Visiting the Zimmerman House

It’s hard to believe that just last week I was in New England! The Dude and I made a quick visit to his family that lives near Boston. While we were there, my in-laws took us to view the Zimmerman House in New Hampshire. This house was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1950’s. It now belongs to the Currier Museum which conducts public tours of the house.

It was such a treat to be able to see a house by the great Frank Lloyd Wright. I was in design heaven. Unfortunately, I was only able to take photos of the exterior as photography inside the house was not allowed. I don’t think pictures would do it justice anyway. This is a house that should be experienced.

The shot above is the back of the house. A pair of french doors was being repaired, hence the plywood. The house has only one floor, which I love. My ideal house would only have one floor as I abhor stairs. The Zimmerman House is pretty small (it only has two bedrooms), but because of its smart design it seems pretty spacious. Another thing I love about the house is that it sits on a diagonal relative to the lot so it doesn’t face the street directly.

Every aspect of the house was intentionally and thoughtfully designed, and I was truly blown away by the beauty of it all. After seeing the house I now understand why Frank Lloyd Wright is so highly regarded. The man was a genius.

You can view photos of the interior here.

Chair Obsession

I know there are a lot of people out there who share my obsession with chairs. I don’t know why, but I love, love, love chairs. Maybe it’s because they seem like sculpture. A well-designed chair is truly a work of art. If I could, I would have a room devoted to my chair collection.

I particularly like midcentury modern chairs. Who doesn’t really? I will probably never own the authentic designer version of the chairs pictured above but they will continue to haunt my daydreams as long as I live. Although I’m perfectly aware that these chairs have become a cliché in interior design these days, it doesn’t stop me from admiring and coveting them.

You can find more information on the Eames molded plastic chair, the wishbone chair, and the Series 7 chair on the DWR website.

Inspiration: Black and White Interiors

The other day I was at the bookstore browsing the home decor section. I picked up a book called Black and White (and a Bit in Between): Timeless Interiors, Dramatic Accents, and Stylish Collections by Celerie Kemble. I was a bit skeptical about the premise of the book but curiosity got the better of me. Wow, was I blown away by the amazing interiors I saw. I was expecting to see stark black and white interiors but I was totally wrong. There was a vast variety of black and white spaces with a surprising amount of colours mixed in.

As I browsed the photos, I noticed that successful black and white rooms have a lot of different textures in them that adds visual interest. Also, I noticed layers of white and black. The spaces I liked best were the ones with wood accents or pops of colour.

I also found myself actually reading the text. I have to admit that when I look at interior design books I only look at the pictures and rarely read the copy. Celerie Kemble offers good advice on how to pull off the look so that you don’t end up with a space that looks too stark and sterile.

I scoured Pinterest to look for examples of black and white interiors that I like. You can check out my Pinterest board to see examples.

Ace Hotel Seattle

Part of our trip to Massachusetts involved staying in Seattle overnight as we were flying in and out of Sea-Tac airport. So I booked a room at the Ace Hotel, of course! We so enjoyed our stay at the Ace in Palm Springs that we want to try to visit all the other Ace Hotels.

The Ace Hotel in Seattle is in a historic building and it’s chock full of mouth-watering vintage decor.

I especially loved the horse themed wall paper in one of the bathrooms in the lobby. I’ve come to love using horses in my own decor.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take photos of the room we stayed in because it was too dim even with the lights on. There were no windows, just a door to a covered courtyard. All I can say is that it was not your typical hotel room. It actually reminded me a lot of the room we stayed in at the Craft Hotel in Buenos Aires.

We also got to tour around Downtown Seattle for a bit. The weather was gorgeous and made exploring very easy and pleasant.

When we visited Pike Place market, it was during a Sunday morning and the place was abuzz with shoppers and tourists. There were so many yummy eateries and I wanted to eat at all of them.

Even though Seattle is less than 3 hours away by car from Vancouver, we rarely go there. I hope that we can spend more time exploring this super cool city in the future.

Decorating with Vintage Wooden Crates

Decorating our new apartment has been very slow going. I’ve been preoccupied with finding rugs because it’s required by our building (and the deadline was yesterday!). But I managed to decorate a little corner of my office space with some vintage goodies.

I recently visited my most favourite vintage home decor shop Stepback and picked up a few gems – among them a pair of vintage wooden crates to repurpose as storage/display furniture. I love their whitewashed finish. So one of them now is sitting on top of the file cabinet holding my vintage toolbox collection.

Actually this whole little corner is a vintage haven. The horse bookend and the fan atop the crate and the flower frogs and wooden letterpress types resting at the bottom are all vintage finds. Some I scored while thrifting, others I bought from vintage sellers. It’s funny how they all got accidentally concentrated here, but now that I think about it it’s the only space where I can display some of my vintage stuff. The rest of it is still packed in a box because I don’t have wall shelves to display them on like at our old place.
Wooden crates offer so much versatility when it comes to home decor. The other wooden crate I have is temporarily serving as a side table. I’ve seen some other creative uses for them: as bookcases, a shadowbox, a nightstand, a catch-all box, etc. I especially like the ones to which castors have been attached.

The shoe storage/landing strip above is made out of milk crates. I love, love, love it. If only our entryway were that spacious!

This hodgepodge of wooden crates put together to make a modular bookcase is genius! Love the flea-market style look.

I hope to share soon here what I’m going to do with the other things I got from Stepback. Hint: it also involves repurposing an object for furniture/storage use.

Black and White Bathroom Inspiration

We have moved in to our new place! All the boxes have been unpacked, and now I’m trying to figure out how to decorate our new digs.

The only room I’m certain about on how to decorate is the bathroom. Currently, it’s an all-white bathroom, but I sense that it’s supposed to be black and white. It’s a nice change from the all-pink bathroom we had in our previous place!

Here are some black and white bathrooms I’ve collected from the great world wide web that I find inspirational.

from Houzz
from Houzz

Black and white is such a classy colour scheme. I don’t think it’ll ever go out of style. So far I’ve only managed to add a black and white bath rug and a black toilet brush to our bathroom. Things that still need to be done:

  • Paint the walls above the white tiles black
  • Find black knobs for the sink cabinet
  • Find a black basket

I’m looking forward to the fact that the bathroom is going to be a quick and easy transformation. Instant gratification projects are the best!

My Favourite House

my favourite house

I am head over heels in love with this house. It’s in the Kitsilano area in Vancouver.

It’s total eye candy. I love the dark grey paint job (surprise, surprise). In spite of its super modern look, the wood accents really warm it up. I’m dying to see what it looks like inside but I’m too timid to get up close to it and snoop around. Also, I’m curious to know who lives in this house.

my favourite house

Even the Dude likes this house, which goes to show you how much I’ve corrupted his tastes. He’s a country boy from rural New England who grew up surrounded by by old, quaint houses.

We’ll never be able to afford a house like this in Vancouver. As long as we live in this city, we’ll be renters for life. Speaking of which, we’ve been busy apartment hunting. We’re planning to move at the end of January. Not sure whether we’ll be moving to a 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom. It’ll probably depend on what we find. I’m very tempted to move into a 2-bedroom, but I’m afraid of accumulating junk to fill the extra space. As a reformed pack-rat, I’ve come to enjoy living with as little as possible. Even with the weekly purgings, I still feel like we have too much stuff.

Vintage Christmas Decor

Here are some favourite vintage Christmas decor items I found on Etsy.

Letterpress blocks from Monki Vintage

Bottlebrush Christmas trees from Haven Vintage

Rocking horse from Recycle Buy Vintage

Sock stretchers from Little Byrd Vintage

Needlepoint stocking from Sugarpush Vintage (my own shop)

When decorating our home, I try to incorporate as much vintage stuff as I can because nothing adds more character and style like vintage does. And Christmas is an excellent time to mix in some vintage-y goodness with your contemporary decorations. I don’t go nuts and deck out the entire place as if Santa and his reindeer came in and exploded. There’s usually an Advent wreath, an ornament tree, and this year I added the Christmas felt garland I sell in the LAX TO YVR shop. A vintage item or two are, of course, thrown in to the whole shebang like these.

vintage egg ornaments

Typography is still very hot in home decor. Letterpress types are a fantastic way to add some holiday flair. I have a set of Scrabble tiles that I might use to say something appropriate for the season.

Happy decorating!

Ace Hotel in Palm Springs

ACE hotel sign

Although we stayed at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs just a few weeks ago, already it feels like a distant dream. It was nice to be back in the desert. I LOVE the desert. It’s one of the things I miss the most about Southern California.

I’ve been wanting to check out the Ace Hotel ever since I learned about all it’s design-y goodness. It used to be a Howard Johnson, and now it’s the hippest hotel in Palm Springs. I thoroughly enjoyed the two nights we stayed there and wished we could have stayed an additional day. This was the first vacation the Dude and I took just the two of us since our honeymoon in 2009. All our vacations since have involved visiting family, which is fun but not very relaxing. I really needed to get away to somewhere where I could go and do absolutely nothing but lounge around.

I should mention that right before we arrived at the Ace, we spent the morning going through my stuff in storage that I hadn’t seen since 2004. It was super stressful as we didn’t have much time. It was also physically and emotionally draining as I threw away most of the crap I saved. By the time we got to the Ace, it looked like a veritable paradise. So my experience may have been a bit coloured due to the sheer exhaustion I was feeling when I arrived.

ACE pool collage

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time by the pool. I’m not normally the lounge-by-the-pool-all-day kind of gal, but that’s all I wanted to do while we were there because I was feeling weary and it was too damn hot to do anything else.

Now I’ll shut up for a bit and let the pictures do the talking.

ACEcollage

ace hotel room

ACEroomcollage2

I was absolutely in love with the side table on the right.

ACEroomcollage

wall art

french doors

ace hotel room bar

ACElightscollage

I really dug the light fixtures, particularly their industrial look.

ACE11

Next time I’d like to stay in a room with a private patio. You get your own fireplace!

ace hotel lobby

The hotel lobby. I really wanted to take the leather chair home.

ace hotel lobby

The famous plumbing pipe shelving unit. It inspired this internet sensation, which prompted a slew of others to make their own version. When I saw it, it felt like I had reached a pilgrimage destination.

king's highway restaurant in ace hotel

King’s Highway restaurant on the hotel property. It used to be a Denny’s. Gosh, I love the paint-dipped legs of those Bentwood chairs.

The first night we ate at the restaurant it just happened that it was Sissy Bingo night. The hostess, Linda Gerard, would belt out a song occasionally while calling out the bingo balls. My favourite song was “Who Do You Have to Fuck to Get in a Movie.” Linda is in her 70s, but given her energy you wouldn’t know it.

king's highway restaurant in ace hotel

Love the tile work.

king's highway restaurant in ace hotel

The Dude was cracking me up with his silly antics. Again, love the pendant lamps. Whoever designed the property really paid attention to lighting.

The food served at King’s Highway was absolutely delicious. Most of their food is local and organic. And they have the BEST, DAMN coffee EVER – Sumptown Coffee. If it weren’t for my bladder condition, I would have stolen more than just a few sips from the Dude.

ace hotel card

One thing I really appreciated about the Ace is that they have an entertainment offerering almost every night. Our second night we attended a karaoke event in the Amigo Room, which is a cozy dark little bar. It was so much fun. I can’t wait to stay at the Ace again as I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. And I hope to visit all their other locations, two of which are in the Pacific Northwest!

My photo collection of the Ace can be found here.

California Design at LACMA

We barely squeaked in some time to see LACMA’s California Design exhibit during our trip to L.A. I mainly wanted to see it in order to check out the Eames’ living room recreated inside the museum. All the contents of the living room were temporarily moved out of their Case Study house in order to do some renovations. The New York Times wrote an article on this project.

Unfortunately, taking photos of the Eames living room replica was not allowed. But it was a sight to behold. To my surprise, the living room featured a mash-up of various styles. It was more eclectic and cluttered than I imagined it would be. It was definitely modern in style, but I was also struck by how  warm and cozy the space seemed.

I did manage to get these pictures, which I took with my phone so please excuse the crappy quality. There was so much modern furniture to behold and drool over.

 

These lamps were to die for. Wish I could have whisked them off to our apartment!

The exhibit was not just about furniture or interior decor. It featured fashion and other areas of design. I really wish I could have lingered and soaked up the inspiration that was all around. We could only spare 45 minutes in there as we were between meetings with friends. California Design runs until June 3, 2012, so if you’re in the area and appreciate good design, then go check it out!