New Orleans is pure magic in December. Riding the St. Charles Streetcar, I snapped a few photos of the magnificent mansions in the Garden District decorated for the holidays. The route begins at the perimeter of the French Quarter and passes by Tulane University and Loyola to Audubon Park where I run the path around the pond, through the campuses and then to the end of the line where my favorite luncheonette is located: The Camellia Grill. I’ve always met interesting people at the counter and this year was no exception.
I did my best to capture the highlights which is difficult as the streetcar is moving along St Charles Ave!
My favorite restaurant in New Orleans is Commander’s Palace. It is just a block off St. Charles Avenue. Famous for its many chefs who have made names for themselves such as Emeril LaGasse and Paul Prudhomme, my favorite items are the Turtle Soup au Sherry and the outrageous Bread Pudding. Read more about it here Commander’s Palace
On another day a not-to-miss venture is the weekday prix fixe lunch at Antoine’s. Our waiter Eddie allowed us to tour all the rooms of the first French restaurant in New Orleans. It seats 1000 but you wouldn’t know it as the rooms are small and intimate. Service is elegant in every aspect. To top off the extraordinary experience, martinis are only 25 cents! I ordered the Butternut Squash Bisque for my first course. My son exclaimed it as heaven in a bowl!
And a visit wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the influence of New Orleans on the writing of Tennessee Williams. He wrote many plays including “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”. I leave you with this quote as I return to my rainy city of Seattle for the rest of the year. Happy Holidays!
But wait! There’s more beauty to experience. Later in the Evening a visit to the Roosevelt Hotel is a must see with thousands of lights twinkling on winter branches lining the corridors.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!
It was only two years ago that I wrote about my mission to find the perfect antique chandelier for a client in New Orleans. And I was fortunate to be able to source a few unique items this year again. Reposting today as December Shopping in the French Quarter is just magical. It was a little cloudy, so these photos were as good as any taken this year. December is especially beautiful as the Crescent City is decorated in many unique and whimsical ways. I wanted to share some of my memorable impressions with you. I hope you enjoy!
Shopping in the French Quarter is an amazing experience. Beautiful antique shops are in abundance especially on Royal Street.
This in-city waterfront home feels like a vacation home however this is a year-round primary residence. And happiness is a collection of shells from the beach just outside… Their back door opens to the sands of the Puget Sound in West Seattle which is a mere fifteen minute drive (yes, admittedly on a good traffic day) to the metropolis of the bustling fastest growing city in the US. Here is a family who has collected prize-worthy shells and composed them in various unique containers and has incorporated whimsical beach-y artifacts through out the home. And it feels like we are on holiday 24/7!
Recently the interior was in need of a refreshing update. An attraction to the linear style fireplace was intriguing and we moved forward to incorporate this feature.
Redesigning the fireplace was a perfect opportunity to update the entire wall. The original casework was built to accommodate a TV. Now that there is a dedicated media room as the preferred venue, we designed shelves to prominently display the shell collection.
Before and After Photo
What a happy project to be working on! The carpenters were always whistling or singing along with the jovial homeowner who was jumping in to help as work progressed. Once the homeowners fell in love with a slab of Antartide quartzite for the hearth the rest of the materials were selected. The stacked stone for the wall complements the hearthstone beautifully. LED lights were incorporated to the display shelves and add drama to this now sophisticated focal wall. A new sectional creates a very comfortable conversational area. The sublime view of the Puget Sound and the Vashon Ferry makes the contractors’ work much more enjoyable!
Next the Kitchen
We had half a slab of Antartide left. The existing island in the kitchen was three awkward levels. We changed the layout to make a longer bar top for more comfortable seating and easier access for the chef. The remnant was perfect for the new bar top. The West wall of the kitchen prep area was cramped so we created more counter space. An under counter microwave drawer and a revised upper cabinet design allowed for a more spacious and functional work area. The sink and faucet were also replaced. A new color scheme and painting the cabinets brightened the space.
Next the Dysfunctional Desk
Enough said for many existing desk areas in today’s kitchens. Tearing it out and retrofitting the area with a wine cooler made perfect sense.
Integrating classic and natural materials such as linen, natural fir, and soapstone create textural interest achieving a relaxed and whimsical ambience. Capturing the spirit of the client, the sea shells are the heart of this home lending to its beach-y aesthetic. The abstract artwork lends a polished contemporary vibe. As the homeowner wrote to me: “All the shells were handpicked on the beach in front by my Mom. She washed each shell and carefully arranged them in glass vases. She did this over a period of 15+ years. We spent a huge amount of that time together on the beach. Thank you so much for suggesting I fill the shelves with them! Not only does it look fantastic but it warms my heart with memories of my Mom every time I look at them.”
One feels a sense of happiness and joy in this home. Last but not least Henry ties it all together!
Last night I was watching one of the longest tennis matches in Wimbledon history. I was rooting for the American John Isner
and was more engaged this year because of my visit to my new best friend, Tracey, in Wimbledon last October. No I didn’t see any tennis but I did run about 8 miles in the village with my destination to the stadium. Stopped to take in the scenery along the way. Calling it my Tour de Wimbledon Run!
Celebrating 132 Years of the World’s Oldest Tennis Tournament. No pictures on the tour. Onward to the Village and to Explore the charms of Wimbledon, I stopped by the local tile boutique, Topps Tiles, and chatted with the proprietors. Interestingly they really wanted to talk politics. The United States economy affects every country in the world. I just wanted to view their tile trends! We promised to keep in touch and to mention their store in my post. Such a friendly encounter.
Also in the Village was an interesting and elegant radiator store beautifully decorated.
The lighting store with both vintage and modern items was equally intriguing.
On the run to Cannizaro Park I stopped to take pictures of the beautiful October flowers.
Through the Alley of my namesake to see Hotel du Vin Cannizaro which has the most beautiful lush setting on the park.
The aviary, which is a very popular attraction in the park, especially with children, was built in 1976.
Running back to my friend’s flat I stopped to capture this photo of Sacred Heart. The Cathedral, of course, is where the Wimbledon Grand Slam is held every year and every year it comes with a set of traditions that are worthy of the place. No, not the church…the stadium!
I visited one of the preserved windmills at the end of the commons but unfortunately did not take any photos. Someday I hope to go back and also see a tennis match! Thanks to my friend Tracey for inviting me to visit and providing the most memorable experience. More »