There is a breeziness and casualness which somewhat contrasts with the sometimes austere quality of the architecture. Let's hop a bit east and feast on what the rest of the Mediterranean has to offer, focusing on Greece, Italy and Spain.
I feel like eating ripe, sweet tomatoes and basil, with a drizzle of nutty olive oil. Architecture and design in this region range from traditional to uber sleek and modern. There are many similarities in these regions, yet distinguished and peppered with regional styles, giving each country their local flavour through finishes and furniture design.
KEY ELEMENTS OF GREEK STYLE: stucco walls, accents of cobalt blue and wrought iron, modern or somewhat casual furniture pieces which work for inside and out, some stately or classical architectural features.
KEY ELEMENTS OF ITALIAN STYLE: casual, earth tones, colours found in surrounding nature, cast iron, ornate furniture pieces, the use of colours like oranges, deep reds and yellow, along with dark wood or rustic stone floors and weathered, brown stucco walls. Other popular elements are dark hardwood floors, archways, and textured walls, the use of local furniture and earthy shades are very prevalent.
KEY ELEMENTS OF SPANISH STYLE: Use of Moroccan style furniture, vibrant colors and tile murals that feature cobalt blue, yellow and dark red stones. These mosaics can also be found within mirror frames, tabletops or on accessories, such as lamps, pottery and vases. It's also common in this style to paint walls deep purple or blue as well as having terracotta tile floors.
With the frightful weather outside, I've been California dreaming these days. There you'll find quite an array of beach side architecture and popular interior styles. Perhaps the most prevalent are Spanish colonial and sleek modern. Californian designs show distinct Spanish and Mexican influences as well as an overall cosmopolitan feel.
KEY ELEMENTS OF SPANISH COLONIAL OR REVIVAL: rounded arches, low pitched roofs, common courtyard, covered porches, intricate iron work, stucco walls, rich natural tones, natural materials such as cotton, linen, weathered light woods, clay tiles, pottery, large exotic botanicals, an overall natural and breezy style.
KEY ELEMENTS OF MALIBU MODERN: use of aged wood beams, wrought iron, simple open plan living, eclectic furniture which tells a story of favourite travels, modern, sleek architecture, light coloured flooring, large windows to highlight the views and to let in the light.
Are you ready to go Down Under? If you're up for a faraway getaway, how about some Bondi Beach magic? Many have compared Australia's beach interiors with the Hamptons. However, there are some major differences as a result of influences from the country's rugged and diverse landscape. There are no obvious nautical themes. Many Victorian era cottages still exist alongside very modern and clean lined architecture of the present. Inside, design sensibilities find common ground.
KEY ELEMENTS: Loads of windows, open plan spaces, ,down to earth vibe, soothing colours, rustic and bleached wood furniture pieces, large tropical plants, a lot of wood infused rooms let the sunshine in. Muted backgrounds allow for brightly coloured objects to pop. Materials such as concrete, woods and neutral textures also play important parts.
Nights can be cool, so there is also cozy warmth in these sunny spaces. Many furniture pieces and art have an artisanal feel. Furniture pieces are more relaxed and slouchy. But they are also eclectic with nods to mid century. Modern and traditional pieces sit well together. The latest technology exists with primitive design elements. There is a quiet ruggedness of the interiors and exterior cladding. It's always about bringing the outside in, bringing in the wild and natural elements of their landscapes.
Ever since my one and only trip to Vancouver a couple of years ago, I can't shake it. I miss it terribly. Some say that this region casts a spell, one that stays with you for a lifetime and draws you back over and over again. I believe it. The majestic mountains and sea views are hypnotic.
As in Bondi Beach, Vancouver has a nice mix of traditional (mainly Craftsman style) and straight-lined modern homes. Their interiors bear many similarities.
KEY ELEMENTS: Open concept living, modern and clean uncomplicated interiors, lots of windows, exterior cladding to mirror natural surroundings, a mostly neutral palette, traditional craftsman or mid modern furniture, green thinking - environmentally friendly design choices.
A Vancouver home by the water also features prominent fireplaces, nooks and window seats, lots of built-in storage and plenty of natural materials such as wood. Soaring ceiling heights with chunky wood beams are also impressive features. Again, it's all about bringing the outdoors in with materials and large windows. This city isn't known for clear blue skies. However, the ruggedness of the landscape and the healthy mindsets of its inhabitants make for striking interiors, both expansive and cozy.
It looks like I have a ways to go in getting my passport stamped. I look forward to packing my suitcase more often in the future. I hope that we can all bring our dreams of seaside travel to our own homes. Bon Voyage!