Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Charlie

This Spring my daughter and I took a road trip down to Southern California.   We had to be in the L.A. area for a family function, so we made our way down to the City of Angels and stayed at an incredible little hideaway that not many people know of.

The Hotel is called The Charlie.  Named for Charlie Chaplin, the hotel is located in the heart of West Hollywood (yes, you will see some strange things as you drive through the area!).  The story that is given is that the buildings upon which the hotel resides were first built and established in 1924 by the Ruth Gordon family.  Ruth Gordon (1896 - 1985) was an American actress and writer.  She starred in many very popular movies, including Rosemary's Baby, Harold and Maude and Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose (all in her later years).

Ruth Gordon
Source:  United States Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The buildings on the property are rumoured to have been home at one time or another to Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and Gloria Swanson, hence the name, The Charlie.

The Charlie Hotel
Source:  TripAdvisor

The hotel is much more than a hotel. It is 13 different mini-homes or bungalows really.  Each home is aptly named after a famous movie star, including Betty, Charlie, Clark, Dylan, Gloria, Gregory, Marilyn, Marlene, Masha (the owner's daughter), Ruth, Sasha, Steve and Valentino.

In 2002, the area was threatened by re-development and Menachem Treivush purchased the property and took on a multi-million dollar renovation.  He reopened it to the public in 2008.  The owner's daughter, Masha, runs the hotel and made us feel very welcome.

Marlene Bungalow
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

We were lucky enough to stay in their two-story bungalow called the Valentino.  Because The Charlie is home at times to movie stars (Robert Pattinson, Kristin Stewart, Charlie Sheen and others are rumored to have stayed there), we were told when we made the reservation that there was a possibility that we may not get the bungalow that we requested or that was originally planned.  This left me feeling a little, well, less important, than a movie star (at least in their eyes).  But, I guess that is how they do things in Hollywood.  To their credit, we did get an upgrade to the Valentino, as I had a smaller bungalow booked.

There are also residents who stay at The Charlie for months at a time, so availability is accordingly limited at times.

The parking area in the court area in the middle of all the bungalows.  Parking is a bit tight, so you have to be careful when exiting the property.

The Valentino Bungalow
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

This is the bungalow that we stayed in, the Valentino.  It was very beautifully decorated.  All of the bungalows have a refined feeling and Spanish-California touches.

Source:  The Charlie Hotel

Another view of the Valentino living room with the beautiful iron stair rail/wall.

This was my window seat in the master bedroom.  Typical foggy California morning.  It was very peaceful sitting there with a cup of coffee, bundled under the most cozy blanket I think I've ever touched and watching all the neighbors walk their dogs and take their morning runs.

Kitchen in the Valentino bungalow
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

The kitchen was great.  A full refrigerator allowed us to bring our leftovers home from dinner and put fresh fruit and cream in there as well for breakfast.

Master Bathroom in the Valentino Bungalow
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

The bathroom was very large and just my style, with it's marble countertops, black and white tiles and simplicity.  The shower was very large and the bath products they had were nice.

The Charlie Bungalow
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

The Gloria Bungalow
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

The Ruth Bungalow
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

The Ruth Bungalow
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

All of their bungalows have a definitive style and bungalow feel.  When you step into the courtyard of The Charlie, you feel transported back into the 40's, when Hollywood was still regal.

The Gregory bungalow courtyard
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

Courtyard of The Charlie Hotel
Source:  The Charlie Hotel

The hotel has incredible amenities, including secured onsite gated parking, secure Wi-Fi access, fully-equipped kitchens, in-unit washer and dryers, flatscreen televisions, Aromae bath amenities, private patios, daily maid service and is pet-friendly (with a fee).

They had a coffee table book about Charlie Chaplin with many of his movie posters inside.  I just couldn't help myself!

I would definitely stay there again and recommend it highly.

The Charlie Hotel, 819 N. Sweetzer Ave., West Hollywood, 323-988-9000; thecharliehotel.com

“Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself” ~ Charlie Chaplin

Have a wonderful week everyone!


Link Love...

Do you know about this online Book Exchange?  BookMooch
Or This one?  PaperBackSwap 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Oprah's Maui Retreat

Montecito is one of the most beautiful cities in California.  I have been there many times and love everything about it.  It is close to Santa Barbara, which has incredible shopping on State Street, the Old Mission Santa Barbara and beautiful beaches.  The harbor in Santa Barbara is a great place to have lunch and walk along the harbor and watch the dolphins jump about in the ocean.  If you walk all the way out to the end of the ocean wall you can climb the rocks out onto a little beach that juts out into the Santa Barbara boat harbor.

Montecito, California

The area is home to many celebrities, including one of my favorites, Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey

I think Oprah Winfrey is incredible.  I really do.  She is truly blessed with all she has but she works very hard for every bit of it.  She is also a generous philanthropist and has a very kind heart.  I love that she has trying to bring consciousness to the world through her television channel, magazine and radio shows.

The most recent news of her philanthropy is that she has donated a total of $13 million toward the creation of an African American History Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  It will be the Smithsonian's 19th museum and will house items such as Harriet Tubman's shawl, Emmett Till's casket and a Jim Crow-era segregated railroad car.  It is expected to open late 2015.

Oprah has another home that she purchased several years ago in Kula, Hawaii, on the island of Maui.

It is my dream to have a bungalow on the beach in Maui someday.  I used to travel to Hawaii a couple times a year and Maui was my favorite.  I fell in love with the land, the people and the energy of the island.  From the moment you step off the plane and smell the flowers, to the moment you put your toes in the ocean, you know you are in heaven.

A perfect home in Hawaii.  This perfect island farmhouse is complete with beautiful front porches (upper and lower).

Oprah showed off her beautiful island living room in her magazine.  I love the swing out doors and windows, which will allow the island breezes to flow through.  

I do not know the origin of this photo, but it appears that more homes are being built on the property.  It looks like the original home is on the right.

Oprah's Front Porch in Hawaii with spectacular views of the ocean.

Again, I don't know the origin of this photograph, but this looks like the original farmhouse that Oprah purchased on her Hawaiian property before the new buildings were started.

Oprah and her health advisor, Bob Greene, have been working on a huge garden as well.  There are more than 100 species of fruits, vegetables and herbs growing there.  One acre is producing 145 pounds of food each week and they are receiving help from a Hawaii natural resource management group called Bio-Logical Capital.

Oprah's organic farm is planning on giving back the produce to the people of Maui.

Oprah and her trainer and health adviser, Bob Greene working the gardens on Oprah's property.

Not one to sit idly by and retire in Hawaii, Oprah plans to start selling a new organics line called "Oprah's Organics" or possibly "Oprah's Harvest".  I'm sure we will see make-up, produce, hair and skin care, as well as other products.

If you'd like to be Oprah's neighbor, you can purchase this beauty for just $7.9 million.

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”

~ Henry Beston

Have a wonderful week,


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Could You Live in 320 Square Feet?

If you live in a city, you probably know that space is at a premium.  Very few architects or builders know how to get a space right when it comes to small spaces.  Sure, there is the "box" that most of these spaces turn into, but what about ingenious methods of flow and storage?  What about aesthetics and views?  What about living in a space that doesn't feel like it's 320 square feet?

That is exactly the questions that architects Scott Specht and partner Louise Harpman of the architectural firm Specht Harmon answered when they designed this Manhattan Micro Loft in New York.  This space is sleek and stylish.  It feels large and unassuming.  It feels personal and classy.  It's hard to achieve that in a small space.

This view of the kitchen and the living space beyond is the perfect vantage point to see how the space feels large.  The wrap-around counter extends the kitchen into the living area and the sea colored glass backsplash and white cabinets keep the kitchen light and airy.

The kitchen features fully concealed appliances and flip-up upper storage units that enable easy access.

The only door in the entire loft is the bathroom door.  The rest of the loft is without doors in order to achieve an open and free-flowing space.  Notice the mirrored interior of the door, which provides a great dressing mirror and makes the bathroom feel larger.

The stairs have built-in storage and lower drawers.  Without hardware, it is more seamless.

The bed is tucked under an alcove with recessed lighting.  The bedroom area is cantilevered with steel cables and is grounded with the dark hardwood.

View to the top level, which leads out onto the rooftop garden.  The open and airy full wall of glass windows and doors also allows much light into the space, making it feel more open and spacious.

The stairs balusters are steel cables, adding to the sleekness and modernity of the whole space.

The wrap-around counter-top from the kitchen to the living area acts as a "hearth" for the space.

A wider view of the space.   The simplicity of the lines, and the dark wood against the white walls and lacquered cabinets gives it a very clean look.  Notice the "wall" of balusters that go from the stairs to the ceiling.  They create a safety wall, while not impinging on the openness of the space.

The main bathroom and shower is under the staircase.

A computer model of the entire space shows the garden rooftop terrace.  As shown in the model, furnishings are kept to a minimum as well, to keep the space open.

This space won an award as one of the top architectural spaces for 2013 by Residential Architect.

Residential Architect's 2013 Award Winners

For more links to great information about small living spaces, check out these links.

Small Urban Apartment Decorating Ideas
Connect with Designers and Builders to Create Your Own Small Home

Have a wonderful week!


Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.  Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

~ Denis Waitley

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Have a Cup of Coffee With Me

As you may have noticed, I've been on hiatus from posting here on Harmony and Home.  My passion still lies in interior design, architecture and blogging, but has been extended to online marketing as well.  I have started my own online marketing consulting business, called ScribeTree, and I will be posting updates on it here as well.  Keep an eye out for Scribetree.com, which will be up and running very soon.

During my hiatus, I have had many in-depth conversations with friends about life, love, integrity, respect, trust and many other very deep subjects over coffee, tea and wine.  We sit in my family room around a "soft coffee table" or ottoman which I use as a coffee table and talk for hours.  It has been bothering me for quite some time now that I do not have a hard coffee table to place items on.  Therefore, I have been searching for the ultimate cool coffee table for my family room.

Let me set the stage.  I have a large seagrass rug over dark hardwood floors.  I have a brown leather loveseat and two brown patterned fabric chairs, all Ethan Allen traditional furniture (which is not my style anymore, but new furniture is in the works).  They are all very comfortable, but I am tired of them all and eventually want to go more British Colonial in my home, as I love the vibe of Hawaii and the islands and everything that goes with that.  Joni Webb over at the Cote de Texas blog (whom so graciously answered so many questions for me when I started blogging in 2008) also has a design aesthetic that I love.

I am looking for a coffee table that is dark wood, distressed and non-typical.  Everything else is up for negotiation.  I still have all of my favorite online furniture stores bookmarked and below is what I have found so far as my favorites.  If you have any favorites that you'd like to mention or add, please leave a note.

I'm happy to be back!  I hope you all are having an awesome summer!

This is my first pick.  It's not very unique, but I love the juxtaposition of old and new, shiny and distressed, fancy and rugged.   It's made of untouched reclaimed wood with stainless legs.  This would have to be my number one pick.

This coffee table feels like electrical cables pulled tight.  I love the industriousness of it, the hardness and the modernity of it.  It is the cold against my warm wood floors and seagrass rug.  Yin and yang.

This is glass and metal, so no warm distressed feel here, but I love this table for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I haven't seen it before anywhere (and believe me, I'm always looking at furniture) and second, I love the floating quality of the two non-supported corners and how it takes up less floor space and gives the feel of a floating shelf, which always works well in small spaces (which is what my family room is).

Another Artefacto product (they have great stuff).  This table is cool for the very virtue of its multiple levels, which in itself creates interest.   This would be cool in wood too, or a mix of wood and metal.

This coffee table is another one that I absolutely love.  It is similar to Restoration Hardware's Salvaged Wood Trestle Dining Table design.  I'm a big R.H. fan, so anything in that wheelhouse appeals to me.  The stonewashed finish is a great compliment to my dark hardwood floors and this definitely looks like something that I don't mind my kids putting their feet on.

I can't tell from the photograph for sure, but this looks like a painted or stained coffee table and I love the step-down ladder feature on each side.   I'm imaging having friends over for wine and putting different appetizers on the first step and perhaps tea lights on the lower step.   I think my cat would like this table too!  :o)

Thank you for allowing me into your homes again and I look forward to reconnecting with you all!

"Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Have a wonderful day!