Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hacienda Series Part I - Hacienda Uayamon in Campeche, Mexico ~ I'm off to Mexico

I am officially off to Merida and Campeche, Mexico this Saturday for an
entire week.  A much needed vacation.  I'm Very excited about the tropical
weather that I'm going to be experiencing.  In the meantime, I wanted to 
share a special Hacienda from the area around Campeche, Mexico with 
you.  Many of you may not realize that the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico
was home to the most number of millionaires in the world at one time.  
Amazingly, they had made their money from what they termed "Green

 What is "green gold?"  Green gold actually refers to henequen which is the
plant material used to make sisal.  Before synthetic material was created to
make rope, henequen was solely used to make rope, rugs and many other
products.  With the onset of synthetic materials to make rope, it pretty
much made henequen (sisal) obsolete.  

During the hey day, all of these wealthy merchants built huge estates and
haciendas littered the Yucatan.  After henequen was no longer used for
rope, their fortunes disappeared and all of these once beautiful haciendas
were abondoned.  In the last 10-15 years, people have been slowly buying
these neglected haciendas up and fixing them up as luxury resorts.  The
funny thing is that the world sisal is not the material itself but the port city
on the Yucatan that was used to export the henequen.  It's the same sisal
you see in rugs today.

This is Hacienda Uayamon in the province of Campeche, Mexico.  

What I think is so striking about this particular Hacienda is that instead of
trying to repair or take down the old ruins, the architect chose to preserve
 some of the ruined architecture and build around it - including this
 fantastic pool.

Very tastefully appointed rooms.

I love the traditional wooden doors.

Doesn't this look romantic?  Notice the stone work on the walls.  Today,
the builders literally use the same building techniques they did 300 years

I love the little dipping pools - sometimes you just want to sit and
dangle your legs to cool down a little without having to go swimming.

Isn't the setting just fantastic?  There aren't many luxury places where you
can still sit among original ruins.  It really is a novel idea to incorporate it
into the existing landscape.

Simply Wonderful.  Can you imagine a wedding here?

Isn't the ambience just fantastic?  Very unique.

I'm on my way to the cities of Campeche and Merida on the Yucatan this
next week so no post next week.  Will definitely take photos and share.

Photos from Hacienda Uayamon and the Kiwi Collection

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Wisconsin Beauty - Gorgeous Colors in an Updated English Country Style

Isn't the curb appeal on this home just out of this world?  The landscaping
and lines of the home are just perfect.  The green of the grass with the
whites of the house together are very soothing to the eye.

The home was designed by Andre Walker and David Simmons of
Walker Simmons Design.  The color palette and the way it is balanced in
this room is just amazing.  How many Chocolate brown and salmon rooms
have you seen lately?  The textures in this room really add another
dimension and coziness to it.  It looks like the perfect room to snuggle up
in on a cold winter day.

All off the dog and horse pictures solidify a theme in the
 room.  It reminds me of an updated English Country style.

There's no rule that you can't mix pattern on pattern.  They
 really pull it off in this bedroom with florals, plaids and more.

The bathroom is very luxruious with traditional bead
boarding paired with high end marble.

What an awesome kitchen with traditional pulls in an updated nickel
color.  I love all of the white against the soothing green on the walls.
The wood floors give the kitchen an organic feel to it.  Simply gorgeous.

What do you think of this updated English Country look?

Photos from Traditional Home

Friday, March 19, 2010

Moroccan Outdoor Flair

I don't know about you, but I absolutely adore Moroccan architecture
and design.  This was a budget patio makeover for a space that
previously looked very bare.  Morocco has this air of mystery and
allure to it.  The makeover is super fun and filled with color.

A lot of the materials were reused vintage pieces or common items
easily purchased at a store that were repurposed.  Add paint and
some fun Moroccan tea glasses and voila!

This little fountain is definitely one of the highlights of the
makeover.  Love the upholstered bench next to it as well.

Here's another home with a patio that has gone with a distinctly Moroccan
 motif.  Moroccan furniture is very unique in its low flat design and fabrics
 that come in a myriad of colors.

Another modern interpretation of Moroccan outdoor
living with colorful lanterns.

I love this very layered and "lived in" look.

The great think about Moroccan decor is that it's
easy to mix textures, fabrics and accessories.

I love what the ownders did with their gazebo.  They
outfitted it with low, streamlined frames and covered
the sitting area with Moroccan mattresses and tons
of throw pillows and throws.  The colors are bright
and fresh. 

Found this fabulous book on Moroccan decor.
For more Moroccan inspiration, this is a fun

In the meantime, spring and summer are just
around the corner.  Hopefully this post has
jumpstarted some ideas for outdoor living.

Photos from HGTV and Domino

Monday, March 15, 2010

Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya - A Fantastic African Safari

If any of you are looking for a unique and fantastic African safari, you don't
need to look any further.  Giraffe Manor on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya
rests on a 140 acre piece of land which includes indigenous forests and a 
giraffe center.   

The manor was built in 1932 and originally modeled after a hunting lodge. 
It was bought in 1974 by a Scottish Earl and his American wife.  When
the Earl passed away, his wife opened up their home to visitors in 1984.
The Earl and his wife founded a giraffe sanctuary and the African Fund for
Endangered Wildlife (AFEW).

There is no where else in the world where one
can literally have breakfast with giraffes.

The entrance to the manor.

What a fantastic fireplace.

The fabric in the rooms really give it a romantic feeling.

What a romantic scene.

The manor definitely has an old world feel to it.

Now that's amazing!

It's a neat and fantast ic place.  I can
tell it would be the trip of a life time.

Photos from Giraffe Manor

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Before & After ~ Bathrooms

I adore before and after images of a space.   They really show the
power of transformation and what can one do with a space though
sheer imagination.  The above bathroom was a very mundane and
outdated bathroom that was totally redone in a clever way with a
skylight and opposing double vanities.  In wall space was very
efficiently used as storage.

Bathroom #2 just totally looks undone.

And Voila!   A gorgeous modern bathroom remade
complete with bead board and architectural details
in the bath tub surround.  Notice how a brilliant
shower curtain can totally transform a bathroom.

This was once a very upscale bathroom - you can tell by
the marble tiles.  However, its days are definitely over.

I love the organic feel of the stone wall in the shower.

This bathroom screams boring track home.

This bathroom however, totally screams custom made
bathroom with a beautiful cottage feel.  What a difference!

A complete Wreck.

And out of the wreck is born a gorgeous unisex
bathroom.  Great for the modern guy or gal.

Hmm.  Probably not to everyone's taste.

White wash it and it becomes a very classy piece.

Wow.  A throw back to the 70's. 
Talk about pink tiles.

And it becomes a classic and traditional bathroom.

Any of you out there thinkign about a bathroom
remodel.  Hope this has given you some inspiration.

Photos from