Monday, March 31, 2014

From Place To Space: Weekend Getaway To Venice

Last week I shared a little sneak peek of my weekend getaway to the world famous lagoon city Venice in Italy. Traveling to cities like Venice can be a bit of a challenge: it is one of those cities that is high up on people's travel bucket lists and you feel constantly confronted with the danger of drowning in mass tourism. In order to minimize this peril I recommend to travel around this time of year to Venice. The carnival is over and the late spring/summer season has not yet kicked in - it's the right momentum to dive into the unique experience of a dreamy weekend getaway to Venice.

Let me start with the hotel: Searching for a hotel if you are a bit design-savvy can be the next difficult task. Venice is very classic in its beauty and aesthetics so the majority of good hotels contribute to this coherent visual appearance and are rather classic - the kind of Venetian thing people have in mind. Baroque opulence, lots of curvy patterns and colours, curved wooden furniture and pompous chandeliers I am talking. But after a little bit of online research I managed to spot a beautiful hotel that applied a slightly different design language: The Palazzo Barbarigo placed directly at the famous Canal Grande. It still showcases a strong reference to the Venetian heritage but has toned down considerably on the interiors' opulence. Plus they have a super cute little balcony with one table for two to enjoy a breakfast with the magnificent view of the Canal Grande. Moreover, finding the hotel is a magic Venice experience: You take a 'vaporetto' (water taxi) from the bustling Piazzale Roma square and get off at San Toma station and walk an extremely narrow zigzag lane that will lead you to one door - the hotel entrance.

The entire city of Venice is historical and enchants its visitors from the first moment you step on the island. Despite the tourists you will feel the magic of past times when walking the narrow streets and passing the numerous bridges over the canals. The busy Rialto bridge connects the two sides of the Canal Grande and is a special attraction for all visitors. Some charming restaurants are placed just underneath along the canal. But if you want to experience a very good dinner with tradition Venetian dishes dating back to the 17th century, I recommend booking a table at the Bistrot de Venise. Located between the famous St. Marco square and the Rialto bridge, this restaurant offers impeccable service, divine dishes and an overwhelming list of local wines. I tasted black squid ink spaghetti, calf's liver cooked in red onions with polenta and an orange flavored pana cotta all topped with an excellent bottle of red wine from the Veneto region. Delicious!

Regarding sightseeing I can't help but admit that I did what I like most in Venice: Roam the streets pretty without any planning of what to see and where to go. After a few minutes you are sort of lost although it is pretty easy to find the way to the two main landmarks, the St. Marco square and the Rialto bridge as both are clearly marked everywhere. If you want to enjoy the full Venice experience, take a gondola ride from literally all over town (it can get pricey though and if you book the music/singing version it can get a bit tacky too LOL), go to the Santa Maria della Salute church opposite of the St. Marco square to enjoy great views, enter the St. Marco Basilica to experience a 'golden moment' and stunning mosaics and do pay the entrance fee for the gallery on top of the cathedral as you will have the best picture moments up there and won't be squeezed with too many tourists as the majority sticks to the free church entrance. 

If you feel exhausted from all the walking and photo snapping, take a break at the historical Café Florian on the St. Marco square. It is the oldest café in Italy and is an experience in itself. Traditionally clad waiters, an interior like from a movie scene, an arched alley with (sometimes) a live orchestra playing classic tunes and the most divine hot chocolate - these are just a few observations I made during my little stop there. However, be prepared for luxury prices too. If a live orchestra is playing all guests (except kids) will be charged an additional music fee and a good hot chocolate will cost you around 10 Euros. But it is worth the one-of-a-kind experience! And since you are now in the spending mood, I recommend a stop-over at the Venchi chocolate boutique to stock up on the best Italian chocolates ever! And if you want to scream out a loud 'Mamma mia' while eating ice cream, I recommend a visit at one of the Grom gelateria boutiques - you will thank me, trust me!

Venice is unlike other cities the best place to walk around and discover the magic of the islands on the go. Keep a map with you as you will eventually get lost and it is a little adventure to find ones way back but it will reveal the beauties of Venice in an unforgettable manner - you will feel like a cast in 'The Merchant of Venice' and fall in love with the city. Stop by wherever you see a little café to enjoy an excellent espresso and whenever you feel tired of walking take one of the many means of transportation on the water. 

But enough dreaming for today: Happy Monday everyone!

Photography by Igor Josifovic

Friday, March 28, 2014

Creative Chit-Chat: Coffeeklatch

Just yesterday I talked about how much I love to peek into people's interiors, be it friends or foreigners. As an interior design loving guy it is sheer pleasure for me to see how others dwell and how they create the most intimate space - the own home. Luckily, it has never been as easy as today to enjoy in various interiors without becoming an intrusive weirdo. One of the easy-access options are fantastic websites that visit creative folks in their homes. Just like the Belgian blog 'Coffeeklatch' by Magali Elali and Bart Kiggen.

'Coffeeklatch' stands for slow journalism using a fast medium and features interesting interviews of creative people in their inspiring homes. Over a cup of coffee we get the feeling that we readers are part of the chit-chat and actually sitting next to the home owner's, learning about their creative endeavors and personal style.

I invite you all to enjoy a quiet moment this weekend with 'Coffeeklatch'. Brew yourself a fresh cup of coffee, sit down and be invited to inspiring homes of creative people. I also warmly recommend you to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and above all their fab Instagram accounts - the one of Magali and the one of Bart.

Have a great one, friends!

Photography via 'Coffeeklatch'

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Home Tour: Colourful Stylist Home In Denmark

When you love interiors, you seriously enjoy home tours of any kind - be it when invited over to a friend's place, be it on TV shows or in magazines. That is why I keep returning to foreign interior magazines, even though I don't understand a word, I love the home stories and let the aesthetics speak to me visually. One of those magazines I keep returning is the Danish interiors mag BoligLiv. And it's right there where I found today's home tour - a colorful home of the Danish designer and stylist Gitte Christensen, the creative mastermind behind 'Objects & Use'.

Her Danish home caught my attention with an impeccable style that unites vibrant colours with a Scandinavian elegance and a playful twist. Moreover, the home features an endless number of cute, eye-catching home décor vignettes. Each and every of these vignettes tells a little story and reveals the owner's aesthetics and love for interior styling.

Gitte Christensen lives with her family in this beautiful house dating back to 1904. On 140 square meters she has combined an eclectic mix of styles and pieces - design classics, individual décor finds and pieces from her own shop 'Objects & Use'.

How do you like today's home tour?

Photography by Nicoline Olsen for BoligLiv

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Happy Interior Blog Recommends...

Sometimes I have to admit it: The most precious thing in my home is when I have time to enjoy it. I was thinking about it while I was thinking of today's post and what I'd like to share as product recommendations for our homes. Consequently, I've combined a product with a special moment in the very first recommendation. So first and foremost: I recommend you take your personal time out, you sit down in your home, enjoy your favorite magazine or book, smell fresh blooms, have a coffee or tea, enjoy and love your home. This said, here come this week's product recommendations for happy homes:

1. Time-out moment with my favorite magazine and fresh blooms in my new Piet Hein vase: A classical art piece by Danish designer Piet Hein in vibrant orange adds a warm pop of colour in any home.

2. Mid-century table lamp by West Elm: I love the combination of materials and patterns in this lamp - a wooden base with a ceramic jar shaped body in petrol embellished with geometric mid-century patterns and topped with an natural linen lampshade. I want this lamp!

3. Sideboard Narvik by Fashion for Home: I adore this wooden sideboard with colorful finishings for a modern look.

4. JYM storage rack by Studio Novo: I discovered this design piece by Austrian Studio Novo on the recent Blickfang design show in Munich and fell in love with its simplicity and sophistication. You just lean it on the wall - no drilling, no mounting needed! A fabulous solution for small and rented apartments - just like mine. And you can use it in the kitchen, the bathroom or the hallway - for kitchenware, towels, clothes, magazines - whatever you fancy!

Happy hump day everyone!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why This Room Caught My Eye

My wish for today: staying in bed. Believe it or not, but winter seems to be back and we had some good snowfalls yesterday. However, the daily duties are calling for my alert presence so I must abandon my comfy bed. As an inner rebellion I've decided to dedicate today's post to a bedroom inspiration. I noticed this bedroom styling a few days ago on the blog of the Australian interiors magazine Inside Out as a sneak peek of their April issue. And as a blue lover this was a winner styling and a definite eye-catcher for me.

But let's break it down to three major visual key facts that attracted my attention:
  • Blue Abundance: First and foremost it's the abundance of blue hues in this bedroom. I am quite often afraid of using only one colour in a room as I dread the risk of a visually boring interior styling. But this room proofs me wrong - you can create a fabulous and sophisticated look with one dominating hue. In this case with blue.
  • Blue Ombré Painting: The ombré painting above the bed is another eye-catcher and seems to be handmade, probably by the owner of the apartment. The colours in the painting catch up the blue hues from the remaining room and add a very personal touch to this bedroom.
  • Pale Blue Wall: The designer/stylist/owner was not afraid to even go blue with the wall. Would you be that brave? I love the outcome - the pale blue shade is a perfect backdrop for the richer, more saturated blue hues in the furnishing and accessories of the room.
Is this bedroom catching your eye too? What is your stance on rooms with one dominating colour?

Styling by Julia Green, photography by Armelle Habib, via Inside Out

Monday, March 24, 2014

From Place To Space: Venice Sneak Peek

What better way to start a new week than lingering on with memories of a dreamy weekend getaway? Well this was my sort of recipe to kick off this new and pretty busy work week. I arrived back yesterday late night so today I will be only sharing a tiny sneak peek of my last travel experience - a weekend trip to the Italian city of Venice.

Next Monday I will be back with a full round-up of my Venice weekend trip. I have quite a few Venice travel tips for you - like a fantastic hotel right on the the Canal Grande, a marvelous restaurant serving traditional Venetian dishes according to recipes from the 17th century and a must-visit café. For now I will only share a few snapshots from my trip to Venice. I hope they will make you smile and look cheerful at the new week. 

Stay tuned for more & happy new week, my friends!

Photography by Igor Josifovic

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book Review: Decorate With Flowers / Wohnen Mit Blumen

After yesterday's green 'Urban Jungle Bloggers' inspiration, let's talk today about flowers. Even though I am a green lover and adore my potted houseplants, I also love to buy a bunch of fresh blooms every now and then. They add colour and joyous vibe into any home. And they finally give a right to exist to my numerous vases - I mean how else would I explain any new vase acquisition? 

'Decorate with Flowers' or 'Wohnen mit Blumen' (in German) was written by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, both ladies have already successfully collaborated in a regular blog series on Decor8. They obviously share the same passion for flowers and beautiful stylings so it is no wonder that this book is a visual feast - not only for flower fans but for everyone who loves interior styling and decoration. 

The book is structured in three parts: The first part deals with basics like important flower facts, the use of props and the visual effects of different bouquet sizes. The main part of the book features various floral stylings: Natural stylings, pastels and neon stylings, market flowers, nautical themes and more. There is basically a floral idea for any taste and preference. The third and last part covers useful addresses and sources for your own floral projects.

What I really love about this book is its hands-on approach and easy writing enriched with beautiful photography. You don't have to be a florist or a decoration expert to create beautiful floral stylings - 'Decorate with Flowers' or 'Wohnen mit Blumen' in German offers simple tips and tricks for floral arrangements. All you need to do is get some fresh blooms and this book! Oh and I was more than happy to discover a few shots from the stylish home of Victoria Smith of in San Francisco - some of you might remember that I was staying in her home back in September! Sweet memories.

'Decorate with Flowers' is published by Jacqui Small LLP and the German version entitled 'Wohnen mit Blumen' is published by Callwey.

Photography by Igor Josifovic
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