Friday, June 29, 2012

Sandy Koepke

Pinterest and Houzz are two of my favorite obsessions, as any of you that know me can surely attest. 
One of the first "finds" back when I started spending time on the sites was Sandy Koepke.  Her livable, eclectic designs are built around intimate, comfortable gathering spaces.  Outdoors lush succulents mass around dramatic fireplaces, vines drip off arbors, and ethnic textiles decorate cozy seating nooks.  
I was absolutely delighted when I came to work this morning and found an email from Sandy herself saying she is coming to visit us here at Tierra Del Lagarto in the near future -- all because she found us on Houzz after I started following her.  Yay!  I am so excited -- I honestly think she is a kindred spirit and I cannot wait to meet the woman behind such lovely work.   
 This is one of my all-time favorite shots -- the arbor, the lanterns, plants just exploding out of every corner -- love it all.

This Manhattan Beach patio built around a stucco fireplace is dramatic and fun.  The cascading succulents softens all the hard lines of the mantle and bench.  I would love to do something like this out by the pool.

This barbeque set up is ideal for the back of our house...  

An old jali window from India adds interest to a stucco wall in this outdoor kitchen.

Glorious agave tumbling down a tiered elevation. 

 All photos linked through to Sandy Koepke's great website - here it is again if you can't get the links to work - definitely check it out!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Exploring the living room with the new camera

Two extraordinarily unusual events are happening today -- half a day off with NO kids around (!!) - and our first DSLR camera just arrived.  Geeking out the last two hours with the camera has certainly not gotten my house any cleaner, the laundry remains in piles, the agaves I need to plant outside are crisping up in the heat -- but I am having a fabulous time.  And so far all I've done is take shots of my bookshelves.  Well, it is midday -- the light is not so good and its 110 today or so - thus the relatively boring subject matter - but man does this thing take some nice shots!  I am falling in love with my crap all over again since I can take pretty pictures of it -- yay! 
Now -- what I really need to do is learn how to make real websites - not just little blog pages and Facebook posts -- I would love to use this for the good of the store.  Poor Tierra Del Lagarto has never had a real presence online -- so if any of you dear readers have any advice on web development software I would love to hear it.  Just simple, beginner stuff...  I'd love to hear from you! 

Meanwhile here are some shots in the living room --

 Turquoise beads I just brought back from Istanbul -- thank you for pointing them out e!  At right are some of the little stone feet blessings I collect in India.   

Recognize the suzani on the wall?  It is the same on I used as the border at the right of the page -- it just arrived from Turkey this week -- so lovely.  My reason for including this shot is to point out the hideous pale green beam at top right.  Our painters are coming in the next week or so to FINALLY paint them -- hallelujah!  A year and 3 months is way too long to have lived with those minty beams -- I will repost with new pictures when they are gone - can't wait.     

 Cow toy and art deco-ish print block

 Bone and brass Moroccan cup

Silly brass monk we used to carry in the store - and some border print block

Stone critter from Indonesia and Playmobil baby :)

Some of these things in context - the right side of the big glass cabinet

Antique Brass cow from India

Copper batik print block from Java

More of our green beams -- and the window corner where I need one or more of the following -- let me know your opinion:
- A giant fiddle leaf tree in a glazed red or plum pot
- A cozy banquette seating area to enjoy the morning sun - (west facing exposure)
- A larger round game table with upholstered chairs in some interesting fabric
- Window treatments??  High sheers?  Color?  Bamboo blinds with colored sheers?  There is no privacy issue -- the yard is quite closed out there - but just to filter the light?  So unsure.

Thanks for the indulgence of all these photos -- so fun -- now maybe I should get something done before the horde returns!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Outdoor fireplaces

Phoenix, this time of year, is all about pool time - we have been able to enjoy the water even with the twins this year since our new pool has one of those shelfy-things -- (Baja shelves I believe they are called?)  We splash around out there and cool off -- it's fabulous -- except for the fact that the back of the house is a wasteland.  We spent the last year pulling out the endless stretches of deal oleanders and replacing them with stuccoed walls.  Thankfully we now have lovely walls the same rusty orange as the house encircling the pool part of the yard - but there is literally nothing else.  Gravel and blank walls are all we are looking at out there as we swim and lounge.  (Well, not much lounging happens in our three kid reality - but you get the idea...)
I have been tinkering with the idea of building an outdoor fireplace as a focal point.  I also want to put up a large shade arbor -- but it needs something more - thus the fireplace idea.

Here are a few that speak to me...

 This peaked opening fireplace combined with arbor is lovely.
 This is from Maine Design in House Beautiful recently.  They have mirrors flanking the stone fireplace - a fun trick with reflected light to make things look more expansive.
 This has made the rounds on Pinterest a lot - Sandy Kopeke -- those succulents cascading over the wall are so luscious -- and banquette seating might work in our space as well. 

 Quatrefoil fountain is pretty fab too -- peaky fireplace is perhaps a bit theme-y?

Kind of monolithic - but I like the raised firebox and mantle idea.  

 This was in House Beautiful a while back - Dana Lyon - an old customer of ours with exquisite taste -- I love the soaring chimney and the arched firebox -- and the lanterns are from Tierra Del Lagarto.
 This angled fireplace could work outside if we placed it by the existing garbage area -- someday outdoor shower! 
This is Rachel Horn Interiors - kind of huge but a nice courtyard.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Zellij tile

Moroccan Zellij Tile  
 Moroccan tile - or zellij - is one of my favorite materials to use in kitchens and baths.  In our last house we did our backsplash in the border above with a similar field tile to the amber 2x2 shown below.  At Tierra Del Lagarto we import these direct from Casablanca from Ait Manos - a company that uses centuries old techniques to create beautiful new tile in a rich assortment of colors. 

When using even a simple solid color field one gets a lovely difference in tone as each tile varies slightly from the next. 

Color assortment one can pop into any of the dozens of available pattern templates

Some of their newer field tiles are a bit more modern - here is one, a nod to the trend driven yearning for chevron everything.

I am still a sucker for the traditional motifs like below - but I can see that fun ol' zig zag in one of our upstairs bathrooms.

The borders below are two of my new favorites - fun for fountain interiors or wainscoting rails.  


The bottom shots are of our bathrooms here at Tierra Del Lagarto using the Fez border in the warm tones- the same we had in our master bath at the old house - and the Palma border in blue, green and ochre.  The combinations of patterns and colors are countless - and so much fun to imagine -- I am dying to get some for the new house - just trying to figure out where it will all go. 

I've been thinking about all the materials we don't end up buying when we are on our trips - things we just can't sell as easily that I would still LOVE to include in our collection.  These marble pieces are warehoused in central Turkey where we buy our old, Anatolian pots.  (See the link below for that post.)
Our friend Yusuf carries old fountains, Hamam basins, new and old sinks - all in lovely aged marble.  It's fun stuff - a little more formal than a lot of what we do at Tierra but it certainly has it's place...  in particular one of those old fountains, some roses - my side yard -- sigh...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Travelling with kids

"Why take your kids?  They'll never remember the trip..."  I have heard this countless times over the years from customers and acquaintances.  

I will remember - that is my answer.  

So far I have 6 1/2 years of memories of traveling with Oliver that I wouldn't trade for any uninterrupted "adults only" vacation I know of.  And he gets to look back over photos like this and really believe he remembers it all too. 

Getting a lesson in axe grinding at the depot in central Anatolia where I buy old Mediterranean pots. 

Waiting for the taxi in Valencia, Spain. 

Our friend Elizabeth's fabulous apartment - we will be getting these light fixtures on the next trip to India this July. 

Elizabeth's glorious turquoise pottery collection.  How it pops in that charcoal colored room -- ooo!

Ollie and Lale at one of my textile dealer's in Istanbul. 

He looks so grown up sometimes -- Istanbul.

Enjoying some ice cream bribery while shopping at the fabulous Tulu in Sultanahmet. 

Sick of shopping for textiles, Ol stands in front of a giant split tulu (shaggy woolen rug) that looks like giant's pants from the 1970's.  He didn't think my little joke about the pants was funny AT ALL -- can you tell?

Visiting the evil eye shop -- we got to load up on the talismans by the bag-full. 

Happy our last day in Istanbul - with his new tiny chess set -- I love this boy.