Simon Says…small living is sublime

Simon Woodroffee wasn’t through with his Yo-deling after the launch of his Yotel Air and Yotel Urban Locations, the founder decided to add Yo! Home to his portfolio of small, but perfectly appointed apartments.  Just 40 square meters (430.5sf), these units possess all that you would expect a posh city pad to have; a kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and living room.  Ample storage too.

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Sunken Living and Dining Room disappear to make way for sleep.

Drawing from the same inspiration that brought Yotel to the market – an overnight flight to London tucked into the cozy confines of a British Airways first class sleeping pod – Simon got his bright idea.  Little can be simply lovely, and he set about proving it.  Now with the help of Glenn Howells Architects, Manchester, England is in the approvals stage for its own Yo! Home.  This stackable building complex will be largely prefabricated off-site, in the quality controlled environment of a warehouse.  This approach, in and of itself, is cost savings, and increases the quality of the end product as you don’t suffer the indignities of winter conditions, manpower shortages, and sequencing difficulties.  Just assemble, and slide onto the truck for delivery!

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Let’s get comfortable.  Style and sophistication on every level.

I have seen a lot of small spaces of late. The U-Hu (Boston’s road show of a solution to micro apartments), tiny houses on wheels, Ori (MIT Media Lab’s high-tech apartment in an amour), these are all steps in the right direction.  Densification is a hot topic, because frankly the population is getting hot under the color over the lack of affordable housing, and that has to change. The question has long been, “how do you make a little slip of a space desirable?”  How do you make it cool, sought after, coveted?  Yo! Home just might be the answer.

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When I first saw the renderings, and watched the video about how these spaces transform into a flat (you know, the word for an English Studio) – I have to admit I thought about Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk.  I should say that I love this movie.  1959, a time when a girl was taken on a proper date, when men dressed for dinner, and Doris Day had suitors that bought her cars to try and win her affection.  I’m thinking about this because it’s time for a new car, and that little grey Mercedes with its red interior, that she turned down … hello.  At any rate, no one is currently offering to buy me a new car, so I can’t possibly know whether or not I would turn it down because its offer is so highly inappropriate.  Is it so wrong to want the opportunity?

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Yo! could you say no?

Rock Hudson had a bachelor pad to beat all bachelor pads.  His sitting area converted to a bedroom, lights dimmed on command, music popping out from behind hidden panels.  A perfect modern wood wall suddenly reveals a cocktail bar, and Manhattan’s are served.  So is the case with Yo! Home.  The king size bed drops from the ceiling concealing the sunken living room, the dining table drops down into the floor and is covered over for safety.  The kitchen is revealed from behind glossy fold away doors.  Underfloor storage offers what us Feng Shui enthusiasts dream of – a place to hide away the clutter that is destined to keep us from realizing our full potential.

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Sleek lines, modern design, sunken tub…yes please.

Yo – can you feel me when I say, if these baby’s make their way to Boston, even at the conversion rate of 150,000 Euro, I’ll take one.  It could be the suitor for whom I’ve been waiting.

Yo – Tell it on the Mountain: A hotel worth talking about

While dining with my good friend Marisa on Wednesday, she mentioned the opening of a new hotel in Boston’s Seaport District.  In our roles we are always looking for hip spots to host client events that will make a splash.  How appropriate that Yotel picked Boston’s Seaport for it’s second city location, because a splash it is going to make!  Opening next Thursday, 22 June at 65 Seaport Blvd. the 326 “cabin” hotel is all about compact luxury.  So coincidentally, am I.

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Self-serve or Mission Control 24/7.

While the original hotels are known as Yotel Airs, and are located at airports, they carry the concept of first class travel to their city environs.  Mission Control (Front Desk), Crew Members (Hotel Staff), and of course your Cabins (hotel rooms), all set the stage for a first class travel experience.

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Premium Queen with Bunk.

It’s no coincidence that Yotel’s creator, Simon Woodrooffe began his life as a stage manager before transitioning to a set designer, becoming a restauranteur with the opening of his first Yo Sushi in 1997, continued his illustrious career.  Well naturally, someone that is known for innovating and reinventing himself, wasn’t going to sit about in the same old set for the rest of his life.  So the Yotel concept, which with streamlined precision and ingenuity, gracefully melds aircraft cabin design, and yacht design, overlaying many of the principles of theater set design, and the technological systems that ensure quick, and seamless transitions from one set to another, into the hotels design…et voila, travel is transformed back to its standing as a time honored gift of adventure and wonder.

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Thankfully this English based company converts square meters into square feet as my list of things to learn is long, and constantly growing.  Don’t feel sad for those meters, they’ll get their spot light here.  A Queen Cabin is 14 sqm, which is roughly 149 Square Feet.  Seems small right?  Yo likes to say “everything you need and nothing you don’t.”  Technology plays an important role in creating comfort in this economically designed space.  SmartBeds, SmartTVs, and the speediest of speedy Wi-fi seem to make it all work.  Like micro-housing units there are plenty of places outside the cabin to convene, work, dine, and relax.

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Cabin Fever …. never, too many places and city faces to visit, inside the hotel and out.

I can’t wait to escape to Yotel’s Boston Rooftop Lounge.  As a Cape Cod Gal getting a glimpse of the water is as necessary to me a taking my next breath.  The rooftop will offers an amazing vantage point from which to view the harbor, sit in comfortable lounge chairs, and a cocktail.  Special introductory rates of $129. have me considering booking a room just for the chance to experience it all first hand.

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Yotel Rooftop Boston.

 

Fruit Punch: Flirt with a little fun

The weekends are too short, and summer in New England is the shortest of the short . shorts.  With no spring to speak of, one really feels the need to make the most of the good weather, when said good weather finally arrives.  Sun, sand, ocean, and fantastically fresh food.  To bite into a juicy peach, savor a sweet chunk of pineapple, smack your lips as you sip a tart and tasty lemonade – that’s summer.  It got me thinking about the roll of fruit in interior design, naturally.

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Etsy is an amazing source for original art work.  This gracefully executed watercolor, brings a little of that fun fruit to an Urban or Suburban setting.  Etsy . Tina Vu Studio $45.

I’m not thinking dark paneled walls, velvet curtains, and Peter Paul’s Rubeneque beauties lying naked in heaps of grapes.  I’m thinking a little more playful, a bit of young at heart, more daylight than dark, more laughter than tears.  Fruit motifs span the gamut from sophisticated to childish, and it’s perfectly ok to mix the two, why not, no law.

 

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The traditional motif symbolizing “welcome” – posh doesn’t have to cost a pretty penny.  PB Teen $119.

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For city surroundings I do recommend you lean toward the sophisticated palette.  Potted fruit plants, faux and real, can bring a little of that summer indoors, and remind you that the world is not all hardscape.  (Try Ballard Design for some realistic looking faux plants) Sculptural elements like china or metallic pineapples, sitting serenely on the shelf of an étagère, the spire on top of your skyscraper of interiors books, glinting and beckoning at that 5 o’clock hour from it’s outpost on the bar cart, pineapples are indeed welcoming.  Wall coverings that blur and obscure the fruit feel polished and fresh, and are perhaps just the right splash of irreverence for a powder room or guest bed.

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Flavor Paper . Fruits of Design . Sweet Potato Mica Clay Coated.

Summer Escape

Summer rightfully brings out the kid in us all.  By my account there is far too much seriousness going around these days.  I’m not condoning irresponsibility, just suggesting that buying a Crew Cuts tee shirt from the kids department that has glittery cherry’s on it, is perfectly acceptable, and frankly much more economically responsible than buying it from J. Crew Woman’s.   Just saying…I did it, and you feel free to judge.  I am also suggesting that a sequined watermelon throw pillow, could really make rolling from Sunday into Monday, just a little bit happier, and if you woke up in these delightfully chipper cherry sheets from Serena and Lily, who’s to say you wouldn’t have the best day ever?

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PB Teen . Tutti Fruity Pillow Covers. 16″ Square – $12.99 each.

To making the most of your summer weekends, and not allowing yourself to turn Sunday into an extension of Monday.

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Serena and Lily . Cherry Sheet Set. $128. – $228.

 

 

 

Going for Broke: gambling on real estate

It is an addiction, this business of gambling on real estate.  Always searching for the next thrill, desperate for the rush  you get when you bet the right amount, and the roulette ball lands on your number – euphoric.  The anxiety that accompanies the decision to stay in the game, hold, or cash in your chips.  The fear that the chips your cashing in won’t cover the bets you’ve made.  It’s a risk, and the timing, the timing is everything.

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One of my favorite signs….

I’m not much for sitting around and waiting things out. I came home yesterday to find that my next door neighbor (whose building is part of my condo association) has a For Sale sign out.  I don’t actually see the property listed, a tactic that the broker uses to drive a single source sale – a questionable practice at best…. nonetheless, those are all two beds, as is mine, now that I converted it from one to two, and I felt jealousy when I saw the sigh.  It’s true, I had a visceral reaction to that proud sign, swinging in the breeze, strapped to the wrought iron fence, determined to attract a buyer.  I want to put mine on the market, but I have to wait.  I am tenacious, but not patient.

Waiting patiently for fabrication…..

There are things to do yet, curtains to be hung, hardware to be installed, doors to be built for the millwork cabinet in the living room, the perfect chair to be hunted down, a sparkling gold bar cart to be bought, brass wire covers to locate, my front door hardware to be installed by someone that actually knows how to install door hardware.  You see, I am actually not ready to leave yet, but like a girl that can’t commit, I’m ready to dash from the alter before me and my intended can tie the knot, and become comfortably numb.

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LuxHoldups . Etsy . Awaiting installation.

Not that I believe all long term relationships are a recipe for conformity or boredom, there are many that I admire, it’s just that while I like No. 4, I can’t see myself settling down…forever… not yet.  So the search continues, and in the interim, I will give my all to this commitment.  It deserves the best from me, and I just know that the next lucky person that gets it will wonder why I ever wanted to leave it.  At least I hope they will.

Happy Saturday.

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Perfect … of course it’s already sold!  Flare . Soho. NYC

New York Kind of Fine

Some places are just made for inspiration.  From the dirty to the flirty,  polished posh, to your garden variety, NYC people and places vie for your attention, and aren’t shy around the camera.  It’s my kind of town. I’ve packed it in today, and am headed to a work dinner, so feast your eyes on these beauties, and I’ll be back next week to share more of the tales from a cautionary designer.

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filling the cracks with rope….brilliant!

 

 

Dusting of Dixie: Northern girl finds her way in the south

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Tina Jones, Kate Simpson and Jennifer Borden of Town House Finds + Design . Darien . CT

It’s unlikely that Jennifer Borden, raised in NJ, who later found her way to Darien, CT via a stint in New York City, where she had a distinguished career as a Licensing Director for Kate Spade – thought she’d end up in the South.  Licensing Director’s are those people that make the deals that bring the fragrances, sunglasses, shoes, you name it, into the stores. A mon avis, those Kate Spade Stores are perfectly appointed with their sassy, classy, sixties, mid-century, vintage furnishing finds, their happy pops of color, and pom-pom poufs of prettiness, just about everywhere you cast your wide-eyed gaze.  As amazing as the experience was, not yet Dixie, headed to Darien.

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The Borden Household . Nashville.

I’ve always wanted to have my own store, practically speaking Boston isn’t a good place for one.  At least not with my particular tastes and aesthetic.  I’d be green with envy, if green weren’t my best color, over the store Jennifer opened with her two friends Tina Jones and Kate Simpson – sisters who worked in Media in NYC, Martha Stewart and…wait for it….Domino Magazine.  My regular readers know my obsession with Domino.  I can barely contain myself, and as I get older I find I can contain myself more than any lover of life should.

Town House Finds + Design . 37 Tokeneke Road . Darien . CT is an eclectic mix of home furnishings and accessories.  The very idea of scouring flea markets, antique fairs, and traveling the world to find one of a kind statements for the home – oh, wait, I do that now, but not as my job, stricktly for pleasure, is a dream.  The rapid turnover of goods is all the testament I need to know of the stores success.  Sadly, Jennifer had to sell out to her partners when word came down from the higher-ups that her family was being relo’ed to Nashville.

 

Now I never had the pleasure of visiting Jenn’s home in Darien, but I had heard word of it’s fantastic style.  Why I envision sisal and leopard, I do not know.  I’ve never even seen a picture, but I did have the pleasure of visiting her new home in Nashville, and while it is a work in progress – it is awesome.  I haven’t been able to pinpoint the architectural style.  It’s white washed brick and wrought iron balcony feel French Colonial, but the rear of the house throws a wooden baluster balcony into the mix which feels American Colonial, none the less, it is pretty, and from the images on the listing sheet, I can attest, it was not previously.  The design was of a different era, lots of dark paneled wood walls, and color decisions that I wouldn’t have made, but that’s all water under the bridge.

The change in color palette – Farrow and Ball’s Peignoir, Purbeck Stone are featured in the dining room and entry and give it that dusted English Bouquet, that softens the bright sunlight that streams in through beautiful 8′ tall french doors and windows, and provides views of the pool and yard beyond. The wall covering in the dining room is Bermuda Hem Lavender by Phillip Jeffries, and when I tell you this room is so pretty it’s hypnotizing, you’ll simply have to believe me as my pictures don’t do it justice.

The Powder Room is papered in Scalamandre Balinese Peacock, and let’s just call a spade a Kate Spade here, it’s reminiscent of those bold colors Kate is known for, but it’s so Southern Sass it’s perfect, and undoubtably distinguishes Jenn as a decorator with a great eye and sense of place.

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One of my favorite rooms, in part because I love the rich royal and aqua blue palette so much, was the den.  Originally, paneled in dark wood it is transformed into a high gloss haven of sophistication.  The zebra rug, the elephant end table, the chevron pillows with pops of orange, make this a great room from which to conceive her next great adventure.  bord 11

Jenn’s mix of antiques, contemporary pieces, interesting photography, fine, art, and ah, a porcelan parrot or two, make this is first prize property.  I love her style, and her joie de vie.  Look out Nashville, there’s a new Northerner in town, and her design savvy really sings.

 

 

 

 

Bad Ass Boutique . Thompson . Nashville

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Thompson . Nashville – sorry Nash this is a five star hotel.

To be clear, I am generally speaking, a hotel lover.  I like watching people, imagining where they are from, what brought them to this place, and the delicious thought that others are toiling away – while you are not.  I love them so much, I spend a good deal of time in them, in the various neighborhoods in my own home town.  Lap top, mobile, note pad, it’s as good an office as any old place, and I find that the general buzz is a welcome and impressive noise.  So there you have it.  Hotels are my jam.

Tyler and Lauren stand under the lights . Design – Parts and Labor . NYC

But…Thompson Nashville is the jammiest of jams – high tea at the Ritz with crumpets and clotted cream without any of the formality that comes with a British accent.  The Southern twang is served up with a 40 ounce Rosé wrapped in a paper bag.  Don’t laugh, you’ll be pleading for more of this porch pounder before the last live song is sung for the evening.

The prettiest 40 I ever did see.

21st century lighting in mid-century costume.

It goes without saying that a place as hip as Nash, and Thompson would not disappoint with the design.  San Fransisco based Two Roads Hospitality, the owners of the Thompson Brand opened their newest, 12 Story, 224 room, boutique hotel (one of eight) on 20 October 2016, to rave reviews.  Located in the Gulch Neighborhood, named literally for the narrow, steep-sided ravine which marks the course of a fast stream, arcing through the city’s south side.  The Gulch was previously the site of a very active rail road yard, which brought the majority of the supplies to the city, but became defunct after WWII.

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The Marsh Restaurant at Thompson

Now for those that have been paying close attention to me, you know I love edgy design, and I swoon over lighting, and make all manner of bad decisions when this happens.  Darlin’ we’re all human.  When I tell you that Parts and Labor NYC based design firm combines the sweet and salty scrumptiousness that offers up a veritable explosion for your visual senses, I’m really not doing them justice.  Andrew Cohen and Jeremy Levitt offer up “bespoke, bare-knuckled and straight forward approach to high end design”.  I feel lightheaded.  Brass and glass, texture and layers, pops of color and sophistication, mixed with a little industrial to remind you of the origins of its geographic location.  The chug of the train receding into quiet.  It’s gritty and glamorous all at the same time.  This is Thompson.

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Cane Backed Bench inside a bookcase.  Considering my options.

I didn’t peak into the rooms, but understand the mini-bar dispenses vinal records.  So beyond cool I can’t stand it.  Apparently they provide maps that will guide you to neighboring record stores where you can really score.  Who doesn’t like an adventure.  Stop along the way at any of the restaurants or shops that have found their home inside the re-purposed industrial buildings that line the streets, or make your way back to Thompson’s Marsh House Restaurant, or to its roof top bar where the warm breeze blows, and views of the city are tipped in pink at sunset.

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Relaxing Rooftop

Y’all, I’m preparing to book my October visit.  Don’t wait, the hotel stock is so low in this booming city despite their hyper-track pursuit to bring rooms on line – the lines are outpacing supply.  The Thompson is a sip of perfect whisky in a city where you are the star in the song.  I so love being the star…..

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Rooftop Restaurant

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The final word . wood pendants, capped in silver, surrounded by Crystal … please!