IDS18 observations

I’m just back from Toronto’s Interior Design Show (IDS18) that was held last weekend. And I thought I’d share a few of my observations about the show over the next while.

For me, the Benjamin Moore booth totally summed up the show and what’s happening in decor at the moment. It had the pattern (in the tiled floor and the fireplace), the neutral and jewel tones (in the furnishings and artwork), and the greenery that was everywhere. And it was eclectic, the envelope of the room was traditional with the black and white checked floor and panelled wall treatment, the fireplace was mediterranean inspired and the furnishings were all mid-century modern.

Benjamin Moore ids18

Benjamin Moore ids18

Benjamin Moore ids18

Could you live in this space? I certainly could.

Lisa

 

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

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

Charming Southern Iron Work

A few weeks ago, my hubby and I were in Charleston, South Carolina.  I had not been to Southern Carolina before and I had always imagined it as a gentile, historical, civilized place and I was not disappointed….Mint Julips anyone? The weather was perfect, sunny, warm and with a gentle breeze.

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I’ll be doing a few posts on Charleston as it would make one very looooonnnnng post if I included everything in one.  As usual, I took many architectural photos of homes and the iron work that is all over Charleston, so for this post I’ll be focusing on the beautiful ironwork that is all over the city.

 Lots of it was done by the blacksmith and iron work artist, Philip Simmons.  Unfortunately, many of the original iron work was melted during the War between the States (as the Civil War is referred to in Charleston).

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There’s a definite European feel to Charleston, with their quaint little alleyways and cobblestone streets.  I also had a strong sense of deja vu, since sometimes I felt like I was back in New Orleans.

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This was an exterior bar at the back of a restaurant that was so charming in it’s use of salvaged materials, that I just had to take a picture. Note the various pieces of iron work that are placed on the face of the bar.  Each is so intricate and beautiful on their own.

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This grill below was in the middle of a large hedge that bordered a property.  It looks very old to me.

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This very fancy and scrolly (is that a word?) ironwork was on a very old theatre (sorry forgot the name) in the city centre.

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The gated entrance to a private residence from their car port.  And below, a gated side garden on one of the large homes that we toured past.

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Families’ mottos were often included in the iron work gates and grills, to show what their business was. For example,the tobacconist would have a pipe in his gate.  Unfortunately, my photo of this particular gate did not turn out…I hate that.

Next up, some architecture around town.

Lisa