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Imagine a Home that Makes you Smile

Designers’ Delight: December in the Crescent City Part Deux

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.

Camellia Grill

The Camellia Grill

I did my best to capture the highlights which is difficult as the streetcar is moving along St Charles Ave!

Highlights of the Garden District

Highlights of the Garden District

 

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Festive Oak Trees and Palm Trees

 

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Garlands Galore

 

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White Lights and Red Bows

 

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Oak Trees with Gorgeous Christmas Globes

 

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More of the Gorgeous Giant Globes

 

Legendary Cornstalk Fence

Legendary Cornstalk Fence

 

Benjamin Button's House

Benjamin Button’s House

 

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

Commander's Palace

Commander’s Palace

Cemetary in the Garden District

Cemetery in the Garden District

 

 

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Entrance to Audubon Park

 

Nutcrackers at Guard

Nutcrackers at Guard

 

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Elegant Doors with Whimsical Holiday Gingerbread Men

 

Highlight of the Garden District

The Fence is Festooned with Garlands and Red Bows

 

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!

Lunch at Antoines

Lunch at Antoine’s

Martinis for 25 Sentz! at Antoines

Martinis for 25 Sentz! at Antoine’s

 

Natchez Queen

Brunch on the Natchez Queen

 

 

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!

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams

 

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.

Fairy Lights at the Roosevelt

Fairy Lights at the Roosevelt

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

Holiday Arrangement at the Roosevelt

Holiday Arrangement at the Roosevelt

 

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Designers’ Delight: December Shopping in the Crescent City

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!

French Quarter

St. Louis Cathedral

Chandelier

Chandeliers!

Shopping in the French Quarter is an amazing experience. Beautiful antique shops are in abundance especially on Royal Street.

chandeliers
chandeliers
chandeliersantiques More »

Puget Sound Waterfront Interior Renovation

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!

Renovation Goals

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

BEFORE Fireplace Wall

BEFORE Fireplace Wall

AFTER Fireplace Wall Waterfront Renovation

AFTER Fireplace Wall

Design Process

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!

Beautiful View on a Winter Day

Beautiful View on a Winter Day

Demo of the Existing Fireplace

Demo of the Existing Fireplace

Building the Display Shelves Waterfront Renovation

Building the Display Shelves

Refining the Window Trim

Refining the Window Trim

Refining the Window Trim

Refining the Window Trim

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.

 

BEFORE Island

BEFORE Island

BEFORE Island

Another view of the Island BEFORE

 

Before-West-Kitchen

BEFORE-West Kitchen Wall

elevation of West Wall

Elevation Concept of New Layout

Waterfront Renovation

View from the New Kitchen Sink makes Clean Up Enjoyable

Painted Cabinets

Painted Cabinets with New Bar Design

New Bar Design

New Bar Design with Revised West Wall

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.

BEFORE Desk area

BEFORE Desk area

NEW Wine Cooler

NEW Wine Cooler

Close up of the new Soapstone Counter and Glass Tile Backsplash

Close up of the new Soapstone Counter and Glass Tile Backsplash

New Wine Cooler and Blue Star Range

New Wine Cooler and Blue Star Range

Whimsical Details

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.”

Shells in Vase

Shells in Vase

Baubles Encased

Baubles Encased

Shell Display

Shell Display

Shell Collectio

Shell Collection

View-from-Dining-Area

View from Dining Area

Starfish in Every Window Waterfront Renovation

Starfish in Every Window!

Entry Tile Design

Entry Tile Design by Artist Mike Dupile

Entry with Art by Barbara Laube

Entry with Art by Barbara Laube

Dining Centerpiece

Dining Centerpiece

New Wall Covering Mimics the Waves Waterfront Renovation

New Wall Covering in Mimics the Sea

Happiness

Happiness

 

View to the West

View to the West

View to the Northwest

View to the Northwest

Powder Room

Powder Room

Dining Area

Dining Area with New Capiz Shell Chandelier

A Relaxing View Seattle Waterfront Home Interior Design Renovation Reflects Year Round Joy

A Relaxing View

One feels a sense of happiness and joy in this home. Last but not least Henry ties it all together!

Henry

Henry!

 

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Tour de Wimbledon

Wimbledon Winners 2017

Wimbledon Singles Winners 2017

Last night I was watching one of the longest tennis matches in Wimbledon history. I was rooting for the American John Isner

Isner

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!

Wimbledon Scoreboard 2017

Wimbledon Scoreboard 2017

Art Embedded in the Stadium Wall

Art Embedded in the Stadium Wall

ModernTennis Artwork

Modern Tennis Artwork

Peak into the Stadium

Peak into the Stadium

Horse Power

Horse Power

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.

Tile Store Proprietors

Tile Store Proprietors

Trendy British Tile Patterns

Trendy British Tile Patterns

Also in the Village was an interesting and elegant radiator store beautifully decorated.

Radiator-Store

Radiator-Store

The lighting store with both vintage and modern items was equally intriguing.

Lighting Store

Lighting Store

 

Wimbledon Dining

Wimbledon Dining

 

The Alexandria Pub

The Alexandra Pub

On the run to Cannizaro Park I stopped to take pictures of the beautiful October flowers.

Exquisite English Flowers

Exquisite English Flowers

Autumn-Florals

Autumn Floral

Autumn Color

Autumn Color

 

Flowers in the Village

Flowers in the Village

Through the Alley of my namesake to see Hotel du Vin Cannizaro which has the most beautiful lush setting on the park.

Wright's Alley

Wright’s Alley!

 

Hotel du Vin Cannizaro House

Hotel du Vin Cannizaro House

 

Sweet Little Herb Garden

Sweet Little Herb Garden on the Grounds

 

Aviary

Aviary

The aviary, which is a very popular attraction in the park, especially with children, was built in 1976.

Birds in the Aviary

Birds in the Aviary

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!

Wimbledon Cathedral

Sacred Heart Wimbledon

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 »