“Real” Estate: doing the Can Can

Try to contain yourself as you have a browse through some luxury lifestyle homes for those who like to think “outside the box”  for price souring housing solutions.

Numerous shipping containers are artfully arranged in a starburst pattern for this Joshua Tree Home – the brainchild of London based Whitaker Studio.

These home are made from shipping containers. That’s right. Some ranging from small “tiny house” structures featuring a single container to larger, more ambitious projects that combine numerous containers that result in opulent luxury homes. These shipping container spaces offer something for every budget and lifestyle.

Affordable Housing – two shipping containers built on a low budget.
California-based Kubed Living offers multiple different shipping containers such as this 160 sq. ft. studio built from one container.

I just spent a little time in a winery built out of two shipping containers with windows cut out large enough to have a view of the vineyard.  I couldn’t believe it!

Canadians looking for a chic container home can contact Alberta based Honomobo . Built from rigid steel to provide durable, efficient living space.
Toronto based Storstac is in the business of selling new and used shipping containers. This one is made from two containers.
The main floor includes two shipping containers that saddle bag a wedge-shaped space .  I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one.

Every time I see a container now I envision what the inside would look like if I wanted to make it into a home.  The way things are going you just may see them becoming more mainstream.

Intriguing; No?

 

 

Elements of Design – Residential Art & Architecture

If you love style, architecture & design, here’s a unique and fun way to kill a little time while getting a luxurious dose of total home inspiration…

T. Jones Groups – Elements Estate, Vancouver

Focusing on the residential sector, we step into the world of luxury and extravagance to celebrate the best in design, outstanding architecture, interior design and product designs.

I loved perusing through all the categories of the International Design & Architecture Awards and then placing my vote for “best of” in each respective category.  You can too, until March 19th (link below).

Who are they?

The International Design & Architecture Awards, are hosted by design et al, a leading UK interior design magazine. Their aim is to commend design, recognize talent, create opportunities and quite simply to offer inspiration.  That to say the least, is an understatement.

These Awards are not judged by a panel. Shortlisted entries are presented online, and voting is open to industry professionals as well as design et al readers, clients and customers. Only 16 projects are shortlisted per category. A unique part of their voting system is that votes have to be cast in every single category, which in turn, gives all shortlisted projects maximum publicity from international industry professionals.

T. Jones Group – Elements Estate,  Vancouver

I’m delighted to learn that Amanda & Cameron Jones (friends of mine and my sister from T Jones Group) have received 5 nominations for their @elementsestatevancouver project.  Looking through the photos we can see why.

Amanda & Cameron Jones

Elements Estate has received 3 Interior Designs Category nominations;
Cat. 13 – Kitchen over £150,000
Cat. 18 – Best Living Space
Cat. 29 – Residential Project Value over £5 million


Plus 2 Property Category nominations;
Cat. 4 – Luxury Residence
Cat. 19 – Residential Value £10 million +

A bit more on T. Jones Group and some of their amazing projects:

T. Jones Group. Elements, Vancouver

T. Jones Group represents their clients From Conception to Completion.

When you are surrounded by beautiful scenery, the standard for every project is raised. Vancouver, British Columbia pushes that standard to its absolute limit. The sights are breathtaking. Inspiration is everywhere.

And yet, the T Jones Group builds homes that set them apart from their neighbors. The passion brought to every project is sustainable because the goal remains the same: Learn what the client truly wants, and build it better than they ever imagined.

I love this…

The T. Jones Group has built a foundation dedicated to philanthropy. The Jones Family Foundation.

A project most near and dear to us has been building a four story residency in Tanzania for young women in school in the medical field. We also funded the building of fresh water for the town.

See link below for more info. on Tanzania project:

International Design & Architecture Awards Voting is NOW open until this Friday MARCH 19TH

https://www.thedesignawards.co.uk/category/design-architecture-entrants-2020/

Home

 

Tracy Turco’s style: because we can all use a little glamour

Ummm… maybe high impact glamour is what I really meant to say.

Photo taken from Tracy’s new Website (see link at bottom of page).

Tracy is someone I met in Palm Springs last year and I’m happy that she’s become a friend.  Needless to say, Tracy stands out from any crowd and has a multitude of talents to her credit.  There’s almost nothing that she cannot accomplish.  She’s also a gracious hostess.  I find her inspiring.

And earlier this week she launched a new website that lists all of her creative ventures and adventures. To name a few.…if you’re looking for a cool place to stay in Palm Springs you might consider the ART Hotel, Tiki Hotel or Tiki House that she personally designed.

For now, I thought it would be perfect to share a tidbit of information taken from her actual website.  At the bottom of this page you can go directly to the website where you’ll find everything you need to know.

Taken from Tracy’s website:

The creative mind behind brands such as SalonTea, Tracy Stern Shoes, Tea & Co. and a whole lot more, Tracy Turco – formerly Tracy Strern – is an artist, designer, author, hotelier, entrepreneur and style icon residing in the midcentury mecca of Palm Springs. As an interior designer she has brought her touch to numerous stylish residences and businesses, as well as vacation homes and colorful boutique hotels such as the Tiki House, Art Hotel and Tiki Hotel in Palm Springs, not to mention her own home decor collection.

Tracy also attended numerous Paris fashion house shows as well, regularly seen front row dressed by luminaries such as Emanuel Ungaro and Guy Laroche to name but a few. She was voted ‘Best Dressed New Yorker’ five years in a row by the respected Avenue magazine, and has also featured on style-driven TV shows such as Bravo’s ‘Mad Fashion’.

Tracy’s shoe line came into being when she created a patented design for interchangeable uppers on a shoe giving multiple shoes with just one pair.

From there the Tracy Stern Shoes line took off internationally, selling to destinations such as Japan, Russia, Paris and Italy. It was equally popular with celebrities around the world including the likes of Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan. 

Didn’t I tell you she was inspiring?  For more go to:

http://tracyturco.com

My Previous Post: Tracy’s Tiki Tea Party:

https://girlwhowouldbeking.com/2020/02/11/life-style-tracy-turcos-terrific-tiki-tea-party/

Feel-good Friday: Giving Gifts

Cards, Candles, Clothing, Jewelry, Accessories, Food, Skincare…

Giving Gifts is all about giving – giving to friends and family, giving to yourself and giving to others around…

Just yesterday I came across an inspiring gift boutique made up of 5 rooms and more than 100 local Vancouver artists, each showcasing all kinds of good quality, fair trade gifts.  I love this concept.

http://givinggifts.ca
4570 Main St., Vancouver

Photos: d. king

Have a fun weekend!

Table Talk: Coffee Tables

Let’s talk about the significance of the coffee table.  A focal point in your living room which serves a purpose.  It can either enhance or detract from the surrounding area.

briers home décor . Photo: d. king

How many people have coffee tables in their living rooms?  Almost everyone we know.  After all, you need something to set your cocktail glass or hot beverage down between sips. Because when was the last time you had an actual cup of coffee sitting on it? Right…didn’t think so.  And if for nothing else, it’s a perfect place to showcase that gorgeous coffee table book. Or maybe a reason to buy a coffee table book.

Perfect side table – briers home décor . Photo: d. king

Recently I wanted to change my living room coffee table from using a matching ottoman to my sofa (with cut glass to fit over top) for something different and smaller.  That’s because I decided to use the ottoman for something else..what it was originally intended for – an area to put your feet up and get comfy.  I also just had my carpet cleaned and the large ottoman covered up a lot of the carpet.  So I went on a hunt and found something that I felt worked for the smaller area and opened up the space and did not cover up the carpet.  A carpet I bought in Cairo and felt did not deserve to be hidden.  This clear tempered glass is perfect for a see-through look.

Photo: d. king
Originally there were 3 tempered glass tables which fit into one another. For time being I’m using the smallest one for folded towels in my bathroom.
3-piece tempered glass: briers home décor . $380.00
One of the tables. The nice thing is that they’re easily moveable. Photo: d. king

After having searched countless places online, I walked into briers home décor in Vancouver and there it was…the perfect fit.  It was that easy.  Cherie, the owner, suggested I do a blog post on ways to open up smaller spaces.  So this was her idea.  I’ll move along to other furniture options at a later date.

For now, this set of clear nesting tables takes up little visual space, can be stacked together when you might need just a teeny more room and moves around your sofa with ease.  I really like it.

The nice thing about coffee tables is that if you get tired of them it’s pretty easy to change them.  Certainly a lot easier and much less expensive than buying a new mattress or sofa.

briers home décor. Photo: d. king

We’ll look at a few options below.  But first…

A little history:

It began in 1652 when the first coffee house opened in London. It was so popular that more coffee houses soon opened all over Europe. The cost to enter was a penny and included a cup of coffee.  Wow how times have changed since then!  I just paid $5.50 for a coffee the other day.  That’s why I don’t want to get into the everyday going out for coffee habit and prefer to make mine at home.  I’m digressing…

These tables, called tea tables at first, were tall at 27″ high, compared to today’s coffee tables at 18″-19″ high.

There are no documents from the 17th and 18th century mentioning coffee tables although there are hundreds of references about coffee houses during the time period. It is speculated that the name tea table was changed to coffee table because coffee became more popular than tea.

Today, coffee tables (also called cocktail tables) still share the same location in the living room in front of the sofa. Yet, the shape, size, and functionality have changed vastly.  A few options:

The ottoman as coffee table – a popular choice. Image credit: Mackenzie Schieck

The ottoman as coffee table – a popular choice because it serves two purposes.  You can put a simple tray or have a piece of glass cut to size over top, or put your feet up when you want to.

Who needs a coffee table when you can have an arm rest tray, instead? It requires no additional space in your living room, but offers all of the same benefits as an actual table.

Awesome Arm Rest Wrap Coffee Table – Etsy

Posh but petite, this sophisticated cocktail table from West Elm will fit just about anywhere in your living space. Buy one for setting down drinks instead of a clunky coffee table, or two or three if you need the extra surface area.

Martini Side Table – West Elm $159

This 5-piece coffee table-slash-stool set may be the coolest. Not only does this multi-tasking table offer up plenty of surface space, it seamlessly holds four faux leather stools inside; for all the extra living room seating you’ll ever need.

5 piece Coffee Table and Stool Set – Wayfair $375

Lastly; you can always use something you might already have around the house – something like this vintage chest:

photo: d.king
 This chest doubles to store excess towels in TV room.

So many choices.  

Do you have a favorite?

briers in Vancouver:

http://www.briers.ca

Vineyard Vibes

I heard it through the grapevine

Trying to replicate the appearance of an outdoor area like this at home can be challenging.

Dirty Laundry Vineyard Patio, Summerland.  In B.C.’s beautiful Okanagan region.

When I had the desire to create the look and feel of a real vineyard patio I looked to photos and my imagination. Like the ones here, but not exactly.  As you will see.

The familiarity of having visited many wineries in British Columbia’s Okanagan wine region, Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Willamette Valley in Oregon, Napa, Sonoma, Lodi & Temecula Valley in California and Tuscany, Italy may have helped.  

A little decadence mixed with naturalness and something to take you away and remind you of vacation.  Remember vacation?  How about stay-cation? That’s the idea I was going for.  I want to enjoy the wine regions of my home.  Specifically the outdoors.  After all, I’m an outdoorsy person!

So sitting in the courtyard area with a glass of wine overlooking my vineyard mural under the ivy instead of actual grape vines felt very relaxing and the next best thing to being at the real deal. 

Although over the years, we discovered the ivy started to slowly get out of hand, growing more and more unruly.  What once appeared striking started to take over the whole area and brought some undesirable pests along the way.  So recently I was bummed to have to remove it away from the beams completely.  A dirty task.

My cozy courtyard – Summer 2019.

It took a little while to get used to the bareness on top of the cross beams where the ivy once was, but on the bright side literally, there’s a lot more light to an area where there was no light for quite some time.  So now I’m re-creating the space once more.

It will still have a vineyard feel but without the vines.  Once it’s finished I’ll take a photo and share it. A new potential and a realization that sometimes doing something out of necessity gives you a chance to create something else. Learning to let go of the familiar in any given area takes courage but it can turn out to be a positive thing. Not necessarily better, just different.

Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna, B.C. They offer some amazing organic vegan wines.  “ALIVE” is a new favorite.

Doing so makes me want to modify a few more areas around my home, inside and out.

Maybe modify is a metaphor for simplifying life in general.  A tiny transformation to keeping it fresh.

Anyone else feel this way?

Next: making the most out of smaller spaces

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?

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.