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Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in Interiors | 0 comments

Decorating According to Your Age

Decorating According to Your Age

I love those fashion articles that advise you on how to dress according to your age. It’s not that I heed every single thing that fashion gurus say I should wear. For me, it’s simply a fun reality check to see whether or not I’m breaking some silly fashion rule at whatever life stage I’m in.  For instance, I loved it when beauty advisers used to say no long hair for women over forty, as if we’re all supposed to chop off our locks and sport an Annie Lenox ‘do the moment we hit the big 4-0.  I did that look in my teens and there’s no way I’m going back there again…

So when I saw this article last week, I was a little intrigued. I guess I never gave much thought to decorating based on age. Buying the stuff you love and surrounding yourself with them were always my guiding principles in interiors, not age.  But then, I thought about it a little further.  We DO decorate by age, unless you’re one of the lucky ones with unlimited funds to buy what you love at a young age.

The fact that I hardly had any money for furniture in my 20s dictated my apartment aesthetics of mostly Ikea and hand-me-down furnitures. And, there’s also the fashion trend at the time. In my early 30s, there was a lot of Pottery Barn-inspired pieces that I was attracted to and grew out of in my 40s. Now that I’m close to another milestone in my life, I’m more drawn to pieces that have longevity, more estate pieces but of the mid-century kind, that I can hopefully pass down to the girls one day.

How do you decorate?

20s Decorating

30s and beyond decorating

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Posted by on Sep 22, 2016 in Interiors | 0 comments

Amanda Brooks Inspiration

Amanda Brooks Inspiration

Architectural Digest’s feature of fashion guru/writer/blogger Amanda Brooks’ house in England is stunning and simply romantic.  I love the cozy details and comforts of country living  juxtaposed with gorgeous artwork and antique pieces.  The Cotswolds, where Amanda’s house is, reminds me so much of Normandy with its lush verdant space, rolling hills and thatched-roof houses.  Reading the piece makes me just a tad bit nostalgic for this little place and has me planning our next trip to see it again…

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Posted by on Jul 3, 2016 in Family and friends, France, Interiors, Lifestyle, Travel | 0 comments

Week 27/52

Week 27/52

Weekly snapshots of family life in 2016

Happy Fourth of July to everyone in the US! We’re here in France, enjoying a slower pace as well as rediscovering things that we’ve left behind at our house here about a year ago. It’s become a bit easier coming here over the years, especially now that the girls are older. There’s also a certain ease and calm in knowing our way around in this part of Normandy. Gone are the days when we felt like tourists, compelled to attend to must-see attractions and goings-on in town. This year, we just took it easy the first few days, did little house projects, tidied up — merely stopping to go out to go eat or check out a new store.

callalilies Flowers in our garden

One of the highlights of our stay here is going to the local marché, similar to farmer’s markets in the US except it’s year round here, and twice a week in our particular town. The marchés offer not only food but also clothes, livestock and chair repair (see second picture below). These local markets provide great communal experience for everyone to gather and see friends. You’ll often see people stop and give double kisses to someone they ran into so you have to be patient moving around at these markets as the person may just abruptly stop in front of you for no great reason than to give les bises to a neighbor or cousin.

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As we bought a few essentials at the marché, we also got a chance to wander off and poke our noses at random parts of the town center.

pontaudemerflowers Flowers by the bridge near the market

oldwalls  These old walls and structure

conservatory The local music school

We also went back to one of our favorite restaurants, Sadi Carnot, where they serve French/Norman classics with a twist. My indulgence for the night was a Norman specialty, boudin noir (pork blood sausage, I know, I know but it really is delicious) with caramelized onions and raisins and pureed pumpkin.

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We also discovered some new places near us, such as a home decor concept store with a cute eatery in the back called Le Pressoir and a cute restaurant in Deauville called Le 21.

lepressoir Le Pressoir Concept Store

lepressoir.2 Gotta love this little setup

lerestaurant21 Pre-pasta indulgence at Le 21

Have a great week everyone! We’re off to Amsterdam for a few days. I can’t wait to report back from that trip.

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Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in France, Interiors | 0 comments

Undecorate

Undecorate

Seeing French interior designer/photographer Annabel Gueret’s loft in Nantes, France reminds me of one of my favorite interior decorating books of all times, Undecorate, by Christine Lemieux. It’s the whole principle of not following design rules and decorating according to what appeals to you and your visual senses that sometimes work best.

Personally, I find the whole decorated look a little too stuffy and old sometimes. The idea of decorative pillows that are neatly tucked on top and interiors with no signs of individuality and life just can be simply boring, don’t you think? I’d rather be at a place where I can see how the owners truly live.

If you want to see more of Annabel’s work, follow her on instagram where she often showcases her creative vision.

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piscineag This pool just kills me

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Images via

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Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Interiors | 0 comments

Tweaking A Girly Girl’s Room

Tweaking A Girly Girl’s Room

Unlike her sister’s more tomboyish taste with skateboards and Legos adorning the bedroom, Ines’ aesthetic even as a little girl leaned more toward feminine with a little glitz here and there.  She still likes that style but wanted to tweak her room just a tiny bit and add personal touches that reflect who she is.

Ines was very hands-on throughout this process with a strong vision of what she wanted to add to her room.  Here are some of the details…

…A non-cookie cutter (Nakashima-inspired) night table where she can put her books on with new lamp

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A new mood board where she can pin photos, sketches, running medals

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….And showcase her love for the Minions

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Light garlands on her desk
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Chalkboard paint as accent painting

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Little vignettes on her bookcase

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Posted by on Dec 3, 2015 in Interiors | 0 comments

Blue Carreon’s Manila Digs

Blue Carreon’s Manila Digs

Though a little too curated for my taste, I can’t help but admire some of the details of designer Blue Carreon’s place in Manila. Love the wall paint, overall texture and colonial details, an ode to the complicated historic past of the Philippines.

Thanks, Lonny Mag for such a lovely and refreshing feature…

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Photos via

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Interiors | 0 comments

Decorating with the Seasons

Decorating with the Seasons

One of the things I love about the holiday season, which really starts at Halloween and end on New Year’s Eve, is that we get to have fun decorating the house.  After seeing the girls still get carried away with their Halloween crafting this past weekend, I can’t help but also get inspired. Personally, I think the best Halloween decors are the ones that can pretty much last through Thanksgiving, save for removing maybe a plastic spider or a skeleton here and there before Thanksgiving guests arrive.

Here are some of images I am loving right now.

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Images 1,2 & 4 via

Images 3 & 5 via

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Posted by on Jun 18, 2015 in Interiors, Travel | 1 comment

Dreaming of Cuba

Dreaming of Cuba

On my bucket list is the goal of one day visiting Cuba. I hope that by the time I get there it would not be overdeveloped or too commercialized. As many of us who live in the Western World, I have this romanticized image of Cuba, of old colonial homes and tropical breeze, of men wearing guayabera shirts and ladies fanning themselves to cool off.

While I know many of these images are stereotypes that are popularized by the media, I sometimes come across pictures and articles that reaffirms these truths. Last week, T Magazine featured the house of creatives Pamela Ruiz and Damian Aquiles in Havana. The house, which is a labor of love, took the couple years and years to renovate and bring up to livable conditions. Just imagine doing a restoration job where there are no hardware stores nearby and the government pretty much controls all construction material! So the couple ended up using repurposed materials from other houses in the area as well as bringing things from the US and Mexico.

There just something about these images that say hot, lazy summer days to me. There’s also the visual texture that so rich and nicely counter-balanced by the huge ceilings and pale walls, which gives the house such a post-colonial bohemian vibe. And don’t get me started with those tiled floors! Yes, yes, folks, I’m officially Cuba dreaming.

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Images from T Magazine

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Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Family and friends, Interiors | 2 comments

From Playroom To Tween Lounge Room

From Playroom To Tween Lounge Room

I try to do one house improvement project a year. This year, I, along with the rest of the family, am updating the kids’ playroom. We are not planning to do a major overhaul, just tweaking here and there to make the room more tween-friendly. With yesterday’s weather being a bit hazardous due to the ice storm, we knew we were going to be stuck indoors all day. The girls were ready to play Minecraft and watch TV most of the day but I had other plans for them (he! he!).

The girls helped me for an hour or so organizing their toys and what-nots in the playroom. Normally, Chiara and Ines get very attached to their old toys and would not discard them right away. But this time around, it was slightly different. They decided to toss things they no longer play with or use. I suppose even their sentimentalist selves decided it was time to move on. Sure there are a few toys they want to hold on as keepsakes but I think that’s just normal and to be expected.

I also spent some time on Pinterest to get ideas for their tween lounge room. Here are some that I am liking right now…

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tween room with heart grey tween room

Images via (1), (2), (3)

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Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in Art, Family and friends, Interiors, Lifestyle | 2 comments

By Golly, Hollie!

By Golly, Hollie!

Over a month and a half ago, Richard and I were invited to visit the studio of the wonderful local artist Hollie Heller. Frankly, I’ve been procrastinating writing this post on the visit and on Hollie’s work as I am simply in awe of her and was afraid whatever I write would not do justice to her work. I suppose it’s a lot harder to write about an artist whose works I have at home than writing about one whose works I admire from afar at a museum.

We first saw Hollie’s work at Speakeasy Gallery in Boonton many years ago. Richard and I instantly fell in love with her work. For me, the color, details and textures of her work are eternally fascinating. Since Hollie often works with mixed media, I feel that I am constantly deciphering messages in her work and looking for hidden details that I fail to notice before.

Another thing that I love about Hollie’s work are the shapes and materials she works with. Many of her works feature organic shapes that can be found in nature, often in the sea and its environs. I also love how her color palette has evolved over the years from darker and stronger colors in the beginning to the softer and gentler hues she often employs today, perhaps influenced by her frequent sabbaticals in Costa Rica. She also repurposes a lot of materials, including polymers and lenses, and makes beautiful art with them. I particularly like her use of old eyeglasses that were transformed into various sea-like colors to resemble sea glass.

I can’t wait to see what’s next for Hollie. She was chosen last year to participate in the Architectural Digest Home Design Show so perhaps she’ll do more work with interiors in the future. I know that she also has given art class/retreat in her place in Costa Rica so perhaps there’s a possibility in partaking in her creative endeavors in a more holistic way. Whatever it is she chooses to do, I know she’ll continue to create work that will surprise and delight us in years to come.

Are there any local artists that you are fascinated with at the moment?

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