Goodtripper: Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh

Chandigarh, Punjab
03.25.2011 | by: Kelly

In the 1950s, after India gained independence from Britain, Le Corbusier was commissioned to design an entire city, from all the doorknobs in the High Court to the stools and desks at the College of Architecture. The capital of Punjab, Chandigarh is Le Corbusier’s masterpiece (his self-described “crowing work”) and for several years, its modernist buildings, furniture, monuments and fixtures have fallen into disrepair and become prey to the international art market. Hundreds of desks, chairs, fixtures and drawings have fetched thousands of dollars at auctions in Europe and the U.S.: $54,000 for a pair of chairs; $21,000 for a manhole cover; $36,000 for a concrete light fixture from the Chandigarh zoo.  On March 31, Chicago’s Wright auction house is set to sell several pieces by Pierre Jeanneret, Le Corbusier’s cousin and assistant in Chandigarh.  Chandigarh’s attempts to stall the auction have been unsuccessful. A recent Guardian article reported that Chandigarh’s first chief architect and former Le Corbusier assistant, Manmohan Nath Sharma, started an international movement to stop the pillage of the modernist city, and the Chandigarh administration is seeking World Heritage Site status from UNESCO. But in case its unsuccessful, you might want to check it out before bits and bobs end up in the fancy living rooms of rabid collectors.

[Photos, from top: High Court entrance via agingmodernism.com; High Court via architizer.com; Secretariat via dearchitectura.com; Open Hand via wikicommons; High Court detail via Scott Norsworthy]

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Stay: Old Montreal Loft

Montreal, Canada
03.23.2011 | by: Meghan

Nathalie Bouchard and creative director and stylist Annie Horth run my dream business in Montreal: rehabbing and decorating spaces they rent out. It’s called Creative Flats, and the properties—everything from black and white industrial lofts to a unit in Moshe Safdie’s amazing concrete-block prefab complex Habitat ‘67—are exquisite.

Spruced up with white lacquered floor and painted brick, this old loft in the historic Telegraph Building of Old Montreal was inspired by a trip they took to the Hamptons last summer “with its white country houses, antique shops and bright colors,” says Nathalie. “We wanted something warm and inviting, and we wanted to give it personality. Our key words were eclectic, cool, arty… and, of course, we’re always inspired by fashion.”

They furnish their apartments like they would furnish their own homes, picking up interesting accessories at antique shops and flea markets during their travels. And that photograph above the bed? It’s from a fashion shoot at Indochine restaurant in New York City by photographer Malina Corpadean (and Annie as the stylist) for the Toronto-based FASHION Magazine.

[Photos by Jean Longpré, courtesy of Maison & Demeure via Creative Flats]

Check In: Hacienda San Angel

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
03.21.2011 | by: Meghan

When Kim from Desire to Inspire went to Puerto Vallarta a couple weeks ago, she stayed at the Hacienda San Angel–a collection of five hilltop villas (with 14 suites) that she called “the most beautiful hotel I have ever seen.” Puerto Vallarta is a touristy resort town, sure, but strictly pertaining to what’s inside this elaborately decorated hotel–Mexican tiled restaurant, fountain-filled courtyards and statue-surrounded pool–you probably won’t want to leave anyway. The place is dripping with some pretty serious old world antiques: hand-carved wooden beds, tables and high-backed chairs from the 19th century; ornate chandeliers, candlesticks, candleabras, wall sconces; and Mexican paintings (of the Immaculate Virgin variety) in every room. And Hollywood history trivia bonus:  Apparently, one of the villas was once owned by actor Richard Burton, who bought it as a Valentine’s Day gift for one of his wives (not Elizabeth Taylor).

[All photos by Kim from Desire to Inspire]

Check In: Hotel Union Øye

Hjørundfjord, Norway
03.18.2011 | by: Meghan

Built in the Norangdal valley of the Sunmmøre Alps in the 19th century, the Hotel Union Øye was the place to go for nearby royalty, attracting famous names like Queen Willemina of the Netherlands, Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany and Conan Doyle (all 27 rooms are named after one of its historically significant guests). In 1989, the gabled-roof, Swiss chalet-style hotel (popular in Norway) was restored with one goal in mind: to bring back the original, over-the-top splendor of the interiors. Same wood paneled staircase; tufted leather booths in the saloon; four-poster beds with crest-emblazoned headboards swathed in velvet and tassels; heavy velvet drapes folded across every available surface; gilded everything. It’s like a living World of Interiors spread. And nestled in what has been called the most beautiful valley in Norway, the Union Øye is surrounded by fjords, rivers, lakes and snow-capped mountains.

Check In: Ballyvolane

Castlelyons, Nr Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland
03.16.2011 | by: Meghan

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I thought I’d show off this super charming Irish country manor that Yolanda Edwards (one of the two former-Cookie editors behind the new site Momfilter) visited by way of a three-hour, totally-worth-it detour during a trip to Dublin.

Here’s what she had to say:

At the end of a hedge-lined road, beyond pastures of grazing cows and fly-fishing-ready ponds, we came to the Georgian mansion. We were greeted by the owners, Justin and Jenny Green, a chic thirtysomething couple who live at Ballyvolane with their three kids. Jenny immediately read our minds and asked if we would like to have supper there—a huge relief, as we hadn’t made plans and dreaded the idea of strapping Clara back into the car to find a restaurant. We passed through a sitting room, where a fat 20-year-old cat named Archie lounged on a tufted couch, and then we climbed the mahogany stairs to the bedrooms. With a view of astonishingly green fields, our room had crisp bedding, a claw-foot tub, just the right amount of heavy antiques for the setting, and none of the more cloying B&B frills (stinky potpourri, cross-stitched anything).

During our stay, Jenny and Justin directed us to all the sights they visit with their own kids, sending us off with a picnic lunch or the address of their favorite pub. Ballyvolane is within close driving distance of several castles, medieval towns, and the beach (the area is also a destination for foodies, thanks to its seafood and small farms). On many days, though, we just stayed put. We borrowed wellies and raincoats to explore the grounds, hoping to spot a fox. In the afternoons, my husband fished and I read on the couch while Clara sprinted across the endless lawn with the Green kids and their dogs.

The honest country fare is made with local and organic ingredients, many from Ballyvolane’s garden. Meals are eaten communally at a big table, creating a real family-party vibe. In the morning, you can opt for muesli and yogurt or a full Irish breakfast (you can even fetch your own eggs). Arrange for picnic hampers or seated lunches the night before. Kids can have an early supper at 5:30 p.m. or eat later with their parents.

It’s a major relief to stay with a family with three kids: They have almost anything you forget to bring—raincoats, toys, etc. You also have full run of the grounds, including the gardens which have gone basically unchanged since the 18th century.

Stay: Itopia

Runaway Bay, Jamaica
03.14.2011 | by: Meghan

Maybe you were idly flipping through the new spring Anthropologie catalog–a dreamy visual ode to old world Jamaica–and couldn’t stop admiring the stunner of a house in the background, all bohemian antique charm, crumbling plaster, and palm fronds peeking through swung-open shutters. After a little digging, maybe you were able to cross-reference interior clues and piece together the shoot location, because you are kind of obsessive that way. Jackpot! Itopia is a three-bedroom stone country house built in the 1600s that the owner, set designer Sally Henzell (the woman who started Jake’s and whose family runs the hotel group Island Outpost), recently began renting out to travelers. Prices start at about $1,700 a week. Thanks to the photographer Jessica Antola for many of these beautiful interior photos.

[Photos from the top: Anthropologie Spring 2011 catalogue; exterior courtesy of Island Outpost; group of interiors by Jessica Antola; bedroom courtesy of Island Outpost; front yard and living room photos by Jessica Antola; bottom image courtesy of Island Outpost.]

Round-up: Celestial Lighting

03.11.2011 | by: Kelly

[Photos, from top: skylights at Nobis Hotel, photo via travelinggreener.com; cloud lights at Maison Moschino, photo via Maison Moschino; lightbulb installation, Grammercy Park Hotel, photo via notcot.org]

Stay: Parkamoor

Nibthwaite, Cumbria, UK
03.09.2011 | by: Meghan

By now, it’s probably no secret: I have a thing for old houses. I have relationships with them, I build entire trips around them, I study their crevices and crown moldings and broken floor tiles, making up stories about the people who spent lifetimes living and dreaming in the rooms. And when I find one like this 16th-century farmhouse, which is totally isolated, accessible only by foot (or a rambling old pick-up truck that will pick you up in a nearby town), I’m so happy I have people to share it with. Go forth!

The contemporary arts organization Grizedale Arts collaborated with the National Trust to fix up, furnish and decorate the space (but not too much), turning the historical stone house into the most amazingly simple and pared-down retreat–for artists and writers, yes, but also anyone else who appreciates scaling back, and you know, channeling their inner Laura Ingalls Wilder (is that just me?). Inside, there’s a library with a wood-burning stove, kitchen with wood-burning oven, well-worn, spartan furniture and a collection of paraffin lamps. Outside, rolling hills, forrest and a compostable outhouse. This means no electricity, running water or phone reception–a boon for those who agree that the ultimate luxury these days is peace, solitude and a dreamy old house on a big swath of pretty land.

The Details:
$650 a week. Sleeps six people in three bedrooms. Rent it at Welcome Beyond. All within walking distance: birdwatching, fishing and pub- and shop-filled old villages. Also, Lawson Park–historic Cumbrian hill farm and now the Grizedale Arts headquarters–is a 40 minute walk through the forest. You can visit the historic house and collections, farm gardens and wildflower meadow.

Tour: The Sonneveld House

Rotterdam, The Netherlands
03.07.2011 | by: Meghan

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is visit local house museums–usually the older and more decorous, the better. But when we were in Rotterdam a couple years ago, the Sonneveld House totally captivated me. One of the country’s star examples of Nieuwe Bouwen, or the Dutch version of the International School of Modernism/pre-war Dutch functionalism, the house was designed in 1933 by Brinkman en van dern Vlugt for the Sonneveld family (who sold all their furniture and started from scratch when they moved in). Even in the midst of a hyper-modern moment, you can still see hints of quirky Dutch design, shots of widely varying colors (kelly green office, turquoise bathroom) and fabrics, alongside super-innovative household gadgetry for that time (like ten heads in the shower and an electric bell built into the dining table).

Shop: Post 27

Chicago, Illinois
03.04.2011 | by: Meghan

I’m in Chicago right now for some magazine work, and I stopped into one of my favorite design shops to say hi to owner Angela Finney. As always, the space–part shop, part gallery, part incubator–looked amazing. If you’re traveling to Chicago, this is the very best place to get a feel for the local design scene. Angela, who used to design furniture and lighting for Holly Hunt before striking out on her own, has an unmatched eye for really special vintage pieces. She brings in furniture and accessories (an upholstered asterisk by Roscoe Jackson, amazing wood-planed light sculpture by local woodworker Steven Teichelman and ceramics by one of my favorites, Up in the Air Somewhere), creates/builds in-store installations and  collaborates on special projects of her own design, all while hosting pretty regular art shows and acting as the unofficial mayor of the West Grand Avenue design corridor she helped pioneer. Every time I’m there, it looks completely different–and somehow, even better than the time before.

Stay: West Virginia

Berkeley Springs and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
03.02.2011 | by: Kelly

Almost anyone can find inspiration in weird and wonderful West Virginia, where charming historic towns and rambling tin-roofed cabins co-exist amid the misty mountains and rolling farmland. We took a last minute road trip to the eastern panhandle last weekend and stayed in Berkeley Springs with day trips to Harpers Ferry and Shepardstown. We knew we wanted mountain views and an 1800s cabin in the woods with heirloom quilts, cast iron skillets, wood burning stove and brown family photos from decades past. We found the perfect folksy, antique log house but it was already booked, so we opted for a more modern place right near a creek. Surrounded by giant trees, the quaint, red cottage was equipped with all the essentials for a winter weekend in the woods: Le Creuset cookware, stacks of New Yorker and Country Living magazines, down comforters, fireplace, patio with chimenea and s’mores supplies, and picture windows with long views of the oak and birch trees.

The colonial look is so right-now that I wonder if design hipsters are taking secret trips to Harpers Ferry for inspiration cheat sheets. Rows of perfectly preserved brick and stone homes and buildings line the steep streets winding up the hill. Mountains, vast sky and the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers converge for what Thomas Jefferson called “one of the most stupendous scenes of nature.”  An old bakery, residence, shoe store and factory have been turned into museums where you can see the peeling paint, elaborate hand-painted wallpaper, rows of top hats and stacks of fabric, doilies under pie plates and quilt-covered beds.

The Details:
Choose from two antique cabins starting at $325 a weekend for six guests from Mountain Morning Rental. Or Sweet Dreaming cottage, which starts at $150 a night and also sleeps up to six.

Meet: Jason Miller/Casa Dracula

03.01.2011 | by: Meghan

When Brooklyn-based furniture and lighting designer Jason Milller told us the name of the most interesting place he’s ever stayed–Casa Dracula–we had to check it out. Turns out, this eccentric, old house in Todos Santos is not only pretty amazing to look at, it also comes with a good story. Built in 1852 by Don Antonio Domingues, Todos Santos’ first sugar baron, Casa Dracula gets its name from the arched Gothic windows along the brick facade (not an actual vampire). Although, according to local legend (ala the rental agency’s website), there is said to be treasure buried somewhere within the walls. Rent it at vrbo.com. Here, the rest of Jason’s interview about the importance of travel:

Most meaningful or inspiring travel experience? Spending a week in the Aeolian Islands in 2009. My girlfriend and I found out that we were going to become parents during the trip (no thanks to a faulty Aeolian-Island pregnancy test).

How does travel influence your work? I think it is very important to have perspective on one’s own culture. Travel provides great perspective. There is something thrilling when you show up in a new place and you don’t know how to buy a subway ride, get on a bus or order lunch. We take these simple things for granted at home, only because we have learned the the way to navigate our own small world.

What do you look for in a trip? Since I spend most of my time in New York, I more often than not, look for a bit of nature when I travel.

Most interesting place you’ve ever stayed? Casa Dracula, Todo Santos, Mexico. It was purchased by my girlfriend’s father and 3 friends in the early eighties. It is a former sugar storage facility in a small surf town north of Cabo San Lucas. My girlfriend and her family have been spending holidays there for 20-plus years.

Do you have a specific piece that was in some way inspired by travel? The Modo lamps were inspired by some vintage pieces I came across in California.

Most treasured travel purchase? A glass vase that i bought in a thrift store in Istanbul. It’s very odd.

Check In: Le Lodge Park

Megève, France
02.26.2011 | by: Kelly

Wow (wow). This decadent ski lodge takes the already ironic concept of rustic-fancy up a few notches. But you know what? When it comes to decorating, tartan and taxidermy work best in overload mode–and in concert. And Le Lodge Park, name included, is amazingly over-the-top. Little, three-legged stools upholstered in mismatched plaid; a cut log mosaic ceiling; an oversized stone fireplace painted black (along with the deer head hanging above it); rough-hewn log cabin walls; antler chandeliers; tree branch-bended chairs; sheepskin covered chairs in the outdoor bar; and lots of animal prints (of animals that aren’t in the French Alps). All of that with a little bit of Ghost Lamp and Barcelona Chair thrown in for good measure. Book it at Tablet.

[Photos via Tablet, Apartment Therapy]

Stay: Casa Ninamu at TeiTiare

Sayulita, Mexico
02.24.2011 | by: Meghan

While I was in Sayulita, the property manager at the house where I was staying, Nick, introduced me to the talented Vogue and Travel + Leisure photographer Anne Menke. I had the chance to hang out with Anne and her incredibly nice and welcoming husband Johann, who insisted on picking me up in town, then proceeded to give me a top-to-bottom, Pacifico-in-hand tour of their breathtaking spread on the beach. As an interiors editor/writer I get to see some pretty remarkable homes, but this place has an unusual magical quality–a thatched-roof ode to Mexican Pacific architecture at the edge of the lush tropical jungle with majestic ocean views from almost everywhere. And with details like a swing in the bedroom, a bed hanging from ropes, the theater, an infinity pool at the edge of their open-air living room and pillows made of beautiful Mexican textiles tossed in every direction, it’s every bit a playful, comfortable family home as it is architectural stunner.

It’s no wonder they moved their family from New York City a couple years ago, making TeiTiare their full-time address (they also helped start the first green school in Mexico, the The Costa Verde International School, where their three boys attend). Before building the new dream home, Casa O’Te Miti, they lived in a more modest (but still gorgeous)  casita down the beach called Casa Ninamu. Painted cobalt blue, the original stucco house has two bedrooms, a surfboard hanging over the dining room table and a rooftop terrace. And now that they’re not living there, it’s regularly filled with guests–some they know, others they don’t. While I was there, Anne and Johann invited the current vacation renters over for a cocktail and were organizing a pizza dinner down on the beach for them. Even though she can see it from her current house or walk over anytime, Anne still gets a  little nostalgic talking about it. “I  miss it,” she says. “Sometimes I just want to go over and sleep there. We have so many family memories there.” I think that’s what makes it feel so special: They’re both emotionally invested in making sure everyone who stays there has the kind of meaningful experience that made them fall so in love with this place.

The Details
Casa Ninamu starts at $400 a night. They’re happy to accommodate weddings–which they have done, rather successfully. And in certain situations, they’re often willing to rent rooms from the tower of additional guest rooms a wooden bridge away from their own home.