Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall High Point Market Report (Part II)

The second trend I have to report is neutrals, neutrals, neutrals. Think - Restoration Hardware:

Weathered and washed oak filled the showrooms, a lacklustre sea of gray. Upholstery followed suit: yards and yards of patternless gray, brown, and beige.

I know this is the current standard for design, but it's not my style.

Now if I could take some of the same looks and add some splashes of happy Key West colors to lift my spirit and sooth my soul... That would work for me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall High Point Market Report (Part I)

For this season's market report, I noticed two stand-out trends. The first of which was PURPLE.

From the moment we received our badges we knew it was going to be a purple market.

This bed set-up was a remarkable array of purple saturation.

A couple of chairs from the Lee showroom in softer shades of purple and magenta were pleasing to my eye.

Lots of showroom folks were going along with the theme in their wardrobes. Here are a few particularly well-dressed reps.

There were lamps in all shades of purple, from lavender to fuchsia and magenta.

We saw many purple glass accessories like these vases.

And for a grand finale, a huge purple chandelier!

Next up: Market Report on Beige!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Great Hotel and Great News!

Over the past year, Terry and I have had to make regular trips to Miami for medical tests (specifically MRI brain scans to keep track of tumors in my brain, and if necessary, remove one with Gamma Knife surgery). At first, these trips were fraught with anxiety - we were nervous about the procedure, we didn't know our way around the highways of Miami and the streets of Coral Gables where Doctors' Hospital is located. We got lost a lot and that increased the anxiety, the hotel was mediocre, we couldn't find a restaurant we both liked. It was never a pleasant experience.

And then...we discovered The Hotel San Michel, a wonderful little 1920's flatiron building tucked among skyscraper office buildings.

It's very European and old fashioned as you can see in the pictures below. Stucco walls and barrel ceilings outlined in the original Spanish tile of the period.

Lovely old carved entry doors. all original lighting fixtures, and a tiny elevator that must have been installed when Mr. Otis was alive.

The attendant carries your bag and closes the bronze gate. The bronze door closes and up you go as she pulls the lever (no push-buttons here).

The room keys are big brass keys on big brass rings. You feel like you are on a movie set for a period film! All of the furniture in the hotel is antique.Contemporary flat-screen TVs are placed on antique sewing machine tables. Armoires instead of closets. Only the bathrooms are modern. The rooms are tiny but charming with pretty quilts and pillow shams, and air conditioners. And the price of all this atmosphere is the same a the chain hotel we were staying in!

The way we found this little gem is a funny story. We pulled up to our usual hotel to find the lobby teeming with squealing teenage girls jumping up and down. There was a cheerleading competition going on and no rooms were available (thank goodness). The very helpful desk clerk suggested the San Michel. He said, "Take a look. It's nearby and they have a room available. It's not for everyone but I think you may like it".

Well, of course, we loved it and were thrilled to discover the fabulous restaurant, Gaetano's right off the lobby.

Now our trips to Miami have become romantic getaways, something to look forward to instead of dread. Lemonade out of lemons.

The good news is that this trip's test showed a brain 100% cancer free! A real reason to celebrate...maybe with a little weekend at the San Michel?

All good wishes,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Welcome To My Bloomin' World

Ever see these flowers?...

They're called Brugmansia. Also known as "Angel Trumpets", Brugmansia has an infamous side (or side effect). It's poisonous if ingested. So we just like to look at them.

Elsewhere in the garden...

That's a miniature Ixora hedge that lines the walk to our loggia.

Do you know what kind of flower this is?...

It's actually a Hibiscus called Schizopetalus.It originally hails from East Africa. But seems to enjoy its life in Key West.

The next two photos show orchids with a touch of water from our fountain in the backgrounds.

And finally, we have two bougainvilleas next to the pool.

Aaah... just another average day in paradise.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our Style According to Those in the Know...

Since we respect Elle Decor and since they named 25 designers as the best in the industry for 2010, we read all the room descriptions very carefully to see how we, as designers and as a shop measure up. Here's a list of our favorite descriptive phrases and how they relate (or not) to Style Key West:

1. "...posh-trad..."
Not so much. We're grounded in traditional but far too simple to be posh.

2. "...Francophile flash..."
Don't think so. We're more whimsical than flashy.

3. "...tawny masculinity..."
Um...sounds very sexy, but, no, not us.

4. "...suave and swank..."
Very Vegas--definitely too slick for us.

5. "...70's funk, 40's Hollywood..."
Nope and nope.

6. "...a cheeky spin on tradition inspired by the saucy elan of American design of the 1930's..."
This really sounds like fun, but I'm afraid it doesn't describe us.

7. "...fanciful wild-child interiors..."
No. We're known for colorful but serene.

8. "...quiet style with legs..."
Maybe--but what does it mean?

9. " glam..."
Don't think so.

10. "...masculine rigor..."

11. "...headspinning, high-energy chic..."
It's exhausting just to read.

12. "...high-low aesthetic..."
Not sure what that is.

13. "...Euro-chic crossed with Southern charm..."
Now here's a possibility. Both Caroline and I are half Italian and half Southern. I lived in France for a year, and she grew up in the South. So I think that qualifies.

14. "...cocktail-ready interiors that sparkle, shimmer, shine and seduce..."
This is absolutely perfect for some Key Westers, just not us.

15. "...Cheerful worldly boho-chic spaces saturated with color and whimsy..."
Sounds fabulous but doesn't describe Style Key West. It is, however, a perfect description our friends' Michael and Meredith's shop Besame Mucho on Petronia Street.

16. "...history energized with a dollop of swagger..."
Nope, we don't have any swagger, not even a dollop.

Well, there it is, and unfortunately we don't measure up very well to the decorista-speak of today's good design. We did, however, find one recurring word that we definitely live up to: PANACHE. In fact, that word describes Style Key West really well.

Yes, we have style, color, energy, whimsy--Cottage style with panache!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

And Now - Caroline's Favorites...

[Continued from last week's post with Jo's favorite designers featured in Elle Decor's "top 25" for 2010.]

For the most part, I agree with Jo's favorites from the Elle Decor list of designers. I think most people prefer their surroundings to be comfy and and inviting. It's one thing to look at photos of a "perfect" room, but you have to be able to imagine actually living in the space.

This photo of a Victoria Hagan interior caught my eye when I saw it in Elle Decor. I think it's a dramatic take on basic blue and white, and I just love it.

My coffee table would never stay that uncluttered, but a girl can dream.

This photo of a Madeline Stuart interior is my favorite. First of all, I love that it's a barn...I've always been a fan of adaptive re-use. Secondly, her mix of rustic and contemporary harmonizes with the architecture perfectly.

I could totally see myself living there, and I just wish we could see the rest of the house.

Well, I guess I'm drawn to "fanciful wild child inteiors" after all. This room of Kelly Wearstler's has a lot of makes me want to get to know the person who lives there.

I love that the room is fun and looks uncontrived, and I love that smoky blue wall color. It's a far more interesting backdrop for the colorful furniture that a typical neutral.

And finally, I love this bathroom of Marie Turner's.

What a cool space! I'd be late for work every morning because I couldn't bear to leave the bathroom.

So those are my favorites.

We'll have ONE MORE post about this Elle Decor list later in the week, but it won't be about the will be about the language used to describe them. Until then!

*Unless otherwise specified in the original posts, all images procured directly from the designers' websites.
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