When most people hear the word, "carnations," they probably conjure up images of a large, bulky crystal vase filled with babies breath, pastel colored carnations, wild greens and most likely, the words, "tacky" and "cheap," come to mind. As much as I used to think the same thing, I know now, how wonderful and elegant carnations can be. The key to a beautiful arrangement or bouquet of carnations is to have it be just carnations, no other flower types, no greens, no babies breath, just carnations. I do think that you can have mixed colors but it seems to always look best when only one color is used. The best part about using carnations in bulk, is that they are inexpensive and have a full flower head which means, they create more volume for a more dramatic effect and you can still be well within your budget.
Hopefully some of these examples will replace those negative thoughts with kind words and images...
Whenever I travel, I try to find out what's happening in the design world in that location. Whether it be to find out what the latest flower trends are for Hawaiian weddings or to see what color palettes are being used in interior design. For the most part, current trends are pretty much the same anywhere you go, but most places seem to have their own personalized trends that are relevant to their location. On my last trip, I had a layover in Florida and picked up a copy of Florida Design. Here are some things that caught my eye:
When I think of Florida, I immediately have visions of blue waters, beautiful sky, palm trees, green marshes, relaxation, and well, alligators. It's no wonder that designers in Florida are not afraid of bold color and choices, given the environmental canvas they have to work with. For example, the above images of designer, Doug Meyer's home, which he personally designed is bold, wild and fun. Now, I know that color this strong is not suited for everyone but I do think that this strong of a design would do very well in hospitality design. The whole room in the top picture would make an awesome lobby for a super hip hotel in Palm Springs or it could be a breath of fresh air for a boutique hotel in the big city. The picture of the seating area above would be so great in a funky hotel cafe or one of the hotel's suites (although, I may eliminate the eyeball pendant light).
I would love to be lounging with Neoteric Home. These outdoor furnishings can be upholstered in one of the many fantastic choices from Sunbrella fabrics. Sunbrella is a super durable, anti-fade material that is pretty standard in the outdoor furniture world. Definitely a must for the strong Florida sun.
On a more sophisticated level, I fell in love with this amazing chandelier from Terzani. I love the way the chains fall so gracefully and the silver structures takes on a more organic shape rather than a perfectly round and symmetrical shape. This chandelier is so glamorous, it reminds me of a red carpet gown.
...here are some more fabulouse light fixtures in the "Atlantis Collection" from Terzani that lend to the same slightly edgy, luxurious gracefulness that was found floating above that dining room table. All in all, I have to say, Florida has got it goin on.
Cal-Earth - The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture is teaching those who are willing to learn, how to create homes that are made from the earth, imitate nature and are nearly Mother Nature proof. The goal is to teach people how to make these inexpensive and sustainable structures so that they can go around the world sharing their knowledge and helping those in need. The structures are made from sandbags and barbed wire, which they have named "Superadobe." The design and shape of the structure came from observing nature (think shells and bee hives), as well as, techniques from the great builders of out past (domes, vaults, etc.). The domes have been built to withstand the impact of heavy snow, flooding, extreme heat and other treachorous conditions that can cause homelessness.
There are a few different dome designs that are taught by CalEarth. Some serve as emergency shelters/villages and some as homes. The domes are quite beautiful inside and the exteriors are so unique, especially when you realize that neither wood nor nails were involved. The organic shapes of the dome automatically creates a sense of warmth and comfort, as you would hope a home would provide.
Being able to use plentiful and local materials to create structures that can save lives is an amazing gift and I hope to see more "kind-Earth" thinking of this sort. I am very eager to go out to CalEarth and explore their domes myself and maybe even take a class. For better pictures and an extensive understanding on all that CalEarth is and does, be sure to visit http://www.calearth.org/.
I am obsessed with these pot filler faucets from Brizo. I can't believe I haven't seen or heard of these before. The idea is genius, and as with most genius ideas, so simple. The pot fillers can be installed on the wall or on the counter; either way, they do not take up any space like a full sink would.
Not only is it a great idea, but it just looks so sleek and cool. With all the different finish options, these pot fillers fit right into any kitchen. These should be installed in every new house because... well, they just should!
Have you been to Restoration Hardware lately? They have had a total makeover and I love it! The store itself is stunning and dramatic. The gray and beige tones and the dim lighting send instant relaxation vibes through you. The wood furniture is finished close to what would be its naturally aged color, keeping the room light, airy and relaxed. Many of the pieces are what I would expect to find in an old European farmhouse. I would be happy to have anything from their fall collection in my home.
This clever idea was spotted over at City Cradle Design. The tube art was made by ebony for a friends wedding and the DIY details are all shared at City Cradle. Be sure to check out the complete wedding while you're over there!
This DIY project is so wonderful because not only is it inexpensive but the possibilities of use for this structure are endless. I would love to make one that is over sized (I'm thinking 6' x 10'), use three soft but bright colors (possibly yellow, sea foam green and a light blue and maybe throw in touches of white here and there) and alternate painting the inside and outside of the tubes with the different colors. Then, I would hang it over a creamy neutral sofa and very selectively and sparsely, add a few knick-knacks to the piece.
One thing that impressed me in Guatemala was that some of the places we visited were not only resourceful with the materials they used in their decor and architecture, but they maintained a sense of style and creativeness.
The exterior walls of a quaint hotel in the Town of San Marcos had this interesting and artsy twist on wall finishes. The picture above was taken at a strange angle, but it is framed by wood, then by some tile mosaics, filled in with pebbles, and glass panels. The whole thing is securely wrapped in chicken wire but from afar, it's not apparent that the wire is even there. The "stained glass" panels are acutally broken bits and pieces of bottles and other glass items that create the look of stained glass. In the same town, I came across another version of the same idea; compacted trash was framed by wood and restrained by the chicken wire. The mixture of the different compacted trash materials created interesting colors and textures.
This hotel had creatively spread the "stained glass" art all around the property. The picture direcltly above is of the window to the guest restroom. More so than others, this picture really captures how the bottles are used in the artwork to create the patterns and textures. I love that the artist chose to leave the bottles whole and not deconstruct them to tiny pieces to where it becomes uncertain as to what they once were.
It may be hard to decipher what this picture is at first glance, but this is a light fixture made of clear bottles that were fused to a glass orb. It's fantastic! I love that the glass picks up different colors and gives a sense of rustic charm. I was excited to see that even the light fixtures were incorporated into the look of this property. It wasn't too common that I found design integrated throught a whole room or property when I was in Guatemala, so I was excited to find this place.
We made a stop into this coffee shop in Antigua and I thought the place was designed adorably. The three antiqued green chairs in the window, the cheery yellow walls, the coffee sack seat cushions and the can light fixtures, just screamed welcome and stay a while. I know that the tin light fixture is not a ground-breaking idea, but I think it works so wonderfully in this space. It's simple, recycled, functional, and charming. Like I said, it wasn't everyday that I came across a well thought out design, so anytime I saw a space that had some unity and character to it, I was thrilled to be in it.
One of my trip highlights was staying at the Earth Lodge, just outside of Antigua. Located at a high elevation, views of volcanoes across the way and the city of Antigua just below are easily spotted. They offer tree houses, tree cabins and dorms to stay in and they all have amazing views. My friends and I opted for the tree cabin since there were three of us, we thought it would be the roomiest.
Our tree cabin was 2 stories, nestled on a steep slope with a wall of windows that looked out to the valley and volcanoes. There was a large tree jetting through the corner of the cabin and a cozy bench against the window for some meditating and reading time. At night, we happened to look out from our beds to the window and actually saw some lava trickling down the volcano. It was an amazing site to see.
The Earth Lode is eco-friendly and is big on community. The lodge is settled amongst avocado groves and small town villages, which they help out as much as possible. All dinners are served family-style, encouraging guests to meet new friends and share stories over their famous meals. The food is truly delicious; I even bought the cookbook because it was so good. The recipes are all vegetarian and use only local ingredients. They offer free lodging and food to those who volunteer at there. There are several games and movies available for anyone to use, free of charge. The Earth Lodge is a beautiful and peaceful place that naturally draws in kind people, making it a lovely visit for everyone.
We didn't stay or go into the tree house but I snapped a pic of it because I thought it was so awesome. The guests have their own balcony with a hammock, yes, a hammock! The tree house is out on its' own path, providing much privacy and relaxation. You really can't go wrong with any of the accomodations at Earth Lodge but I recommend the Tree Cabin or Tree House! If you're on a tight budget, you can also pitch a tent for a very small fee. Whatever you choose, just make sure you go, even if it's just for a bite to eat and a game of taboo!
From the corn covered hills to the vibrantly painted streets, Guatemala is a beautiful and colorful country. After spending 9 days there, I am glad to be back in the comforts of home. I realized how much I took for granted being able to flush tissue down the toilet, rinse my toothbrush in tap water, have great water pressure and hot water at the same time, use the dishwasher and laundry machines and not have dust everywhere. It wasn't the end of the world not having these amenities but it really does make you appreciate what you have. Guatemala overflows with color, and I LOVE color, so I was in heaven. Many of the women still wear the traditional brightly woven garments and carry just about everything on their head. Almost all store fronts and houses are painted different colors and instantly perk up the town. The markets are full of various weavings and leather goods that can be snagged inexpensively, especially if you know how to bargain.
My girlfriends and I snatched these amazing weekend bags for about $20.00 USD!! I know it's not proper to talk money but this was such a steal, I have to - They are all hand woven and have leather trimmings and small metal trivets on the bottom to keep the bags clean. By far, our best purchase on the trip!