GUEST POST…Passport to Design

I am so honoured to be a guest blogger over at Passport to Design 


As everyone knows who follows “Passport to Design” blog, Tania takes awesome photos and then writes about her personal travels incorporating design and decor into every post. When Tania asked me to do a guest post, I had just come home from two weeks in the Mediterranean… and had a ton of pictures.
I knew while I was away, that the pics I was taking of marble might make an interesting post someday
…. hence Marvelous Marble  …..

Please take a moment to peruse Tania’s gorgeous website  TLC DESIGN & DECOR 

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CORFU

Two weeks ago yesterday we went to the island of Corfu, Greece during our Mediterranean cruise. There were several excursions of the island that we could take, but we chose to do the 4X4 tour.  27 MANUAL gear, Suzuki Jimmy’s with 54 people headed out in tandem from the port.
Before we start our tour, I should point out that Corfu is a very green, lush, mountainous island situated on the Ionian Sea. Start your engines…..

We drove along the main coastal road for a short time then turned onto a small village road. Eventually we started to climb the moutain road which at times was a single lane. It twisted and turned at hairpin angles as we climbed up and up, passing several traditional, and extremely picturesque Corfu villages. It should be noted that we travelled on the EDGE of the mountain and often there were no guard rails. I was so taken with the views that I barely noticed, however Mike, my husband and talented chauffeur was fairly quiet during the trek up the mountain….he was concentrating and his right hand and foot got plenty of exercise with the gear shifting. There was a scout ‘Jimmy’ heading the pack and the driver would report to the lead car via walkie talkie if there was traffic approaching from the opposite direction. All 27 of our group of Jimmys would stop in tandem, perched on the mountain road at various hairpin turns and wait for the oncoming traffic to pass. 
As you can see, this village road is extremely narrow. These are the original roads built several centuries ago, when the horse and cart was the only mode of transprotation. Several villagers would wave and clap as we drove by.
I took a number of pictures while climbing the mountain, but each spectacular view would disappear  no sooner than I had it in focus. The above pictures are all taken from a moving car.
We had a pit stop in a beautiful village near the top of the mountain road. We were treated to a plate of homemade meatballs, homemade sausage, fresh tomatoes, olives and cucumbers, fresh homemade bread all washed down with homemade wine and ouzo. It was absolutely scrumptious. It was 10:30 in the morning.
The following photos were taken in this same village. We had a half hour to walk around before we headed back to the Jimmy’s. Not a bad idea as some of us had to walk off the homemade wine and ouzo.
I could have taken hundreds of photos of this quaint Corfu traditional village. There are several cultural influences in Corfu. The Romans, Byzantines, French, Turks, Venetians and English have all played major roles in Corfu’s colourful history….which could also explain the diversity of the the architucture and building materials seen during our journey.
Helllooo!! how spectacular are the colours of the Ionian Sea?
And now we are back in the hustle and bustle of the port…Corfu Town, the capital of Corfu …so very different than the unique moutain villages.
I so enjoyed our day in Corfu. Thank you for joining me. Please leave the keys in the ignition….

PURSE OR ART….

When I go away on a vacation and I mean an actual trip where I am not participating in ANY of my usual daily activities, except sustenance, I always endeavour to bring home items that are indigenous to the region we are visiting. Such was the case 2 weeks ago when we went first to Athens, then boarded a  ship to cruise 3 Greek Islands, and the Dalamtian Coast ending and up and then spending 3 days in Venice. I avoid the souvenir shops and head straight for the Artisans.

I only slightly broke my own rule when I came across this beauty. I did not stop at an artisan shop, but instead found her in the ship’s store…. This is a Mary Frances original. Excuse me…she is red, my favourite colour, original, unique….no one else will ever own this particular bag. I had to have her. Look at the detail, the craftsmanship.

And the back displays as much gorgeousness as the front. Not only does she have that adorable handle/clasp, but there is also a removable shoulder strap. Are you jealous of my new purse?….OR….is she art?….I believe she is the essence of perfection of both purse and art.

In the next couple of weeks, if you will allow, I will endeavour to enlighten and hopefully not bore you with what I learned about marble (I have seen more Doric columns, than the sea has salt), Murano Glass, and perhaps other tidbits and pictures of our vacation.

GREECE, CROATIA, VENICE…HERE WE COME

I am leaving on a cruise soon…on the Seabourn Odyssey 

This is the Veranda Suite which we will call home for 7 days. Not too shabby!

My husband Mike and I, and another couple are celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversarys’ this year.
We are arriving in Athens and spending four days before departing on the cruise. Our Ports of Call are  the Greek islands of Santorini, Katakolon and Corfu. We will be sailing up the Dalmatian Coast to Kotor, Montenegro then Dubrovnik and Zadar, Croatia and finally arriving in Venice Italy, where we will disembark and spend three days before flying home.
I am a photo -taker -fanatic, but until I can present mine…here are a few I found online.

Athens, Greece
Santorini, Greece
Katakolon, Greece
Corfu, Greece
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Zadar, Croatia
Venice, Italy

 Ciao! Buona! An-tyoh sahs! Dovidenja!

TRENDS…..DO YOU FOLLOW?… SHOULD YOU FOLLOW?….

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TRENDS…”the general course or prevailing tendancy”.  What came first though, the chicken or the egg?  In other words, does a trend originate innocently with a concept that is followed because it is genuinly a great idea or are we manipulated to think that an idea is great due to constant barage of hype and it therefore becomes a trend.

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Certainly in fashion, trends pop up every season on the catwalks in Milan and elsewhere.  They are designed and then endorsed ad nauseum, until everyone and their uncle is wearing the trend.

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I remember in the late seventies, at first abhoring and denying myself the new fashion trend “cowboy boots”. After being bombarded with this fashion fetish, I soon began to covet and idolize them to the point of being a serial cowboy boot lusterer…I had to have a pair, and eventually got a pair and wore them out…literally. I was totally caught up in the hype.

In decor, I can honestly say that I do not follow the current trends. As we all know, unless you have been sucked into middle earth, Pantone’s trending colour is ‘Honeysuckle’. I actually like ‘Honeysuckle’…and it was very clever of Pantone to remind us that it does exist, but will I suggest it as a colour to use simply because it is The Pantone 2011 colour.  Never.

Two simultaneous trends I truly hope I never have to cast my eyes on again were the ever popular harvest gold and avocado green interiors of the late sixties and seventies. They are trends that should NEVER be allowed to poke their hideous chroma in our direction again.

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I have been involved in several design chats lately and the topic of trends is often entertained. Some designers are enthusiastic and some are dismissive about trends. I truly believe that trends in decor are somewhat flippant and arbitrary. I’m not sure where they originate or why. Trends are here today and gone tomorrow, because trends are “the general direction followed by a road, river, coastline, or the like” and as we all know there are dips, twists, bends in the road, river or coastline.

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The reason I tend not follow trends, is originality is often left out of the design/decor equation. Many times I’ve had a client decide that they want to go with or without a certain colour or finish because it is or isn’t trendy. Their decision is soley based on hype and popularity not on individuality. I always strive to have a client’s interior embody THEIR personality. Having said this, if a client choses a design or decor element that is appropriate and faithful to the project, but also happens to be trending… wonderful…it’s included.

Some trends, such as stainless steel appliances are expensive.  They have certainly stood the test of time and are still appropriate in certain applications. The problem is, choosing a trend at the end of it’s cycle can sometimes become an expensive mistake and look dated. If choices are made wisely and trends are eliminated from the decision making, the life cycle of a design or decor project should have a longer life expectancy.

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Finally, I read the other day that red walls are OUT. Well, I have a gorgeous red dining room that has elicited much praise and red wallpaper in our hall and going up the stairs. I am NOT going to repaint any of the red walls because a new trend espouses a different colour. Instead, our red walls are a testament to the colours we love in our home. Yes….it is that simple.