Friday, September 16, 2011


Thirty one. My age. The only acceptable number of ice cream flavors. And the name of a rather unassuming yet totally amazing bed and breakfast in the heart of Dublin. It was completely by chance that I found this place (with a little help from TripAdvisor) and I have never been happier with a spontaneous hotel reservation.

The space was beautiful, bright, and perfectly appointed. It certainly soothed my designer soul with its flawless juxtapositions of rustic and refined, light and dark, old and new. Lovingly done, purposefully done, but not overdone. Oh, and Eames. Lots of Eames.

The property is made of two buildings and spans a distance between two parallel blocks. In between, a garden links them together. Some guest rooms are in the sunken seating (so cool) lobby/breakfast building, and others are a quick walk through the garden to an older and impressively renovated building.

The breakfast solarium can only be described as utterly divine. And the meal itself, "practically perfect in every way," as Mary Poppins would say. The staff is highly attentive in the most genuinely Irish way, helping with reservations, transportation, and local suggestions for things off the beaten path.

I would go back in a nanosecond and someday, I think we will. Until then, I hope someone that I know has the pleasure of the experience as well.

Check out Number 31 online.

breakfast solarium.

my first caption for this was, "damn, she blinked." no one thought that was funny.

sunken lobby lounge. how amazing it must be on a grey, blustery day with a warm, crackling fire.

the shadow says 30, I know, this is the entrance for the back building, where the number is different.

little bird egg ornaments also included.

peaceful and perfect.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

obsessed with avoca

Dear Dublin Spotted by Locals,
I love you for bringing Avoca into my life. It will (probably singlehandedly) supply my shiny new Pinterest boards forever.


I have to admit, initially I was quite skeptical about this store. At first glance, it appeared to be just another version of Anthropologie—a place that always seems like a good idea from the outside but never ceases, disappoint. I want to like it, I really do. The vibrant, brick-red color they use on many of their store façades is definitely brilliant and inviting. I keep going back, after all. I always
walk in with high hopes and end up doing at least three laps through the vast expanse of ill-fitting, poorly patterned, overpriced apparel (opinion) before I leave, thinking, "Huh. It really was all that bad." Seriously, there might not be a bigger collection of clumsy buttons on earth than in an Anthropologie store.

But Avoca did not disappoint. In fact, it utterly impressed. It even entertained my husband for a highly acceptable amount of time. We visited the store on Suffolk Street in Dublin and spent the better part of an hour exploring every nook and cranny. In addition to their (almost) 300 year old tradition of weaving colo(u)rful blankets, throws, and scarves, they fill their shelves with beautiful housewares, stationery, books, and jewelry, many items coming from Irish vendors. The lower level is a deli and bakery that delighted me to no end with their homemade gluten-free bread and the uppermost level is a café/restaurant that glowed with sunlight on the day we were there. In between, three levels are full of all kinds of goodies that you can't help picking up and falling in love with.

Their history is rich and their story charming. It's nice to see a local, family-run business create a well-established place in the culture and a success story amidst the noise of international brands. One caveat: you'll have to go to Ireland to check them out in person.

Always accessible online, though. Visit their website and Flickr for more info, imagery, and inspiration.

if you insist (the irish are so polite).

if you like these, you'll love the whole set.

sugar tree café :: avoca, kilmacanogue.

"world famous" throws, made in the town of avoca for almost 300 years.

weaver :: mill at avoca village.

my favorite :: picnic throw!

in the garden :: mount usher, wicklow.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"what we see is what we are"

Four months in Munich, now behind me. Four months of new people and places. Four months of new faces and friends. Four months of new sights, simple and unassuming to most, but endlessly captivating to me, if only for their novelty and impermanence in my life. Hence, four months of photos. I have one for every day I was there...a digital documentation, a visual journal of the moments I couldn't leave behind. Here are some favorites. I'll continue to post more over the next couple weeks.

the old shoreditch station :: london

courtyard on easter morning :: münchen

galleria victor emmanuel :: milano

ideo :: münchen

pro qm :: berlin

Monday, June 20, 2011

the queen is spade

If you had asked me a few years ago what I thought of Kate Spade, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone happy to be described using the words I would have chosen. I mean, “boring,” “conventional,” and “unoriginal” aren’t exactly aspirational traits. But omg has this little lady changed her tune.

Kate Spade is no longer the tired, lackluster brand of its grandmother’s pearl-clad past. The brand has gracefully modernized its tone, attitude, and offering to balance its roots in classic, timeless style with a bold, bright energy that has had me looking twice on more than one occasion. I mean, you can’t not notice a storefront with a thousand pinwheels or oversized playing cards in it, now can you? No. I think it might actually be physically impossible. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, you’re going to look at it, and you’ll probably remember it, too.

And her newer pieces are colorful, unique, and inspiring. Her current summer line will have you taking a mental holiday right where you stand, it’s so smile-prompting and vacation-y. Hell, I even bought something from her line a week ago for the first time in my life (more on that little gem in a bit).

Anyway, I’ll stop talking and start showing, since I need to back all of these words up with some yummy photos, right? Enjoy, my dears.

digital delight

vacay essentials

filigree beauty

and yes, it smells just as good

serious about color...

...enough to make a whole blog about it.

pocomo! (the one I couldn't resist)

pop-up igloo store? yes, please.
photo by gary burke

whimsy, whimsy everywhere: spring/summer, 2011
photo by cdw merchants

Monday, August 23, 2010

coralie bickford-smith

What designer/writer/lover of all things beautifully crafted cannot absolutely love these covers? I want the whole series, lined up side-to-side on a shelf, like a piece of art. Or as individual posters.

They're the work of this talented woman. Check out the rest of her work, it's all so good!

Friday, August 6, 2010

renegade craft fair :: 2 :: studiobenben

I must have spent fifteen minutes at the Studiobenben booth trying to decide which prints to buy. Do I get the little russian doll print with the umbrella, the camera, the ipod, or the fruity tropical drink? All of them spoke to me in some way. In the end, well, I got them all. Act now, think later, I decided. Sometimes that's the only way to go.

Not all of these were shown at the fair, but I also really love the eco-focused work that I came across on Etsy. The style is so gentle and pleasing that you almost don't realize that the potential gravity and importance of the subject matter.

And this guy has been around for a while, it seems, since the inaugural days of Etsy. Check him out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

renegade craft fair :: 1 :: sara paloma

So, I kind of took a break from my blog. For two months. Ebb and flow, it happens. But, I'm back! And I have a bunch of cool stuff to share that I saw last weekend at the SF Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason. (On that same day, we also visited the Barney's Warehouse sale next door, but that sucked big time). For the next few posts, I'll show an artist or designer whose work I now can't live without.


What can I say? This woman's work is magical. Pure white, perfectly smooth, beautifully shaped vases that look like sculptured clouds. Nested bowls that seemed to have grown that way in nature. A single white wing hanging from a black wire. It's all so lovely and quiet, with its own sense of drama.

And, of course, she's on Etsy.