Rock Solid, In Ibiza

Welcome to Can Brut on The Archipelago of Spain In The Mediterranean Sea


Can Brut is a family villa on the island of Ibiza located on an 914,932 square ft cove plot overlooking Spain’s Balearic Sea. The plot overlooks a relatively secluded cove with a small beach and a lovely swimming and snorkeling area favoured by locals on the otherwise rather touristy island of Ibiza that is one of the main Balearic Islands in addition to Majorca, Minorca, Carbera and Formentera.

The house was designed by Amsterdam, Paris and Ibiza-based Framework Studio founded by self-taught Dutch designer, Thomas Geerlings. The key characteristic of the villa is the use of local materials, including beautiful traditional stonework on the house and on the extensive garden walls. In its materials, features and contents the villa is clearly local but it is also eclectically modern and global.

Outside, the dramatic pool is lined with the green Verde Lapponia stone from Norway with the edges and decks clad with limestone. Wood and stone dominate the material palette inside and out, with vintage finds, impressive pieces of art and crafts reflect the owners’ respect for detail, traditional skills and unique pieces.

Most of the rooms have views of the pool and the century-old Ibizan Sabina juniper trees, once plentiful on the island and because of their incredibly hard core, often described as reflections of the hardy and noble character of the people of Ibiza.

Framework Studio’s senior architect and interior designer Alexandra Ramos has described the goals of this project as being comfort and simplicity. They have achieved both, and by peppering the interior with a mix of vintage finds, they have lifted the rustic local material and design language up to a contemporary and timeless one.

The white entrance hall has curved ceilings that echo traditional local building methods. The living room features the deliciously pillowy vintage sectional sofa by the Viennese group, Wiener Werkstätte (1903-1932), flanked by the vintage Conoid lounge Chair by George Nakashima, a Vincenzo de Cotiis coffee table and a unique dark-wood wall panel by the Italian artist  duo Giovanni “Nerone” Ceccarelli and Gianni Patuzzi known as Gruppo NP2 (1962-1974).

The kitchen was custom-designed by Framework Studio using oak, gunmetal and Travertino Romano stone. The kitchen accents include a Allan Gould-designed mid-century modernist lounge chair circa 1950s and one of the Arno de Clercq wooden Senufo stools that appear in several rooms of the villa. The main bathroom’s material palette echoes the kitchen’s with its gunmetal fixtures, oak vanities and Travertino Romano stone.

The dining room’s  dominating piece is the bulky wood table crafted by the late Brazilian architect Jose Zanine Caldas (1919-2001) that is surrounded by vintage Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967) chairs.

Images by Cafeine source: Seipell.

Sublime Splendor In This Montecito Masterpiece

Santa Barbara, California


Great things take time to develop. The secondary home in Montecito, California, planned and completed over a period of a decade by of Los Angeles-based architect William Hefner and his late wife, interior designer Kazuko Hoshino, is a perfect example of this.

The extended design and construction period allowed the ideas to mature, unexpected methods and materials to present themselves, and the decisions to gel for both. Eventually, the long incubation time resulted in a relaxed holiday retreat that feels both new and old, both modern and traditional.

It is not a house but a compound, a set of low wood and stone buildings rather than one sprawling house or a multi-story structure. In some cultures, compound-living is a cherished tradition that gives different generations or branches of a larger family both together-time and privacy.

In the case of the Romero Canyon compound the process began in 2008 when Hefner and Hoshino bought an overgrown one-acre parcel of land in the lush Romero Canyon area of Montecito. The site had a 900-square-foot 1930s shack and even older stables that had been converted into a guest house.

Busy with their growing architecture and design practice Studio William Hefner in Los Angeles during the recession, California-born Hefner and Japan-born Hoshino, who was pregnant with the couple’s son, Koji, decided not to rush with the renovation as this would be their secondary residence in addition to their Hancock Park principal home.

They called it a personal experiment in ideas for modern family living. Initially, they thought they’d just renovate the shack and add something to it, but they eventually felt they wanted a more meaningful expression of what their fantasy of a “cool hunting lodge” would be. The construction process started in 2013 and took three years.

Their Romero Canyon compound now extends to 6,000 square feet (557.5 sq. metres) of living space. A large central square is flanked by the L-shaped main building and separate buildings for various activities.

The principal house includes an open-plan living room, dining room, kitchen and a game room, all connected through breezeways. The pool house serves as a spacious guest house that also became a favourite “holiday house” for the owners who felt that when they stayed in the guest house, they were on a real holiday. The smaller stone building functions as a gym

The main house, the gym and the guest house overlook the pool and gardens and all have views of the surrounding mountains as well. Large decks are accessed by full-height glass doors to further blur the line between inside and outside.

The materials used throughout are local. For example, the main house is clad with chunks of the Santa Barbara sandstone found on site during the excavation for the foundations and the pool. All spaces are also under-furnished on purpose to allow the oak floors, stone detailing and stained cedar accents to shine. The rustic hunting-lodge atmosphere is emphasized by five wood-burning fireplaces.

We love the low profile and human scale of the entire compound. Both indoors and out, everything is built for living, for people to relax and enjoy

Grace and Serenity In this Sublime Italian Masterpiece Puglia, Italy


Masseria Belvedere is an expertly restored Italian 16th century masseria now functioning as a sophisticated guest house for up to 16 people. Located in the Puglia region, This drew our attention because of its elegant, low profile. Another redeeming quality that is even more significant than the low profile is the complete lack of distracting modern embellishments.

The architects have allowed the original natural stone walls to continue to speak the loudest. Everything else, including the gorgeous – and very modern – infinity pool stays discretely in a supporting role. Architects Nicolò Lewanski and Federica Russo, partners in Lecce, have taken an enlightened, unintrusive approach that has not only produced a cohesive, well-functioning new whole but has also created a lasting legacy for the handsome compound.

A masseria is a fortified farmhouse built in the 16th century on the estates in the Puglia region of Southern Italy. Usually, it consists of a pair of buildings running along two sides of a central high-walled courtyard.

The Masseria Belvedere property extends over a hectare and a half of land that faces the Adriatic coast and includes an ancient olive garden. The structure is L-shaped with the original two-level farm house forming one wing and the restored stables the other.

The architects decided right from the start that they would not increase the vertical mass of the buildings. Rather, they would focus on the horizontal. The result is not only an unintrusive overall profile, but also a set of gorgeous terraces, lawns and al fresco dining areas and, of course, the beautiful infinity pool.

Another aspect of the architects’ approach was to not attempt to define the function of each segment or area of the compound, either inside or outside. Instead, things are left open, often unfurnished and, in a sense, undefined, although everything is clearly walled and segmented.

We love this feeling of possibility and openness. This is not a place where one must accomplish or strive and where every space has a set function in which one must participate. This is what we call an authentic, relaxing atmosphere. Limitless opportunities when the environment presents no demands on its inhabitants.

The eight bedrooms of the complex are located in the 5,382 sq.ft main farm house. Most of the living areas and public spaces are in the former stables. Both structures are characterized by the original vaulted ceilings, exposed natural stone and a subdued colour palette.

Masseria Belvedere is situated in the d’Itria Valley in the province of Brindisi. The closest airport is the Brindisi Airport about 20 minutes’ drive away. The closest shops are in the ancient Roman port town of Carovigno, about seven minutes’ drive from the masseria. The beaches of Torre Santa Sabina, the resort town of Specchiolla and the Torre Guaceto Nature reserve are all within 10 to 15-minute drive away as well. 

source: T.Seipell

Sleek Build In Montecito, California, USA


Great things take time to develop. The secondary home in Montecito, California, planned and completed over a period of a decade by of Los Angeles-based architect William Hefner and his late wife, interior designer Kazuko Hoshino, is a perfect example of this.

The extended design and construction period allowed the ideas to mature, unexpected methods and materials to present themselves, and the decisions to gel for both. Eventually, the long incubation time resulted in a relaxed holiday retreat that feels both new and old, both modern and traditional.

It is not a house but a compound, a set of low wood and stone buildings rather than one sprawling house or a multi-story structure. In some cultures, compound-living is a cherished tradition that gives different generations or branches of a larger family both together-time and privacy. In others, having separate functions of a household in separate buildings is a long-held tradition (put the link of the masseria post here, when you have it ).

In the case of the Romero Canyon compound the process began in 2008 when Hefner and Hoshino bought an overgrown one-acre parcel of land in the lush Romero Canyon area of Montecito. The site had a 900-square-foot (84 sq.metre) 1930s shack and even older stables that had been converted into a guest house.

Busy with their growing architecture and design practice Studio William Hefner in Los Angeles during the recession, California-born Hefner and Japan-born Hoshino, who was pregnant with the couple’s son, Koji, decided not to rush with the renovation as this would be their secondary residence in addition to their Hancock Park principal home.

They called it a personal experiment in ideas for modern family living. Initially, they thought they’d just renovate the shack and add something to it, but they eventually felt they wanted a more meaningful expression of what their fantasy of a “cool hunting lodge” would be. The construction process started in 2013 and took three years.

Their Romero Canyon compound now extends to 6,000 square feet (557.5 sq. metres) of living space. A large central square is flanked by the L-shaped main building and separate buildings for various activities.

The principal house includes an open-plan living room, dining room, kitchen and a game room, all connected through breezeways. The pool house serves as a spacious guest house that also became a favourite “holiday house” for the owners who felt that when they stayed in the guest house, they were on a real holiday. The smaller stone building functions as a gym

The main house, the gym and the guest house overlook the pool and gardens and all have views of the surrounding mountains as well. Large decks are accessed by full-height glass doors to further blur the line between inside and outside.

The materials used throughout are local. For example, the main house is clad with chunks of the Santa Barbara sandstone found on site during the excavation for the foundations and the pool. All spaces are also under-furnished on purpose to allow the oak floors, stone detailing and stained cedar accents to shine. The rustic hunting-lodge atmosphere is emphasized by five wood-burning fireplaces.

We love the low profile and human scale of the entire compound. Both indoors and out, everything is built for living, for real people to relax and enjoy.

Source:  Tuija Seipell

25 Cute Christmas Towns in the USA

From coast to coast, here are some of the most charming towns to spend Christmas in(Tahoe City Should be on the List)

America’s Best Towns for the Holidays: Aspen, CO

Nothing quite compares to the joy of holiday decorations. The sight of a town decked out with boughs of holly, among other Christmas decor, can send warmth all the way down to your toes — even in the midst of a blizzard. Whether you’re returning home to see family and find yourself eagerly awaiting the 25-foot tree illuminated in your town square, or you’re taking a solo trip to a seasonal destination this year and are ready to be met with holiday cheer, there’s always a reason to visit one of the best Christmas towns in the USA. So, with that in mind, we’ve gathered 25 of the best holiday destinations in the country for you to travel to in December.

Aspen, Colorado 

America’s Best Towns for the Holidays: Aspen, CO

A combination of luxe living and quaint charm helped this Rocky Mountain town become one of the merriest in the country. Wandering along Cooper Avenue, you may chance upon cookie exchanges, public s’mores roasts, or elf meet-and-greets. And don’t miss the three most famous hotels in town while you’re here for the holidays. The lobby of the Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection often hosts carolers, while Ajax Tavern and Element 47at The Little Nell both serve fabulous holiday meals. Looking for a bird’s-eye view of the decorations? You can take in the holiday splendor from on-high at W Aspen’s sky residences.

Ogunquit, Maine 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Ogunquit, ME

Travelers may be drawn to this former artists’ colony in Maine as a beach getaway, but the holiday season brings the perks of winter on the sand: lower prices and overall calm, with just enough festivity to keep things humming. Mid-December’s Christmas by the Sea festival typically includes a bonfire on the beach and visits with Santa. From Ogunquit, you can also easily reach two shopping areas for getting through your list: the Kittery Outlets and, an hour away, Freeport, where you can shop at the L.L. Bean Flagship store and pose with the famously big boot. For distinctive local shopping, browse the Harbor Candy Shop, where the gift boxes pack in holiday charm.

Vail, Colorado 

America’s Best Towns for the Holidays: Vail, CO

Ski season kicks into high gear during the holidays in this Colorado wonderland. December brings fresh powder, the village tree lighting, and New Year’s Eve festivities. Vail is not only one of the best Christmas towns in the USA, it is also known for both good coffee and good cocktails — try local favorites Yeti’s Grind and Loaded Joe’s in the morning, and tuck into cocktails at Root & Flower in the evening. You might ring in the New Year at Flame — the fine dining restaurant within Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, before moving on to innovative cocktails at The Sebastian – Vail, a Timbers Resort. Finally, lay your head to rest at the ever-charming, alpine-chic The Lodge at Vail, a RockResort, which boasts a heated outdoor pool flanked with gorgeous fire pits.

Nantucket, Massachusetts 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Nantucket, MA

The banner event during the holidays in this island town started in the 1970s when local shopkeepers stayed open later in order to prevent locals from having to travel to Cape Cod for their holiday shopping. Today, during the annual Christmas Stroll — typically the first weekend in December — you can shop downtown amid dozens of seven-foot, decorated Christmas trees, and take part in wine tastings, ghost walks, and home tours. Pick up some gifts at Murray’s Toggery Shop (the mothership for holiday-ready Nantucket reds) and Jessica Hicks, the boutique of a local jewelry designer. For more tree-gazing, go to the Whaling Museum, which displays 80 trees decorated by local artists, merchants, and kids.

Orlando, Florida 

Harry Potter ChristmasCredit: Universal Orlando
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO

Make it a Christmas no one will ever forget with a visit to the country’s theme park capital. At Disney World, you can attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on select nights between November 8 and December 22, which includes a Christmas-themed fireworks show and classic attractions like the Jungle Cruise and Space Mountain completely decked out in festive cheer. Meanwhile at Universal Studios, there is nowhere more dreamy than The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Christmastime, when the scenery is topped with a layer of snow and holiday spirit. Not to mention, this is the best time of year to enjoy a hot butterbeer.

Breckenridge, Colorado 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Breckenridge, CO

Breckenridge gets revved up during the holidays as ski season swings into high gear. Indeed, this resort town skates the fine line between thrills and low stress. During the month of December, festivities abound, from the tree lighting to the Race of the Santas, a half-mile footrace where all runners must be dressed as Santa Claus. Travelers will also fall for the charming après-ski options in Breck, from the house-made brews at Breckenridge Brewing to the martinis and flights of Colorado beers at Base 9 Bar.

Lewisburg, West Virginia 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Lewisburg, WV

Grande dame hotel The Greenbrier is the epicenter of the holidays in the Lewisburg area. The 18th-century resort trims the lobby with opulent decorations. Beyond the hotel, the town is peaceful and quietly lit with seasonal lights and low-key attractions.

Beaufort, North Carolina 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Beaufort, NC

Winter weather doesn’t really kick in until January in this Outer Banks town, so the holiday season is typically still a good time to paddle a kayak or take a boat tour along Taylor’s Creek. The Christmas lights take to the water, too: one of the biggest holiday events is the Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla, a twinkling-lights-strewn boat parade held on the first weekend in December.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

This California town with a rocky coastline doesn’t experience much in the way of winter weather, but the chilly air makes the crashing waves and neighboring wine country seem all the more enticing. Carmel has its own tree lighting — a huge resident tree at the corner of Junipero and Ocean avenues — and the quiet days of early December also make it a little easier to get a table at nearby restaurant/pub like Mulligans Public House and if your Lucky local legend Mark Sampagnaro (Sampy) will greet and serve you at the bar.

Park City, Utah 

America’s Best Towns for the Holidays: Park City, UT

The holiday season ushers in serious wattage — star-powered and otherwise — in this Utah mountain town. In late November, Park City lights their iconic tree and celebrates with the annual Electric Parade. During the holidays, kids and sweet enthusiasts of all ages will love the gingerbread display at Stein Eriksen Lodge.

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Santa Rosa Beach, FL

The holiday season coincides with the kickoff of high season in this northwest Florida town. So it’s a good place to browse for gifts for everyone on your list. While browsing Santa Rosa, be sure to shop for timeless pearl necklaces and earrings at Shimmering Seas Jewelry and perfect-for-display cookbooks at Kitchen Garden Books & Antiques.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Myrtle Beach, SC

Late fall and early winter are a good time to score lower rates in this family-friendly town, but that doesn’t mean that the place has gone totally quiet. Showstoppers around Myrtle Beach include the twinkling Christmas trees and 2,700 hand-lit candles at Brookgreen Gardens as well as the Festival of Trees— with themed trees for all 50 states — at Ripley’s Aquarium.

Santa Fe, New Mexico 

Pueblo-Style Loretto Hotel Christmas Farolito At Dusk

Santa Fe is always unique and at Christmastime, the city proves itself once again with its holiday traditions. The most lovely is the Canyon Road Farolito Walk, which flips the script on conventional Christmas lights by setting up a trail of small lanterns that sets the town aglow. And although you might be thinking deserts and adobe buildings, you can still have a White Christmas in Santa Fe by taking a trip up to the Ski Santa Fe resort in the Rocky Mountains.

Newport, Rhode Island 

Newport Rhode Island

If a flashing-neon-colored holiday makes you cringe, head to this gorgeous town in Rhode Island, where only white lights are encouraged on homes and restaurants, to conjure an old-fashioned candlelit vibe. Touching on its upscale history, the Mansions of Newport Tour takes you on a stroll through Gilded Age architectural icons like The Breakers, the Elms, and the Marbles, all decked out in sumptuous trees, fine china, and decorations. Since crowds are lighter, it’s a good time to try Newport’s best restaurants like the French-inspired Bouchard Restaurant.

Annapolis, Maryland 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Annapolis, MD

This military town along the Chesapeake Bay does plenty of pomp, circumstance, and tailgating during the holiday season. Annapolis boasts a plethora of Christmas lights, notably strewn on boats and along the water’s edge. Downtown Annapolis also keeps its shops lit and open until midnight on a few Thursdays during December, which is called Midnight Madness.

Paso Robles, California 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Paso Robles, CA

Forget green: the prime holiday color in this Central Coast town is red, as in pinot noirs, cabernets, and syrahs. During the holidays, wineries offer low-key tastings, music performances, and great gift opportunities; check out Parrish Family Vineyard, whose tasting room is a short walk from downtown’s City Park. For some seasonal house envy, go to Hearst Castle, about an hour away, which is adorned much as it might have been for former resident William Randolph Hearst.

Healdsburg, California 

A downtown home is decked out with holiday lights and decorations on December 17, 2012, in Healdsburg, California.

Healdsburg, California is a charming Sonoma County town known for great restaurants and even better wineries. Visit Flowers Vineyards & Winery for the pinot noir and Aperture Cellars for the view, which is beautiful in any season. If you can make it over to Napa, grab a few bottles to go at Faust. Stay the night at Montage Healdsburg, where the charming decor, light-illuminated trees, and roaring fireplaces will put you in the holiday mood.

Telluride, Colorado 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Telluride, CO

Telluride is a pleasantly quirky town and their flair comes through clearly this time of year. The town’s big tree lighting happens on the Ski Tree, made of old skis, and accompanies a bonfire comprising more old-and-broken skis. Travelers will love the nightlife in any season. Go barhopping from the cozy lounges of Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection to New Sheridan Hotel’s Historic Bar, which has kept the same mahogany-paneled look since 1895.

Leavenworth, Washington 

Leavenworth, Washington at Christmas

Leavenworth is an American town that looks more like a portal to Germany in the middle of the Washington Cascade Mountain Range. The town was built to resemble a traditional Bavarian village and the nearby mountains, poetically named The Enchantments, help allude to the idea that you really could be in Europe — especially during the Christmas season. Over half a million lights go up on the first day of December and every weekend until Christmas is chock-full with holiday activities like gingerbread house displays, carolers, and ornament giveaways.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Portsmouth, NH

This waterfront New England town is steeped in history, with settlements dating back to the 1600s. Winter’s a festive time to explore its 10-acre time capsule, the Strawbery Banke Museum: during December, you can skate at its open-air Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond, or walk the candle-box-lined paths to see decorated homes from centuries past. Portsmouth offers one big 21st-century draw, too: tax-free shopping statewide. Load up on classic toys and kids’ books in town.

Cape May, New Jersey 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Cape May, NJ

This Jersey Shore town has a strong Victorian streak — it’s easily recognized by its quaint architecture — and the holiday season pushes it a little further on the Dickensian scale. The walkable Washington Street Mall gets draped in greenery and festive lights. To sweeten the season, drop by the Original Fudge Kitchen, which also offers great fudge-and-saltwater-taffy gift boxes. If you have kids, check in to Congress Hall, where the Grand Lawn across from the beach turns into a seaside winter wonderland complete with festive activities.

Charlottesville, Virginia 

Natasha Lawler Charlottesville Home Decorated for Christmas with Lemon Wreath on the Front Door

During the holiday season, Charlottesville quiets down, as college students cram for finals and then head home. Still it’s one of the best Christmas towns in the USA and visitors can head to the University of Virginia campus to watch the annual Lighting of the Lawn or to the Ronald McDonald Houseto see the impressive entries of the gingerbread display competition.

Atlantic City, New Jersey 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Atlantic City, NJ

A casino and boardwalk don’t exactly conjure images of plum puddings and carolers, yet travelers appreciate Atlantic City’s wild weekend spirit and vivid people-watching around the holidays. Festivities this year include the Tree Lighting and Holiday Musical Light Show at The Quarter at Tropicana. Plus, don’t miss the Atlantic City Bazaar at the Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University.

Natchitoches, Louisiana 

Natchitoches Christmas Lights

Four hours north of New Orleans, you can find one of the brightest towns in Louisiana at Christmastime. Natchitoches, pronounced like nack-a-tish and named for its indigenous people, is one of the oldest settlements in Louisiana. During the holiday season, the whole city is lit up with impressive light displays and family-friendly festivities are in the books every weekend from Thanksgiving until December 25. However, the biggest event is the boat parade on December 10, when the Cane River light ups with Christmas spirit.

Laguna Beach, California 

America's Best Towns for the Holidays: Laguna Beach, CA

There’s no chance of a white Christmas in this mild-weathered Orange County beach town. Instead of watching the sky for snowflakes, you can scan the waves for migrating whales — or focus your attention on the holiday Champagne, spirits, and pastries at the Montage Laguna Beach. The gallery-lined town hosts the Sawdust Winter Fantasy, an arts and crafts festival that spans five weekends in November and December, to get visitors into the holiday spirit.

Zen and The Art of Farmhouse

Victoria, Australia


The form is indisputably farm-like. So, do we care that the house is not on a farm, neither are the owners farmers? No we don’t, as the Bass Coast Farmhouse, designed by Melbourne-based John Wardle Architects, is just too beautiful to ignore.

The architects write that the shape and the name relate to a traditional Australian farmhouse, but it has a definite generic farmhouse sensibility to which we can all relate.

Located on a 66-hectare wild and bare beach plot on the Bass Coast, that is part of the Gippsland region of southeastern Victoria, the 4,031 sq.ft house is a recreational property enjoyed by multiple generations of one family.

As much as we love the basic minimalist form – wood-clad exterior, uniform flat mansard roof covering the entire compound, one massive exposed chimney – we especially like the low profile that respects the bleak landscape. The structure sits low in the slightly elevated terrain and shelters everything from the strong winds that batter this area.

Inside the structure, living spaces surround an inner courtyard. What appears to be a one-storey house from the outside, ends up being on two levels. The undercroft serves as the cellar, laundry and storage, and the lower level includes also an outdoor kitchen and dining area.

The main living areas are on the upper level including bedrooms and an open kitchen, dining and living areas. From this level, large windows open up to striking views of the surrounding nature. The house is also completely off-grid and self-sufficient in terms of energy.

In this house, a dorm-like casualness combines beautifully with understated luxury. The entire compound is relaxed and sparse but no comforts have been overlooked. It is open, inviting and free-flowing, yet it also has an aura of cozy protection and sheltering.

When the house is unoccupied, exterior shutters cover the windows and the now entirely wooden box is ready to take on any weather the harsh nature throws at it.

source: Seijpal

Announcing: California’s New Michelin Rated Restaurants (Some Great Additions)

December 7, 2022

With the exception of one understandable pause in 2020, the MICHELIN Guide has been reviewing fine-dining restaurants around the world for over a century and awarding the best-of-the-best with a ranking through the coveted MICHELIN Star system.

After all that restaurants have endured over the past two years, the fact that fine-dining establishments have returned with the high caliber of service they’re known for is remarkable in and of itself. But a few places stand out from the pack … without further ado, here are the 2022 Star selections for California.

Three Stars***

Two Stars**

One Star*

Zen & The Art Of Inspirational Architecture on

Miyako Island, Japan


Japanese multidisciplinary artist Mariko Mori is both eccentric and persistent, with a spiritual dimension in attitude towards her art. Slightly surrealistic style this inspiring home has inspiration from her works in sculpture, installations and fashion.

Mariko Mori has worn only white since 1998 when she had a spiritual experience and saw an extremely white light. Her art is also white, luminescent, translucent and ultra-minimalist and futuruistic.

The latest expression of this is the residence she designed for herself on the Japanese island of Miyako. The island is actually closer to Taiwan than it is to Japan, and it is a three-hour fight from Tokyo to reach the popular destination with its white sandy beaches, coral reefs and balmy climate.

Mori, who has residences also in New York and Tokyo, spent five years 3D-modelling various types of forms to build on the parcel of land she had purchased on the island. She then engaged Tokyo-based Ring Architects to build the unusual rounded structure that resembles one of her large sculptural pieces more than it does a house.

The artist says its shape was inspired by the various bleached shells on the shore but for us it also brings to mind Luke Skywalker’s childhood home on Tatooine, albeit a much cleaner and more sophisticated version.

The structure includes a studio on the upper level and a bedroom, tearoom and two guest rooms on the lower level. Japanese traditions, such as meditation and the tea ceremony are part of Mori’s practice and coexist with the futuristic art. She named her house Yuputira, inspired by the local sun god. T.Seipell

Images Y.Makino

An Absolute gem in this restored Mallorcan Masterpiece, Viva España!

Rustic elegance in Cases de Son Serra which is located at the south end of the UNESCO World Heritage Site-designated mountain range of Sierra de Tramuntana in the Bunyola municipality of the island of Mallorca.

It is a typical Mallorcan structure utlizing the natural stone resources from the region. It was originally a residence, storage and production facility surrounded by productive agricultural land.

What are your thoughts on this ?

Serendipity, good luck and a great deal of trust and courage were all needed to make this elegant restoration of a century-old traditional Mallorcan possessió or rural estate happen.

The architectural refurbishment was directed by Bernat Oliver and Javi Márquez, and interior design by Feliu Rullán and Victoria Vidal, the owners of the Mallorcan interior design and accessories store Bon Vivant.

Feliu Rullán and Victoria Vidal had never designed a house before, so when a client fell in love with their store and asked them to design his estate, they were stunned. The 8,600 sq.ft estate was partly in ruins, and the owners – an Austrian family that spent its summers on the estate – wanted as much restored as possible but also had cosmopolitan ambitions for it.

With the owners trusting their own instincts and the designers, and the designers trusting both themselves and the owners, the painstaking process took two years. In the harmonious and unpretentious finished project, local historical and contemporary lifestyle considerations are clearly evident.

The second part of the estate dates back to 1909. Its style is more elaborate  and includes neo-Gothic and modernist elements. The possessio’s chapel was also located in this part but it was too dilapidated to restore. The chapel site was transformed into a spa area, a sanctuary of the body.



Throughout the interior, the designers used traditional, local materials including solid wood, Binissalem stone, iron, brass and ceramics. They also used Trespol, a terrazzo-like flooring made of powdered local mares stone, cement and small pebbles.




The contemporary and cosmopolitan feel of the project comes from the furniture, art and furnishings. The furniture was mostly created by Bon Vivant Concept, including the bathtub, bathroom counters and the curving dining room table, or they are modernist-inspired replicas such as the Modern Mackintosh chairs by Lasanta & Co.





Source: T. Seipell

Sleek n’ Chic Barn-inspired Home in Upstate New York

We love the Sublime grandeur in this masterpiece.

What are your thoughts on this ?


Magic can result when architect and client have known each other for two decades and when both are willing to take the time to consider the best way to renovate a sprawling Upstate New York estate.

Architect Niels Schoenfelder of Mancini Enterprises and client Beverly Kerzner spent countless days and dinners over four years debating the details of the 125-acre scenic Hudson Valley parcel of land that Kerzner had purchased in 2007. The hilly property contained a river, two large barns, a cabin and a house.

These extensive considerations have produced a brand-new barn-like residence for Kerzner hand her two grown daughters. The house mimics the double height and lofty scale of the existing barns.

Reclaimed wood, natural-stone and other natural materials evoke a sense of age and nature while the immense windows and gabled ceilings recreate and emphasize the scale that both client and architect considered essential in the new structure.

The soaring, elegant exterior of the structure is one of our favourite aspects of it. The ruin-like lower floor embedded into the hilly land is especially ingenious.

Inside, we love the gorgeous, tall windows with their minimalist black frames and without any heavy treatments or drapery. They give the key rooms a strong, structural focus, but at the same time create a sense of lightness and airiness. The white gabled ceilings have the same effect, drawing the eye up, yet giving the rooms a feeling of order and calm

We also love the India-inspired low dining table designed for this space by Schoenfelder and surrounded by low cushions as seating.

Another favourite is the large and spacious main bathroom with its shower glass and vanity custom-designed by Schoenfelder The hammock in the main living space is a masterpiece designed by Jim Zivic for Ralph Pucci. It was purchased for the family’s previous house, but to hang it in this high space, Zivic was engaged to create the custom-length chains.

Client and architect also share a keen interest in India. German-born and educated, 45-year-old Niels Schoenfelder is the principal architect of Mancini Enterprises based in Chennai (Madras) and Mumbai.

He went to India two decades ago for a hotel project and ended up not only staying but basing his business there. Part of the reason for staying was meeting his future wife Malavika Shivakumar, entrepreneur and partner in the Chennai-based embroidery atelier of the late Jean-François Lesage, the French heir of the Maison Lesage. The atelier is now owned by Chanel through its subsidiary Paraffection.

Schoenfelder’s first hotel project in India 20 years ago caught the eye of Beverly Kerzner, New York socialite and daughter of the late South African casino and resort tycoon Sol Kerzner. Beverly Kerzner splits her time between New York and a small town in India. 

Images: Wallander

source: t. seipel

Ring House, Crete

We enjoy bringing you exotic rarely scene architecture that isn’t commonplace. We hope you too enjoy the sublime beauty in these Architectural masterpieces

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Between 2012-2013 Athens, Greece-based decaACHITECTURE designed the concept and master plan for a stunning three-building compound, Galinis Gorges, in the dramatic landscape of southern Crete.

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The main house, called the Ring House, and the extensive landscaping have been completed since, with the guest houses to come. What sets this striking project apart are the magnificent geographical features of the site and the beautiful way in which the house now sits on it.

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The Ring House is located in Agia Galini, a village by the Libyan Sea on the south coast of Crete the location, with its the dryness and desert landscape features is just 165 nautical miles from the Sahara desert

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The scenery is stark and dry, characterized by the colour of sand and the undulating hills that drop off dramatically toward the sea. The local vegetation is low and sparse and some of the hillside had been scarred by previous road excavations. The Galini Gorges project took a restorative approach and included several landscape preservation efforts.

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The material excavated for the house was used to reshape the land back to its original formations. Native flora and site-specific plants were surveyed and seeds collected. They were then cultivated in a greenhouse for more seeds that were later sowed over the scars of the earlier road work.The house and its garden now form a temperate microclimate, an oasis in the beautiful yet harsh environment.

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The house itself is a study in minimalism, perhaps veering nicely toward brutalism. But even with the strong concrete beams and the dramatic line-up of openings in the stonework, the structure manages to remain unobtrusive. It does not impose itself on the landscape, and even from the sea it appears to hug the hillside and almost vanishes into the sand.

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The deca ARCHITECTURE team involved in creating the Agia Galini concept and plan included Alison Katri, Yannis Kitanis, Carlos Loperena, Argyro Pouliovali and Alexandros Vaitsos.  Tuija Seipell.

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PHOTOS BY: GEORGE MESSARITAKIS & DECAARCHITECTURE

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Captivating Cape Town Masterpiece


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Architect Greg Truen, director at the Cape Town-based SAOTA talked with about the residence SAOTA designed for a client he knows well: Truen himself and his small family.

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There was no need to interpret the brief as it was very clear: “To create a house that made the most of the mountain site and the views that surround the house while obscuring the busy street and the surrounding houses from the view.”

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The sightlines are, indeed, worth preserving as the residence sits below Lion’s Head with views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, the city of Cape Town, the Boland mountains and the wine-growing region in the distance.

kloof4The architecture of the 9,150 sq. ft residence takes full advantage of the views and also of the characteristics of the land on which the house is situated. Natural rock and stone, geometric angles and no visually annoying colour or material accents that break the spell.

kloof5To keep the busy street blocked away, the house’s street-front wall is an imposing, traditional Cape stone wall. kloof6

The entrance, a large metal front door between the stone wall and the house proper, opens into a small lobby connected to a courtyard garden.

The three-level house’s top level has the most impressive views and the key living spaces are located on this level: the open-plan kitchen, the dining room and lounge. The family’s work and bedroom spaces are on the mid-level with the garage, gym, cinema and guest room on the lower level. kloof7

Each level has its own gardens and courtyards. These gardens extend from the mountain surface down against the house, screening the neighbouring buildings and allowing light into spaces that would otherwise be dark and isolated. kloof10

Landscaping of the project is  by Franchesca Watson Garden Design, known for elegant projects all across Southern Africa, North America and the Seychelles, ranging in scope from individual gardens to entire estates and hotel properties.

kloof11After living in the residence for about a year, Greg Truen is happy and still describes the project with words that echo the brief. “The spaces are simple use-zones articulated by level changes in the floor and ceilings. There are gardens on every level which extend into the view creating the impression that the building sits in the mountain landscape. The inverted pyramid roof allows for views of the peaks of Lion’s Head and Table Mountain and allows one to track the movement of the sun and moon across the sky.”
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The classic and elegant interior design of this project is by Cape Town-based interior design studio OKHA. T.Seipell.

kloof8Photographers: Letch & Hoyle