Travel

Winter Staycations

We all know someone who has already started to count down the number of days until Christmas. For the rest of us, our dreams may consist of just a few relaxing vacation days without the holiday season stress. Before you deep dive into the season’s festivities, why not consider a little staycation right here in BC’s backyard? Just a weekend will do the trick and we have just the places for you! Keep reading for three winter staycations on our bucket list.

Penticton Lakeside Resort

The Okanagan is ever popular in the summer, but it is also a fantastic getaway destination in the winter! Penticton is a short four hour drive from Vancouver and is not only a beautiful getaway, but also a lot of fun! Whether you are an adventure seeker and want to try a snowshoeing adventure [http://www.hoodooadventures.ca/snowshoeing/], cross-country skiing, or prefer to do something more laid back, there’s something for everyone. The quintessential wine tasting is still an option in the winter and some fresh picks can also be found at the Penticton Winter Farmer’s Market. Make sure to stay at the Penticton Lakeside Resort [https://www.pentictonlakesideresort.com/] which is situated right on the lake. Every year, the hotel gets into the holiday spirit with a fully decorated lobby and they also convert their private beach into an outdoor ice-rink! The resort is also home to Penticton’s only casino and the Hooded Marganser restaurant which has stunning lake views and delicious food.

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort

Getting up early, bundling up and hitting the slopes isn’t your winter style? If dipping your toes into warm natural mineral waters of lounging pools sounds like heaven, then Ainsworth Hot Springs [http://www.ainsworthhotsprings.com/] in BC’s Kootenay region is for you. The Ktunaxa First Nations peoples were the first to visit these soothing, warm waters for their restorative properties after a long day of hunting, gathering and fishing. You can explore the unique horseshoe-shaped hot spring cave with its stalactites and stalagmites – the hottest pool on site – soaking in the mineral waters. Once you are in need of some cooling, jump into the stream-fed cold plunge. In need of some further relaxation? Visit the Spirit Water Spa for a massage or body wrap. Later on in the day, take a serene and scenic hike through surrounding forest trails and come back to a scrumptious dinner at the Ktunaxa Grill. A perfect getaway to restore your mind, body and spirit if you ask us!

The Wickaninnish Inn

Looking for some island time? Tofino is not only fantastic for surfing in the summer, but is also great for a weekend of rest and relaxation at the Wickaninnish Inn [https://www.wickinn.com/]. Start your day here by taking in the majestic Vancouver Island coastline from your room then head over to the Rainforest Haven studio for a rejuvinating yoga class. Continue the day with some treatments and packages at the Ancient Cedars Spa and top it off with a farm-fresh meal from The Pointe Restaurant. The perk to the Wickaninnish Inn is their pet-friendly rooms and dog sitting, so your fur babies don’t need to be left at home. Children are also welcome and can be taken care of by babysitters when the time comes for your well-deserved massage and glass of wine!

Where will you go for your winter staycation? Let us know with the hashtag #area3staycation

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Around Town

It’s been awhile since we have talked about the neighborhoods in our beautiful city of Vancouver. The last one was “3 Must-see Design Districts in Vancouver.” This time, we are featuring neighborhoods around our downtown core – Railtown, Chinatown and Yaletown. They are jam packed with great finds and will leave you wanting to come back for more! As a designer we always appreciate an inspiring space whether thats a coffee shop, retail space or beautiful building! We suggest you take your time walking each street and popping into unexpected shops and cafes. Keep reading for a few our favorites!

Railtown

Chances are, you have never been to Railtown or have not even heard of it before. It is just East of the always busy and tourist filled Gastown. It is definitely a bit more quiet and industrial, but if you venture out this way, you are sure to come across some gems. Looking for a place to grab brunch this weekend? Ask for Luigi is just the place if you fancy a fresh hand-made pasta in a casual yet intimate setting. Be sure to arrive early as there are no reservations! Another good place to pop-by for a good evening is The Belgard Kitchen and Postmark Brewing. You won’t miss it when you drive by because of its enormous wood doors. Inside, you can choose to taste some of Postmark’s beer brewed on location before grabbing a seat and enjoying some modern tapas. Finally, if you’re looking for something very unique and custom for your home, you should definitely head over to Alexander Centre (611 Alexander St.). This is where you will find the showrooms of companies such as Crown Wallpaper and Fabrics, AnneStarr and Jan Kath. You have been warned, you will get lost in the land of wallpaper, fabrics and rugs! Heads up though, not all of these designer showrooms are open to the public so be sure to call first.

Chinatown

Did you know that Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in North America? No wonder it is a tourist destination! Other than the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens – which everyone should visit at least once – Chinatown is packed with many great places to shop and eat. Looking for some new cookware? Ming Wo  is filled with great finds, whether it is some new cutlery, dishware or a new kitchen gadget. For those who are into street-style fashion, be sure to wander into El Kartel. Although it may look insignificant from the street, the store is quite large on the inside and has something for both males and females. Looking for a quick snack? Pop into New Town Bakery & Restaurant  and pick up a couple of fresh Chinese buns and be sure to get a Hong-Kong style milk tea while you’re at it! Finally, if you find yourself in Chinatown on an evening, take a seat at Juniper and enjoy one of their charcuterie boards with a glass of wine. It’s a great place to catch up with a few friends!

Yaletown

Hip and always happening, Yaletown doesn’t ever seem to sleep. In the summer, the restaurant patios are always packed and there is constant buzz on Mainland and Hamilton Streets. It is very easy to do some shopping absolutely anything in this neighborhood. Start the day off with a pastry and coffee at the ever-popular Small Victory Bread & Coffee. Looking for something for your home? Be sure to check out The Cross Décor & Design. For those of you who like to spoil your furry friends, Barking Babies is the place for you! Got a sweet tooth? Karameller Candy Shop is your next stop for some irresistible Swedish candies. Of course, Yaletown has plenty of places to grab a bit to eat. The Banter Room  has an eclectic interior that’s perfect for lunch whereas a whimsical night sipping wine in the courtyard of Brix and Mortar is an absolute must.

Which neighborhood will you check out first? Let us know with the hashtag #area3aroundtown

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4 Must see Museums

As a child, many of us dreaded going to museums – myself included. They were definitely some of my least favorite field trips in grade school! Somehow as we grow up, seeing artifacts from time periods we will never personally know and imagining ourselves living in the that time and place becomes rather intriguing. While travelling, popping into museums for a quick gander or spending entire days seems like a given! Next time you are in Europe where museums are bountiful, make sure to carve out some time for our 4 must-visit museums!

The State Hermitage Museum

Although a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia may not be at the top of your must-visit cities in Europe, it is a must for those who love art! With more than 3 million items, the Hermitage has acquired a rather spectacular collection of world art. The collection includes pieces that spans the years from the Stone Age to the early 20th century. Not only does it occupy the grand Winter Palace, but it also spreads to 5 more connected buildings along the Neva River. Finished in 1794, the blue-and-white palace is a perfect example of Baroque architecture and is beautifully kept. For several centuries it was the main residence of the czars including Catherine the Great who founded the museum. As you wander (we highly suggest a tour) through each of the immaculate rooms, expect to not only admire the masterpieces from greats such as Rembrandt, da Vinci, Picasso, van Gogh and Goya, but also at the details of the interiors! Be prepared to spend a full day or two here.

Musée du Louvre

Everyone knows that a visit must be paid to Musée du Louvre in Paris. Not only is its glass pyramid iconic, but it is also famously home to the Mona Lisa. It is no surprise that getting in can take hours, but we have a secret to dwindling down the wait. Go early and enter from the mall entrance which most tourists don’t know about! You will gain back some valuable time and hopefully see the Mona Lisa without a massive crowd surrounding you! The wealth of treasures in the Louvre is mind-boggling – from Classical sculpture, Mesopotamian antiquities and Egyptian relics to the many galleries of Italian Renaissance paintings that cover enormous walls and halls. Research beforehand which pieces you must see and take your time aimlessly wandering to discover other jaw-dropping pieces.

The British Museum

When all museums have free entry in England, it is hard to see them all! The British Museum is one that you must visit even if you only have a couple hours. It is Britain’s largest museum and houses the national collection of archaeology and ethnography. With more than 8 million objects, the museum boasts the world’s second finest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt. Be sure to check out the Rosetta Stone which was carved in 196 B.C.! When you are done gazing at exquisite gold jewels and Assyrian palace rooms, be sure to spend a few minutes walking around the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court. The two acre-space was designed by Foster and Partners and is enclosed by a stunning glass roof with the world-famous Reading Room as its center. We love how the shadows cast by the roof juxtapose the museum’s Greek Revival Style architecture. Be sure to snap a few pictures while you are here!

Maritime Museum of Denmark

Outside of utopian Copenhagen, which we wrote about in our blog post “Inspired by Copenhagen,” is the town of Elsinore. Most people visit the town to see Kronborg Castle (better known as Hamlet’s castle), but next door is an underground gem – the Maritime Museum of Denmark. Built around an old dry dock, the museum pays homage to Denmark’s maritime roots and beautifully tells its story. The exhibits on display are evocative and dramatically staged with soundscapes and film projections encapsulating you. Designers will admire the creative display cases that are lit just-so. Before you finish off your visit, make sure to have a coffee with a delicious slice of cake or a hearty lunch in the M/S Café. The interiors exude Danish hygge and you will never want to leave. Did we mention that the museum was designed by Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG)? This is definitely one of their most well-known projects!

Which museum is at the top of your list? Let us know in the comments below or with the hashtag #Area3Museums

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Wine and Design

It is no secret that the Okanagan is home to British Columbia’s best wineries. Why not slow down this weekend and go on a getaway to experience the timeless world of winemaking? With spectacular views of the Okanagan Lake, these wineries must be at the top of your to-do list! You can spend all weekend winery hopping, but Mission Hill Winery and Quails’ Gate Estate Winery are the ones you can easily spend an entire day.  Located in West Kelowna and only a few minutes’ drive from each other, both wineries offer a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you’re a connoisseur or are new to the art of wine, there is plenty for you to enjoy. Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable weekend!

Mission Hill Winery

From the moment you pass through the enormous gates into Mission Hill life seems to slow down and you instantly feel like you have entered into an exclusive estate. The grounds are impeccably manicured with the vineyard on display right at the entrance. Follow the path through the contemporary archway into the inner courtyard and take in the 12-storey bell tower that is the centerpiece of the piazza. The spectacular architecture designed by architect Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects gives a nod to tradition without crossing the line. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly think that you are in Italy! Enjoy the views overlooking rows of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir while sipping a glass of wine and grabbing a bite to eat at the outdoor Terrace Restaurant.  The fresh produce is mostly grown in the estate Varietal Garden! When you are done, find your way past the fountain and into the wine boutique. You can easily spend hours at the tasting bar and admiring the thoughtful product displays here! For those who want a complete wine country experience, we suggest taking one of the many tours and experiences that Mission Hill offers. If you plan ahead you might also be able to snag a hot ticket to one of the concerts  held in the winery’s ampitheatre for an unforgettable night filled with delicious cuisine, wine and music.

Quail’s Gate

With equally stunning views of Okanagan Lake is Quails’ Gate. For a true taste of the Okanagan, a meal at the Old Vines Restaurant is a must. It is renowned as one of the top 100 restaurants in Canada and is definitely worth the visit. Reserve a table on the terrace and enjoy your lunch or dinner in the vineyard setting with your glasses of wine. The tasting and tour options are also very educational. How about giving the Chocolate & Wine Tasting a try? It is sure to be delightful! We also love that Quails’ Gate offers two complimentary wines at their Wine Bar Tasting in the Wine Shop. We highly recommend tasting the Riesling Icewine and taking a bottle home with you! If you have an extensive budget and want to splurge for the weekend with a bunch of friends, you can even rent out The Lake House at Quails’ Gate. It is nestled at the bottom of the vineyards and has amenities such as multiple patios, a hot tub, gas fire pit and a chef’s dream kitchen. It will without a doubt be a weekend to remember!

Which winery will you visit first? Let us know in the comments below! #area3wine&design

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Ohayo Gozaimasu Japan

I recently had the great fortune of visiting Japan for a few weeks on a holiday. For many years my business partner said – you must go, you will love it. She was right! In preparation I spent a few months listening to the Pimseleur audio tapes driving to and from work. Every morning I would attempt to speak a little more. Luckily my business partner had lived in Japan previously and would converse with me daily. This did come in handy during my trip. Hint – be sure to have directions written in Japanese should you choose to hop in a cab, most drivers don’t speak English. Japan is so unlike Canada in many ways. The formality of the people, everything you look at is steeped in tradition and history. My friends loved the abundance of seafood, sushi and of course the noodles. For me, the architecture was it. There is nothing better as a designer than the ability to visit in person and see a building or a space you studied in school or have glossed over many times in magazines and books. Below are just a few of my favorites and most memorable stops.

We visited many of the neighborhoods in Tokyo, each so unique. One sunny day we thought it would be fun to take the train to the “Harajuku” area and see all the colorful and quirky teenage girls dressed up. Unfortunately it was a school day so we only caught a glimpse of a few, however on the other side of town is a tree lined street called Omotesando. Here was an architectural dream of “who’s who”. Couture store upon store, but forget the fashion (for a moment). It was the buildings themselves. Prada the tall iconic glass structure by the famed Herzong & De Meuron and modern concrete form that housed the Tod’s store are only two of many that line this street and fought for your attention.  As I was standing across the street taking photos a women walked up to me who was an avid traveller from Jerusalem. She knew every building, and architectural firm that had designed it. Delighted to have someone to converse with she told me she visits Japan once a year just to see the architecture. She gave me a tip and suggested I must stop at this lovely pineapple bake shop a few blocks away. She did not disappoint! SunnyHills cake shop designed by Kengo Kuma was one of the coolest places I saw during my trip. The space has been featured in multiple magazines like Dezeen, Detail, and Arch Daily. The building consists of hinoki cypress and takes its inspiration from Cidori, a traditional Japanese toy in which timber slats are joined by means of milled cut-outs, not by nails or other connectors. So simply stunning. Truly one of those spaces you need to see in person to truly appreciate. The interior is minimalist and modern with concrete stairs and reception which was equally exciting.

 

 

The Roppongi area hosts many museums and art galleries. Only in Japan have I ever waited 30 minutes just to purchase a ticket for entry. This was at the Mori Art Museum which also houses an observation deck with panoramic views. I wondered if the Marvel: Age of heroes (which was one of the current temporary exhibits) caused the crowds. I would later decide not, after visiting many museums seems the Japanese have much more appreciation for art and design. One of my favorites is designed by the talented Tadao Ando. 21_21 Design Sight is a low rise structure with steel roof plates that gently slope down to the ground. The building sits quietly among the beautiful landscaping in a park behind a massive mall, hotel and restaurants. So discreet you could almost miss it. As the website states this venue allows you to redirect your eyes to everyday things, and events and make discoveries from the design point of view. This is a space to openly communicate and evaluate the design process. The one building houses the store and current exhibit and the second seemed like a lecture hall. Wouldn’t it be great as a designer to have such an amazing space to attend an event or be inspired on a regular basis? My biggest regret was not signing up months in advance so I could attend a service at Tadao Ando’s church of light. Next visit for sure. In the meantime I was able to observe some of his handy work and details in this great museum. The public washroom even had one his famous linear light wells.

If you have ever wanted to see the craziest and busiest intersection in the world (Shibuya)? Eat sushi that came off a conveyer belt? Hope for a sighting of a Geisha girl (I saw two) in the Gion, Kyoto district? View some of the most stunning and lush gardens, colorful temples, or see the largest Koi fish jump. Then I suggest you book your next vacation in Japan. Once you return be sure to share your favorite story and especially your architecture experience. #area3japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inspired by Copenhagen

It is no secret that we love Scandinavian design, so naturally we would be drawn to the Danish capital of Copenhagen! This charming city in Denmark is not only a design mecca, but could easily be considered utopia with its bold urban planning coupled with impeccable architecture. Its rich history is beautifully captured in its well-preserved historic buildings and each neighborhood has a unique character. Not only can you spend days appreciating all the old and new architecture, but there are plenty of design houses and public spaces to also meander through. There is no doubt that all design enthusiasts should visit Copenhagen and absorb some Danish design inspiration! Keep reading for our recommendations for your next visit.

Architecture

We have mentioned him many times before, but Bjarke Ingles and his namesake firm Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG) is a superstar in Copenhagen. Not only is it his hometown, but many of his iconic projects are also located here! Hop on a bike or take a 15 minute metro ride to the new neighborhood of Ørestad and you will easily spot three of BIG’s residential projects – VM Mountain, VM Houses and the 8 House. If you are on a budget or just want to experience living in one of these buildings for a few days, we suggest trying Airbnb! We had a fantastic stay in the 8 House and it was the perfect opportunity to experience living like a local. While you are in the neighborhood, be sure to take a peek at all the other new architectural masterpieces such as the Bella Sky Hotel. We love this neighborhood for its connectivity to nature with many trails, parks and public spaces!

Design

There is a certain timeless simplicity to Danish design and we cannot get enough of it! Copenhagen is filled to the brim with Danish design shops that will make you wish you could bring it all home with you. In central Copenhagen is the Strøget pedestrian shopping street which is home to Hay House. Here you will find contemporary furniture and other objects for the home in their light-filled two storey showroom which is sure to inspire you to make some changes to your own living space. While you are here be sure to check out the view! A few steps away from Hay House is Illums Bolighus, the premier hub of Danish and international design in Scandinavia. Hours can easily be spent going through their floors filled with furniture, décor, light fixtures, kitchen and bath articles and gifts. When you are here, be sure to check out the extensive Fritz Hansen display, Tom Dixon light fixtures and Normann Copenhagen homewares! Finally, spend a few hours learning about Danish design at the designmuseum. Not only will you find a room full of designer chairs on display (or as I like to call it, chair heaven), but you will learn about how the Japanese influenced Danish design!

Public Spaces

A unique aspect about Copenhagen is the many public spaces throughout the city. We are not surprised that it is the most bike able city in the world as everyone seems to be on a bike or on foot! Some of our favorite public spaces include the Copenhagen Street Food market on Paper Island. Here you can grab a bite to eat from one of the international food trucks inside the market hall then relax outside on the deck in the sun overlooking the city’s waterfront with views to the iconic Opera House. For those who love books, The Black Diamond is an extension to the Royal Library and is an architectural masterpiece in its own right with its juxtaposition of old and new. From the outside, the shiny black façade reflects the sea and sky at the harbor front and from the inside you can see the quirky maritime inspired pedestrian and cyclist bridge Cirkelbroen from your table at the café. If you get the chance, cycle out to the hip neighborhood of Nørrebro to visit Superkilen park. A celebration of diversity, BIG designed this park to exhibit interesting things from around the world such as a fountain from Morocco as well as fun pieces such as a boxing arena, octopus slide and swinging benches. Fun for those young and old!

Where would you like to visit in Copenhagen? Let us know in the comments or using the hashtag #area3designcopenhagen

 

 

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BC Staycations with a Design Twist

Everyone loves a good vacation, but what if we just don’t have the time to escape far away? Luckily, there are many exquisite places to visit right here in beautiful British Columbia – a staycation if you will. Staying relatively close to home doesn’t mean that you can’t have it all. These two dream-worthy staycation destinations are sure to be on your bucket-list for a weekend of rest and relaxation!

Scandinave Spa

Engulfed in a lush spruce and cedar forest on the edge of Lost Lake in Whistler is the Scandinave Spa. Boasted as an authentic Scandinavian Spa, this day spa is sure to invigorate and cleanse your body and mind. While alternating between saunas, steam baths, hot baths and cold plunges in hydrotherapy, you can take in the incredible mountain vistas. At 20,000 square feet, the Scandinave Spa is filled with relaxation rooms, sauna and steam rooms, massage rooms and even a café. If you also want to squeeze in a tan, the various terraces stacked up the hillside offer plenty of deck chairs and hammocks for you to relax in. Another feature we love about Scandinave Spa is their Eco Spa which emphasizes green and sustainable alternatives. A design feature is their green roof which ensures that there is efficient heating, cooling and insulation year-round. This is definitely a place you can easily spend a day in while you are visiting Whistler!

Sparkling Hill Resort

As the name suggests, the Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, BC is truly sparking with over 3.5 million Swarovski crystal elements. This $122-million resort was funded by Gernot Langes-Swarvoski and is the brainchild of Austrian, Hans-Peter Mayr. Sparkling Hill is the perfect blend of North American pampering with a therapeutic European approach. Situated on Mount Royce, the resort has sweeping views of the Okanagan Lake and Monashee Mountains which can be enjoyed from each of the 152 suites. Complete with custom-designed Kohler soaker tubs, crisp white linens and natural wood finishes, each room is warm and features streamlined European inspired design. The resort’s 40,000 square foot KurSpa is where you will be spending your time. This European-inspired spa, clinic and wellness center has seven unique aromatherapy, steam and sauna rooms. Each steam and sauna room are a different experience and a true work of art. To top it all off, you can pick your choice of nozzles and showerheads, colors and scents in the Experience Showers. No detail was missed here as the serenity pool also has underwater music! If this resort doesn’t already sound like heaven, each stay also includes a full, hot breakfast in their PeakFine restaurant. Their menu is sure to delight especially paired with a local Okanagan wine. If casual is more your style, the Barrique & Java is a café and pastry shop by day and wine bar by night. What is there not to love about this place? If you still have money to burn, make a stop at the Swarovski Gift Shop. This very opulent and award winning resort was designed by the talented SSDG Interiors Inc.

BC Staycation

Where do you want to go for your next BC Staycation? Let us know in the comments.

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Who Says You Can’t Camp in Style?

Summer is in full swing with lots of sunshine and many long and warm days. For those of us who are the outdoor types, you may have already gone for your first camping trip over the Canada Day long weekend. If the idea of camping in a tent in the middle of nowhere makes you want to run in the other direction, may I suggest glamping? Glamping – short for glamorous camping – is perfect for those of us who would much rather sleep in a comfortable bed, but wouldn’t mind an experience surrounded by nature. British Columbia is home to a wide selection of glamping options, offering different levels of luxury as well as price-point. Here are some glamping locations that we would love to visit!

Free Spirit Spheres

On the bucket list of people from all over the world is to stay in one of the three orbs offered by Free Spirit Spheres. Located near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, this little getaway is suspended from treetops in a tranquil rainforest. A treehouse for adults, these orbs offer a magical experience for guests who get an immersive experience amidst a lush green canopy. Although the orbs are small, they are cozy and provide a very comfortable stay. A compostable toilet, showerhouse and sauna are also just steps away, creating a full glamping experience.

WOODS on Pender

Looking for a relaxing island getaway with the family without sacrificing wifi, a comfy bed and a hot shower? Then WOODS on Pender Island is perfect for you. You can choose to stay in one of 6 Airstreams, 3 Rustic Cabins, a Shasta Airflyte or one of the 9 Lodge Rooms – each a truly unique stay. You get the camp experience – tranquil with stunning scenery and wildlife – complete with the amenities of a hotel. Accommodations include Beautyrest beds, Apple TV, Towels and luxury toiletries and a hot tub (some even have a private one). If you decide to leave your room, the grounds has the Coffeehouse Restaurant where you can grab some comfort food with a handcrafted cocktail or glass of BC Wine. Adventure a bit further and there are also hammocks, a games room, outdoor recreation areas, fire pits and hiking trails. Who wouldn’t want to spend a few days glamping here?

Tent Suites in Halfmoon Bay

A sanctuary overlooking the Pacific Ocean, these tent suites are purely luxurious. Take in the Sunshine Coast scenery from your private deck or enjoy activities such as yoga, swimming and scuba diving. If you are in for an indulgent experience, there is also an onsite spa. Choose from one of two luxury tent suites which feature a king-size bed, fireplace and heated slate floors. Take a soak in your outdoor tub and take in the breathtaking views from your suite. These tent suites are the ultimate adult getaway in style without the kids.

Glamping

Where would you like to go glamping? Let us know in the comments below.

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Design Highlights from Palm Springs

Well I recently went on a family vacation to Palm Springs. Like most of you – I had heard many things about this destination over the years (and it’s all true). This is a fabulous destination if you love the sun, golf, tennis and laying by the pool. During the day you can explore the city by hiking or taking in the sites via the world’s largest rotating tramcar or visiting the many neighborhoods. I would have to warn you though if you are a night owl and looking for much excitement after 9 pm you will be sadly disappointed ………… But, we still looked around and found a few fun places to have a drink like the edgy Hard Rock Hotel (great design)! Then a nightcap at the mid-century modern desert boutique Ace Hotel.  Without realizing when we booked our trip a few months back, I was lucky enough to be heading down during Moderism week!!!! Wow what an awesome surprise! Unfortunately my travel companions don’t share my same love of design so I ended up excusing myself for half a day to visit the Bauhaus twenty -21 exhibit on display at the Architecture and Design Center (sure wish Vancouver had one). They even had many of the original classics such as the Le Corbusier LC1 Sling Chair and the cantilever L. M. Van Der Rohe chair to sit on and test out.  Sadly by the time I had realized what events were happening about town and at the camp it was too late. Had I known –  they had guest speakers from the hit show Mad Men along with a mini set, walking tours, double decker architectural bus tours, a series of lectures on the history of Herman Miller and various parties. Big hint – if you head down next year be sure to buy your tickets in advance as everything gets sold out well in advance. However I did manage to capture a great lecture “What Midcentury Looks Like Now“ held at the Annenburg Theatre inside the Palm Springs Art Museum. Which gave me the perfect excuse to visit this beautiful venue. I especially loved the outdoor Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden. Here they had whimsical pieces like “The Man with the world at his feet” in the midst of this beautiful garden and patio area. Well, Palm Springs it was fun! Loved the modern architecture and amazing landscaping (I’m a sucker for a great snake plant, cactus or succulent). I will come back. Probably not on a personal holiday, but definitely for the sole purpose of exploring Moderism Week. All of us at Area3 would have gone crazy to be here during this eventful design week. So hopefully I will see you again in 2017, until then…….

Have you been to Palm Springs? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts with us #area3palmsprings

palm springs 2

 

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The Windy City

Well I recently had the opportunity to visit the great city of Chicago! It had been many years but I had fond memories and the city did not disappoint! If you mention Chicago most people think of the delicious deep dish pizza (can you actually eat more than one slice?), the wind, Oprah (didn’t her show put this city on the map?) and perhaps like the week I was there- the streets were in a frenzy over the Cubs (it was the playoff’s). But to us designers it’s like love at first sight………our focus instantly is taken aback by the amazing art, architecture and design!

This city has some of the very best architecture, and what a variety! Where else can you view early warehouses, art deco, mid-century and post-modern all within minutes? The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is an amazing way to see the city’s best buildings! There is no better vantage point. If you have read any of my previous blogs you will recall that one of my all-time favorites is Mies Van der Rohe. His work is on display at the AMA Plaza which was his last building before his death (so simply modern and minimalist). Other highlights include Marina City by Bertrand Goldberg which was intended to be “a city within a city” and which locals refer to as the “corn cobs” due to its unusual shape (or if you ask my business partner- she will call it as the pancake building). And finally, one of Chicago’s most historic landmarks – the Lyric Opera’s Civic Opera House – which was built in 1929 and fully restored in 1996. The Civic Opera House is a hybrid of Art Nouveau and Art Deco designs and creates a majestic setting for entertaining on any scale. The 3,563 seat theater is the second-largest opera auditorium in North America.

Here in Chicago public spaces are not just beautiful and well designed, but include over 200+ parks that participate in “Night Out”! Night Out is a multi-service app that provides up to date info on all the fun and free events happening in and around the city. The city offers everything from movie screenings, yoga, and dancing all the way to a Halloween parade! There is always an event at a park near you. Salsa dancing after work anyone? No one dare call Chicago “no fun city” – are you listening Vancouver? We need an app and events like this, don’t you think? These parks are absolutely beautiful! Millennium Park is home to the very talented Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Pavilion. I would love to go back next summer and attend a concert here! Did you think I would forget the bean? Never! It is so fun, whimsical and entertaining! Formally known as “Cloud Gate”, the bean is designed by artist Anish Kapoor and made of polished stainless steel. It is the pride and joy of this streetscape, filled with tourists taking selfies. Besides the bean, you will find an evolving and revolving feast of outdoor art. Love this!!!! Some of the pieces were so new or temporary I couldn’t even find any info on them. The experience was delightful, I love that everyone gets an opportunity to be exposed to art. On this trip I didn’t have enough time to visit the amazing Art Institute or MCA, but am sure they would not disappoint (visited on my last trip)!

However I did make it out to Oak Park a suburban area, just about 30 mins from the city. Here among the big lots, historical charm and mostly Victorian homes is where you will find an abundance of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. We visited his home and studio and then took part in a walking tour of about another dozen homes he designed all within blocks of each other. It truly is amazing to view these homes in person after years of studying them at design school. It always reinforces the fact that these iconic Architects have received such notoriety for esteemed reason. Although not my personal style I very much admire what a pioneer he must have been at the time. Well I could go on and on, the great Chicago is worthy of many more topics and especially more trips. However until then we would love to hear what you think? What was your experience of Chicago like? #area3chicago

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