Vacation Dreaming

Hi Everyone!

while things are slowly starting to open up around the world, the long term effects of this post pandemic world have officially started to set in.  While I consider myself fortunate to have had a safe place to isolate, I am a little sad that I will be forgoing a vacation this year. I initially had plans to go to Italy for a friends wedding in August and then spend a couple of weeks exploring parts of Italy that I haven’t yet had a chance to see. But now the wedding has been postponed until next year, and the idea of getting on a plane (especially for a long distance flight) makes me uncomfortable.  So I will be having a staycation enjoying the fun that Montreal has to offer along with vacation dreaming and planning for future trips.

Today is the first stop of my vacation dream.  Villa Mandra was completed last year  incredibly talented design and architecture firm K-Studios. Located in Mykonos, Greece this six bedroom holiday home looks straight out onto the sea and the neighbouring island of Delos while being almost entirely hidden from view.
6F9B231E-66C5-405B-BF1E-D686C5EBFB7EThe villa’s design is signature K-Studio – raw and natural with clean lines and a refined and elegant twist. It’s both modern and timeless and a total design and vacation dream destination.
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The home was built around the idea of slow and laid back living with an emphasis on mindfulness.  The home and its surroundings encourage calm, healing, retrospection and connection.
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Spacious and airy, with a natural palette of wood and lime washed and stone walls this home is quietly confident, with classic elements but with a modern elevated twist.
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Taking into consideration the warm climate and the desire to enjoy the breathtaking views in comfort, the villa has a custom built chestnut pergola that covers a large part of the outdoor space including an outdoor dining and living area that overlooks the pool.
86DCF398-C966-421A-BCA5-8B435B9D4037879740A4-3672-4764-BCDC-B32383F3C0A4Stone tiled floors, natural wood furniture and a touch of green from the plants combine for a natural palette that brings the outdoors inside and offers a shaded respite from the hot midday sun.  My favourite touch is the deep burgundy leather chair paired with an abstract painting with a similar tone in one of the bedrooms.
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Overall this villa is classic yet modern and the perfect destination to relax and reconnect, both with nature, loved ones and ones self. Something that I think we all need after this crazy past few months.
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What do you think of Villa Mandra? Where are you dreaming of vacationing this summer? Let me know in the comments below.

All images from http://www.k-studio.gr

I hope that you have a beautiful day and stay safe! XXS❤️

Behind the Design with Carola Vannini

Carola Vannini is a talented Rome based architect whose designs are the true definition of timeless sophistication.  With a minimalistic yet elevated aesthetic, Carola has the ability to transform worn and dated interiors into timeless, elegant, dream worthy spaces.  Since discovering her work, I have spent a lot of time admiring her designs both on Instagram and on her own website.  I absolutely love how she uses backlighting to create beautiful lit from within interiors in a variety of spaces.  As an admirer of her work, I was very excited when she agreed to be a part of Stylishly Zen’s Behind the Design series:

  1. Did you always know that you wanted to work in architecture? Has it always been your passion?

I actually didn’t.  I never thought of being an architect before signing into my university classes.  It was a surprise for me to find out such an interesting world.
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  1. How would you describe your design esthetic?

I would describe it as a balance between ancient and contemporary minimalism.  My motto is “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and I totally believe so.

  1. Where do you find your inspiration from?

It depends on every peculiar case. I always adjust my taste to the environment I have to deal with and, of course, with the clients’ taste and needs.
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  1. What has been your most challenging project so far? Why was it so challenging?

It is definitely the one I am still working on at the moment. It is a new construction Barn House in Tuscany. A very big project that I had to design from scratch.  Now it is almost completed even though I am still working on the garden and landscape design of it.

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  1. What is your favourite project to date?

Among the completed ones, it is Navona Penthouse. I am very attached to that project because I had a great feeling with my clients and brought me a  lot of satisfaction when it got published on last April issue of AD Italia.

  1. How long does it take for you to normally complete a project?

From the design to the final step, I would say one year. But then, again, it depend on the case.
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  1. What is your favourite part about working in architecture?

The design part, where creativity can flow out of my head. Afterwords, the works themselves can get pretty stressing and tiring. Less creative and more practical.

  1. Any favourite travel destinations that you like to escape too?Why?

I really enjoy Greece, especially the small islands. But my heart is actually in Thailand. A little too far from me to escape there only for a few days though.
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  1. How would you describe the design style/esthetic in Italy?

There is always a cassic and elegant touch. No matter what, if you were born in Italy, you breath beauty since your first day of life and I truly believe that this effects us all. Not  only architects.

  1. Do you have a favourite type of project to work on (private/public)? Why?

 I mainly work on residential and I like it very much. I would really to go back to some public space design though, such as restaurants or hotels.
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  1. What wellness practices do you incorporate into your lifestyle to help you deliver such beautiful projects? (This can range from workouts, nutrition, meditation practice, etc)

I am a pilates and yoga fanatic. I really think that my daily workout is the best moment of my day; so useful for me to take a break and go back into myself. It helps me to face the rest of may time with much more energy and positive attitude.
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  1. Any words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out their design career?

Don’t give up your ideas for your clients’ ones. If you are really convinced that something is right that way, try to take them by hand and gently make them understand  your point.  You are the architect, right?
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Thank you for stopping by and special thanks to Carola for taking the time to participate in this month’s Behind the Design.  To see more of Carola’s work you can visit her website at http://www.carolavannini.com or check her out on Instagram @carolavannini

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

All images courtesy of Carola Vannini

Behind the Design with Gori & Yoon

Gori & Yoon is a young design studio that I discovered on Instagram earlier this year.  Founded in 2018 and based in Florence, Italian architect Elisa Gori and South Korean interior designer Jaehyun Yoon have combined  their diverse experience and backgrounds to design modern, elegant and functional spaces for both private residences and public spaces.  I have been a fan of their work from the moment that I first saw it, and I especially love how they use distinct shapes and materials to create timeless and refined spaces.  Needless to say I was very excited when they agreed to be interviewed for the Behind the Design series.  Here is my interview with Elisa Gori and Jaehyun Yoon:

  1. Did you always know that you wanted to work in interior design?Has it always been your passion?

JAE – When I was a child, I always liked doing something with my hands, for example painting or modeling something with clay. I remember above all that I spent so much time playing with lego block. Perhaps it was a sign that I was doing something creative in the future, that is, becoming an interior designer.

ELISA – Since I was a child I wanted to become a fashion designer. I have always been a creative person and fascinated by fashion, art and architecture, that is, everything that is aesthetically beautiful. For this reason I wanted to work in a sector that could express it.
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  1. How would you describe your design esthetic?

JAE and ELISA – We prefer simple, clean, minimal shapes that can be easily understood. This always shows our personality, especially through the use of color, light and furnishings and decorative objects, also taken from different eras and styles, but always finding a common line, so that they can be combined perfectly with each other.

  1. Where do you find your inspiration from?

JAE and ELISA – We like to take inspiration from the things we observe and that happen in everyday life. For example, we find inspiration from travel and from observing what surrounds us.
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  1. What has been your most challenging project so far? Why was it so challenging?

JAE and ELISA – All the projects we do are challenges.  We must always achieve a result that is the best possible to satisfy our customers and at the same time ourselves. Surely, in a project the most difficult part is to create a dialogue with what already exists.

  1. What is your favourite project to date?

JAE and ELISA – Our latest project, “via Lovanio” is a project that reflects a lot our identity and our style. Furthermore, the Sarnese project in Tuscany was interesting, because the villa was on several levels and the rooms were very small but we managed to create open spaces and hide the pillars that were in the middle of the rooms through the use of furniture . Now, If we look at the old pictures of the house, it is unrecognizable.
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  1. How long does it take for you to normally complete a project?

Jae and Elisa – It depends on the size of the project and on what we are asked for, on average it takes about 3 to 6 months.

  1. What is your favourite part about working in interior design?

JAE – My favorite part is to create a new concept. I find it very satisfying to carry out a drawing with initial inspiration at the end of the project concept.

ELISA – The creative part and the human part, that is the relationship established with the customer.
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  1. Any favourite travel destinations that you like to escape too?  Why?

JAE – Every once in a while I would like to leave for some place where there is nobody to disconnect from the tiring life of the city. Where could it be? Perhaps an island half of the ocean? If I found a place like this, one day I’d like to go there.

ELISA – Whenever I can, I like to make short trips to Italy or Europe. I need to get away from the routine and to visit the cities where I haven’t been.

  1. How would you describe the design style/esthetic in Italy (more specifically in Florence)?

JAE – I like the style of design in Italy, especially in Tuscany, because they use colors taking inspiration from nature. For example, dark brown, beige, lightgray, desaturated green, all these neutral colors give me a feeling of calm, warmth and tranquility. They are also found in the facades of buildings and in the interiors of houses. It seems to me a good example of designing architecture, which fits well with the surrounding landscape.

ELISA – Florence and many Italian cities are historical, so the modern style is not very visible, perhaps only in the suburbs. To respect the historical pre-existences, in Florence there is a tendency to design in a classic or modern-classic style, especially in architecture.
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  1. Do you have a favourite type of project to work on (private/public)? Why?

JAE – I like both. But above all, I really like designing residences and restaurants / bars.

ELISA – I like more to design for the public, because I like the idea that my project can be lived by more people.

  1. What wellness practices do you incorporate into your lifestyle to help you deliver such beautiful projects? (This can range from workouts, nutrition, meditation practice, etc)

JAE – Actually I don’t practice a lot of wellness activities, but every once in a while, when I have to create a new concept andI don’t have ideas, I close everything and go driving around Tuscany where I work and live. Sometimes I like to walk around with headphones listening to the music on my playlist. So I can take the stress out and get the energy back on with my work.

ELISA – I like reading fashion and design magazines and I really like practicing pilates, as a method of relaxation.
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  1. Any words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out their design career?

JAE – Travel to many places to feel, see, try and touch new things by coming into contact with different cultures, so you will see that your inspiration will be enriched a lot and help create your identity in design.

ELISA – Always believe in it. Even if the desired result does not arrive immediately.

Special thanks to Elisa and Jaehyun for taking the time for this interview.  All images courtesy of Gori & Yoon.  You can see more of Gori & Yoon’s beautiful work on their website http://www.goriyoon.com or on Instagram @goriyoon_archtecture

Thank you for visiting Stylishly Zen and I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Behind the Design with Ahmed Hussein

 

Hi Everyone!

I had the pleasure of interviewing the incredibly talented Egyptian designer Ahmed Hussein for this month’s Behind the Design. I first discovered Ahmed on Instagram when I came across a stunning marble bathroom that he designed, and I have been hooked on his work ever since. His clever use of luxurious materials, texture, colour and art demonstrate a talent  for design that most people can only hope to have. If you are looking for a talented designer to follow then look no further as Ahmed delivers projects that are nothing short of fabulous every single time.  Without further adieu, here is my interview with Ahmed Hussein:

  • Did you always know that you wanted to work in architecture and design?  Has it always been your passion?

In the beginning, I decided to go to the faculty of engineering to become a chemical engineer like my cousin, to get big salary.

But at the end of the first year, in the engineering drawing class, one of the teachers noticed that my drawing was very different and distinctive, 

Then asked me, which department you will join?

I answered chemical.

He asked me do you love chemistry.

I answered no. 

Then he smiled and starts talking about architecture.

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  • How would you describe your design esthetic?

Design as a musical melody has to touch your feelings

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  • Where do you find your inspiration from?

From everything and everywhere 

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  • What has been your most challenging project so far?  Why was it so challenging?

El Merghany apartment because of the painted 2 ceilings 7m x 4m and 3m x 4m

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  • What has been your favourite project to date?

Every project I did has something in my heart 

  • How long does it take for you to normally complete a project? 

8 to 12 months 

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  • Any favourite travel destinations that you like to escape too?  Why?

Paris, Rome, Athens & Barcelona 

Historical cities, I love old stories  20A6462A-6717-4646-AADC-B2D478EB5FB3

 

  • Describe your perfect day in Cairo – what would you do?  Where would you go?

The week days I start my day at 10 am go to my office and finish at 7pm 

Then I go back home to see my family 

The weekend I try to relax and do something new and different with my friends and my family

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  • What wellness practices do you incorporate into your lifestyle to help you deliver such beautiful projects? (This can range from workouts, nutrition, meditation practice, etc)

I take my bike at the night with my headphones for one hour before I sleep 

(Workout and music give me the power)

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  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

            I hope to become one of the most famous designers in the world

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  • Any words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out their design career?

Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and above all don’t let anyone limit your dreams 

Thank you Ahmed for taking the time for this interview!

If you would like to see more of Ahmed’s work you can find him on Instagram @ahmedhusseindesigns

All pictures in this post were provided by Ahmed Hussein Designs.

I hope that you have a fabulous day! XXS

Inspiring Interior

Hi Everyone!

I don’t know what has been going on, but these past few months have just flown right by!  A part of me still thinks that it is March, but the fact that I am currently writing this blog post while sitting on my balcony, enjoying the warm weather and sipping on an Aperol Spritz implies that we are much further into 2019 then I care to admit to myself.  This means that I have now been living in my new place for over six months and I have barely scratched the decorating surface!  It is about time that I kick things into gear and give myself a deadline.

The biggest challenge that I am currently facing in terms of decorating, is that I can’t seem to decide what I like, and when I do decide I can’t seem to find it OR it is completely out of my budget!  What is a girl to do???

Having said all of this, I think that I have narrowed it down and in my head things are finally starting to come together (or so I hope).  I finally painted my living room – I went for a pure white colour which I absolutely love, and now time for the fun part…decorating!  To find inspiration I have been doing A LOT of research and today I am sharing with you a project that I recently stumbled across from a studio who’s work I have admired for a few years now.

Bao Proyectos is a Madrid based firm who’s work is clean, fresh and absolutely gorgeous!  Their projects include the One Shot Hotel in Saville along with countless private residences and restaurants.  Today’s Inspiring Interior is a private residence in Madrid that really captured the mood that I would love to achieve within my own home.

This light filled residence has a clean aesthetic thanks to countless windows, bright white walls and minimal furnishings.  Despite the minimal aesthetic, the home still looks lived in and welcoming – this is often challenging to achieve, yet the team at Bao Proyectos has achieved it beautifully.  Built in book cases and storage along with intelligent furniture choices helps to achieve a clean, sleek yet inviting look that I absolutely love.  Playful accents such as the yellow couch against a mint green wall and the geometric designed storage in the bedroom and rugs throughout the home, help to infuse some fun into the overall clean aesthetic.  The icing on the proverbial cake of this stunning apartment is the gorgeous bathroom with marble and matte black hardware – heaven!  Bao Proyectos did a wonderful job on this project and I can’t wait to see what they achieve in the future!  Take a look:

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All images from http://www.baoproyectos.com

I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS