Archive for the ‘Interiors’ Category
We escaped the hustle and bustle of New York and have been spending a lovely long weekend in Newport, RI with family. It’s always nice to get out of the city for a few days, especially when you’re staying in a town as charming and historical as Newport. In my opinion, one of the best parts about this town is the architecture and especially that of the huge mansions on the ocean. Not only are these “cottages” extremely large, but they’re also incredibly opulent and well crafted examples from the Gilded Age.
I would have loved to visit each and every one of them (plus maybe a peek or two into the private homes off of Ocean Ave), but we decided to narrow our focus to two: the Breakers and Marble House. Both were built by members of the Vanderbilt family and were designed by architect William Morris Hunt. Although I wouldn’t call either of these mansions eco-friendly or green because of their size and propensity to import products from all around the world (Italian marble, French furniture & Ottoman treasures), I do appreciate the fact that the houses have been well preserved for modern guests. Unfortunately for photography’s sake, it was a rainy weekend and photos aren’t allowed indoors, so the pictures below are from what I could gather from online sources. If you’re ever in the area, you should take your own tour of these amazing residences. In the meantime, enjoy!
This is the gold ballroom which as been coated in, you guessed it, gold leaf. Although you might think it’s gaudy, the gold leafing actually has a really beautiful texture and sheen when you’re in the space. Not that I’m going to be adding this time my home anytime soon…
After seeing the Marble House, we moved on to the much larger but just as opulent Breakers (it’s the huge house in the background of this photo). The house was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, brother to William K. Vanderbilt. It’s just down the street from Marble House, so I suppose this meant the two families could easily visit one another.
It’s a bit easier to tell how huge and impressive the Breakers is when standing on the back lawn, isn’t it? An interesting fact for you: although F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby took place in Long Island, the movie was actually filmed at the Breakers. I couldn’t think of a more perfect setting.
The main hall when you first enter the house. After seeing it for myself, I can tell you that this picture doesn’t even nearly do this grand room justice. It truly is a remarkable space to be in, especially if you can imagine what it must have been like to walk into a grand ball here.
Even though the picture is a bit small, this Loggia was one of my favorite spaces. Located in a more private area, this outdoor space overlooked the ocean and was the family’s exterior living room in the summer months. I can imagine that the shade, stone and ocean air made for a very pleasant and cool place to relax.
One of the things that I love about New York City is that with a lack of open spaces, people have to get creative with seemingly normal activities. A great example of this is a wonderful restaurant in the West Village called Bell Book & Candle. Like many restaurants in New York, they have subscribed to the organic & local food movement. But but they do it one better. BB&C’s local food is even closer than the nearest farmers market – they grow their veggies with an Aeroponic system on their very own roof. We visited the restaurant last winter, but unfortunately didn’t get to sample their produce (January & February are really the only months that they don’t grow vegetables, but they do harvest their herbs to use as dried spices in the winter months). So with a friend in town last weekend and the plethora of greens this time of year, we figured August was a perfect time to try their food for real. I can attest that the food was amazing, the staff is very friendly and the space is warm, inviting and cozy. But don’t take my word for the decor, take a peek yourself!
Here’s a view of their aeroponic system. What’s amazing about this system is that because it doesn’t have need for soil, the plants grow a lot faster than if they were placed in the ground.
Don’t those vegetables look amazing? Makes me want to find a place with a roof so I can become an urban farmer. Okay, maybe not, but a girl can dream, can’t she?
This is the bar, which is the first thing you see when you walk in. I love the slightly arched ceiling, which you’ll see throughout the restaurant. That coupled with the brick walls gives the restaurant the perfect vintage feel.
The main dining room of Bell Book & Candle. I also really love those hanging sconces over the tables.
More brick in the dining room – makes for a cozy restaurant.
Here’s where the magic happens. Okay, just kidding. The real magic happens on the roof.
Right next to the bar they have a tiny private dining room they call the Naked Lady Room. So named because of the awesome pink wallpaper adorned with, well, naked ladies. It’s a great little spot to bring a few friends and revel in your hidden gem.
Chandelier in the Naked Lady Room
Photos from Bell Book & Candle
What could be better than tacos & margaritas? Eating them in a LEED Platinum restaurant! Yup, Seattle based Little Water Cantina is expecting to achieve this lofty green goal all while serving up delicious Mexican food in their 3,000 square foot restaurant. Designed by Shed Architecture & Design, the restaurant has a hip and sustainable vibe. Green facts: Little Water Cantina is lit almost entirely with LED lights and they cut their water use (a huge deal in the restaurant biz) by about 70%. Plus energy use is down and reuse is up. Case in point, the cool light feature made of 800 reclaimed tequila bottles (and by reclaimed I mean individually dug out of the dumpster by the dedicated owners) and the awesome pendant lights hung over the bar made from vintage gramophones.
To go along with their LEED certification, Little Water Cantina serves local & organic food when feasible, uses only eco-friendly cleaning products and composts all of their food waste. If only I lived nearby, I’d be enjoying a margarita made from local & organic ingredients right now! (That means its good for you, right?) Plus the interiors are as hip as they are green. Enjoy!
The bar with the cool gramophone pendants. I also love the mix of textured wood with the tons of tequila bottles all lined up.
You can sort of see a detail of the pressed tin behind the bar where the beer taps are hung.
A close up of those cool gramophone pendants.
Bar top made from a plank of live edge wood. Gorgeous!
How cool is this mural? I wonder who all the people are in it…
Here’s a peek of the dining room and that 800-bottle tequila wall. Collecting those bottles and envisioning what it all will look like really takes foresight!
Photos from Little Water Cantina
I have a special fondness for peeking into fictional homes – home tours, model homes, show houses, you name it. There’s something about getting a firsthand view of the way other people could live together with seeing new design trends, furniture and materials that I find so fascinating. And when the show houses are also eco-friendly, well, I can’t think of anything better. This year’s HGTV Green Home 2011 is no exception, featuring great design plus the latest & greatest in green products and technology.
The Green Home was designed by Linda Woodrum with lots of eco-friendly aspects such as no-VOC paints, energy efficient appliances, organic fabrics, certified woods and an awesome net energy usage computer program that monitors the whole house’s efficiency. In fact, there are so many more sustainable features that this house has earned a LEED Platinum Certification, a huge accomplishment for the whole team. I’m loving the fresh, colorful, artful and young design which suits its location in the new eco-community of Stapleton in Denver, Colorado perfectly.
You’re actually getting an extra special sneak peek of the house, because it’s not open to the public until May 5. If you live in the Denver area, I urge you to check out the house for yourself (and report back – I’d love to hear your thoughts on the design and eco-friendly integration). Tickets are only $20 with proceeds going to Urban Peak, a non-profit that offers services for homeless and runaway youths. If you like the house, you can actually enter online for a chance to win it.
Master Bedroom sitting area
Photos from HGTV Green Home
I had every intention of completing my weekend project today – sewing and installing a new roman shade for the kitchen. In fact, if you remember, I made a pledge a few weeks ago that I was going to tackle one home project each weekend both as something to show on Pretty Little Green Things, but also as a kick in the pants to finally “finish” our apartment. Well, as we all know, pledges and real life are sometimes two very different things. And let me tell you, life won the battle this weekend. But rather than give up and move on to a new topic, I thought I’d post my roman shade progress as a little teaser for you. And by next weekend, hopefully you’ll see the completed product!
Here’s my lovely fabric! It’s from Mod Green Pod, who, if you’re not familiar, make brightly colored and fun patterned organic fabric. I was lucky enough to not only get the fabric on super sale, but also find it in the exact navy blue color I was searching for.
Another peek at the fabric with my lovely sewing machine in the background. My quilter mom made sure I had a good quality sewing machine as soon as I moved to New York.
I’ve been a bit obsessive searching for how-to’s on making a roman shade. It’s actually a fairly complicated procedure and I was nervous getting it all right. There’s not a lot of forgiveness if you make a mistake in your measurements. From my vast searching, I found that one of the easier to follow how-to’s came from Martha Stewart (who else, right?). If you’re thinking of trying the same thing, here’s a link to her instructions.
You have to measure EVERYTHING very precisely when you make a fabric shade. So here I am trusty pencil and measuring tape in hand.
While we were out and about today we passed by a pile of random stuff waiting to be picked up for trash collection. Normally I take a quick glance to see if there’s anything good and then continue on my way. But today, this bamboo blind sitting on top of the pile caught my eye. We quickly nabbed it for the extra hardware and mounting board. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
I just returned from a whirlwind weekend in Miami (hence the radio silence from this end of the blogosphere over the last few days) and I’ve hopefully brought back a little sun & warmer weather with me. I’m not really a beach person so instead, I ran around and checked out all the cool hotels downtown and on the beach. Unfortunately the cool hotels aren’t really on board with sustainability yet, so I don’t have much to report on that end. However, I completely fell in love with the decor at DB Bistro Moderne, designed by Yabu Pushelberg. If you’re nearby the JW Marriott anytime soon, I highly recommend stopping by and taking a peek (and maybe stopping for a drink or some food too!) Some of these pics are mine (via iPhone, so I apologize ahead of time for the quality) and some are professional pics from the restaurant. Enjoy!
The Bar Lounge
The private Wine Room just next to the bar
View of the main dining room. Do you see the petal-like sculpture on the back wall? I’ll bet you it’s from Pascale Girardin, a talented Canadian sculpter.
Another view of the Main Dining Room
To the right and left of the Main Dining Room are these bright red rooms. Beautiful.
Photos from DB Bistro Moderne
I design luxury hotel properties as my day job so I look at a lot of properties just as a part of my research. When I see hoteliers committed to not only creating a hi-end boutique experience for their guests, but an eco-friendly one as well, I take notice. The Hotel Felix in Chicago is just such a property. It’s the first LEED Silver certified hotel in the Windy City with recycled & organic materials, energy efficient plumbing & lighting and recycling programs to name just a few initiatives. They also have an upcoming Green Roof which I can’t wait to see. The design of the hotel is a beautiful blend of modern, artful touches and understated elegance. Enjoy!
The Hotel Felix was re-developed in this historic building in Chicago.
The hotel restaurant
Photos from Hotel Felix
Every year DIFFA hosts a Dining by Design event at the Architectural Digest Home Show with tons of tabletops by well known designers and tastemakers. The acronym stands for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS and is one of the country’s largest supporters of HIV/AIDS care & education. Merging great design with a worthy cause seems like absolute genius to me. Plus the tabletops are fun and absolutely inspiring, so I just had to share the whole event with you. There were so many tables and so many I loved that I couldn’t possibly narrow it down, so I’m going to show more tables tomorrow too. Enjoy!
And last but certainly not least…
Lonny Magazine is out on the virtual newsstand and this month’s issue is packed full of eco products, tips and inspirations. There’s a great article about fashion designer, Stella McCartney who is as green as she is stylish, as well as an interview with Lauren Bush, the founder of FEED. This issue is a big one so head on over to Lonny for your weekend read. And as always, enjoy!