Tag Archives: Travel

Design Diary: AutoCamp in the Sonoma Redwoods

I love the idea of communing with nature. AutoCamp knows what I mean. Offering Airstream trailer experiences as well as luxury tent accommodations, the California-based company does glamping right. Scoff all you want. You’ll never find me at a campground, but why shouldn’t be able to contemplate the great outdoors on my own terms?

AutoCamp has two locations, one by the beach in Santa Barbara, and this one, by the Russian River, 90 miles north of San Francisco in Sonoma, sold as a modern retreat in the Sonoma redwoods. There are Airstream trailer suites designed by Lauren Geremia of Geremia Design and glamping-worthy tents as well as a mid-century modern clubhouse. You get WiFi, Malin+Goetz bath products, Casper mattresses, Schoolhouse Electric lighting, and pet-friendly options.

I totally want to go to AutoCamp (but I’ll probably leave my cat at home).

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Design Diary: The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine

In June I was invited for a stay at the just-opened The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine. An easy drive from Boston and eager to visit since I hadn’t been in too many years, I headed north. The Press Hotel is the first boutique hotel in Portland and it’s wonderful, with all the right touches, gorgeous art, and zero pretension. It’s also a great example of adaptive re-use, as it is the former headquarters of the Portland Press Herald, hence the name. (If you’re interested, I wrote a piece about adaptive re-use of commercial buildings for residences in last Sunday’s Globe, “Making New Homes From Old Workplaces.”)

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The Press Hotel entrance is on a quiet side street in the Old Port District of Portland. The circa 1923 building was home to The Portland Herald Press until it relocated in 2010. Local developer Jim Brady who bought the building hired Manhattan-based  Stonehill & Taylor, which created the look for hip NYC hotels including Refinery Hotel, NoMad, and Crosby Street Hotel as well as a roster of more staid establishments, to design the interiors. It was definitely time for a boutique hotel in Portland. I love the city; it has an artsy waterfront vibe like a small pre-tech boom Seattle.

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The  vestibule eases you from office building to boutique hotel, with the pairing of the original marble floor and metal rail and contemporary light fixtures and grid of woodwork.

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The lobby has reclaimed wood columns, herringbone-tiled floors, and original coffer ceilings. Dark toned neutrals are accented with pops of deep orange. The carved ribbed design of the wood reception desk recalls the skeleton of a ship, a reference to Portland’s port and shipbuilding trade.

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On the wall behind the reception desk is a large art piece by artist Matt Hutton of oversize, vintage-style painted wood letterpress type. Hutton is an Associate professor at Maine College of Art where he’s helped establish a top woodworking and furniture design program. The hotel showcases art from local artists throughout the public spaces and guest rooms.

The Inkwell Bar At the Press Hotel In Portland Maine

Courtesy of The Press Hotel

The Inkwell Bar in the lobby has a fireplace and walnut millwork, with some tables and benches that were made in local woods hops and and others  by metal craftsman.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

The wallpaper in hallways is a digital print of actual newspaper headlines from the Press Herald’s archives. Carpeting features a jumble print of typewriter keys.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

Detail of the newspaper-inspired digital wallpaper.

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Detail of the jumbled letter hallway carpet.

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This is the room where I stayed. The design is inspired by a 1920s writer’s office, though wood floors with herringbone area rugs give a residential feel. Prints by local artists decorate the walls.

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My bathroom, featuring marble subway tile and wood shades. You can see in the mirror that the bathroom has a reeded glass door similar to those in historic newspaper offices.

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Floating Danby marble vanity and contemporary faucet affixed to the backsplash.

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The view to the Atlantic Ocean from my room on the 6th (or maybe it was the 7th) floor.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

A marble bathroom with freestanding soaking tub in one of the hotel’s nine suites.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

Another of the hotel’s 110 guest rooms.

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Framed rugs by local artist/designer Angela Adams hang in the guest rooms.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

The backs of the leather office chairs at the desks in the guest rooms are embroidered with the classic phrase containing every letter of the alphabet: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

An installation of antique typewriters created by students at the Maine College of Art.

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The typewriters up close.

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Detail of a 3-D piece in the art gallery on the lower level.

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A detail of an artwork in the gallery on the lower level.

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A landscape photograph displayed in one of the meeting rooms.

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Another landscape in a meeting room.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

One of the hotel’s well-appointed meeting rooms on its lower level. The spaces are designed resemble private residential libraries.

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Vintage-style painted type letter signage.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

An old-fashioned Toledo scale from the Press Herald finds a new home in the hotel gym.

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Courtesy of The Press Hotel

The lobby is sophisticated, appealing, and comfortable.

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A whimsical display of suitcases in the lobby.

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There’s also a 65-seat restaurant UNION designed by Miami-based Big Time Design and  run by Executive Chef Berry, who was on site at every meal making sure every last detail was perfect. 

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I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner there and the food was delicious.

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Morning tea and of course, the newspaper.

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The original staircases were left intact,though didn’t meet code for current use, so just a portion is visible as homage to the building’s origins.

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The property will be targeting LEED silver certification and will be part of the Autograph Collection, a group of more than fifty unique luxury hotels around the world.

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The view from the roof deck of the penthouse suite.

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The Press Hotel, 119 Exchange St, Portland, Maine

I did a lot of shopping at Portland’s cute boutiques. Post to come soon.

Photos by Marni Elyse Katz/StyleCarrot unless otherwise indicated.

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Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Design Diary

Montage: 18 Vacation Rentals (Instead of Hotels)

We rarely travel as a family. On one hand, we miss out exploring new places and exposing the kids to different countries and cultures. (They can be heard whining that they’re the only ones in their classes that haven’t been out of the country.) On the other hand, we are lucky to have a beautiful place on Cape Cod where we can spend a good portion of summer and a little place in Florida where we can escape in wintertime. And I’ve been on some pretty amazing press trips in the last few years, with trips to Venice, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Kennebunkport.

At one point we were talking about taking the kids to London. It would be easy for our first big excursion. Wherever we go, whenever we go (at this point plans are non-existent), I think it would make so much more sense to rent an apartment than stay in a hotel. Hotels are luxuriously wonderful for romantic getaways, but when travelling as a family, it would be so much easier, not to mention more economical, to stay in an apartment (or, you know, a villa) with a kitchen and roomier living space.

There are so many sites that showcase vacation rentals, be they short-term apartment rentals in urban centers or fabulous villas in the countryside, all with galleries of photographs of customer reviews. I browsed through a number of them, and came up with these 18 vacation rentals, in cities all over the world, from Santa Fe to Santorini to Sydney and Copenhagen to Costa Rica to Capetown.

These vacation rentals not necessarily the absolute best, most decadent or distinctive, as that would have taken a ludicrous amount of time, but they are all really appealing, from the photographer’s loft in Miami to the casita in Santa Fe to the mid-century modern apartment in Reykjavik. I’d be happy to take up residence in any of these apartments for a week, family in tow.

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Industrial loft
Santorini  •  Luxury Retreats

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Villa St. Saturnin
Provence  •  Haven in Paris

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Villa St. Saturnin
Provence  •  Haven in Paris

miami-loft-airbnb Photographer’s loft
Miami  •  Airbnb

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Urban apartment
Berlin  •  Nomads Apt.

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Pott’s Point apartment
Sydney  •  Contemporary Hotels

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Penhouse apartment with view of Hyde Park
London  •  Urban Retreat

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Adobe home
Santa Fe  •  Two Casitas

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Houseboat
Amsterdam  •  Houseboat Rental

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City center apartment
Copenhagen  •  Airbnb

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Penthouse apartment
Reykjavik  •  Boutique Homes

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Studio in Copacabana
Rio de Janeiro  •  Airbnb

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Villa with panoramic jungle and ocean views
Costa Rica  •  Luxury Retreats

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Loft apartment in historical building
Barcelona  •  Home Away

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Vineyard estate
Napa Valley  •  Home Away

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Medieval watchtower amidst olive groves
Tuscany  •  Luxury Retreats

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Contemporary beach house
Sydney  •  Contemporary Hotels

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City apartment
Sydney  •  Contemporary Hotels
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Mountain estate
Capetown  •  VRBO

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Montage: Bedroom Sconces

We spend summers at my husband’s family’s home in Cape Cod, and recently got a little condo in South Florida for sunshine doses during Boston winters. That pretty much (most definitely) means the travel budget is depleted. We don’t, have never, taken a grand family vacation. By contrast, our kids’ friends have travelled to some amazing destinations during school breaks (Israel, Tanzania, Norway, El Salvador, Paris, etc.). My kids have pointed out that they’ve never been out of the country, and have asked for “a trip to Canada, at least” just to say they have.

Spending thousands of dollars for the privilege (?) of spending 24/7 with family is not at the top of my list. On the other hand, I too wouldn’t mind a trip overseas, and who knows, maybe we’d even all get along and have fun. We thought, if we were to do this, we’d start off easy, with London. (After all, until just a few years ago,  a family trip to Target was a challenge.)

Part of what makes travel hard, for me, is that I like a nice hotel. But that’s a huge budget-eater, especially for four. I was thinking about looking into rentals at short stay apartments in London. Does anyone have suggestions? What does this have to do with bedside sconces? Not much. While I was perusing one of those sites, I came across a photo with interesting placement of reading sconces.

When we built the house on the Cape, I installed slightly odd sconces in a guest room—ones that stick straight out above the bed. Not the best idea, as they get very hot and guests hit their heads when they sit up. That said, I applaud the efforts for trying sconces that go beyond the boring. Here are 20 bedside sconce ideas.

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London Shortlet

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Satyagraha House

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Instagram: Kenziepoo

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Casa Brazil

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CCS Architecture

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Brian Atwood’s bedroom by Nate Berkus
Photo by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

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Emily Henderson

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HK Living

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Laura Fulmine

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Amy Lau

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Cindy Sherman’s Hamptons house  by Billy Cotton
 Jason Schmidt for Architectural Digest

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Lonny

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Elin Kicken

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Imagine Living/Houzz

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Arquiteto Piero Lissoni

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Home of Trinny Woodall  •  Femina

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Flavor Paper

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Photographer Sean Fennessy  for  The Design Files

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unknown

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John Coolidge Photography

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Modern bedding & bedroom accessories at Dwell Studio >

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Beauty Break: Aesop Travel Kit

Australian beauty brand Aesop, which opened a beautiful boutique on Newbury Street last year, sent me its nifty new travel kit, Boston Jet Set (there’s a London one too). The brown bottles (four plastic and two glass), at 1.7 and .5 fl. oz., comply with international air travel restrictions. There’s pretty much everything you need for face and body, wrapped in a linen-y cloth in a sturdy, structured black nylon zip case.

I’ve already raided the Rind Concentrate Body Balm, which smells amazing, made with orange and lemon rind plus pink grapefruit. The shampoo, made with rosemary and cedarwood bark also smells wonderful, and the lavender stem and bergamot mint conditioner is lovely too. Ok, fine, all of it’s totally great. I’m not sure it’s going to last until my next trip.

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C O N T E N T S
Classic Shampoo
Classic Conditioner
Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser
Rind Concentrate Body Balm
Fabulous Face  Cleanser
B & Tea Balancing Toner,
Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream
Mouthwash

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Boston Jet Set, $75 at AESOP

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Shop Chanel’s new fall makeup at Saks >

Chanel Fall 2013 Color Palette Maekusp

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