Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! 2009: The Year of Happy

From Eddie Ross. Yum!

I don't really believe in New Year's Resolutions. I think they're needless--don't we have enough to worry about to begin with? The usual, lose weight, go to the gym, stop smoking etc are too cliche for words and just make you feel bad and guilty if you do them (or don't depending on which one you chose). This year I'm choosing more positive resolutions--using my power for good instead of evil.

Laughing girl from Veer.

I'd like to be nicer to people, and in turn, maybe people will be nice to me and others (it's contagious, I hear). It's something I deal with in New York and it's starting to get me down. Sort of like Pay it Forward without the alcoholism and death. I was in the suburbs yesterday at the mall (I know, it sounds so 90's) but all these random people were smiling at me. Being the hardened pseudo New Yorker that I am, I was surprised but also, I smiled back.
It was a nice feeling.

Organized closet from Martha.

Another one is to cut out the clutter. You know, keep it cleaner. As Emily at Square One Organization says, it takes the same amount of time to put something in the wrong place as it takes to put it in the right place. Organizing for me is really fun, especially when I have the time. I love receiving Martha Stewart's Organizational Tip of the Day, too.

Attractive bookworm from Domino Mag.

My older sister says that she'd like to read more. That's another good one and I wholly approve of improving one's mind as a New Years Ressie. Reading is also a good way to relax. It's much easier and more mindless to just sit down with the remote and flip the channels, but I always feel better after I've read. It doesn't necessarily need to be a book, could be the newspaper too. Thanks, you passed the test.Figueres Mansion take by ME. Is this where I'll be living? Perhaps.

Design-wise, I will be moving at the end of February into my own apartment, so one of mine will be to design my own space as best I can. I think it will be a fun fun project and THOUGH I'll be missing my roommate like crazy, it will be a new experience that I'm looking forward to. Picking out my color scheme (I've already thought about it), possible new furniture, fun decorative accents, and space planning will be some of the challenges as I'm sure I'll be moving into a shoebox with a side of kitchen and a dash of bathroom.

ME again. Drink up!

Well, it looks like I've got my work cut out for me for 2009, but I remain upbeat about it! I think 2009 should be the year of getting back to basics, cut out the greed, the meanness, and just be happy and nice. Am I living in a dream world? I don't care. What are your resolutions?

Happy New Year!

Alicia B.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Break From Squares: The Octagon

Remember this from yesterday? If not, you might want to read my blog more often.

As promised from my last post, here is a smattering of octagonal and one oval room. I love it as an architectural moment. For some reason I like it better than a circle; it's more organized and concrete as a shape. It's a sweet sort of room and can be used in a romantic sort of way; breakfast room, foyer, or sun room.

James Michael Howard designed this gorgeous foyer. I think my favorite thing about it is the floor. The light faded color wood in an octagonal pattern accents the shape of the room.

Okay, I know this isn't technically an octagon but it is an oval. It's interesting how the whole room seems to morph into that shape; the elongated sofa, the area rug, and also the floor. This house was designed by Robert A. M. Stern.

This is my original inspiration, the breakfast room by Michael Smith. I can't decide if I like the outside or the inside better. The terrace looks so relaxing and I love the classic shape of the space and the columns in between the french doors. So relaxing slash California.

This amazing kitchen is from 1986 in House Beautiful! The colors are a bit bright for our tastes these days but again, look at the floor patterns. This one is more like a simple wagon wheel pattern instead of the stylized parquet. I wonder how a round kitchen works as we rarely see them these days. Hmm.

J'adore this sherberty room by Gary McBournie. The paint is Benjamin Moore Florida Pink but I'd say that color would work anywhere (for me) especially in Boston or down south. I think I'm in love with this room; I can't stop looking at it.

As I am eternallly obsessed with lighting (something that has yet to be revealed here), I love the idea of putting a fun octagonal or hexagonal lantern in the center of the room to draw your eye up and to the center. I also love the idea architectural elements guiding your eye to see the shape of the room like parquet flooring, or exposed beams in the ceiling, or big bold mouldings. Does anybody have a room like this in their house? Lucky.

Alicia B.

Monday, December 29, 2008


From House Beautiful Kitchen of the Month

Please forgive me for my self imposed break from blogging. I've been spending quality time with my sisters and parents and catching up with my old friends from high school. Really, it's been wonderful. Lots of time to relax, read, clean, and generally be me! I'll pretty much be back until New Years so I apologize for that in advance.

Isn't this breakfast room above so lovely looking? The gorgeous hardwood floors, the beautiful antique furniture and the fresh drapery in the windows. This breakfast room is in California and was designed by a fave of mine, Michael Smith. I especially love that this room is octagonal. Perfect symmetry is somewhat off-putting in a room, but this really works. Thoughts? Do I smell inspiration for a blog? I THINK SO!

Alicia B.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Merry Christmas all! This is a picture from one of my favorite Christmas books (not the movie), The Polar Express. I'm down with my sisters decorating the tree and will not be back for several days. Don't miss me too much.

Alicia B.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Train

pic from
This is me, on my way home for Christmas! Have safe travels, and happy times! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Alicia B.

HE'S BACK: Nathan Thomas Studios

Look whom I stumbled upon! Nathan Thomas, the winner of Top Design, the show that consumed my life for a few months. I think it's clear when I say that Nathan and Eddie were my two favorites from the show. Nathan had such an edgy yet sophisticated style--plus look how cute he is! He's worked for the best in interior design; Alexandra Champalimaud and Nathan Egan. He attended Pratt Design School; which is super encouragement for those of us going to school in hopes of becoming an interior designer too!

This is from when Nathan was on Top Design. It was one of my favorite things that he had done because it was so incredibly creative. The painting on the wall was made with paint dripped right from the can onto the canvas and he hung it horizontally. Then the chandelier was also made by him with paper plates! So amazing.

This is from an apartment he designed in Chelsea. This light fixture looks familiar, yes? Even in a different space, it looks incredible.

This is a salon that he designed in Brooklyn! It is so fun/creative/amazing looking.
The painting on the walls are so whimsical and then there is that giant wrench (Is that a wrench? I don't "do" tools) in the corner.

Read this adorable slash inspiring interview from The Denver Post. Also you MUST look at his website HERE. Congratulations again, Nathan!

Alicia B.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Square One Organization

pic from Apartment Therapy

Remember my friend who founded The Movementality? She's a super creative, fun and most of all in this case, organized person. She has also founded a company called Square One Organization which provides organization for every room in the house, efficient space planning, and estate clearance. Emily has tons of experience and she even helped me reorganize my closet last spring and it basically saved my life. HERE is her website. Maybe something to think about as you are plotting out your New Years resolutions!

Alicia B.

Alta Igloo Hotel

After my last post when I got overly excited about the snow, I started thinking about living in the snow, building snow forts, igloos etc. I found a hotel in Norway called the Alta Igloo Hotel and it's made entirely of snow and ice! The hotel apparently opens each year in January and then melts when it gets warmer in the spring. Check it out here:

Here is the entrance; the door made of reindeer fur. Hmmm.

The hotel has 30 rooms in it. This long corridor is so pretty and quiet looking with the small ice sconces. No ugly hotel carpeting here!

Life sized figures are placed throughout the hotel. I love the glassy looking ice chandelier hanging down into the middle of the room.

Here is the bar. You're def going to need to drink some mulled cider or something here to keep yourself warm. HERE is a Martha Stewart recipe for mulled cider. They only serve blue vodka here in ice cups.

The hotel has a chapel in it and is a sweet place for weddings, too! DESTINATION WEDDING!

Nothing like sitting in a chair made of ice with a reindeer pelt over it next to a fire.
Literally, nothing.

How pretty, yet spooky looking the ice looks lit up like that.


After reading on the website, this place seems quite fun. Be sure to wear a hat when you sleep, because reindeer pelts can only keep you so warm. They also take you snow mobiling, there is a sauna and a spa, and the restaurant serves local specialties (um reindeer burger?).

Alicia B.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let it Snow!

New York in the 1930's. So romantic and pretty with that horse drawn carriage disappearing behind that building. flickr straatis

It's finally snowing in New York City this morning! I've been waiting for this for weeks now so I'm going to savor it as I'm told it will turn to sleet later on in the day. I love the look of snow on some of the old buildings around New York. It's so beautiful and calm looking in a city that never stops moving. I'm so happy because my little (5 inches taller than I) sister is coming back to America after her semester abroad in London! She comes in to snowy New York this afternoon. This is just one of many awaited arrivals from a family member onto the east coast. Please enjoy these gorgeous snow scenes from cities near and dear to my heart because of who lives there.

Wow, crazy snow in Florence. I don't know anybody there right now but I just wish I were there. All the time. flickr sparafleshato

Where I'm going in Connecticut there aren't many buildings, just barns and farms. One of my design dreams is to have an old barn someday converted into a house. flickr ikonjon

This is in Millennium park in Chicago where my dear older sister and her husband live! I love that bean. They are coming to me on the east coast next week! flickr ashishnigam2002

Munich in the Snow. I love this church, so beautiful in the snow. My sister is coming in today from Munich as she spent the last week of her semester there. JEALOUS. flickr isarbar

This is the Boston Commons where my college roommate lives. I miss her so much and I'm super jealous that this is what Boston is like in the snow. I love the historical architecture here. So beautiful. flickr hogan3774

So who is up for a snow ball fight in Central Park?? Anyone? I can't wait to get out of work and take pictures of the snow before it is muddy and ruined. Have a lovely snowy (or not) Friday!

Alicia B.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Red and Green and X MAS all over!

I just found out that I will in fact get Christmas Eve off from work so I am imposing myself on my family one day early! Now I can really feel Christmas coming! Not feeling the Christmas spirit? Don't celebrate Christmas? Well, here are some red and green rooms that you can enjoy all year round no matter what you celebrate. Yay!

Tomo Callahan designed this sweet study. I love the eclectic look of this room and the rolls of wallpaper off to the side make my wish that my stash wasn't hidden under my bed.

Mario Buatta's room in Kips Bay I believe from a few years ago. This is the perfect looking room for a holiday gathering. A tartan seat in the middle in front of the fireplace and dark green walls to ground the room.

Miles Redd uses many dark red accents here that do not clash with the pink wall! Crimson flowers, red and white throw pillows, sweet red pleated shades, etc.

How classic does this look? It's from House Beautiful 1943 and still looks perfect now in 2008!

I love the green moire silk on the walls of The Green Room in the White House (taken in 1968).

This is a red kitchen from Domino Mag. It's accented with greens (chair, green bowl, plants) and wood tones.

Bunny Williams designed this formal yet still country styled dining room with a rich muted green. I love the plates on the wall inside the wood paneling. A bit too 80's for me though.

Anne Miller designed this small sitting room. Somehow the red seems more inviting than bold and aggressive (we all know how I feel about red). I think it's the stripes. I really like the yellow accents on the chairs with this red.

A bright pear green Benjamin Moore paint is the backdrop for this sweet bedroom. I am super in love with those monogrammed sheets. They look vintage in such a mod sort of setting. From Domino Mag.

Sara Story's fun red bathroom with red and white tiling is quite festive! I especially love the round ball lantern hanging from skylight we can't see.

Kathy Abbott used a bright traditional green wall paper in this dining room. SO pretty.

I think my favorite is the red tartan (swoon) and green walls in Mario Buatta's room. Thoughts? What are your favorites?

Alicia B.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Striped Love

Okay, who is with me when I say that I'm super sick of the downtrodden mood that the "recession" has brought down on the world? I know we are all cutting corners and saving and that's REALLY GREAT. Really. But, it's the mood that goes along with it. Maybe it's the rain, or the fact that people have to "shop their closets" now but I say let's take that attitude and turn it around! Let's enjoy beauty in simple things. I chose the theme of stripes for today! Enjoi!

I know this isn't an overwhelming use of the stripe but it is accentuated by those cute little Gothic mouldings above it. LOVE IT. Robin Bell astounds me.

Markham Roberts used these stripes diagonally. How clever. This makes it super busy but using the colors that he did, it appears more subtle.

Eric Cohler designed this amazing horizontal striped shower. Is that an ipod I see on the right? Rad.

Uber glam Victoria Hagan used a tone-on-tone green stripe on the wall and then mirrored it in the fabric of the chair. Subtle and pretty. Love the nail head accents on the bedside table!

One of my fave designers, T. Keller Donovan used Jane Churchill fabric on these chairs. I love the wide stripe of alternating blues but I do NOT care for the flat screen t.v. above the fireplace. Woah.

Miles Redd designed this busy little room, but I feel like the stripes on the walls really ground the space very well.

Miles Redd uses a horizontal stripe which makes the space seem wider. I love this cute sitting room right off the water. Is that my little tug boat I see through the window?

Michael Whaley used these striped curtains to frame out the space in the transition from room to room. I love the colors he chose.

Designer Joseph Abbati used a painted stripe that continues from the wall and onto the floor. This looks uber vintage glam to me with the mirrored surfaces, the Phillipe Stark Ghost chair, and the overall graphic feeling of it.

Celerie Kemble. Again, in a small space stripes are used to create an illusion of more space. I love how she used vertical stripes on the wall and then placed the throw pillows so that the stripe was horizontal.

As beloved (by me) designer Barry Dixon says, "Wallpapering horizontal stripes on the ceiling of a long, narrow room can make it look dramatically wider."

I love stripes. I'm the type of person who had to be TOLD that horizontal stripes are not slimming. I took that advice slash comment and threw it out the window because with interiors it seems to do wonders for the space!

Alicia B.