Entries in Patio (8)


Cool Tones at Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach

Last week when we were in LA for my cousin's wedding, we stayed at the Shade Hotel in downtown Manhattan Beach.The most impressive part of Shade Hotel is its size. It's not too big and not too small. The scale of the hotel is perfect in context with the Manhattan Beach surroundings. Not many buildings in downtown Manhattan Beach are over three stories high, and the hotel, with two stories and 38 guest rooms, is superbly nestled into the walkable, neighborhood feel of the downtown area. The hotel's location made it easy to walk around downtown and down to the beach. We used Shade's complimentary beach cruiser bicycles to ride down the Strand past Redondo Beach with other members of the wedding party and friends.

Outdoor drapes {a signature of Shade's decor} offer guests privacy on their balconies

Shade Hotel patio in the Metlox courtyard

Complimentary Bike Rentals for a bike ride along the Strand

The functional, yet dapper design of Shade Hotel was created by Christopher Lowell using elements like outdoor fabric drapes, bamboo, river rock tiled shower floors, stainless steel exterior accents and mahogany. The cool color scheme of soft greens and blues blends with the modern steel and stone accents. Shade has open-air hallways to the guest rooms that surround an inner courtyard. The courtyard has a large river rock wall fountain, and would be a beautiful natural backdrop for a wedding. Here's a link to a pretty wedding in the Shade courtyard on the Brooklyn Bride website. 

I loved the organically shaped light fixtures in the lobby - they fascinated me! Clusters of individual ceramic pods with a seashell texture on metal rods make up the light fixture - giving the lobby a very subtle beach feel. Aren't they amazing?

Shade Hotel lobby & bar

While most of Shade Hotel's space feels open and public, guests can get away to the rooftop terrace for some sunshine, refreshments and private time. 

Shade Hotel's Skydeck roof terrace with hot tub 

I never took any photos of our room because we arrived in the evening after dark {not good for photos} and by morning our luggage took over the space - not pretty for a photo shoot either. Our room had an amazing Tempurpedic mattress - so amazing we're thinking about buying an eco-friendly equivalent for our bedroom. Our room had an espresso machine, retractable wood and frosted glass paneled sliding doors around the bathroom, and a deep soaking tub with funky chromatherapy mood lighting.
Source: Shade Hotel

There's definitely a hip bar scene at Shade, but we were far too busy {and on East coast time} to partake. However, we did love the healthy complimentary breakfast every morning. Yogurt parfait, coffee, fruit, oatmeal, and breads were served along the bar, including a much appreciated 'to go' coffee option. On our last day, we had Sunday brunch {delicious roasted potatoes and a veggie omelet} on Shade's Zinc restaurant terrace, which overlooks the Metlox where locals gather to eat and play with their dogs and children. The Metlox square has fountains, patios, shops and restaurants, and used to be the location of the Metlox Pottery facility in the 1930's.

Lastly, I read on Shade's website that they are building an eco-friendly {LEED platinum} hotel just a few miles down the Strand in Redondo Beach. Bravo! 


Venice Beach Walk Street Cottages

On Monday, I took a bike ride down the strand from Santa Monica into the pedestrian friendly walk streets of Venice Beach. Little cottages with gated gardens are nestled closely together, and rather than having neighbors across a street, their neighbors are across a sidewalk. Thus the name, "walk streets." I could've spent hours there! Here are some of the little cottage gems I saw as I walked along the narrow walk streets of Venice Beach.


In Memory of My Dad on His Birthday

It would've been my dad's 72nd birthday today. He passed away in October, 2009. What I wouldn't give to spend an afternoon with him by the pool at my childhood home. Growing up we spent our summer weekends swimming in the pool while my dad cooked delicious meals on the grill. He loved to cook and could smoke the most amazing ham, turkey and chicken in his Big Green Egg - this was way before Big Green Eggs became so trendy.

Today's post is for my dad. I'd like to throw him a birthday party just like he used to do for me and my two sisters when we were children. We'll spend the day by the pool. He'll grill the chicken {veggies for me} and corn on the cob, and whip up a mean potato salad while Mom makes a spinach salad and baked beans. We'll have homemade sweet tea {my grandma, my dad's mom made the most amazing sun sweet tea}, and of course, an ice cream birthday cake. We'll play yard darts {because it's so safe!}, have a diving contest and slide down the pool slide together.  Happy Birthday, Daddy! Miss you so.

Happy Birthday Banner in yellow handmade by Paper Klip Design
Classic orgainc cotton and hemp blend apron handmade by Apron Creations
Harney & Sons Organic Green Iced Tea from Terrain Shop
Vintage clear glass pitcher with yellow stripes from Jadite Kate on Etsy
Vintage Beer Garden Table and Bench from Terrain Shop
Big Green Egg
Yellow Vintage Circus Fabric Cake Bunting Decoration handmade by Jaime Mancilla
Vintage style POOL sign handmade by Summer Road
Vintage Regent Slider Jarts Lawn Darts Set (these are so outlawed!)

My dad with his three girls {me in the middle}.

My dad, Billy, at 19 years old. I love this photo - his joyous spirit shines though!


Patio In-Progress {Rug Reveal}

I made some serious progress on my patio today. It was a gorgeous spring day in Charlotte. The huge oak trees above my patio have stopped shedding {finally!}, and my new rug arrived. yay!  Thank you for all your feedback and for helping me choose a new outdoor rug. We make a great team.

Ta-da!  I chose the Tauna Kilim Outdoor Rug from Pottery Barn made from recycled polymers. I'm really happy with it! It's actually really soft and feels like a cotton rug.

To spruce up the patio, I did some plantings and added a new rug. I still have a few more pieces to add {and replace} on the patio, but I think it's looking much better {and cozier} since the last time you saw it.

To see more of my patio progress photos, click here.

What's next? I plan to replace the coffee table with one handcrafted from reclaimed wood by my bro-in-law.  I'm searching for a colorful garden stool or two to use as an end table, and I'll layer in a few more colorful pillows. I'll be sure to share the official AFTER photos with you in May! I hope you enjoyed my little patio {progress} tour!


Which Outdoor Rug?

As promised, here's my outdoor rug round up for my little patio makeover. I've narrowed down my choices to four eco-friendly styles. Now I want to know which rug you think I should use on my patio. Please help me choose! Just leave a comment with your vote for the rug you think would look best on my patio {see before photo below}.

1.  Tauna Kilim Indoor and Outdoor Rug from Pottery Barn made from recycled polymers.

my neglected patio in waiting