Photo by Marni Elyse Katz/StyleCarrot
Coreposis picked from my in-laws’ garden
against the grey shingles of our Cape house.
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S H O P the L O O K
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Earlier this summer I visited Portland, Maine on a press trip at the fantastic new (and first) boutique hotel in Portland, The Press Hotel (blog post coming soon). During my free time wandering the streets of this charming seaport city I saw a sign down by the harbor for Sea Bags Maine.
I had forgotten that Sea Bags, which makes colorful totes from recycled sails and rope handles is based in Portland.
I wandered down a dusty wharf road replete with pick up trucks and fishy smells.
Abandoned building with boarded windows and peeling paint has a great patina.
The Sea Bags shop and studio at Custom House Wharf, Portland, Maine.
The front section of the building offers lots of different styles of Sea Bags for sale.
I find the rope handles a bit too clunky, but they’re sturdy and authentic.
Behind the racks of Sea Bags I spied sewing machines and supplies.
Women at the machines were constructing Sea Bags from sailcloth.
And sewing sailcloth appliqué designs, like this sailboat.
You can trade used sails for bags through the Sea Bags recycling program.
A metallic gold star Sea Bag design.
Industrial size spools of New England ropes in natural and navy.
And more ropes.
Bins of materials
More Sea Bags accessories.
Read about Sea Bags’ newest retail stores in Rockport, MA and Cape Cod in The Boston Globe.
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Last time I was in town I scored a private tour of The Verb Hotel with Elizabeth Lowrey, Principal and Director of Interior Architecture at Elkus Manfredi Architects and stylish lead behind the redesign of this humble-turned-hip Boston boutique hotel, just behind Fenway Park. The architects worked closely with the development team to embrace the area’s legacy .
Initially slated for a tear down—the hotel had become a HoJos after all—Samuels became disillusioned by the shiny new development happening all over the city and decided to re-imagine the 94-room mid-century modern hotel, knowing it would add character to the revitalized neighborhood.
The Verb Hotel first opened in 1959 as the Fenway Motor Hotel in a neighborhood that by the thriving indie music scene. Over the years a multitude of clubs popped up on Lansdowne Street, along with the alternative weekly newspaper the Boston Phoenix and rock radio stations.
Developer Steve Samuels and hotelier Robin Brown enlisted “vibe conservators” Stephen Mindich, publisher of the Boston Phoenix, and David Bieber, WBCN Creative Services Director to consult with Elkus Manfredi on the hotel’s new look and feel, which pays homage to the rock scene of the ’70s and ’80s. Bieber dipped into his enormous personal archives of pop-culture memorabilia which the designers used to decorate the lobby.
The two-story modernist building, designed by architects Irving Salsberg and Ralph Leblanc, went up in 1959. Elkus Manfredi Architects honored the original building, retaining the footprint of the motel and guestrooms. The feel is that of an authentic motor inn, including a courtyard pool and cars pulled up outside the rooms.
The team stuck to a pretty strict budget. Easy upgrades like colored film by Solar Graphics were applied to the new windows to add rhythmic pops of color. In 1959 when the original motel was completed, different colored stained-glass windows formed solid vertical lines on its structure. Eventually, these windows were replaced and the solid vertical stripes of color became irregular. When replacing all the windows for the restoration, Elkus Manfredi deliberately retained the irregular Mondrian-like pattern.
The architects dressed up a front façade with vertical wood siding and simple landscaping.
A circular skylight in the lobby lets in light and provides a glimpse of a new high rise across the street.
The front desk is upholstered in tufted black leather. Amps and electric guitars are propped up beside it. Black and white geometric flooring by Mondo.
The lobby, with its deep blue walls and tufted yellow leather banquette custom-designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects broadcasts that it is indeed a Boston boutique hotel. Authentic vintage music ephemera, curated by David Bieber from his own collection, include backstage passes from the J. Geils Band, and torn $4.50 ticket stubs to a Blondie show at the Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue. Framing done locally by Stanhope Framers. Triangular Island tables by Calligaris. Knoll Risom lounge chairs designed in 1943 by Jens Risom and sheepskin throw both from Design Within Reach.
Music posters and vinyl records along with a vintage jukebox.
Original brickwork was painted black using textured paint by Sherwin Williams.
If the lobby’s not crowded, guests can spin records on the yellow vintage Realistic-brand LAB 440 turntable. They’ve got 150 vintage local and national vinyl albums.
A display case in the breezeway connecting the main lobby with the guest rooms houses The Archives at the Verb, curated from Bieber’s warehouse of thousands of pop-culture memorabilia.
Original brick walls were painted vibrant hues and treated to music-related stenciled sayings. Perforated steel railings custom-fabricated by MIW Co. Ipanema Multi-Bloom Pendant Lamp by Jonathan Adler.
“If the music is too loud, you’re too old.”
Photographs of numbers from Fenway park were pulled together to form the room numbers on hotel room doors.
Illuminated signs on black walls in the hotel lobby.
Guest rooms are clean and crisp with integrated wood veneer headboards. Elkus Manfredi Architects designed the mid-century modern inspired furnishings, which were manufactured by Artco.
Framed Phoenix newspaper pages hang on the walls in each room.
Mid-century dot pattern drapery and a shot of pink from the window film.
Photo by Adrian Wilson
Like many boutique hotels, the contemporary bathrooms are simple but don’t skimp on amenities.
Tile by Dal-Tile.
The desk in each hotel room is equipped with a typewriter purchased on eBay. The desk chair is an armless Setu side chair by Herman Miller.
Best part: the hotel courtyard has a pool. The vibe is motor lodge, but really it’s like a hip resort, right downtown. Check out the green stands at Fenway in the background.
Period-appropriate colors were carefully chosen.
The Verb Hotel, 1271 Boylston Street, Boston
Photos by Marni Elyse Katz/StyleCarrot
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S H O P the L O O K
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Like many of the artists whose work I feature and own, I discovered photographer Stefanie Klavens at the School of Museum of Fine Arts sale in Boston. One year I was eyeing the photo of the two double beds (second photo below). It looks to me like a dreary motel room, though it’s titled Guest Room. I was attracted to the colors and the color fields, along with the general downtrodden, or at least severely outdated, decor. My husband very much didn’t want me to buy it. I didn’t.
That’s ok, because the following year I purchased the gold-hued living room photo of Klavens called Henry’s Paintings. I didn’t make the connection between them then, though now looking at them, it’s obvious these two interior photographs were taken by the same photographer. It’s hanging in a grouping of four photographs in our family room over our sofa, in a sort of compositional echo.
My favorite work of this mostly interior photography series that Klavens calls “How We Live,” is the first image here. To me, the pink and green living room interior really stands up. Swap out the art and preferably the shag rug (though a hip inhabitant could make it work) and you’re all set. Anna’s Parlor could work too, with its Jonathan Adler vibe.
In honor of the United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, here are 27 artworks featuring rainbows, because #lovewins.
Charlotte Chisnall • Rainbow • Society6
Zee Tucker • Taste the Rainbow • Society6
Landon Nordeman • Nice Pants • 20×200
Jan Sowarby • No.S124 Floating Rainbows • Serena & Lily
Adine Stix • Harbor • Serena & Lily
Cissy Chen • Rainbow Dip • Saatchi Art
2sweet4words Designs • rainBOW • Society6
Bridge Fahy • Jibboom • Saatchi Art
Carrie Marill • Bird Power • 20×200
Mel Bedggood • Rainbow Baby • Saatchi Art
Timothy Blewitt • Memories Lie Over the Sea • Saatchi Art
Ivana Vajman Jackson • Over the Rainbow • Saatchi Art
Julie Hansen • With the Waves • Serena & Lily
Jessica Snow • Color Stack Series #5 • 20×200
Lisa Congdon • Lovebirds • 20×200
Serhii Bilyk • I-Horizon (Landscape with road, sun and rainbow) • Saatchi Art
Thea Altmann • Home Is Where My Heart Is • Saatchi Art
Katherine Blackburn • Rainbow Girls in Brooklyn • Saatchi Art
Kristofir Dean • Silvery Sky • Saatchi Art
Stacey Meacham • Salt Water Taffy • Minted
Matthew Shelley • Rolodex 2 • Uprise Art
Budi Kwan • Uphill Battle • Society6
Kristi Hoodjer • Rainbow • Saatchi Art
Mariana Ionita • Crossing the Other Sea • Saatchi Art
Mia-Nelle Droschler • Rainbow • Saatchi Art
Corali • Rainbow • Society6