Tag Archives: interior

Le Bristol Hotel


A child of the 90s I grew up with this fantasy of Paris I found in movies. The hotel suite that perfectly frames the Eiffel Tower in its windows, bouquets of flowers and white walled gardens where fluffy white cats come to lay in the sun before evenings in little chic black dresses and dinners where each course comes with a wine pairing. I found that glamorous Paris I so long ago dreamed about at Le Bristol Hotel.

I have been lucky enough to find myself in Paris quite often, and from time to time I can be caught in a daydream of what it would be like to live in this city that captures my soul. When I come to Paris I mostly just take my camera and walk. Walk for days. It never gets old to me, I never run out of things to photograph or be inspired by. Never, not even when I stayed in the most lovely apartment, have I desired to “stay in”… that is until I stayed at the Le Bristol. Already as I write this at Charles De Gaulle airport the memory of our suite feels more like lying half awake in a garden day dreaming all afternoon.

There is not a single detail of this hotel, which opened in 1925 in the heart of Paris’s fashion district, that isn’t wonderfully glamorous and idyllically French. From the dazzling array of chandeliers to the 18th century Toile de Jouy decor, it is unapologetically luxurious. It’s no wonder it attracts the stylish clientele to match from movie stars to entertainers and (to my pleasure) fashion photographers. It even had a place in Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris.

During World War II the Hotel Le Bristol became the American Embassy and even harbored a Jewish architect who would later design the stunning glass and wrought-iron elevator I described as what it must feel like to travel inside a diamond

Of course they have a beautiful spa, wonderfully opulent bars and restaurants tucked here and there around the hotel corridors, but it was what we discovered on the 6th floor that really took our breath away. A pool designed in the likeness of a large sailboat as imagined by Professor Pinnau, who most notably designed the yachts for the Onassis family, wrapped in walls of windows with sweeping views of Paris and most beautifully, Sacre Coeur. While the pool was a popular spot in the afternoons, it was early in the morning alone with the sunrise I found it to be one of the most peaceful places in Paris.

But perhaps the most surprising feature of this incredible hotel are the two fluffy white cats that live amongst the marble and roses. There is nothing more charming than having afternoon tea in the hotel’s garden with company of a furry little friend at your feet.

90 years after her opening here she stands, a lovely as ever….

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Palihouse in Santa Monica, California

While out in California shooting the NYDJ experience we took up residence at Palihouse in Santa Monica. This charming, historic 1927 boutique beach lodge was the perfect home away from home. Every morning we had fresh squeezed orange juice on the terrace and did work emails cozied up by the fire. One of the main reasons I chose this hotel, aside from my deep love for historic properties, was it’s location. The beach, third street promenade, farmer’s market and Santa Monica pier were all walkable. Many times we borrowed the hotel’s bikes to cruise up and down the beach or pop over to Venice for dinner. Our room was more like an apartment than traditional hotel room — we had a living area, two walk in closets and a kitchen which made the extended stay very relaxing.

Palihouse in Santa Monica, California Palihouse in Santa Monica, California (more…)

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Coco Chanel’s Apartment

A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris

It’s hard to imagine walking in the footsteps of a legend… but on this most recent trip to Paris that is exactly where I found myself.  31 Rue Cambon, tucked away on a narrow street is the building Gabrielle Chanel (Coco) purchased in the 1920’s to house her incredibly successful fashion business. The levels of the building are still maintained today as Coco had originally set them up- a shop on the ground floor, haute couture studio on the 1st and her apartment on the 2nd. Walking up the original mirrored staircase was a surreal experience, like being in a toy music box or on a merry-go-round, light reflecting and your angle of perception always on the move. I sat on the infamous 5th step, the number five ever present and repeating itself within her house as she believed it to be a lucky number, and looked at the view Coco herself did so many times. From that angle of mirrored walls you can see how the dress would look on a model at every turn and you could also see the client’s reactions to the collection on the floor below without them being able to see you. Being in the house the day before Chanel’s extravagant spring show allowed me to slip into the fantasy even more, standing on that staircase seeing the models in fittings, running up and down the stairs and all the while watching them in a million reflections, reflections that have not changed in decades.

I found myself throughly surprised when I pushed open the mirrored door to her apartment – the first impression was “ornate oriental”. All of the rooms of Coco’s apartment were lined in 18th century oriental screens in a wallpaper-like fashion. Having been known to hate doors, she had the wooden wall panels cut seamlessly so when closed you would not know a door was there, like a hidden passageway. In the salon she used freestanding screens to obscure the entrance and exists of the room, leaving your eye to seamlessly wonder around and around at her very personal collections.

I was taken by how personal everything was in the space. Either chosen by Coco herself or as a personal gift, there was nothing in place without a story. The side tables – Coco had the marble replaced with black lacquered surfaces (sound like Chanel? yes.). The lions everywhere? Coco was a leo and surrounded herself with her astrological sign. The amazing chandelier in the salon bears both the number 5 and the iconic double crossing C’s. A dinner table for six? Coco preferred later in life more intimate dinner parties with the focus on stimulating conversation, conversations that would be happening with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Marlene Dietrich. She would pick up pieces from all over and mixing high and low without a bother to monetary value surrounding herself in things that meant something to her. On the side table of the salon sat one frog with his mouth open and inside was a piece of crystal. I asked our host why it was there and she said one of Chanel’s more famous guests accidentally broke a crystal off the chandler and hoping Coco would not see, hid the piece in the frog’s mouth… but, Coco did see to which she replied to the guest was a more fitting place for it after all.

My favorite piece in her apartment are the gifts from the Duke of Westminster- silver trinket boxes that sit on the salon’s coffee table and don’t reveal their true value until one opens it and it’s golden interior radiates so bright it feels like a piece of the sun. Coco said after receiving these lavish gifts that this was TRUE luxury: the most valuable aspect hidden from the public eye. This is what inspired her to make fur jackets “inside out”, with the softest part only for you.

She took inspiration from her home– the shape of the mirror in the entryway is the shape of the bottle of Chanel No. 5 as well as the face of many Chanel watches. On the oriental screens lining the walls motifs of camellias danced- another iconic symbol of CHANEL. Most notably, she created her famous quilted bag from the pillows on her 1920’s custom made suede couch. It is quite obvious Coco Chanel had a vision of personal taste, which she let influence her work in the most organic way possible and to that I find her immensely fascinating for she taught me style is everywhere, you just have to see it.

Now imagine this – the owner of this apartment, a woman who set the tone of style for decades, the creator of a fashion house that bears her name and is still so relevant and esteemed today was once just a little girl growing up in poverty simply as Gabrielle…

A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris    A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris    A tour of Gabrielle Coco Chanel’s Apartment  at 31 Rue Cambone Paris


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Charleston's newest popular resturant HUSK.

Talk about COMFORT FOOD. Husk is Charleston’s perfect combination of modern day sophistication and down-home goodness. The second you walk onto the double-front porch and feel the coziness of being home, it’s like the whole experience has you wrapped in a cashmere blanket. The board on the foyer wall lists all the local farms, fishermen, growers who supply your food. It feels like one big Southern family here with roots that extend for generations. On the drink menu they serve things like cider made from the same recipe as its creation 100 years ago  or house-made soda concoctions and old classics like Cheerwine Soda from Salisbury, NC, the old soft drink company still run by the same family. With a menu that changes twice daily, it’s so hard to decide what to order! As far as the classics on the menu go, I’m always a sucker for southern catfish, which is outstanding here, but word has it they are the best burger in town. So add it to your must-eats list and feel free to take me with you when you go….

PS- the pig ear lettuce wraps are DELICIOUS, the selection of Madeira wine is fantastic, and their pimento cheese crostini haunt my dreams…

Charleston's newest popular resturant HUSK. Charleston's newest popular resturant HUSK. Charleston's newest popular resturant HUSK. (more…)

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