Dream Design – Dexamenes, Kourouta Greece

I have always been a believer in love at first sight, and while I have yet to experience the type of happily ever after that we often see in the movies, the design projects that have stolen my  heart in an instant remain there for many many years.  Today’s Dream Design is one such design project.  The first picture that I saw of it grabbed my attention and my love continued to grow with every further picture of it that I saw, and every story that I read about it – needless to say, it is a architectural love story for the modern age.

K-studio_Dexamenes-0851Dexamenes is located on Kourouta Beach which is a beautiful stretch of coastline in the western Peloponnese.  Its history dates back to the “Era of Currents”, although it was left relatively untouched since the 1920’s.  Athen’s based K-Studio created a design that successfully respected its strong history and beauty of the site while breathing new life into the space.  The result is a modern, elegant and minimalist hotel with a raw, brutal and industrial aesthetic.  Respecting the existing buildings by leaving them relatively untouched, K-Studio updated the site using concrete, steel, timber and glass.

K-studio_Dexamenes-0529K-studio_Dexamenes-0461K-studio_Dexamenes-showerThe hotel rooms were built within two concrete blocks that are divided length wise into two rows of ten storage tanks.  The rooms are identical with the openings facing towards the beach.  Everything is connected by a raised promenade walkway that leads towards the water.  Each room has a double bed, an open wardrobe and a large double shower which adds to the sense of luxury within the minimal aesthetic.  The bathroom is separated by the rest of the room by a wall of textured glass which allows the light from the large sliding windows at the front to reach the back of the tank.

K-studio_Dexamenes-0491K-studio_Dexamenes-0145K-studio_Dexamenes-0754The entry to the hotel is from behind the tanks.  Concrete, glass partitions and a louvered plywood canopy provide a warm welcome along with the guests first view of the sea.

Phase two which will see further extensions and a garden are planned along with the addition of extra amenities such as a taverna, boutique selling local wares and a history room are planned for 2019.

K-studio_Dexamenes-0295-1The design of Dexamenes is both thoughtful and intelligent.  With a strong minimalistic design aesthetic, this hotel is a study in respecting history, restraint and brutal beauty that is often difficult to achieve.

All images via http://www.k-studi.gr

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Stylishly Solo – An Introduction

Today I am really excited to introduce a new series here on Stylishly Zen.  As some of you may know, I love to travel but until a few years ago travelling was just a dream for me.  I had been holding myself back from going out and exploring the world because I was single and felt that I needed to have someone to travel with.  All of my friends were in serious relationships, getting married and having children while I remained single, patiently waiting (ok maybe not that patiently) to meet someone that I could explore this world with.  Finally, after a rough few years of dealing with things in my personal life I was in dire need of a vacation, but once again I was faced with the dilemma of not having a travel companion.  At my whits end, I decided that I no longer wanted to just sit on my couch dreaming about exploring far away places, I was getting on a plane and taking my first solo trip.  Having decided this, I faced another hurdle – how to plan a solo vacation.  There are a number of travel companies that cater to the solo traveller – the majority of these companies offer group trips with fellow solo travellers many of whom were in the same position as myself.  While I can see the appeal of joining a group tour, it was not the type of vacation that I had in mind.  Other solo travellers prefer to plan their own trips and stay in hostels in the hopes of bonding with other solo and like minded travellers but once again this is not what I had in mind.  I was dreaming about checking into a cool hotel in a foreign country, immersing myself in the local culture all the while enjoying a few extra luxuries along the way.  I wanted to travel on my own terms and that is exactly what I intended to do. Once I had made up my mind, the thought of being lonely never occurred to me nor did the notion that what I was doing would be viewed as strange by so many people that I met along the way.  Having spent so much time hiding out on my couch solo, I have naively failed to understand that many people still viewed being single or solo as something negative.  I thought it was just my own personal neuroses holding me back, it turns out those neuroses were deeply rooted in how society views single women.  Thankfully over the past few years things have evolved, and while there is still a stigma associated with being single in particular with solo travellers in some parts of the world, more people and businesses have become more understanding and open minded and solo travel has increased exponentially.

Here is the truth about my first solo trip – it was not perfect.  I was a nervous wreck when the time came to actually board that plane to Barcelona, but I am so happy that I did.  During that trip I made a few missteps, let my anxiety get the better of me a couple of times, had some incredible experiences and and found a new level of confidence that I never thought that I would discover within myself.  I have since taken five solo trips (and I am currently planning my sixth), each experience has made me stronger, smarter and incredibly proud of my ability to follow my explorer dreams.  I truly believe that other people can benefit from taking a solo trip, regardless of the stage of life that they are currently in.  It has nothing to do with relationship status.  The rise in solo travel is not just due to the single people wanting to get out there and explore.  People in relationships are also choosing to take a trip on their own and explore on their own terms, to challenge themselves or as a new form of self discovery.  Whatever your motivation is to take a solo adventure, I strongly encourage you to do so.IMG_0100The purpose of this series is to share my experiences and to motivate you to plan your own trip, especially if it is something that you had previously considered but had not yet taken the proverbial plunge.  I will focus on the different cities that I have travelled to, where I have stayed, places that I have eaten and the various sites that I have had the privilege to see and experience in person.  I will also give you recommendations throughout these guides for places that happily accommodated solo travellers and made my journey just a little bit more welcoming. For today though, I will leave you with what I consider the biggest benefits of solo travelling:

  • You are not obliged to stick with anyone’s itinerary but your own.  I like to have a plan and I tend to get very uncomfortable with “just winging it”, so of course on the first full day of my solo vacation I had a schedule that I felt that I absolutely had to stick to.  That is the only way to travel right? So after a couple of hours spent by the hotel pool, I dragged my exhausted self out the door and headed towards Sagrada Familia – one of Barcelona’s most famous sites.  Along the way I made a wrong turn and got completely lost.  After wandering around in the scorching heat for what felt like hours (but in reality about 30 minutes) and being too shy to ask for directions, I found myself sitting on a bench exhausted, overwhelmed and frustrated.  That was the moment that I realized that I was being ridiculous – why did I feel that I needed to sightsee immediately?  I was taking this vacation to relax and explore on my own terms, to give my health both mentally and physically a much needed break and I needed to give myself just that – a break.  Shortly after this realization, I thankfully figured out where I was and headed straight back to my hotel to continue lounging by the pool. I eventually saw Sagrada Familia and it is a magnificent building, but I will never forget the lesson that I learned on my first full day of solo vacation – to get out of my own head, stop holding myself to made up obligations and to give myself what I need in that moment.  Solo travel is about travelling on your own terms and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  • A common question that I am asked about solo travel is if I ever get lonely.  While there are moments when I feel that I would like to have someone with me, most of the time I am to busy enjoying the experience to feel lonely.  Another cool thing that I learned about solo travel is that it is a great way to meet amazing people – you don’t have to join a travel tour group to experience this.  I have met people from all over the world in the most random situations, from airport coffee bars to culinary experiences and food tours.  While you always need to be cautious when travelling alone, don’t let your solo status hold you back from meeting new people and engaging in great conversations with truly wonderful people whom you never would have met otherwise.
  • I touched on this earlier but I truly believe that this is the biggest benefit of solo travel – confidence.  I have never been a very confident person, aside from my own personal neuroses about my physical appearance, I frequently feel less then and unfortunately put myself down more often then anyone should.  While building my confidence is still a work in progress, I owe a lot of the confidence that I do have to travelling solo.  I learned that I am brave and capable, I am able to stand on my own two feet to figure things out.  And even though I may make mistakes that doesn’t mean that I am an idiot, it just means that I am human and that I made a mistake. To figure it out and to keep it moving.  So while I never thought that solo travel would help me with an issue that I have struggled with my entire life, it has and for that I am forever grateful. We are all capable beyond our wildest dreams, so why not show that silly little voice in your head what you are really made of?1F4723A3-EB03-4141-B4FD-15374267C8E0I look forward to sharing my adventures and experiences with you through this series and feel free to share any comments, thoughts and questions that you have about solo travelling in the comments.  I look forward to hearing from you, and until then Bon Voyage!  XXS

Inspiring Interior

Today’s Inspiring Interior is the very definition of Stylishly Zen.  Located in Carlton, Australia, this light filled family home is chic, unique and incredibly charming.  It combines elements of a Victorian era home with Parisian chic and the result is heavenly.

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The bold blue door and lovely Victorian details are the perfect welcome to this home. Inside, a clean colour palette of white walls and dark floors are the perfect backdrop to showcase the many gorgeous details of this family home.  Dark herringbone floors, a marble waterfall island and unexpected furniture colour choices elevate this home to a new level.

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I especially love the pink dining chairs and the blue couch which helps to carry the charm of the exterior into the home.  Sculptural lighting and neutral furniture otherwise help to balance out the showcase furniture.

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Plenty of large windows allow natural light to fill the home and it helps to bring nature indoors which adds an additional level of calm to this serene family home.

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The attention to detail is incredible and I love how certain elements such as sculptural lighting, herringbone flooring and marble quietly repeats itself throughout the home.

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This dreamy family home will have a consistent spot on my inspiration board for current and future projects, Love!  Love! Love!

Interior design services by Biasol Design Studio

Photo credit: http://www.biasol.com.au

I hope that you have a beautiful and stylish day!  XXS

Beautifully Zen -Volition Tumeric Brightening Polish Review

There are a few things in life that I could honestly say that I am obsessed with:

Travel? Check!

Food?  Double Check!

Interior Design and Architecture?  Absolutely!

Turmeric?  Without a doubt!

Now obviously my turmeric obsession is completely different then all of the others, and I realize that it is a bit of an odd one to have.  But the truth is that I have been interested in the benefits of turmeric since I was a child.  When I was younger, my mum and grandmother introduced me to the idea of exfoliating with a paste that had turmeric in it to help to achieve beautiful, glowing skin.  Frankly, I would do it everyday if it didn’t leave my hands and nails a bright yellow hue.  Even before I started studying nutrition, I was aware of the benefits of including turmeric in my diet, needless to say turmeric has been a staple in my pantry and on my plate for many years.   (You can read about the benefits of turmeric here)

A few months ago, I was wandering the aisles of Sephora when I came across Voliton’s Turmeric Brightening Polish.  Despite the fact that I has never heard of the brand or this scrub, I immediately grabbed a bottle and headed to the cashier to pay for my new found discovery.

Having used this scrub periodically over the past few months are here is my honest review:

8352e52b-05c8-4350-addc-4ebda7d0b160Volition is a cool beauty company that make products thought up and created by real people just like you and me.  If you go to their website, you can vote on beauty ideas suggested by regular people and they develop the product.  In my opinion, the idea of creating a turmeric exfoliant is brilliant and had I been aware of such a company, I would have voted for this product myself.

The packaging, like all of Volition’s packaging includes a little introduction and picture of the person that came up with the idea for this product –  I love that they get credit for their great ideas!  Other then that, the packaging is nothing out of the ordinary but I will say that the rose gold coloured cap on the bottle is pretty.

38484ef3-747b-4e9e-8011-821dc26c34c7Fragrance – there is no scent making this product idea for people with sensitivities with highly fragranced products

Texture – this is where I was disappointed.  The bottle states that this product is for face and body but the texture is quite grainy.  The exfoliants are quite large which I find are better suited to use on the body as it would be too harsh to use as a facial scrub.  I like to use it as an extra scrub step when my skin needs a little extra attention and follow it with a good moisturizer.

5092da64-f1c8-4bc0-9aff-cd577c6e9ef8I really wanted to love this product especially since it contains my favourite all star miracle spice, but unfortunately I can’t honestly say that I do.  It is effective as a body scrub but there are many others on the market that work just as well and are less expensive.

Stylishly Zen rating – 2.5/5

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Inspiring Interior

I have no excuse, I fell off of the blogging wagon!  I have spent six months thinking about blogging and coming up with new topics but that’s all they were….thoughts.  I got caught up in life and failed to take some time to nurture my creative outlet aka this blog.  I have missed all of you and I am so happy to be back!  Here is a quick update – I bought my first place!  I have dreamed of this moment for a very long time, and more importantly I have dreamed about how I would decorate my place.  But now that I finally have the chance, I’m stuck – I can’t seem to find any furniture that I like (within my limited budget obviously).  Needless to say, I am frantically searching for inspiration and through this search I have come across some gorgeous Inspiring Interiors that I am so excited to share with you.

20071d45-0100-46b5-b872-763a0825af26Today’s Inspiring Interior is in Cordoba Argentina and it is soooooo cool! Named “La Negrita” and located within a forest, this abode was designed to exist harmoniously within nature.  The home owners gave Cordoba based architects Morini Arquitectos the goal of creating a home that would be private from the street but connected with the surrounding landscape.  The result is three separate modules (garage, bedrooms and open plan living and dining room) connected by a black facade.  The black walls hide the home from the street but the latter part of the home has floor to ceiling windows that connects the interior with the stunning landscape.

2a70aa91-b847-47b2-a85a-b505334632dc997d7a4d-a8fe-419a-9dbf-61f3f559c5e5f6ac0087-e1a9-44cb-8877-f3147b423089Cool details such wooden floors that echo the trees outside and concrete walls and ceiling give the space a warm yet clean minimal vibe.  This home is filled with beautiful contrasts, my favourites being the black facade against the light from the floor to ceiling windows and the privacy from street views to the openness and embracing nature of the home to it’s natural surroundings.  Love it!

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What do you think of this unique masterpiece?

Images via http://www.dwell.com

I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS