NOLA

Everyone kept telling me I’d love New Orleans. And everyone was right, I definitely did. Old, historic buildings with a lot of charm and personality win me over every time. I love that it was possible to forget that I was in an American city and perhaps instead on some side street in Paris or even Buenos Aires, exploring a foreign land. I love that there was history on every corner and I wasn’t even mad about the cobblestones being clearly not conducive for platform heels. I love how engaged people are in the city – from the buskers all over the French Quarter sidewalks to the friendly people in the stores and restaurants. The only thing I can’t quite comprehend is how people live tucked away inside houses with those giant door sized shutters. Don’t get my wrong, I love the shutters but… isn’t it dark in there?

Yes, my trip to New Orleans, my first introduction to the old girl, was quite something. Thank you to Emmy, Em Ab, T and Caroline for making it a trip to remember and to Swirls and Brooke for planning this amazing weekend for us all. I appreciate and adore these ladies so much.

Happy weekend to all!

Cire Trudon

Prior to my trip I’d been compiling recommendations from some of the blogs I read. One such blog (From the Right Bank) had posted a list of favorite top five home design stores in Paris and one on the list just happened to be located in the Latin Quarter where we were already planning to go on Saturday afternoon for Laduree macarons. C’est destiny.

The story of Cire Trudon began in Paris in the mid 1600′s when Claude Trudon moved to Paris and opened up a shop. Shortly thereafter he became very well known for his high quality candle wax which would become a fixture in important homes of the time, including Versailles. Not only did Cire Trudon survive the French Revolution, despite it’s ties to the monarchy, it became a favorite of Napolean’s. The only gift Napoleon gave his own son when he was born was a Trudon candle encrusted with three pieces of gold featuring his head.

Visiting the Cire Trudon store in Paris like stepping through a mirror where everything looks and smells astounding lovely. I was worried I’d be stopped from taking photographs in the story, so I took few pictures. I also took a short video on the sly.


Aside from that  incredible wallpaper -  I love the rows of perfectly lined up photographs. Apparently, last fall Cire Trudon opened a NY store. The shop design is said to be inspired by the Versaille Hall of Mirrors and indeed, it looks  sumptuous. I saw a lot of that striking teal blue in Paris over the weekend.

Image via Cool Hunting

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Balconies of Buenos Aires

I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the road in Buenos Aires. You can see why.


It seemed like every building in BA has a balcony. How I wish that were the standard in the US! Regardless of the style, Juliet or otherwise, I was positively entranced.

Have a great weekend, all!

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Sightseeing Buenos Aires


How do you like to travel? Totally planned itinerary or totally wing it? I think I’m somewhere in between (LIE, I love a good schedule.) But I’m trying to be more loosey goosey when it comes to travel planning. My latest thing has been figuring out what main areas I’d want to be in to see the various sites. And then dig through local blogs (as many as I can find anyway) to uncover the restaurant and bar gems in that area. My idea of sightseeing is… 1 hour in a museum, 2 hours at a cafe, 15 minutes walk by a cool site, 1.5 hours in a pub (or whatever the local watering hole would be called)…

Above is a map of some of the places we’re planning to visit. It was totally helpful to see everything plotted out on a map actually. We’re staying in Palermo which is conveniently situated to the places we want to visit.

Museums
Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo, private residence and art collection purchased by the state in 1937
MALBA, modern arts museum
Colleccion de arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, Argentinian and international art collection

Sites to See

Teatro Colon, the opera house
Recoleta Cemetery, where Evita (among many other influential Argentinians) is buried
National Library of Argentina, example of brutalist architecture
Palacia Barolo, the candlelight tour with cheese and Argentinian wine at the end sounds like my kind of tour!

Recommended Food/Drinks
Las Violetas, recommended by Em’s friend for the space and the pastries
Alvear Palace Hotel, recommended by my brother’s girlfriend for afternoon tea in a beautiful palace

The King’s Speech Set Design

I mentioned earlier in the week that BC and I went to see The King’s Speech. If you enjoy period films, astonishingly fantastic acting, and captivating sets, you will love this movie – I certainly did! If you are BC you will appreciate all of the above but remark that the pace was too slow for your tastes and then you’ll receive dirty looks from me.

So about these captivating sets. There were two spaces that stood out. First off, Geoffrey Rush’s character, Lionel, has a home filled with these super funky wallpapers. They were a hoot, as was his character.

I found a similar fan motif vintage wallpaper on Ebay.

But the wallpapers in the movie reminded me of the reproduction wallpapers available in the Trustworth Wallpaper collection.Large repeating patterns, with a lot of oomph. Adelphi has more great historic reproduction wallpapers.

The other standout in the film’s set design was this crumbly old wall in Lionel’s office.

The room itself is almost a conservatory with a roof of windows and a large, cozy fireplace. But it’s this wall behind the patient’s couch that is really amazing. It has years of wallpaper and plaster chipping away but the result is a textured, dreamy collage. I can’t imagine anything so imperfect being so completely perfect. It made me think of the walls in some photos of abandoned spaces that I’ve been saving for such an occasion.

via Kingston Lounge

via San Francisco Girl by the Bay

via Scallop Holden Flickr

If you’re interested in the set design of The King’s Speech, I’d recommend reading this post by A Bloomsbury Life.

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Preserving Theatres

Last weekend BC and I went to see “The King’s Speech” at the Prospect Pavilion theatre, down the street from our apartment. This was a bit nerve racking because it’s been rumored to have bed bugs and generally at least 20% of the seats are falling apart in some way, shape or form.

When I first moved to this neighborhood, the Pavilion still had the second floor lounge area which included a coffee bar (I love it when hot drinks are available at movies – instant ski chalet feel), but it’s been a steady decline over the years. The theatre first opened in the 1920′s and it’s a shame it hasn’t been brought back to life – there’s definitely potential.

As it turns out, America’s original stage and movie theatres are a dying breed. Just check out the number of closed/demolished properties on this list on Cinema Treasures, a website devoted to movie theatre preservation and awareness.


Images of
The Victory Theatre in Holyoke, MA via The Kingston Lounge

Recently, The Kingston Lounge (a blog which provides a feast of amazing abandoned old buildings) featured the gorgeous Victory Theatre in Holyoke, MA. It’s almost painful to look at these pictures, there’s so much original beauty that was just left for ruin. Fortunately, it was purchased by the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, and is scheduled to be restored and reopened in 2012.

It’s nice to hear of these types of preservation success stories. Take for instance, The Colonial Theatre located in Pittsfield, MA. The theatre opened in 1903 and welcomed many stars of the vaudeville era, including the Barrymores and the Ziegfield Follies.

Images of the Colonial Theatre via The Colonial

It closed in 1934 due to the Depression, but opened again in 1937 this time as a movie house. In the 1950′s it was sold to a couple who used it as a retail store front. A drop ceiling was added to conceal, which subsequently preserved, the architectural details of the balcony.

In the late 90′s a local community group helped to bring attention to the theatre and it became recognized as a National Historic Treasure. After many years of fundraising the restoration process began in 2003 and the theatre reopened to the public in 2006.

What a journey The Colonial Theatre has had! It’s current thriving existence is certainly due to a very persistent community.

There’s a battle in LA over the fate of the The Fairfax Theater. The developer who owns it wants to turn it into condos and claims there’s no historical value left to the building. However, preservationists argue that art deco elements still exist and that it would be demolition through neglect.

I think that, just like with anything else, when a building loses it’s original purpose, it should be preserved by being repurposed. It may be idealistic to think that every old movie house can remain a movie house. But developers must be savvy and creative enough to think of alternate uses that don’t compromise the historic integrity of the property.

The Bethesda Theatre in Maryland, a 1930′s building which was restored and reopened in 2007 (apartments built above) but closed again in 2010 due to the owners mortgage default.

So who’s working on behalf of the theatres? It seems like the biggest impact is made through the efforts of local organizations like Friend of the Boyd, working to save the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia. And national organizations like the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the US or The Theatres Trust in the UK.

One of my fondest childhood memories was going to Sunday matinees with my mother. We usually sat in the balcony which provided plenty of opportunity for people-watching and relishing in the the splendor of the Belk Theatre, which had recently undergone a renovation in the early 90′s. I don’t know where i’ll be living by the time I have children, but I do know that I’ll instill in my children the importance of arts and the value of America’s historic theatres.

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Real Estate Heaven

How many of you love perusing real estate listings? Even when you aren’t buying a new home, or in the market for a new home, or have even the slightest bit of a chance of buying a home anytime soon.

I’m raising my hand over here.

When I told you about the organizations I’m donating to as part of my Preservation Project, I mentioned the awesome historic real estate listings on the website of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Guys, there is no better source of inspiration for me.

These were the creme de la creme of the listings. Amazing architectural details and wonderfully renovated (and decorated) spaces.

That said, I wish there were more listings of the dilapidated sort. Those are the kind I love – cheap, tons of potential, and ready for renovation.

Happy faux home hunting, ya’ll!

Images via National Trust for Historic Preservation

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Preservation: Biltmore Estate

I would guess that any child growing up in North Carolina remembers their first trip to the Biltmore Estate. At my school, we went as fifth graders. I was mesmerized and wholly resolved to move my family in… or at least live there myself.

On the list of historic places in need of preservation, Biltmore would probably be pretty far down. It’s still privately owned by descendants of the Vanderbilt family and they’ve made it their mission to preserve the building as a self-sufficient entity. I suspect they do pretty well with over 1 million visitors per year. One might argue that the Biltmore has lost part of it’s charm by becoming the colossal commercial success that it is – except that I wholly want to partake in the tours, the winery, the shopping village, and the boutique hotel. Please Santa?

The Biltmore Estate, located in Ashville, North Carolina, was the summer home of George Vanderbilt, his wife Edith, and daughter Cornelia. The house itself covers 4 acres. The grounds were designed by the guy who created Central Park. And, most important to a child visitor, there’s a bowling alley and swimming pool in the basement.

The Vanderbilts’ first welcomed visitors to the Biltmore Estate on Christmas Eve in 1895. When the guests arrived they were greeted by dozens of presents under a 30 foot tree. All would gather in the Banquet Hall for a feast and a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Biltmore is now legendary for their Christmas celebrations every year. Organ music in the banquet hall! A Ginormous tree! Candlelight Christmas tours!

Give me some figgy pudding and call me Cornelia Vanderbilt!

If you’re up for some good reading, peruse the Biltmore stories. It’s a magical place with a perfectly enchanting history.

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Bedford Post Inn

My living room drapes have been closed since last Friday and I have never watched so many movies in a row. Though “couch potato” generally doesn’t earn a positive response in my world – it’s sometimes pretty darn nice to take a weekend off. Even if you’re forced to do so.

Similarly the idea of vacationing in my town or nearby is equally appealing. Think about it – being at your vacation spot within an hour would be pretty great. There’s this adorable New England B&B in Bedford, NY called the Bedford Post Inn. Aside from looking like an absolute eden, it’s also only 45 minutes outside NY.  Quick trip… shall we?

Dating back at least to 1835, the main building of the Bedford Post Inn was a tavern, inn and post office. In the 20′s it became Bedford Green Inn and was later called Nino’s.

In 2007, the dilapidated 18th century antique inn and outbuildings on Old Post Road were discovered by Richard Gere and his wife Carey Lowell. They, along with a business partner, renovated and in 2008 the Barn at Bedford Post, a yoga studio and casual cafe were opened, followed by the eight room inn and the Farmhouse restaurant in 2009.

These rooms are actually exactly as I’ve imagined mine and BC’s bedroom. Classic, relaxing, comfortable. Not overly decorated or overly stimulating for that matter. And I love those sconces.

I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the bathrooms. Clawfoot tubs are the absolute best. Imagine your day at the Bedford Post Inn – complimentary yoga in the barn followed by a long soak in a clawfoot tub.

Then there’s breakfast in the Barn, the more casual dining alternative on the property. Actually, there’s nothing casual about how good the Barn menus look. I would be all over the sauteed mussels on the lunch menu.

The Farmhouse Restaurant has become pretty notable in it’s short existence. It received a wonderful review from the NY Times and in one of their seasonal menus shown online they include a “pumpkin ice cream sandwich”, which means that the chef is aces in my book.

Speaking of the chef, one of the private dining options is the chef’s table above, right off the kitchen. Another option is the gorgeous dining room below. If I were going to Westchester County for the weekend, I would have to make a reservation at Blue Hill at Stone Barns which is my absolute favorite. Luckily, there are two nights in a weekend – between the Farmhouse and Blue Hill,  it would be food heaven!

Bedford, NY itself has it’s own historic significance. It was founded when two puritans who had made their way up the road, purchased the land from Indians. Interestingly, in the Revolutionary War times, Bedford was between both English and American territory and was considered neutral. Still, the entire village was burned by horsemen in 1779. With the arrival of the railroad in the mid-1800′s, the town built itself up again. Today, Bedford is made up on three hamlets effectively containing the original settlement, the town that resulted out of the railroad boom, and Katonah, a planned development.

In Pretty Women, Julia Robert’s character tells Richard Gere’s character: “I want the fairy tale.” For the record, this is mine.

Images via Bedford Post Inn


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Bellinter House, Ireland

Yesterday my friends and I worked on our soup recipe for the Prospect Farm Soup Cook-off. I don’t want to give anything away, therefore I’ll tell you that the name of our soup is “It’s a Great Squash Soup, Charlie Brown.” Despite the 60 degree weather yesterday, it was a perfect fall afternoon with cider and fall harvest vegetable soups.

Fall makes me think of chunky sweaters. Chunky sweaters make me think of Ireland. And when I think of Ireland, I think of country houses steeped in history. Today’s Salvaged Getaway is to Bellinter House in County Meath, Ireland.

Welcome to majestic Bellinter House, built in 1750 by leading architect Richard Castle for the Preston family. Bellinter House was a private home for 200 years, followed by a brief stint as a religious retreat and conference center, before it became the 34 room luxury hotel that it is today.

Pretty amazing staircase, right? The second owner of Bellinter House, considered one of the more colorful owners, once walked his horse up these stairs after an evening wining and dining. The horse refused to come back down and spent three weeks in the attic before a beam and pulley could be erected to lower it back to ground level! Guests today can sometimes hear a faint neighing in the dark hours of the night. (I joke.)

The accommodations certainly leave nothing to be desired. But were I a guest, I’m not sure I’d ever leave the bathroom.

Billiards room and library. Pools and spa. Vaulted wine cellar and a nearby cookery school. You’d have to lure me away to visit the mythical hotspots or Ireland’s ancient capital The Hill of Tara.

My ancestors were Irish, I foresee a trip to the motherland in my future.

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On local shores, this weekend BC and I tackled hanging up the wall art and frames we’ve been compiling since painting the bathroom pink.

Anything not listed is something I already owned. Clockwise from top left: Sea Captain portrait from Lacklusterco, Horatia painting from Oh, Kirby, postcard from The Croff House (where BC and I stayed in Hudson this summer), London Trolley picture purchased from Bedford Avenue vendor.

This is what you see if you stand facing the toilet. We think it’s hilarious.

Cow painting by Artiparti, Vintage Wood frame from Farm Frames

Altered Plates (an amazing birthday gift from my cousin!) by Beat Up Creations

Coming together nicely, isn’t it?

Oh! One more thing, BC’s sketch comedy team Evil Dictator School is releasing their 13 Day of Halloween videos! Look out for BC, dressed as everything from a zombie to a child. Dr. Jekyll Letters is my favorite so far. I believe  the line “There’s a stickiness about it” has the potential to become a classic cinematic quote.

Images via Bellinter House.

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