Loading...

Paris // 2003



I love Paris. I don't think I could ever tire of walking the beautiful streets, and ingesting all that there is to see and do. So much influence on the history of architecture and interior design has come straight from this city.


Beautiful architecture is everywhere you look in Paris. The ornamentation is so abundant that in some cases it literally hangs off the sides of buildings.


What is so inspiring to me about the interior design of Paris? It's to see how Modern and Contemporary Design has infiltrated the interior architecture of the historic buildings. What does a Parisian do when they want contemporary design, but their 18th century apartment is full of ornate molding that is just too beautiful to strip? The solution is one of my favorites- a fabulous juxtaposition of periods and styles.


The ornamented walls, ceilings, and parquet floors become a backdrop to modern, sometimes minimal furnishings. The wall-moldings might be painted the same color as the wall to appear more subtle, and textural. Modern furnishings and limited accessories put the emphasis on the architecture. This sort of restraint in decoration suggests a “discriminating” style- that pieces were chosen carefully and deliberately, and each piece, even accessory, is necessary to the overall design.


Tip:

I love many styles, and to be discriminating doesn’t mean you have to be minimal at the same time. The look of abundance is also fabulous- but not abundantly accessorized with horrible little nick-nacks.

Mexico City // 2008





Urban, sophisticated, and stylish, the Mexican federal district does not disappoint the aesthetically obsessed. This metropolis is full of flavor, with architecture and interior design at the top of their “to do” list. Unlike their North American neighbors, the professions of doctor and lawyer take a back seat to the most prestigious career of the architect. This becomes obvious very quickly.

I stayed at the W. I am always amazed by W hotels, and stay at them often. Each one is distinct and dramatic, done by different world-renowned interior designers. This one- Studio Gaia. The lobby bar ( THE place to see-and-be-seen ) hovers over a koi pond, and has sofas suspended from the ceiling- so cool. The rooms are striking and creative- colored in charcoal, white and red, and a hammock in the shower.

The surrounding Polanco is one of many fabulous neighborhoods, with a mix of gorgeous old mansions, contemporary condos, and trendy restaurants. The architecture of the older homes isn’t far removed from the Old World style that is so abundant in Phoenix & Scottsdale. There are a few differences that I found very fresh and inspirational- on the exteriors- light tans, with an abundance of dark cantera stone ornamentation. The cantera surrounds doors and windows, and is very ornate. The contrast is striking. The amazing wrought-iron gates and front doors give way to interiors that are more reserved with their ornamentation, but amazingly stylish and sophisticated. The interior space can be much more contemporary than the traditional exterior. I love a good surprise! You are inundated with a sense of space- soaring ceilings, arches, and grand staircases. Timeless travertine is underfoot. These are spaces that beg for something unexpected- a giant black crystal chandelier, a Le Corbusier chaise, an Egon Schiele painting…

Everything that is anything in this city is eye-candy- And speaking of food, you can’t get enough of it, and the interior design of the restaurants is out of control! Check out the d├ęcor of my favorite hotspots… and if you visit- check out the food!

Nemi http://www.michaelmina.net/nemi/

Ivoire

Pampano http://www.modernmexican.com/pampanodf/index.htm

Hip Kitchen (The owner is from Scottsdale and is SO cool.)

Buenos Aires // 2007














It’s called the Paris of the South for a reason… The Europeans really went all out when they descended upon the City of Good Air. There is an absolute abundance of beautiful, diverse architecture, art, interiors, and people. On any given tree-lined street you might see an Art Deco high rise, several beautiful Belle-Epoque buildings, modern offices, contemporary condos, art nouveau, baroque, Islamic, etc, etc, etc… and a woman in high-heeled shoes walking a poodle.


Two things I learned a lot from this trip:

My new favorite wine is Malbec.

After eating Argentinean beef, no steak will ever taste as good.


I stayed at the Faena Hotel. www.faenahotelanduniverse.com , designed by Philippe Starck, who is hands-down the most influential and important designer of our time.


This hotel made a major impact on me as an interior designer from the moment I walked in the front door, and I want to share it with you. It is overwhelming and perfect. Described by magazines and celebrities as the sexiest hotel in the world, it is the perfect eclectic mix of modern, luxurious materials, with unexpected touches.


The lobby is dark, rich, and dramatic with soaring ceilings, abundant velvet drapery, and brick walls. To the right, the library lounge with rich wood paneling, fireplaces, tufted leather sofas, and touches of gold with gilt-wood French armchairs finishing intimate seating areas.


Next door to the library lounge is The Bistro, perhaps the most unexpected interior design on earth- Think all white, with touches of gold and red, gigantic crystal chandeliers, and white unicorns watching you dine. You need to see it to believe it…


The rooms are fabulous too, totally eclectic with white and gold empire furniture, red cut-to-clear crystal, glass walls, and red velvet. This hotel (and universe, as they like to call it) was a huge inspiration to me as an interior designer. It is great design that possesses not only extreme beauty, but also comfort. I believe that comfort never needs to be sacrificed for the sake of beauty. We can have both.


The last thing I’ll say about Buenos Aires is TANGO! Catch a show. It’s so cool!