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Design Diary: citizenM Hotels

I used to write the “Destination Design” column for Design Milk, and I keep “Hotel Style” Pinterest board, but lately I haven’t been keeping up on all the best new hotels. That’s not to say that I don’t welcome the chance to stay somewhere fabulous, or at the very least, blog about it. I was glad to hear about citizenM hotels, an innovative and budget-friendly, but style heavy, international chain of design hotels.

The New York Times described the citizenM hotel as “a cross between a style-conscious boutique and a pod hotel.” The Dutch company, led by Rattan Chadha, a New Delhi-born entrepreneur who sold his Dutch clothing company, Mexx, to Liz Claiborne in 2001, cuts costs but cultivates a hip vibe. citizenM stands for “citizen mobility.”

According to an article in Inc. Magazine, Chadha came up with the concept from observing how the young designers who worked for him at Mexx craved cool hotels, though not necessarily overtly luxurious ones. He tells Inc., “I wanted to create a hybrid: great style for a price a 25-year-old designer could afford. That concept existed in fashion but not in hotels.” 

Dutch architectural firm Concrete designed this design hotel concept. The rooms are individual modules prefabricated in their own factory, then stacked shipping container style. The rooms are all the same small size, with the same size windows, and all cost the same per night. They sport must-have amenities including large custom mattresses, high thread-count sheets, high pressure showers, free Wi-Fi and free bottled water.

Reservations are taken online only,  and check in and check out are done via lobby kiosks. There are no concierges, but there are “ambassadors” on hand to help if you ask. (Interestingly, they’re not from the hotel industry, but rather, at least in New York, drama students.) In place of the ubiquitous hotel  restaurant is a “canteen” that provides good quality food like sandwiches, salads, sushi, and such, open 24 hours a day.

The public areas of these design hotels are set up as communal living rooms with different types of spaces for working and lounging, furnished with sublime pieces by Swiss design company Vitra. There’s abundant and enviable high end artwork by the likes of Julian Opie, Andy Warhol, Tracey Emin, and David LaChapelle. Chadha told Wallpaper, “[The lobby is] styled to look like the living room of a very well-travelled person.”

In a number of the hotels, citizenM collaborates Amsterdam-based bookshop Mendo, the self-described as a “candy store for book aficionados.” The pop-up bookshops sell glossy books on photography, architecture, fashion, and  travel, and will send them directly to one’s home. 

The company is expanding its chain of design hotels, and has named Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco as target locations for new citizenM hotels. I’d love to see a citizenM hotel in Boston. Perhaps they’ll offer me a bed for a night. 

Let’s take a tour of five citizenM hotels:


The citizenM hotel Paris at the Charles De Gaulle Airport, which opened in June 2014, has 230 rooms and is the chain’s seventh location.


A commissioned art piece by contemporary London-born artist Julien Opie covers the entire full-glass front façade of the six-story citizenM Paris. 


More of Julien Opie’s artwork lines a black accent wall in the lobby living room, above an extended, multicolor George Nelson Marshmallow sofa.


There are XL king size beds, Hansgrohe power rain showers, wood ceilings, and mid-century modern furniture. There are customizable playlists by 22tracks, a music discovery service curated by top European DJs.


canteenM Paris is designed like an open kitchen.

•  •  •


The 151-room citizenM hotel in Rotterdam, The Netherlands is the company’s fifth property.


The black walls are on trend, as is the hanging bicycle. Not sure if it’s art or readily available for a ride.


Tablet mood pads allow guests to dim or change light colors, draw the curtains, cool the room, and control the television. Unlike most hotels, every room is equipped with a small desk with sockets to charge mobile devices no matter what the plugs origin.

 •  •  •

New York City

The first Manhattan location (another will soon go up in The Bowery) is a 230-room structure in Times Square.


A commissioned artwork by Jen Liu wraps around the exterior façade of citizenM NYC.  The hotel collaborated with s[edition] to allow guests select contemporary digital artwork for the displays in each room, with works  by Mark Titchner and Tracey Emin.


canteenM Time Square rocks a coffee house vibe. Food is locally sourced from New York suppliers.


In addition to a wraparound terrace, the rooftop bar has a fireplace and cocktail menu curated by celeb mixologist Mayur Subbarao.

•  •  •


There are two citizenM hotels in Amsterdam. One at the airport, and this one, with 215 rooms close to city center.


Living rooms sport comfy green couches and iMacs on long communal work (or pretend to work) tables. 


Rooms have XL king beds with Italian linens and super fluffy feather pillows, and as they tout on their website, “the best showers this side of the rainforest.”

 •  •  •


The group’s fourth hotel went up in London in 2012. It’s in walking distance of the Tate Modern.


Conference tables evoke a party atmosphere.


A spiral staircase leads to the first floor where there are seven meeting rooms. Artwork includes pieces by Hans op de Beeck, Gavin Turk and Mario Testino.


So many George Nelson bubble lamps.


The exterior of citizenM London features a piece of text art by Turner Prize-nominated artist Mark Titchner that says “Another World Is Possible.”

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ARTmonday: 9 Figures In States of Undress In the Snow

I started off aiming for beautiful but slightly edgy snowy landscape images. But when I came across a snowy nude, and then another, I thought, why not? My son wants to know why I’m putting up porn on my blog. I told him, “This is art.”

Here are nine snowy landscape images, or more specifically, nine artworks with figures (not just women, though mostly women) in various states of undress in snowy landscapes. Captions provided for your entertainment. Happy night before a snow day.


Snow Angel  •  Rebecca Handler
Starting at $16.99 at Society6

She wandered out from her verandah in her peignoir, forgetting she was no longer in the Carolinas.


Fractal Snow  Paul Coker
$150 at Saatchi Art

I thought these were bare-nekked Barbie dolls planted in the snow. Nope, seems to be a real live woman, silhouetted and pasted in the landscape ad infinitum.


 Warm Winter  •  Ilona Shevchishina
$600 at Saatchi Art

It’s flaming hair Barbie. I thought “real women” didn’t really look like this. Photoshop? Starvation diet? And what’s with the picnic while the ground is still thawing?


Lost in Thought  •  Luca De Santis
$400 at Saatchi Art

And here we get a guy. In black & white. Buttocks only.


Growth   DiggieVitt
Starting at $28.08 at Society6

And what’s this tortured dude’s issue? He took a wrong turn on the way to Starbucks? Lamenting the lack of hair gel in heaven?


Snow Day  Stray
Starting at $24.96 at Society6

First day of school photo. In Siberia. Please, someone cut that girl’s hair.


Snow White    Takaki Hashimoto
$750 at Saatchi Art

Just trying out my new boots. They don’t seem to pinch.



The Tutu Project

This is the guy who roamed the nation in a tutu to amuse his sick spouse. For real.


Cheeky Aspen    Peter Rodger
$1,250 at Saatchi Art

Walk of shame. Given her tan lines, she hasn’t seen frost like this in a while.


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Just In: StyleCarrot Nominated for Best Writing

I just learned from a tweet  that StyleCarrot has been nominated as a finalist in the 2015 Design Bloggers Conference Hall of Fame Awards  in the “Best Writing on a Design Blog” category. I am honoured and would of course love to win. Will you vote for me? This link brings you to the exact page. Thanks lovely readers and friends!

Vote for StyleCarrot!

Style Carrot Nominated For Award At Design Bloggers Conference

voting ends feb. 6, 2015



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Saturday Say It: Bravery Is Messy Business

You Are Brave For Trying

Lettering by Pommel Lane

You’re not a mess, you’re brave for trying.

•            •            •

Shop Bouqs for affordable flowers delivered to the doorstep >

Mail Order Flowers By The Bouqs

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Impressions: Creating a Color Palette of Charcoal & Dusty Rose

Last month a local publicist asked me if I’d be interested in decorating a model apartment in one of the new big and shiny buildings that are popping up in Boston like mad. I was incredibly flattered, of course, especially since I’m not actually an interior designers. In fact, that’s why she asked. The budgets are smaller and the directive more creative. Rather than perfectly turned out, pristine showcases, these units, since they’re rentals rather than condos, are to be on the funkier side. In addition to my non-decorator self, there will be an art gallery owner, a visual merchandiser, and another writer. We will create color schemes for furniture and accessories, but not actually alter any finishes.

I think I will get down and dirty with some DIY projects, and will likely enlist my handy husband to help (especially given his urging that I take this on). Although we live in a condo in the city, he has a few well-equipped tool boxes stuffed with a vast range of hand tools, from hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers, to power drills, soldering irons, and saws. Can we build a bed? Put up shelving? Create inventive wall decorations? We shall see.

We visited the building yesterday, which is still very much a construction site. We got a peek at a few finished units on lower floors and they have a great look, with light oak floors, white walls, floor-to-ceiling windows that actually open, and two kitchen styles—one with cerused oak lower cabinets and glossy grey uppers, and the other with textured white wood lower cabinets and glossy white uppers. They are both great looks and have me thinking about the best color palette for studio apartments.

I prefer to work with white on white color schemes, since I love all white rooms. I have in mind the whole pure white with pastel or bright color pops and a smattering of plywood. That seems easiest given my abilities and budget, and the fun style would match up with a portion of the target demographic. However, I may be assigned a unit with the grey/cerused oak kitchen. The finishes are beautiful, but I’ll definitely have to re-think my design/color scheme. It will need to present as a little bit more sophisticated. I perused many of my Pinterest boards last night in search of inspiration, starting with searching for a color palette for studio apartments.

If I am to decorate a unit in which the centerpiece is cerused oak cabinetry, I am leaning towards a color palette of pale wood, charcoals, and blush with touches of copper. Here are inspiration photos for the color, look, and feel I am thinking, with light wood, grey, pink tones, and copper accents.


Ceramics by Kirstie Van Noort


Penny Farthing Design House  •  Photo by Tim Pascoe


Lou & Grey  •  Photo by Marni Elyse Katz for StyleCarrot


Weekday Carnival


Landon Metz


Gardenias Vases by Jaime Hayon for BD Barcelona Design


Geometric Copper Foil Print •  Leif




Milton & Hyde Fine Linens


The Sartorialist


Photo by Frederikke Heiberg •  Inside Out


Ceramics by Amaï Saigon


DIY painted bread boards  •  Maya’s Loft


“Ditch Plains House” •  T.W. Ryan Architecture




Mega Bulb pendant by Sofie Refer for &tradition




Coppper flatware  •  Anthropologie


Colored Tumblers  •  Anthropologie




Wind Chime by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio  •  Sight Unseen




Pure & Original Paints








White Peach Maple Soda  •  Quitokeeto


Styling by Hannah Wessman  •  Photo by Malin Cropper  •  Hanna’s Room


Fiess tea bowls  •  Leif


Sanne Tulp Photography




Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Impressions

Style Right Now: 28 Ways to Wear Fur Coats

Fur coats aren’t just for the society set. Fur coats and jackets (both faux fur and real fur) are showing up in outfits of every incarnation, well beyond the milieu of ladies who lunch. Off-duty models in particular favor the fur coat trend, along with fashion bloggers and street style stars in general. Rather than breaking out the mink to attend the opera, modern fur coat enthusiasts favor shaggy fur coat styles shrugged on over denim (torn jeans? even better), leather leggings, and if you’re Jenna Lyons, perched on your shoulders while gliding through the city in a feather ball skirt.

The fact is, fur is warm. If you can rock the fur coat trend, especially in Boston, life is a lot more comfortable. I have friend who wears her grandmother’s hand-me-down furs along with vintage fur coat finds, all over Boston in winter. Back when I first met her, about ten years ago, I found this a novel concept. Clearly she was ahead of her time. (Or rather, given her proper lineage, carry on tradition, but with a twist).

I remember when I was around seven, thinking a rabbit fur coat was the height of style. I could probably get away with the look now. I’d certainly pair my (theoretical) fur jacket with my winter beanie, like some of these street style specimens. Have you seen the crazy multicolor chevron fur jacket by Elizabeth & James? It exceeds my wildest childhood dreams.

I may be wrong, but it seems all the fuss over not wearing fur and resulting proliferation of faux fur coats and jackets has quieted down. Perhaps PETA quelled the population of its animal killing inclination (unlikely). Rather, what I perceive to be decreased interest in the cause is more likely the result of public boredom. Or simply the fascination with fads and trends have prevailed.

Here are 28 ways to not only wear fur coats, but rock the fur coat trend wholly and fully.

fur-a -portable-package

Portable Package blogger Irina Lakicevic of Norway goes for seriously shaggy shearling jacket by Karl Donoghue (kind of matches her tousled locks) over deceptively casual denim (Saint Laurent hi-rise skinnies & Ralph Lauren denim shirt). And a tiny sliver of a clutch.


Model Joan Smalls strikes a pose in a  black leather and fur jacket with contrasting fur sleeves (and a leather men’s style vest – ick) after the Chanel haute couture show in Paris. The plaid flannel shirt underneath is a nice, rugged touch.


Off duty model Daria Strokous during New York Fashion Week in black leather leggings and sumptuous fur parka with Nanouk style hood. I kind of want to crawl in there with her.


Off duty model in emerald green fur coat during New York Fashion Week Fall 2015. Could a mere mortal pull off green fur? I wish I could. Color certainly puts an interesting twist on the fur coat trend. (CollageVintage)

fur-faux-blue-Stockholm Street Style

This blue faux fur coat has sporty varsity style but kind of looks like a rug. (Stockholm Street Style)


I could get on board with this style blogger who throws on shaggy grey fur over leggings, gray Converse, neon yellow handbag, and messy bun. (Frassy)


Nicole Richie is perfect and polished in luxe fur coat, black cashmere turtleneck and beanie, and glam cat-eye sunglasses.


Olivia Palermo sports a black fur vest, Hermes exotic skin clutch, and pristinely polished red fingernails.

fur-Carolina Thaler after Dolce&Gabbana, Milano, February 2013
Model Carolina Thaler after Dolce & Gabbana in Milan in February 2013. Dark lips and peep toe booties give her patchwork fur jacket street cred. (Models Jam)


This shaggy white fur jacket looks like it would work over any outfit. I kind of love how she’s wearing luggage colored boots, instead of the obvious black with black. I’d never have thought to do that. (Carolines Mode)

Processed with VSCOcam with e3 preset

Looks like an Olsen twin, but actually it’s fashion blogger Maja Wyh wearing Ralph Lauren denim, the longest shirt ever, and a luxe vintage fur coat. Oh yes, and the must-have accompaniment to fur—barely there kitten heels.


Olivia Palermo sure loves the fur coat trend. Here, she pairs a gray and white fur jacket with distressed denim skinnies. Looking amazing as always.

fur-Jenna Lyons at Solange Knowles' wedding in a fur coat & feather skirt

Statement maker Jenna Lyons attends Solange Knowles’ wedding in a sweeping feathery skirt and fur jacket worn over her shoulders, natch. (Elle)


Super shaggy black fur. I love how her swept back bun echoes the lines of the fibers. A red lip, pastel blue fingernails, and she’s done.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

A white faux fur coat dyed with random burgundy and turquoise markings by Maison Scotch.

fur-multi-Julia photographed on the Strand, London

Fashion editor and street style star Julia Sarr-Jamois on The Strand in London wearing a fabulous multi-color fur jacket that’s as haphazard as her gorgeous hairstyle. Casual perfection. (Photo by Mike Adrell/flypublic)


Australian model/musician Abby Lee Kershaw is looking a little annoyed. Is her black and grey fur coat not keeping her toasty?


Shaggy aqua fur jacket over gingham dress and grey tights. So totally cute. So Julia Sarr-Jamois. The fur coat trend to perfection.


Sea of Shoes blogger Jane Aldridge grabs a fur stole that’s almost as bright and shiny as her hair. Clutch by Carlos Falchi and an Aerosmith tee (that her mom borrows too).

fur-swing-coat-camera-fashion show, Paris, March 2012-garance-dore

Monochromatic neutrals and a camera. A demure fur swing coat in Paris, March 2012. (Garance Doré)


Ashley Olsen dons a white fur blazer style jacket over black, with an Hermes shoulder bag and a hair elastic ’round her wrist.


Very shaggy white (as tousled as her hair) fur over black jeggings during London Fashion Week. (Teen Vogue)


Why not wear chocolate brown fur jacket with a hoodie? Add vermillion beanie for extra warmth like fashion editor Alessandra Codinha. (The Sartorialist)


The bright red beanie makes another appearance, this time paired with puffy gray fur jacket over a sweatshirt and jeans. (Harper’s Bazaar)

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Montage: 20 Modern Barn Homes

Although in one sense, a barn is the quintessential, traditional all American dwelling, conjuring images of Old MacDonald and all that. On the other, it’s thoroughly modern, with its wide open interior space, large expanses of façade and clean overall silhouette, primed for loft-like living.

Whether re-inventing original farm out buildings or building from scratch in the early American barn vernacular, modern barn architecture is very appealing. Modern barn homes work in crisp white, natural grays, traditional red, or with the more current black exterior.

Modern barn architecture works in a variety of environments too. Left in unruly meadows or set amidst groomed suburban landscaping, or even as in an example below, in the desert, it’s a shape that’s simultaneous fresh and comforting. Here are 20 examples of residential modern barn architecture in varying degrees of shiny-ness.


Turnbull Griffin Haesloop


Paul Shurtleff Architecture  •  landscape architect Douglas Reed
Photo by Scott Frances  •  Architectural Digest




Major Architekci


Major Architekci


Northworks Architects


Pascal Francois Architects


Rick Joy Architects


Kwint Architecten


Roger Ferris + Partners


Architect Sergey Makhno


Donald Lococo Architects


D’Apostrophe Design  • Photo by William Waldron  •  Architectural Digest


Faro Architecten


Mell Lawrence Architects


Jackson Clements Burrows




McGarry-Moon Architects


dRMM Architects  •  Wallpaper


Carl Turner Architects  •  Dwell

•            •            •

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ARTmonday: 10 Watercolors of Venetian Interiors by Lee Essex Doyle

If you’ve been following my art posts for a while, you’ll have seen work by my very talented, very dear friend Lee Essex Doyle. Two years ago Boston’s Childs Gallery showcased “Dreams of Dawnridge,” watercolor paintings based on the glam Los Angeles home of artist and designer Tony Duquette. In 2009 I featured her “Postcards from India” series depicting impressions of Indian temples and palaces in Rajasthan, which she showed at Peter Marcelle Contemporary in New York. (I am lucky enough to own two from that series.)

Lee Essex Doyle’s newest show, “Illuminated Moments” opens at Childs Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston this Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 (previewed on Artsy). The works are inspired by Doyle’s recent travels to Venice and Havana. This latest series of watercolors reflect the vibrant light of the two cities. The palette is more pared down than in years past, but the compositions just as masterful and the lines and patterns as intriguing and pleasing as ever. The stairways, with its curlicue railings are invitations to explore and the lanterns and chandeliers are enchanting.

I can’t wait to see Lee and her beautiful paintings in person on Thursday, but until then we can gaze at these . . .


Study for Palazzo Cini, Venice, 2014


Prada II Yellow, Venice, 2014


Prada II Giustina, Venice, 2014


Cini Panes Grey, Venice, 2014


Study for Palacio de la Condesa de Revilla De Camargo, Havana, 2014


Door to Palazzo Polignac, Venice, 2014


Study for Palazzo Priuli, Venice, 2014


Study for Scoula Grande Stair, Venice, 2014


Courtyard, Palazzo Grimani, Venice, 2014


Study for View across Fondamenta Osmarin, Venice, 2014

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Sunday Bouquet: A Rich Burgundy

Winter Flower Arrangement In Burgundy And Ivory

Photo by Charlie Juliet

Winter flower arrangement with blooms in rich burgundy and and the palest peach and green.

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Saturday Say It: Girl Power


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