DELIGHT THE SENSES
Five of my favorite decorative pieces and beautifully design furniture to gift your home this holiday season!
Kitchen design that is beautiful, functional and thoughtful can last through all stages of life. American Standard’s pull-down, touch-less “Beale” kitchen faucet is a perfect example of thoughtful design that offers easy to use features for hands of all ages – from little hands to aging, arthritis ravaged hands and everything in between.
When my parents were looking to update some features in their kitchen, I suggested installing the sculptural “Beale” faucet to replace their faucet. Both my parents have varying limitations with mobility in their hands and as they continue to age, I felt that their faucet would be more and more challenging to use. So, the decision was made to install the Beale in their kitchen.
My plan was to have a plumber install the “Beale “since I had never installed a faucet (or worked with plumbing) before, but after reading the instructions and feeling courageously DIY – I decided to give it a try. I figured I could always call the plumber if things went awry.
Surprisingly, I had a devil of a time removing the old faucet and that took most the time – feeling a bit defeated, I was extremely close to calling the plumber. But after one last effort the old faucet was finally uninstalled. Installing the “Beale” faucet was easy and took me less than 45 minutes to install (and that was mostly due to the very tight space I was working in). The instructions were flawless and the product design so well considered that putting it all together was a delight. And then there was the glowing aura of confidence that radiated from within me, after successfully doing something I had never done before.
Once installed, my mother loved the sophisticated, contemporary profile of the “Beale” faucet and was ecstatic at the ease of use. With a slight wave of her hand, over the faucet top, the water streamed at full force. Another wave, and the stream of water ceased to flow. The pull-down sprayer effortlessly rained water into the sink. She mentioned how natural the hand motion felt while holding the sprayer and alternating the water stream with a soft touch of the sprayer button. She and my father appreciated the option to switch the faucet to manual if they chose to use it in that setting. The faucet handle is very easy to use with a only a subtle tilting action to move from cold to hot and from a gentle rain shower steam to a forceful dirt busting stream.
The genius and innovative ergonomic design of American Standard’s “Beale” faucet coupled with its striking architectural styling truly is thoughtful design in action.
Disclosure: All opinions expressed in this post are all my own. This is a sponsored post/branded content for American Standard. We appreciate the generous sponsorship of design brands that support the Decorating Diva blog and make it possible for me to bring you, our wonderful readers, excellent design and lifestyle articles throughout the year.
The EME Catedral hotel in the center of Seville’s historic and commercial district hides a surprising design secret behind its architecturally prim and proper facade of wrought iron balconies ornately adorned in fancy lace inspired details.
Billed as an avante-garde boutique hotel the EME Catedral in Seville’s historic city center is just mere steps from the famed 16th century Cathedral of Seville. ( A little trivia for my fellow history buffs – though known as Cathedral of Seville its official name is “Catedral de Santa María de la Sede” which translates to “Cathedral of Saint Maria of the See.” And the Cathedral is also the burial site of the great explorer Christopher Columbus.)
This five star hotel blends architecturally with the neighboring 18th and 19th century buildings, but once inside you are transported into a world of pulsating club music emanating from a seductively plush lounge with violet-tinted lights dimmed to match the club mood. ( I later learned that the evocative club music is the EME’s signature “electronic music compilation” and available for purchase. )
Arriving at the reception desk, you’re greeted by hotel staff – with supermodel looks – attired in sleek and sophisticated couture inspired uniforms. The stylish and charming front desk staff quickly check you in, and then offer the option of guiding you to your room in one of the hotel’s two towers.
Exiting the luxe club environment of the reception and lounge area, you step into a lush tropical courtyard that combines the historical with the modern. Under verdant orange fruit trees lies a gorgeous channel fountain – filled with rose petals and stones – that elegantly bisects a dining area furnished with contemporary patio furniture including acrylic Louis chairs (Regretfully, I didn’t ask if they were Philippe Stark’s “Louis Ghost” chairs or merely inspired by his design genius.)
Walking through the arched pathway your senses are delightfully introduced to a delicious concoction of fruity and flowery fragrances swirling in the air accompanied by soothing New Age music. Your escort gestures to a door from which those heavenly scents are escaping, and informs you that five star spa services are available at the EME’s on-site spa.
The EME has various types of rooms and suites, but the overall design vibe is one of monastic simplicity expressed in a vocabulary of modern architectural elements distilled to their very essence. And in keeping with the nature of EME which seemed to enjoy throwing a design surprise here and there – in my room amidst the minimalist design features there was one door that retained all the charm and historical characteristics of an 18th or 19th century period balcony door. Seeing that door transported me back to my childhood when I spent summers at my grandparents’ 19th century apartment home in Madrid. That door could easily have been the same as the one I fondly remembered – it had that level of authenticity.
Exploring the second tower at the EME you will find the roof top bar La Terraza of EME, located near the sparkling pool and lounge area, offering sweeping views of Seville’s skyline which includes the Cathedral of Seville’s iconic bell tower that hosts the storied Giralda statue at its apex.
With five stellar restaurants on site, the EME is a foodie’s gastronomical dream destination. Guests can dine on magnificent meals in a variety of settings including a lush fruit tree lined courtyard, an intimate, cozy cabana style niche and an opulently decorated space with a divine mix of antiques and contemporary furniture and décor.
Offering fabulous architecture, gorgeous interior decorations and amazing food, the EME Catedral is the perfect hotel for design enthusiasts and foodies. It is also ideally located – it is within walking distance of several historically significant sites including the Cathedral of Seville (literally across the street) and the Royal Alcazar palace and gardens.
And if walking isn’t your preferred mode of transport, you can always opt to tour Seville’s historical city center via an enchanting horse and carriage ride – the supermodel doppleganger at the concierge desk will be happy to arrange it.
Editor’s Note: My visit to Seville and my stay at the EME Catedral hotel were part of Tile of Spain‘s press trip in which several top editors and bloggers were brought to Valencia to report on the 2015 Cevisama design fair. You can read my Cevisama posts here.
Publication Note: Originally published on July 25th on CMNmedia.
There are times I have to pinch myself to snap back to reality – to realize that I’m not dreaming this incredible world I live in. A world filled with exquisitely talented creative dynamos like the one and only Trim Queen, Jana Platina Phipps. Today in the Creative Cafe we are graced with the company of this charismatic textile artist that is taking the trim world by storm. Jana shares her fabulous confections, her passion for fashion, DJ music making, life and this little phrase, so full of wisdom, that now resides on my creative studio’s whiteboard, “Take that first step, reject perfectionism, and play.”
I am inspired by creativity in general, how people express themselves uniquely through art, writing, music, dance, cooking, décor and fashion, to name a few. Between my “maker parties” at my design studio and teaching Trim Alchemy at the Country Living Fairs, seeing what others create, very differently than me, inspires me greatly.
Textile art and design attracts me because it’s hands-on and has a tradition. I have always been a maker of sorts, attracted to things with stories behind them— bric-a-brac, vintage dresses, old magazines, and jewelry. When I went to my first factory as a design assistant, I saw the whirring machinery in a dance with yarns, and I found my voice.
If not creating textile art, I’d be an international DJ who teaches yoga/tennis life skills on the side, part owner in an art gallery full of artisan collaborations! Alternately, I think I’d be a filmmaker or jewelry designer. Hey, life is long—you never know!
Being an artist, I find myself deconstructing everything; I am fascinated by how things are made. I study handwork, embroidery, knotting, and passementerie of course. Color combinations stop me in my tracks, in nature, on the runway, at museums; even on Instagram.
The most recent textile art-related book I’ve read and would recommend is a book I discovered at the Museum Design Summit in Santa Fe, New Mexico discussing the ethics of design, and I was stunned by the depth of the archives at the Museum of International Folk Art. The “Textiles: Collection of the Museum of International Folk Art” book is a beautiful representation of that collection and also explores the artisans and provenance of each artisanal piece.
My current go-to inspirational book is “BIG MAGIC” by Elizabeth Gilbert. There are so many powerful ideas that speak to how fear holds us back, but a favorite is, “Perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear.” This book is a must-read for creative, or people seeking to live a more creative life.
The most challenging artistic project I’ve undertaken was starting my own business was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I was a new mother and knew I couldn’t sustain my current working situation—the hours, the commute, and the unreasonable face-time demands, while evolving as a mother. I worked on a business plan with a consultant that walked me through various scenarios. I was able to see on paper that a consulting business could work and eventually thrive. The research and exercise gave me confidence to start my company.
My creative endeavors have have always traveled for work, to clients domestically and factories internationally. I love to travel and always take the long road and seek out local color. Since I started Trim Queen, as a blogger sharing the creativity of the industry, I have gained press status. A trip to Maison & Objet in Paris was pivotal. Impressed by meeting textile designer Karin Sajo at Deco Off, I made a trip to Monmartre to interview her in her atelier. It was thrilling to see her process and cultivated artistry, something I never would have been entitled to do previously. Encounters like this fuel my creativity.
Visiting the off-limits archive of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe was definitely a career highlight.
The project I dream about creating someday would involve traveling the world with my family in a tricked-out art bus stopping at factories and small towns learning from artisans, and collecting techniques and materials. I’d culminate with some maker sessions bringing together people to create. Then, I’d fabricate an art installation at Liberty of London using what we made.
My advice to those who feel the call to pursue their creative dreams is to follow your curiosity and be prepared to realize you may end up somewhere that wasn’t even on your radar. Take that first step, reject perfectionism, and play. That’s the beginning of creativity, if you get in the zone, you will flourish.