Friday, January 30, 2009

Jet Set: La Dolce Vita in Rome

The Hotel Pulitzer Roma is housed in a 20th century modernist building

Fabian and I visited Rome two years ago and it is destination we would definitely like to visit again. The city of Rome has something to offer every type of traveler from the history buff to the fashionista to the foodie or even honeymooners as it is a very romantic city. Rome has many great hotels, but I will be focusing on two in this installment of Jet Set.

Nine times out of ten, I will choose to stay in a well-designed boutique hotel over a big chain hotel. I tend to gravitate towards hotels with sleek, modern interiors over more traditional ones. The Hotel Pulitzer Roma certainly fits the bill as it oozes style. The Pulitzer Roma is located in the EUR district and is very close to a subway station which makes it easy to maneuver around the city. The hotel is probably better suited for a business traveler as opposed to someone visiting Rome for the first time because it is located in the financial district. Nevertheless, it is a very chic hotel.

The lobby features dark wood floors, white furniture, and abstract art from the 1970s by various Italian artists.

Sitting Area
I really like the vignette on the left.

Sleek Furnishings abound in the Pulitzer Roma

The stylish VISIT Restaurant features regional cuisine

One of the 83 guestrooms at the Pulitzer

Details from a Guestroom

I love the sleek, minimal bathroom. I can't stand dated bathrooms in hotels! Isn't the black subway tile divine?

Now, on to option number two, for anyone who may be heading to Rome to see all of the amazing sights.

The Fortyseven Hotel

Fabian and I stayed at The Fortyseven Hotel when we visited Rome and we absolutely loved it. I would honestly recommend it to anyone visiting the Italian capital. It had everything we were looking for: an excellent location, great accommodations, and the small boutique hotel experience. The Fortyseven consists of 61 well-appointed rooms and features art by Modigliani and Mastroianni throughout the 1930s art deco building. The staff is fabulous and as I said before, the location is unbeatable.

It is within walking distance to all of the major sites: The Temple of Vesta is across the street, The Mouth of Truth is 75 metres away, Circus Maximus is 150 metres from the hotel, The Capitoline Museums and Piazza Venezia are around the corner, The Roman Forum is half a mile a away, and The Coliseum, Trevi Fountain Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and Villa Borghese are one mile away. Vatican City is just across the Tiber River. We walked everywhere and didn't have to rely on taxis or the subway since we were near everything. Despite being so close to everything, the area immediately around the hotel is relatively quiet, making it ideal.

The Rooftop Lounge at the Fortyseven Hotel

The Lobby Area

A Guestroom

Guest Bathroom

This room is just like the one we stayed in. Notice the chevron pattern of the wood floors. The bed was very comfortable, the linens were nice, and the windows had an automatic screen type thing that would cancel out all noise and light when you would lower it.

This was the view from our window. That is the Temple of Vesta directly across from the hotel and the Tiber River is just up that little side street.

Another shot from our window

When leaving the hotel, you turn right and start walking. We would walk past the Piazza Venezia and the monument where Mussolini would give his speeches everyday.

The Capitoline Museums are just around the corner.

The Roman Forum is a couple of blocks away.

Piazza Venezia

This is just down the street from the hotel and we would pass it on our walks each day. I never found out what it was, but it is so beautiful.

Me, at the Trevi Fountain before I had bangs
The Bocca della Verità, or Mouth of Truth, which you may remember from Roman Holiday. According to local legend, it will bite your hand off if you tell a lie. We have pictures of us sticking our hands in there, but I'll be honest, they aren't very flattering, so this will have to do.
Me, at the Temple of Vesta across from the hotel

Michelangelo's Piazza San Pietro in Vatican City
Notice the gorgeous umbrella pine tress above it. They are all over the city.

Images via Hotel Pulitzer Roma, The Fortyseven Hotel, and my personal files.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

London Calling

Buckingham Palace dressed in the Union Jack flag for Christmas 2003

After some deliberation, Fabian and I have decided to visit London in September. We sort of went back and forth and he kept giving me the run around, just as he does anytime I try to convince him to take a trip. We didn't take a vacation together last year, with the exception of a long weekend in San Francisco for his birthday and my trip to Spain, which was more like work since I took students.I was rooting for Spain for a while (I fell head over heels in love with it last summer) to which he would reply, "We'll see". One day, I randomly threw London into the mix and he could not have been more excited. I think the key is to find a destination he is really interested in as well. We are both really looking forward to this trip because we've never been to London before and we have wanted to visit for quite some time.

I've started making a list of all of the major sites we'd like to see (Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, The Tate Modern, The National Gallery, The Globe Theatre, etc). However, I would appreciate any tips you might be willing to give. Are there any specific places that we must see? Anything you felt was disappointing? Recommendations for restaurants would be great, too (mostly casual places). I would honestly love any insider tips you would be willing to offer.

Image found here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Buckingham's living room features a custom sofa upholstered in Brunschwig & Fils fabric, a JF Chen glass lamp from the 1950s, and an art collection including works by Jasper Johns and James Rosenquist.

The eclectic home of Lindsey and Kristen Buckingham is featured in the March 2009 issue of Elle Décor. Upon seeing the home of the Fleetwood Mac rocker and his interior designer wife in the pages of the magazine, I was intrigued and decided to check out Kristen's portfolio. A self-described aficionado of period details, Kristen finds the 1920s homes of Los Angeles architect Wallace Neff (her own included) to be the ultimate challenge.

Kristen is a great proponent of scale and does not want grand rooms in her home for the simple purpose of being grand. The mother of three young children, Will, age 10, Leelee, age 8, and Stella, age 4 wanted her indisputably grand home to feel practical and to be conducive to the active lifestyle she and her family lead. Kristen's aesthetic puts a subversive spin on otherwise traditional design elements. The result is in my opinion, very bohemian and feels very European. It brings to mind one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, "Gyspy". Lindsey describes his wife's aesthetic as "a combination of traditional and edgy". Whatever you decide to call it, it is absolutely personal, just as Kristen intended.

This boho study features Porter Bookshelves, which are part of the furniture line designed by Kristen.

This room belongs to Will, the Buckingham's 10 year old son. The bedding was custom made using Clarence House fabric and the framed prints are pages from a vintage children's book.

A serene color palette and vintage oil paintings of the ocean give off a wistful vibe

The Buckingham's kitchen features a Murano glass chandelier from eBay, custom cabinetry painted in Benjamin Moore's Night Shade, and cement tile flooring from Mission Tile West. The large kitchen also features carrara marble counters and backsplash, an abundance of storage, and a large island, painted white with a butcher block top.

Another Gorgeous Kitchen by Kristen Buckingham

The mirrors and vanities in the Buckingham's master bathroom were designed by Kristen. The paint is Farrow & Ball and the antique rug is from Aga John Oriental Rugs.

The Buckingham's powder room features a Duralee fabric wallcovering, an antique Venetian mirror, and sconces by Remains Lighting.

This spectacular dressing room feels very dreamy as a result of the antiqued mirrors, crystal chandeliers, and soft color palette.

Under the Sea

I'm currently loving this Lord Bodner Octopus Triptych available at Plantation.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Amanda Nisbet: Oceans 3 Showhouse

Nisbet used the living room as neutral starting point for the condo.

Back in October, I did a feature on Amanda Nisbet's distinctive use of color and her flair for style. Her fresh approach and heavy use of colors and textures made her an ideal candidate to design one of the three Traditional Home's Oceans 3 Showhouses. Amanda's Oceans 3 showhouse (it's actually a condo) is the first to be featured in the magazine, which will eventually feature the other two oceanside retreats by Eric Cohler and Philip Gorivan in future issues.

Located in Montauk in The Hamptons, the stylish condo designed by Nisbet is an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city and the stresses of daily life. Despite an exuberant use of color, Nisbet manages to make the condo feel bright and relaxing.

Nisbet added a lucite top to the Somerset Bay table so that it would lend itself to the lucite stools she custom designed. The stools are covered in "Canton Silk" fabric in Teal by Orient Express.

The neutral kitchen features Wood-Mode cabinetry and genuine onyx tiles by Ann Sacks. It wouldn't be an Amanda Nisbet kitchen without a burst of color...notice the bright orange Kitchen-Aid stand mixer.

The master bedroom features a bamboo headboard by Louis J. Solomon, tiered tables by Henredon, chunky crystal table lamps by Circa Lighting. The drapes are made from a printed silk designed by Nisbet.

The master bath features "Chalkstripe" vanities by Kohler, Ann Sacks marble tile, and mirrors from Modern History.

This secondary bedroom features drapes made from a fabric designed by Nisbet, an Albert Menin Interiors Daybed, a retro phone from Target, hanging light by Urban Electric Co., a custom Long Island Map by Soicher Marin, and a fabulous red "Annaleah" floorlamp also by Nisbet.

Nisbet made a custom bulletin board complete with a nickel frame from Skyframe and navy fabric from Fabricut. The fabulous vintage chair was redone by Nisbet. It looks great alongside Ralph Lauren's "Highbridge" desk.

The "B.Happy" room is Nisbet's version of the increasingly popular family/media room. Bold colors abound, but my favorite are the quatrefoil "Cara" mirrors by Henredon.

The tranquil outdoor living area offers spectacular views of the beach.

All images via Traditional Home

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jet Set: Paris for Fashion Week

The Westin Paris

Fashion Week is officially here! I will be featuring the most fashionable destinations over the next few weeks through my Jet Set series. Paris is first on the list now that the Men's Fashion and Haute Couture shows are under way.

We usually choose stylish boutique hotels over large chain hotels, but there is no denying that it would be hard to top the Westin Paris. Located in the First Arrondissement, the Westin Paris is literally steps away from The Tuileries, The Louvre, the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore shopping district, as well as the Place Vendôme and Place de la Concorde. The hotel also happens to have spectacular views of The Eiffel Tower. It is quite literally an ideal location.

The Westin Paris combines the classic elegance and grandeur of the Sybille de Margerie building in which it is housed with a more modern sensibility that can be found in its furnishings. The result is ideal for someone like myself, the traveler who enjoys marveling at the stunning architecture of the past, but enjoys chic and modern accommodations.

A Stylish Junior Suite with Breathtaking Views

I love the palette that was chosen for this hotel. The soothing grey tone of the walls works wonderfully with the crisp white linens and hints of color.

I think it would take me even longer to get ready in the morning if I had this view outside my window!

A Stylish Deluxe Room

This Superior Room is the least extravagant of the rooms offered at the Westin Paris, but still looks like a great place to rest after wandering through the City of Light all day.

The Sitting Area in a Regular Suite

Royal Suite
I love the gold leaf against the grey walls. And the gorgeous windows and doors typical of Parisian architecture are also quite lovely.

The Lavish Presidential Suite

The ballrooms in the Westin Paris illustrate the grandeur of the building.

Another Opulent Ballroom

A More Detailed View of the Ornate Salon Imperial

Le First, the Westin's restaurant was designed by Jacques Garcia.

The Swanky Tuileries Bar

When the weather permits, guests can enjoy La Terrasse.

An aerial view of La Terrasse

All images via The Westin Paris