought I’d include this little video of us driving through Provence. Click on the link below to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udg1MfP6dg0&feature=youtu.be

Lisa