Sunday, August 24, 2014

Maine Spa Treatment

Christmas Cove, South Bristol,Maine

I needed to recharge as we say… the batteries… Could not think of a more beautiful place than my husband's family magnificent spot on the coast of Maine. This is no near as far as Roque Island, our beloved Island way up North in Maine.

Recipe for my "get in shape" in 5 days program:

Be present in the moment, absorb you surroundings, breath in the fresh scented air, feel the ocean,
leave behind newspapers, computers, TV. Listen to the music of the birds.

Up early, I eat a  healthy breakfast of home made bread and jam, scrambled farm eggs with freshly harvested Chantarelle mushrooms and chopped bacon strips all topped off with a glass of fresh juice.

Then onto the bike for a challenging ride. Starting at 10 miles on the first day to 20 miles by the fifth day. The ride is rigorous with steep hills, fast descents, curved lanes which makes it  an interesting and fun work out while  burning calories and  great leg and thigh workout.

Back to the house for a light snack and ready to hike the beautiful wooded trails along the coast. Along the walk, I love to explore in search for beautiful moss and some more Chanterelles which will be perfect for a light lunch. The paths are covered in the most stunning varieties of  moss. The air is richly scented from the pines, the sea, the humus. Breath in….breath out… clean the lungs.

A kitchen with a view

Back at the house, time to collect blueberries that will be transformed into delicious pies.
A lunch of fresh crab salad on home made bread, local peaches for desert, and a strong espresso.

Time to lounge by the pool or on the grass, looking at the bay, a nap, a great book…moment of bliss.

Part two of the "perfect healthy day":

Off to our dock to get the kayaks in the water. I love kayaking, it is a contemplative exercise, silence only broken by the cries of the birds, the sound of the wind. We have had some intense kayaking as well, being caught in some rapid currents. The Maine waterways and ocean is treacherous and one has to be very aware of the change in tides, winds and storms surging. I try to kayak for at least one and a half hours... it is a great exercise for the shoulders, arms and upper back.

Then comes my final ritual, not for the faint of heart: swimming in rather cold water. I always swim in the late afternoon to early evening high tides, when the water had a chance to warm up to a roaring 60 degrees. (Roque island water is in the low to mid 50's…) I have a strict method of counting each stroke. 1000 strokes is close to 1 mile and that is my daily goal, it takes about 1 hour. If the water is too cold, I unfortunately cut it to half a mile to avoid hypothermia. I feel euphoric from the swim, it is truly an amazing feeling. The water is just so cold, so pure, the scent in the air is incredibly fragrant, the nature surrounding me is magnificent and I forget the world….

Last part of the day is running on the dock to get as fast as possible to my well deserved hot water shower. It does take a little while to bring back the body temperature.I dress comfortably and warmly, light a big fire, serve myself a glass of rose and get lost into the sunset.

Dinner is usually clams, lobsters, oysters, fish…all food from the sea and local vegetables.

The day is gone...walking back from the main house to our smaller cottage, we stop to stare at the stars,  They are brilliant in the unpolluted sky.

I thank God, kiss my husband goodnight and enter the world of dreams.

A Bientôt,


Sunday, August 3, 2014

In London

 London in bloom

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to London working on a house project for a client. This was a great but stressful experience as I have never worked so fast from my client's first phone call to installation. I had two months to come up with floorplans, design and procure furniture, lighting , window treatments for a house in London. I will mention that the house was designed sight unseen, from not very precise floorplans and measurements taken by my client during her visits to the house. The painting schedule was done from New York as well with the english paint company Farrow and Ball.

  Living Room before...freshly painted

With such a short amount of time, I resorted to source all furniture from the US and ship everything via a container to the UK. My alarm clock was set at 4am every morning, weekends included as sourcing requires a great deal of time. The concept for the house came to me really quickly and was immediately approved by the client. Budgets were set to a bare minimum because the house will only be lived in for a few years. 

I first looked at my Showroom inventory for the key pieces, Living Room sofa, dining table, armchair and chandelier. Every weekend was spent going through antique markets to get some great textured pieces, such as an antique mirror, a console and various accessories. Budget and time in mind, I resorted to online resources and great high end companies established in North Carolina that carried some real-time inventory. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking as we had a set date for the container to be dispatched. My massive Excel spreadsheet was my survival tool. Every detail of the job was entered, vendor purchases, payments, lead time, cost of shipping.... The project was organized by room to make it easier to control. Each room would have very detailed purchases with photo including furniture, fabrics, upholsterer, labor, lighting, UL costs, accessories, planters, bedding, etc.

 Every week,  I would check status of deliveries with our warehouse receiver. Then came the expected problems of damaged merchandise to be replaced in minimum time. Container was loaded and left on the scheduled date of dispatch. I relaxed by the pool all weekend and then back to sourcing for still missing items, especially lighting. By now, I know the ins and out of!

Then came the time to hop on a plane. I arrived on  a Monday morning, met my client and off we went to look for missing antiques and accessories. The week went by at full speed, all furniture arrived, we only lost a console which was left behind in New York and air shipped later. The house was installed, decorated, orchids throughout, paintings hung, lighting installed, candles lit. This is my favorite moment, the moment that makes you forget the stress, the fears, the exhaustion as you watch your client's reaction when they step into their home for the first time.

 Living Room after (still missing custom rug)

I stayed at the delightful Marylebon Hotel but did not see much of London and am planning to return and check out the transformations to my old student days neighborhood of Kensington, where I lived for two years. However, the days are long in London and I would walk along the streets of Marylebone, eating a light dinner with a glass of wine in one of the many outdoor restaurants. London had changed so much since I lived there. The streets are vibrant, the city is in bloom, people are shopping, restaurants are packed and I heard a lot of laughter.

Can't wait to return and yes indeed, I will pay a visit to the Tate!

 Beautiful Nursery

A Bientot,


Related Posts with Thumbnails Follow InterieursNYC on Twitter