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.