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Monthly Archives: September 2012

I saw marble everywhere.

Surfers taking advantage of the big waves after a rain storm.

Beach club in Marina di Pietrasanta before sunrise.

A sidewalk made of marble.

View of the sun rising from the Forte dei Marmi pier.

Delicious branzino at Pinocchio a Pietrasanta.

Michelangelo slept here.

 Fresco.

The pretty piazza in Pietrasanta.

Botero cat.

Botero exhibit.

I haven’t spent that much time in Tuscany.  I’ve been to Florence, Siena, and the tiny town of Terriciola which isn’t too far from Pisa.

I was going to stay in Rome for my birthday.  However, the horrendous heat, the fact that 99 percent of my friends were gone for Ferragosto, and dealing with screaming drunk American college students and loud high school Italian teenagers on my street pushed me over the edge.  I booked a trip out of town.

My friend Michelle, who lives in Milan, told me about Versilia.  Her husband happened to be in the area that weekend. He was dropping off their young son who was going to stay at his great aunt’s house.  He showed me around Versilia.

I don’t know if it was escaping from the heat or what but I fell in love with this part of the Tuscan coast.  Sometimes referred to as the Tuscan Riviera, Versilia is in the Northwest part of Tuscany.

I stayed in the town of Marina di Piestrasanta. I had no idea I was so close to the Forte dei Marmi border.  The two towns share a great park filled with pines trees.  The smell was glorious.

Marina di Piestrasanta was a little more laid back.  Forte dei Marmi reminded me of the Hamptons/Martha’s Vineyard.

There were all these super chic people on their bicycles whose families have been going to the area for decades.  Then you’d turn a corner and see a Veline/showgirl with massive fake breasts, injected duck lips, and a much older man on her arm.  As with the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard, the new money is pushing up the price of real estate sky high.  Many locals worry about losing stores like a butcher shop or pasty shop to another high-end clothing store.

FDM has become very popular with wealthy Russians.  Most of the real estate offices had signs in Italian and Russian.

I know this is going to sound nuts, but it was so weird not to see any Americans or hear English.  Yes, I live in Italy, but Rome has a lot of tourists and American expats.  All the tourists in my hotel were Italian or German. There wasn’t a single flip-flop girl sighting the whole weekend. I wonder why that is.

Above Marina di Piestrasanta is the hill town of Pietrasanta.  This small town was packed with art.  The famous artist Botero has been going to Pietrasanta for thirty years and has a home in town.  To celebrate his 80th birthday, there was a large (and free) exhibition of his work.

Versilia has been popular with artists for centuries. Michelangelo stayed in Pietrasanta.  What looks like snow on the Apuan Alps is actually marble.

On my next trip I would like to visit one of the marble quarries.  Speaking of marble, some of the SIDEWALKS in Forte dei Marmi were made from the expensive material.

I’m definitely spoiled by Caribbean beaches.  It’s strange that I would love to have a place in the area but I probably wouldn’t join a beach club.  I loved the beach town vibe but didn’t love the beaches.

People were very friendly and the food was delicious. I drank a lot of Franciacorta.

Overall, I had a great birthday weekend.  I had one moment of, “everyone is here is with someone or their family, and I’m alone” but it passed pretty quickly.   I think it helped to be surrounded by so much beauty, delicious food, and the sea.

The night of my birthday I went to the Principe Hotel roof bar for a glass of Franciacorta after dinner.  The views were stupendous.  I believe the views were the reason my glass of wine was double the price of what I paid at dinner even though it was from the same vineyard.

That’s okay, as the kids would say YOLO, you only live once.

Last week I was hired to decorate an apartment in Rome.

This is my first project in Italy.  I’m excited but also a little terrified.  Now I must speak and work in Italian.  While many vendors speak English, there are quite a few people I’m working with on this apartment, like the contractor, who do not.

I need get over my fear of communicating in Italian and just do it.

The décor is going to be understated Hollywood Regency based on our consultation and the pieces my client already owns.  I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it just means that some of the over the top elements of the style will be toned down.  Sometimes, one can have too many mirrored surfaces!

The bones of this large apartment are absolutely stunning, as is the terrace. The layout is more formal than the other projects I’m working on.

I tend to use strong colors as accents, not on the walls, so some of the rooms will push me out of my comfort zone which is a good thing. After all, it’s not my apartment, it’s the client’s.  I want my client to have a home that they love and that reflects their personality.

Due the nature of my client’s work, I won’t be able to publish photos of their apartment.

However, I have started an inspiration board, which is HERE.

The weather is getting cooler.  Soon it will be time for me to switch out my summer clothes for my fall/winter clothes.

My winter wardrobe is non existent after living in Los Angeles for ten years.  One, it doesn’t get that cold in L.A., two it’s a much more casual place than New York or Rome.

I am slowing adding pieces to my wardrobe.  No more fast fashion.  It looks like crap on me and never lasts.  No more impulse buys.  I can’t afford to spend what little funds I’ve budgeted for clothing on items that sit in my closet because I wasn’t sure what I was thinking when I bought them.  No more buying items that are just okay.  I have to love the fit, the color, the style, everything.  I don’t care if it’s a simple t-shirt or a leather bag.  If I’m not swooning, it stays on the hanger.

There are so many things I want. What I need however, are tops and dresses.

Jules Dress – J. Crew

Tie Neck Top – J. Crew

Victoria Beckham AW10

I’m a big J. Crew fan.  I haven’t had much luck with their dresses.  They tend to be too small for me in the chest area, but I have found some great blouses and sweaters.

I adore the simple Jules dress.  It could be casual or dressy depending on the accessories.

You can’t go wrong with a classic white blouse.

The neckline on the Beckham dress is AMAZING.  I couldn’t find of a photo of it in the graphite color, which is the color I would buy.  It’s a pity I can’t afford it.  I will have to appreciate this dress from afar.

I have seen so many photos of this desk in various shelter magazines.  It’s been used in very high-end rooms and in rooms decorated on a budget.  Most pieces of furniture are not that versatile.

It’s the perfect size for a small apartment or an office. I also love the idea of using it in a foyer.

The lines are modern but the West Elm’s Parson desk works for variety of décors.

It’s simple and it’s stylish.  I’m a big fan.

Image Armonia Décors

Icons of Design at Millennium Tower

Loeffler Randall living room. Domino Magazine, September 2006

Before David Fincher was an A-list Hollywood film director, he directed many iconic videos.

“Vogue” is one of my favorites.

Last night was Vogue’s Fashion Night Out in Rome.  Once again, I went with my partner in fashion/art crime.  It was cold and rainy but the streets were still packed.

We had a great night, ending with an impromptu belated birthday drink at Hotel de Russie.   I really need to write a post about that bar.

Buon weekend a tutti!

At some point I will post about my first trip to the Tuscan coast. It’s been a little bananas during the last two weeks.  Summer is really over.

There were bikes all over Marina di Pietrasanta.  It’s very bike friendly.  My hotel had bikes but because I haven’t been on one in ages, I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

However, next summer I plan to rent a place somewhere in the area, so I better get over my bike issues.

I love the simplicity of this bike.  Excellent form and function.

Bike, Marina di Piestrasanta

These bikes have too much going on.  What’s with the fur?  Of course they were located in Forte dei Marmi.

Fancy bikes, Forte dei Marmi

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