Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Needing, Wanting, Loving: Terrazzo Floors

I've been working on gathering some flooring ideas for various projects at work, and in my research I've rediscovered the beauty of terrazzo.  "Terrazzo" is the Italian word for terrace, and the material was originally invented in the 15th century by workers in Venetia, Italy, who were using discarded pieces of marble to decorate the floors in their own homes.  To smooth out the finish they would rub over them with hand stones, buffing them down to a beautiful, walkable surface.

{photo of Italian stone workers laying out a terrazzo floor}

These days, the terrazzo often used is composed of chips of marble, quartz, granite, and glass that is then poured and mixed with a concrete or resin binder.   Variations of acrylics, latex, polyester, and epoxies are added to create different looks and applications.  Once sealed properly, it is impervious to liquids and doesn't chip away like other stones can- and can last up to 100 years if cared for properly.  Because of the material's durability, it has often been used in commercial, high-traffic areas like schools, airports, hospitals, bars, and restaurants:

Terrazzo seating at the Toki Cafe in Amsterdam:

ASH NYC's creative director, Will Cooper, discovered original terrazzo floors inside the Detroit building the firm was designing that would ultimately become The Siren Hotel.  This inspired him to create his own pattern of terrazzo for the hotel's bathrooms:


Will's line of terrazzo, fittingly dubbed "The Siren" collection, is available for purchase through Balineum UK here:

I am happy to see terrazzo becoming more and more popular as a surface used in residential design projects.  I also noticed while browsing through some of my favorite stone and tile sources online that many offer a range of terrazzo styles and colors, making this a fun element to design with and incorporate.  And who doesn't love something not only beautiful but also durable?

Terrazzo officially got the kiss of celebrity approval after Mandy Moore used it in the renovation of her Pasadena home, featured in Architectural Digest.   Moore worked with architect Emily Farnham and interior designer Sarah Sherman Samuel to redesign the 1950s home with views of the San Gabriel mountains and valley. Mandy gushes, "Terrazzo is a dying art, costly and laborious, but so worth it."  Her guest bathroom floor features custom triangulated brass inlay set in terrazzo:

"Like most aspects of the renovation, the terrazzo treatments were a group effort: Samuel designed the jaunty pattern of triangulated brass inlays in the floor of a guest bathroom, while Farnham obsessed over the specific stone aggregate for the hefty fireplace ledge in the family room" (Architectural Digest):

Terrazzo took the NY design world by storm in 2016 when Sawyer Berson featured a floor of terrazzo in their petit salon at the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse:

And it officially got the designer kiss of approval when Bunny Williams used terrazzo in her own Manhattan apartment kitchen.  Williams was inspired by the terrazzo floor used by Sawyer Berson above:

Bunny worked with Durite to custom design her terrazzo floor.  Here is an image of it laid out at their facility before it was installed in her kitchen:

Here are a few more terrazzo floors I found that are absolute works of art:

White onyx, brass inlay, and terrazzo floor by Mosaique Surface:

Although technically not terrazzo,  I had to share this floor installed by artist Michele Oka Doner at the United States General Administration Center in Laredo, Texas.  Featuring embedded green glass and mother of pearl, the floor is meant to resemble the nearby Rio Grande River and the geography of the area:

Lastly, I will leave you with links to the terrazzo offerings from some of my favorite stone and tile sources:



Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Gene Meyer's Tangier Oasis

Every time someone asks me what my "design style" is, I've noticed my answer seems to change a bit.  I loathe the general "modern", "traditional" or "transitional" categories; they barely convey anything about what someone truly gravitates towards.   However, I do know what makes my heart leap, and sometimes I find it much easier to point someone towards a body of work that I feel exemplifies my style.  For me, that would definitely be Gene Meyer and Frank de Biasi's Tangier abode.  Full of punchy color, relaxed and unpretentious, layered in textiles, sun-drenched, and chock full of contrasting design pieces that somehow harmonize together- this home hits all the high notes for me:

 The two southerners perched in their home's terrace.  Gene, pictured left, is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and Frank hails from Richmond, Virginia, and the leisurely pace of Tangier coupled with the friendliness of the people appealed to them both.  Ever since I left Marrakech, Morocco last November, I've been dreaming of returning ASAP- and this time, Tangier is definitely on the list.  My own dream is to have a home in Morocco one day.  A small niche on the first floor features yellow curtains that appear in this photo to be my favorite color of all, chartreuse, paired with a coral lantern designed by the couple:

{and how adorable is the chintz slipcover on the armless chair? It reminds me of Lee Jofa's Hollyhock.}

The couple found a traditional Tangier home they loved on an open square, but wanted to open it up a bit and allow in more light.  The renovation ultimately took four years (it makes me shudder to think about), and included adding a lightwell based off of one Frank saw in India, replacing a life-threatening staircase with one based off of the Old Fort Bay clubhouse in the Bahamas, and replacing the thin walls.  The room at the base of the stairs pictured below shows how the couple expertly merged relaxed seating with antique furniture to create a happy mix.  

The chintz on the armchairs shown in the foreground above and on the armchair below is 1940s vintage, but it sort of reminds me of a dressed up version of Clarence House's Dahlia:

Portrait paintings hung behind the armchair were done by Gene himself. When the couple discuss their approach to decorating the house, Frank explained that while color comes first for Gene, for him, it's all about form, layout and function.  They took inspiration from various sources, such as the incised plasterwork on Yves Saint Laurent's bedroom ceiling and the fireplace mantel of botanist and writer Umberto Pasti.  

The kitchen is unexpected and cheery in all the best ways. The cabinetry features an inset trellis design while the floors are constructed of reclaimed marble paired with locally-made glazed and unglazed tile.  The sink and fittings are by the Parisian company Volevatch.  The curtains hung under the sink are composed of a vintage Malian fabric:

A color combo to love if I ever saw one:  yellow, coral, and light sea blue/turquoise add charm, especially when paired with framed pressed botanicals by Stuart Thornton:

This photo shows the walkway between the living and dining rooms, divided beautifully by a Mashrabiya screen:

The living room features pink walls that were inspired by a 1940s cottage the couple used to own in Miami, with a frieze of Majolica plates atop spearmint green.  The sofa and slipper side chairs are covered in another fabulous chintz by Cowtan & Tout:

The majolica plate frieze continues in to the dining room, which features straw animal heads found at the local markets above the fireplace.  The dining chairs are Scottish Regency:

The master bedroom features a Portuguese turned rosewood bed with a loosely gathered fabric canopy, and an intricately carved Moroccan screen seen below in the foreground:

Another angle of the master bedroom shows a cluster of Italian Renaissance paintings and a lovely custom slipcover on a side chair:

The love affair for me continues in to the master bath, where I love no stone more than an excessively veined marble.  A Portuguese pendant hangs from the ceiling, while the floors are covered in the most interested mosaic pattern:

The guest room features a striped wallcovering and painted green moulding.   My favorite element is the painted sisal rug.  In a way it reminds me of Marian McEvoy's painted lampshade designs (who also happens to be the queen of the glue-gun):

Like any design project, the charm of the house is largely thanks to the local craftsmen and tradespeople who came together to make Gene and Frank's vision a reality.  Any designer knows it is one thing to envision a design, but quite another to execute it well. 

The roof terrace would be perfect for unwinding at the end of any day, especially with a glass of rose in hand.  Alexander Hoyle helped design Gene and Frank's layout, which feels like a Henry Rousseau painting:

This last photo also happens to be my laptop wallpaper.  Ah, what a fantastic home.  Read the full story about the intricate design process here.

{images and details via Architectural Digest}



Monday, February 10, 2020

Travel Guide: Marrakech, Morocco

I had been dreaming of traveling to Marrakech for a few years before my best friend Sarah and I finally booked our plane tickets about a year ago.  Travel is expensive, and planning a vacation in a spot so far from home was initially a daunting task- but upon returning home and a few months of reflection, I honestly can't believe it took me so long to make this jaunt a priority. 

Sarah and I ultimately started our trip in Istanbul last November, then went to Cairo, Egypt, and finally ended in Morocco.  We were gone for 14 days total and both of us felt that gave us just enough time to see the highlights of these 3 locations.  Sarah is a realtor and I couldn't bear to use all my vacation days on one trip, so we weren't able to stay longer than that- but I'm dying to get back to each spot at some point to dig in and stay a bit longer.  While all three locations were wonderful and exotic in their own special ways, Marrakech was my ultimate favorite.  Today, I wanted to share a little recap of our experience with you and a few things we learned along the way.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Get to Work

Time to get to work!  I recently have been helping a friend redesign his office space, and in the process have discovered so many cool designs from catalog sources- at surprisingly affordable prices.  Want to be a working goddess, a la Audrey Hepburn in "Paris When it Sizzles"?  Whether it be for a home office or not, I've broken down my favorite office pieces in to easy steps below- and all pieces featured here are under $1,000.


Friday, January 17, 2020

Working Out in 2020

The #1 New Years Resolution every year is to lose weight.  Here in NYC, I have noticed my favorite workout classes are much more populated this month- which I actually love.   I find I work out so much harder when I have other people around me to keep me motivated.   Any step towards a healthier lifestyle is something to be proud of- even if the progress is slow and steady.   Don't underestimate the power of even small changes, like going for a walk after dinner or making a doing some squats during your favorite TV show.  I feel like over time, the small changes can snowball in to real results- at least, that's how it's gone in my own life.  Once I start seeing an improvement in my endurance and body, that in turn motivates me to keep at it.

{A Barry's Bootcamp studio - I love the moodier red lighting over typical gym harsh bright light}

In 2019, I discovered Barry's Bootcamp and have been addicted for the last 7 months.  I never considered myself a "runner", or someone who could even stay on a treadmill and jog for more than a mile.  Barry's combines treadmill work with strength work on the floor in 2 or 3 rounds each class- aka high-intensity interval training ("HIIT").  The instructors guide you throughout the entire workout, and it's impossible to leave the class without breaking an intense sweat.  While on the treadmill, you are either jogging, at a running pace, a sprint, or recovering with a walk.  My goal for the end of 2019 was to get to a consistent 10.0 mph sprint pace at Barry's.  For 2020, my goal is to increase my sprint to 11.0 mph, but ALSO to remain at the higher end of the speed ranges for the other parts of the class (jogging, running, pushing).  Seeing myself improve and get stronger in Barry's is very satisfying, because I have always just assumed I'd never be "a runner."  I highly recommend anyone try a Barry's class.  

{Barry's UES locker rooms selfie, since the taking of this photo I have started carrying my S'well bottle}

My other goal for 2020 is to incorporate a more regular yoga practice.  I naturally gravitate towards intense cardio or weight-lifting workouts, but this year I want to make sure I also take care of my body by adequetly stretching and increasing flexibility.  I have tried Lyon's Den yoga and Y7 yoga here in the city, and adore both.  If you're a New Yorker, let me know if there's a yoga studio you absolutely love so I can check it out.

Today I also thought I would share some of the workout gear I love.  Obviously, it never hurts to have cute althleisure when you hit the gym.  My favorite buy of 2019 was this leopard set I purchased from Carbon 38- Beach Riot Piper leggings + Piper Twisted Top:

{this leopard sports bra option is a bit less expensive}

Shop My Work Out Favorites:

1.) S'well 25-oz Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle, $45 (these designs are cute, too!)

I don't know what took me so long to finally invest in one of these insulated water bottles- but honestly, it's probably my favorite gym-related purchase of all.  It really does keep your water extremely cold for up to 24 hours (and hot liquids up to 12 hours) and produces zero condensation.  Plus, carrying a plastic water bottle is so demode.

2.) FitBit Inspire HR Fitness Tracker, $79.95 (normally $99.95, currently $20 off at Best Buy) 

3.) Carbon 38 Ribbed Cami Tank Top in Powder Blue, $78/ matching leggings, $98

4.) The Laundress Sport Detergent, $19

I swear by this stuff.  With nice gym clothes, also remember to hang dry.  If I get home and can't immediately wash my sweaty gym stuff (there's a washer/dryer in my building's basement but sometimes another resident has it occupied), I actually throw it in the freezer for a few hours.  Sounds bizarre, I know, but it temporarily takes away the disgusting smell until you can get to laundry...

5.) Cable Long Sleeved Long Crop Top, $69

6.) Melany Sherpa Cropped Hoodie, $178/

7.) MZ Wallace Quilted Large Metro Tote, $235/

My absolute favorite bag of all time- I actually carry this as both my work tote and my workout bag.  It fits SO much, and the shoulder strap is soft enough that it doesn't chafe your shoulder.  I've had the same one for over 2 years now, so it's also highly durable.

8.)Nike Pegasus Running Shoes, $120

I'm a Nike girl through and through, and I love the pegasus running shoe. PS- if you haven't read the Nike founder's autobiography "Shoe Dog", it's worth a read.

FYI, these are my absolute favorite socks for spin + running.

9.) Free People FP Movement Tie Dye Leggings, $88

10.) The LuluLemon 5 mm Reversible Yoga Mat, $78

Top 3 Favorite Group Fitness Classes (in NYC and other cities):

I do all three of these workouts regularly.  Typically, Soul Cycle 1-2 times a week and Barry's 3-4 times a week.  Then, I'll sprinkle in a Pure Barre once every few weeks.  This year, I'd like to try and incorporate more yoga classes as I mentioned above.

Soul Cycle (favorite instructors:  Conor, Karyn, Stacey)

Other Studios I Love (in NYC):

Want to Try this Year in 2020:

Tracy Anderson Method (heard the moves are so wack-o, but I'm very curious)
Rumble Boxing

Am I missing anything good?  Have you tried any of the workouts above?  Have any fitness-related goals for 2020?

Let me know!



Thursday, January 9, 2020

Sam Loves: 32

New decade, new me?  Doubtful- but that's okay, because things last decade weren't too bad.  I ended the year in Miami Beach with three friends ringing in the new year at the W Hotel:

My blue dress was 32 bucks from Fashion Nova, my silver heels were 10 years old from Gianni Bini (I found some similar ones here), but I did splurge and get my makeup done by the Glam Squad.  I can't rave enough about them- have you guys ever used their services for hair or makeup?  They come to your apartment or hotel with all the tools and you book through their app.  I've used them multiple times over the past 3 years and never had a bad experience.  If you want to try them, you can use my link here to get $25 off  your first appointment.  I got paired with Yasmin Barroso in Miami and I was very happy with the results.

Now that I am back in NYC and it's officially the beginning of 2020, I'm loving faux furs, soft palettes, and delicate colors right now:


1.) My favorite soft white blanket- I sleep with it every night.  $70 (with code SAVEMORE at checkout)

2.) Adoring every detail of Bunny Williams & John Rosselli's new apartment, as featured in Architectural Digest.  Especially the chaise lounge pictured above covered in a Clarence House chintz.

3.) Adoring this quote.

4.) Anna Crossbody Bag, $68 (also love this).

5.) Madewell Acrylic Shape Stack Earrings, $32

6.) Adore Jeanette Friis Madsen in this monochromatic sweatshirt/pencil skirt combo at NYFW last fall. - Style du Monde

7.) Steve Madden Rookie Bootie in Bone Croco, $101.95

8.) Roxy Faur Fur Cowl Scarf, $39.95 (this is cute, too!)

Anthropolgoie is currently offering 25% off all home decor, bedding, and bath.  Loving this, this, and this.  

Happy New Year!



Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Shelf Love

With winter comes a desire to nest, chill, relax, read, and basically slow down in general.  Slowing down isn't really in my vocabulary and honestly most days I have no idea how to.  I prefer things that way- hectic, busy, fun, chock full of events where memories can be made.  So, it's no surprise I sometimes dread this time of year.  Does anyone really enjoy the sun setting at 4:30 pm (p.s.- I love this meme).  However, I've done enough "inner work" this year (said with a smirk) to know resistance of any kind is futile- it's much more charming to let things come, adapt, and flow with them.  So, I'm doing all things within my power to bring out my inner *chill* goddess and slowwww down.  First up is adding to my reading list.  I do love the feeling of being enthralled by a story I simply cannot put down, so I highly recommend this book and this book (I recently finished both).  I want to read this next. If you have any good recommendations, please let me know.  In the meantime, I thought sharing some gorgeous bookshelves felt very much in the spirit of coziness.  Whether it's a small built-in that feels like an afterthought, a perfectly proportioned centerpiece of a room, or simply a free-standing piece filled to the brim, I rarely see a shelf I couldn't love:

Something about artist Wayne Pete's shelves filled haphazardly feels so charming to me.  Especially with barely any space left for the AC unit, this is a quintessential Brooklyn creative's studio.

I also want to pay homage to the book stack- perhaps not as practical as displaying books on a shelf, it still is a fun way to decorate a room and I myself have several stacks of books in my own apartment:

One of the many stacks in my apartment:

Happy Wintering,


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