Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Fabulous Restoration Hardware Store in Chicago

What a treat for the eyes!  It is so refreshing to see a retailer take risks today. Congratulations Restoration Hardware.  This retail concept  makes retail an exciting business again. The new store in Chicago features the first sit down restaurant in their new concept stores, along with the introduction of the  first modern furniture floor .

The beautiful old historic building that was saved from ruin by Restoration Hardware. It was  once home to an art school for budding female artists.


 The entry with the aged mirror inside the arches with the grand chandelier reflecting in the glass.


Beautiful old zinc  window elements forming a mirror over the modern sofa.

 Lots of oversized coffee tables with simple accessories.

Lot's  of oversized mirrors with great impact.

Gracious old stone fireplace filled with burning candles- so romantic.

A series of three halo chandeliers- stunning.
I was so inspired that I ordered one of these promptly upon returning home!

Over sized accessories for the oversized coffee tables.

I am in love with this new honed marble dining room table. 


A bath on the modern floor.

 What a cool concept for kids.

The view from the second floor into the beautiful restaurant.

 Restaurants ceiling- even on a gloomy Chicago day- it is pretty!



The wine bar banquette- wow!

Notice the large slab of rock on the steel trestle- used as a wine bar.

And by the way- the food was divine!

The beautiful coffee bar with it's aged mirror backdrop and brass towers
 full of hotel silver and crystal..

Gray walls, white marble and brass accents- pure magic!
If you live in Chicago, this is a must see!  There's valet parking right in front of the store, so there's no hassle with finding parking on the street.  Plan on spending some quality time enjoying the wonderful architecture of this wonderful old building and for sure- have lunch in the amazing restaurant!   You will walk out inspired and refreshed from this shopping experience.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Western North Carolina- Our New Home

I have just returned from a month in Asheville, North Carolina.  We have finally broken ground on our new home in the Western North Carolina mountains. I have spent the last month working with the builder and architect fine tuning the house plans.  While there, I was able to visit some new parts of the area.

 I am in awe of the natural beauty of that part of our county. 

Saluda River on my friend Jill and Barry's golf course in the Cliffs, Mountain Park.

Apple harvest time in Hendersonville County, NC.

A beautiful purple berry shrub growing on the goat farm where we stayed in Flat Rock, NC

The sky at dusk.

Our buddies for the month.

Sky at dusk.

River in Chimney Rock, NC

Chimney Rock

Lake Lure

Lake Lure

Bridge entering Lake Lure

Gardens on the bridge in Lake Lure

Rose at the Biltmore

Bees galore- so much honey harvested in this area.  Almost every farm stand sells a different one.

Time for dinner.  Where are those apples?

Leaves just starting to change.

Biltmore rose garden.
Signs of fall were abundant-

Absolutely perfect cabbage- abundant this time of year. 

Pumpkin Head mechanic fixing the truck!

Tons of gourds and pumpkins at the farmers markets.

And finally- here is our little piece of heaven on the French Broad River.
Spectacular view of the river

Down by the river in the river park.

For better - constantly seeing wild turkeys in flight and bald eagles

Or for worse- snake in the river while we were wading!!!

Finally to our property, where our builder had left us a map showing us the
pins for the footprint of our new home!

All of the pink flags mark the outside corners of the house!

The land has been cleared to fit the footprint of the house on it, but more of the smaller trees will be removed after construction, so that a complete view of the river is seen.

The view from the decks in the back of the house.  Our very own built in water feature!
Our goal is to have this house complete by Christmas 2016.    I spent much of the last month, trying to get the cost of the house down to our budget.  My goal   was to reduce costs while adding better and improved design features.  My friend Jill and I are building our very similar  dream homes at the same time, which is a huge advantage. Being able to  compare our budgets has allowed us to maximize design and eliminate costs.   I have managed to reduce the cost of the home by 20%, and in the process  have improved the materials and design.  For example, both Jill and I want antique wide plank flooring for much of our living spaces.  Through searching and visiting many sources, we have managed to go from $18 a square foot antique "look" floor to actually using real antique oak floors at $8.25 a square foot.  All we had to do is follow a few leads and drive 20 miles out into the mountains of North Carolina!  I will share these design elements and sources with you as we go through the building process.