Falling in love is all about fateful timing: being in the right place at the right time.
Like most native New Englanders, I suspect, I’ve always enjoyed visiting Kennebunkport in the summer. (Warm days and fresh lobster on the Maine coast — how can you not swoon?) But as anyone in a relationship can tell you, it’s during life’s little storms – not under its fair skies – when love really reveals itself. Kennebunkport was walloped with a winter storm this Valentine’s Day, while me and my other-half were celebrating with an off-season weekend getaway. It could have been a disaster — but as fate would have it, it was just what we needed: a reason to slow down and soak in the sweet charm of a quintessential New England resort town. The place has a lot of heart.
If you haven’t bothered to visit Kennebunkport in its quieter season, now’s a good time. (In fact, during the weekend of Friday, March 13, the town is hosting a series of “Valentine’s Do-Over” promotions and events. More on that momentarily.) Kennebunkport in the off-season is quiet — very quiet. That’s part of the appeal, of course, though we didn’t expect it would be entering such serious hibernation mode when we checked in to the Kennebunkport Inn on Friday, February 13. As unluckiness would have it, a major winter storm – predicted to dump about two feet of snow amid hurricane-strength winds – was swiftly moving in, scheduled to hit Saturday night. The inn was ready to receive overnight lovebirds: a sparkling red “Valentine’s” tree (more tasteful than it sounds) glowed in the parlor, and a stack of souvenir pins reading “Love KPT” awaited at check-in. But several guests had already cancelled their stay, said the front desk clerk as she processed our arrival; hopefully, she added, we won’t lose power.
The good news was: if there was a place to be snowed in – it was here. The Kennebunkport Inn is part of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, a portfolio of properties with distinct identities but a common, contemporary sheen that runs throughout. The Kennebunkport Inn is housed in a stately, rambling structure built in the 1890s but recently renovated. Our room – 214, perhaps not coincidentally for a Valentine’s getaway – had a casual elegance, as though Ralph Lauren had signed on board for an HGTV-aired interiors makeover show.
A vibrant palette of reds, white and blues made it a warm and welcoming space to nest after a filling dinner at One Dock, the inn’s restaurant and lounge housed in what feels like an ample living room. We dug in to contemporary American plates of mussels, bourbon-glazed pork belly and red wine-braised short ribs as a fireplace flickered to one side and a pianist tickled ivories to the other. After fighting Friday evening traffic out of Boston, this is just the right way to unwind.
Winter might be overstaying its welcome, but at least that allows for extended opportunity to enjoy some of New England’s snow-filled fun — and the Kennebunkport Inn can help guests make arrangements for everything from snowshoeing to sleigh rides. With a blizzard about to bear down, we weren’t in the position to take advantage. But there’s plenty to do and see even while keeping it low-key, from ducking into adorable art galleries and shops that line Dock Square (check out Minka and Abacus in particular for art, fashion accessories and gifts) to taking a sip from the area’s craft brew scene: upstairs from the Kennebunkport Brewing Company is Federal Jack’s, a casual neighborhood eatery for grabbing topnotch chowder and clam rolls alongside a pint of suds. Afterwards we took a quick drive to neighboring Kennebunk for treatments at The Spa at River’s Edge. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a spa snob, but I indulge often enough to offer strong context — and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my facial was one of the best I’ve had, period, in or outside of Boston’s higher-end Back Bay spots. (And at a predictably lower price point too, even if you add on the extra eye treatment. You should, by the way.)
By the time we slipped out of our robes and back into street clothes, the storm was starting to pick up the pace. So it was back to the Inn for a quick sip of bubbly before our dinner reservations at David’s KPT, the sleek, modern American at sibling property The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel, just across the Dock Square.
The three-minute trudge through swirling snowflakes was just long enough for a laugh before battening down in the window-lined riverside dining room that bustled with cocktailing couples (younger, compared to some of the other restaurants) for the standout meal of the weekend. The New England-inspired fare included a tender filet mignon with a perfect cauliflower-parmesan mash, skewers of citrus- and truffle-inflected shrimp and scallops, and plenty of fresh oysters from the raw bar. Outside the window, inches accumulated on a docked ship; it looked like something phantom Arctic pirates might hijack. But inside we were warm, rosy from wine and five years of Valentine’s Days. We hadn’t been counting on this interfering snowstorm, but in a world of constant digital connection – buzzing phones, rapidly refilling email inboxes – we were suddenly grateful for Mother Nature imposing upon us a moment to stop, slow down, and appreciate what was right in front of us. The timing was just right, and I found myself in love with Kennebunkport in a whole new way.
Visit DestinationKennebunkport.com to check out winter packages and special rates. Try to make it up for the “Valentine’s Do-Over” weekend on March 13-14, which also coincides with Maine Restaurant Week.
When possible I generally stop for any piece of furniture I see on the side of the road. The only time I really force myself to keep driving is if I don’t have time, or the piece won’t fit in my car. My rule of thumb has nothing to do with illegal driving methods because rules behind the wheel don’t apply to Bostonians. With that being said, this piece actually came from inside the dumpster at my apartment – so there was no “flipping a bitch” on Dorchester Ave into oncoming traffic or considerately double parking on Boylston during morning rush hour, for a piece of furniture.
I found this in the filthy basement of my 100 plus year old apartment. It was lying on the ground next to the foundation where water often seeped through the cracks in a pile of dirt. The size and weight of the “shelf” intrigued me, it was quite thick and on the heavier side which led me to believe it was older. After perusing the Anthropologie website and coming across brackets I loved but would never pay for, this was the inspiration to replicate a similar bracket for less than half the cost.
Fashion & design powerhouse Hermes is gettin’ bizzay: through the 22nd of November they are teaming up with some well-known contemporary Dee-zigners to produce ‘Petit h’, a line of accessories, gifts, and just plain coolness made from leftover materials.
Here’s to making recycling even greater than it already was. Hippy never sounded sooooooo good.
Imagine coming home every single evening and casting your gaze upon this sucker in your dining room? Well one lucky couple in Munich can, and does. Suspended 25 feet in the air is a 12 foot amoebic creation designed by legendary lighting designer, Ingo Maurer. He calls it a Biotope.
Incidentally, a Biotope is an actual thang: a contemporary combination of the Greek terms Bio, for life. and Topos, for Place. In short, it’s a fancy word for habitat, and quite frankly, we should all start thinking more about our own Biotopes. Seriously, bitches.
Maurer was commissioned to create and design this masterpiece to illuminate and act as a sound barrier in a dining room whose previous life was a 19th Century chapel. He describes it as a ‘hybrid lighting and acoustical devise.’
In order to satisfy the ‘sound deadening’ challenge, he came up with quite the ingenious usage of sponges; yes, sponges. Farmed of course, because that’s what responsible Biotope developers would do. Each sponge was then sprayed with a specially formulated green pigment. L.E.D lamps, along with an integrated sound system are hidden throughout the structure. If Bach composed a Katydid Concerto in D Minor, this chandelier would have it on repeat.
But it gets better: Maurer wanted “something artificial, something abstract” so his team of Creatives set forth to locate a Californian artist who makes insect replicas. Adding delicate butterflies, dragonflies & insects, this light fixture takes on a world of its own.
Breathtakingly brilliant. A Home Tree for the rest of us.
I call it as I see it: genius.
I have an addiction and it involves electricity. It runs neck and neck with a similar addiction I have that involves shoes. But I like to refer to that as my ‘Sculptural Collection of Footwear’ on prominent display in my closet. I open it to the public twice a year and I do charge an admission.
This electrical addiction I have consists of collecting sources of light. Lamps, chandeliers, hanging pendants, etc. I refer to that collection as my ‘Sculptural Collection of Illumination’ and it is on display though out my office, client projects etc. Eventually you have to come out of the closet.
Here is a look at what I would eventually like to curate for a show I would title: Dine-O-Mite: Lighting It Up, Like.
If the Boston Design Community can be proud of one single accomplishment, it is the ingenious talents and multiple successes of Interior Designer Frank Roop.
This Thursday evening, Neiman Marcus is hosting the launch party celebration of Mr. Roop’s book, The New Bespoke. Not only is it an absolute honor to be invited to an event supporting such an amazing Designer, it also happens to be Fashion’s Night Out. What better way to spend a Thursday evening? I can think of no other!
Before I had the pleasure of running into Frank one evening outside his brownstone (and I literally ran into him), I have admired his unique, custom designed spaces from the get go. Originally hailing from California (see my previous post about where coolness hails……) and settling in Boston, Mr Roop has epitomized what high-end design can and should be.
An excerpt from the book’s Summary:
The New Bespoke is a compelling first monograph on the work of internationally recognized and published interior designer Frank Roop. A mastermind of original color palettes, Roop leaves his signature couture touch on each and every space that he creates. To create truly inspired spaces, the ingredients that go into his projects are unique: almost all of the furniture and furnishings he uses in his interiors are either vintage finds or custom made pieces of his own design. Roop began his design firm after a career in specialty menswear, where he acquired the principles of design that gave him a special and unexpected basis for formulating and conceptualizing his interior design schemes. For Roop, a room is not just a space to be inhabited: it is a garment to be worn, and an impeccably tailored garment at that.
I will also mention that Frank has paired up with photographer Eric Roth, a talent (and total ham) behind the camera, to create stunningly beautiful images showcasing the many spaces Frank has created over the years. Eric and I have worked on various photo shoots together and his eye for composition is second to none. What I love most about his Eric’s photographs is that he treats each space like a romantic still life. Each image not only portrays the designer’s talents, but draws a secondary, yet equally important appreciation for the image itself.
Yes, I ‘heart” both Frank and Eric.
Here’s to you Frank Roop, for providing the world with uncompromisingly sophisticated spaces, and for an unwavering dedication to what truly good design is all about.
Looking forward to my signed copy of The New Bespoke. Hope to see you all on Thursday!
One of my favorite things to do is drive around in my car between the hours of noon and 1pm, and listen to “Back in the Day Buffet” on Jammin 94.5. On most days this is possible, as I’m usually be-boppin to client meetings or some other design-related fiasco, excursion, or spree. What I find myself doing is extrapolating any number of hip-hop song phrases and thinking to myself “How the hell can I turn that into a blog post for Style Boston?” Cuz there’s nothing better than attributing Old School Hip Hop songs to any random facet of your life.
Something for the Travel Blog: Left Your Wallet In El Segundo? 5 Ways To Spend The Heck Out Of Your Paycheck, West Coast Style.
Something for the Dating Blog: You Can Go With THIS……Or You Can Go With THAT: When To Be A Baller, And When To Be, Well, A LOSER.
For the Interior Design Blog: You Down With O.P.P? Opportunistic Paint Palettes That Will Get ……You …….Noticed.
So imagine my Deee-Lite when I walked into the Dessin Fournir / Martin Group showroom at the Boston Design Center this week and cast my eyes upon the recently installed, custom painted, wallcover by artistic duo Kelly Porter & Bridgett Cochran, aka Porter Teleo.
Note: If the style looks vaguely familiar to you it’s because our beloved Executive Editor, JGC, posted on his “Hearting of Kelly Wearstler” on June 27. (Alas, Porter Teleo paper graces the foyer walls of Ms. Wearstler’s manse. Not to mention that these gals have been around for a few years, been written about in numerous blogs, magazines, etc. etc., and are ever present in the homes of Cool Folks across America.)
All of sudden I was all…”California, knows how to party…California knows how to party…” in my head. (Insert wrist gesture and gangsta frowny face here) Oh yes indeed, it’s fun time, fun time. Now, despite the fact that these lovelies are actually based in Kansas City, MO of all places, that song came to me because most cool things begin on the West Coast.
Why am I getting to this now? It’s because Boston has FINALLY gotten its ‘you know what’ together to rep such crazy cool-ness. I even heard a rumor from the showroom rep that their wallpapers have only been used by……….hold on a moment because I need to locate my inhaler…………….ONE OTHER DESIGNER ON THE ENTIRE EAST COAST. I nearly fainted from embarrassment. Are you kidding me??? Someone please debunk that myth. Because if it IS true, then I’m going to be the second Designer to use it.
Might I bring up that horrific list Boston just made it’s way to the top of? Here’s the dealio: word up to all you Bostonians, get cooler, fast, and look these chicks up. Let’s show these fools how we do things on the East Side. Cuz you and I know it’s the best side……..
There is an architect out there who is near and dear to my heart: Robert Whitton.
I have never met the gentleman and probably never will, but I love him in the same way I love my four-year-old UGG slippers [editor’s note: Stephanie, this is unacceptable], the same way I love the pre-dinner aromas in my Mom’s kitchen on a late Sunday afternoon. Comfort love.
Why? In the early 70s, he designed a very special home. The home in which my husband and I now live. It has had a few owners, one major renovation; but it will grow old with us.
Here’s to the person who made me appreciate the makings of a pretty cool-looking box.
It took me about 6 years to track the man down. When I finally did, through a writer in Arizona, it was an honor to speak to the man who 1. Designed something pretty cutting edge, especially for this neck of the woods 2. Made me understand the spacial importance of the Golden Section and 3. Appreciate, yet again, the steadfast dedication of a true artist. I live within someone else’s sculpture.
And the Heavens aligned…
I found out that Mr. Whitton, not only an architect but an accomplished artist & furniture maker, designed a handful of houses similar to mine, randomly scattered across the country, from the East Coast to Arizona, where he now lives.
What at first appear to be a coincidental collection of boxes, arranged together to create solid looking yet unfixed dwellings, is subsequently a haven for the mathematically inclined. Every single wall, floating bookcase and window has been calculated to the n-th degree. For the ‘design-OCD mind’ (and really, I wouldn’t know), it really is heaven.
All of Robert Whitton’s houses have similar details: enormous expanses of stucco wall, Mondrian-like splashes of color, Meier-esque cantilevers and roof lines and a Walter Gropius blend of traditional and modern materials.
Additionally, Mr.Whitton’s jewelry and one of a kind pieces of furniture are black and white versions of the collaborative mingling of Art Deco, Modern, and Memphis Design.
Thank you, Mr. Whitton, for providing shelter in the form of a grand scale sculpture and for reminding me each and every day that some things are better left untouched.
Have you ever worked for a company who can’t seem to get their business strategy down pat? Like they are moving in a million different directions and the pathway to success seems long and harried at best?
Perhaps they should have taken tips from the Stockholm law offices of Hannes Snellman. A place where clarity and, at the same time, aggression, screams at you from every angle. In a lovely contemporary way of course. Hey, if you’re going to defend someone, you might as well be clear about it, right?
Artist Ulf Rollof teamed up with Swedish rug manufacturer, Kashtall, to weave together a hand-tufted wool and linen billboard, stating their main objective: fight with passion, strategy, and audacious commitment. And they did it in three pieces measuring 30.5 feet x 48 feet.
I wonder if these honchos have any specific reading requirements?
Your buddy Anne of Green Gables better watch her tail as well.
And if you are all wondering why I’m posting about a damn bike, as opposed to the household items Missoni will be designing for Target, then surely you’ve mistaken me for a decorator. Said bike will be pulling double duty as art, as I’ll be hanging it 12 feet up on my Living Room wall.
Imagining your Grandmother’s little tufted tuffet sitting by its lonesome in the dark corner of her faded, floral-wallpaper covered living room while you wait patiently in your Sunday best for some of those cookies she promised you?
It’s time you reacquaint yourself with tufting, my friends. Here are a few of my favorite tufted numbers. Some will make you want to get your drink on. Some will make you want to get your… other things … on. Either way, tufting has never seen such a sleek silhouette.
The world of Architecture and Interior Design may not have many rockstars, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality. Peter Marino, for example. A few reasons why Mr. Marino is cooler than the rest of us:
1. His firm is called Peter Marino Architect. Just in case you don’t know what he does. Being this direct requires chutzpah. He’s got it.
2. He looks like a cross between Karl Lagerfeld, a cleaner shaven Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, and my all-time flavor fave George “I Want Your Sex” Michael.
3. He designs like a mofo.
Not only has he created breathtakingly sophisticated spaces for the likes of Ermenegildo Zegna, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, but he’s also the man behind my two all-time favorites: the Zwinger Royal Porcelain Collection at the Oriental & Meissein Animal Galleries in Dresden, Germany, and the whimsical retrospective on the work of Claude & Francois-Xavier Lalanne at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, France.
Sophistication is paramount, but it’s also clear he has a well-developed sense of humour. There’s a playfulness to his work that is unparalleled.
Little surprise that he made the famed Architectural Digest Top 100 List in 2010. Needless to say, if there’s anyone to bow down to, it’s Mr. Marino. Just watch out for his spiked boots.
Not as familiar as you ought to be? Get to know his work via the gallery below.
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