Decked out for Summer

June 21st – the official first day of SUMMER

Formal date aside, this year summer started more than a month earlier than expected. It’s been mostly warm and sunny since I got back to Vancouver in early May.  June is usually an iffy month for unreliable weather.  Now you never know what to expect as normal patterns everywhere are changing.  Some drastically. Most people are starting to get used to diverse changes in climate but I’m not here to talk about climate change.  It’s real and it’s happening and we all have to weather the storm (pun intended) and hope we’re not too late to save this stressed-out planet.  

Personally, if I could control the weather by a push of a button I’d have it on perpetual early Spring mode with a rain shower here and there just to break up the monotony and to make sure everything stays green.  Then I’d have it snow in the city for 3 days a year max – December 24th to the 26th.  Also, the setting for sun would never feel too hot with “0” humidity and not enough wind to throw too many dried leaves everywhere which is a pain to sweep up…again.  But sweep up I must.  And every time I do, I admire the brand new flooring on my two outdoor spaces.  I did some Spring cleaning to be Summer ready.  Starting with…

I had a vision. It came from a magazine entitled “Home and Garden.’  I prefer the clean, elegant yet simple and straight wider floor boards.

Upstairs:

Noticing that some of the wood boards were starting to rot on the upstairs deck,

My deck AFTER.  The large planter used to be right smack in the middle.  A large barbeque and outdoor fridge sit in two corners (not shown).
BEFORE the wood was narrower, lighter and on an angle.

I enlisted the services (after careful consideration) of  Khatsalano Builders who specialize in outdoor decks and patios. I like that they’re local. They were professional, managed everything on schedule as planned (contractors are notorious for not sticking to schedule) and cleaned everything up as promised.  They also helped with added extras like moving two very heavy large items for me.  Thank you Jason, Jeff, Antoine, Davin and Mike.  Great guys.

 They totally re-constructed a large 500 sq. ft. deck pulling up all the wood and replacing it with timber-tech composite flooring. It looks great now, very clean, modern and best of all…bye bye maintenance!  No staining needed from now on.  I’m super happy about that.

Why composite over wood? For sustainability purposes Timber Tech decking is made from a combination of 100% recyclable wood fibers and 73% polymers.  Even their packing materials meet the sustainable forestry Initiative requirements. They’re working to achieve the highest level of recycling in the decking industry with a goal to make 95% of all TimberTech decking from recycled materials by 2020.  Almost there.

Talk about saving trees? Over the past six years, more than one million trees have been saved because people have chosen this type of decking over natural wood. And they’ve specifically designed products to look just like exotic hardwoods like Ipe which is cut from rainforests.

Narrowing down choices to closely match wood grain of door.

Downstairs

Wood in the process of being oiled. You can really see the difference in color and grain once it’s sealed.

For the downstairs courtyard which has French doors opening up to the outside from the main living area, I considered a clean-up only.  A sanding and staining.  That was until one of the contractors stepped onto the middle of the courtyard and his shoe went right through the wood.  He didn’t intend to make a hole but let’s just say it didn’t look good after that.

 So… decided to replace the previous wood with new wood.  I really wanted wood for downstairs with the realization that every 3-5 years it will most likely have to be re-oiled.  So…sorry trees. At a little over 300 sq. ft. it’s not a large area but wow…does it ever look amazing. They did some leveling, sealed up some areas which were bare and added two lights to light the way towards  a step-up dining area.

Finished product

After narrowing down from a few samples I chose an exotic hardwood called Red Balau from tropical hardwood forests in Indonesia which are essentially public lands, managed and protected by the Government of Indonesia.

The rich reddish-brown hue is a durable hardwood that is often compared to teak but less expensive. My concern is that it be resistant to shrinkage, splintering, extreme weather conditions, decay, mold and insect attacks (you know; should that ever happen).  Better to be safe than sorry. It is. I’m very happy with the whole aesthetic of both the upper and lower spaces.

BEFORE with a wood sample from Brazil I ended up not choosing.
It is Jia Jia approved

Khatsalano Builders Website:  http://khatsahlanobuilders.com/ 

Other considerations:

I also highly recommend VanCity Washing for eco-friendly exterior power washing and cleaning.  They made my awnings look like new again.  Of course they couldn’t do anything about the fading but I had totally forgotten that my awnings had stripes until they were finished cleaning them.  Fast, friendly, efficient and cost-effective.  Justin also power washed my outdoor furniture. They use all bio-degradable supplies when pressure washing everything from walkways to windows and everything in between.

Van City Washing Website:   https://vancitywashing.ca/

Hedge Trimming and leaf blowing was from a company called Higher Ground Gardens. I had to book them a year in advance but now that I’m aware of how it works I’m booked for next year.

Hedges + Gardening:   https://highergroundgardens.com/

Lazy Layla…just because I wanted to share a recent photo.

Well that’s my Spring cleaning story.  I’m ready for Summer.  How about you?

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Hidden treasures

where Art meets Fashion…

Here’s a story about a most remarkable renovation/restoration

This is something else I’ve been meaning to post because not only is it highly unusual, it’s extraordinary.

The 17th-century oil painting discovered behind a wall during construction of the Oscar de la Renta boutique in Paris. Credit: Julien Mignot for The New York Times

A new Oscar de la Renta boutique in New York was undergoing renovations three months ago when something unusual was discovered on the second floor. When workers were clearing out garbage and debris at the end of the space on that floor, something seemed definitely amiss.  As they were clearing and resurfacing, something else resurfaced.

Something had been hidden behind a wall, and it wasn’t asbestos. It was a 10-by-20-foot oil painting of an elaborately coiffed and dressed 17th-century marquis and assorted courtiers entering the city of Jerusalem.

The restoration is expected to be done by May. Credit: Julien Mignot for The New York Times

Teams of restorers swab away some of the varnish to allow colors to come through. Credit: Julien Mignot for The New York Times

Full Story here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/21/fashion/the-treasure-behind-the-wall.html

 

 

Hidden Paradise: The Mesa

Hidden Paradise is the very appropriate tour name given by the Palm Springs Historical Society to refer to The Mesa; an eclectic and beautifully secluded hillside neighborhood.  I took all of these photos two days ago, on the last day of the tour for this season.  It was a hot one….and I’m not referring to just the tour.

Beyond this gate was the home of actor Joseph Cotten (Citizen Kane, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte among many other well known films).

I was invited to go on this relatively new tour, not being aware of how incredibly close in proximity The Mesa is to where I reside. I’m really happy I chose this walking tour from several the society offers because it’s another hidden jewel that I’m told many locals don’t even know about.  Even though some of the homes you can see from a distance, you may not know how to get there.

As they say on their website it is truly a slice of paradise. The amazing variety of architecture  ranges from the romantic Spanish Colonial Revival of the 1920’s to today’s dramatic contemporary styles.  Even one original mid-century modern home that stands out.

Max Factor (the makeup maven) family mansion.  The gate was open; it felt somewhat inviting.

With a glamorous past it has long been home to the Hollywood elite (Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Cher, Joseph Cotten, Henry Mancini, *Johnny Mercer, Jack Warner of Warner Brothers Studios, among others). Many have been celebrities from the World of Music – singers, composers, lyricists and musicians.  Even the cartoonist Lee Holley, known for Denis the Menace and comic strip Bugs Bunny who passed away in his home here just last year.  Our guide told us that he was so friendly he’d give away some of his original cartoon drawings.

Home of cartoonist Lee Holley – a fairly modest home here.

There are many vacation rentals here now too.  One home had no outside windows at all in the front to keep passersby from peering inside.  But I’m telling you; never judge a house from the outside.

Unless you’re lucky enough to get an invite to one of Barry Manilow’s fundraising shindigs, you can see his home and that of his friend Suzanne Somers from the outside only.  However the area itself which is larger than it appears is striking just to walk around and  see the gorgeous gardens.  In fact, it was really more of a garden/landscape tour than home tour – walking around for 2 hours+.

You can see the home of Suzanne Somers in the distance.  She said she can see Barry Manilow in one of the rooms of his home (which is a compound) – way up on the opposite side of the hill.

A crown jewel of desert architecture, Ship of the Desert, is located here.  Designer Trina Turk (love her clothes) resides here.  I’ve seen this home from afar many times. I know a few people who’ve been to a cocktail party inside (there are no hallways) during Modernism week.  They referred to Turk as a lovely and gracious host.

Ship of the Desert. d. king

This home appeared in this magazine in 1936.

and many years later

Michael, our patient tour guide was very knowledgeable about the homes and the people who lived/lives here and entertained us with some anecdotes and juicy gossip.

I highly recommend one of the walking tours (only $20) when visiting or even living in Palm Springs.

Other tours the Historical Society offers are Golden Era (Hollywood Homes of Old Las Palmas), Inns, Architecture and Glamour, The Tennis Club (Celebrity Haven), Rat Pack Playground (and Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood in the Movie Colony), among Private Tours (Architecture gems and Palm Springs Highlights).

See the 3 guard dogs? As easy as it appears to jump this fence…I don’t think so.  I wonder what lies behind that door….Narnia?

*Johnny Mercer wrote 1,500 songs and won 4 oscars.  He’s probably most famous for writing Moon River for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Also the Days of Wine and Roses, Autumn Leaves, etc.  He was a big fan of Barry Manilow and near the end of his life he donated all of his songs to Manilow.

I plan to go on other tours next season.

https://pshistoricalsociety.org/collections/walking-tours

 

 

 

 

Monday Mood: MODERNISM

It’s that time of year again….Palm Springs hosts it’s 14th annual signature event featuring midcentury modern architecture, interior, and landscape design, art and vintage culture from February 14-24, 2019.

Photo credit: Bethany Nauert

Join us for modernist tours, talks, shows, exhibits, films, parties, and much much more.

Photo credit: Christopher Kennedy

Grace Home Furnishings

Photo credit: Lance Gerber

Tickets still available:

https://www.modernismweek.com/

I’m telling you folks….if you’ve never been….it’s something not to be missed.

 

 

 

 

Art by Daniel Gutzmann

DANIEL GUTZMANN is a remarkable man of many talents. 

Not only does he create unique works of art, he makes the most delicious peanut butter power bars.  And he has an extensive and beautiful shoe collection.  You might say I’m a little envious. I can go on and on.

I met Daniel and his partner Karl for the first time last year when we were invited to  dinner at a mutual friend’s home in the Palm Springs area.  After dinner they showed me around their incredible home which happens to be situated on a golf course and which they gutted and re-designed themselves. That’s another thing; this power couple is licensed to re-design and re-decorate homes. Yes; there are some people who can do all that. They have excellent taste but they work according to the aesthetic of each individual, so it’s continually different but always discerning. At their place there were so many things to take in because the attention to detail is astounding.  And then there is the ART which obviously caught my eye.  Like anyone could ignore it?  Art created by Daniel .

Recently we had dinner again at the same friend’s house and I asked if I could come photograph some of their paintings for my website. So here are some images taken by me of Daniel’s artwork with a little bio about him.

The art hides a flatscreen TV

Daniel Gutzmann began his career as an artist and designer in 1989. His passion, vision and talent in taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary has allowed him contracts with high end corporate and private clients throughout the years.

He began his career with painting public transit coaches across the country into rolling works of art. These hand painted show stoppers have visually delighted such major clients as Pepsi, Mutual of Omaha, Coca Cola, Sony, Mercury, Elktra Records and Disney. He has painted murals and pieces of art for numerous community foundations, public and private clients which included homes, zoos, museums, schools, churches, public libraries and banks. His brilliant large canvas art is designed for high end clients, especially those with large homes and commercial spaces wanting to display beautiful art. With this, he has earned the prestigious Addy Award for outstanding design. Daniel continues to exceed his client expectations in providing stunning artwork that celebrates the atmosphere in which they are placed. He has participated in Rancho Mirage Art Affaire and has attended numerous art shows throughout the country, Palm Springs and the surrounding areas. Most recently, was awarded “Best of Show”in oil painting at the Indian Wells Arts Festival.

Daniel creates his near photo realistic paintings on canvas wrapped panels utilizing all triple pigmented oils with a flat finish glaze. These pieces of art are created with his vision of taking a beautiful object and painting its most unique aspects which sometimes may be abstract. His 3D multi-media modern works of art are created on wood panels utilizing MDO and Oxboard plywood, pvc & metal pipes, wall papers, venetian plaster, drywall joint compound, oil and acrylic paints.

If you are interested in any of his works please contact Debbie@girlwhowouldbeking.com

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b+w – mother’s bedroom

Part of their outdoor living

on a wall outside

Design – seeing everything in black + white

I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to perusing open houses.

Mostly because I end up loving a lot of them and hate the fact that I can’t move right in or more likely, cannot afford to. But it’s fun to look.  I realize how many different styles of homes I’ve come to appreciate. From Mid-Century Modern easily influenced by where I’m at, to old world Spanish hacienda and country cottage chic but in a Cape Cod sort of way.  I like furnishings that are modern, vintage, collectible and contemporary but comfortable.  Mixed with vibrant colour or plain neutral.  I don’t like too stark.  I prefer warmth. But then I saw this:

I literally stumbled upon this unassuming ranch style home for sale in my neighborhood when out walking the dogs.  It’s not quite finished being updated (at least on the outside) but I was curious so I wandered inside.

It was not showy; actually kind of simple in a bold statement kind of way. What I like is how clean and elegant black and white looks.  Very parisienne.  Very timeless.  Very me. at the very moment  Could it be I’m suffering from  homestyle schitzophrenia? 

Jia Jia on our walk.

Seeing something opposite to what you already have gives fresh perspective to how you can decorate.  It doesn’t make it better, it just gives it a different personality.  It’s always fun to see what others are doing when it comes to home decor or anything else for that matter.

Do you agree?

Photos: d. king

Interiors + Architectural Design           

There’s an abundance of inspiration in art, design and architecture to be found in and around Palm Springs.chris1I’m always on the lookout for something unique and I found it when I stopped into Christopher Kennedy’s incredible interior design store/studio.

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Christopher Kennedy is a nationally-published interior designer and modern furniture designer based in Palm Springs, California. He was just named Best Interior Designer by Desert Outlook Magazine.

His book: California Modern
His book (as in he wrote it): California Modern

Born in San Francisco and raised on California’s Central Coast, he brings a synthesis of big-city style and relaxed resort living to his work. He combines vintage and contemporary sensibilities to create spaces that are layered, liveable, and inviting. Neither trapped by tradition nor tied to trends, the hallmarks of Christopher’s style is easy elegance and casual sophistication.

His current projects include beach houses in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and Malibu; lofts in New York; and numerous desert projects in Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells and La Quinta. Known for his unique brand of luxurious modernism, his work has been featured in Luxe, Dwell, Palm Springs Life Magazine, California chris6Homes, and The Los Angeles Times.chris2

Hockney Swimmer Original
Hockney Swimmer Signed Original

chris8

Photos: d. king

Source: taken from website – christopherkennedy.com

Ginger/Mango Candle
Ginger/Mango Candle

chris3achris16

Manifesto

We believe that design is powerful and transformative.
We believe in wiping the slate clean from time to time and the power of a fresh coat of white paint.
We believe in hand-written thank you notes and old-fashioned telephone calls.
We believe that there is a place for books in our homes and in our lives.
We believe that food tastes better and is more nourishing when the table is set.
We believe in the importance of travel — of the opportunities it presents for learning, growth, and discovery. We also believe in the joy of returning home, after a long day at work or a long journey abroad.

I believe in ALL of the above

Address: 590 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs    Phone: 760.325.3214

Hermès at Work – What Lies Behind

Whether it be scarves, handbags, watches, saddles, porcelain or clothing  the world of Hermès is made up of style, art, history and luxury at its finest.

The Trademark Orange Thread
My favourite colour – The Trademark Orange Thread

The Saddle
The SADDLE that brings out the equestrian side in all of us

The Saddle Maker
The Saddler, a designer in his own right

The quest for excellence best describes any Hermès objet désirable…and they come in many fabrications or manières, as the French call it. The incomparable workmanship  requires skillful hands with intelligent minds.  It takes time, material, tools, talent and attention to the tiniest detail to produce anything from this famous French house.

The silk roller meticulously adds the finishing touches with silk thread to every scarf.
The silk roller meticulously adds the finishing touches with silk thread to every scarf

A Silk Print
A Silk Print for a scarf

It comes with a price of course, but anything worthwhile does.

I’ve always been curious about the unrivaled craftmanship behind the name, so it was totally amazing to rendez-vous with some of the experts who help produce the famous scarves, handbags, watches, saddles, gloves and porcelain.

The pop-up traveling exhibition was in Vancouver at the Jack Poole Plaza by the Olympic Cauldron with the beautiful mountain backdrop for only five days, September 21-25th.  Whoever was lucky enough to step inside got a little glimpse into a unique world with live on site demonstrations by authentic craftspeople all of whom are of French descent with cute French accents.

Porcelain from Start to Finish
Steps for Porcelain Plates on their way to completion

The Porcelain Painter. They are decorated near Limoges in France.
The Porcelain Painter. They are decorated near Limoges in France.

The Watchmaker keeps time ticking with hundreds of miniscule components.
The Watchmaker keeps time ticking with hundreds of miniscule components.

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I have a new found appreciation for my Hermès silk scarves since I know the steps towards completion are time consuming and numerous.  I have yet to come across a silk scarf so lovely.  Or a handbag, or a multitude of other things come to think of it. 

The Glover
The Glover transforms a Skin into a Second Skin

Finished Silk Scarf
Finished Silk Scarf

The Kelly Bag
The Graceful Kelly Bag

The finished product in all its perfection

Photos: d. king

 Have you seen it?

**And, if that wasn’t enough I got a smile from both Will & Kate and a wave from Kate (a royal bonus) from the car they were in (their window was completely rolled down) when their motorcade passed by on the way to visit Vancouver Coastguard.  I was out walking my dog in the direction of the Coastguard at the exact time they passed by.  I was not with the tons of people waiting by the sign that said “viewing area”.  My dog was sitting down where the cars were passing by wearing his bright red bandana.  I was all in leather.  I think we attracted their attention (I like to think of it that way).  A couple was standing beside us and they couldn’t believe it.  A little bit of magic for our Sunday. So I bought a lottery ticket right after.  If  you don’t see any more posts I’ll be in the Bahamas!  I heard it’s better there.

ARTFUL INTERIORS – SUQUET

It’s as simple as this:suquet2

the Suquet home tells a story of eclectic elegance, taste and style

La Carinthia Mirrored Fireplaces. Italian Leather Sofas.
La Carinthia Fireplaces among Italian Leather Sofas (you can choose your style and colour).

Last Thursday I attended a designer & artist champagne reception to toast the newly opened Suquet Interiors in Vancouver’s Yaletown.  A feast for the eyes…décor  and art sublime!

Artist: Tanya Slingsby
Artist: Tanya Slingsby

Artist: Justin Ogilvie
Artist: Justin Ogilvie

The building itself has industrial flair with its high vaulted ceilings which melds perfectly to the furnishings inside; an enduring amalgamation of old world charm and modern luxe mixed with captivating art.  A perfect combo.
suquet31

the entrance
the entrance

suquet9suquet11


It doesn’t get much better than this.

I find the furnishings themselves are works of ART, and

definitely the standout magnificent mirrored fireplaces. Do you get the idea of how much I like them?

Artist: Tanya Slingsby
Artist: Tanya Slingsby

Tanya Slingsby stands beside one of her amazing works of ART
Tanya Slingsby stands beside one of her ART pieces.

I met lovely Tanya Slingsby, an artist who has impressive and varied works of art displayed around the store.  There are some amazing stand-alone pieces.

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Mosaic by Jason Dussault
Mosaic wall art by Jason Dussault

Georgina Masana stands next to her paintings
Georgina Masana stands next to a set of her paintings

Georgina Masana is another talented local artist. She is originally from Mexico City.  Her son Ramon Jr. is co-owner along with Rick Bohonis (previously of Urban Barn).  I asked Georgina if there was a meaning to the name Suquet.  Her explanation:

Suquet is the last name of my late husband Ramon’s mother.  It is also a Catalan word that means a broth in diminutive.  When you use the letters ‘et’ in Catalan it means a diminutive. There is also a dish called Suquet that is similar to bouillabaisse with shellfish and broth served in a casuela.  But basically my husband wanted to use it because it sounds nice.”

suquet meal
suquet meal

I agree.  It does sound nice and it’s as nice as the tasty photo she sent me of the eponymous dish.  Best of luck!

Suquet Interiors – 1014 Homer St. (in Yaletown) Vancouver.

Photos: d. king

Did I mention the Accessories?
Did I mention the Accessories?

 

 

 

Travel: On the Road Again – Part Two

Remember the post where I declared my love for the Vintage Airstream Trailer? vintage-airstream That was 10 days ago although it seems like months now. airstream_-_matt_4_500 - Copy

I found out that many travel companies are getting on board the vintage trailer bandwagon: In November, rental company Airstream 2 Go partnered with Texas boot-maker Lucchese (love them too – bought a pair in Nashville) on a custom itinerary through the Lone Star State, which includes a trip to the factory and a pair of custom boots.

mathewairstream - CopyAirstream says it’s selling five times as many trailers as it did in 2009, spent $6 million on a new office space, and recently hired 130 new employees. Sounds like the making of a major comeback story.

CHECK THIS OUT:

If you’re not the road trip type but want to experience the Airstream lifestyle for a night or two, here are five firmly planted and beautifully decorated hotels for your next vacation.

El Cosmico, Marfa, Texas

 El Cosmico Photo: Courtesy of El Cosmico
El Cosmico
Photo: Courtesy of El Cosmico

There is probably no place more appropriate to situate a trailer than Marfa, the art-centric, holistic desert oasis of the Southwest. El Cosmico offers tepees, yurts, and, most important, several models of trailers that are sparsely decorated but seriously cozy. There’s a minibar in each but, intentionally, no Wi-Fi.

AutoCamp, Santa Barbara, California

 Autocamp Photo: Courtesy of Autocamp
Autocamp
Photo: Courtesy of Autocamp

This tiny Airstream-based hotel is made up of five vintage trailers, some of which come equipped with flat-screen TVs, large bathtubs, and Malin + Goetz products. Each trailer also comes with two beach cruiser bikes for getting around the camp.

Hotel Daniel, Vienna, Austria

 Hotel Daniel Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Daniel
Hotel Daniel
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Daniel

Nestled in the garden just outside the boutique hotel, one silver Airstream trailer is available as a room option for guests. The 172-square-foot space was created by interior designers specializing in yachts and has a sleek, minimal feel. It nods to the experience of being out on the open road, but is in the middle of a busy urban center.

Italy Airstream, Venice, Italy

Italy Airstream Park Photo: Courtesy of Italy Airstream Park
Italy Airstream Park
Photo: Courtesy of Italy Airstream Park

The website touts this as “the first Airstream park in Italy,” and it’s certainly the first of its kind on the Adriatic Coast. Recently opened in April, the six Airstreams each sleep up to four people, with a shaded canopy bed outside. It’s 30 minutes to Venice by car, or you can take a longer two-hour ride to reach the Dolomites. There’s also a beach just outside the park.

Caravan Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Caravan Tokyo Photo: Courtesy of Caravan Tokyo
Caravan Tokyo
Photo: Courtesy of Caravan Tokyo

For those looking to skip the Ritz or the Park Hyatt for something a little more low-key, Caravan is the place to stay in Tokyo. It’s a single trailer that sleeps two, parked near the bustling Harajuku neighborhood in a mixed-use office complex. It’s a fantastic example of innovative, smart Japanese design, with a gray exterior, modern pendant lamps and paper stools inside, and a wooden outer deck and lounge area.

I know this is not the same thing but….

It's what I have for now
It’s what I have for now and it’s more easily transportable.  I’ve made many meals in this rig including once in Texas a fully-cooked Christmas dinner.  It’s true! Coffee anyone?

Source: Vogue Magazine Article (by Brooke Bobb) 5 Airstream Rentals That Trump Traditional Hotel Rooms

Modern Furnishings
Sleek, Modern, Comfortable Style