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The Dalmar, Ft Lauderdale

A  Midcentury South Florida Lifestyle Hotel

 

I felt as if I was transported into a Slim Aarons photo at The Dalmar complete with midcentury breeze blocks, references from both Florida and California during the Golden Age of Travel, and of course, a champagne vending machine giving me these vibes….

Getty Images: Leisure and Fashion. Slim Aarons, 1961

 

Several restaurants were closed while we were there due to COVID, but I wanted to share what was open and the spectacular design details, so you can add it to your Ft Lauderdale list.

Lobby and check-in

The open, lattice work work behind the check-in mimics a large scale breeze block pattern tying it to the adjoining lobby bar and seating area. The gold linework detail in the terrazzo and mother of pearl floor creates runway affect, which subconsciously adds to the wayfinding, drawing you to the desk. It also helps define the two seating areas on either side and adds another beautiful, subtle material to the mix. Check out this muted teal slab wall, and they lined the seam up with the doors. So beautiful.

Lobby Bar

This material nesting we see on the corner edge, built up countertop with contrasting piping, and the lowered server station make this an outstanding bar design. This material looks like it might be an onyx and a view of the front (without barstools) shows downlight washing a beautiful book matching of the material. Lovely details.

 

Lobby Bar Seating

An excellent, one-size-does-not-fit-all, approach was taken here, as we see multiple seating options for varying types of bodies, sizes, functions, and needs. An array of conversational areas and communal tables means creating social areas for people to meet or smaller tables for private discussions. An overall orange and blue (and shades of a minty teal) guides the palette, rich woods warm up the space, white breeze blocks take us back to a specific era, and a casual collection of images creates a sense of place and sparks memory.

 

Rose’s Coffee Bar

One the ground floor as you enter, this outdoor space off the coffee bar with geometric tile and living wall feel like a garden in the middle of the city. Perfect spot for coffee with a little buffer from street noise. Love the coffee bar lighting, too.

 

When I share a blog, I consider three readers: The person who knows nothing about design but is interested in beautiful spaces, places and travel. My fellow designers, to show ideas and how other designers have treated each space and situation, and lastly the potential future client who reads this to educate themselves, because maybe, they are thinking about a project of their own someday. I tell you this because you might fit into one of these categories, and while the next pictures may be of little interest to you, they might be for someone else in this group.

 

Transition spaces

While these seem unimportant, corridors, vestibules and other transition spaces support the experience. I find in some projects, clients want to spend less on these spaces, and I understand that, but these spaces are important to continue the vibe. They also receive a lot of abuse with high traffic and things like careless people in a rush or weary travelers with suitcases. The vertical, stack bond, blue tile is like a gorgeous ocean blue in varying shades highlighted by indirect lighting originating from the ceiling cloud above and uplighting from the floor. Lighting is absolutely everything for mood. Don’t skimp on it. These 3-diminesional tiles in the second photo add a graphic detail and play tricks on the eyes making you question if they are in fact 2-D or 3-D. I love tactile materials that begged to be touched, and a mirror in a vestibule at a hotel is a necessity. We need one last look before we dash out.

 

Although I couldn’t get great shots of the rooftop pool overlooking downtown, I wanted to share these two images from their Instagram page. And because I have this little obsession with carts.

Oh, and that vending machine I mentioned. We all love full service, but sometimes grab and go is just easier when we want a little more speed and less interaction with folks.

 

 

Hope you loved this destination!! Looking forward to everything being back open!

XO,

Cassandra

 

 

 

 

1 Hotel Miami Beach

Material Matters

I have been wanting to share the interior of this hotel since we returned last month. If you were to ask me what my style is, this would be it. I’m becoming more and more minimal as I age and have decided I need less and less around me to make me happy.

 

I always enjoy it when people go to my website and see the projects I have worked on and say, “I see you really like color.” For me, that means I’m doing my job. My projects are a reflection of my client’s homes and businesses, design aesthetics, tastes, styles, colors, products, and demographic we are trying to capture. Not mine. Working with clients gives me the opportunity to explore a variety of design aesthetics, color and styles different from my own personal tastes. I like to say,” I love coloring with all the crayons in the box, but I want to come home to something visually quiet.” This hotel is the silence and texture I crave.

Designed with eco-friendly principles in mind, the hotel is LEED certified and built with reclaimed materials throughout. Both the hotel and operations are designed and run on the best sustainability practices by focusing on environmental impact, recycled building materials, local food sourcing, and things like water and air filtration systems. Even the hangers are made from 100% post consumer recycled materials. This philosophy touches every detail in the hotel like no plastic keys to enter your room and all natural bath products. They even use recycled chalkboards in the room for notes and doodles to cut down on paper waste.

Not only is the mindful approach practiced in the the physical nature of the building and daily practices of sustainability, but also in the spiritual. The hotel hosts full moon celebrations every month to celebrate the changing of the tides, cosmos and energy with the rise of the full moon, as well as, once a month observing something called Dark Sky. That evening, they dim the lights in the lobby and illuminate the area with candles to raise awareness of global brightening and consumption. Reminds me of Bali’s full moon celebrations and day of silence and darkness offering respect to our planet.

The colorless interior, white upholstery, organic and textural materials, concrete, stone, and wood provide visual silence and a place to rest the busy mind. One of the other spectacular things about this hotel is the lighting.

Little nooks and niches for chatting in hotels are a favorite of mine. It allows us to somewhat hide out yet still be somewhat in the middle of things. You get to decide who you want to chat with and how social you want to be. These are spaces that allow us opportunities to chat with those passing by but also discourages them from chatting with us, if we don’t want them to. Often people respect those in a niche or off by themselves, as if they are having a private, not-to-be-disturbed conversation. For me, it’s a non-committal space in a public environment, meaning, I can be around the action and hear the buzz of the lobby and see people, but not be forced into a social setting, if I choose not to be. Sometimes we just want to be a spectator and not a participant. Maybe we’ll be a participant the next night. 😉

The restaurant was closed while we were there, which wasn’t a bad thing for these photos. 😉 Notice all the lighting in the shelves, the cocktail tables, and that custom light fixture over the bar. Can’t wait to go back during the Dark Sky night and have dinner and drinks here by candlelight.

Little details everywhere: barnacles growing on the corners of walls, the heart shape engraved in the door, the weathered wood halls and doors to the rooms, candles and branches everywhere, and the entry to the gym which is incredible itself. As both a residential and commercial designer, it’s always interesting to see how other designers try to conceal or divert the eye away from mechanicals in commercial interiors. *rolls eyes* They are a necessary evil in our projects and seeing how they visually blocked them here with the candles and branches, yet kept it open for proper air flow, is probably something no one else would have noticed but another commercial designer.

The art installations on site also raise awareness and conversation about the philosophy the hotel carries and highlights what we are doing to our planet. These are all recycled items from the ocean. Recycled tv and computer monitors depict animals living inside, as if one day, that might be the only way we will see and remember some of them, because of the destruction we have caused. If it weren’t so sad, this whale might actually be beautiful. A closer look shows the random trash that went into making it. We must do better.

So I don’t leave you on a sad note, I’ll leave you with the best part, the roof!!! Aren’t these cabanas are glorious??

Hope you enjoyed it!! Have you stayed at a 1 Hotel before? Now I have to put the others on my list.

XO,

Cassandra

 

 

Villa Casa Casuarina

Gianni Versace’s Home | Miami Beach

Last week, we were in Miami and visited the Mediterranean Revival home of the late Gianni Versace.  The home was originally built in 1931 by Alden Freeman architect and sole heir to the Standard Oil Fortune. After being converted to apartments and being sold multiple times, the house fell into disrepair. Because the house has such a long history, I’ll link the history in at the bottom of the post, if you’d like to read it in depth.

Gianni Versace Miami Home

 

 

After seeing the property while on vacation, Versace spent three years and millions renovating it. He purchased the hotel next door and demolished the property to build the south wing, gardens and swimming pool. This didn’t go over so well with the Miami Design Preservation League, considering the entire neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The main courtyard has been tented to accommodate all weather parties and events and provides a welcome shade from the hot South Florida sun. The entire property is a study in stone and tile mosaic work and a mixture of styles Versace loved.

Pool mosaics were done by the same artist who did his Lake Como home, and the stone patterns are timeless and gorgeous, many with Greek keys and 24K gold.

 

We had lunch outside by the pool surrounded by pebble and ironwork, stone and tile mosaics. If you look down from the railing to the center under the tables, you’ll see a face. That’s the Medusa. This is one of the symbols Versace used, and it can be seen throughout the house.

The dining room walls are also lined with pebble mosaics. It reminds me of Palazzo Borromeo on Isola Bella in Italy and I wonder if it was inspired by that. The pebble work on the exterior of that building can be seen here, and the interior can be seen here. Even the colors are so similar to those found in Italy.

Upstairs is The Venus Stuite, AKA Donatello Versace’s suite. This is where she stayed when she visited. A few of the furniture pieces were original to this time, as was all of the art on the walls. Donatello loved flowers so the ceiling was painted in a trompe l’oeil of yellow roses climbing on a trellis. Her bed, which still remains, is about the size of a king and twin pushed together. I love a design that references a place. We can see that in the interior moulding. The capitals above the fluted pilasters are palm leaves suggesting local flora. I love the marble in her shower and the marble geometric cube pattern on the floor.

The Azure Suite, named obviously for its blue details, features a daybed alcove, perfect as a cozy reading nook, and the Italian marble bath has the Medusa inset in the center of the floor medallion.

The Aviary Suite was Allegra Versace’s room. Allegra was Versace’s niece and partial heir to the Versace fortune. The room is painted with parrots and hummingbirds, and we see the presence of another Medusa in the Italian marble bathroom floor medallion.

Previously there was an elevator at the back of the courtyard. Versace didn’t like elevators, so he had it removed. In its place we see tiled stairs, painted walls, stone landings and stained glass.

At the very top of the villa is the copper dome observatory where he could open the window and focus his telescope on the stars.

And perfect views from the top of the observatory walking the roofline.

As we were leaving and walking by the gate, I saw the Medusa again. Here’s a quote taken from the Versace site:

MEDUSA – DESIGNED AS A LOGO BY GIANNI VERSACE IN 1978.
HISTORICALLY, THE MEDUSA HAS ALWAYS REPRESENTED THE TRIUMPH OF REASON OVER THE SENSES IN THE NAME OF VIRTUE. HER AMBIGUOUS AND FATAL ALLURE APPEARS IN THE CREATIONS OF VARIOUS ARTISTS THROUGHOUT TIME. SHE WAS AN ALLEGORY FOR THE POWER OF GAZE AND BECAME THE PARADIGM OF AN ARTISTS’ VISION.

 

Hope you enjoyed this look inside the fashion icon’s home!

Link to the house’s full history and how you can book a stay can be found here.

xo,

Cassandra

A Cure for the Design Sweet Tooth

Valentine’s Day Design Inspiration

Grand pink architecture and interiors, romantic fashion, and an adorable pink Figaro that leave us high on sugary sweet design and perfect shades of pink.

Schloss Benrath

Schloss Benrath Palace located in Dusseldorf was designed by French architect Nicolas de Pigage. The pink Baroque style building proves that pink is an appropriate and acceptable color for the grandest and oldest of buildings and is simply gorgeous. You can actually rent out a few of the halls for your private event.

Craigievar Castle

Craigievar Castle, completed in 1626, is a pink harled castle in Scotland. If those turrets spark fairy tale images for you, well they did for Disney also, and it’s reported to be the inspiration for the Disney castle.

Photo Bei.Bei.Wei

 

Peggy Porschen

Peggy Porschen Cakes has been on my radar lately, as much for the design and their Instagram account, as for their sweets. They are topping A-list celebrity events for people such as Kate Moss, Elton John and Stella McCartney to name a few. Their pink building, floral installations and adorable pastry creations are truly one-of-a-kind. I always admire, and try to incorporate, a creative concept that runs throughout, and you can see that here with the mushroom pastries and the mushroom installation. Just look at the different floral arrangements they install on their building below via their Instagram page.

Photos: Peggy Porschen Instagram

Sketch London

Part gallery, part restaurant, this 18th century townhouse tea room turns into a cocktail lounge in the evening, and I’m pretty sure it’s the place to be on Valentine’s Day. I love the mix of the glamorous, Hollywood interiors with the graphic, line drawing art.

Photos: Civilian Global

Elie Saab

When it comes to romantic, elegant and feminine fashion, Ellie Saab always get it right with the most beautiful lace, beading, embroidery and the extraordinary details expressed throughout the garments. Every sleeve is perfection and it’s hard to imagine that many options. The dusty pink, white, and nude colors are so soft and romantic. I need one of these gowns from the Haute Couture Spring Summer 2020 Show to wear while I roam around Benrath palace above.

Photos: Elie Saab World Instagram

Le Pink Figaro

And what better way to arrive than a pink Figaro. Did you know this car was made by Nissan? I had no idea. And if you love this little car, you can follow all of its adventures on Instagram below.

Photos: Le Pink Figaro Instagram

Hope you have a sweet and romantic Valentine’s Day full of love.

xo,

Cassandra

Holiday Travels 2019

Christmastime in The Crescent City and The Conch Republic

There is nothing more I love than hotels and traveling around Christmastime. I love hotel Christmas decorations, because they usually have larger floral and decorative budgets than any of us, along with a full staff to make Christmas magic truly something special.  I love huge Christmas buffets (because who doesn’t like options), formal Christmas dinners, and special Christmas treats that trained pastry chefs take years learning to perfect. I love the sound of a piano playing Christmas music in the marble lobby of a grand hotel with a tree three times what I can fit in my house and hotels with the most memorable Christmas traditions, as you’ll see below. It reminds me of the little girl inside me who remembers going to the mall as a child and thinking how big and beautiful all the decorations were and wishing we could have that at home.

This year we spent Christmastime in New Orleans, St Pete (more on that in a different post) and Key West.  If you’ve always done the traditional thing at Christmas, I hope these images and places inspire you to try something different for Christmas in 2020, like take a trip with your family during the holidays, to create new memories and experiences. One day, I hope to visit some of the world’s most well-known Christmas markets. I’m just trying to figure out how I’m going to survive the cold to get there. 😉

New Orleans, AKA The Crescent City

Roosevelt Hotel

So for the grandest of places, the Roosevelt ranks high on the list, and their beautiful trees and florals do not disappoint. The lighting of their decorations is almost as historic as the building itself and draws people annually to the event.

The interior lobby without the decorations is still nothing short of fabulous. The ceiling, moulding, mosaics, and lighting are a course of study in interior design alone. After a closing due to hurricane Katrina and reopening in 2009, the carpet that had previously covered the lobby was removed, everything was restored, and everything brought back to its original grandeur. I’ll save more of the details of that for a design details focused blog post later, but because I can’t resist, here are a few.

The Ritz Carlton

Another grand favorite going over the top is the Ritz. Their gingerbread display is probably the best I’ve seen so far, which includes a streetcar and a tugboat. The tugboat is a new addition this year and both are all made from gingerbread. A work of culinary art indeed and truly a labor of love. If you’ve ever built one from a kit, you know the amount of patience they take.

 

 

Step right outside the Ritz for these windows. Who doesn’t love a beautiful Christmas window to inspire child-like wonder?

The Hotel Monteleone

The Monteleone is always a must, especially if you’ve never seen the Carousel Bar. They also offer a Reveillion dinners throughout the month of December. Don’t know about this New Orleans tradition? Click here for an explanation.

The Royal Sonesta

This is probably one of the most photographed street corners in New Orleans, thanks to their quintessential New Orleans style architecture, iron balconies and their showstopping hanging planters. It’s a corner I often see used in tourism promotional photos. Pop in for a coffee at PJ’s and walk through their hall of trees. Oh, and here is their balcony with ferns, sweet potato vine and fig vine just pouring out of their planters.

Key West AKA The Conch Republic

Old Town

Mid-December we headed to Key West for the remainder of the year. The entire town was decorated, so I didn’t feel like I missed out on not having a tree or decorations this year. This little conch cottage is so classic Key West Christmas and who doesn’t love lighted palm trees? The lighted chicken is absolutely perfect considering the amount of gypsy chickens roaming the town. The big Victorian house did a blue, snowy theme with giant snowflakes hanging, and makes my favorite list just for carrying a concept throughout.  They did an outstanding job on it. The city must have a Christmas light competition, because we saw signs in yards saying, “vote for this house.” The tree below at the marina was all buoys and the lighted boats were always fun to see from shore.

America 2.0 Schooner

We sailed on an classic schooner for brunch on Christmas Day and saw Santa boarding his yacht for vacation after making all his deliveries. Haha. Just kidding. I’m sure he was paying the very lucky kids on board a visit to hand deliver their gifts.

This sweet little bakery, just a block away from our rental, was absolutely adorable and yummy, so we were there frequently. I think my husband walked there every single day for coffee, even if we didn’t get food from there. My favorite shop in Key West, Grace on Frances, did an all minimal, organic theme with their decorations, which I love. They used a Mexican straw garland seen above the windows, which I had to buy, and natural ornaments on their tree. I have blogged about them before and tell people all the time, you have to get off Duval St. for some of the best places in Key West.

And when you live on a tiny island with quirky houses, eclectic people, and chickens running loose, your mode of transportation should be anything but ordinary. This Moke wins my heart.

Hope you enjoyed reading and if you’ve never traveled during the holidays, I hope you’ll consider it this year.

Xo,

Cass

Art Deco Residence

Renovation of an original 1938 Art Deco residence

A reference companion to the two part vlog series on Art Deco style. Be sure to click the thumbnails below, so you can see the entire image.

Before we begin, I’d like to make the reader aware, this is not a project designed by my design firm. It is a project I admire and wanted to share here in an effort to showcase what it’s like to carry a strong consistent design concept throughout a project. I hope you enjoy it!

Below are two pictures of what the original structure looked like, prior to the renovation. Although we can already see the presence of Art Deco design vocabulary, the renovation takes the concept to a higher level of expression and a deeper appreciation of the style. In this original interpretation, we can already see the curved walls, the horizontal window frames and the existence of the glass block mentioned in the vlog.

Ancient Temples and Ziggurats

An image of the ziggurat technique used in ancient temple design can be found by clicking here. From this image we can clearly see the terraced or tiered birthday cake shape.

Existing Ziggurats in Art Deco

As referenced in the video, ziggurats are seen in the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall in New York, as well as, the Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta, just outside of Atlanta. It’s also important to note that the zigguart was not only an architectural element but was also a design motif.

Ziggurats as Design Motifs

In the case of the Strand Theatre, if you look closely over the left side door, front of the box office, and far right over the glass poster box window, the ziggurat is present. Here it is rendered in a black material resembling glass, creating the profile of a birthday cake at the top of the door and signs. Since we are discussing this building, if we take an even closer look, the same shape is reflected inside at the top of the interior light cove moulding elements in the auditorium, where a setback is created in the moulding design.

It is also present in the marquee on the front of the building with a series of cake like tiers, reiterating the terraces found in the Art Deco design style. In Art Deco design, if ornamentation was used, it was very low relief (shallow in depth or thickness) unlike previous periods, which is why these ziggurats on the exterior, and any other decoration used during the period, are relatively flat looking. Remember, this period was about a more streamlined look and feel.

I’ve used blue arrows to call out the elements below. As mentioned in the video, geometric shapes and linear forms used both vertically and horizontally were widely used, as well as, sunburst or sun ray patterns. In the interior photo below, you can clearly see the long linear line pattern running vertically on the walls, crowned with the geometric shape in the form of the triangle and the sun ray design motif.  This sun ray motif is also what gives the Chrysler Building its iconic ziggurat and recognizable top. Other design motifs frequently found during this period are fans, chevrons, and line work in an array of geometric patterns.

 

Art Deco and the Machine

During this period, the industrial or machine-like aesthetic was popular, with very sleek materials in aluminum, steel and glass. Objects and materials that had an automotive or aviation-like feel were highly desired. This style was meant to look monolithic, sharp, angular and luxurious. Notice the machine-like feel, the chevrons in the floor pattern, and the metal around the information desk in the Empire State Building interior.

Art Moderne and the Curve

Towards the end of the period we start to see more stucco, rounded corners and the appearance of the wave. Below we can see the curving walls, the horizontal window frames, the presence of the ziggurat in the structure of the buildings, and how, like the residence above, this style feels more horizontal in nature rather than vertical. We can also see the oculus windows mentioned in the vlog.

 

Interiors, Furnishings and Decorative Arts

Many of the same materials were popular for the interior, as you’ve seen above and in the vlog. Below are references for some of the interior elements discussed. It should be noted, many of the furnishings in this house, due to it being a vacation rental, represent more budget-friendly furnishings and decorative arts that still check off many of the boxes of the design style.

Barcelona chair designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

The chair, along with the companion piece, the day bed (or technically called couch) I mentioned in the video (which I especially love in the tan color) is below. It should be noted, this is a more high-brow Art  Deco period representation than what we see in this house. And we should also understand, Mies van der Rohe, and his work, were very associated with the Bauhaus Movement. He was the last Director of the Bauhaus School of Design prior to its closing in the early 1930’s due to the Nazis. This chair below was designed for the German Pavilion at the Paris Exposition where Art Deco was introduced. Because Bauhaus was ending, and because this chair was introduced at this exposition, it would have been a popular chair during this time period, and therefore would have been an appropriate addition to a 1930’s home.

This chair is widely knocked off and less expensive versions can be found. If you are interested in an copyrighted reproduction of the chair, signed by Mies van der Rohe himself, it can be purchased through Knoll by clicking here. The couch is on the site, as well.

 

Original Art Deco paintings by Tamara de Lempicka

Kitchen: Autoportrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti), 1929.

Bedroom: The Pink Tunic, 1927

Interior Details

Below are photos referencing some of the interior details discussed in the vlog. Notice the rounded corners around the doors, the linear vertical lines created by the table base and the lines and geometric shapes in the door glass, and if seen side-by-side, the baseboard detail looks like a mini Empire State Building from the picture above, without the spire.

 

In the next post, I’ll share pictures of my visit to The Don Cesar, another Art Deco interior project that features a bit more high-end Art Deco style, so you can see how this style is still very relevant as a gorgeous, modern, design concept today. Here is a teaser image for that post. Doesn’t it remind you of the shape of the corridor of the interior of the Empire State Building in the above picture? Are you starting to be able to recognize some of the features? I’d love to hear if this has helped in any way or given you a greater love or at least appreciation for the style!

 

Hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading!!

Cass

Xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1960s Ranch Kitchen

This 1960s ranch had low ceilings, limited light, and a poorly designed, inefficient floor plan.

Space planning:

The main problem with the design of this kitchen was the peninsula. Peninsula kitchens almost always make a kitchen smaller, and I only use this design configuration as a last resort. In this scenario, the peninsula and raised bar (a thing of the past), cut the kitchen off physically and visually from the breakfast room, limited contiguous countertop space, and in the below pictures you can see how it’s dividing the room in half.

Several other problems existed:

  1. Bar seating wasn’t possible due to the limited space on the breakfast room side and conflicted with the breakfast room chairs, making the bar useless anyway.
  2. The refrigerator was too far out of the work triangle guidelines for kitchen design, making it very inefficient and creating more steps than necessary.
  3. The refrigerator was on the other side of the entry, crossing the circulation path from the laundry room, powder room, and garage studio/workshop.
  4. The wall next to the refrigerator further fragmented this section from the kitchen as a whole.

 Design is not just trying to make spaces beautiful that are Pinterest or Instgram-worthy. Design is about making them more solution-oriented, so life is life easier, and one of those ways is by eliminating problem areas in the built environment.

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Pineapple Porch

Space Planning | Designing the Floor Plan

In its last iteration, this space was a Palm Beach Tan chopped into about 25 small rooms for individual tanning beds. There were two ADA compliant restrooms in the back corner of the space and a small storage room running along the back wall, both we knew we wanted to keep.  In the case of the storage room, we would need to possibly expand it to accommodate larger items like furniture being temporarily stored. Everything else needed to be gutted.

Below is a copy the landlord gave us of the as-built plans from the tanning salon. This was the space we walked into. You can see the individual rooms where the tanning beds were, along with key spaces I’ve notated. The pictures below were taken prior to construction from the front of the store at the point of sale where you paid for your tan.  You can see from the plan and pictures, there were two hallways on either side of the point of sale running almost the length of the space that met at the back of the space and created a small back hallway.

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Southern Bali

Seminyak | Uluwatu

When people talk about visiting Bali, it’s usually the southern region. This area is dotted with luxurious, high-end hotels, restaurants and shops. This fast paced resort area is congested with traffic, many westerners and offers another view of life on the island than my previous posts.

Royal Seminyak

We stayed at the Royal Seminyak, which was walking distance to shops and restaurants, as well as, right on the beach. We stayed in their largest villa, and I was most blown away by the designs of each of the villa entrances. You can see below how they were inspired by the doors around Bali, and I love a design that gives a sense of place. Each had their own temple offering box built in outside of the door for daily offerings. If you’ve been to Bali, you know doors are a thing all over the island, from hand carved to hand painted. My greatest regret was not bringing a carved wood door back, but we had two plumbing leaks in our house we were dealing with at the time of our travel, so I wasn’t about to add anymore construction or renovating to the house. Most of all, I knew I’d return to Bali someday, so that will be for my next trip. The villa we stayed in had two houses, a black pool, hot tub, and an entire upstairs for outdoor entertaining. Our friends stayed in one house, and we stayed in the other one with the two stories. Basically, we could have lived in this house alone, it was that big. I practiced yoga and meditation upstairs overlooking the grounds, pool and ocean each morning.  As I mentioned in my previous post about Amed, these round, smooth, decorative stones are everywhere, and the Balinese get very creative with the shapes, patterns and layouts they make. Use of local materials and resources is one of the greatest things about observing design in other destinations. Aren’t these doors beautiful? And if only I could have bought these chairs and brought them back, too. Adding these to my list for next time, also.

 

Uluwatu Temple

One of the six key temples on the island, said to protect Bali from evil sea spirits, is Uluwatu. It is one of the most beautiful ascension temples on Bali perched high above the Indian Ocean at the southernmost point of the island. There are several sea temples on Bali, all of which are said to form a protective barrier around the coastal areas of Bali and are visible reference points around the island. When translated, Uluwatu means “something divine at the end of the land.” The walk through the trees inhabited by monkeys, up the stone steps with sweeping views, 200 ft above the Indian Ocean, and this divine temple at the end of the land will surely take your breath away. These ascension temples and their placement in the natural world have sacred meaning and one has plenty of time to contemplate the Gods on your walk to the top of the top.

Shopping

Seminyak is a blast for shopping and probably the only reason I would ever go back, because I prefer the quieter areas of the island. Store, after store, after store. It’s an easy walk, and most things you’ll find are made in Bali, from the very inexpensive to the finest local quality.

Bali is full of feathers, beads, tassels, straw, poms poms, shells, and an array of organic materials adorn everything.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of this shop, but kaftans and kimonos are also everywhere on Bali. Isn’t this store fun? I got a bracelet from here which you’ll see down below. I’ll take one in every color please (well, almost every color). 😉 Truth be told, I’m tired of business clothes and could live in kaftans and kimonos.

Frangipani

Loved this store. The dress I have on above was handmade in Bali and purchased at Frangipani. You’ll remember in a couple posts back, I wrote about this flower called the frangipani and how it is used for everything. They just haven’t figured out how to bottle that sweet smell.

Biasa

Effortless, bold cuts, classy, sophisticated, simplistic, modern resort wear. I love this store, their philosophy and artistic approach. Made in Bali with ever expanding stores around the globe, the Biasa label is growing fast.

Tassels

Well, you would have thought my tassel obsession would have been cured here, but it wasn’t. 😉 It only managed to increase the desire to put them on everything! We were almost overwhelmed with tassels. There was every possible color, size and style you could imagine. She even custom made a pair of earrings for me while we waited.

Shoes

Handmade shoes are just like everything else in Bali, very inexpensive. These were less than $40. The lady offered to custom make me a pair of shoes if I didn’t see anything I liked, and I could pick them up in a couple days. I did end up leaving with a pair of simple handmade sandals you’ll see below, and like Thailand, I had to buy another piece of luggage to bring all this stuff back. Next time a need a container… and a shop in the States to sell it all. 😉

Rock Bar

Located at the Ayana Resort, Rock Bar is carved out of the cliff overlooking the beach. Make plans to go if you’re anywhere near the area. You have to get here early and wait, but there are shops on property you can spend some time in. They don’t open the bar until a certain time, and seats go fast. It’s like the running of the bulls once they allow you in and once the sun goes down to get out. But, it’s worth it to get a drink, people watch, and wait for the sun to set. It’s like an event all on its own. Servers pass out umbrellas for guests, because the sun is blazing hot, so wear light colored clothes and bring sunscreen. You take a cable car down to the seating area for an experience and view that is priceless.

La Plancha

Probably most famous for the umbrellas and bean bags (and now almost all the beach restaurants have them), La Plancha is a Spanish inspired restaurant which literally translates to “the grill.”  Serving tapas, sangria, mojitos and fresh seafood sourced from the seafood market each morning, this spot is one of the best for watching the sunset on the beach.

I got this gorgeous maxi dress from Flory Day, and paired with this bracelet I got from the no-name store above (lol), and the handmade sandals I purchased in Seminyak, isn’t this the perfect Bali outfit?

Hope you enjoyed my final blog post in this four part series on Bali. I’d love to know what you think, where you’re going next, and if have places you love in Bali that I need to add to my list for next time. Thanks for reading.

Xo,

Cass

Bondi Icebergs

Swim|Drink|Dine

Topping the list of my must-do places in Sydney is Bondi Icebergs. Nestled on a cliff above, or maybe I should say almost in the Pacific Ocean (see pics below), this historic location overlooking Sydney’s most iconic beach, Bondi Beach, has the most spectacular, panoramic views and equally spectacular food. And did I mentioned the lap pool? It’s probably one of the most notable and photographed lap pools by the sea.

Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club

The club itself dates back to 1928 when a few local lifeguards were looking to stay in shape during the colder months. They formed an all male, Winter Swimming Club, which to this day, remains the only licensed Winter Swimming Club in the world.  This history states this:

They formed the Bondi Icebergs Winter Swimming Club, drew up a constitution and elected office bearers. Included in the constitution was a rule that to maintain membership it was mandatory that swimmers compete on three Sundays out of four for a period of five years. This rule, known as the “15B rule” still exists and has been the source of much commentary over the years.

It wasn’t until 1995 women were permitted, and I love this old picture of all the men taken from their website. There are more swim club shots here. There’s one image where the swimmers are holding blocks of ice (icebergs) in the pool, which makes me wonder if this is some sort of initiation for new members, or maybe how they open the winter swimming season.

Here are some images I took of the waves crashing in the pool. The restaurant and club are in the white building.

It reminds me of this unforgettable shot by Slim Aarons.

 

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Sydney. When asked why it was so well-known, most locals said they really had no idea why it was so popular, that there were other beaches they felt were even more beautiful not too far from Bondi. Maybe so, but it was gorgeous as you can see. It reminded me of parts of California, especially Laguna Beach area. Along the cliff, there is a path you can easily walk from the restaurant out to the point with rock formations, flowers, and residences. I was thinking Airbnb at this point.

Icebergs Bar and Restaurant

Dinner, drinks, this view, organic, seasonal, modern Italian fare and an incredibly knowledgeable staff made this a top-notch dining experience. The service at Icebergs is outstanding. The interiors are perfectly suited for a location near the sea, where the harsh environment easily damages finishes and people might come in with wet clothes from swimming. It’s contemporary, functional, yet elegant.  If you take a look at their site, they give credit to nearly everyone involved in the meal, including their sea salt maker. If that isn’t proud of your growers, I don’t know what it is. Our server mentioned they had opened a restaurant in Bali, too (as many Australians are doing), but we couldn’t get there. Next time it will be on the list. Conveniently, we were the last to leave the lunch seating, because we took so much time asking so many questions about the food, wine, design and everything else, I was able to get pics without anyone around.

Definitely one of my most memorable meals ever. Put it on your list, you won’t be disappointed.

Xo,

Cassandra