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See: Woodboost

Tielrode, Belgium
09.19.2011 | by: Meghan


Sophie Lachaert, who owns a beautiful, design-oriented gallery/b&b in Belgium, sent over these images of the latest exhibit, Woodboost. Curator Tania Bruycker brings together the work of six different designers who use wood as the material–or inspiration–for their designs. The collective results are pretty stunning, and I am hugely inspired by the exhibit-driven b&b and how it creates such a meaningful, interesting travel experience for visitors.

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Wandawega Kitchen Collections

Elkhorn, Wisconsin
09.14.2011 | by: Meghan


I think I’ve gushed sufficiently about Camp Wandawega that you ought know what it is by now: a sprawling, super creative camp in Wisconsin with a rustic lodge, old hotel (once used for the sake of the country’s oldest female occupation), boy scout tent, outdoor chapel (the place was also previously a Latvian summer camp), modern treehouse built by some of Chicago’s most creative woodworkers, and a few highly adorable cottages along the sparkling lake. If you can’t get enough of the fantastic, flea market-sourced interiors, owner Tereasa Surratt’s brand-new book Found Free & Flea is filled with many of her endless collections from around the property–fishing lures found on the grounds, vintage life vests, antique sporting equipment, old metal lanterns, and my favorite (pictured), beautiful, old cooking and baking tools.

Getting Around: Kenyan Bike Taxis

08.26.2011 | by: Meghan

These amazing, hyper-decorated bike taxis from Kenya are so, so inspiring.

[Photos: By James Mollison for Colors Magazine via Skip Town via t magazine]

Aging, Empty Beauties: The Garfield Inn

Port Austin, Michigan
08.19.2011 | by: Meghan



I rode my bicycle by this stately mansion last weekend, during a quick trip to Port Austin to stay with friends, and I nearly flipped over the handlebars. It’s for sale. To say I have an affinity for old b&bs, abandoned resorts and hotels of the withering glamour variety is a bit of an understatement. I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out how to buy these sad, aging beauties and restore to original–or slightly updated-original–splendor. I make my husband drive hours and hours out of our way to look at hulking old mansions and desolate resorts that look haunted.

Built in the 1850s, updated in the gorgeous Second Empire style, this grand manse is on the historic register–obviously, given it’s history, starring James Garfield as a frequent guest of the original owners, Charles and Maria Learned. And to make it juicier, it’s rumored that Garfield fell in love with his friend’s wife, and though there’s no proof, many say he requested to be transported to the house after being wounded by an assassin’s bullet. I was gushing about it to our friends, who, turns out, got married there. They had a huge tent on the sprawling grassy grounds, danced until dawn and then slept in that room at the tippy-top of the central, square tower.


Another Look: Wandawega

Elkhorn, Wisconsin
08.15.2011 | by: Meghan

Sometimes returning to an old favorite is just as exciting as discovering a new spot. At Wandawega, David and Tereasa are perpetually making changes*–from a brand-new boardwalk along the lake to incorporating their latest hauls from the local flea markets. Here, right in line with her new book Found, Flea and Free, a look at Tereasa’s latest and greatest collections displayed around the property.

*In case you missed the post about their new treehouse–the most dramatic and awe-inspiring update of the summer–you should probably check it out.

 

 

Stay: Sky Meadow

Livingston Manor, New York
07.15.2011 | by: Meghan


Another country gem in upstate New York: This Catskills barn house is a second home on the owner’s beautiful, sprawling 71-acre property in the tiny hamlet of Willowemoc. The interior is simple country living–wood-clad walls, quilts on beds, fiestaware in the curio–but with all this wooded, rolling land at your disposal and a heated saline pool at your doorstep, what the inside looks like feels pretty secondary. $1,500 a week (nights also available). Rent it at redcottageinc.com.

Visit: The Netherlands

07.06.2011 | by: Meghan


A couple years ago, I was in the Netherlands on assignment for a story about Dutch design. I’ve written here about the Lute Suites and The Lloyd, but really, design is everywhere you look in this country. I’m a gigantic fan of the clever-meets-kooky Dutch design aesthetic, and it was the trip of a lifetime. I got the chance to tour Marcel Wanderss Westerhuis cultural center and studio; meet Marjise Vogelzang at her Rotterdam cafe; visit Maarten Baas’ studio where they were building some fantastic wooden ship and burning furniture; and saw pieces like the Droog bench (at the Droog store) and a one-off porcelain series by Hella Jongerius (at the Frozen Fountain) in person. If you get the chance, GO. Even if you’re not a design junkie, it’s impossible not to be inspired by all that playful creativity, charm and out-there innuendo. And, of course, the gorgeous canals and flower markets! Most of the hotels offer complimentary bikes and almost every restaurant has an outdoor eating area, making it a perfect spot to spend a week in the summer.

Check In: The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell

Round Top, Texas
06.24.2011 | by: Meghan

Rachel Ashwell, otherwise known as the High Priestess of the rustic, super-feminine, petal-pushing brand Shabby Chic, opens a collection of six cottages in Texas called The Prairie. The interiors, of course, are kitted out in her signature aesthetic–chintz, pink striped walls, slip-covered sofas, dainty chandeliers, raw wood. Whether you’re a devotee or not, it’s always fascinating when someone takes that leap. Here, Rachel talks about fulfilling a lifelong dream and her design vision: Marie Antoinette goes to Texas.

Tell us about why you decided to open the Prairie.
Decorating a hotel has been a lifelong dream of mine. My lifestyle places me in hotels of all kinds around the world. The formula I’m always looking for is hard to find: luxury, comfort and the local culture.

Why Texas?
I think I may have been Texan in my previous life. The architecture of  flakey barns, the  sappy country music, the wide open spaces…

What appealed to you about this former ranch?
I had frequented it for eight years, and I knew its treasures and potentials. It’s the perfect size (the perfect number of bedrooms) for me to demonstrate the diversity of my aesthetic and to create a creative and nurturing destination.

Now the fun part: Let’s talk about the décor.
I wanted to find a balance of embracing the Texan aesthetic and Rachel Ashwell shabby chic couture. Comfort and authenticity were my two priorities. We partnered with Farrow and Ball paint and wallpaper for the Meadow Manor. I also sourced some beautiful vintage wallpaper, which we used sparingly in Meadow Manor and the Rangers Lounge.

We updated the bathrooms, refreshed all rooms with fresh paints. We embraced all the original patinas and raw woods (some of which were a darker palate for me). The furnishings, furniture and bedding were a combination of our signature oversized, slip-covered sofas and vintage.

We embraced some classic Texas decorative like an antler chandelier (to which we added some couture lampshades), metal lantern light fittings, corrugated metal walls and ceilings, claw foot tubs.

My overall vision was Marie Antoinette goes to Texas. This gave me the license to combine typical primitive Texas wood with fancy gold carved chairs and sumptuous velvets with poplin florals.

Favorite design elements:
I inherited a few taxidermy items with the property, some deer, moose and elk heads.  While I would never have purchased these, I decided to honor them and gave them floppy vintage floral hats. They have taken on personalities of their own.

We also added the Union Jack flag to our flagpole, that had originally the US and Texan flag. This is a powerful and profound vision for us as we drive down our long gravel driveway.

What do you want guests to experience?
The Prairie has a spiritual creative quality. It inspires writing, daydreaming, conversation. It’s a visual poem.

Check In: The Greenbrier

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
06.22.2011 | by: Meghan

Tales of the aesthetic variety from the wallpapered headquarters of Dorothy Draper’s wildest adventure: designtripper correspondent D. Graham Kostic delivers a special report from the legendary Greenbrier Resort, which he visits every summer with his family.

The journey is half the fun when you travel, and there is nothing quite as beautiful as the hike from the Roanoke Virginia airport to White Sulphur Springs. You wind through two national forests, down roads that double back on each other, lots and lots of lawn ornaments and then, finally, you’re on a bit of a highway that is a straight shot to The Greenbrier Resort. It’s right over the border in West Virginia, and a big sign welcomes you to the state: “Welcome to West Virginia, Wild and Wonderful!” And the Greenbrier, which proudly calls itself America’s Resort, is a magical place, indeed. Each stately room is decked out in quintessential Dorothy Draper style: bold floral prints with black and white checkered floors; neon stripes and gaudy chandeliers that you’d turn your nose at anywhere else. The rooms are like little dollhouse rooms with different wallpaper and matching curtains and rugs (one year, i stayed in one with colorful French tulips; another year it was pink peonies; Chinese pottery with flowers). Staring down the main corridor is ballroom after ballroom, all working together in an odd way–a raucous, elevated mash-up of colors, shapes and patterns.

Word of warning: You may want to run home and wallpaper every wall in your house and dig out the loud, heavy curtains your grandma used to have in her sitting room. There is afternoon tea (which I sometimes think is overrated and cliche, but here, it just works) and you have to wear a jacket to dinner. The place is pulsing with life and as you walk down long hallways, the floral wallpaper seems to creep along with you.

Just recently, they renovated the hotel to include a brand new casino and a few extra shops. The design is seamless from old to new. And a new addition is this vibrant, tropical green leafed Carleton Varney-designed wallpaper that encompasses the entire new passage to the casino. It’s insanely over-the-top and every color under the rainbow is represented in the furniture. A giant clam shell shaped fountain is the focal point! But my favorite place is perhaps a long, winding back porch outfitted with rocking chairs that makes for a perfect retreat for a mint julep (which was supposedly invented here!).

Related note: My good friend Meredith, who designs the accessories line Meredith Wendell, grew up very close to the resort. She shoots all of her lookbooks (see here and here) on the property and they really speak to the boldness and design of the place.

Round-up: Pools!

06.17.2011 | by: Kelly

Our favorite pools for the summer. Not a bad way to while away a week, right?

[Photos from top: Castello di Vicarello; Placate de Cazulas; Podere Palazzo]

Do: Ace Camps

Sweden, Canada and more!
06.15.2011 | by: Meghan

I love the idea of using travel to inspire creativity–and taking some time away from regular life to really dive into a creative project. This year, Angela Ritchie’s Ace Camps (not related to Ace Hotels) span an inspired range of destination-based workshops led by creative folks like Pia Jane Bijkerk and Camilla Engman. Australia-based Pia is heading to Vancouver with her camera to do what she does best–“enhancing the everyday; finding beauty in the ordinary; learning to see your surroundings in a new light and being uplifted by the simple things in life”–and Camilla’s bringing the workshop to her studio in Goteborg, Sweden to sketch and paint (and the hotel in Sweden, Hotel Flora, is super adorable). Check out all the Ace Camp summer workshops.

[Photos, from top: Photos of Vancouver by Pia Jane Bijkerk; Pia Jane Bijkerk’s book covers; photos from Studio Violet; bottom two photos from Hotel Flora]

Stay: The White House

Daylesford, Australia
06.01.2011 | by: Meghan

A Melbourne-based interior decorator and owner of the cult-fave antique shop Empire Village, Lyn Gardener transformed this 1850s brick miners cottage into a dreamy, detail-attuned retreat in Daylesford. A consummate, natural stylist, she mixes vintage and rustic with quirky industrial pieces, and knows when to add a pop–like that handmade wallpaper by Deborah Bowness. French doors open to magical gardens, classic claw foot soaking tubs are for relaxing, and the thoughtful little details, like handmade ticking linen and kitchen cupboards stocked with local goodies, are endless.

Doing some research on the place, I stumbled across a post about the house on Pia Jane Bijkerk’s blog. Turns out, they’re pals (always a good sign). Here’s what Pia has to say about house’s location a short stroll from the center of town: “For those of you who don’t know this area, basically this means it’s in the center of heaven.”

The Details
Prices start around $400 a night for a couple, but there’s a breakdown of nights, rooms and number of people that helps cut the cost. No kids! Rent it at http://empirevintage.com.au/thewhitehousedaylesford

Lens Crafter: Tereasa Surratt

05.27.2011 | by: Meghan

I love to see what people find interesting when they travel–the details they choose to capture: a memory, a well-designed interior, the way the light shines down a busy street at dawn. Here, Tereasa Surratt, owner/decorator of Camp Wandawega (including recently featured treehouse) and design book author (A Very Modest Cottage and about-to-be-released Found, Free & Flea), shares some favorites: a bar in Amsterdam (“I would cut off at least one digit to be back there right now.”); a museum in Brugges last year; and a quick snap of a recent trip to NY.

Round-Up: Hotel Chapels

05.20.2011 | by: Kelly

In honor of the approaching wedding season, three beautiful chapels at hotels.

[Photos from top:  Maison Couturier chapel via Maison Couturier; Ice Hotel Sweden chapel via Wexas.com; Hacienda San Jose chapel via luxuriousmexico.com]