Archive for July, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Palomar Chicago — hotel delight

This week, I've been enjoy­ing my first Chicago break ensconced in the Palo­mar, a Kimp­ton Hotel. Led here by reviews at Tri­pAd­vi­sor, and hav­ing stayed in Kimp­ton prop­er­ties before, I felt Palo­mar would be a solid choice and meet my design expec­ta­tions.  I'm happy to report, I was right on both counts. Who can resist a hotel with leop­ard and zebra bathrobes? 

The hotel is in a great loca­tion, two blocks from Michi­gan Avenue. Being so new, sev­eral taxi dri­vers were unfa­mil­iar with it, so be sure to keep the address on hand when you visit.  The lobby is small but invit­ing. The recep­tion area fea­tures a lovely tufted leather counter with lighted resin coun­ter­top, both in a warm gold, very fun and touch­able. Gold and black mar­ble floors add drama, along with white patent leather chairs. The color scheme car­ries into the wine recep­tion room where the over-scale mod flo­ral car­pet­ing keeps the tone whim­si­cal. I really enjoy the mix of mate­ri­als in the pub­lic areas of the hotel.

At check-in, which was han­dled quickly and smoothly, the Kimp­ton word-of-the-month resulted in a lovely bot­tle of wine at no charge. The front desk staff also gifted my son with a bag of toys (the beach ball was a huge hit). Mem­ber­ship in the Kimp­ton InTouch Club also lands you free wi-fi and a $10 voucher for the mini­bar. We booked into 1127, described as a "lux­ury one bed­room suite". At 750 square feet, it is cer­tainly a lot of real estate for the price.

The liv­ing room fea­tures seat­ing for six, along with a desk area and plenty of acces­si­ble out­lets. The bath­room is enor­mous, with a jet­ted tub that can eas­ily accom­mo­date four peo­ple, if you were so inclined (those same four peo­ple could also shower at once)! The king bed­room boasts Frette linens and an assort­ment of pil­lows. Palo­mar gets 5 stars for think­ing of every­thing. Every amenity is avail­able, from a mag­ni­fy­ing makeup mir­ror to toi­letries you might have for­got­ten. The trade­mark Kimp­ton bathrobes make me smile! 

Hmmm, so why am I not singing the praises of the décor? Well, as I've said before, I think hotel design­ers have an oppor­tu­nity to take chances with décor, to really cre­ate an inter­est­ing and orig­i­nal atmos­phere. Don't get me wrong, my suite is very nice and quite pretty. But as Elle Décor's Mar­garet Rus­sell has said: "pretty rooms are rarely mem­o­rable".  The most excit­ing aspect of the room is actu­ally the car­pet­ing!  The mod flo­ral, down­sized from the lobby, is rhyth­mic and unex­pected in the guest room. Sub­dued in beige and choco­late brown, it leads the color scheme through­out the suite. The tex­tured wall­pa­per is beige, the fur­ni­ture mixed dark brown and pale, both with a limed look. The sofa and chairs are light blue and fairly generic. Per­fectly nice, but it doesn't have a lux­ury vibe. The fur­ni­ture looks like it could live in any aver­age hotel. The bath­room is neu­tral and very well appointed. I love that the quartz coun­ter­top is extra high, and the 12x24 inch mar­ble tiles suit the spa­cious seren­ity. Toi­letries are L'Occitane — yummy.  

Over­all, I'm a fan of the Palo­mar, and would def­i­nitely rec­om­mend to oth­ers and stay here again myself. And the restau­rant Sable — that story is still play­ing out — stay tuned for an update.

What do you think of the décor? Blue and brown yawn or fab­u­lous tran­quil retreat?

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Kitchen Design — in Progress

Here are a few pic­tures of another client project. Although not yet ready for prime time, I wanted to high­light the incred­i­ble glass coun­ter­top cho­sen for the island. First the before:

BEFORE: basic builder white cabinetry

The basic white, builder-grade cab­i­netry was not hold­ing up well with an active fam­ily. Among the many func­tional and aes­thetic chal­lenges in this kitchen design were the under-scale island and the giant dou­ble soffit.

A space this large ben­e­fits from a focal point, and the island was the nat­ural choice. The client was not enam­ored with the idea of a gran­ite slab, and was very intrigued by pic­tures seen at Think­Glass, par­tic­u­larly this one:

This Cana­dian com­pany is a leader in glass coun­ter­top pro­duc­tion, and their unique designs offer some­thing for the adven­tur­ous kitchen client look­ing beyond gran­ite, mar­ble or solid sur­face coun­ter­tops. After many back-and-forth dis­cus­sions on shapes, col­ors and designs, and the twelve week lead time, the slab arrived and was installed.

glass island installed — quite the focal point!

I think the glass top adds tremen­dous drama to the new kitchen. Looking for­ward to see­ing how great the fin­ished kitchen will look once the tile and paint are complete!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

design collaborations

To be suc­cess­ful as an inte­rior designer, in Con­necti­cut or any­where else, it's crit­i­cal to have a team of trades­men and crafts­men to col­lab­o­rate with and rely on. These are the men and women who sup­port my ideas, respond with enthu­si­asm (usu­ally!) and make won­der­ful things hap­pen for me and my clients.

So nat­u­rally, I turned to Steve Monti at Steve's Fine Wood­work­ing and Con­struc­tion for my lat­est project. My client has very def­i­nite ideas on what he wants, but does change his mind fre­quently — a major design chal­lenge. He has a "hurry up and fin­ish" atti­tude and is impa­tient with delays. And did I men­tion, he's five years old?

Here is the project in early development:

the begin­nings of the land yacht

a very seri­ous client dur­ing the ini­tial inspection

Steve hard at work

fur­ther progress

a hap­pier client as pro­duc­tion continues…

Stay tuned for the final results, com­ing soon.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

designer spaces & market places — decision made!

Thanks to all who voted on Face­book and Twit­ter! Given the ques­tion of which type of room they would like to see at the Designer Spaces & Mar­ket Places event in Hart­ford in September, an over­whelm­ing 80% chose the Funky Din­ing Space!  Wow!  I am sur­prised that so many peo­ple are inter­ested in din­ing areas; or are they really just inter­ested in funky? We've (sort of) con­firmed that chan­de­liers can be hung in the loft space, so the funky din­ing space will soon be underway!

Last night was the first chance design­ers had to visit the spaces. Vol­un­teers for Rebuild­ing Together Hart­ford and Hart­ford Preser­va­tion Alliance built all the wall pan­els and are still in the process of installing and fin­ish­ing them.  Check out what's been done so far…

design­ers and vol­un­teers hard at work!

some­times it's best to meet a new chal­lenge with a drink in hand!

While it may look like all the spaces are the same, due to the nature of the space and those amaz­ing columns, many spaces are devi­at­ing from the 8x12 size we all designed for. Indi­vid­ual spaces haven't been assigned yet — maybe a lot­tery will be used, since nearly every­one wanted the same 4 spaces!  We will all find out next week.  Over­all, a great start to the event, and a won­der­ful group of design­ers involved. I am really look­ing for­ward to the fun!

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