Tag: travel


Let’s Escape-Vacation eye candy

While the entire world feels on edge, let’s dream of the places we want to escape to when it is safe to do so. When you want break from it all check out these incredible vacation homes that inspire relaxation and rejuvenation.

Spain-A spacious and elegant home in Aloha, in the heart of Nueva Andalucía. Surrounded by a lush, tropical private garden this villa has a large salt water swimming pool and lovely covered chill-out area.

Aloha Spain vacation rental

Italy-A restored home built in the tradition of the ancient Roman Villas in this part of Tuscany it is nestled between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea. From the beautiful veranda overlooking the garden, you can see the Island of Elba, the Gorgona and the reliefs of Corsica.

Tuscan vacation villa
Barnes International

France-Locted in Mougins, this sumptuous new contemporary villa is just 15 minutes away from Cannes and 5 minutes from the Old Village of Mougins and its restaurants. The landscaped and intimate garden has a heated pool and a pool house.

Mougins France vacation rental
Michaël Zingraf Real Estate

Costa Rica-Casa Teresa is a new ocean front luxury villa located on the white-sand beach of Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Located on the beachfront, the house is walking distance to the restaurants and bars of town.

Santa Teresa Costa Rica vacation rental
2 Costa Rica Real Estate

North Carolina-A little closer to home, this Lake Norman rental property is reminiscent of the traditional lake vacation. Tucked away in a private setting, endless lake views create the ideal ambiance to unplug and relax. Bonus: it is only three hours by car from Charleston!

Lake Norman vacation rental
Stay Lake Norman

Mr. H says: A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking-Enjoy!

Magnetic Minneapolis

With edgy art museums, indie theaters and a multi cultural dining scene Minneapolis has a lot to offer from it’s mid western prairie locale. With mild summer temperatures, the outdoor party atmosphere of the city caught me by surprise on my recent first time visit.

Brits Pub Minneapolis

Refurbished old street fronts line the newer sky scraper skyline

Minneapolis old and new

Modern glass and steel structures mingle with the older stone high rises

Minneapolis skyline

Temperate summer days and inevitable afternoon thunderstorms allows plantings, like these at Seven Sushi Lounge rooftop, flourish.

7 rooftop

While there we were treated to a private party at the First Avenue night club known as “The House that Prince built”

First Avenue MinneapolisIMG_0002

The modern Guthrie Theater was the setting of another private party.


The Guthrie’s Dowling Studio housed on the 9th floors boasts views of the stone arch bridge and the mighty Mississippi River

Guthrie Theater Minneapolis view

Mr. H (Channeling Prince) says: No one can dictate who you are to other people-Enjoy!

Traveling through Provence

Even though recent travels through Provence were devoid of blooming lavender and lush vineyards, the vistas were still stunning in this     beautiful and charming region of France.  Sweeping views of olive groves and snow capped mountain peaks in St. Remy de Provence.


The tiny town of Les Baux de Provence boasts a medieval castle ruin atop a rocky outcrop of the Alpilles mountains

Baux de Provence castle ruins

The 14th Century fortress of St-Andrè Villeneuve les Avignon as viewed from the Pope’s Palace

Fortress of St-Andrè Villeneuve les Avignon

A typically narrow street in Arles, France

Arles, France roof tops

The 14th century sprawling Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) in Avignon

Palais des Papes, Avignon, France

Wine figured prominently into the itinerary.  The wine cave at the Entre Vigne et Garrigue inn and restaurant in Pujaut, France

Entre Vigne et Garrigue wine celler

The off season afforded a private wine tasting at the Château la Coste outside the city of Aix en Provence

Château la Coste wine tasting

Designed by architect Tadao Ando, the main building at Château la Coste combines concrete, glass and water that interplay between interior and exterior spaces.

Château la Coste restaurant

Of course good food figured into the trip-It is France!  One of the many specialty markets found through out Provence.

Aix en Provence food shop

The after supper cheese selection at Entre Vigne et Garrigue

Cheese cart at Entre Vigne et Garrigue

The weekly Tuesday market in Aix en Provence epitomizes the Provincial way of life of fresh foods bought on a daily basis.

Aix en Provence market

The assortment of flowers was unimaginable as it filled the entire square.

Aix en Provence flower market

Even the cats have it good in Provence!

Cat nip in Provence

Mr. H says: When God begins to doubt the world, he remembers that he created Provence-Enjoy!

Marvelous Marseille

There was much to enjoy on a recent visit to the ancient port town of Marseille, France.  Considered France’s largest city on the Mediterranean coast as well as the largest French commercial port, this bustling city cultivates a relaxed feeling along its waterfront.

Marseille France

Wedged between the Garlaban and Etoile mountain ranges and the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is the second largest French city after Paris.

View of Marseille France

Notre-Dame de la Garde, which translates as “Our Lady of the Guard” has stood watch over the city since 1864.

Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille

The Byzantine-Roman style Cathedral of Saint Mary Major was built between 1852 to 1896 on the site used for the cathedrals of Marseille since the fifth century.

Marseille Cathedral of Saint Mary Major

Marseille Cathedral of Saint Mary Major

The arcaded galleries of the La Vieille Carité once functioned as a workhouse for the city’s poor.  Located in the old Panier quarter of Marseille, this Baroque style complex was designed by the architect Pierre Puget and was completed in 1749.

Marseille France La Vieille Charité

With its distinct ovoid dome, The central Puget chapel was erected between 1679 and 1704.

La Vieille Charité

A charming alleyway lead to an impromptu art gallery

Marseille art alley

Le chien loitering outside the patisserie

Le chien Marseille France

Cold beer can be found tucked into to surprising places too!

Marseille alleyway

Mr. H says: French is the language that turns dirt into romance-Enjoy!

Majestic Milan

Arriving into Milan Central railway station you immediately know that you have entered a most elegant  European city.  Modeled after Union Station in Washington, DC the impressive Milano Centrale station was completed in 1931.  Adorned with numerous sculptures, this grand stone structure has no particular architectural style.

Milan, Italy train station

Detail of Milan Italy train station

The city’s principal landmark, the Milan Cathedral or Duomo di Milano, prevails as a Gothic masterpiece. Soaring over the piazza that bears it’s name, the Duomo, took six centuries to complete and even today is in a constant state of refurbishment and repair.

Duomo di Mlano

The second largest Italian church with a nave height of the nave of over 147 feet, it boasts the highest Gothic vaults of a complete church in the world.

Milan Cathedral interior

Duomo di Milano interior

A profusion of carved statues, stained glass and marble adorn The Altar of San Giovanni Buono, a 7th Century bishop in Milan.

Altar of San Giovanni Buono, Milan Cathedral

Sharing space on the Piazza del Duomo find the shopping arcade known Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.   Pass though the magnificent triumphal arch to a glass covered shopping and dining promenade.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Built in the 15th century on the remains of a 14th Century fortification, the  Castello Sforzesco, was renovated and enlarged in the 16th and 17th Centuries, making it one of the largest castles in Europe.

Sforza Castle Milan

Away from the bustle of the main tourist areas, find the lovely Brera district of Milan.  This upscale residential area is comprised of beautiful town homes, shopping and dining.

Brera district Milan

Nestled in the Brera neighborhood, on the Piazza del Carmine, find The Church of Santa Maria del Carmine.  The church structure was completed in 1446 while the Baroque style facade was added in the 17th Century.

Santa Maria del Carmine

While in Italy, I discovered my new favorite cocktail, the electric orange Aperol Spritz.

Aperol Spriz

Combine 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, and 1 splash soda on the rocks.  Garnish with an orange slice.   Molto Bene!

Mr. H says: Do your heart a favor an travel-Enjoy!

Blended Boston

At the recent ASID Chapter Leadership Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, we were able to carve out some time from the training sessions, to visit with this modern yet historic city.

Boston, MA skyline

Brookline artist Janet Echelman’s ethereal spider web rope sculpture “floats”  between it’s supporting buildings over the  Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Janet Echelman’s aerial rope sculpture

A personal tour of Boston’s hip North End by a local architect and developer highlighted some of the unique structures around the area.  The Skinny House is the narrowest house in Boston, measuring a mere 10 feet at its widest point.

Skinny House Boston

The North End lays claim to being the city’s oldest residential community, having been continuously inhabited since it was settled in the 1630s.  Red brick tenements housed the waves of immigrants that flooded the city at the turn of the 20th Century.

Boston North End

Built in 1723, The Old North Church, is the location from which the famous “One if by land, and two if by sea” signal is said to have been sent in Paul Revere’s midnight ride, on April 18, 1775.

Old North Church, Boston, MA

A histrionically Catholic Italian neighborhood, the North End of Boston is home to many elaborate pop up shrines.

Boston Catholic shrine

And of course, cannolis can be found around any street corner

Boston Italian Bakery

Mr. H says: You see a lot of things in Boston when you’re dancing in the streets-Enjoy!

Beautiful Breckenridge

Set against the backdrop of snow capped peaks, the charming mountain village of Breckenridge, Colorado contains a wealth of historic Victorian architecture.  Now considered a world class ski resort, Breckenridge was originally a mining town that provided services for the  profitable mining district that surrounded it.

Historic Breckenridge, Colorado

It was during the summer of 1859, when miners discovered gold along the Blue River, that the development of the small Breckenridge community was established.   While none of the original camp exists, the historic structures that remain are marvelous building archetypes of a town born from the gold fever era.

Breckenridge historic photo

Along the Main Street, facades display architectural ideals of the Victorian age of this once mining town now resurrected as a resort ski village.  The town’s period of historic significance spans from its settlement in 1859 to the closure of the last gold dredging operation in 1942.

Breckenridge Colorado Visitor's Center

In 1980, the Secretary of the Interior designated the greatest concentration of the town’s historic structures as a Local National Register Historic District.  The over 300 significant structures are protected through development and design standards that insure compatible infill construction.

Breckenridge Colorado Main Street

Typical false front, painted clapboard commercial buildings along Main Street.

Main Street Breckenridge Colorado store front

The merchants wealth is evident in the Victorian details of the widow’s walk and adjoining tower with stained glass windows.

Victorian Architecture Breckenridge Colorado

Known as a “rough and ready” town, built for function, Breckenridge does boast some elaborately detailed structures.  A wide variety of building ornamentation can be found including brackets, decorative window surrounds and ornamental cornices.

Victorian Breckenridge Architecture

Victorian architecture Breckenridge

Victorian filigree and whimsy is evident on this facade

Victorian architecture in the US west

In keeping with the Victorian edict of saturated color in multiple intense shades, residences and business alike flaunt eye popping color schemes.

Victorian exterior color scheme

Both economic activity and population declined with the cessation of mining although Breckenridge, as the Summit County seat, never became a ghost town.   In 1961, Rounds and Porter Lumber Company of Wichita, Kansas opened a new ski area breathing new life into the mountain town.

Breckenridge Colorado ski resort

The town of Breckenridge is a celebrated example of preserving the past while maintaining a viable purpose.

Victorian street scape

Mr. H says: Architecture can be considered frozen music-Enjoy!

Chicago Architecture

Chicago’s world famous architecture was on grand display against an azure sky on a recent visit to the Windy City.   Known for its beautiful skyline, Chicago holds a wealth of architectural gems.


The Chicago School architects were innovators in the construction of the world’s first skyscrapers.  Utilizing steel fame construction techniques allowed for buildings to reach soaring heights.  Architects such as Louis Sullivan and Mies van der Rohe are some of the famous Chicago architects that revolutionized modern architectural design.

Chicago Building

IBM building Chicago

A great way to appreciate the city’s wealth of buildings is by boat along the Chicago River

Trump Tower Chicago

Marina City Chicago

75 E. Wacker Chicago

Tribune Tower Chicago

We also enjoyed the sunset and martinis in The Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building.

Chicago Signature room

Mr. H says: When contemplating Chicago, you feel like an ant-Enjoy!

Key West Colors

Well its back to the old blog after a lovely time in Key West.  I never really understood what all the fuss was about this place, having never been, but now I know.   Key West’s charm certainly worked its magic on this weary designer.  I especially loved the colors of all those fabulous cottages.

Mint and Pale Green-soothing and cool

Green house and shutters Key West

Gray and Pink-elegant and feminine

Gray house with Pink shutters Key West

White and Red-lively and bold

Key West White and Red house

Yellow and Purple-perfect complements

Yellow and purple Key West house

White and lavender-flirty and sweet

Purple shutters Key West

Of course no vacation would be complete without a few fun dog photos.  We enjoyed meeting Roxie at the Salsa Local.  It’s obvious the owner does not want her sampling the burritos.

Key West Salsa Local

And while window shopping one day on Duval Street we came upon these tiny creatures:

How much is that doggy... Mini pin

Mr. H says: Expand your vision and you will notice new color harmonies all around you-Enjoy!