Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cabin Inspiration

Tomorrow (01/20/12) we pick up the keys to the vacation cabin.  It will be great to spend some time in the home without a realtor,inspector,appraiser or contractor in the way.  Our goal is to complete all the necessary repairs in the next 3 months to make the property comfortable.  In the meantime, I wanted to share one of the many inspiring spaces that capture the look and style I hope to bring to our cabin.

  This home designed by Suzanne Kasler was the image that immediately came to me when I first saw our cabin. It was featured in Architectural Digest's June 2009 issue. This property is located in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

   Like this design, I envisioned classic European accent furniture and accessories such as a gilded baroque and/or Federal style convex mirrors anchored by neoclassical sconces with an antique brass finish.
There is a mixture of rich leather,paisley,tartan plaid and animal print fabrics on the sofa,chairs and drapery treatments.  Ornate framed oil paintings of countryside landscapes and large tapestries adorn the walls.
The rustic walls and floors add the warmth and coziness to give the formal pieces a calming and welcoming environment.
 The Empire style chairs anchored by the yellow gold upholstered chairs on the end compliments the space perfectly!   Suzanne did such an amazing job bringing everything together in this home.

She quickly became one of my favorite designers. You can visit her website to see more of her terrific work here.  Please come back and visit as I share other inspiring rustic and elegant spaces.

Friday, January 13, 2012

BudaPest, Hungary

A view of the Parliament House
 I saw the Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol the other day.  It was fantastic.  The movie opened with a scene in Budapest, Hungary.  Coincidentally, I had just read an article about the disturbing state of politics in Hungary.

View of the Chain Bridge at night

Watching the views of the Budapest in Mission Impossible reminded me how much I enjoyed the city when I was lucky enough to visit in 2006

View from the Buda side of the Chain bridge toward Pest with the Four Seasons hotel
Me in my faux fur, on the chain bridge, with my back to the Buda side of the city.
 I hope the current party that has control of the country does not return it to the isolated and inaccessible state it was in while under Communist control.   However, the situation is not good and more Americans should be aware of what is happening.

Dan with the Chain Bridge behind him.
The current government is controlled by conservative Prime Minister Obistan who has formed alliances with right wing groups that hold nationalistic ideologies that espouse antisemitism and hatred of Romas ("gypsys").   

The new government is restricting free speech and has rewritten the country's constitution in such a way that EU officials and the United States believe make it impossible for change over next several generations. 

A bundled up me in front of the Four Seasons Hotel as I stand at the entrance to the Chain Bridge.
Secretary of State Clinton sent a letter to Prime Minister Orban expressing concern about the future of democracy in Hungary.  European leaders have also shared their concern with Orban.
The view of the Chain Bridge from our Four Seasons hotel room looking out to old town Buda.
  His reaction has been combative and he has refused any suggestions to stop his apparent take over of Hungary's press and judiciary.  The European Union is equally concerned that he is moving toward a take over of Hungary's Central Bank.
Not only would it be a horrible loss for the Hungarians if they have their rights taken from them, it would be a loss to the world to lose access to the country and Budapest, the "Pearl of the Danube".
Although the view from our room was spectacular, I thought the room decor was a bit too minimally decorated and modern for my personal taste.

We enjoyed both lunch and dinner at the Cafe Pierrot in old town Buda.

Dan having some Hungarian wine and waiting for dinner.
Great Market Hall
The central market located on the Pest side is the city's largest food/groceries market.

Posing in front the St. Mathias Cathedral

The Fisherman's Bastion

The popular Gellert Spa & Baths
Dan at the Heroes Square memorial

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Piano

One of the items on my wishlist for 2012(hopefully before the fall/winter holiday season) is a baby grand piano.  Aside from being a terrific musical instrument, pianos can add grandeur and sophistication to any setting.
Kathleen Burke Design  living room
   I have always wanted a grand piano but since neither Papa Dan or I know how to play(or are patient enough to learn at this point), I couldn't justify buying one since they aren't cheap. Luckily, our little guy shows an interest in learning after seeing his cousin play.
Sue De Chiaras home contemporary living room
We have a few neighbors and friends whom I consider music aficionados who have convinced me that it's never too late to learn for us and that having the instrument in the house will make him feel like it is part of his home and he will not be intimidated to learn when he is old enough to take lessons.
Modern living room with Asian Accents - a third view with Baby Grand piano modern living room
I  love the thought of hosting a cocktail party with guests surrounding the piano playing and signing their favorite tunes.
Family Room contemporary living room
Or, a cabaret theme party where the guests entertain us with their favorite jazz,loung or torch song.
Wolfram-Living Room traditional living room
Of course, I also imagine  my decorating the home for the holidays and family and  friends gathering around the piano to  play and sing carols.
Here is our future pianist approaching the bench in a neighbor's living room.
This is the rear foyer of our home where I plan to replace the center round table with a piano.    The 2 slipper chairs,leather armchair(corner right) and desk(corner left) you see in this space will also be removed to allow for more room.

     What to consider when purchasing a piano (click here)