Archives for posts with tag: interior design

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I received quite the sentimental birthday gift(s) from a gentleman I’d recently met. One of those being a little envelope that said on it: “another one for the blog”. Enclosed was a gift card to the revered and beautiful Coronado Hotel Del Spa. I can’t begin to express how touched I was that this man took the time to not only read my blog, where so many of my personal beliefs can be found, but went out of his way to support my passion by gifting me an experience to reflect upon here. SO thoughtful.

So it began. I booked my service for a Sunday. A Sunday after a very heavy week that needed a little, no, a lot of relaxation and reflecting. I chose to receive the Del Signature Body Scrub, “a skin softening body exfoliation that combines sea salts with a light application of aromatic essential oils that leave your skin nourished, smooth and supple.”

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Seeing as I live in the city this spa is in,  I took the 25 minute drive over to the Coronado Island, parked in the adjacent parking lot, walked around the hotel to the left of the main entrance (I called prior to arriving to ask what the simplest route to the spa was), walked past the souvenir shop, the restaurants, the pool, and that beautiful expanse of ocean, and there tucked away at the end of this walkway was the Salon & Spa.

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I arrived promptly at 3pm where I was greeted by the receptionist who checked me in, then another woman greeted me and showed me to the fairly tight locker/changing room where I slipped into my bikini and put on my robe. I was asked to meet her outside the locker room where she then walked me over to a common area to meet my exfoliator Abe. Abe said hello and walked me to my room where this little experience was to take place.
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While it had stone floors and the walls were also clad in stone, the room still had a warm and zenful feeling to it, aided by the ambient music. I believe this is because scrubs can be somewhat messy so the room needs to be easily cleanable. Before exiting the room, Abe asked that I slip out of my bikini and lie face down first. He came back in and the treatment began. He first put a few dollops of the sea salt scrub along my arms and back, then he lightly rubbed it all over that area, and followed it up with another, more vigorous, scrub. The back of my thighs, calves and feet were the next area he treated. After my backside was done he professionally, and fluidly, had me turn over (he kneeled behind a towel he held up, which he would then lay over me as he rose) and then proceeded to help cover my breasts with another towel so to be able to exfoliate my neck, chest, and stomach. After he treated those areas he proceeded with my thighs, calves and feet. At this point I was in that zen-like trance that just happens during these treatments – and I’m pretty sure he forgot to scrub my left leg, but before I could say something he was asking me to wake out of my daze and head to the Swiss Shower to rinse off. The only way I could tell my leg hadn’t been scrubbed was by touching it, and nope, no sea salt on that left thigh. Oh well.

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Abe walked me to the Swiss Shower that he turned on for me, asked me to rinse off and told me he’d be waiting in the hall with a cup of water. The Swiss Shower has 3 stacked shower heads on 3 different walls along with a handheld showerhead; quite fun if I do say so myself. So I enjoyed this for a little bit, dried off and met Abe in the hall where he walked me back to my room and proceeded to moisturizer my entire body in the same manner he exfoliated. This time he remembered my left leg. 🙂 The treatment concluded with an essential oils neck and shoulder massage that felt delightful. Abe asked if the lighting was okay and told me to take my time leaving the room. After coming back to reality, I walked into the hall where Abe was waiting with water for me again. He showed me to the locker room and mentioned all of the amenities I could take advantage of. And that I did.
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The steam room and jacuzzi were tucked back in some corner of the facility that felt like quite the little gem due to the beautiful and bright ambiance this area had about it, along with a beautiful wall of mosaic tiles. (I’m a sucker for mosaics – and stained glass.) I decided to enjoy some time in the steam room first and then I relaxed And took some time to hang out in the jacuzzi. After drying off I headed into the Relaxation Room across the way; it also being a beautifully bright room where there were my favorite flavored teas, and little bites to eat like almonds, dried berries and even apples. I made some tea and cozied up in one of the chairs where I spent quite a bit of time taking it all in.

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After I was done in the Relaxation Room I walked out to the private infinity pool area to check out how the day was progressing weather wise and then made my way back to the locker room to get back into my clothes and check out.

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All in all it was such a lovely experience. The staff was nice and professional, the facility was clean, I enjoyed the service and amenities and it was everything a spa day should be – relaxing. I really don’t have much feedback for The Hotel Del Spa besides interior design comments like maybe updating some of the light fixtures, changing burnt-out lightbulbs, upgrading artwork and maybe more chic pillows. I tend to have an eye for amelioration. 😉

I feel so grateful to have been able to experience a spa day at such an iconic (and local!) Hotel & Spa. It was much needed and the fact that there was such a considerate gesture behind my ability to be in this moment, made it all the sweeter. If you’re reading this Cowboy, thank you.

Till the next spa experience!

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Owning my own spa and wellness center has always been on my radar, so it’s no coincidence when I stumble upon centers of the like. There are so many routes and niches that you can create when entering into the holistic and pampering industry. So when I discovered The Springs LA on Instagram I was intrigued. It encompasses a few things that I find myself seeking out in separate places – but all under one roof. Yoga, juicing, smoothies, massage, hot stones, and colon hydrotherapy to name a few.

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My roommate and I decided to go on a little weekend getaway to LA for Memorial Day weekend to celebrate her new found freedom as a recent graduate from USD. As the awesome crony she is, she was down for whatever, so I lined us up an adventure filled weekend. And since I had my eye on The Springs LA we were definitely stopping in.

We got into LA on Friday morning, went to the LACMA for the afternoon, then had lunch at The Line Hotel’s Commissary restaurant (a must!) and went out Friday evening to Toca Madera and Ysabel’s. We called it an early night so that we could wake up Saturday morning in time to catch our 9:00am yoga class at The Springs LA. The Springs is located in the arts district of Los Angeles. Perhaps it was because everyone went out of town for the holiday weekend but we found the city to be quite mellow compared to the hustle and bustle we were expecting – it was nice.

Once parked, the gate to the center was rolled open and we walked in and was greeted by an open and sunny space with a Palm Springs meets warehouse feel. Simple and cheerful. We were directed by the juice bar attendant to walk to the back to check into our class. We tucked our items into the cubby holes in the yoga room and began our morning yoga session.

An hour and 15 minutes later we awoke feeling more limber and relaxed. We pursued the items for sale – lots of cute little items such as oils, candles, jewelry and fitness gear. After we walked back toward the front where we purchased a fresh made green juice (Northstar was our choice) and headed out.

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The Springs LA is a really neat concept. With it’s open casual space I can only imagine all of the events that take place within this center, and to add to it, they have a restaurant in the works too. I highly recommend a yoga class and juice if you’re in town. Your first class is free! After that drop ins are only $15. Juices are pricey (about $10), but you can’t put a price on healthy liquid gold like that. 🙂

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Evolution. What a vast concept. It’s hard to even fathom all the faces the “human” has worn. And whats more, where we came from. I am a believer that all we are is star dust combined with an infinite amount of chemical reactions and mating cycles…so I guess that would consider me a bit of a Darwinist. Charles Darwin was an evolutionary biologist who stated that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Which brings me to the topic of this blog post: Biomimicry. 

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Biomimetics is something that fascinates me, and recently I have written two different papers on it. One was its application into the Interior Design industry and the other was the history of it and it’s application into architecture. So with that said, I’d love to inform you about it here.

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Biomimetics is also referred to as biomimicry and bioinspiration. To start with, bio means “life” and mimesis means “to imitate”. The Biomimicry Institute‘s definition is: a new discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. The Wikipedia definition is a tad more scientific, surprisingly: the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes. So basically taking a look at the nanomolecular structure of nature’s most time-tested and successful processes and mimicking them into human designs, be it architecture, materials, systems, products, etc.

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To give a few examples… We look to leaves to show us how to develop solar cells, we study the composition of the grid on a moth’s eye for better light absorption by solar panels, we look to Arctic Poppies to show us how we can make solar panels move with the sun throughout the day and even how we can build houses that rotate with the sun’s pattern.

24 Heliotrope house_final 3000077-poster-640-heliotrop-1Heliotrope House designed by Architect Rolf Disch, in Germany. See article: Heliotrope House via Fast Company

rotating-green-dome-designAnother example of a helitropic house by distributor Solaleya. See video via YouTube

When considering architecture and the ability to self-regulate temperature we can examine how termites, the architects of nature, construct their mounds in order to be a close-looped system where the interior remains at a constant temperature while enabling them to harvest their food (fungi). Pictured below is the comparison of the Eastgate Centre in Zimbabwe designed by architect Mike Pearce and engineers Arup Associates, and a termite mound. See article: Eastgate Centre via Inhabitat

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Another example I see as extremely beneficial in the application of medical facilities is a shark’s skin. A shark’s skin is composed of dermal denticles with longitudinal grooves that not only allow a shark to be swift but ensuring biofoul, like barnacles and algae, not be able to attach themselves to the shark’s surface. This concept can be translated into antimicrobial paints for hospital walls, ship hulls (lessening drag, increasing oil efficiency, lessening global impact), as well as creating more efficient water suits for humans.

Shark SkinAnd the list goes on. I am so excited to see what the future holds for such a promising discipline. Being able to apply such efficient natural engineering into the built environment can only help mankind become more synergistic with the planet’s cycle, ensuring that we create sustainable habitats that lessen our footprint on this beautiful place we call Earth.

Here are two great TEDtalk videos that go more into depth about Biomimicry:

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A stunning Venice home designed by owner Whitney Eve Port. It feels like it would be a bit feminine for the new man (fiance) in her life, but I guess a happy wife is a happy life, right? …Totally my single-girl style though, that’s for sure! I’m all about an abundance of interior sunlight on white walls, with all shades of blues paired with jewel tones and patterns galore, natural woods, sunshine accents and frames frames frames. Check out her place:

via Home Tour: Whitney Port’s Bohemian Venice Loft — Domaine.

Such a cool idea to create a home from airplane scraps. I love the shape it gives the roofline against the horizon and hills. There is a 4 minute long video clip that shows how the pieces were brought to this hillside location (helicopters, shut down roads and all) along with a TON of pictures, inside and out, rooftop balconies to the interior furnishings. You would have to be an heiress in order to actually foot the bill on this one. See Francie Rehwald’s house in the link below:

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Houzz Tour: A Salvaged Airplane Becomes a Soaring Hillside Home.

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I love this article! And I adore the woman who wrote it. She really knows her stuff. There’s something to say for experience. Here she goes over things from color wheel stereotypes to painting room walls dark colors to matchy-matchy furniture.

Feel Free to Break Some Decorating Rules.

With plentiful pictures exampling the techniques that it takes to accomplish solar heating,  in both summer and winter, with just the use of the sun’s rays (no solar panels or such)- this article expounds the ways in which architects are plotting lots and designing windows, walls, and roofs & overhangs, so to effortlessly blend a home into the rhythm of life. It might sound like some things are being repeated, but it can’t be repeated enough until a designer can draft this passive home in their sleep. The man himself and his glorious ways of thinking, Frank Lloyd Wright, are mentioned. Concrete’s benefits are talked about. Shades for the windows are touched upon. And the truth about the insulating properties (“R-value”) of glass-box homes are addressed. Please, read on:

Sunlight Used Right: Modern Home Designs That Harness Solar Power.

If only I had a home to do all of these time-consuming tasks in. One day!

November Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home.

381b2f50460f85b7d991de68289fb49eAbsolutley stunning house. I am so excited to have stumbled upon what was at first a couples dream, that then came to fruition. And not only that, but they are designers! A modern day Charles & Ray Eames if you will. A home built for designers….in what sounds like a neat city! Palermo of Buenos Aires, Argentina is now on my travel Bucket List. Worth looking at the pictures AND reading the interview.

Original Buenos Aires Contemporary/Rustic Designer Home

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Amazing! One of the classes I am taking right now is called “The Contemporary House.” In this class we are learning how to design a unique, conceptual, working floor plan along with an entire house. Within the process of design, as interior design students, our Japanese professor educates us on the actual construction of the house’s foundation, the makeup of the walls, the roof’s construction (which has been a big eye opener on the complexity and depth of work an aesthetically successful house takes), and right down to the construction of kitchen cabinetry.

This post on treeHugger has really hit home with how I tend to think, “Why does it have to be done this way?” …A thinker of “nothing is impossible,” I always like questioning the way things work. So being a Sustainability minor, I have to say, “Goodbye drywall!”

This article shares where drywall began, why it was used (cheap), why we should get rid of drywall and how there are designers and architects who refuse to use it and have created seamlessly beautiful spaces.

How did we end up with drywall? : TreeHugger.